This Sunday my wife Nancy will catch a flight to Shanghai, China for twelve days. This will be her third trip to see her son Nathan who is working for Disney Imagineering on the new Disney Park in Shanghai. The park is now slated to open in the spring of 2016. Making this trip even more special is that her other two sons Cory and Ty, along with their significant others, will be making the trip as well. I guess you can call it a family reunion on the other side of the world. Cory’s wife Kat is planning the itinerary, which right now has them spending most of their time in Shanghai and Beijing.
March Madness begins this week, which is my favorite time of the year. I guess Nancy picked a good time to head out of the country. I can watch as much basketball in my free time as I wish without feeling guilty. I will start by heading down to Seymour with daughter Janae this Saturday (Nancy is working all day) to watch New Albany in Regional action. New Albany (ranked #5) will square off against Evansville Reitz. New Albany is where all my children graduated from and Evansville Reitz was the number one team in the state until getting knocked off two weeks ago by Southport. Reitz is most likely the school my grandson Coen will end up going to, so lots of interest in this game in our family.
Monday and Tuesday, five of us from Old Bethel attended the Renovate or Die workshop presented by Bob Farr. He shared a lot of the wisdom he has gained in personally growing two mega-churches and working in congregational development with the Missouri Conference. He is the one most responsible for the Fruitful Congregation Journey (FCJ) we employed at Old Bethel to develop our vision and five prescriptions. Most challenging to me was his call that pastors need to be modeling a presence in the community by spending 10% of their time in places where they can develop relationships with unchurched people. We are now in a world where the people will not come to the church so we have to go to them.
Bob has a book with the same title (Renovate or Die) and a second book that is coming out entitled Get Their Name. He said he wanted to name that second book How to Witness Without Being Weird but Abingdon Press wouldn’t allow it. A sermon series and workbook will be coming out soon so don’t be surprised if that becomes a sermon series here at Old Bethel sometime soon.
Monday night at our Connection Team (Intentional Faith Development) meeting we worked on our plans for taking the Gathering experience to the Braeburn Apartment Clubhouse. We set a launch date of May 15 and have a model in mind which includes a meal, some worship, a devotion, discussion and prayer around tables. If successful, we will bring this model back to Old Bethel in the fall with a new name.
Pastor Matthew and I met with Sergio Reyes yesterday. He informed us that he is ready to launch the worship phase of his Hispanic efforts. Sergio will work with this group for 1-2 months until he believes the leadership is trained and ready to assume the work. He believes within 4-6 weeks he could have as many as 30 children who will be integrated within our Family Ministries efforts on Sunday morning. So we are putting out the cry that WE NEED HELP NOW! Please communicate with Pastor Matthew if you are willing to be trained and assist on a rotation so we can continue to grow with this ministry.
This Sunday we will dive into that mysterious book of Revelation. I believe I will give you some understandings which will make this book less threatening to you and hopefully enable you to experience its very powerful message. In preparation, read Revelation 21:1-8.
See you Sunday,