Saturday, February 27, 2010

GOD BRINGS...clarity in the midst of chaos

Reading through the Bible in a year will lead you to some parts of Scripture that are difficult to embrace. The Old Testament is packed with moment after moment of WHAT IS GOING ON and WHO IS THIS GOD. These moments seem so disconnected from the picture of God we gain from the life of Jesus. Ok, I know I am not the only one who thinks this when reading the Old Testament. In Genesis I my attention is captured by the power of story. In Exodus the story focuses on Moses and his experience leading the people of God. The story really gets focused as God for the first time provides a framework for how to live and worship as a follower of the one true God. On this journey through Exodus I have to keep reminding myself that God is speaking to a specific group of people with their own history, culture, and view of life. These are not Americans. These people have just been rescued from slavery and the culture of Egypt and now are being led by God into a new way of life. In all of the mess of the details contained in the book of Exodus here is where my AH HA moment came...GOD IS BRINGING CLARITY INTO THE MIDST OF CHAOS. In the pages of Exodus we see God creating a culture, a new way to live, a new way to treat each other, and (for the first time) the ability for the common man to know GOD. God moves from just communicating and connecting with a few select people to an ENTIRE NATION. Sure, my cultural framework makes reading this book difficult but I am blown away by the chance to read about God creating culture. God had a plan to redeem humanity and Exodus gives us a front row seat to watch God put it all in motion. I am so thankful God stepped into the mess of humanity and made a way for us to have a relationship with Him.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

BIG Cross Street Live announcement...

Cross Street Live is a family experience we make happen each month for families here in Clarksville. We have big news...we are moving the time of CSL each month to 1:30 on Sunday afternoons starting on March 14!!! We have been doing this monthly event at night since we launched but we feel like more people can connect if we move it to Sunday afternoon. Also many families in our church have community group that meets on Sunday night...this will help families be able to experience CSL together. Let us know what you think about the change...will it help...are you pumped...will you help us spread the word?

Some of you may be asking...WHAT IS A FAMILY EXPERIENCE??? Cross Street Live is a 50 minute service packed with music, video, drama, and fun where kids and parents learn and worship together. Yep...TOGETHER. Kids and parents get to connect and talk about a monthly virtue and then go home to live that virtue out together. Every parent I know is looking for things to do with their kid. Every parent is also looking for ways to teach their children important values like honesty, confidence, and loyalty. At Cross Street Live we get to have fun and invest in our kids at the same time! If you live in the Clarksville area we hope you will check CSL out.

For more info about Cross Street Live go check out

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We just got finished working with Kozbi through her first science project. You can see the masterpiece above, it was good. I think she should win (if you are out there and you have a vote)!!! When I went to the parent meeting the teacher told us DO THIS WITH YOUR KID...NOT FOR YOUR KID! Science projects are meant for kids to experience science not watch their parents do all the work. This is a process where a kid gets to ask questions and explore, not listen to the parent give them the answers. The older our kid's get we have to push ourselves to do life with our kid not for our kid. When we live life with our kid we let them struggle, allow them to question, give them direction, allow them to fail, celebrate when they succeed, and point them to make the WISE CHOICE. When we we do life for our kids we keep them from risk, discourage their questions, guard them from failure, protect them from reality, and demand they make our choice...the choice we will make for them.

When it comes to FAITH one of my hopes is that parents will follow Christ WITH their kid and not FOR their kid. Faith is a process and we never fully arrive or have it all together. Parents who journey WITH their kid toward Christ don't pretend to have all the answers they just keep pursuing Christ. When we follow Christ FOR our kids we give them a rule filled, know it all faith that lacks mystery. When we pretend to have the RIGHT answers in front of our kids we show them a shallow, controllable God who is far from the God revealed in scripture. Parents...please stop pretending to have it all together and begin to live out your faith WITH YOUR KID! What they see will do so much more than saying the right things or maintaining the right image.

Monday, February 22, 2010

3 environments for teens // ONE WEEK check it out!

Ryan Millard and I had the chance to create three worship environments for teens last week...Yes I said that, 3 different environments. Thanks to the supportive teams we work at with Onechurch and Grace Community Church we were able to gather resources (lights, screens, staging, curtains, sound equipment etc.) to bring into three venue's to make three different environments happen. We also got to work with Hilldale Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Clarksville to use their buildings for 2 of the environments. Thanks to both churches for letting us create an event for teens across our community to gather together. Here are the different rooms...

