Thursday, September 27, 2007

October Newsletter Now Available On-Line

You can read the October Newsletter on-line by clicking here.

New Sermon Series

Here's the image for my next sermon series...

There is only one way to escape gravity: speed. To break free of the earth’s invisible arms, an object needs to be moving into the air at seven miles per second. This required initial speed is called the escape velocity.
God is the author of the cosmic creation of gravity. The force to leave the grasp of gravity is incredible. However, as the creator, God’s gravity has an even greater force. And yet we choose to resist and even walk away from God’s gravity.
This series will explore the pull on our lives in four different areas that define us as members of Charter Oak Church and what happens when the influence of God’s gravity is greater than any other pull in our lives.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Continuing with this week's theme of what I am learning from other leaders, here is something I read this morning from Wayne Cordeiro from New Hope Christian Fellowship. Check it out...

The 5% only you can do
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro

As leaders, we must develop excellent skills in four areas. If you develop two or three skills, it is not enough. We need all four. It’s like the four corners of a table. If you remove one, you can still have a semblance of balance but any little bit of weight will toss you over. These four skills are:

  • Organizational skills
  • People skills
  • Personal skills
  • Communication skills

For most of us, organization is not a native talent. It’s something we will need to develop. I had to work on my organizational skills. A lot of pastors never develop this, and the result is a warped ministry. A lack of organization is what’s going to kill us unless we develop ourselves.

Psalm 50:23 says, “To him who orders his way aright, to him I will show the salvation of God.”

There has to be a sense of organization and discipline.

Eighty-five percent of what you do, anyone can do. For example, anyone can return phone calls, have a job, attend meetings and interact with customers. Ten percent of what you do, anyone with some measure of training can accomplish.
But…5% of what you do, only you can do!

Only you can be the father or mother to your children. No one else.
Only you can be the spouse God expects you to be.
Only you can keep yourself healthy.
Only you are responsible to keep yourself inspired.
Only you can decide your attitude and disposition toward life.

This 5% is what’s most important! This is what others will remember about you. This is what God holds us responsible for.

Take time to decide five or six things that are most important in your life. Here are examples from my life:

  • A deep and growing relationship with Christ.
  • A healthy marriage.
  • A wholesome and close family.
  • A healthy ministry that resources others (I am a pastor and an author)
  • Keeping physically fit with a soul that’s creative.
  • Taking time to enjoy life with family and friends.
  • Make a list and decide what your 5% is. Yours may resemble these in part, but it must reflect what God is asking of you for this season of your life.

The 5% may also include:

  • Something you need to improve.
  • Something you need to develop.
  • What do you need to research?
  • What do you need to prepare for that is coming up?
  • When was the last time you exercised?
  • Do you need to get counsel from anybody? Counseling on:
    Ministry. Do you need to get any counsel on that?
    Children. When was the last time you did anything with your children?
    People under your care. Is there anyone you need to touch base with?
    Recruiting. Is there anybody you need to encourage into ministry?

Remember, God will not hold you accountable for what you’ve done as much as He will hold you accountable for how much of what He has asked you to do that you have done. This 5% is the tip of your leadership.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blogs I Read

A couple of days ago I posted that my leadership development grows daily because of the blogs that I read. The people I read each day are priceless to me. I am challenged, inspired, pushed, pulled, and often times led into God's presence. I give God great thanks for the following people and what they bring to the leadership table.

Tim Stevens - Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church. I was able to spend the day with Tim earlier this year. His stuff is always good.

Craig Groeschel - Senior Pastor at Life Church. If this guys isn't on your must read, put him at the very top. What Craig is able to accomplish is mind blowing. I don't know of anyone who has greater leadership gifts than this guy.

Perry Noble - Senior Pastor at New Spring Community Church. I read Perry to inspire me to take the next step and not listen to the nay sayers. He gives me an infusion of courage to begin the day.

Tony Morgan - I'm not sure his title, but he is a leadership giant and on staff at New Spring Community. I love the variety of his posts - he hits on so many subjects.

Scott Hodge - Pastor of The Orchard. He helps me to think creatively.

Steven Furtick - Pastor of Elevation Church. This is a new church start that is about 18 months old and broke through the 2,500 in worship barrier this past weekend. God is all over this guy. You want proof that God is working major miracles, read this guys blog.

I also read a few others who don't post daily, some of them are really good and I wish they would be more consistent, but I can't really complain since I'm not that consistent myself.

If you had one blog you absolutely had to read, which one would it be?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just Read This Quote

Yesterday I posted that I daily read some blogs that pour into my leadership development. Here's proof of some of the really good stuff I get to read everyday. This is from Scott Rodgers...

It is from a Franciscan Benediction…
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

How is God blessing you?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Proverbs 17:2

As part of my early morning time with God, I read the Proverbs chapter that corresponds with the date of the month. This morning as I read Proverbs 17, I read verse 2 and the note in my Bible that went with the verse.

"A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, and will share an inheritance among the brothers."

