7 Tips to Breaking the Impact Barrier …

Impact versus Numbers, which is more important? Numbers matter, because each number represents a person who matters. Therefore, we should pay attention to numbers in ministry. However, I am more interested in the impact we are making in our community. I am more interested in the number of people whose lives are a little better because my church is in this community. I am praying that we pay attention to the number of people who think a little more about Jesus because they see His love in us and feel His compassion through us.

There has been a lot written about how to break through certain numerical barriers in the church. I believe these articles and books have an important place in the evaluation of a church’s effectiveness. However, I believe that if we only seek numbers then all we will be left with are those numbers. If we instead, seek to love, help, touch and impact people we will have a church that has people who are seeking and following Jesus, and that will make a huge impact anywhere.

To break through we must …

  1. Be a part of the community – It is nearly impossible to have a lasting impact in a community if we are not in that community. We need people, from our ministry, who live in, and near, that community. If we are not in the community, we may be viewed suspiciously by those in the community.
  2. Be participants in the community – If we are physically in the community but do not participate in the affairs of the community we will severely limit our opportunities to have people listen to us and trust us. Get involved in the community. Attend community events. Have a presence in community functions that allow groups to have a booth, a float, a banner, or whatever is appropriate.
  3. Partner with other community groups – Come alongside and support other groups. If you only participate when you can be in control you will not be viewed as a team player. If you are not viewed as a team player your community will stop paying attention. When they stop paying attention, your opportunity to make an impact disappears. When you support existing groups, and help them to do well, you will gain a hearing with those groups.
  4. Love your community – If you do not already have a love for your community then slow down and seek it. Spend time praying for the people in your community. Not nameless faces, but the real people in your community. Spend time out in the community and get to know people by name and story. This will begin to change, and charge, your heart.
  5. Appreciate your community – Frequently mention things about your community that you appreciate in your ministry gatherings, as well as things you are praying for in the community. (Thanks for that reminder Pastor Todd Keller.) In doing this you will raise the awareness of your people for the community and your community will take notice.
  6. Seek to know the real needs of your community – Don’t assume that you know the needs of the people in your community. Listen and ask questions as you move about in your community. You can even make an appointment to meet with some community leaders (such as the Mayor, School Superintendent, school personnel, Police, …) and ask questions. At this meeting, don’t tell them things, ask them about what is needed and how you might be able to help. Be sure to listen and take notes.
  7. Pray a lot for your community – Too often we plan and don’t pray. Too often we create strategies without taking the time in prayer to seek God’s guidance for these strategies. Too often we talk, and write, about praying for our community a lot more than we actually pray for our community.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. This is just a “let’s get started in the right direction” list. Making an impact is too important to be left to our assumptions and clichés. We need to recognize the need and then do all we can to make an impact in the communities in which God has placed. Otherwise, we are not being the church that we are called to be. When that happens, we suffer, the church suffers, and our communities suffer.

Tell me your thoughts and what you are doing to make an impact in your community.

 

Dennis

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2017 was …

This past year was not just another notch on the handle of my life, it was a remarkable year for many reasons. Here are a few of those reasons …

-I preached 12 funerals, participated in a 13th and participated in the later spreading/burying the ashes of 2 people whose funeral I had preached. In all, I was involved 15 ceremonies honoring the life of 13 people this past year. That is both a highlight for the opportunity to honor and celebrate the life of some wonderful people and it was difficult in sharing the grief of those families.

-When the year began I was pastoring 2 churches and overseeing a 3rd. When the year finished I was pastoring 1 church and still overseeing another one. I chose to finish pastoring the second church at the end of August. I began that assignment with the idea of helping that church through some transition. My hope was that I would lead them into a new future. That did not happen. It became obvious that some in that church did not desire to move in the direction I am convinced they needed to go. Therefore, I made the difficult decision to leave that position. I am still at the church I have been with since January of 2014 and I am still overseeing another church who has their own Campus Pastor. I am loving my role with these two churches.

