‘To Do’ list

I have been really trying to get my act together and be more organized. (Go ahead and feel free to insert your smart remarks here!) I have begun a process of carrying a list in my pocket of things to do on one side and what I have done on the opposite (to help me complete my “ministry report” each week.). Taylor must have seen my list sitting on my desk the other day, because he has a list of his own. I found this the other day in my car. Man, how awesome is this kid?

Feed dog. Play. Scool. Play. Sleep. Oh to be in 2nd grade again!

Monday is for Missions & Multisite

Here are the pictures I said would be awesome if we had any!? I absolutely love what God is doing through this concept of multisite!? We had 366 people and the 2nd service was PACKED!!? That is the highest attendance we have had since the launch or Easter 2008–on a non holiday weekend!!

Enjoy from Stratton’s iPhone . . .

Awesome Day at Forest Park Carthage!

We had an awesome Sunday at Forest Park Carthage!? We had a record attendance of 366 (high attendance except for launch Sunday and Easter ’08)!? Amazing!? We had an Anniversary Celebration BBQ after church and it was really cool to see so many people stay and hang out with one another.

We finished up the Mythbusters series today with what I think was one of the best messages of the entire series called “We are here by accident.”? John did an awesome job teaching us what an amazing God we serve and that there is no way that we are here by accident.? One quote he used today was from Albert Einstein

“The probablility of life originating from accidet is comparable to the probablility of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop.”? Albert Einstein

Reminded me a ton of the the Indescribable and Alive series of talks by Louie Giglio (one of my all-time heroes!)

Huge props go out to my whole team making this day successful!? My staff and lay volunteers are awesome and do such a great job helping people connect with each other and to connect to the Savior!? Thank you so much–all of you!!

Here are some pictures of the BBQ after our awesome day celebrating what God has done in Carthage in just one short year.? (Man, I wish we would have gotten some pictures of the auditorium during services today.? That place was packed!? Three services??? May be having to come soon!? What an awesome problem to have!!)

What we’ve been waiting for!!

We have been looking for a good check-in system as well as Church Management Software.? The other day, Dinwiddie said, “too bad LifeChurch couldn’t just write some software and give it away for free!”? Well, they have done it!? I am really excited about what they are doing over at LifeChurch.? The best thing–it’s totally free, just like their online Bible software called YouVersion.? LifeChurch has been and continues to be a leader in open source church resources! Thank you LifeChurch!!

Welcome Timothy Micheal

Timothy Campbell and Anna Black had a little baby boy on Wednesday. Here are some pics of the fam. I can’t wait to show him off to everyone at church tomorrow! One of the perks of being a pastor is to hold babies, brag in them, spoil them, and give them back to their parents–isn’t that what grandparents do?

New Family Member

We have some great friends, the Terrells, who “inherited” a dog from a family member who was heading off to college and couldn’t keep the dog. Enter “Homeless Henry.”

Taylor and Tucker have been wanting a dog for quite some time now. Jenny and especially her mom have been lobbying hard for a dog since we have more room out here in Carthage. After Justin’s football game, we went to dinner and heard about poor Henry the homeless Puggle (half pug, half beagle). The boys both have pug stuffed animals and Taylor overheard the breed and it was a full court press for this dog.

We got these two photos via email and Henry showed up here in Carthage this morning. I took lots of pictures with a good camera and will post them later. In the meantime, here are pics from Justin’s game and Henry. Enjoy.

Monday is for Missions/Multisite

I am really loving being a part of a great “missions organization” here at Forest Park!? I have always considered myself a North American missionary–what us old schoolers might have called “Home Mission Board Missionaries (slide projector anyone??).”? I am amazed at the extreme amount of churches that Southern Baptists plant here in the states.? These are some older stats (about 5 years old) but they are amazing!? We as Southern Baptists plant about 25 churches per week!? Amazing!? As many as all other Evangelical denominations combined!? Pretty stinking awesome . . . but let’s not get a big head too quickly!? There are actually over 80 churches per week that close their doors for good!? Not good at all!? As John Mark Clifton said on a video for the Church at Finley Crossings, “we are losing the race to plant churches in North America.”? That calling and passion for planting churches has driven me for almost a decade and still continues to this day!

However, the weariness of planting a church began to settle in and I began to pray, “God, there has got to be a better way to plant churches and reach the unchurched.” I truly believe that this “new” concept of multisite is A better way to start new churches and reach the unchurched.? I say, “new” in quotes because it is really not new at all–just new here in the states.? Dr. David Cho actually began this concept of multiple campuses in Korea.? This led to an explosion of expontial growth in his Full Gospel congregation.? As of 2007, they are the world’s largest congregation with well over 800,000 members.? I say “A”? better way because I don’t believe that “traditional” church planting is NOT by ANY MEANS dead or not effective AT ALL.? Traditional church plants need to be intentionally planted all around the world! The problem that I, and many others, experienced first hand is the lack of critical mass and support to sustain the first 3 or 4 years.? Just thinking out loud here . . . but we might think about supporting church plants AFTER launch when the core team has come down from their initial giddiness when they were drunk on vision and couldn’t fail!? However, it’s not all about money either–Ed Stetzer’s research has confirmed that. . . but that is for another post all together!

What is great about this era of church growth and church planting is that we can have our cake and eat it too!? We can plant traditional churches and launch multisite campuses all under the same umbrella of Southern Baptists who care more about lost people than our personal preferences!? One of the best things about being a Southern Baptist is this amazing thing called Cooperation!? We have the Cooperative Program that helps fund Kingdom work all around the world.? We are truly better together!? Here in Missouri, we have a way to support the work of church planters through the Missouri Missions Offering. Go here and check out how you can continue to support the the work of God in Missouri.? As a former “receiver” of support from this offering, it is definately appreciated.

The world many of us grew up in . . .

Wow, this is awesome stuff!? I’m not really sure how anyone got saved in the 80s and 90s??? No I know, the sovereign will of God has to be the ONLY reason because of stuff like this.

By the way, remember the video series “Hells Bells” put out by a family values ministry?? Basically, if you listened to AC/DC, Boston, and Journey–you were going to hate your parents and kill somebody!

These clips are the alternatives to the above bands during the same era.? No wonder we’re a joke in many circles!

Friday is for…

Friday is for friends, family, and football! Our Friday’s many times constitutes of Chick-fill-a Chicken Minis with just Tucker with mommy and daddy in the mornings. We also then like to go to football games with friends.

Tonight, we are headed to a game with Kevin Stratton, our new associate campus pastor. Here are some pics of this morning and last week at Nixa.

Lifechoices Banquet

Our church supports this great ministry in Joplin. They help hundreds of (often young) mothers in the clinic and thousands of students through school assemblies and classes. The missions and multisite team had a couple of tables, so we got to go hang out as a team.

I was Mark’s “date” for the evening because neither of our wives could be there tonight. As usual, Mark was a true gentleman. Boy, he sure knows how to “treat a lady!”

On a more serious note, check out Lifechoices on the web at lifechoices4states.org.