Archives For Spotlight

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I became familiar with ExPastors.com and their Founder, Bo Lane, a couple of years ago. I’ve stayed in touch with Bo ever since. Over the past year, I’ve considered being more involved. Over the last month, I’ve now taken over as Executive Director of ExPastors.com.

I encourage you to get to know us. We’re not a place for people to bash the Church. We are a ministry that offers help, healing and hope to ex-pastors (for whatever reason they find themselves there), current pastors and church leaders.

We want to see all pastors be healthy physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

I encourage you to browse the website and its articles. See if there’s something there that might educate or encourage you in the season of life you find yourself.

This week (Tuesday) we have a very special guest post by an ex-pastor that hasn’t spoken out for over 2 years. Be sure to keep an eye on us and our articles.

You can do this by signing up for our newsletter, following us on Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel (we are about to launch a new podcast). When you sign up for our newsletter, you will receive a FREE copy of Why Pastors Quit – a must read.

Read the newest post that is up there now. Maybe it will encourage you and offer you hope.

We get unbelievable emails from pastors and ex-pastors from around the world. Join our community and please know: If you’re tired, hurt/wounded, frustrated, burnt out, thinking about taking your life, depressed, anxious – whatever the enemy is attacking you with – I’m here for you. We’re here for you. You have people that care for you and want to help you.

God’s not finished with you. Neither are we. Don’t give up!

As you know, I spend a lot of time coaching church planters. Some launched earlier this year, some are launching this Fall and some will launch in 2010.

casey2One thing I love telling my church planters about is Casey Graham and the services of The Change Group. Now whether you’re a brand new church or an established, older church, Casey’s team can be a huge blessing to you. As he always says, “What you stay awake worrying about, we wake up thinking about!”

Casey and his team can do: quarterly CFO consulting, build monthly financial dashboards, and provide weekly bookkeeping for less than it cost to hire a part time staff member! I’d encourage you to get to know them. I’ve invited Casey to do a guest post on here.

Guest Post by Casey Graham:

Life Giving Finances

My name is Casey Graham and I am one of the Co-Founders of The Change Group.  Over the past year we have worked with so many churches to help them increase their operational revenue and manage their finances.  I believe everything we do should be LIFE GIVING (John 10:10) and that goes with our finances as well.  I just wanted to take a minute and talk about three things every church can do today that will make a big difference tomorrow.

1.  Personal Generosity

Nothing will increase your passion for helping people find life through generosity more than you modeling it.  Developing a culture is not rocket science!  Who you are is who your people will become.

2.  Life Giving Offerings

When you stand up to talk about the offering, don’t “beg” for dollars.  Help people understand that every dollar they give goes to change lives!  Help people connect their money to the different ministries.  People will want to give to that.

3.   Appreciate People

One of the most life giving things you can do financially is say thank you.  When it comes to the area of money in church we can’t show favoritism but we can appreciate what people do.  Have dinner night at your home and invite your top twenty donors to your home.  Give to them, cook for them, love on them and really believe in them.  Also, you can thank you first time givers with a hand written thank you card.  Appreciate anything and everything that people give!  You can’t do what you do without them!

*** Be sure to check out their free offer: http://thechangegroup.tv/freeoffer.html

lemonade-intl-logo-desktop-resolutionGuest Blog Post by Bill Cummings:

Life in the La Limonada Slums of Guatemala City 

Nora has six children.  Grace is her youngest.  She is a beautiful one year old baby.  Grace had health problems and was able to get medicine from the doctor at the community hospital, but Nora doesn’t read and she doesn’t follow instructions very well.  So, Grace was getting half-doses and double-doses of the medication.   

Food is scarce in Nora’s home.  She had to hide Grace’s formula and baby food from her five other middle school and elementary school-aged children so they won’t eat it nor mix it with water and drink it. 

This is Nora’s reality.  Every day. 

Thankfully there is a Mother Teresa-like woman in this community and others like her who have made it their life’s work to love Nora and her children and to help them through the life they live in the La Limonada community of Guatemala City. 

Tita Evertsz, a native Guatemalan woman, began volunteering her time to serve the people of La Limonada fourteen years ago.  In the early years she felt drawn to reach out to the teenage gang members who guarded their turf in the community and who sold small vials of commercial glue – the substance whose hallucinogenic fumes medicate the people from the pain of life in the alleys of this forgotten community. 