-2017 started poorly for me. New Year’s Day was on a Sunday, and I was brutally sick. So sick that I did not preach, or even go to church. It was the first Sunday morning I had ever missed because of illness in all my years of ministry. I didn’t even miss after I had back surgery. I had that surgery on a Monday and preached that Sunday with staples still in me. It wasn’t very wise of me, but I didn’t miss that Sunday. I was so sick this time that I couldn’t even get up and attempt to go.

-This past year had a lot of loss. Not all the losses were related to funerals. My Associate Pastor and family left for another assignment in October. We were not able to pay him full-time and he was working 40 hours a week at another job while on staff with me. He was offered a full-time position at a wonderful church (I must confess that I wasn’t thinking wonderful thoughts about that pastor or church when he left, but I understood.) It was a big loss and we are still scrambling to cover some of the areas he filled.

-Last summer was our denomination’s quadrennial meeting. Where visitors and delegates from all over the world gather in one place for inspiration, fellowship and business. It is always a great time of catching up with friends and making new acquaintances. Our time there was cut short due to a funeral. The time we did spend there was so positive.

-Our Vacation Bible School was a great success. Some children made personal decisions for Christ. The kids brought in around $1,700 for missions. Many children attended. Some families have continued to attend.

-Our children’s ministries have grown 2 to 3 times the size they were a couple of years ago.

-We were able to begin some regular youth ministry.

-I made several trips to visit my Dad. Unfortunately, many of them were prompted by his failing health. With all his health issues the decision was made for him to move into an Assisted Living location. The Lord blessed, and we were able to find a wonderful place, He is doing better now.

-My wife and I didn’t get all the vacation we had intended. However, we were able to get a week away in Florida the last week of May, thanks to the help of some friends. It was a wonderful time together. That sun and sand sounds good right about now.

-This year we have witnessed 30 people make decisions to accept Jesus as their personal Savior!

-We were blessed to get a better vehicle in the early part of 2017.

-My wife continues to serve in ministry as my partner and does more serving in our church than seems humanly possible. We also, celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary in 2017.

-Not being able to be with our son, daughter-in-law and their children is always difficult. But knowing they are following God’s call as missionaries in Africa helps to ease that pain. God’s hand of protection was definitely on them as they had to be in an emergency evacuation just before Easter.

-Spending some time with our daughters, sons-in-law and grandkids was so much fun. We just weren’t able to do it often enough. I am truly blessed with an awesome family.

-On Easter Sunday we saw 7 people accept Christ and 192 people worship with us. In December we witnessed 3 people accept Christ and we had 210 people worship with us on one Sunday. Praying for more and more Sundays like these this coming year.

-I continued to serve as a Chaplain at our local hospital at least one day a week.

-I began to help teach a class at the prison located just outside our community. The class is on fatherhood and I am teaching it with a couple of other local pastors.

-I also was given the opportunity to help coach volleyball with the 7th and 8th grade teams at the local school. I am really enjoying getting back into coaching volleyball. I love the opportunity to impact, and influence, youth in whatever way possible.

-There are many other things I could share from the year, but you have probably stopped reading by now so I will close this out.

-2018 looks to be an exciting and challenging year. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store this year.

Here’s hoping that you are excited about the possibilities around you as this new year begins.

 

Dennis

I Need You to See …

God is speaking. I am doing my best to listen and hear everything He is saying to me. I have sensed Him moving in me in some very uncomfortable ways in recent weeks. Honesty compels me to admit He has been trying to get my attention for longer than a few weeks.

I still don’t know if I am seeing everything He is urging me to show me or not. It is not all clear, but it is beginning to have some focus. Right now, I feel a lot like the blind man in Mark 8. Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him. Then Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” The man responded, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” The man who had been blind could see, but he could not see clearly.

I sense that I am beginning to see. I believe that I am beginning to see what God wants me to see. However, it is not clear. There are shapes, and I am guessing what the shapes are, but it is not obvious, at least not yet.

