Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Finished with the day. Tired as always on Sunday nights but hopeful of a new week. I was in so. cal all week from tuesday through saturday night. we took the team to catalyst west coast and spent a day at disney. lots of fun, but pretty exhausting at the same time. two days did not give me the usual time for sunday prep but in the end God blessed it.

Here are my thoughts after Sunday:
* Temp meeting location today. Had to meet at Wilcox HS instead of Don Callejon due to scheduling difficulties. Not sure how much it affected our turnout. Did everything we could to let people know.
* Wilcox is a much better facility but not in a better neighborhood. Which is higher priority? Don't know yet but thinking about Wilcox is a potential future meeting location for SB.
* Had 138 total, only had 15 kids, i guess the parents with young kids are the ones who decided not to come because of location change. Ended up averaging 180 people in April. Very happy about that number, but still are not consistently over 150. Praying that God would help us get through that next barrier!
* Talked about generosity today, said, when we live to give this is when we find life. taught from i timothy 6.
* Called today "compassion day" and gave people the opportunity to adopt a compassion child. we were able to find sponsors for 17 out of 20 kids sent to us from compassion int.
* I love the people who are coming to SB. Most of them did not grow up in church and have not gone to church in a very long time. Good to see them begin to know and understand the teachings of Jesus.
* I am feeling very stressed about a couple of decisions i need to make in the next week or two about the future of our church. All good stuff that has huge impacts on our church. I am in a research gathering mode, getting thoughts and feedback from our staff, leadership team and mentors. this makes me sweat and gives me headaches.
* Excited about next Sunday, we are doing our first ever baptism at South Bay. I am praying that God helps people trust him publicly with their decision to follow Him! I believe that this is going to be the best celebration at our church and believe that you will be incredibly inspired what God is going to do in our midst!
* I have a ton to get accomplished this week! Pray that God would give me wisdom and strength to be very focused and manage my time well.

That is it for now! Need to get some rest before the day hits tomorrow!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Great day today at South Bay Church! Here are some of the highlights and reflections from this weekend.
* Comeback event on Saturday. Cookout with about 50 people. Good number of people from Easter services came to the cookout. Great way to get people connecting and building relationships. Pauline one of our volunteers planned the cookout and did a great job.
* Filipe spoke this morning. Great to have a morning off. Great to have a staff that I can trust to bring it. I got experience South Bay from a different perspective. I helped out with set-up this morning. I had no clue what I was doing, but got to watch it all take shape. We really do have the best volunteers, cheerful hard working people. Our team makes me want to give my best! Thank you guys who serve so diligently every week. You are the best!!
* Filipe's Message today was incredible, it was about relationships. Main point was: "selfishness is the disease that kills relationships, selflessness is the remedy that heals relationships." We took at the example of Jesus' sacrifice and his model for relationships!
* 143 total people at worship this morning. i was a little surprised by the dip, but i am hopeful that we will continue to make numerical progress because so many healthy things are happening in the church. Ron Sylvia said on his twitter, "palm sunday, easter sunday, bomb sunday."
* 43 adults tonight at our volunteer celebration. we have a ton of people who are new believers and not yet followers of Christ. they are some of the best workers. They are energetic and encouraging to be around because they have such a fresh perspective on Jesus!
* Service was very smooth this Sunday, only a couple of glitches throughout the day. We are making a ton of progress in having a consistent worship experience! That is good and gives a baseline for creativity.
* Archie has gone away from music stands. Easter was his day to make the switch. I am proud of him. Two great weeks using ground monitors. It takes the quality of our worship experience to another level.
* Cool to see God's Spirit working in people's hearts and to watch a church take formation. I am humbled as I realize that he is the one who builds His Church and I get to be a part of it! The Holy Spirit is doing some pretty incredible things in people's hearts and people's lives are changing.
* Next Sunday we are doing Compassion Sunday at Wilcox HS. I am pumped about this week and I believe we are going to experience a great week! Talking about compassion and financial freedom. Started working on the message this afternoon. Can't wait to give it.
* Heading to So. Cal this week for Catalyst West Coast. Going to be a great time with staff families! Praying that God really refreshes us and allows us to enjoy the time with one another.
* Amazing to think that one day we will have as many first time guests as total in attendance. God is going to do even greater things in our midst and I can't wait to be a part of it! Exciting to think that the best is yet to come.

