Wednesday, December 29, 2010

15 amazing years >> thanks Chelsea Bayne!

15 years ago on Dec. 30 I married Chelsea Parks and it was the best decision I ever made. When I think back on all the memories and how God has worked in the midst of married life I am blown away. Thanks Chelsea for being patient with me, for believing in me when no one else did, for serving in the church together, for making our home a place to relax, for making me laugh, for giving me 2 amazing daughters, for pushing me to follow Christ, for not killing me when I failed Hebrew in grad school, for loving me when I did not deserve it, for making me laugh, for watching the Vols and Titans on Saturdays and Sundays, for showing our girls what a Godly woman looks like, and for being my best friend. When Chelsea and I celebrate something in our lives we travel and this week we are spending New Years in Las Vegas...we travel, that is just what we do together! Happy anniversary Chelsea, I love you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

final post of 2010

Wrapping up the blog for 2010 and just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has followed along this year. I blog because I want to connect with other leaders and share what God is teaching our team here at Grace Community Church. What we learn and experience we want to give away and this blog gives me an outlet to share with other leaders around the country. Thanks to all of you out there who have taken the time to follow along. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings.

This coming week is about one thing...VACATION...I thought I needed to go ahead and take a blogging break to better focus on playing Wii with my girls!! This week Chelsea and I have been married form 15 years and we are headed to Vegas to celebrate New Years. God has blessed me with an amazing wife who is a partner in ministry. God also gave us 2 amazing daughters who simply blow us away every day. Chelsea and I just want to have a marriage that thrives because we both want to be that couple that makes it to 50 years! Seriously, that is one of our goals. We want to make it. I am so blessed to be married to Chelsea Bayne.

Happy New Year everyone! See you here on the blog in 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A view of our first Christmas Eve service @ GCC

We had our first ever Christmas Eve service here at Grace Community and we wondered if anyone would show up. Well...people showed up. Standing room only for the 5 PM and a packed room for 7 PM. So encouraging to see that many people show up on our new campus to celebrate the birth of Christ. Thanks for coming out everyone...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve services @ Grace Community

Our team is really excited about our first Christmas Eve service at Grace Community coming up this Friday at 5 and 7 PM at Kenwood High School. This will be our first time to get to gather on the Kenwood Campus as a church and our first time to serve the Kenwood community. Our family is changing up our traditions because we want this to be a part of our family Christmas experience. If you are in the Clarksville area I hope you will spread the word about these services. If you need more info check out Merry Christmas, hope to see you Friday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

make a plan for 2011...

In the past I have been "that guy" who made fun of people with the new year resolutions and goals. I just avoided the entire process and decided that I was just going to work hard in the coming year and see what happened. Why did I need goals? I learned one thing in 2010. I need those goals. Last year I made a list of my personal and ministry goals for the year. Some of the goals I accomplished and some I adjusted mid year and learned from (AKA, I messed them up!). The amazing thing was that through the entire year I remembered that I had set goals and it made me think more carefully about the choices I made. My 2010 goals did make a difference in my life even though I didn't allow them to dominate my life. I made the goals and I had the freedom to adjust to goals...they were my goals. Goals should not be a burden, they should provide direction. They help me remember the big picture over the immediate want in my life. So why not take some time during you Christmas break to sit down and think about where you want to be in 2011. Why not make some personal and ministry goals? Here are a few questions to ask if you are going to set some goals for 2011...
  • What are some ways I need to stretch myself to be more like Christ in the coming year?
  • What are some areas of ministry that need my attention in 2011?
  • What do I need to do at home to be a better parent or spouse in 2011?
  • What are some things I need to start doing?
  • What is on my STOP DOING list for 2011? (this may be as important as what to do!)
  • What are a few projects that I want to accomplish in the coming year?
Today I looked back at my 2010 goals. I missed on a few of them but for the most part I made progress on every goal I set. I have to believe that did not happen by accident. This next week while I am on vacation I am going to set some 2011 goals. I hope you will too! Dream big and make 2011 count.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monsters in the Christmas story? Only at GCC!

