GOD GROWS HIS CHURCH

Tonight I am in Portland, Or at the MFI International conference. Frank Damazio is preaching on Unleashing the Power to Grow. This message is timely, illustrating the power of growth through the early church and Acts. Did you know Jesus’ church grew to 10,000 very quickly in it’s infancy. From there is spread to multiple churches in many cities. People were added, many were believing, and people of every surrounding nation were being impacted.

Why is it that we church leaders settled or limited growth? Sometimes I find church people slipping into maintaining their spiritual life instead of advancing, growing. Why is it that so many churches are dead, like they’ve hoisted the white flag of surrender, and are just waiting for “in the event of rapture, this car will be empty?” What is a matter with us when we don’t find people–broken, lost, missing, searching–and invite them with us to Sunday morning?

Frank challenged me to these 7 convictions! I accept the challenge. I accept the responsibility to give my life to these. Will you read through these, consider where you are in your convictions about church growth, especially your church?

Seven Settled Ministry Convictions~

  1. We will give our lives to starting churches, growing churches and multiplying growing churches nationally and internationally.
  2. God wants His church to grow, God wants the church we lead to grow, and no growth is unacceptable.How many people are being saved?How many are being baptized?How many are being impacted?
  3. Leading and growing church is a decision, a conviction and a commitment to break through all necessary obstacles.It takes harder work to grow a church than sustain a church.
  4. We will deal with all seasons of church growth.Deal with systematic planned out season of growth.Understand there is plateau growth, warfare growth and “less than” growth.
  5. Declining or dying churches can be revived and can experience a turn around season.
  6. Building a culture of church growth is a God-pleasing and God-ordained attitude.
  7. God has opened a door of opportunity for a great season of church.

What do you think? Can you commit to these convictions about your church? If you can then let’s begin right now. Prayer this prayer. “God, open the door to my church. Put me in a place of growth to grow my church.”

Ok, expect growth…

SUNDAY’S MESSAGE

Thank you for all the emails sent from TRC’ers who were impacted by Sunday’s message. I also felt like the service, from the jump, had the potential of impacting the masses. Considering the economic developments today I know we need, at minimum, a weekly perspective enhancer. When I sit under the Word of God personally it’s amazing how my challenges shrink. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” The simple fact that it is “impossible to please God without faith” convinces me that I need to be under the Word often!

Here’s the deal. If you, and you know who you are, are skipping out on Sunday church because your struggling economically that is the worst thing you can do! Sunday was a timely message regarding our economy and you should have been there. I’m off my soap box now. :-) but stop skipping church in times like these. You cannot afford–financially, mentally or spiritually–to miss out on what the Lord might say to you about your world.

Thanks to Mike who brought me Seth Godin’s perspective on these economic times. Many people have asked for this so the link is here.

This is what Seth wrote,

Looking for a reason to hide, By Seth Godin

I’ve seen it before and I’m sure I’ll see it again.

Whenever a business cycle starts to falter, the media start wringing their hands. Then big businesses do, freelancers, entrepreneurs and soon everyone is keening.

People and organizations that have no real financial stress start to pull back, “because it’s prudent.” Now is not the time, they say. They cut budgets and put off investments. It’s almost as if everyone is just waiting for an excuse to do less.

In fact, they are.

Growth is frightening for a lot of people. It brings change and the opportunity for public failure. So if the astrological signs aren’t right or the water is too cold or we’ve got a twinge in our elbow, we find an excuse. We decide to do it later, or not at all.

What a shame. What a waste.

Inc. magazine reports that a huge percentage of companies in this year’s Inc. 500 were founded within months of 9/11. Talk about uncertain times.

But uncertain times, frozen liquidity, political change and poor astrological forecasts (not to mention chicken entrails) all lead to less competition, more available talent and a do-or-die attitude that causes real change to happen.

If I wasn’t already running my own business, today is the day I’d start one.

WEEKEND REFLECTIONS: RACING

It was the final race of the 2008 season at Evergreen Speedway this weekend. The weather was great and our team showed up prepared for a great night. All in all it was a successful evening, just barely.

Entering the event I was 4th in points for the season with no chance of going to 3rd, but the potential for dropping to 5th. My goals were top five for the season, so starting the main event solidified expectations. However, no one wants to drop a spot on the final race of the season. I almost did.

We qualified 10th, not very good. I don’t know what was going on, but the car simply was not fast all day. After qualifying Steve made a great call, he changed the front springs back to exactly what we had previous for the Washington 500. It was the right call.

Race.
The race started and as I usually do, I settled in for the early laps. I was right behind the fast qualifier after the invert, so I had some good opportunities to see what I had. The car was a lot better than earlier in the day, but it was erratic, unpredictable. Unfortunately, I think it was like this last week also, but I often don’t say anything cause I just drive the thing not thinking something is wrong.

We had moved from 10th to 7th. The car was under me, but I was clearly not as good as the top 3. I figured, at that point (15 laps), I had a top 5 car again and I would just pick off a few guys as the laps wore on.

As we were passing someone on the outside going into turn one the rear end snapped loose, then it did it again in turn 2, 3 and 4. This happened for 3 laps and I was convinced I had a flat right rear tire. It was time to be super smart, I needed a caution, or risk losing the grip on 4th in points!

I only had 12 points to give to Mike Holden, who was having his best 5/8′s race of the year. At the time of my grief he was in the top 3! I could not finish last, so I kept riding around, giving up positions.

Funny thing was is the car started getting better. I started driving it harder and harder and it was holding up, until about 8 or 9 laps went by and then “bam,” loose again in every turn.