God is telling me that he needs me to see what he sees. He wants me to see what he sees for what is coming next. I have been praying for God to move in me, in our church and in our community. For several months, I have told people that we are at a tipping point. A place where something, needs to push us over and then we will experience a flow of God that we may have never seen before.

I have been frustrated with how long it is taking for us get past this tipping point. This evening I know God is speaking to me. It is possible that I have been the problem.

I have been praying for God to move and for us/me to see him clearly and to clearly see what he desires.

Tonight, I think I am beginning to see. Tonight, I believe I am beginning to understand somethings I must do. Tonight, I am a strange mix of excited, overwhelmed and fearful. Tonight, I am praying for the faith to take the next right step. I am praying to see what he sees. I am praying to have the courage to act on what he is showing me. I am praying for the courage to share what I see with some other people.

That phrase, “I need you to see” keeps echoing in my heart and my mind. I believe it is beginning to reach a place in me that I find indescribable.

That phrase, “I need you to see”. I believe I am going to need to say that phrase to several people in the coming days and weeks if I am going to be obedient. I want to be obedient. I want to see what he wants me to see. I want to be able to share it with others. I want to share it with the people I need to share it with.

I would ask you to pray with me that I will see it, that I would be obedient and that I would share it.

Last Sunday I preached on trusting God. I challenged my people to write some specific things on paper. I asked them to write them down twice. Then I asked them to keep one copy and lay the other copy on the altar if they were committing to trust God with those things. 50 people responded. It was awesome. I wrote down 4 things and placed it on the altar and I placed the other copy in my Bible. What I believe God is speaking to me about and what I believe he is trying to get me to see, fits some of what I wrote down on Sunday.

Wow God!

So here I am, trusting. Here I am listening. Here I am trying to see. Here I am on the tipping point.

In Mark 8, Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes a second time. After the second touch, the man’s eyes were opened, and his sight was restored.

Do it again Lord.

 

Dennis

10 Things I have Learned about being a Pastor …

Even after 30+ years in ministry I am still learning about being a pastor. If I ever stop learning it is time to stop pastoring. Here are a few things I have learned. I am not claiming to have mastered these, but I have learned. I am narrowing down the dozens of things I have learned to this list of 10. (In no particular order.)

  1. It is about People – Being a pastor is about the people and relationships with them. Sometimes we are tempted to think it starts with policy, but I have learned that people trumps policy every time.
  2. It is very rewarding – Being deeply involved in the lives of the people in your community and church is very rewarding. Seeing lives changed. Baptizing people and seeing the joy on their face as they come out of the water. Baby dedications are a favorite of mine. Watching people come to Christ and then mature in their faith as disciples of Christ. These are just a few of the many rewards.
  3. It is difficult to pastor well – As a pastor I deal with life and death issues regularly. I walk with people through crisis and loss. I deal with seeing people get upset and leave the church. Even harder is when they are upset with me as they leave. I deal with the weight of knowing that I am dealing with eternal issues each Sunday as I stand in front of my people to preach.
  4. My personal relationship with Christ must be priority number one – It is easy to get busy doing good things and being swayed by the urgent that I neglect my own relationship with Christ. If that happens my church suffers, my family suffers and obviously my spiritual health suffers.
  5. It is not really “my church” – The church belongs to God, it is his church. When I attempt to assume ownership, things get messed up in a hurry.
  6. My family is more important to me than the church I pastor – If I don’t get the family thing right my influence as pastor is diminished. It is not a matter of having a family with no problems, it is putting them ahead of the church and realizing that they are my most important ministry.
  7. Taking time off is critical to be a pastor of value – I am still learning this one and I struggle with it often. I didn’t do this well at all early in my ministry. I am getting better but it is still something I wrestle with often. The critical nature of what I do and the life and death, eternal issues give a sense that things must be done now. This is especially true of solo pastors with no other ministry staff. Without time off I become stale in my thinking and I can become weary and I may begin to resent the things I must do.
  8. The church is much bigger than me and will function long after I am gone – One reason a pastor may be hesitant to take time off is that they are fearful that people will realize they can survive without them. That is actually a good thing, but it can mess with the ego.
  9. Not to take myself too seriously, have fun while ministering – While I deal with life and death issues regularly, there are still many moments to enjoy life and to laugh at myself. I do a lot of things that are just plain funny. I get words mixed up at times. I forget some stuff. I also tend to see things differently at times and I laugh at some of those thoughts. I believe that people relax and listen better when they realize that you freely admit you are not perfect and that sometimes you are downright goofy. Not sure where that fits theologically, but I find it makes a difference for many people.
  10. Encouragement is a big deal – I want to encourage the people I pastor and I need encouragement as well. A word of encouragement can keep a person going when they may be considering giving up. Encouragement sparks more encouragement and that matters to people. We would all rather be around someone who encourages as opposed to someone who discourages. I want to be known as an encourager. I don’t have this one conquered, but I am always seeking to do this better.