We gathered a bunch of kids from Grace Community to ask a few questions about Christmas this year. We learned a ton about the birth of Jesus, what good Christmas movies are out there, and monsters that showed up when Jesus was born. Check this video out...

Monday, December 20, 2010


If you want the ministry you lead to be more creative you have to lead the way. I know you just read that and immediately thought "I am not creative" and you may be right, you may not be creative. You still have to empower creative people on your team if you want to pull off creative elements in your ministry. Now more than ever there is no reason you can't pull off creative worship elements in your worship services...have a great looking website...make fun videos to promo your events because the tools are available to us and the price is right! Want to GET CREATIVE then this coming year CHOOSE TO BE CREATIVE.  Creativity demands a few critical elements...
  • Time // Creativity and creative elements (video, lighting, drama, dance, music, art, design) demand we dedicate time. You have to choose to place a priority on these efforts and make sure they are communicating the message you want communicated. Creativity never happen by accident and creativity demands hard work. Want your ministry to be more creative then get ready to dedicate time (even if you are just managing the project and others are executing)
  • Team // Creativity flourishes when you bring people around you that are passionate about creative elements like design, video, or lighting. For those of us leading in student or college ministry we get to discover these talents and then empower students to use these talents for God. You will never have a creative ministry if you don't empower creative people. You need a team!
  • Resources // Creativity can be done with very little money but once you get rolling you will need to be willing to dedicate resources if you want to move to the next level. Start with the resources you have right now (your current computer, lights, sound, stage, set) and maximize them. Once you are maximizing creativity with what you have then make plans to add to your creative arsenal. Creativity thrives best when the entire team is maximizing current resources and adding new tools to enable forward progress. Creative people need forward progress...we get bored! Work to find the needed resources for your creative team but never let resources be an excuse for not being creative.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


When we think about Christmas at RELEVANT we think about Dodgeball and this Sunday dodgeball is coming to RELEVANT Student Ministry. We are throwing a little Christmas party this Sunday 6:30-8:30 at the Clarksville YMCA and we are ready to throw some dodgeballs at each others head. This is going to be great. Get your small group together and get ready for some Christmas chaos. We promise, it will be epic.

What's next for YOUTH MNISTRY?

What's next for YOUTH MINISTRY is a question I think about because I am always asking what is next for the our youth ministry here at Grace Community Church. If you hope to invest in teens (not just the teens that come to your church) then you better be asking that question often. The other factor that makes this process more difficult for us is that we are asking the same question for our church as a whole. How can our church be a place where teens are a integral part of everything we do not just  an age group we provide a ministry or service for. One thing I know for sure is that God is advancing His Kingdom through youth ministries all across the country. Sure you may read articles about terrible statistics or declining churches but God is doing just fine accomplishing His mission. One of the amazing shifts I see God birthing is moving youth ministry from simply being church centered to city centered. What I mean is that we are seeing churches partner in order to create youth ministries that will reach kids from all kinds of backgrounds and them point them back to the local churches that are partnered together. Here at Relevant Student Ministry we are one of those type ministries who is trying to think about our city as much as we focus on building our churches. We are two churches partnering to create one youth ministry that serves the city. Why? We believe that every teen in our city deserves a next level student ministry regardless of their church denomination, family, or background. In both our locations we have teens that come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some go to our churches and some don't. That's fine. I really believe this is what the next phase of youth ministry looks like here in the United States. The team at Youth Specialties found this group of churches partnering together to serve their city. Check this out, be inspired, think about what this could look like in your city...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's your motivation for CHANGE?