Identity Community wide Kickoff / Hilldale Family Life Center

MERGE 2010 / both REMIX locations together at the St. B Venue. Check out the environmental projection we did on the ceiling, it was GREAT!

Identity Saturday Night Community Wide Service / FBC Clarksville

Friday, February 19, 2010

MERGE 2010

We made it to MERGE weekend at relevant. We have more students signed up for this weekend than we ever have and for the first time we have both locations together for the experience. So pumped about what God is going to go! Just wanted to ask anyone who reads this blog to pray for our small groups and small group leaders as we ask God to bring our lives and God MERGE what we want and what God wants into one! Look for updates at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

help small group leaders have BIG MOMENTS!

I think it is so important for those of us leading student ministries to help our small group leaders have opportunities to be PRESENT when teens make big life decisions. Tonight we helped sponsor a city wide student event and tons of students took the step to follow Christ or ask questions about following Christ. Of course the speaker asked student pastors to move to the back to talk with students. I decided to ask several of our small group leaders to be ready to encourage and pray with students. I was blown away, they did an amazing job of helping many of our teens from REMIX work through some big spiritual questions. Our small group leaders got to be a part of a BIG MOMENT in the life of a teen they have been mentoring. This is what being a small group leaders is about...being ready to influence when the opportunity comes. When possible we need to help small group leaders have these moments...these moments are why we invest in teens week in and week out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

why go to a conference?

Why go to a conference? Good question! The children's pastor on our team here at GCC is away at the C3 Kids conference at Fellowship Church this week and I have been reminded of all the reasons I think it is important for people leading in preschool, children, and student environments to get out and go to a conference each year. I know for tons of you out there you might have been asked why you need to take the time and spend the money on a conference so here is why I think it is important...
  • To surround yourself with people passionate about the investing in the next generation! I think many times we feel alone with our passion for kids, teens, and families in our local churches. Yes, there are more people out there than you think fighting the same battles you are. Sometimes you need to spend time with people passionate about what you are passionate about.
  • Evaluation...When we see what is going on in other ministries around the country it pushed us to evaluate where we are at and ask WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO?
  • Discovery...I love learning and for me a conference is a perfect time to shut everything else out and learn from other leaders.
  • Pause...At a conference we are engaging and learning but the best conferences give us time to pause and soak in time with God. Many of us who lead in kid or teen ministry are so pulled on Sunday's we barely get to focus on connecting with God. Making time to hit a conference gives us time to pause and worship and maybe just maybe hear from God.
  • Team Building...For our family ministry staff we use conference time to just connect with and encourage each other. Our team has made some great memories as I have gotten us all lost in Atlanta looking for the Flying Biscuit to eat! Good times and good memories.
  • Planning...A conference gives us a chance to get away and plan for the church that has sent us away. When we go to a conference we are being sent by our church to learn, grow, and bring something back with us to add back into our context. God has used times away at a conference to help get my mind wrapped around some big plans he had coming up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I had "fun" today

We have heard people describe Grace Community Church as a "fun" place to go to church the past few weeks. This is how it goes...A GCC attender tells a friend that they are going to GCC then they drop the dirty word when it comes to talking about your church...IT WAS FUN! When the person hearing this description hears the word FUN they think Disney World or Chuck e Cheese because they may not have had fun at church since that 6th grade lock-in they went too 30 years ago. So, we get called the FUN church. And yes I am OK with that because I know why people who attend call going to church here FUN? Discovering the love and grace of God is amazing, finding a church where you belong is fun, being able invite your friends to church because you trust the leadership is fun, and actually engaging God in worship is FUN! Our team is excited people are talking about what God is doing in their life through GCC. Just because they do not use "churchy" words does not make what God is doing invalid, it makes it genuine.

Seeing God change lives is FUN. Seeing God repair broken lives is FUN. Watching people find a place to be real in community group is FUN. Seeing 20 people last Sunday get baptized was FUN. Getting to gather for worship with people as they hear God's word taught in a clear way so can live it out after the message is FUN. If we have to be called the FUN church for those things to keep happening I am cool with it. Let's have some FUN.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

KOZBI is getting baptized!

