Thursday, February 26, 2009

What kind of people are attracted to new churches?

So recently I've noticed in our experience at South Bay there are handful of different types of people that are attracted to new churches. With each day I have a growing awareness of this fact and it is helping me as I communicate! :-)

1. People who are hungry for help...
These people are some of my favorites. They are in a state of desperation, they are eager to change. They are at the end of their rope and need someone to reach out and help them in the midst of their trials and struggles. They are the best candidates for a supernatural miracle from God. Jesus really said that in many ways these are some of the people that he came for!

2. People who want to make an impact...

I've met a good number of people who want their lives to count for something bigger than themselves. When new churches cast a large vision for changing their community and reaching thousands of people with the message of Christ many times these people are willing to jump on board. I've met a number of these people in the midst of our journey who were waiting for a leader to come and give them a vision to live for and a place to use their gifts and talents.

3. People who've been burned...
I've met a good number of people who have been burned by previous church experiences. They typically have had some negative experience with a previous pastor or church. I have seen this group of people go two ways... one portion of this group of people just needs to be loved and given time to heal. They do not need to be smacked on the back because their burn has not yet healed. The other group of people is those who will most likely get burned again anywhere they go. You know this by their long train of burns they carry with them. It is very important that the lead pastor mobilize someone with a strong gift of mercy to help with this group so he can stay focused on the vision of the church.

Part of a leader's job is to discern where people are in the process. I think that each group of people needs to be loved. Some take more time and energy than others. My goal is a leader is to spend them time with people who want to change and want to make an impact with their lives. I do not think there is anyone who is beyond help... But I want to be careful getting myself tied up with bitter people who are angry with their last pastor and last church experience. Then I will become the next "bad pastor."

Hope this helps someone out there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Here are some random thoughts and a review of my day-
* Realized on Saturday night I had run out of coffee beans. Went at 7:15p on Saturday evening to Starbucks in our apartment complex, to find out that had just closed 15 minutes prior. Woke up at 5:30 this morning to pray. Showered to be at Starbucks when they opened at 6:00am. The three workers were late, I stood outside in 40 degree rainy weather for 22 minutes waiting for beans! Uhhh! Great start to a day.
* Rained really hard today. The Valley needed it. I said there must be some farmer on his knees somewhere praying for rain. Going to pray everyday this week for sunshine next Sunday. The people who came to church today wanted to be there!!!
* We ran short on volunteers today, seemed like half of our volunteer team went out of town for Valentines and President's Day.
* Challenging morning getting everything set up after going from missions teams and lots of external help. All of our volunteers busted it and we were able to start on time like you would have never known we had half the number of workers this week.
* Had several people show up to help today after only coming once to South Bay. That is so exciting to watch that happen. We had a great group of volunteers today who worked super hard and covered for the gaps. I am so amazed by the team of people who serve at South Bay. They make it happen!!
* People were a little less interactive today, weather has an effect on this. Still felt like God blessed our worship and people's hearts were touched.
* Taught from the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:15-25).
* Every relationship gets off track, how do we mend the relationships that have drifted? FORGIVENESS.
* Said that Unforgiveness is the great thief. We
have a tendency to lock people in a form of a prison because of their offense. Problem is we actually lock ourselves in Prison.
* Went to Alcatraz to shoot a video last week to bring home the significance of being locked in Prison. You can watch below. Archie made this video... Didn't he do a great job? I love the part at the end... VERY POWERFUL!!
* Said that for many of us, the only thing holding us back from the life God has is the decision to forgive that person!
* Challenged people to forgive "that person". Gave everyone a piece of dissolvable paper. At the end of the service we had people write down the offense and name of person who has hurt them. And then as we place, "Grace Flows Down" people walked forward and placed the paper in buckets of water. It was pretty powerful to watch people as they chose to forgive.
* Heard of some people making a decision to talk to family members who they hadn't spoken to in over 10 years. Wow that's powerful! God blessed that!
* In spite of all the challenges we still had 187 people there today. I was very pleased with the turnout! Praying that next week we are back over 200 people!

