Monday, January 30, 2006


I just received the latest kit from Relevant Magazine. The magazine is dedicated to helping young adults to connect with Jesus in a relevant way. The kit that they send out six times a year is a box full of good resources. Here's what I received:



Monday Morning QB 1/30/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 (The Message)

Service Highlights: This was the third part of our series on Extreme Makeover. The focus was upon the formation of the character of Jesus into our lives. The two contemporary worship services featured the children's musical - J-Force to the Rescue. It was a very clear presentation of how to become a follower of Jesus.

Stats: 865 in worship + 228 in Sunday school

Final Notes: This coming weekend we will conclude our Extreme Makeover series. We will be bringing back the family from the first week to see what has happened in their lives.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Power of Momentum

John Maxwell writes "Momentum is a leader's best friend." I believe we are seeing the beginning of a momentum swing at Charter Oak Church. It started on Christmas Eve with 1,075 people at our four worship services. That was an increase of 155 people from the previous year. Then three weeks ago Pastor Dave gave one of the most inspiring vision messages for a church that I have ever heard. It was very simple - we are going to reach the people of our county and it is our goal over the next couple of years to reach 2,110 new people for Jesus and to develop our current people to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. Those were the first two waves of the building of momentum.

Next wave of momentum came with the launch of our current series "Extreme Makeover." The first week of the series we broke 600 in worship attendance for the first time on a "regular" weekend. This past week we were still well over our average with 568. I have had many conversations with people over the last two weeks about what this series has meant to them. The response has been incredible.

John Maxwell states that one of the biggest factors contributing to the building of momentum is preparation. How did we prepare over the last month to see what has happened? First, we sent out a letter to every household in the church inviting them to the Christmas Eve worship service. It was a simple, positive letter that was meant to encourage the hearts of our people. Second, Pastor Dave sent out a very motivating letter introducing his vision message and he said, "Whatever you have to do to get here this weekend, do it." Third, we shot a short promo video for the "Extreme Makeover" series. It was meant to be funny and to peak interest. All three of these things took time, energy, and most of all preparation. But they worked!

Jesus spent three and half years preparing the disciples for taking on the ministry of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of the time and energy that he poured into those men, the gospel has stood the test of time and billions of people have come to faith in Jesus. The work we do in preparing for the next month, quarter, and year will payoff with a title wave of momentum that will take us to the next level. It will take a ton of time and a great deal of energy, but it's worth it because the payoff is new believers in Jesus.

Are you ready to go surfing?

Monday, January 23, 2006

It's About People

On January 7th and 8th Pastor Dave gave one of the most inspiring vision messages I have ever heard. I told him Monday that if I wasn’t already on board here at Charter Oak Church, I would be now. I was moved by his passion to reach new people for Jesus and to develop our own people to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. Pastor Dave laid out a plan to reach new people by targeting children and youth. If we can successfully introduce Jesus into these young people’s lives, their parents will want to know why their kids have changed.

This past weekend we broke a new record for attendance on a “regular” Sunday. There were 607 people in worship! I was so excited. Pastor Dave jumped into my office to tell me the figure. He was definitely pumped up about the news. A week after his vision message and people were already responding. At the end of each worship service I challenged each person to invite people in their circle of influence – friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members, to join them in worship. After one of the worship services, someone grabbed me and said if people listen to me, we will have to start setting up chairs! It sounded like he was genuinely excited about that possibility.

How awesome would it be to have so many people in worship that we had to start setting up chairs! Then I started thinking about some conversations I have had with pastor friends of mine. They get on my case when I start talking about our church growing and reaching more people. They tell me I am all about the numbers. I will be honest with you, it frustrates me when they say that. I do want to celebrate when we reach a new milestone like breaking the 600 mark in worship attendance. But I don’t celebrate the number, I celebrate the people. For me, it’s all about the people.

I am called by God to introduce people into a relationship with Jesus and then to help them to become more like Him in every aspect of their lives down to the last detail. That’s why I live. What about you? If we continue to grow in our current building and we have to set up chairs, will you be willing to sit in a chair instead of a pew? Would you be willing to sit on the front pew and park farther away from the building? Would you be willing to change worship times to allow more guests to sit comfortably in our sanctuary? These are tough questions, but for me, they are easy, because it’s all about people coming into a relationship with Jesus.

God is at work at Charter Oak Church!

Monday Morning QB 1/23/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Tear It Down (Chris Preached)

Scripture: Luke 7:36-50

Service Highlights: This message was the second part of a four part series based on the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This week we looked at tearing down the old stuff in our lives by truly repenting of our sins. Bill Gates wrote a song specifically for this message, it was right on and powerful.

Stats: 568 in worship + 261 in Sunday school

Final Notes: Next weekend is the Children's Musical on Saturday night and Sunday morning at 11:00am. I will only be preaching at 8:15 & 9:30.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday Morning QB 1/16/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: No One Is Perfect (Chris preached)

Scripture: Romans 3:21-23

Service Highlights: We kicked off our new series Extreme Makeover. This was the first part of four. We broke 600 in worship for the first time!