Several years later a gang member poured gasoline on his family while they slept, lit a match and burned them beyond recognition.  As a result of this act and after years of attending the funerals of gang members who were needlessly killed by rival gangs, Tita made a commitment to give her life to the people of this community. 

She made a commitment to the children first – believing that God could use her to help prevent another generation of people in La Limonada from being caught in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness. 

My wife, my sons and I met Tita about five years ago and made several trips back to Guatemala to be with her and her community of friends who give their lives every day to love more than 250 children and who are committed to make sure that La Limonada is no longer a forgotten place. 

There are two schools in La Limonada now where theses children are loved, fed healthy meals, and provided with scholarships to attend formal school in Guatemala City.  These amazing people live life among the people of this community.  They provide shoulders to cry on as children tell horrific stories of sexual abuse – many times at the hands of a parent or sibling.  They are there to literally pick people up off the cold cement alleys after passing out from uncontrollable drinking and glue sniffing. 

Last year my wife, Cherie, and I, along with close friends, had the privilege of moving ahead with something we had been talking and praying with Tita about.  We began Lemonade International and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based here in Raleigh, NC – to serve as the voice of La Limonada here in the United States by raising awareness and support for the real work of ministry Tita and her friends engage in every day in La Limonada. 

While there is a lot of talk of success and growth in our American business and church culture, the Tita Evertszs of this world are putting us to shame.  They are putting hands and feet to these ideas that many of us just sit around and talk about. 

Because of Tita’s influence I have been given the incredible opportunity to stand in Nora’s 8’ by 8’ home and to love and befriend her family.  I’ve had the opportunity to set up a small two-burner stove and place a boxful of food on the cement counter of her home to help feed her and her children for the next couple weeks. 

There are too many Noras out there in La Limonada and around the world for us to continue to sit around and talk about justice and about loving and caring for the poor. 

And too many Graces that need to be loved and held and kissed. 

 

Bill Cummings is the founder and Executive Director of Lemonade International based in Raleigh, NC.  Lemonade International serves as the voice of La Limonada in the United States – raising awareness and support for the people there – primarily through child sponsorship and by leading teams to serve in La Limonada.  Bill also blogs at www.billkcummings.info

I’ve been in touch over the last few months with Andrew Morgan. Andrew leads a non-profit organization based out of Atlanta called Broken Voices. This is an introduction to their work:

Does my life matter? What is my purpose? Is it really possible that my life was meant for something bigger? – Something Greater?


Anthem Trailer from Broken Voices on Vimeo.

Six friends travel the United States in search of answers to these questions. Living on the road for a month in a borrowed (and crowded) RV, they encounter seven stories of normal people doing extraordinary things with their lives.

This week Broken Voices releases there first full length documentary film entitled “Anthem”. To pick up your copy today click here.

Today I continue with the other 2 internet campuses I attended this past Sunday.

Seacoast Church:

Number 3 was Seacoast Church. I know Seacoast well. I lived in Charleston, SC for 8 years (went to Charleston Southern University) and used to attend Seacoast on Saturday nights, then lead worship on Sunday mornings at my church. My friend and classmate at CSU, Shawn Wood, is the Experiences Pastor at Seacoast. I have a great respect for their ministry as a whole. 

This month Seacoast is celebrating their 20th anniversary. They had an AMAZING video intro and message graphics that Shawn told me were created by Dallas’ own Barton Damer. Below is a still frame from Rick Warren saying a “Happy Anniversary” to Seacoast Church.

Below is pastor Greg Surratt preaching. He shared a powerful true story of a major car accident that his family had been in 20 years ago. It was very moving. I have always loved his transparency. Notice the interactive response elements at the bottom. You can nail your sins to the cross, light a candle or prayer virtually. Click “More” for more information on communion and giving a tithe.

Out of the 5 internet campuses that I worshipped with, my favorite musical worship was Seacoast hands-down. Keep in mind that I was a worship pastor for 11 years and have a degree in music, so music and worship is very close to my heart. I’ve been a supporter of worship leader Martin Chalk for years, almost 10 years to be exact. 

