My alarm rang at 3:30 a.m. I’m not a morning person. My wife, Deborah, is.
Most mornings I stagger around like a cranky zombie. She bounces out of bed ready to attack a new day. Opposites attract.
We are on the 6:25 a.m. Manila to Tokyo to Detroit to Nashville. I’m thinking about starting a global campaign to ban all pre-noon international flights. Believe it or not, we encountered bumper-to-bumper traffic at 4:30 a.m. on the way to the airport—only in Manila. I am also campaigning for an early morning traffic ban.
Since I can’t sleep on planes, no matter how sleep deprived I may be, I turned on my iPad Bible and started reading 1 Corinthians 3:10-12:
Imagine a church breathing fresh winds of the Holy Spirit’s presence and joy throughout its entire church family—winds generated by God’s grace but rising specifically from His working among the teens and college-agers within that body.
For many pastors, this vision of the Spirit igniting a church’s youth to affect the entire congregation is a “prophecy in waiting.” And as with all prophecies, discernment is essential—to receive truth and to reject confusion or error. To do both, let me recommend two things you, the lead pastor, must sign off on.
It’s funny. I don’t remember moving to Seattle.
To my friends in the Seattle area, those of us in East Tennessee are beginning to be able to relate to you. This year, we have been inundated with rain. While a normal summer for us is hot and fairly dry, our temperatures have hardly gotten over 90 degrees this summer, largely due to the overcast weather and almost daily showers that have kept the temperatures down and the humidity up.
All of this water reminds me of the lyrics of the Rich Mullins song "Screen Door":
They may not say it out loud, but I’ve talked with enough pastors through the years to know there are two key numbers they’re interested in: attendance and giving. Attendance matters because it’s one measure we have of the impact the church is having in a community.
Ironically, giving may actually be a better measure of the real heart change Jesus is having in people’s lives.
With that, let me share the data from the churches we’ve served. I have a feeling this is going to be very sobering for some of you.
The first church I served on staff was Lakeside Wesleyan Church in Lakeside, Calif. I was the very part-time youth pastor and lots of other stuff, and a full-time private investigator—just out of college at the ripe old age of 23.
The church had less than 200 in total attendance but was thriving with meaningful ministry. Richard Lauby was the pastor then, and under his watchful eye I learned much in ministry. From delivering my first sermon to reaching teens for Christ, it was a great adventure in learning how to make things happen with modest resources.