What's your motivation for implementing CHANGE in your organization? I think this is a question we need to ask ourselves constantly as we lead the staff and volunteers around us. A healthy organization, ministry, non-profit is one that utilizes change in order for advance the mission. There are two kinds of change I see ministry leaders embracing...
  • CHANGE that empowers the STATUS QUO // this is change that is made to protect the existing structure of an organization. I see leaders choosing to implement small changes to satisfy people who are not satisfied while at the same time doing nothing different. Change that empowers the status quo likes to talk about change, talk about names, talk about plans more than carry out actual renovation. These are changes that distract from any real change of direction that might happen in an organization. Change that empowers the status quo is used to protect weak leadership and lack of vision. If you are making changes with the motivation to protect the status quo then your only mission is to protect systems and structures that were created in the past.
  • CHANGE that advances the MISSION // this is the kind of change that helps your organization experiment and innovate in a constantly changing culture. Change with the goal of advancing the mission is grounded in vision and strategy. This is change that is willing to risk what we currently "do" and "have" for the sake of what is possible. This is the kind of change that helps the organization stay fresh and empowers team members to think about what could be in the future if we took a risk. Change should be anchored by mission, vision, and strategy. When it is then risks can be taken, programs can be changed, staff can be hired because of WHAT IS POSSIBLE.
Organizations that are thriving today are led by leaders willing to CHANGE to advance the mission (not out preferences). Why is your organization implementing change? If you are just trying to protect existing structures maybe you should stop CHANGING and figure out what your mission, vision, and strategy are in the first place.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

People of The Second Chance // check this out!

A few years ago at Catalyst I got to hear from 2 guys named Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite and learned about their mission to help people understand and live out the second chances God gives his people. We call that grace. It is messy but so needed. The Catalyst team gave us a book written by Mike and Jud called Deadly Viper Character Assignments (you can only buy it used now, it is a long story!) and the book rocked my world. Mike Foster has founded an organization I would love for you to check out called People of The Second Chance and he has written another book called Gracenomics. The team at POTSC just made this video and you have to check it out. It is just way too funny, GREAT work.

Monday, December 13, 2010

PARENTS: change the plan and enjoy it!

Today was a change of plan day around our house. The snow came down, school got closed, and I rearranged my day to be at home for the morning. The change of plan was perfect because it allowed us to make some memories. As a parent one of the greatest things we can do for our kids is make memories with them AND make them often. I know there is an argument that quality memories are what matter most but I argue that a quantity makes a huge difference also. Why wait till vacation to do some fun stuff with your kids when you can find small ways to connect in the normal flow of life. Kids don't need extravagant they just need us to be present in the moment with them. Sledding today cost nothing for us but a rearranged schedule. I think the memory was worth it. I made a quick video of our morning...check it out!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top 5 / reasons to rethink mentoring

I am so thankful for the leaders who have mentored me over the years. When I look back on my time in ministry there were so many people who took the time to invest in me and gave me opportunities to lead. I have now learned that mentoring is not an age thing. You don't have to be older to start mentoring. To start the mentoring process you have to look around and invest in the leaders God is placing around you. Here are 5 reasons I think you should be intentional with mentoring...
  1. When I think of mentoring I thing of coaching. >> When I mentor someone I build a relationship of significance and I try to pass on what I have learned through ministry and life. That is coaching at its best!
  2. When we mentor/coach we set people up to succeed. >> When we mentor we make ourselves available for others. So many times mentors are able to help people see that next step. If nothing else we get to be a voice of encouragement to help others press on.
  3. When we mentor someone our past mistakes help future leaders avoid mistakes.
  4. When we mentor we connect with model of leadership development that Jesus used. >> yea, this is what Jesus did with those 12 disciples. That was simply mentoring.
  5. When I mentor another leader I get to be a small part of the Kingdom of God advancing. >> There is nothing like celebrating a victory with a friend and when it is Kingdom based it gets even better. When my friends succeed I get to be a small part of that through mentoring...I get to be a part of that story.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

spiritual ARROGANCE?

