Monday, January 29, 2007

Book #3 - The E Myth Revisited

While I was on vacation I finished my third book for 2007 - The E Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. I originally placed this book on my reading list because so many leaders that I follow highly recommended it. Now I know why. I read the book through the lens of the church. Where it talked about small business I inserted the church. Wow, why most churches don't work and what to do about it. Now that's something that all church leaders should be getting into.

I loved the section on the Business Development Process of innovation, quantification, and orchestration. That alone was worth the price of the book. Then he laid out a great explanation of the strategic objective. All too often the church just lives day by day.

There was just so much information found in this book. I would highly recommend the book for church leaders and for small business owners.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Going To Disney World

The Whitehead Family is going to Disney World in 3 days!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Changing Churches

One of the people I follow very closely is changing churches. Tony Morgan is the pastor of administrative services at Granger Community Church. This is the church that everyone on our staff and many of the key leaders in our congregation have visited for the Innovative Church Conference. This is the church we learn from more than any other. Tony is one of those leaders that I learn a great deal from on a weekly basis.

I was shocked when I received an email from the senior pastor at Granger, Mark Beeson, announcing Tony's move. Tony will be moving to New Spring Community Church in South Carolina. Perry Noble is the pastor there. This is a church on the move. 1 out of every 22 people in their county attend this church. There are counties in which this isn't true for all of the churches combined! The incredible thing is New Spring is only 7 years old.

I am going to watch this move very carefully because moves are going to start to be announced soon within the United Methodist Church system. Starting next week the bishop will meet with the rest of the cabinet and decide which pastors will be moving to new churches this year. This is very often a stressful time for pastors and churches. My previous church will be getting a new senior pastor. The current one has been there over 25 years and is retiring.

I will watch how Tony, Granger Community Church, and its senior management team go through this transition. I will keep you updated with my learnings.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Final 2006 Stats

The final statistics are in on 2006. I don't share these numbers to pat ourselves on the back, but to say "way to go God!" This has been an incredible year and I am so thankful that God has placed me at Charter Oak Church. Here's the info:

2006 Worship
  • December average - 921
  • Year average - 605

2005 Worship

  • December average - 774
  • Year average - 503

2006 Sunday school

  • December average - 245
  • Year average - 215

2005 Sunday school

  • December average - 183
  • Year average - 184

Finances (General Fund only)

  • December 2006 - $105,477.60
  • December 2005 - $59,341.98
  • YTD 2006 - $787,932.16
  • YTD 2005 - $646,290.62

Finances (Total Income)

  • December 2006 - $210,891.79
  • December 2005 - $187,414.71
  • YTD 2006 - $1,422,788.99
  • YTD 2005 - $1,178,141.78

Remember, the best is yet to come!

December Worship at a Glance

December 2/3 - I preached
605 in worship (24.5% increase from 2005)
280 in Sunday school (23.9% increase from 2005)

December 9/10 - Dave preached
1,102 in worship (28.3% increase from 2005)
267 in Sunday school (65.8% increase from 2005)

December 16/17 - Dave preached
679 in worship (34.2% increase from 2005)
280 in Sunday school (42.9% increase from 2005)

December 23/24 - Dave & I preached
1570 in worship (26.2% increase from 2005)
No Sunday school

December 30/31 - Mark preached
647 in worship (235.3% increase from 2005)
154 in Sunday school (No Sunday school in 2005)

Four More Books!

Last night I received a great gift - four more books! What an incredible surprise. Here are the books:

I am so excited about these books. I am starting E Myth Revisited while I wait for Zondervan to send me another copy of Velvet Elvis.

Thanks Tom, you're the best!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tough Question - Dying Church

Tonight I was doing ministry by "walking around" after our Wednesday night children's ministry program called Mission Possible. I was introduced to one of the moms. She told me that her daughter loves Mission Possible and is learning so much. She said she and her husband were in a delimma. They currently attend another church. There is one child in the Sunday school program - their's. They were thinking about switching to Charter Oak Church because they want their daughter to learn about having a relationship with Jesus. She asked me what they should do.

I said a quick prayer and then answered her that we would never try to take a family from another church. I told her I would never say anything negative about another church. Then I told her that she and her husband have a responsibility to raise their children to love God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. If they do not genuinely believe that is happening where they are now, then they need to find a place where that can happen.

I didn't get the feeling that this family is "church shopping" - trying us out because we are new. I really felt that this mom wants the best for her family and is willing to do whatever it takes to help her family to learn about Jesus. She told me that her family history at her current church goes back to her grandparents - they were married there. It was obvious that this was not going to be an easy decision.

As a pastor, this was a very tough question because I'm not sure of what my responsibility is to another church and helping people stay at their current church instead of attending ours. I'm not into sheep swapping, I would love it if all of the new people who attend Charter Oak Church didn't know Jesus - that would be awesome. But the truth of the matter is, there are churches dying and closing everyday and those people need a place to worship and grow.