Some days are a little more tough. I wish everyday could be a sunny day in the mid 70's, but just like the earth needs rain we need rainy days. They cause us to have to fight a little more. They sift us and prove our worth. Today, although it was a tough day in many regards... It was a huge win for us as a church. I was very pleased with our turnout today and I really believed God impacted people's lives for eternity. I can't wait until next week to see what God is going to do in our midst. I am looking forward to a short 3 day break this week with Stacie where we will go to a pastor's conference.

Good job Arch!

Forgiveness from South Bay Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Sunday @ South Bay

Okay, so I don't want to ruin what we are going to do on Sunday, but I will at least give a little preview. So we are going to talk about the importance of unforgiveness and how it affects our lives. the negative consequences, and at the end of the service we are going to do something very powerful to help this point come home for people. I am excited about teaching the story of the unmerciful servant and I believe some people are going to be fully freed from unforgiveness. I can't wait to see what God does in our midst. We are encouraging everyone to bring a friend and get there early. It is going to be exciting. Also, another little teaser. We took a trip to Alcatraz this week to understand a little more in depth what it means to live in prison. Somehow we will tie this in to the service... You'll just have to be there to experience it. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


In life there is usually more to do than actually be done. Is that correct English. Most type-A personalities have a tendency to create a hub of activity wherever they go. It is kind of a crazy reality for me when I realize I've created more work for myself than i can actually handle. So it is important for me to look at my schedule and determine how much time I can allot to getting my work accomplished. In those times that are slated for work it then becomes very important that I always make sure I am working on the A-level priorities and the things that only I can do. Which at this point in the journey is an extremely hard thing. The challenge we face in the midst of the start up environment is that there are only so few people who can effectively be delegated to. That means that one of my A level priorities has to be developing the leaders around me and helping them reach their God given potential. If I don't do this I will become the bottleneck of what God wants to do in our midst. So this week I've had to start taking a hard look at what I am doing, what our staff is doing and what our volunteers are doing. I am asking God for lots of wisdom to build the bandwidth of those three areas by making sure we are focused on A level priorities and developing leaders. It is kind of crazy to think we have this huge group of people that don't know each other from Adam and now as a stewardship before God it is our responsibility to facilitate the proper environments so that community and relationships can happen. In addition to all of this I have to teach again this Sunday and bring it! I am praying that God would give me grace and wisdom to share his heart this Sunday and help people connect with his message for their lives. I am praying that God would grow our leadership and our bandwidth and help us stay harnessed with his movement and ready to receive the blessing he wants to give to South Bay Church. Lots to think about. Just what is on my mind this morning!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

When I am tired

Over the last few weeks I've been getting increasingly tired. I was thinking about all the things that start to happen when I get tired: I work out less, I drink more coffee and diet coke, I eat more sweets/breads, I am more negative and critical of myself and others, I am less kind with my family, I am more impatient, I have a harder time enjoying life and others, I get sick easier, I have a harder time focusing when I am trying to pray or read the bible, I don't work as wisely, I don't plan as well, I waste more time when I am going throughout the day and there is more... So I guess you could just say that I am less fruitful and less godly when I am tired. I guess that is why one author wrote, "sometimes the most godly thing you can do is take a nap." I am feeling that right now! Anyways, this was just something that I thought about today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Capturing a Waterfall in a Thimble

This is the word picture that describes how I feel right now about my life. I feel like over the last 18 months of this journey I have prayed so hard, worked like crazy and asked God to move in mighty ways and now he has answered our prayers and rewarded our faithfulness. The truth is, he has done this beyond my expectations! Now we are here in the midst of a mighty movement of God and to get our hands around this thing is like trying to capture a waterfall with a thimble. We can't manufacture this movement, it is not by our might but by the blessing and hand of God. Now we need to get a bigger vessel to capture the movement. In essence our infrastructure has to grow in order that we can fully ride the wave God is sending us. We need more small groups, more volunteers, and offices for our staff to function at an optimal level. We must streamline our systems so that we are able to help people connect relationally and help this big mob flow into a body. So, now we must balance of making sure we are staying underneath the waterfall of God's movement and building a vessel large enough to capture what he is blessing us with. May he give the South Bay team wisdom and strength as we move this direction. May we continue to stay mission focused realizing that our work of impacting the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area is just beginning. The best is yet to come!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Launch Day In Review

Well, we are officially launched. It happened today! God did immeasurably more than we could have asked. It was absolutely incredible. It was truly one of the best days of my life. I want to give Him tons of praise and glory for what he did today!