One thing I love about the worship experience at Seacoast is that they always end with responsive worship. The message doesn’t end the service. I love that! I think once you encounter God through His Spirit and the teaching of His Word, you should have a chance to respond. Seacoast gets that! Below is their Internet Pastor (and fellow CSU alumni) Brad Singleton.

Central Christian Church:

Central Christian was a last minute add-on. I was reading Twitter and saw Mike Foster say that he was watching CC’s internet campus. I jumped on and caught them mid-service. With that being said, I didn’t get a chance to experience any of their music. I will another time. I did, however get to catch Senior Pastor Jud Wilhite – he’s great. I attended Central Christian when I spoke at NAB in Las Vegas.

Below you’ll see something that I found very helpful and just plain cool. You can not only take notes during the message, but you can also print out those notes or email them to yourself. I like that. 

I forgot to mention yesterday that Flamingo Road emailed me message notes – that, too, was very cool. Isn’t technology just an amazing tool God has given us???!!! 

* More information on internet campuses tomorrow. Today I speak to students at Dallas Theological Seminary on Church 2.0. My question to them: “How do you define innovation?”

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I (and my family) were home sick. I had already watched LifeChurch.tv’s Saturday night service online, but ended up worshipping with 3 other internet campuses while home sick. I actually saw a 4th internet campus, but was not happy with it and decided not to call them out. In the next 2 blog posts, I’ll share with you the 4 churches that blessed me this weekend:

LifeChurch.tv:

I think the “Mix & Mingle” Lobby Chat is fascinating and am amazed to see how God uses it. 2 weeks ago, over 50 people prayed to receive Christ through LifeChurch.tv’s internet campuses – that’s more than most churches see in a year.

No, that’s not Craig Groeschel. They had an awesome guest speaker. Of notice in this picture is their “Give Online” area of the screen. At the botton left, you can follow the message notes. Great experience. Most people think of LifeChurch.tv when they think of an internet campus.

Above, LifeChurch.tv always let’s you choose between 2 different worship leaders. This is cool, but I have an issue. What happened to Stephen Cole?? Stephen Cole is my favorite worship leader at LC and I’m thinking about starting a petition to bring him back as an option. He rocks!

Above is LifeChurch’s Internet Campus Pastor Brandon Donaldson. I need to get to know that dude.

Flamingo Road Church:

Above was a screenshot taken after one of their morning services. The red dots show you who was watching around the world!

Flamingo was having a baptism that day (they had a great video announcment about it – very cool). Want to participate in baptism? Just text the word: BAPTISM. Folks, we are literally watching the face of Church change before our eyes.

The thing that impressed me the most about my south Florida friends is that they know how to make church fun. This is a screen shot of beach balls being tossed around the auditorium. You’d have to be there to understand.

Above is Flamingo’s Lead Pastor, Troy. Flamingo was truly the highlight of my morning and a wonderful surprise. There is talk of the Church 2.0 Local Forum in Miami being held at Flamingo Road Church – shhhh!

Above is Flamingo’s Internet Campus Pastor, Brian Vasil. I was introduced virtually to Brian through my friend, Tony Steward via last week’s LifeShare. I was introduced to Flamingo Road’s Internet Campus through my friend, DJ Chuang.

More to come about these and other internet campuses this week on this blog! So… what are your thoughts? Does the thought of over 50 people praying to receive Christ via the internet freak you out? Do you praise God? Both? Is your church considering an internet campus? Are you philosophically opposed to one? Let me hear ya.

It’s been LONG overdue. I have been meaning to blog about LifeChurch.tv’s Digerati team for quite a while. I’ve blogged about LifeChurch.tv many times, but in this blog I’d like to spotlight the Digerati team and their projects. 

You might be wondering: “What in the world does “digerati” mean?” To get to the bottom of something, I go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia reads:”The digerati are the elite of the computer industry and online communities.” From what I know of my friends Terry Storch and Tony Steward (and the rest of the Digerati Team) this fits them very well. 

Maybe you don’t recognize the team, but you may recognize their work. Here is what the Digerati team has been up to and is responsible for:

EXTRA:
There’s a great article with Terry Storch in the Sept/Oct issue of COLLIDE Magazine. I encourage you to read it.
*** I’ll be doing occasional “SPOTLIGHTS” from time to time. If you know of a ministry/organization or individual that I should consider shining a spotlight on, just email me (greg@gregatkinson.com) and let me know.