Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Well, here is the cool part....I invited another local pastor/friend, Paul Mutchler to join me in the preparation. We are team preparing this message and then each of us are teaching it in our context. This afternoon we met and are half done! We will finish up this Monday morning. Very excited about what the scriptures have to say about how we treat our leadership. The Bible is exceptionally vocal about what our role is these days. Look forward to sharing more on Sunday, November 9th right here at CCF at 10:30am.
If you have never seen all 3 of our physical locations over a span of 80 years, click here. If you wanna see the "church", you will have to look at the people. :-)
"Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Look, I am not about to slam these things. I will be the first guy to tell you that whatever we do, we need to do with excellence! Plan well, speak well, sing well, bring all your best for the Lord. However, I have been thinking through something recently. It was kinda lodged in me during a session at Willow a few weeks ago led by Willow's Young Adult Pastor (who was about my age).
So, here it is. I hope it makes sense:
- People can't be impressed anymore, so stop trying. If they want a good concert, they will buy a ticket to one and head to the local stadium. If they want a good show, they will TiVo it and watch it. If they want to watch ANYTHING under the sun, they will just YouTube it. They do not need to come to church to see it. We need to get out of the business of impressing people. Not sure we were ever called to that.
- Instead, we should offer people what they need that they cannot get on YouTube or Google....authentic relationships and life transformation by the power of the Living God! Not gonna find that just laying around anywhere. Instead of the attractional model, the church ought to adopt the transformational model attempting to lure people in with the power of life change through authentic and transformational realtionships with God and people.
What do you think? Join the conversation. Help me shape these thoughts.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I guess it also struck me differently tonight after reading some of the posts on Swerve about merging churches. Let's merge, not divide!!
"We were on such a high the whole way home in the car! We had such a wonderful time this weekend!"
Then, I got this email last night:
I just want to say thanks again for such a wonderful and spiritually fulfilling time this past weekend. The retreat gave me the opportunity to grow closer to God and to get a better look at my life in general. I haven't stopped talking about my experience or God. God Bless and see you on Sunday.
I love it!! Any thought that I had of not doing these retreats in the future is officially gone. We will!!
Monday, October 27, 2008
- We had FUN! Unfortunately, fun is an element that is lacking in many churches. Not CCF! We laughed, joked, carried on and just had a blast together playing Battle of the Sexes, the Newlywed/No So Newlywed game, and more.
- Much Corn Hole! On our very own CCF Corn Hole set. More Corn Hole events to come. It was definitely a highlight for some people...including this guy!
- We had the whole place to ourselves. That was nice.
- It was so cool to see the kids having such a blast. They played and played and played.
- I really enjoyed having church outside yesterday morning. Cool experience.
- Relationships were started and strengthened just as I had hoped and prayed for! I am telling you....people connected!!
(I hope to post some pictures of the weekend soon.)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Lord bless you this weekend! For you who are not coming to retreat, be sure to be at CCF Sunday for worship at 10:30am!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
Q. What do they call pastors in
A. German Shepherds.
Q. Who was the greatest male financier in the Bible?
A. Noah He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.
Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the
Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph
was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles
were all in one Accord.
Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in
A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.
Q. Which area of
A. The area around
Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun.
PS... Did you know it's a sin for a woman to make coffee?
Yup, it's in the Bible. It says 'He-brews'
However...there are times when smaller is better. I think that this is a lesson some Pastors need to learn along with me. You see, in a Small Group, smaller is better. On a nice night out on the town with some close friends, smaller is better. At many different meetings, smaller is just better. Obviously, for my belly, smaller is better.
Well, I am sharing this to say that I see the Church Retreat as falling into this category! Smaller is better. Yeah, I would have loved to see everyone come, but I am quite glad for the 70 people that are coming. How would people really connect in a meaningful way with loads of people around. I know I would have been so preoccupied with managing such a large crowd that I would have been good for nothing. We introduce a motto in Discovery 101 that says "CCF wants to grow larger and smaller at the same time." Meaningful stuff happens in smaller settings.
I am really, really, really looking forward to the relationships that will be started and strengthened this coming weekend!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
When did you begin to notice a significant increase in attendance? What happened prior to this?
CCF grew gradually over the years 1994-2004, from 30-150+. This growth was steady and strong. Then, in October 2004 (exactly 4 years ago), we moved into a new 3+ million dollar, almost 30,000 square foot facility in a great location in the MD suburbs near DC. Over the last 4 years, we have grown from 150-close to 350/400 (over 500 consider CCF their home church but we have a very transitional area with business travelers).