Arrogance...that is a strong word and when you talk about spiritual arrogance it goes to an entirely new level. Nothing makes the Christian look less like Christ than arrogance. We are a people who have been blessed with truth. We have been redeemed through Christ. We also never see Jesus modeling arrogance for his followers. Why do we see so much arrogance in the lives of people who claim to follow Christ? I seriously believe it is this arrogance that keeps many from the church today. Arrogance drives people away. Arrogance does not allow questions. Arrogance does not listen. The challenge for leaders today is to confront spiritual arrogance and not be afraid to challenge it. Donald Miller talked about the spiritual arrogance he sees in this generation recently on his blog...(this post caught a ton of flack and is not on the blog anymore, it still appeared in my Google reader, I think Donald nailed it)

But I’ve noticed something. I’ve noticed that a little bit of truth in the hands of the immature turns immediately into a sense of superiority, and usually an attack on whatever position is seen as contradictory.

What is really happening here is a young man who is struggling for an identity, to tell the world that he is right and smart, uses some bit of theology as a flag for his identity, skipping the part where the truth about God he has learned humbles him and brings him to his knees, and makes his heart tender and broken for those who are suffering outside the unconditional love of Christ. It’s a disgusting trick, and it isn’t from God.

When we are young or immature, right theology makes us feel superior, but when we are older and more mature, a study of theology makes us feel inferior and unworthy, undeserved, and grateful.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

one word that could change your family life...

The one word that could change your family life is NO. I'm not talking about saying NO more to your kids, we do that all the time! I am talking about all the other people out there that keep demanding more and more time, attention, and money from your family. This past week we had a NO moment at home. Kozbi's school planned a choir Christmas event and we had gymnastics and basketball practice planned for the girls. We told the school NO and made sure the girls honored their commitments. We could say NO to the school event because as a family we are focusing on basketball and gymnastics and we are very determined to not be the family that does "everything". I think so often families are so scared they are going to miss something that they destroy family life at home to make everyone else happy...make the school happy, the church happy, the coach happy while at the same time robbing our kids of time together. If we never choose to say NO when will we have time to play a board game, shoot basketball, bake a cake, watch a movie, or take a trip together as a family. As a family if you want to say NO more often...
  • Decide what is most important // as a family choose what matters most and use that standard as a guide to saying NO.
  • It's ok to have NOTHING TO DO when you choose to LEVERAGE TIME with your kids // saying NO is not a excuse for you as a parent to play golf or scrapbook more. It's ok to have nothing on the calendar as long as you build in quality and quantity time with your kids. They need to know we want to spend time with them.
  • Saying NO will bring both BALANCE and CONFLICT // just know up front that saying NO will not always be easy for your kids or people around you. Balance comes with a price but in the long run it is worth it!
  • Saying NO helps show kids how to manage the demands of life // we have to model wise time management for our kids. Saying NO helps kids understand how to balance the demands of life.
  • Our goal is to have a healthy family and marriage NOT please everyone // why make everyone else around you happy at the expense of your relationship with your kids and spouse. Don't trade away your family life for people pleasing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

North Point's iBand...why? because we can!

You have to take a few minutes and check out this opener the team at North Point did as they launched their Christmas series. You may watch it and wonder why any church would do this in a service! The truth is that creativity and fun are a big deal and we need so much more of it in our church context. Thanks for NP team for sharing this moment. Great idea...check it out!

Monday, December 6, 2010

What does our team at GCC value?

It has been fun to watch our staff grow here at Grace Community Church. We have worked hard to bring people onto the team who will help our ministries advance. Staff is always added to help make ministry dreams become a reality with the help of our amazing volunteers here at GCC. We are in a partnership with our volunteers. We believe our volunteers are as called to ministry as any of us on staff and we work hard to link arms as we serve together.

