Back @ Mountain Lake for a day

Sitting in the Dayton International (ha ha) airport getting ready to fly to Atlanta! Jeff Murphy and I will be at all four Mountain Lake Church services tomorrow. Shawn and the team are going to celebrate what Mountain Lake is doing through their church planter’s residency program. They’re going to give some info about where we’re going (Jeff = Columbus, GA; Paul = Cincinnati, OH) and send us off with some love!

Investing a year of our lives at Mountain Lake in conjunction with churchplanters.com has been worth every moment of this last year! I can’t imagine what else we could have done to better prepare ourselves for this church planting journey. I’m confident that we will encounter those “Oh my gosh what do we do now?” moments in this journey, but those are probably the lessons I wasn’t paying attention to… 😉

A big thanks to Shawn, David, and the rest of the team @ Mountain Lake Church! AND a big thanks to all of our friends in Atlanta! We love you guys!

Getting ready to move

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes…

Yelling at little girls for unpacking boxes… apologizing for yelling… helping repack the boxes…

Trying to figure out what goes, what gets tossed, what gets sold, and what gets given away…

Playing with little girls… helping them make the third move for two of them and a second move for the other two… They’re doing good.

Trying to find food… let’s be honest here. At moving time, eating habits pretty much tank.

Found the best place in the world to get boxes… behind department stores in their “cardboard only” containers! They’re already broken down!

A bit sentimental about leaving friends…

Like a caged lion ready to go, ready to get on the ground and start Walls Down Church!

Trying to balance church work with home work in these crazy days… it’s kind of like God vs. Sherri… Gosh, what’s a guy to do in this situation? 😉

Coming babe…

Wrapping up our coaching network

Today is the last time our coaching network will meet.

Over the last six months a group of 10-12 church planters have sat around a table once per month and talked about “The Best Practices”:

  • Being mean about the vision
  • Financing the mission
  • Thinking team
  • Rethinking discipleship
  • Nurturing vitality

These coaching sessions have been insightful and provided a great opportunity to network with other leaders in the field. If you are in ministry and have not been through a coaching network, you need to reconsider that decision! Let me encourage you to check out what churchplanters.com is offering! You can check out their coaching network here.

Here’s to a great group of guys who are in the trenches of ministry!

Living “in between”

Here’s some great counsel from a wise man (Solomon) to his son, (read it and we’ll come back to it in a minute),

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:23-27)

Yesterday we went to Fusion Church (a church plant meeting in a high school). Pastor Tony delivered a word right to my heart. He said, “Sometimes the hardest place to be is in between.” In other words, you’re not where you used to be, but you’re not where you want to be. That’s where I’m at… in between.

For the last year I have been living “in between”. While this year has been so valuable, and I would certainly do it again, it has also been draining. I’ve been functioning out of my weaknesses while the areas of strength and giftedness have been virtually untapped. The things that impassion me (e.g. teaching, pastoring, leading) have not been my lot this year, while the things that drain me (e.g. working in the details, etc.) have been my full time job.

My guess is that I’m not the only one living in this land of discomfort; the land of “in between”. You or someone you know is on a similar journey. Anticipation of arrival is what keeps you going! That promotion, that next step relationally (e.g. marriage; kids moving out; etc.), that vacation… or whatever your “arrival point” is keeps you going. But if you’re honest, the journey through the land of “in between” gets pretty long.

So how do we successfully navigate the journey from where we were to where we’re going? I think Solomon’s words are dead on,

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:23-27)

Thanks to the counsel of two wise men (Solomon and Tony) I believe I’ll make it through this land of “in between”, and you can make it through yours too! Hang in there! Keep believing and stay focused and some day we’ll each arrive in the land of promise!

Coaching

Right now I’m sitting in the next to last Church Planter’s Coaching Network meeting.

Today we’re going to discuss the last of the five “Best Practices” – Financing the Mission.

Churchplanters.com teaches that the five “Best Practices” are:

  1. Be mean about the vision
  2. Think team
  3. Nurture vitality
  4. Re-think discipleship
  5. Finance the mission

You can read more about these practices here.

If you’re interested in being a part of this monthly coaching network, you can find out how here.

The thing about these practices is that they are not original to churchplanters.com or any other organization. These are simply the practices that healthy, successful pastors and leaders are embracing and living out.

I love it that these guys have identified these “best practices”, model them, and teach them to pastors and leaders everywhere.

Great websites

Churchrelevance.com just released their “Top 80 Church Websites” list.

This list is national in it’s scope and in alphabetical order.

#59 on the list is Mountain Lake Church! Way to go guys!

And #60 on the list is Northgate Free Methodist Church! Way to go Justin!

In case you’re not aware of the significance of this, MLC is where I am currently in a church planting residency and Northgate is where I served as senior pastor prior to coming to MLC.

Disclaimer: I did not have ANYTHING to do with the fact that either of these places have great websites!

Another Disclaimer: I won’t post any more pictures of Justin after this! 😉 I’m just real proud to have served together with you man! OK, back to business…