Saturday, March 31, 2007

Some downsides of a Mega Church

I've been a member of 5 churches since becoming a Christian. 14 of the 18 years were at two churches, both of them Mega Churches (one much more mega than the other, but nonetheless both qualified). That being said, I see a couple of distinct advantages relating to smaller community churches:

- You typically don't have a work day at a Mega Church (at least we didn't in 14 years) know, you come in Saturday at 8:00 and everyone grabs rags and paint brushes and gets after it for the's great for the kids to get out with mom or dad and sanitize toys in the nursery or paint a railing at the front meet people you don't know very well...have conversations for an hour or more while painting said railing...
- You don't typically pay near as many people to serve at smaller workers...and kitchen help...and housekeeping staff...and sort of gives stewardship an enhanced glow when its not confined to working in Sunday School and money.
- It's nice to see the Pastor and Associate Pastor at said work day. It's nice to have him sit down at a table next to you and eat a sloppy joe and ask your son what he's been working's just nice.

We liked our Mega Church experience...there were lots of programs, lots of places to "plug in", you could even take months off and get lost if you wanted...but when you did plug in, particularly at a high level, you got tons of attention, etc.

I like where we're at now...I like the work days, my daughters serving in's nice.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My disagreement with my friend (cont.)

Ok, so me and my good buddy were disagreeing about Christians affecting change through politics vs. affecting change through service and relationships (one person at a time)...

So I take the discussion to my pastor for his thoughts...

And he gives me this book written by Chuck Colson in 1992 titled "Power Religion" are a couple of quotes (from 1992):

"Christians CAN make a difference. But in recent years many Christians have urged a more direct approach for bringing needed social change than the service to community that marked earlier evangelical involvement. And what is that more direct approach? Simply elect Christians to political office."


"To suggest that electing Christians to public office will solve all public ills is not only presumptuous and theologically questionable, it is also untrue. Today's misspent enthusiasm for political solutions to the moral problems of our culture arises from a distorted view of both politics and Christianity - too low a view of the power of a sovereign God and too high a view of the ability of man...I know of no case where a spiritual movement was achieved by passing laws."


Monday, March 26, 2007

Me in 15 Years (cont.)

What will the work week look like?

I guess this thought has to begin with "who's on the bus?" and how much confidence I can place in them. But since we're dreaming, let's dream big...

We'll have a VP of Service, a VP of Operations, and a VP of Sales who will be running the show. I'll meet with this crew on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 until we're done. I'll expect them to drive the growth of our business, and to have been doing so for at least 5 years (this gives me 10 years to get this in place, which means I need to have those people on our team in the next 5 years).

I expect we'll be a much larger business, probably 3 times our current size.

I expect we'll have a strategic planning retreat in October to set the agenda for the upcoming year. I expect they will bring 1-2 key people from their ranks to help develop the plan.

As for my work week...

My major focus will be: maintain our relationships with our manufacturer, ensure alignment with their vision, mentor/develop our leadership team, be the director of PR with our this all flushes out and develops will have to wait...but I think I'm getting the vision...

None of this is posible without the right people driving this, let's start developing and enabling them now...and hire where none are present.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

USA Soccer

I've been becoming a fan...but I arrived today. Went to see USA beat Equador 3-1 in Tampa today...

Soccer is like can't appreciate the skill and speed with which they play until you see it live...

Also, you can't experience the passion of a global fan base, until you go. 31,000 present in Tampa to see a scrimage (they call them friendly), at least 10,000 were full regalia, chanting, singing, rooting for their team until the whistle blew.

I'm a fan.

My Ideal Life

I'm reading a wonderful book called "Primal Leadership" about developing EI competencies required for Leadership. One of the exercises is titled "You, Fifteen Years From Now".

"Think about where you would be sitting reading this book if it were fifteen years from now and you were living your ideal life. What kinds of people would be around you? What does your environment look and feel like? What might you be doing during a typical day or week? Don't worry about feasibility, just let yourself imagine and place yourself in the picture."

So here goes...this may take a few days...

I'll be 55. I will be healthy and to run 3 miles in 30 minutes without stopping.