I think that is it for tonight! Thank you God for letting me lead this church. It is a great privilege.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

P.S. I love you!!

Last night I watched one of the most sad movies I've watched in my life~ It was the story of a woman who loses her husband and the whole movie is about a series of love letters her husband wrote prior to his passing. There was a whole series of letters he wrote coming to her over the course of one year. It was horribly sad. I think whenever I watch these types of movies there are primary emotions i end up fighting: 1. Fear of losing the ones I love the most. 2. a reminder of how important it is to make sure you cherish the people i love. Right now as I sit at my desk I have a picture of Caedmon and I staring at Big Sur with his arm around my shoulder. It is a reminder of my love for that little boy. At my office at home I have a huge picture frame with shots of Stacie in her wedding dress. It helps be reminded of the day I watched her walk down the aisle to become my bride. The truth is, our days with our loved ones are numbered and we don't know that number. I often pray that God would give me the privilege of growing old with Stacie and that one day I will sit with her in a rocking chair on the front porch in my 80's. but, none of this is guaranteed! So, I have today to love and to cherish the ones I love. May my life be filled with a passionate pursuit of the hearts of those closest to me. May I be a man who makes memories and gives his heart fully to treasure each moment throughout the course of the journey. I pray today that you would find the perspective to love people like there is no tomorrow and be reminded of God's deep love for your family, your neighbor, your co-worker, and whoever else that person might be! Today is all that we are promised!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Am I too young?

One of the things I am starting to realize... :-) is that there are people in our church who are old enough to be my grandparents. I love this!! But I must admit that there is something a tad bit intimidating standing up on Sundays speaking to someone who has experienced every season of life. There is a lot about life that I have yet to experience. There are seasons of adulthood that have yet to come to my doorstep. I often wonder, "Am I too young to impact this person's life?" I was reminded this morning as I was reading 1 Timothy that I am not too young! 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." The insight today is this, I don't have the wisdom that I will when I am 60 years old and have walked through adulthood, but today I can be an example. I can model what it means to live for Christ, love him and others, walk by faith and live with purity. These attributes in the life of a follower of Christ can inspire and challenge people no matter what their age or season of life. My task is more to inspire and challenge people to live passionately for Christ in their current season of life. I can model passion and a hot pursuit of God even if I don't have the answers! What a freeing place to be this morning.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gut Check

Recently read a quote by Max DePree that says a leader's primary responsibility is to define reality. That means when things are going well he encourages the troops and celebrates victories, and when areas of the organization are lagging he deals with what is wrong... head on. Every leader faces the temptation to avoid reality... especially when there is momentum. I find that it is easier to ignore areas of the organization that are lagging when vital stats are going up and to the right. However, this is the best time to identify areas that need attention and focus. It is kind of like filling up a large bucket that is made of staves. Whenever there is a low stave the bucket cannot get full. When you pour on, the bottom line will eventually fall back into the lowest stave. In an organization momentum can become deceiving... Your organization may appear full right now but it will eventually settle back in if the lagging areas on not dealt with and brought up to par. Leader avoid these areas of the organization because of insecurity and pride. This is also true about relationships, your personal life and in many other sectors. Our task both personally and organizationally is to be willing to confront those areas that need attention and give our heart and soul to raising that with the organization. Then and only then will we be fully prepared to continue to receive all that God has for us! Don't let your progress deceive you. Don't let your successes go to your head. Stay humble and be willing to confront the facts so that you can continue to grow. This is what God is teaching me today!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Well, Easter has happened! Jesus is alive and that changes everything. Again this year I was rocked over what Jesus did for me on the cross. I am so honored that I get to proclaim truth about his resurrection and life.

