Just Falling Forward

**if you have 5 min play the video below.  You can do work on other tabs or play it in the background, but do yourself the favor of listening**

I haven’t posted something here in a while, but have some things simmering.

However, this past weekend warrants more than a passing social media post.

Following worship I received more positive feedback than usual about the service, and it was nice.  But, it had little to do with me.

Pastor Mike Slaughter said that the job of his worship team is to get him to the goal line, and to score he just has to fall forward when he is preaching.

Well that happened this weekend in spades.  It starts with our worship design team and goes to our admin and communications folks who send out weekly emails and have input about the bulletin.  Then on Sunday, our mobile ministry team, hospitality, greeters, band, lead worshipers, audio and video engineers, nursery and children’s ministry staff come together to do some heavy lifting.  Also, those people who remind me what I have forgotten or make sure I don’t fumble during worship. They are invaluable even when they don’t carry an official title.

Below is a little video that began ad a mid week text message about a song that “might fit for this week.” And it turned into this:

Thanks for helping me fall in the right direction this week team!

Beloved Community

Last week I had the chance to lead a conversation for the online campus of my church with some amazing educators.  We were doing it as a part of a special worship experience about living our faith in the ordinary time of life.  We have been going throughout the summer hearing from people who live their faith out in amazing ways.  

In essence, it is the spirit of living into the small things of the Mother Teresa quote, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  

These educators represent the heart of most teachers, but they are an undervalued/heard voice.  They are amazing people who will tell you to talk to those responsible for the education of the students.  They want to be on the learning team so that each child can find success with as mean cheerleaders surrounding them as possible.  

But just sharing this link is not the reason for the post….

Continue reading “Beloved Community”

All Saints’ Weekend

This past weekend was All Saints’ weekend where I was privileged to share with my district superintendent what FaithPoint has been up to in this past year.

If I am being honest I will tell you that I don’t really remember picking when our annual charge conference would be considering it feels like we signed up for them 6 months ago.  Charge Conference is a meeting where our District Superintendent, JW Park, comes  to check in on how FaithPoint is doing.  He has a little over 75 churches that he oversees as a kind of pastor of pastors.

As I reflect on this weekend I can’t think of a better time to have a worship celebration of this kind than on All Saint’s day.  This is not only because we got an extra hour of sleep due to the time change, but also because it puts into perspective that we are not alone in this journey of faith.  There are those who have faithfully gone before us to blaze trials and pave the way for us to be the church (universal) we are today.  There is also a realization that at some point we too will be part of the great cloud of witnesses encouraging others to faith and good deeds.

We were able to share with JW and the FaithPoint congregation the ways that we are growing in our weekend worship, making disciples though youth ministry and raising up young leaders.  We also were able to honestly talk about our growing edges as well.  As a congregation called to reach out wide and invite the non-religious and nominally religious, financial stewardship is a critical part of our discipleship.  It is critical that we don’t minimize this growing edge because our finances are what allows us to live into the mission.  Financial stewardship is first and foremost a discipleship issue.  It is also a way that we are able to partner with the Holy Spirit and the local church to transform hearts and lives.  Your giving to the church will not return a dividend check each quarter, but goes a long way to make disciples and change the lives of those in our community and beyond.

We finished up the service with communion and a time of sharing about the impact that some of our local missions have had on our community and some of those servants who were willing to make food and be the hands and feet of Christ in Urbana.  It was awesome.

After worship we were able to gather for some food and the business end of the Charge Conference.  We ate, and between mouthfuls of delicious food, voted on leadership, approved compensation and set goals for the coming year.  I have to say that it was by far the best annual meeting I have ever had.

Above all, this past weekend reminded me of how proud I am to be the pastor of FaithPoint.

We has a trunk-or-treat to start the weekend, then worship and charge conference, and the weekend came to a close with youth group.  As I was a part of all of the ministry that happened I found myself pausing and thinking, “I can’t believe I get to do this for a living!”  Yes we are not a perfect church, but we may be perfect for those we are called to reach. We have growing edges, but they are a result of us doing what we are here to do.

The fact that few other churches would have a sandal and superhero tee wearing, socially awkward goober like me is not lost on me either.  🙂

I can’t wait to see how God uses FaithPoint in the coming year.  I know the course we have set and I am excited about the ride to come.

One Full Week In

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I have 2 official worship celebrations under my belt and I feel blessed all around.  It has been really wonderful to meet the Faithpoint community and I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is a wonderful energy and a definite working of the Holy Spirit moving thought out the area.

I have been shocked at how a cafeteria can be turned into some really great worship space through the hard work of community members.  My role has been to watch in awe and move things that don’t really need to be moved (but I wanted to look like I was doing something).  Tonight I got a peek at some of the VBS decorations and I cannot wait to be a part of a week of sharing God’s love with the children and their families.

As I am meeting new faces I am quickly learning that Facebook is a great tool (read crutch) in putting names with faces (read: stalking).

Many times this week I have thought about blessing.  The blessing of the work and ministry of Matt and Tim at Faithpoint to make it a place with real people, real life and real faith.  I have been thanking God for the gifts of time and that so many have poured into me over the years so that I might be the best pastor of this congregation that I know how to be.  Finally, I thank God for the people of Faithpoint who have servant hearts and are putting up with my rumblings.

I am can’t wait to see with this week brings.  (meeting and sharing meals together is a great start)