Will have been maried for 32 years and the marriage will be stronger than ever. My best friend will be with me in my ideal life.

I will have a mixture of young grandchildren, adult children, sons/daughters-in-laws, and teenagers. Things will be busy and active.

We will be in the same house, to help facilitate homecomings. Most of the rooms will be renovated to make things easier for adult families visiting.

I envision myself as a kind of oracle to my children and grandchildren. In this role I will be available on demand to offer advice/councel...but much of this councel will take place while fishing...or at the marina for those who don't fish.

To be this oracle, the business will need to be on autopilot, with me acting as oracle there too. So, I'll have a VP Sales, VP Operations, and VP Service who work together as an integrated team to grow the business. I'll be working about 30 hours/week...more later on what that work week should look like.

My boat won't be very big...4-5 people comfortably...probably something 24-29 ft...twin console...kept at a marina near Anamaria or Venice. The boat enters the picture somewhat recently relative to the 15 year outlook, so at this point I'm still learning the waters, where the sweet fishing holes are, all in preparation for Grandchildren.

All of this has been done while living an authentic faith...having been obedient to Christ in the smallest details of my life. Those who know me best, my children, will say "he lives his Faith". As a result, much of my oracleness will be in areas of faith I suppose, a sort of amped up continuation of now, with more focus and wisdom, and less distractions.

I see me doing short term missions with CWE through our church...building schools, churches, hospitals in developing areas. I think these trips will lay the groundwork for us funding/building an orphanage in Guatemala...I see Henry intimately involved in this.

Now, what will my work week look like?

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

God is at work...

All I can say is God is at work in amazing ways...

Our adoption is going as smooth as could possibly be expected, and then some. Guatemalan adoptions in general are crazy right now, the whole thing is being turned upside down...but miraculously ours is going through at a tremendous pace.

I am currently "building bridges" to two people in my life (neither of whom I expected), and the dialogue is very rewarding and fulfilling...praise's all you boss.

At work I just had an opportunity bigger than me dumped in my lap about 5 weeks ago. My response was "Bring It" (with a smile)...soon followed by prayer (God, this is so bigger than me, only you can provide, please do so, and guide me in the process)'s unfolding in amazing ways.

Let's just say...

Yeah God!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Florida Greed Policy Council

Almost a year ago we were invited to a banquet in Orlando to see a friend of our get an award for "grass roots activism". The organization was Florida Family Policy Council (a state level Dobson organization), and their mission is to lobby legislature at the state level about pro-family issues - the greatest of which is marriage between one husband and one wife.

Recently I turned down an invite to this year's banquet. One of my closest friends is on the board, and I confided in him how I hate these things...particularly those that don't necessarily advance the Kingdom. My main rationale involved...a Soveriegn God...and a ministry being able to stand on its own merrit without high pressure banquets featuring the Governor, or some other major speaker.

Well my friend unloaded on me...lovingly, but nonetheless unloaded on me. Not only was I wrong in not supporting his issue, but very wrong.

So I have spent the last week or so prayerfully considering his position, my position, and trying to form a more thoughtful position. So here goes...

First, groups like these tend to polarize the lost - those who need a savior most we tend to drive further away. We tend to, with good intention, make insular cocoons that meet OUR needs & uphold/rank OUR values in order of those we are most capable of keeping (1. Homosexuality 2. Child Abuse 3. Drug Adiction 4....). It all sounds a bit pharasaical to me. Why don't we ever see a Florida Pride Policy Council or a Florida Greed Policy Council? If we are to be God's hands and feet to reach a lost world, then why are we building walls between us and the lost like this?

Second, Christ traveled through Samaria to prove a point to His disciples, who normally made it a point to travel around that geography. He dined with tax collectors, the scourge of the times. He drank water with a prostitute. Samaritans, prostitutes, and tax collectors were the worst of the sinners...this was no accident.

Could the Kingdom be better served if we used these same resources to build bridges to the Homosexual community. If we started with those close to us, maybe those in our family, and went out of our way to go visit them like we do our straight family members. What if we funded missionaries to go into this community. Why can't we work to allow Christ to work the same miracle in them that he works in us?

