July 30, 2007

General Assembly is a family affair

General Assembly of the Christian Church is a family affair for us. My dad was a DOC pastor and his sister Marje also married a DOC pastor, Mickey. Uncle Mickey also had brothers who were DOC pastors. Each of them had children that are DOC pastors: my brother, Greg, and his wife, Karen; my sister, Mary; my wife, Laura; my cousin, Michael and his wife, Jennifer; my cousin Marci married a DOC pastor, Dan; and my 2nd cousin Shannon married a DOC pastor, Kevin. Is that ridiculous, or what???

At the closing worship service, the following members of my extended family were in the house.

l to r: niece Elizabeth, daughter Beth, niece Judith,
wife Laura, son Rob, brother Greg, niece Kimberly

Kevin and my 2nd cousin, Shannon

Jennifer and my cousin, Michael

Celebrating New Churches at General Assembly

At the end of the evening worship service on Tuesday, there was a brief celebration of the new Disciples of Christ congregations established since 2001 and a prayer for the planters.

Those planters who were available that night went up on the stage with Rick Morse, the head of our new church organization. To Rick's right is Sharon Watkins, the head of our denomination. If you look closely, you'll see that the third person to the right of Sharon is Laura in her Living Water shirt!

2020 Vision

On July 15 I preached at Living Water because Laura was out on a mission trip. I talked about the new church movement within Disciples of Christ. We have the most active and dynamic new church initiative of all mainline denominations. In the sermon, I mentioned two key people in our new church movement: Dick Hamm, the former head of our denomination who cast the 2020 Vision which included the goal of 1,000 new congregations by the year 2020; and Rick Morse, the wild-eyed spiritual entrepreneur who took on the challenge of making this vision become a reality and leads our New Church Ministry Team. Read a recap of my sermon or listen to the MP3 here.

Little did I know when preaching that five days later at the National Evangelism Workshop, a sort of pre-conference prior to General Assembly, I would be in a breakout session with Dick, Rick, and about 10 other people. Very cool. After the session, I invited them to come to the Living Water site and listen to me talk about them!

July 25, 2007

State of the Church

Sunday night, the head of our denomination (we use the fancy title "General Minister and President" or GMP for short), Sharon Watkins, spoke on the State of the Church. Though flawed in some ways (for example, it was too long and too repetitive), her message was very powerful and motivating. She showed great leadership by pointing out many positive accomplishments of the last two years, including an impressive response to the Katrina disaster which occurred just a few weeks after our last General Assembly. Her theme was that Disciples are "choosing life" - a reference to Deut. 30:19-20. It was evident that she had spent weeks preparing her message of hope and encouragement and the response she received was enthusiastic. Way to go Sharon!

After the State of the Church, those of us who hung around enjoyed a brief concert featuring outstanding Disciple musicians from around the country. We heard some terrific original music from these artists in a wide variety of styles. It was a wonderful celebration of musical creativity and spiritual vitality. I believe they made a CD of the concert. If so, we should get it!

July 24, 2007

Sunday at General Assembly

Sunday morning we attended the youth worship service in the main auditorium at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It was the best worship service we've ever experienced at General Assembly. It was so good, in fact, that Laura bought a DVD of the service so we can show it to Living Water when we get home.

Keith McAliley was masterful leading worship from the piano

Stacey Spencer was off the hook in his message on 2 Kings 7:3-20
Read the report in Disciples World here

After the service ran into some of Rob's and Beth's homies from
Kansas City outside the main entrance to the Convention Center

Sunday evening Laura organized a dinner for the Bethany Fellowships at one of Fort Worth's most famous restaurants, Joe T. Garcia's. The food was even better than I remembered. The service was outstanding. And though it was a little hot to be seated out on the patio, a grand time was had by all. And it didn't rain until dinner was over!

Bethany Fellowships dinner at Joe T. Garcia's

In Fort Worth for General Assembly

Our family has been in Fort Worth since last Wednesday for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) bi-annual General Assembly. I'm a life-long Disciple. My dad was a Disciple pastor for 40+ years; my sister, brother, and sister-in-law are DOC pastors; and now my wife is a DOC church planter. Yes, I'm a church nerd even when I'm on vacation!

On Thursday we're driving down to the Big Bend area. Will be there for 3 nights. Then San Antonio for 2 nights and Galveston for 2 nights before returning to KC. It's a driving tour of Texas in the hottest weeks of the summer. Are we nuts? Actually, the weather hasn't been bad at all compared to other Dallas-Fort Worth summers I've experienced. I hope it holds up.

l to r: my son Rob, age 15; my wife Laura;
my brother Greg (also a DOC pastor); my daughter Beth, age 18

July 10, 2007

Selling an idea in your church

A few days ago Guy Kawasaki reviewed the top 9 stories that people like to talk about as explained in a new book by Lois Kelly. The idea is to use these types of stories whenever you're trying to persuade people to believe something or do something. In my experience, we IT people aren't especially good at marketing and selling our ideas. I'm going to learn from this post and keep these stories in mind as I have opportunities to persuade. I think particularly powerful in a church setting are #1 - stories about aspirations and beliefs, and #6 - personal stories.

July 01, 2007

Best Christian Workplaces

Church of the Resurrection got a very nice write up in the July 2007 issue of Church Executive magazine regarding the Best Christian Workplaces survey and what we've been doing over the last few years to improve our human resources process. Our own Dan Entwistle (one of our top two executives reporting to our senior pastor) was featured with a big photo on the cover. Go Dan!