I was recommended (and then given – thank you!) a new book this week – Cirque Du Soleil’s The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All. At only 130 pages or so, it is a quick read, like most of what I like to tackle.

The story is a business fable about a guy named Frank who is burned out in his job and through a chance interaction gets connected to the creative process of the daring acrobatic circus troupe. While it is more story than business principles, there’s enough along the way to pick up and apply. You feel the intensity they feel in creating an epic experience for audiences. You see the power of teamwork and trust for each other that literally scales to life and death levels. You will search your own heart to make sure you are following your calling in life, too. I enjoyed the book -and since I’ve never been, I might need to go catch a show soon, too. B

JG

Been reading Lasting Impressions: From Visiting to Belonging by Mark Waltz. Mark is pastor from Granger Community Church who is strategically leading their ministry help people stick. I haven’t followed his blog like I do many others from their ministry, but liked the topic of his book and thought I could glean some insights/ideas from his work. The chapter on having “too full of a menu” is particularly strong – how when we advertise too much people commit to nothing. Another section on small groups being “a way” and not “the way” was interesting as well, and chapter 7 on the discipleship process fits really nicely with principles taught in Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. Good stuff, read this book to begin to help close the backdoor of your youth ministry. B

JG



Enjoyed my first audiobook on my walks last week – I’ve still been enjoying the silence, but thought it might be fun to listen to something for a change. Thank God It’s Monday is about strategies to unlock the potential in your team and make for a remarkable workplace. Good stories, good principles, lots of passion – all focused on how your workplace helps or hinders productivity. Good stuff – and although it is different “hearing” someone speak – but you get so much more personality as well as good content. B-

Pastor Rick shared some thoughts at Catalyst West today – he was on stage with Andy Stanley at the same time (which was awesome in and of itself) and shared some thoughts about pace and margin. Here’s the 3 thoughts, follow everything live on Twitter from CatWest right here:

Divert Daily – spend time with the people and what you love to do every day.

Withdraw Weekly – if you’re not taking a Sabbath, you are breaking the 10 Commandments. Don’t just take a day off – you can cheat on that – take a Sabbath.

Abandon Annually - the world will survive without you. Get away from everything.

JG



Saw this article in USA Today over the weekend, thought there was an interesting application for student ministry. With the economy down and our budgets being cut (HSM is about -20% of last year’s budget) people are turning to the church for help. This means less expensive activities, more scholarships and thinking about how you program and even care for volunteers. Here’s a clip:

Pleas for help — spiritual and financial — are flooding U.S. churches, from tiny congregations to megachurches, as recession woes seep into the pews, a new survey finds.
Pastors say they’re giving out benevolent funds in record numbers, increasing ministries to the unemployed and the financially fearful, even reaching into their own pockets more to help.

Nearly two in three pastors (62%) report more people from outside their church asking for help, and nearly a third (31%) see more such requests from church members, according to a survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors.

The survey, by LifeWay Research, a Christian polling firm based in Nashville, finds that 40% of pastors say they have church members out of work, and 37% say their church has increased spending to help the needy. (The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.)

JG

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Weekend Teaching Series: Refuel (week 2 of 3)
Sermon Title: Stop, Collaborate and Listen
Sermon in a Sentence: God wants us to live a refueled life, we have to stop and be quiet to hear His voice.
Weekend Scale of Difficulty: 6 out of 10.

Attendance: Up 1% from the previous weekend, up 63% from this same weekend last year
Service Length: 72 minutes
Understandable Message: This week’s talk was one I was living out for sure these days between prepping talks, the PDYM conference and getting ready for a New Mexico mission trip. No family time, no margin, no time with God! Truth is, we’re too busy and fill our lives with too much noise to hear God’s voice! We talked through the story of Elijah and used a stop light to describe the actions we need to take to create the opportunity for God to speak. I really love the video we made to illustrate the concept of crowding voices on our connection to God.

Volunteer/Student Involvement: Students and adult volunteers ran the control room, computer, lights, sound and cameras. Volunteers were great and jumped in all over the place. I gave the announcements in the adult services this weekend as well, and ran down just in time to teach. Sweaty!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We opened up with Jake’s Not Fair music video and also played a game where students had to guess the correct definition of a long and unheard of “re” word. Everyone voted in the crowd which definition was correct, and the contestant had to agreed or disagreed. All in all, great fun opening in keeping with the “re”fuel theme.

Music Playlist: Stop and Stare, One Pure and Holy Passion, You Deserve, Til I See You

Favorite Moment: We asked students to tell us the ways that they would commit to stop and be quiet this week – we used Poll Everywhere to have them text in whatever they want to say in 140 characters. The responses, moderated then displayed during the first song, were amazing. I’m excited to see what happens when we listen to God’s voice this week!

Next up: Refuel, series finale



New Mexico Promo Essay

 —  March 20, 2009 — 1 Comment

Based on these observations about out marketing of the New Mexico mission trip, one of our team members put together some unique last-minute promo for it last weekend. It was really fun:

I love New Mexico and You Are Too
By Josh Pease

There are some people who say that New Mexico is lame — “I’m not going on the New Mexico trip” they say. But these people also think the Jonas Brothers make good music, so clearly they can’t be trusted. Also, people who dislike New Mexico hurt baby seals. That’s a medically proven fact.

You know who doesn’t hurt baby seals? New Mexico, that’s who. New Mexico LOVES baby seals. New Mexico also has super awesome gnarly rocks like this one here. This rock is actually called Shiprock, which is kind of a weird name for a rock in the middle of the desert, but whatever. Shiprock also happens to be the name of the town we’ll be staying at April 10-15.

While in New Mexico we will stop at a place called “four corners” where you can look really weird trying to stand in four states at one time. We will also enjoy a local delicacy of the Navajo people called the “Navajo Taco” which in addition to sounding like a rhyme from Dr. Seuss are absolutely delicious.

During the trip we’ll spend as much time as possible helping repair the Navajo homes, hanging with the kids, and even putting on a carnival that we’ll do ourselves with face painting, sno cone machines, a dunking booth, and other fun games.

The reason we’re doing all of this is because the Navajos are one of the poorest people groups in America. Due to a history of being abused and marginalized, the Navajo’s are still very distrustful of outsiders. And they are especially wary of Christianity, with only 5% of them claiming to follow Jesus.

And this, ultimately, is why you should go on the New Mexico trip. It’s chance for those of us, who have been given so much, to give to others. It’s an opportunity to show Jesus’ love in a practical way to a group of people who desperately need to hear it.

This weekend is your last chance to sign up. The cost is $425 dollars and it happens over spring break, April 5-10. If you want more information find the blue registration sheet right outside that door or find anyone on staff and we’ll point you in the right direction.

So sign up now … do it for the baby seals.

JG

Just read through Killing Cockroaches by Tony Morgan – and it instantly felt familiar to me. Of course, I’ve been a TM-stalker since the early days of his blog. Tony has put together his favorite blog posts, articles, writings and probably some new ideas into a little book that meanders through his leadership learnings over the past several years. The book has no chapters and reads like a slowly dripping mind dump from one of the modern day thought leaders of the church. Tony is engaging, casual and at times funny as he helps us think different about leadership and the church. A

JG