Here is a short description of what God did over the course of this last week:
* Mission team of 7 people from Lake Pointe and 12 high school students from Twin Cities Church They passed out 6,000 door hangers, wrote 100 first time guest cards, stuffed 10,000 easter eggs, filled 150 mugs with candy and an invitation to South Bay for local service agencies, and prayer walked through our community. That kicked off our week and jump started the work.
* All week we prepped for the Hunt, and God blessed it! On Saturday afternoon at this event, the best we can tell over 2,000 people showed up. It was pure chaos at its best. Parents were beating each other up for easter eggs, but kids got candy and in the end most people seemed happy and it was a good point of connection with our community.
* Easter Sunday came! We had sent out 90,000 mailers, 6,000 door hangers and literally thousands of personal invitations through people inviting their friends. This morning we had a record high attendance of 285 people at South Bay. We had 38 first time adults (still haven't gotten kid stats), 9 people decided to follow Christ for the first time, and many more indicated that they are considering a decision to follow Christ.
* We had over 60 volunteers from our church throughout the course of the weekend volunteer in one way or another. I am absolutely amazed at the hard work and diligence of our volunteer team. They worked like crazy all day Saturday and Sunday. I am blown away by the positive attitudes and energy of those on our team who serve. I think the best part is that a huge part of our team has recently just decided to follow Christ. New believers are the best because they are so pumped up and excited about Jesus. They are the most refreshing people to be around!
* Our staff team busted it this week! Archie and Rebekah, Filipe and Mandy, Renan and Juliane and of course my wife Stacie worked diligently and modeled what it means to give of themselves sacrificially. I mean this when I say they make my job of leading them and our church a great joy. I am grateful for their loyalty and support of the vision God has given our church. It is amazing to see the team God has pulled together in action! God is using us~
* We had a couple of guys from Charleston come in town to help with the band and the tech side of things. (Patrick and Sam) They served from the point they landed until the end of the day on Sunday. They are a great joy to have around!
* I lost my voice! I woke up Sunday morning and it was almost gone. It went away increasingly throughout the day. My throat now feels like someone took sandpaper to it. I still preached my guts out. I was screaming and hollering, and wanted people to get it more than ever that HE IS ALIVE!!!! I asked God to help me preach like I had just returned from the grave. I still can't get over it!
* Talked about the cross through the lens of his disciples. The 12 guys that were with him for three years. Pointed out that these men went from cowards at the point of Jesus crucifixion to heroes of the faith at the end of their lives. 10 of them would die horrible deaths for the message of the cross. What happened? The empty tomb happened. That changes everything. Now we have hope for eternity and this gives us hope for our difficulty today! We gain hope by gaining an eternal perspective!
* Looking forward to next Sunday when we talk about flipping messed up relationships back around. Don't miss out on this one. It is going to be the best Sunday yet. I believe God is going to continue to do amazing things in our midst.

I really am so glad that I get to serve Jesus. At the end of the day today I honestly am more overwhelmed by the cross than anything else. I just cannot get over the fact that he died and was crucified in my place. I am just speechless (well not totally) but I am jaw dropped at the empty tomb. I believe with heart and soul that those men and women walked up to find the folded linens of KING JESUS and that makes him LORD and the God of the universe. HE IS ALIVE!!! Crazy, Crazy, Crazy! The best news ever! I can't get over the fact that he wants me, wants my life for his glory and his kingdom. I am renewed in my passion to serve him today and want him to have all of me. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!

Happy Easter!!! 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Investing In Leaders

Over the last 2 months I have been meeting with two groups of 3 guys in the mornings. We are going through a book about discipleship and reading through the new testament together. This time has been very refreshing for me to watch a group of guys catch the vision God has for their lives and their families. I am excited about watching other men get engaged in the work of our church and take their relationships with Christ to the next level. I believe that the breadth of our leadership base as a church determines the height of our ability to reach our community. Jesus strategically invested in a group of people who carried the vision and reached the masses. I want our church to stay focused on reaching spiritual explorers and equipping those who already follow Christ. The work of the church is a both and deal! All of these men are praying for 3 people each who they will invite to Easter Sunday at South Bay. I am excited to see what God does through their lives in the coming days!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Learn the Flow of Your Energy