This is just a sampling of things I have learned in my time as a pastor. The list is a lot longer than ten. I typed this quickly as I am sitting here thinking on a Thursday night. What do you think should be on this list?

 

Dennis

My not so Monday Morning Musings …

Obviously, this is not Monday morning. My wife and I were out of town. We were at our oldest daughter and son in law’s house out of state. We went that direction for a wedding that I was doing over the weekend. We took an extra couple of days of vacation and spent it with them and our two youngest grandkids. It was a very good time with all of them. As for my musings …

-We attended the church that our daughter, son in law and their girls attend. The pastor is someone that I have known since he was in Bible College and I was on staff at that college. It is a good church that continues to grow. Being a parishioner is always a different feeling. I love being able to worship in another church sometimes. It gives me new perspective on things we do or don’t do at home. It was an enjoyable experience.

-The wedding went well. It was an outdoor event and the weather was perfect, which is a real bonus for the last day of September. I have known the bride, and her family, for about 12 years. To see her so happy was a real joy. This couple is in love with each other and everyone who sees them knows it.

-At the reception we got to see, and talk with, some good friends. That was a wonderful bonus for the trip.

-While we were gone I have learned of 3 deaths. One is a retired minister in my congregation. I will be doing that funeral in a couple of days. What an honor it will be to celebrate this man’s life and legacy. As for our church, it will be a great loss. He attended every Sunday and was a great supporter and prayer warrior for me and many others. Another of the deaths was the grandmother of someone connected to our church and they asked if I could do the funeral, but it took place before I returned home. The third was someone who attended the wedding that I did on Saturday. A young man that is related to the bride. He was involved in an accident on the way home from the event. A lot of emotions on learning of each of these events.

-Next week I will begin a new round of the fatherhood class at the prison in our area. The first group went so well. I teach this with another friend who is also a pastor. He and I are really looking forward to getting started with a new group.

-This week is my Assistant Pastor’s last one with us. He and his wife and kids have been a real blessing to me and to our church. They will be greatly missed. I am encouraged by the number of people who are stepping forward to help do some of things he has been doing.

-My Cubs finished the task and won their division. Now the playoffs begin. This will not be easy.

-It was great to be away for a few days with my wife. We needed this time and are very appreciative for it.

-Our new small groups, children’s mid-week ministry and youth group have gotten off to great beginnings. I am looking forward to being back for Wednesday evening and the great energy that is in the building when all those groups are meeting.

-My fantasy football team won again this week. So far, I am loving this fantasy season. However, I am not loving the real football season for my Colts.

Here’s hoping you have many opportunities this week to encourage someone.

 

Dennis

Hurting, but Joyful, Smiling with Tears …

I have been wrestling for some time with this truth about myself. My heart hurts, but the reason my heart hurts also brings me joy. How can that be? Am I just fooling myself? It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it is true. I am sure that you don’t understand, at least not yet.

I have shared many times that my son, daughter (in-law) and their 5 children (my grandchildren) are serving as missionaries. They are serving in Africa. The country in which they were serving, Central Africa Republic (CAR), has been through tumultuous times in the past and is currently going through them again.