This is my oldest daughter Kozbi (the picture is of us getting ready to go on a date and to the a local Father-Daughter Ball ) and this weekend my baby girl is getting baptized! Since this amazing girl was a baby her mom and I have been praying together that she would become a follower of Jesus and God answered our prayer over the past few months. We have been talking through what it means to follow Christ for about a year now and on her own she prayed to ask Christ into her life. It is amazing to see the joy and peace she has about her faith in Christ. It is the real deal and I am so thankful that God has brought salvation to my little girl. My biggest hope for both my little girls is that they would spend their life following and honoring Jesus in all they do. This Sunday she goes public with her faith as she gets baptized with about 20 other people from Grace Community. THANKS to all of you out there who have invested in Kozbi's life at FBC Clarksville, FBC Norfolk, and Grace Community Church. Kozbi thinks church is an amazing place to be and she loves Sunday mornings! Thanks to all of you who showed my little girl that following Christ was the greatest goal in life. Sunday is going to be a good day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What are you doing to empower teens to SERVE NOW?

A few weeks ago 2 students set up a meeting with me and told me about an idea they had to raise money for the Red Cross and the Haiti relief effort. They needed help with sound for a concert event they wanted to do. Guess who has sound equipment...our ministry does. I helped them think though the logistics of putting on the event, gave some advice, committed our ministry to help with the sound and turned them loose to figure out a plan. They left my office and pulled the entire thing off. Two high school students wanted to do something to help, made a plan, and the event will happen on Saturday night. If you want to know more about the event just click on the logo to go to their website for basic info. I wanted to post this and simply ask those of you leading student ministries across the country...What are you doing to empower teens to SERVE NOW? This generation wants to be a part of the solution to many of the problems facing our world. Our ministries can either empower and encourage that passion or we can easily get in the way and discourage what God is doing by trying to control it. Here are some basic things we are doing to empower teens to serve now...
  • Inspire >> we try to get info to students to let them know what is going on in our world and then trust God to inspire what action they take. we try to let our students know about Soles4Souls, Compassion International, World Vision, Africa for Jesus, and THEN let God direct where they take action. Many students just need to be pointed in the right direction.
  • Support >> when students have an idea we try to provide them support to carry it out. Sometimes we can help students make a huge impact by just helping a little. Teens are pretty smart, if we give a little help they can make a huge impact.
  • Provide Opportunity >> we facilitate a few experiences a year where teens (sometimes with their families) can serve their community. A teens life can be changed through seeing the pain in our world first hand through a mission trip or project.
  • Equip and Mentor >> we train students what it means to serve by equipping and mentoring them to serve each week in many of our environments at GCC. We have teens that serve in all area's of our church and are making a difference right now. It is amazing to watch them serve in our church every week.
I would love to hear some ways you empower teens to serve now either here on the blog or on facebook. This generation wants to make a difference and we might be the support they need to make a huge impact.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

behind the scenes

Sure the Colts and the Saints got to the Super Bowl, but what got them there? That sounds stupid because we know they won a bunch of games and that landed them in the big game at the end of the year. Most of the time with most organization we look at their destination, the results they are having, the impact they are making and we want to experience the same thing. Very rarely do we look behind the scenes to see what it took to get there. What got the Colts and the Saints to the Super Bowl was the hours of work in the preseason as they constructed their teams through the draft and free agency, held off-season workout's, and planned game to game in practice during the season. They prepared behind the scenes and then they delivered on game day. What happened behind the scenes was just as important as the game itself. What we do when no one is looking is just as important as what we do to publicly lead our organizations. Here are some behind the scene things that I think make a huge impact in my ability to lead in ministry...
  • Serving my family > If you want to lead your family you better serve your family. Seriously, I love serving teens and families at GCC but what good is it if I neglect my family. Work hard, give 100% to God but know behind the scenes be there for your family.
  • Personal Growth > I have to make sure I am reading, I am learning, I am listening to other leaders just so I can keep growing as a person and a leader. I also have to make sure I am reading the Bible not for a talk I am going to give but just so I am be connecting with God's Word. My spiritual / leadership growth can't be anyone's responsibility but my own.
  • Prayer > Yep, I have to make time to pray. God's desire of for a relationship with me not religious busyness. I need to make time. Seems automatic but nothing happens in my life by accident except watching Sportscenter!
  • Details > I have to work hard to be as organized as possible and stay up to speed with what is most important. I need to work hard to manage the details of my life, my time in order to be able to work on what matters most. May not like it but organization matters, I better work on it.
  • Planning / Dreaming > I need to keep looking forward. What is next? What do I need to be working on for next month or next year? Planning has to happen on a regular basis.
These are the behind the scene's things that I try to focus on...what did I miss? What things do you think have to happen in your ministry behind the scenes in order for you to fulfill the mission God has given you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Losing Well