Here's the note from my Bible: "Our influence has less to do with our position or title than it does with the life we live. The key word is credibility. We gain credibility when our life matches our talk and when both add value to others. Answer the following vital questions:
  1. Consistency: Are you the same person no matter who's with you?
  2. Choices: Do you make decisions based on how they benefit you or others?
  3. Credit: Are you quick to recognize others for their efforts when you succeed?
  4. Character: Do you work harder at your image or your integrity?
  5. Credibility: Have you recognized that credibility is a victory, not a gift?"

Those five questions should be asked daily by every leader.


I had to fill out a form the other day as part of my annual review by our denomination. One of the questions was about my continuing education. I knew the reason for the question was for accountability for taking classes and going to events that issued continuing education credits. I've been to many of those type events so that I could write on that form that I had done what was required of me. But to be honest, the majority of those of events were anything but educational.

I believe leaders are called to be learners. I read as much as I can. On that same form there was a place for the books we have read recently - there were six lines. Does that say that there really isn't an expectation that our leaders will be readers and learners?

One of the most productive learning things I do is daily read a handful of blogs by leaders who are ahead of me in their leadership gifting. These are men and women who are in the local church and in the business world that I learn from every day - not once a year at a conference or event, but every day they pour into my ability to be a better leader and pastor. The thing is, that kind of continuing education is not what that form is looking for. And that's too bad.

I have worked with some pastors of mega churches this year. These men took time out of their extremely busy schedule to spend time with me! Yet, this isn't what fulfills the desired input for that form. I learned more during those meetings this year with those pastors than all of the "official" continuing education events I have ever been to in my life.

If you are reading this and you are from Charter Oak Church, I want you to find ways to learn to be the very best you have been created to be. I want you to find ways to become a great leader. I want you to dare to get outside the "normal" and expected ways of doing church and instead be the church that God has called us to be in this time and in this place. And here's the thing - do it every day.

Friday, September 14, 2007

August at a Glance

August 4/5 - Dave preached
641 in worship (30% increase from 2006)
161 in Sunday school (5.2% increase from 2006)

August 11/12 - Mark preached
589 in worship (7.5% increase from 2006)
181 in Sunday school (16% increase from 2006)

August 18/19 - I preached
630 in worship (5.7% increase from 2006)

August 25/26 - I preached
603 in worship (19.4% decrease from 2006 - 1st service in new building in 2006)

Friday, September 7, 2007

New Series Kick-Off

Pastor Dave starts a new series this weekend called Relationships Interrupted: Troubled Relationships.

We are very excited about the launch of our fall season. We now have a second hour of Christian education for children at 11:00am. We have small group opportunities for adults during all three worship services on Sunday mornings. Our student ministry kicks-off this Sunday night with a vision casting message by Pastor Mark.

We have over 20 new small groups you can sign up for this weekend if you haven't already done that. As we continue to grow bigger and bigger, we want to get smaller and smaller through small groups. Next Saturday, September 15 we have a church wide serving morning that will be happening every month. Make sure you sign up this weekend.

There are so many opportunities for people to get connected to God and each other at Charter Oak Church. You certainly should not try to do it all, that's not what it's about. Instead, find those places to plug in that will help you to take your next step in your faith journey and that will help someone else take their next step with you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

We've Been Nominated

I received an email last week telling me that Charter Oak Church as been nominated for the America's Most Innovative Churches of 2008. We are #39, but I don't think they are ranked right now - just listed. I think we do some pretty cool things around here. There are two things that we have done in the last year in particular that have hit it out of the park.

Our First Impressions ministry has changed the connectional culture of our congregation. People are genuinely excited to see and talk to people. We have a parking team that is the most creative and fun loving people ever to stand on blacktop. When you walk in our doors, we have the traditional greeters who are incredibly authentic in their greeting. But after you pass the greeters we have a core of people who do something that no other church I have been in on Sunday morning do - they walk you there. What I mean is that if someone enters our church and asks for directions, we don't point - we walk you there. In the time of walking to the destination that First Impressions person will engage the person, get to know them, and often times will follow up with that person afterward. I was recently told by a new person to Charter Oak Church that the reason she came back was because of the person walking her to her destination called her later that evening to follow up on their conversation. This isn't something that we teach, it was this person being prompted by the Holy Spirit and saying yes. The First Impressions ministry has contributed in a huge way to our growth at Charter Oak Church.

The other ministry that has hit it out of the park was started this summer. We called it Sizzlin' Saturday. After worship on Saturday night we rolled out the grill, put meat to fire, and we ate. The head of our food services, Brenda, did a great job putting together a team of grill masters to pull off one of the best summers at Charter Oak Church. Attendance was up on Saturday night by nearly 70%. Yes, I said 70%. Our total increase in worship for the summer was 25%, but Saturday night was just plain awesome. Here's something that blew all of us away - it didn't rain one time on a Saturday night all summer! Sizzlin' Saturday provided the environment for people to connect and build community.

As I look at the list of the churches who have been nominated I know we aren't worshipping 7,000 or 25,000. But we aren't using that as an excuse. We are doing our best to respond when God prompts us by the power of the Holy Spirit to obediently follow His leading. If we make the final list of Innovative Churches isn't important. (I do like being on the list, though.) What's most important for us is letting people know they matter to God and we are here to help them to become more like Jesus.