So I am going to just give some highlights and a review of the day:
* We had 279 people present! About 50 of these people were from out of town and mission teams. I cannot believe that we had that many people! God absolutely blew me away.
* 61 people came for the first time from mailers, door hangers, and everything else.
* 9 people made a first time decision to follow Christ, this is the best number of all.
* Crossroads Church sent over close to 20 people to volunteer with our children's ministry and different areas. They have blown me away with their love and generosity.
* Our volunteers were amazing. Some of the served from 6:45am- 1:30pm and served joyfully. I truly am blown away by the commitment and faithfulness of people that we've only known for 1-2 months. We have a tremendous group of men and women who believe in the vision and give their time generously.
* The band was rockin'. God truly blessed the worship set. There was a tremendous amount of energy in the room. People were jazzed to be there. Clapping, shouting, and much more. It was a pastor's dream!
* Archie really led people into worship and pulled the band together with excellence! I am really proud of him.
* Filipe blew me away with his ability to recruit and position volunteers. He actually worked himself sick this weekend. I told him he needs to take an extra day off today this week!
* Our staff gave me a handwritten note right before the service started where they each wrote and encouraged me with their commitment to follow the vision God has given us as a church! It made my day!
* Stacie has done an amazing job with BayKids! She has showed a tremendous amount of leadership getting everything off the ground! I am really proud to have her as my wife. We are now going to transition her out there over the next month so that she doesn't have to bear the weight of that right now!
* Lake Pointe Church sent out a team of 9 people and Pleasant Valley Church sent a team of 2 people. Together they passed out almost 6,000 door hangers, served graciously and really blessed us. It was so great to have them here for the weekend.
* I made a 21 day goal to pray for one hour a day leading up to the launch. I was about 90% successful on my goal. God blessed it and many people joined by praying diligently over the last 21 days! Amazing to see God work through prayer!
* I spoke about the Good Samaritan... Talked about the need for us to take the first step in relationships and to do for one person what we can't do for all... You'll have to listen the message to get the rest.
* Challenged people to see themselves in the story and realize that in the parable of the good samaritan you and I actually are the guy left naked for death at the side the road and Jesus is the ultimate Good Samaritan.
* At the end of the service we gave everyone two invite cards for next Sunday and challenged every person to bring two friends next week. Praying that we are able to build momentum next week.
* Can't wait until next Sunday and watch what God does. I am talking about forgiveness, the message is titled "The Forgiveness Component." Going to be huge and the best week we've had yet! Praying that God blows us away with his faithfulness and provision again.
* Talked about the power of embracing the great commandment, imagine if all 279 people who were present on Sunday embraced God's desire for us to love him and love others radically!

This journey began for me over 10 years ago when I said yes to God and then has since been infused into many other hearts. I have been blown away by all the people who have joined this vision and felt God's leading to be a part of starting South Bay Church. We are just beginning and on the cusp of what is going to do in our midst. It is great to have a wonderful start to the journey. While I am celebrating God's faithfulness today, I want to recognize that our work is just beginning and there are still over 2 million people in the Silicon Valley that we need to share God's love with. Pumped about next Sunday and seeing God's hand continues to move!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Join us this Sunday for the Grand Opening of South Bay Church and the beginning of the Connected message series. Here is a short preview: 
Connected from South Bay Church on Vimeo

The Good Samaritan

This week I have been spending time looking at the story of the Good Samaritan. I am surprised by how well Jesus describes the way that we should love one another. I won't spoil the fun for Sunday, but I am teaching on this parable at South Bay Church. On thing I am wondering... Do any of you have modern day examples of the Good Samaritan story or some ways that you've experienced someone going above and beyond the normal call of duty in their love for others. I thought it might be good to get some others opinions. FYI, if you are unfamiliar with the story click here to read it.

Also, I wanted to remind you that at the moment I write this we are only 3 days, 18 hours and 29 minutes away from the official launch of South Bay Church. You can always click here to get the exact length of time until Sunday morning at 10:30am. It is going to be huge!