We had a caution, and I didn’t want to lose track position, so I stayed out because I concluded there was no way I could have a flat tire and still be going. After the restart the car was good, but after 5 laps it snapped loose in three. This time I almost spun it out and hit the fence. I saved it about the 4th groove up by the wall. That is the closest I’ve been to big wreck yet!

I eased off, but it was worse and worse. I fell from 7th, to 10th, to 12th. Finally I pitted under green. The guys couldn’t find anything wrong, so we went out a couple laps down. We had a caution, I pitted again, but still couldn’t find anything.

The race ended with me 4 laps down in 15th. At that point I was pretty rattled because we really couldn’t identify anything wrong with the car. Roger was there and he went to turn the right rear wheel with the left rear wheel on the ground. It should take hundreds of lbs. of pressure to turn the locker, but Roger could do it with his bare hands. He is strong and all, but that was definitely the problem, the rear end of the car was blowing up all race. Thank the Lord I finished without a) destroying the car and b) dropping to 5th in points.

Mike Holden had a good night and finished 5th. I lost 10 points to him and ended up 4th in points for the year by a margin of 3! That’s too close for comfort. Congrats to Naima Lang for winning the title this year, he had the superior effort all season long!

I want to give a shout out to my whole crew who makes every weekend possible! Racing is a team sport, we win and lose together. Will, Steve, Pam, John, Scott F, Dano, Aaron, Roger, Roger H, Tony, Justin, Clayton, Eddie, Scott L (99), Mike (1/2 season), Mark, Bill, Darin (4), and all the others who came when they could to help! I appreciate each of you more than you know. I think we had a great season, accomplished our goals! Most of all I’d like to thank my car owner and biggest support, Melinda and Seven.

There is only two more items on the race calendar for 2008! Run the Fall Classic in Yakima this weekend, and the awards banquet in November. After that 2009 will be here before we can say boogity, boogity, boogity.

Finally, thank you to all the faithful loyal fans who come out every week. I still have the loudest section in the stands thanks to all of you. I’d like to invite you to the awards banquet in early November. It is open to the public; you can get tickets at the Evergreen Speedway office.

VOLUNTEERPOLOOZA HIGH POINTS

THANK YOU! What a great night at TRC on Sunday! There were well over 200+ volunteers, exciting for sure, and I am so glad we can do this each year!

Here are some of the high points of the last 12 months!

  • We grew from a volunteer base of 120ish in 2007 to over 200 this year! There are still volunteer opportunities.
  • We’ve seen hundreds saved, and over 100 people take the plunge in the waters of baptism. Every person TRC reaches is impacted by our volunteers.
  • Our volunteers served the 1,000th active member at the end of 2007. We have a connection to 3 times this many, but we have 1,072 active people to serve in TRC!
  • Our volunteers serve 700 adults and 150+ children every week.
  • Our volunteers gave away over 200 Christmas Presents to kids at Christmas in 2007, can’t wait for ’08.
  • Did you know there were 50 new babies born to TRC in the last 12 months? Yes, FIFTY!
  • 825 bags or backpacks of school supplies were given to the most desiring children, 54 boxes to teacher’s in the Monroe School District and 8 boxes to the Monroe Food Bank. All of this accomplished by volunteers.
  • Volunteers accomplished a $40,000 remodel to the children’s wing and bathrooms. Awesome.
  • 59 students were a part of Ignite Youth Camp, all served by volunteers taking time off work to help reach young people.
  • 32 3-5 graders went to Accelerate Kids Camp, all served by volunteers.
  • Five 1st year, five 2nd year interns graduated; in addition, 18 started this fall. Every intern is impacted by volunteers: host homes, cooks and chefs, teachers, leaders, helpers. The Quarry is not possible without volunteers.
  • Easter Eggstravaganza had 500+ people, all lead by volunteers. Several decisions for Christ were made that weekend.
  • The Father’s Day car and bike show had 1000+ in attendance, all coordinated by volunteers from The Rock Church. Again, many decisions for Christ.
  • In the last 12 months we have sent volunteer missionaries to the LA Dream Center, Centralia (Flood Relief), Africa, Puerto Vallarta, Guam and India.
  • The Race Car Reach Team did outreach in Portland (City Bible Church), Boys Camp (Ranger Camp), Lake Stevens, Camano Island, and Meridian Idaho (Capital Christian Center).
  • A team of faithful volunteers launched The Rock Church Hispanic Bible Study.
  • Volunteers gave to help a bible college replace their dorm room boiler (heat), other people (rent, electric, heat, etc.), Ministries to battered women’s shelters and so much more.
  • In the past 12 months our volunteers have given $120 k to be given away!
  • Hosting Mitosis was a huge momentum builder for the volunteers at TRC.
  • There are countless “ministry moments” had in homes, on blogs, during outreaches and the like that cannot be quantified, all lead by volunteers.
  • The Rock Church is only the church it is because of the volunteers who endlessly give their time, talent and treasure to the Kingdom of God.

There is a lot to be said for all the people who make TRC possible. Years ago, while hosting Acquire the Fire Youth Conferences I learned a quote I’ve never forgotten.

“Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, they are not paid because they are priceless.” -unknown

The reality is I can look back at the last 12 months in my life and see how volunteers have impacted my life in so many ways! I’ve had help with becoming a parent, suffering loss, leading our church, being a dad, husband and man of God. There is really nothing worthwhile in my life without the influence of volunteers!

What about you? Has your life been impacted by the help and passion of volunteers?