Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Great Staff Retreat

Our ministerial staff has just completed a two-day retreat at a retreat center in Kansas. We tackled some pretty challenging items on our agenda as we seek to move forward into the future, building on the momentum of our recent 150th anniversary celebration. Discussion centered on a new mission statement for the church, a new missional outreach strategy toward our community entitled "First Serve," a possible shift in our approach to Sunday morning worship, some adjustments to our Wednesday night schedule, and some preliminary talks about a more intentional and better-defined process of moving folks along on the path of discipleship and spiritual maturity.

All in all, it was a great experience with a wonderful spirit of camaraderie. Even when dealing with some potentially difficult and divisive topics, there was a great deal of maturity demonstrated as folks felt free to express their convictions and their input was received and affirmed by the rest of the staff. I feel very blessed to be a part of our church and a member of its staff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

Our church's 150th anniversary celebration this weekend was a tremendous blessing. We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 750 people at John Knox Pavilion last night for our family dinner. It featured some good food, but more importantly, some great music and testimonies by some of our long-time members. We had several tables filled with folks who had been members for 50+ years. The member who has been here longest is a 93-year "young" woman who joined at the age of 11. Several others have been here for 60+ years. It was great to hear their reflections on what the church has meant to them and their families.

Today began with a continental breakfast in the fellowship hall and then a combined worship service that featured three brief messages focusing on the past and the present and outstanding music from three choirs (adult, youth, and children), the handbells, the orchestra, and the praise band. The service featured two songs written specifically for the occasion which were quite beautiful--one performed by the orchestra and the other by the adult choir. The service also incorporated dramatic interpretation of some of the music. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with a great crowd and outstanding worship experience.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Follow-up Journal article

The second of the two articles in the Lee's Summit Journal regarding our church's 150th anniversary celebration was published yesterday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lee's Summit Journal Article on Church Anniversary

I was interviewed a couple of weeks back by a reporter from the Lee's Summit Journal (our local paper) about the upcoming 150th anniversary for our church that we will celebrate this weekend. I hadn't received the history books at the time the reporter stopped by so I loaned her a printed copy of the manuscript that I had on hand.

The anniversary is featured on the front page of today's edition. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good write-up. She majored on the Civil War period a bit more than I would have, but I suspect that's because she skimmed the first few pages of the manuscript where that was treated.

I'm looking forward to the second part that will be published on Friday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pete Briscoe on God's love for us

I missed the Aha! on-line conference that Leadership Network did recently, but received an email invitation today to watch this testimony by Pete Briscoe, pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrolton, TX. It's well worth the 5:15 minutes it takes to watch it.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Book is Here

Thursday afternoon one of our church secretaries received a call from a freight line, informing us of a shipment due to arrive in 15 minutes. It was a bit of a surprise as I had spoken with my contact person at the printer who had told me that the books probably wouldn't ship until sometime on Friday and would most likely arrive this coming week. I was okay with that, as it still meant that the books would be here a full week and a half or so before our 150th anniversary celebration on April 17th and 18th.

When the secretary told me she thought that it might be the books coming in early, I experienced the excitement of a father-to-be awaiting the coming of his newborn baby. I was thrilled when a big freight truck pulled up with one pallet containing the books, fresh from the printer. We had ordered 500 copies and they actually wound up delivering an extra box of 20 for a total of 520. I made an executive decision with our minister of education who has been heading up the anniversary planning committee's work to give a complimentary copy to each staff member as well as our pastor emeritus. I also plan to give one to the artist whose commemorative painting helps grace the cover and to his son-in-law who helped with the graphic design of the cover.

This morning we had a huge Easter crowd in both morning services and some of our ladies were selling copies of the book before, between, and after the services. I had the opportunity to sign copies for many of those who chose to purchase a book today. The end product turned out to be 262 pages long. The history book was a major focus of my life for about 9 or 10 months, and I'm really excited to hold it in my hand in its final form. Several have asked me what I'm going to do with all my free time now. I'm not sure what the next major project will be, but for the time being, I'm enjoying the feeling of having wrapped this one up.