My kids, and the team on which they were serving, had to be evacuated on the Saturday before Easter. A day before the celebration of Christ’s resurrection that provides the Good News. It was called an emergency evacuation. They could only take a small bag with them as they were rushed away. They didn’t have time to say any proper goodbyes to neighbors and other friends or the community in which they were serving.

As a parent and grandparent, I am grateful that they were removed safely. But my heart hurts for them and the people they were reaching. Much of the town in which they lived is destroyed. Nearly everyone living in that town, a few thousand people, have fled. The reports are that the only people remaining are those who were physically unable to flee.

The people have scattered and not all of them know where members of their families are located, or if they are even alive. Some crossed the border into Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), some made it to other towns in CAR and others may have gone even further.

It is heartbreaking for my son, daughter in law and grandkids. The people who fled, and are now refugees through no fault of their own, were friends and neighbors. Some had come to faith in Christ. Many of them helped them to adapt and adjust to the town, the country and the culture. Those people are not just numbers in a news report, they have names and faces that my kids can still see in their prayers.

My joy is in knowing that God is still God and he is Lord. My heart hurts for my kids and for those people who loved my kids. My joy comes from knowing that my kids and grandkids know Jesus as their personal Savior and that they are physically safe. My heart hurts for the people who had to flee from their homes, their families, their friends, their work and their land because some others wanted to exert power over them.

My joy is knowing that no matter what my kids and grandkids are facing God is with them and that he loves them ferociously. My heart hurts knowing that I so often take for granted the ease with which I can minister and live for Jesus when so many live in daily danger.

Frequently, during the past 4+ years I have been asked by people “How can you let your kids and grandkids go so far away into dangerous situations?” My answer has been, and still is, that God is leading them. I either trust God or I don’t trust him. I am convinced that he is leading them, and that he was leading them when went to CAR. Therefore, I trust. That doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever have any fear. That doesn’t mean I don’t shed tears. That doesn’t mean that I don’t pray for their safety. But it does mean, that I also pray for their relationship with Christ. It means that I pray for their ministry. It means that I pray that I can what they need me to be as a supporter and prayer warrior on their behalf.

So today, with tears often escaping my eyes and landing dangerously near my keyboard, I pray and I trust. Today, I am joyful and have some pain as well.

Isn’t how it should be every day?

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

On the day of “the eclipse”, I am forcing myself not to allow a couple of negative moments to overshadow the many good things that took place yesterday. As for my musings …

-Last evening my wife and I went to another church to listen to a missionary speak. This missionary is serving in what we call a creative access country. It is not legal to enter the country as a missionary or minister. Therefore, you must be creative and enter to do some other type of work. However, the missionary then uses that work to meet people and seek opportunities to share Christ with them. It was humbling and inspiring to hear what is taking place in that country.

-My early morning run through of my sermon went horribly yesterday. Fortunately, the real thing went much better in both churches. One of my struggles was that I was trying to focus on too many things in one message. I know better. The good news is that people seemed to be engaged in the message and some conversations later in the day showed that some people grasped the key part of the message.

-In the afternoon, my wife and I attended an open house celebration for the 90th birthday of a sweet lady in my 10:30 church. She does not like cake, so they served pie. I loved it.

-We are getting some rain this morning. We desperately need rain.

-This past week saw a family in each of my churches who had someone in their late 50’s die suddenly and unexpectedly. On Saturday, I did the memorial service for one of them. My heart is broken for the husband, children, grandchildren and parents of these families. I heard a phrase from the parents that I have heard too many times “Pastor, I am not supposed to bury one of my children.” I am praying for these families every day.

-The new school year began this past week. The beginning of a new school seems to bring energy to the whole community.

-Once again, I made 3 trips out of town to visit people in hospitals, this was in addition to visits to the local hospital. The good news is that the people I visited are improving and in these cases the prognosis could have been very bad. We are rejoicing with them.

-Attendance was better in my 10:30 church yesterday, mainly because several who were in town for the funeral were still here and attended. Hopefully, we are past the summer slump.