Is it more important that a person or family stay at a dying church or to find a place where they can develop as a follower of Jesus? What would you have said to this mom?

Missing Pages

I was reading one of my new books for the year - Velvet Elvis, when I was in the middle of a great story that Rob Bell was telling and then I turned the page and 20 pages were missing right in the middle of the book! I couldn't believe it.

So I went on the the zondervan website to try to figure out what to do to get my missing pages. On the frequently asked questions page, it was number 7. This was the first time for me, but this is obviously something that happens often enough that it rates a 7 out of 194. I filled out the form and I just sent it out. Hopefully they will send me a new book. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Vision Message Response

This past weekend I had the privilege of sharing the vision message for 2007. At the end of the message I challenged everyone to ask themselves two questions:
  1. What's your next step in 2007?
  2. Who will you walk along side of in 2007?

I also challenged our congregation to sign up for one of our Discovery classes that we offer four times a year. Finally, I asked each person to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to come forward to receive a copy of my previous post on taking it to the next level in '07.

The response was incredible. We had more people sign up for our classes than we have ever had before. We had so many more people come forward at the end of the service to receive the card than I ever thought possible. I would have been happy with five people coming forward, instead we had hundreds. I am totally in awe of what God is doing here!

Commitment from Vision Message

I’m Taking It to the Next Level in ’07!

Today I am stepping across the line. I’m tired of waffling and I’m finished with wavering, I’ve made my choice, the verdict is in, and my decision is irrevocable. I’m going God’s way. There’s no turning back now!

I will live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes with God’s people on God’s planet for God’s glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word.

Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living, and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.

Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me,” character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most, and I’ll give it all I’ve got. I’ll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.

I won’t be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me. When times get tough, and I get tired, I won’t back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace. I’m Spirit-led, purpose driven, and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.

I’m a trophy of God’s amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for every day, and generous with everything God entrusts to me.To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say, "However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost I’m ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway. Whatever it takes, Lord; whatever it takes! I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear you say, 'Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!'"

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Vision Message

This weekend I am sharing the Vision message for 2007 to the people of Charter Oak Church. I can't believe that I have this incredible responsibility. I certainly do not feel worthy of this. I just completed my final run through. It is going to be a long message. But I hope that it is a simple message that everyone can get their head around and can get their heart into.

On Friday as I just put the finishing touches on the message, I read this quote, "If a vision must be sold to others, it is not a compelling vision and is probably not from God. Spiritual leaders don't sell vision; they share what God has revealed to them and trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm that same vision in the hearts of their people."

Monday, January 1, 2007

Book #1 - Momentum for Life

Today is the first day of the year and I have already read my first book. With the whole New Year's Resolution thing in mind, I thought I would begin with a book about "sustaining personal health, integrity, and strategic focus as a leader."

He uses an aconym called DRIVE:
Whatever I am devoted to is who I become.
Scripture reading for the day
Observation from what I read
Naming practical applications for my life
Written prayer.
Begin each day with the practice of Bible study, meditation, journaling, and prayer.

Spend at least an hour a day reading about the best practices of leadership culture today as
well as staying faithful to ancient truths of the past.
Life long learning: become a student of the culture, so you can continue to make a meaningful
contribution in God’s world.

Investing in key relationships, beginning with my family. I’m committed to putting my
family before my work and church.
Invest in other people who are strategic for the mission. All people are equally important to
God, but not all are equally strategic for the expenditure of your time for God’s purposes.

Visioning for the future. If I have no future pictures, I’ll live in the past. It’s critical that
you have a picture, because you become your life picture.
You have a unique calling; you must become who God has created you to be.
Look forward through eyes of faith. Articulate with clarity God’s preferred future; make
daily strategic corrections to your life picture.

Eating & Exercising
Take care of my heart and health. Run regularly. Work out with weights. Watch fats, carbs,
& sugars
Take small steps and then bigger ones. Take a vigorous walk. Take care of your body for the
long haul as well as for today.

Think Psalm 120:2
Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips and a deceitful tongue. Save me from rationalization, procrastination, and a lack of visualizing your bigger picture for my life mission.

Cool Christmas Present

From now on all of my book links with be with Barnes & Noble instead of Amazon. Why, you ask? Because of Stan and Betsy. She gave me a really cool Christmas present - a membership to Barnes & Noble. Now every time I walk into the store to buy something and the sales person asks me if I have a membership I can say "YES!" I used to hate that question, now I can't wait until someone asks me.

Happy New Year!

Rock on! It's a New Year! Everyone gets to start over. That feeling of freshness, that feeling of maybe things can be better, it's one of the closest connections that I can come up with to explain the grace of God. With God's grace all things are new. No matter who you are, no matter what you have said or done in the past, when you genuinely ask God to forgive you, it's done. It's a brand new day, a brand new year!

Thank you God for reminding me, a sinner, on this New Year's Day, that your grace is sufficient, even for me.