What was the vision cast by the leadership? Who was involved in this vision process?
CCF had an older vision that was privately understood by key people, but not publicly cast and embraced. Hence, there was no sense of clear corporate vision for the many new people to connect to. As a result, in 2006 as the Lead Pastor, I began privately praying and strengthening my sense of God’s vision and purpose for CCF for now and many years to come. I tried to do this by dreaming about CCF without me in it. That way the vision is the church’s and less mine! In 2007, I engaged the Pastoral staff (5 total) and a few key leaders around my sense of vision. They improved it, solidified it and began owning it with me. Then, since the first Sunday of 2008 we have been casting vision, writing it everywhere, preaching it, teaching it, and talking about it until you are sick of hearing it! You can never remind people enough!! Here is our purpose:
Loving God, Loving People, Living as Disciples
To answer your question about who was involved…
· Lead Pastor
· Pastoral Team
· Executive Board
· Anyone else in the congregation that was willing to come out to several Saturday morning discernment gatherings that we held. We had 20-40 people at each.
Here is my theory for no extra charge: If a growing church is healthy, the more it grows, the less people feel the need to be involved in vision decisions, ministry decisions, business meetings, and the like. The larger you get, the more people want to just be disciples, disciple other, dive in and make the vision happen. They trust leaders more and let them lead (unlike many small churches where people think that they need to do the leading and make all the decision themselves). You will never find a healthy church of over 500 where the people make all the decisions. The larger you get, the fewer people are at the table to make the decisions. (But, it needs to be the right people!!) Find me a church of 1,000+ people and tell me how many people are at the annual business meeting. Different things become important and full time staff is released to do lead. People are still involved and SHOULD BE! Just involved in doing ministry that way it should be according to Ephesians 4:11-13.
How long was it before you saw the church beginning to grow? What about the process of spiritual growth?
I feel that it was God’s hand of blessing and favor that caused our growth over the last several years. In addition, change in location, change in leadership and clarity of vision contributed to growth as well.
In my opinion, our spiritual growth process was strong in the 90’s and prior, but became weak as heck as we built, moved in and began in our new location! Then, in 2007, we began small groups. Since we started small groups, we see WINS all around us as people are growing through small groups and being discipled. We put all our eggs in the small groups basket and make no apologies for doing it. We believe that this will be the key to GROWING PEOPLE in a GROWING CHURCH!
Was there resistance to the vision? How was that handled?
Yes, there is always resistance to change. Always. But, we must listen to people, love them and then stay the course. People MAY make the whole thing better with their resistance and thoughts…and when that happens, it is powerful. On the other hand, sometimes if we just do what they say, they make it worse. This is all about leadership! The leader(s) must stand strong in the vision that they sense from the Lord. However, people need to get behind a vision that they can champion. Sometimes that means they need to be at another church with a vision they can get behind. We need to gently love them, but they may need to go. We have lost a few people just because they were “sick and tired of hearing about vision.” My Bible says that without a vision, the people perish. I would hate to be the guy responsible for the death of a church.
Why do you think people are coming to CCF? What do you have to offer that draws people? What is that one thing CCF is great at doing?
The one thing we are doing best in my opinion is a tie between being AUTHENTIC PEOPLE and being COMMITED TO OUR PURPOSE!
Let me give you a few of our other main attractors:
· The love of Jesus is present
· The presence of the Holy Spirit is welcomed and sensed
· We are uniquely diverse (over 40 nations and 25 denominations among us)
· Location, location, location
· Nice Facility
· High energy
· FUN church!
· Contemporary thinking
· Slammin’ worship
· Practical Biblical teaching
· The electric sign out at the road
What kind of people are you attracting? New or old believers, economic class, conservative/liberal?
Everything. Everyone. We are a conglomeration of it all. Seriously, if I started the list, it would be long!
Describe the role of prayer throughout all of this.
Prayer in services, small groups, staff gatherings, regular prayer services, much private prayer, prayer emails that we send, etc.
But not ENOUGH!! We are weak here in my opinion and need more. I do not think a Pastor should ever decide that their church is praying enough! On a side note, I take issue with looking at prayer as another calendar event that we schedule at the church. There must be a better way to see prayer woven into the lives of our people and our purpose!!