-The people of my 10:30 church came through with flying colors with the funeral dinner on Saturday. There were many people who brought food and an awesome crew of 9 who set-up, served and cleaned up from the dinner. They served over 100 people at the dinner. I love seeing people serve with love.

-When I stepped up to preach yesterday I found a note from my wife laying on the podium. It said, “Praying for you. God has this!!” She is my greatest supporter and encourager. She knew that I had struggled all week and that my run though had not gone well.

-My Cubs are still in first place, but they are sure making things interesting. Yesterday’s improbable comeback win was just one example. At least it is never boring.

-Next month I am officiating a wedding. After doing 10 to 13 (I am losing track) funerals in the past 6 months, it will be nice to do a wedding.

-My son, and his family, have still not received their visas or government clearance for the new country in which they are ministering. Many prayers going up for this need.

-I just met with someone about some of the new things we are planning for our children’s ministry. I am very excited and we are getting a youth ministry up and running as well. Good things going on around here.

Here’s praying you realize how much Jesus loves you and that you will tell someone else about His love as well.

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was a wonderful day of worship, outreach and fellowship. I am still smiling as I reflect on the day. As for my musings …

-The Sunday after VBS is often a down Sunday. My 10:30 church had their VBS celebration last Sunday with incredible energy and high attendance. Yesterday was a very good day of worship with good energy. The attendance was lower than last Sunday but not much below our average. A family that had not attended our church before our VBS were back again yesterday!

-Last evening, we had a VBS follow-up celebration. We rented out our public city pool for our church and targeted all the kids and families we reached in VBS. It was a huge success. The attendance was outstanding. Everyone had a great time. Most of our VBS kids were there and some brought friends. The kids brought parents and some grandparents. There were several adults there who have not been to our church. Our people mixed well with the new people. The weather was almost perfect. Every family of a VBS kid got a DVD with highlights of the week of VBS. I had some great conversations with parents I had never met before. It was an outstanding event.

-Our worship time at my 9:00 church was good and our attendance was good as well. Our VBS for that church begins this evening.

-On Friday, I took a stress test and everything looked fine. Nice to get confirmation that I am okay. At least physically.

-On Friday evening my wife and I sat with my Associate Pastor and his wife and brainstormed about some classes and groups for this fall. I am very excited about the ministry opportunities and the involvement of other people. God is up to something good around here.

-A good friend, fellow pastor and prayer partner is moving out of the area today. It was difficult to say good-bye. He is retiring and I am happy for he and his wife. I am really going to miss them. Technology will allow us to stay in touch. One of our connecting points is that we both have a child and family serving as a missionary in Africa.

-I am very encouraged by the number of people who are sharing with me that their prayer life is increasing and how they are touching others as a result.

-I will finish my current sermon series within the next 2 weeks. It has been a good study and challenge. I am even more excited about the next series of messages. As the Lord guided me toward this next series it was a definite “God moment”. Within a few minutes, the whole 6 week series was laid out with scripture and some illustrations. I believe this series, if I share it as God intends, can make a huge impact in many people’s lives.

-This summer has been the busiest summer of ministry that I can remember.

-My son, and his family, now know where they will be ministering for the next year. We have been praying fervently for them to know where they will serve. Now the prayers are for the government clearance and visas for that country.

-I am very appreciative for the leadership of my District Superintendent. It is encouraging to know that your leader is a quality person who has leadership skills, a compassionate heart and seeks what is best for the pastor and the church.

-Next week my wife and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. I am more in love with her today than I was 42 years ago.

-The school year begins in 16 days around here. I see a mix of excitement and dread. Who do you think is excited and who is dreading the beginning of a new school year?

-My Cubs are finally back in first place!