Last week we spend some time in our staff meeting asking this question. What does a staff member of GCC need to look like? I loved some of these responses. Our people form our leadership culture! What are the values of people who work here...check out some of the responses and we started by saying we must always be people passionate for Jesus and dedicated to our families, check out these other values we want to characterize our team...
  • motivated
  • they have a servant's heart
  • trustworthy
  • team player
  • warrior spirit
  • enduring
  • flexible
  • people of integrity
  • grace giving
  • healthy (emotionally spiritually and physically)
  • authentic
  • forward thinking
  • have a desire for excellence
  • accessible
  • ability to say NO
  • fun

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top 5 / reason to involve your FAMILY in your ministry

I had the chance to hear Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee Volunteer football coach, speak a month ago. One of the questions he was asked was why he always had one of his daughters by his side after every game. Coach Fulmer said he wanted his girls to feel a part of the program, to understand what their dad was doing during the season, and to understand the responsibility their dad had in leading the program. Chelsea and I have always tried to involve our kids in our student ministry for many of the same reasons. Here are our TOP 5 reasons we choose to involve or entire family in the ministries we lead...
  1. Relationships > we want to expose our kids to leaders who will model what following Christ looks like. Our kids have known amazing student leaders like Patrick Willis, Nate Edmondson, Chelsea Henderson, and Emily Eayre (and so many more I just can't name all of ya). Our kids have also been loved on by our great volunteer teams and staff. Their lives are better because of those relationships.
  2. Responsibility > we want our kids to understand what dad does at work and how mom supports and advances that mission. When your kids see that they matter most AND you also have a important job they understand the sacrifice when it's work time or travel time.
  3. Priority > we want our kids to know what matters...serving is a huge part of our life. If we are going to live life as a family we want them to know the church matters, serving God matters, and that we would do this for FREE. We just happen to get paid to do it!
  4. They understand US better > as our kids have been AROUND our ministry environments they have seen us in our element. They have seen us lead, laugh, and cry as we have served. I just think they understand who we are better.
  5. Life change > over the years our kids are able to see life change first hand. They get to see that Jesus actually does change lives. We hope our kids get to experience the power of God not just hear about it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

RECYCLE...your Bible // Dec. 5 @ Grace Community Church

This Sunday is our first (re)Word Sunday at GCC. We are asking people to bring their unused Bibles to church so we can distribute them to people who need a copy! We want to RECYCLE BIBLES. We encounter people all the time who don't have a Bible and many of us have copies we are not using anymore. Maybe we are not using them because we have versions on our phones or Kindles. Maybe we have a new version we like more. Maybe we have Bibles that were a gift that we are never going to use. If that is you, then join us Sunday as we recycle our unused Bibles and get them to people who need a copy. All you need to do Sunday is bring them to the 8:30, 10. or 11:30 service at GCC and drop them off. We will do the rest!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

make some MISTAKES...

It is impossible to grow the organization you lead if you never make mistakes. When I talk about mistakes I am not talking about character issues! There is no personal growth to be gained from telling a lie, stealing, or taking a character shortcut. The kind of mistakes I am talking about are mistakes that happen when try something new, restructure, or experiment with a new strategy. If you are not failing you are not trying. If you run a mistake free ministry then I know you are too safe for innovation to happen. Some of our greatest "wins" have come from our team being willing to take a chance. Many times we experienced mistakes in the middle of advancing toward the "win" but the mistakes were necessary pain along the road of forward progress. When we first launched Relevant Student Ministry we were small...I mean really small. We had nothing to loose so we had the freedom to reinvent and re imagine what could be. Being small gives you the flexibility to create a culture of risk. Being small allows you to lay the foundation of mistake making....risk taking...experimentation with your leadership team. If you're the leader then you have to give your team the encouragement to take some big risks and make some mistakes. You also have to help your team learn from your mistakes and get better. Do you want to reach people no one else is reaching? Do you want to try new strategies to help people grow in their faith? Do you want to grow? It will only come through taking a risk and being willing to make a few mistakes. Go for it, make some mistakes!