Stats: 607 in worship + 236 in Sunday school

Final Notes: I challenged everyone to invite someone to come with them next week that needs an extreme makeover in their life, their marrigae, and/or their family.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Importance of What We Do

Here are some thoughts that have been rattling around in my head this week:

1. There was a definite buzz this weekend

I could sense within the people in worship this past weekend that they were excited about the vision for 2006. There was an energy level present that if built upon will create momentum that we have not had here for some time.

2. The power of a clearly and passionately communicated vision

When people can see a preferred picture of the future that is compelling and exciting they will sign up. I have had many conversations with people who are pumped about this year.

3. Making the vision a reality

The first part of the vision is to reach our county through teens and children. There are 370,000 people and 211,000 of them are unchurched. Our vision is to reach 1% of those people - 2,110. The question becomes, who are we making relationships with that are not attending church right now? The challenge was that 100 people will bring one person each by the end of the year. Who are we praying for that doesn't know Jesus?

The second part of the vision is to reach our full giving potential. If the 400 giving units gave ten percent of the median income of our area, we would meet our budget and pay off our new building in 5 years. As leaders we must model the biblical call to give that ten percent.

4. Good to Great

A good friend of mine told me he recently read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. He said he wished he hadn't read it because it gave voice to the leadership gap at his church. His level of expectation was raised by reading this book and he realized that they don't have what it takes to make the leap from good to great.

5. Importance of Excellence

Some people I have been praying for who are far from God went to church for the first time the first weekend of the year. They said the preaching was great, but the words on the screen never were in line with what the band was singing. They won't return because of a lack of commitment to excellence, they didn't express it that way, but that is what was behind their words. They said that the pastor apologized for the error, but it doesn't matter, the damage is done. I don't know if those people will ever try church again. Excellence is what may determine if people far from God will be open to what God wants to do in them and through them. It is critical.

The implication of these thoughts is that what we do as leaders has Kingdom realities.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Monday Morning QB 1/9/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Continuing to Respond to God's Call (Dave preached)

Scripture: Acts 2:42-27

Service Highlights: Dave cast the vision for Charter Oak Church for 2006. We are going to focus on two things - reaching children and teens and reaching our giving potential. It was a very powerful message.

Stats: 574 in worship + 249 in Sunday school

Final Notes: Next week we kick off a new series called Extreme Makeover. We showed a promo video at all of the services to gain momentum going into the weekend.

Friday, January 6, 2006

End of the 1st Week

It's the end of the first week of the year. We are gearing up for the launch of our new building in September. The steel is being delivered today. We could be under roof in less than a month. Things are moving fast. The pace of speed here is going to continue to grow at an exponential rate over the next six months.

What would I say to myself in six months? There is now a new website that allows you to send yourself an email into the future.

What would I write to myself? What questions would I ask myself on what I need to accomplish in the next six months? I think I would begin with, "Did you stay faithful to God's call on your life?" There are so many details that need to be done, it would be interesting to put down some of the keys ones to make sure I am getting them done.

I am really thinking now.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Start with God

Psalm 1

How well God must like you -
you don't hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don't slink along Dead-End Road,
you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God's Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You're a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

You're not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust -
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.

Psalm 1 is the beginning of this collection of prayers and songs. This is the beginning of the New Year. This Psalm says there is a difference between beginning with God and not. It is the difference between life and death.

People say they want the true life offered in God's word. We will make resolutions this week and keep them at least through next week. But that's not the life that is offered here. The Psalmist goes back to Eden, where the relationship between God and people was perfect. The life that lived was a oneness, an intimacy with God.

Eden and Skid Row are far apart. Monthly fruit production and constant bloom are far from windblown dust. For most of us, we are some where in between. In between is not what God wants, it is not what we long for, but it is where we usually are.

It all begins with God - thrilling in God's word, chewing on it day and night.

Monday Morning QB 1/2/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Wesley Covenant Service (Dave led)

Scripture: Various passages through worship

Service Highlights: Worship on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with Communion - great way to end and kick off the year!

Stats: 275 (No Sunday school)

Final Notes: Communion was available until midnight on New Year's Eve.

Monday Morning QB 12/26/05

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Christmas Eve
Message: Traveling (5:00 & 9:00) (Chris Preached)
Christmas 365 Days a Year (7:00 & 11:00) (Dave Preached)

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20 (Chris)
Luke 1:26-38

Service Highlights: We had a fantastic Christmas Eve at Charter Oak Church. I did a children's sermon at the 5:00 service for nearly 100 kids. The whole night just felt right. The presence of God was evident. People heard the Good News.

Stats: 1075 total for all four services.

Final Notes: This will be our final Christmas Eve at this building. The need for an overflow room for the overflow room will not be necessary next year, but it would be nice if we did.

Christmas Day
Message: We heard two people share a bit about their faith journey.

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20

Service Highlights: Hearing about people's walk with Christ on Christmas Day clarifies why we do what we do. The two stories were very different, but we all are different - in how we got here and what God is doing in us and through us.

Stats: 169 (No Sunday school)