I'm not saying what Dobson is doing is's just not my method...and I'm not sure it's right either.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm no techie, but...

I doubt there are many 40 somethings who enjoy their iPod as much as I do. I use it several times/week, and loathe exercising without it. I occasionally do a Spinning class with my daughter at the local gym and find myself getting annoyed with the music selection - almost music-snob-like in my attitude of "...she should have picked this song for this hill."

Well, I now own another technogadget that rivals my iPod...

...this piece of wizardry makes my life sooooo much simpler and efficient. It's so cool my wife put down the gauntlet and said "...if you get me nothing else for Christmas, I want that!"

We use it to find out of town schools for various athletic events, find restaurants while on said trips, find parks where soccer tournaments are held, get point to point throughout my business ventures, avoid traffic jams, get an idea (almost to the minute) of when we'll be's just cool.

This little piece of wizardry is called a Garmin...and because I'm far from an early adopter of technology, I'm sure that my opinion will not create a buzz, but I think this thing is very cool.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Our senior pastor has a real heart for discipleship. He recently shared with us how one person can make a difference...played out the numbers, etc...very appealing to the engineer in me. As a result of sitting through many a sermon where the topic is mentioned, I have become very convicted about discipleship. For months I've been praying about who and when, and how, and not really trusting the sovereignty of God to provide those answers - the doer in me wants to take over.

Flash to three weeks ago. This business group I'm in has us to share our annual goals with each other. Rarely do I read everyone's goals cover to cover (the document is 14 pgs. long). Except this time I did and one of the guys had some interesting goals, similar to healthier, excercise, get to a target weight and GROW CLOSER TO GOD! So I send him an email, tell him how encouraged I am by his goals and let him know that mine are similar and I'd like accountability, would he? He says yes, and we start traiding emails 2-3 times/week on how we're doing. We're both doing ok, but the encouragement is helping both of us...he really wants to get some consistency in prayer and scripture reading during Lent (he's Catholic).

Flash to yesterday. I email him and share with him that my pastor has this discipleship study guide...kind of a work book that drives you into scripture, answers lots of questions, and should take a mortal 6-9 months to work through...if he's intersted, would he like to work through it with me after Lent.

He says "that sounds great." Pray for my first ernest, calculated, strategic discipleship effort.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Awkward Pastor moment foiled

Last night we went to the theatre in the big city near by (one hour away). It seats a couple of thousand, we sat in the balcony, center stage. When we sat down, seated directly in front of us was our old pastor and his family.

Side note: We changed churches in May to seek a discipleship centered ministry rather than the evangelism/baptism centered ministry we were at. One plants seeds and coaxes them to sprout (the prior), the latter watters, fertilizes, and encourages the seeds to reproduce. Both ministries are a direct reflection of the ministry philosophy of the Senior Pastor. I like both Pastors and have become close with both while at their ministry, taking on leadership roles in various capacities...we are a very active family at church, regardless of which one.

The discussion was beautiful. It wasn't shallow or trite, it was deep and enjoyable. We discussed his ministry, his family, men he is discipling in the community...we discussed our family, our adoption, business, travel...the wives also was very nice.

Most of all, I think this is how Christians are to behave, in a spirit of love, reconciliation and forgiveness. To use the term of my friend...I was very proud of our tribe last night. Praise Jesus for making it possible.

Art ignorant...but ok with it

Our eldest is a bit of a thespian...she sings in the school ensemble, participates in the plays, is called upon to solo for the national anthem...very accomplished resume for her age.

Most of the entertainment opportunities we take part in, involve a ball or a big screen with terrorists getting killed or large explosions. Very simple stuff I know.

My friend Brent posted some beautiful art his daughter painted on his blog looks very nice. I tend to think about "how does she overlap the petals without messing up the one in front"...logistical stuff like that.

Last night we took "the girls" to see Wicked...a wonderful adaptation of the Wizard of of the more renowned Broadway Musicals of late. It was nice. I found myself wondering if the set was strong enough to support the monkeys hanging from it...logistical stuff like that.

This morning I've come to the conclusion that I'm different and that's ok. I'll continue to support my eldest's interests, and enjoy them more when she participates...but all take entertainment with a ball involved any day.