Nothing brings out our true character like adversity and loss. We all hate to lose, but when we face loss we find out who we are. When challenge comes who we are on the inside comes to the forefront very quick. Good or bad our character will be revealed in a time of hardship. Watching Peyton Manning and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell deal with the loss of the Super Bowl was a joy to see. Both of these guy are natural born leaders and when the reality of the loss hit their character was revealed. They admitted their mistakes, gave the Saints props, and looked ahead. Sure great leaders can break down and say the wrong things in times of loss but a leader's true ability is reflected in both good and bad times. I was reminded of the need to "lose well" this week. Am I humble? That will be tested in loss. Am I focused on the right priorities? Loss will reveal that! Do I really have faith? I will discover that in the midst of pain and hardship. The person who appears in difficult times of loss...yea that is me. I need to make sure I am proud of that person.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

COMMUNITY is worth fighting for...

Working at a church or nonprofit becomes more than a job when we live in community. I'm not talking about just working with the people you lead. When your only significant relationships come in the form of volunteers you serve with you will always find yourself being "on guard". When I talk about living in community I am talking about having a circle of significant relationships that allow you to lower your guard and focus on serving and following Christ together. I know this is had to hear but following Christ is so much bigger than just being good at your JOB and doing MINISTRY STUFF. Sunday night we found ourselves hanging out with friends from our community group at a Super Bowl party. We have now been a part of this community group for over a year and it has made such a difference in the way I follow Christ. Community group has helped me to see spiritual growth from a different angle. I have learned what it means to care for a group of people without connections to my daily job...just because I care for a group of people. I have discovered that I can share what God is doing in my heart with good and bad times. I needed community more than I wanted community and God has worked through every moment of my community group experience.

I know there is an epidemic of church leaders living life alone because they are too busy for community group. In some form or fashion you need small group. You need to seek it out and make time for it. I had to make myself make the jump because I thought I had to much on my ministry plate already. That was exactly the problem...I did have too much on my plate. I had to make margin for group. If you lead an organization that helps kids or teens live life in some form of small group, I am begging you to pursue a life lived IN COMMUNITY. Stop talking about it if you are not in it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Momentum...plan for it!

So by now you know...I was wrong with my Super Bowl pick. Colts lost and it was hard for me to watch Peyton Manning not win ring #2. I have so many thought running around in my head after watching the game and hanging out with friends last night. The power of momentum showed up last night for the Saints. Momentum shifted toward the Saints when they recovered and onside kick in the 3rd quarter then proceeded to follow with executing their offensive game plan to score and go ahead 13-10. Sure the Saints experienced positive momentum and the Colts faced negative momentum, it goes both way. I tend to look at positive momentum as something to fight for with our ministry teams. Momentum comes to our organization when we focus on what we do best and execute that plan with success frequently. Momentum does not happen by accident, it has to be planned and fought for. The Saints planned to gain momentum for weeks as they practiced that onside kick! The outcome was not guaranteed but the plan to gain momentum was in place. This morning I began thinking about how ministry leaders can prepare for momentum...
  1. Pray : Momentum is a gift from God. Trust me, our God has positive momentum in this world right now. He is winning. We can never complain about not having something we have not prayed for.
  2. Focus : nothing kills momentum like distraction. Momentum comes from doing what the organization does best well not by doing things that we are not good at. Nothing frustrates momentum like distraction!
  3. Plan : Momentum is not gained by accident, and if momentum is gained by accident it will soon be gone. If you want to help your team gain momentum you better have a plan you believe in and that your team can embrace.
  4. Execute : If you have a plan you believe in you better pull the plan off. Momentum for ministry comes from doing something well over and over. Nothing helps momentum like executing the plan with success.
  5. Evaluate : Momentum is fluid (just ask the Colts), and it has to be monitored. Never be afraid to honestly evaluate where your organization is on the momentum scale. You will never be able to pray, focus, plan, and execute without honest evaluation. Without evaluation you pray the wrong prayers, focus on the wrong issues, plan the wrong events, and usually fail to execute with success.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bayne's SUPER BOWL pick...Colts Win 34-20

I am a Vol...I am have been pulling for Peyton Manning since he walked onto campus as a freshman at Tennessee. Let me clarify, Yep...I love my Titans and I pray 2 times a year my Titans sack manning 4 times and pick him off 3 times each game and the Titans spank the Colts. When they are not playing, I am pulling for the best quarterback to ever wear the orange and white. With all that said my pick for the Super Bowl is, Colts over the Saints 34-20.