Sounds kind of new age, but it is not. Our bodies have rhythms. There is a time a day when you are most alert and when your energy starts to go down. For me, the morning is my best time of day... It is the time when my mind is most alert and most energetic. It is the time when my thoughts flow freely and I can get a lot accomplished. I was reminded by one of my mentors Steve Stroope of the importance of paying attention to how I manage this energy in conjunction with my time. I should my peak times of the day to do my most important tasks that require the most thought and energy. In all of our lives there is the 20/80 rule in action. There are the 20% of tasks that accomplish 80% of the results that we get from our lives. We should use peak times to focus on those 20% activities. Another thing that Steve mentioned is the fact that this is the difference between a great leader and an average leader. The great leader disciplines him or herself to do those A priorities and allow some of the lower level priorities to fall to others or pick other times to tackle those things. This has been helpful for me today.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It takes a team to accomplish a dream!

Okay, so now Easter is only 4 days away. We are so excited about what God is going to do in our midst. I think it is important to be reminded this morning that it takes a dream to accomplish this work that God has lead us to do. It requires a great number of people... inviting their friends, serving on Easter, praying like crazy, believing God for a miracle. It won't happen with just one or two people working together but with dozens to hundreds of people believing God for great and awesome things in our midst and the willingness to sacrifice time, energy and money to see God's vision become a reality. Thank you to all of you this week who are making personal sacrifices to invite your friends to church, to spread the word about the Hunt and Easter services, to serve at Easter and the hunt, and much more! You are the best. Your investment in South Bay is changing the world and impacting people's lives. There is no way that we could do this alone! believing God for big things this weekend! -Andy

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter at South Bay Church

Wow! Easter is now only 5 days away. It is hard to believe. We are praying that God will help us connect with over 400 people this Easter. This would be more than double what we have been averaging as a church during our regular Sunday worship experience.

Here is a list of some of the things we have done as a church leading up to Easter:
1. 21 days of prayer in our community at 7:00am each morning (aside from Sundays)
2. Challenge all of our people to bring 3 people to Easter services.
3. Send out 90,000 mailers to our community.
4. Publicize Easter services in our local AMC theatre.
5. Publicize Easter services through google adwords.
6. Hanging 6,000 door-hangers in our community to invite people. (Thanks to Lake Pointe Church and one other mission team who is in town)
7. Easter Egg Hunt in our community on Saturday April 11 @ 1:30pm.
8. Hosting 2 services on Easter (9:30 & 11:00am)
9. Starting a new series titled, "My Upside Down Life."
10. 48 hour prayer chain leading up to Easter beginning on Friday @ 10:30am.
11. Giving 200 gift mugs with invites and candy to local service agencies.
12. Praying like crazy every day.

We believe that God does the work, but he uses our faith as vessels. Faith is proved by her actions. All of these efforts to reach more people with the good news about Jesus is because our belief that God wants everyone in our community to experience his love and the hope he can offer their lives. I am praying that God blows us away this weekend when he does something beyond our comprehension. I hope that you will make the effort to join us and be a part!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Hunt

This Saturday we will have one of our biggest outreach events of the year. We will be hosting a community wide Easter Egg Hunt in Live Oak Park right next to the school where South Bay Church meets. Last year another church- Westgate Church hosted this event at Live Oak Park and had over 2,000 people present. This year they decided to pass the event off to South Bay because our church meets right next to the park. We are excited about what God is going to do through the hunt and we hope it is a great encouragement to our community! Our goal with this event is to create an environment where we can bless our community in a practical way and create a positive association with both God and our church. We are praying that every person who comes will have a blast and enjoy their time! I can't wait.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Innovation vs. Operation

Recently through a conversation with one of my mentors I received a helpful thought. As a lead pastor of a church I am not paid to operate systems I am paid to innovate systems for the church to run on. I think that often times I get too caught up in operating things that I should be equipping another person to operate. So this means that I need to do the hard work of disciplining myself and blocking out the time to create the systems. This also means that there are decisions I end up having to make more than once because there is not a system for that decision. When I am making too many decisions I should not have to make I should ask the question, "how can I innovate a system to make this decision for me." This is very important because leaders who never create systems never advance to a higher level of decision making for their organization. I need to be spending my time focusing on strategic moves that can be made to position our organization for future growth. This is something that was very helpful for me to think about.