Here’s hoping that you are finding something to be excited about, and that you will share that excitement with someone else.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings (brief) …

Yesterday was an outstanding day. So many good things taking place right now. As for my musings …

-My 10:30 church finished VBS with an outstanding time of worship and sharing in our worship service. Many of the 54 kids who attended VBS showed up for the service, and brought some family with them. We shared that at least a dozen kids accepted Jesus as their Savior. They kids sang their hearts out. I loved the energy. The theme for the week was shared and I shared with the congregation that the kids brought in over $1,600 for 2 different mission projects. They provided the cost for schooling for a girl in Kenya for the next year and they purchased 2 large tents for churches who are meeting outside in the Philippines. When the adults heard how much the kids had brought in for others, they added to the total and made so that we will be purchasing 3 tents for churches. I am rejoicing this morning as I reflect on the week and the day.

-My wife and I had 3 of our grandkids with us last week and they attended our VBS. They loved it so much they were asking their Mom and Dad if they could stay a few more days to be a part of the Sunday morning celebration. That is a great testimonial for our VBS workers.

-Last evening, my 9:00 church hosted a Missions rally for the all 7 churches in our Zone. We had good attendance and they missionaries shared an enlightening and challenging message. I was especially interested in hearing these missionaries. They are from Ethiopia and I have a grandson who was adopted there. They have been serving in Kenya which is where my son, daughter in law and family have served.

-Today I will drive the missionaries a couple of hours up the road to get them to their next event.

-A week from today my 9:00 church begins their VBS.

-A real answer to prayer is how well our air conditioning units held up during VBS given the extreme heat we had all week.

-The volunteers who served during VBS were incredible. We had at least 40 people who helped some throughout the week and most them helped every night. It was awesome to watch them care for the kids, connect with other volunteers and share the love of Jesus. Some of the volunteers used vacation time to serve.

I am going to have to cut this post a little short since I have a couple of errands to run before I head out with the missionaries. Here’s hoping you have a week of encouragement.

 

Dennis

Monday Morning Musings …

Yesterday was an outstanding day in so many way, heartbreaking in one way and a disappointing day in couple of ways. As for my musings …

-I am currently in another state attending our denomination’s quadrennial General Assembly. Several thousand people from all over the world gather in one place every four years. We celebrate awesome stories of God working in mighty ways. We worship together in many languages. We fellowship with new friends and old ones as well. Church business is taken care of and we elect some of our highest denominational leadership. It is something that I look forward to attending whenever I am able.

-Just after getting back to our room last night I received a phone call about someone in my church who was rushed to the emergency room in bad condition and then life flighted to a larger hospital. I tracked down some more information after a few phone calls and connected with a leader back home who also made contact with some of the family. (My Assistant Pastor is also at General Assembly through today.) Praying fervently today for this precious lady.

-Yesterday we celebrated communion in both of my churches. Our attendance was down in both places but the Spirit of the Lord was evident and we rejoiced in remembering what Christ has done for us.

-There was an unexpected visitor early in the morning. A deer wondered out of the cornfield nearby and sauntered around the church yard and parking lot for several minutes. Then after deciding to try a different place of worship the deer bounded through the cornfield away from our church. It was quite a sight. I love visitors at church, don’t you?

-Minutes after the service ended at my 10:30 church my wife and I were in our van and headed to General Assembly. We were packed on Saturday night.  The van was loaded before leaving for my 9:00 church and less than 4 hours after pronouncing the benediction we pulled up to the convention center where General Assembly is in full swing. The drive was only 3 ½ hours. The real news is that we were out of the church so quickly. We normally are there for 30 minutes after the finish of worship. Talking with people and then shutting things down since we are the last to leave.

 

-I love sharing in communion. I love sharing what Christ has done for all of us. I love seeing the faces of my people as they remember their own faith journey when they partake of the elements of communion. Communion is always a special time of worship.

-I am hoping to see a few friends that I haven’t seen since the last General Assembly.

-Looking forward to hearing more about what God is doing around the world. It is one thing to read it in an email or on a website, it is more impactful to hear it in person.

-Praying that it rains back home and that it doesn’t rain here, or at least doesn’t rain during the day when we are walking back and forth to the convention center.

Here’s hoping that you recognize the presence of Christ today and that you share that with someone else.

 

Dennis