Who are you picking? Go ahead and let me know who you are picking and the score! (before the game of course)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

why track student attendance in your student ministry

When I talk about tracking student attendance I am not talking about counting who is in the room. I have never met a student pastor who doesn't know every week how many kids are in the room. We always want to know that number, heck our pastor might ask us and we need to be able to give that amazing number. JUST KIDDING, we all know we love that to get the head count. Besides telling us if we had more or less people in the room, what does it do for us? Instead of just worrying about the head count our team at Relevant has become focused on tracking individual student attendance. We ask teens to check in at a check-in station (We use Fellowship One) each week. This is our second year to track attendance and even though there is nothing cool or revolutionary about it and yes it will take a little effort to pull off and yes it takes time to get students used to checking in...IT IS WORTH IT. Here is why...
  • It gives us a chance to welcome EVERY STUDENT // we hope that teens get welcomed by many people but when we do check-in we are guaranteed to have the chance to welcome each kid as they arrive.
  • It gives us a chance to greet a teen BY NAME // every student wants to be known. Our check-in volunteers get to know kids by name. It makes a difference.
  • It provides ACCOUNTABILITY // what happens on Thursday morning when a parent calls and asks if their kid was at your weekly gathering? For me I check the database and then email the small group leader to see if they made it to small group. Parents need to know we care about if their kids are safe and where they are supposed to be.
  • It moves our passion from just seeking a big attendance number to the INDIVIDUAL // If you are like me my heart sinks when our total numbers are down and I am stoked when we reach 10 new kids. Tracking attendance allows us to move beyond that total number and actually mine for info in the number. We can actually see who comes, when they come, where they come from, how often they come, and then we begin to process that data. DATA helps us make good programming choices.
  • It allows us to identify the GUEST // our kids bring friends all the time...when a guest shows up we want them to know we are excited. If we didn't do check-in we would not know about these teens. When teens are new to your environment check-in allows us to move them into our guest system and make their night a little better.
Using a check-in system is paying off at Relevant. I know there is nothing exciting about check-in, but if we choose to ignore this aspect of our weekly gathering we may miss some opportunities for ministry. In our next stage of ministry we will use check-in to alert small group leaders when students are missing, to help remind us to do some crazy stuff for students on their birthday, and to identify what area's of town might be good for other locations for REMIX. Our information system will help us make some of these moves and it sets us up for long term healthy growth. Yes, get that weekly head count but please understand a head count is made of of individual teens that matter to God!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Forgotten God...thoughts about Francis Chan's latest book

When it comes to the Holy Spirit there seems to be so many differing opinions about His (yes the Holy Spirit is a person not a thing) role in our lives. Some Christians are consumed with finding His presence and some seem to act like the Holy Spirit is not even needed for our daily life. Jesus was actually thrilled we would gain the Holy Spirit after he went to the cross. (Read John chapters 14-16) That alone is enough to make me want to come to a better understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in my life. Francis Chan uses this second book to help followers of Christ discover what God intended when He gave us this incredible gift of God's spirit residing in our lives. I honestly believe that you should read this book before you read Crazy Love. There is not much contained in Crazy Love that can be accomplished apart from the guidance and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Francis is a pastor that has made a huge impact in my life through his teaching and writing and I hope you will check this book out. For many of us, we are scared to seek the Holy Spirit because we just do not understand who He is. Unlike any other book I have ever read, this book gives a clear glimpse into the depths of how God reveals Himself through the Holy Spirit. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book...

The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all that we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Holy Spirit. - p. 18

The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something that you wouldn't normally want or choose to do....The Holy Spirit will mold you into the person you were made to be. - p. 50

It's much less demanding to think about God's will for your future than it is to ask Him what he wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It's safer to commit to follow His someday instead of this day. - p.120

The God of the universe is not just something we can add into our lives and keep on as we did before. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives. p. 122

Monday, February 1, 2010

help plan the ORANGE CONFERENCE!

The team at Rethink have done it again...they are asking us to journey with them as they plan the Orange Conference for 2010. You heard me right, you get to see the conference unfold right from your office over the next few months as you get ready to attend the Orange Conference. Each week on the Making of Orange website they are going to put up daily updates of what the teams are working on and asking for input along the way. There will also be video of meetings, pictures, and a weekly video update from Reggie Joiner. What an amazing idea! I am not aware of any conference out there that is engaging their attenders like this one. The Orange Conference is not just a place to go and get ideas, it is a gathering of leaders united around a ministry strategy. Now we get to help shape the conference experience before we get there. If you can't make the conference this year there are plans to have a few breakout's streamed live and the opening session will be live for anyone to experience. So here we go Children's, Preschool, and Student pastors...go check it out.