Update on the Stone’s

We are headed to Boca Raton, FL (about an hour east but still in Palm Beach County) to work at The Journey Church. I will be the Pastor of Families and Evangelism. Something was whacky with the last Pressgram/Twitter/Facebook techno-Whizbang thingy. Here is a link with lots of information, followed by a link to the church’s website.



Published via Pressgram

Egg Drop 2013

Wow, what an awesome day for our church and the Glades community! Our first ever Easter Egg Drop was a HUGE success!

We had several hundred kids come through and EGGchange their plastic eggs for a big bag of candy at The Great EGGchange! (Get it, EGGchange?! Pretty pun-y, huh?) Our children’s pastor, Tim, says that by his best count, we gave out 1153 bags of candy! (That’s a LOT of candy!)

We think we had close to a thousand kiddos who attended the event for sure. (There may have been a few that made a couple of “EGGchanges,” if you know what I mean.)

A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us pull off this massive event!

A HUGE thank you to Phil and Sugar Cane Golf Club hosting us.

A HUGE thank you to John Kandel and his piloting skills.

A HUGE thank you to our church staff who served for weeks in planning and implementing the vision for this community event.

A HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who gave up their time and energy to show the love of God to our community!

YOU ALL are the BEST!!

Here are some pictures and a very short video taken by Chuck from the helicopter as they were dropping eggs.

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Dr. Roy Fish Has Died: A Heart for Evangelism and a Life Dedicated to Sharing the Gospel

One of my favorite professors at SWBTS passed away yesterday. Dr. Roy Fish was an amazing man who truly cared for each and every student in his classes. What I remember most about him is his evangelistic heart, yes; but it was a pastor’s heart with that evangelistic passion that every person would find a relationship with Christ. I was just looking through some old notebooks of when I was back in Missouri pastoring after seminary. I found a sermon outline that he preached at the Pastor’s Conference in St. Louis that was “great medicine” for my heart. I think what really spoke to my heart was his passion for the Church to become all she could become and specifically (preaching from Acts 17) bring the Gospel to the next generation. It did my heart good to hear from an old leader stressing to the next generation of leaders to focus on getting the Gospel to the future generations. May we all press on to share the Gospel to the future generations for God’s glory!

Here is a great post from Dr. Ed Stetzer on Dr. Fish’s life and ministry. Enjoy.

Ed Stetzer – Roy Fish Has Died: A Heart for Evangelism and a Life Dedicated to Sharing the Gospel.

10 Ways to Ensure I’ll Never Revisit your Church

Sarah Mielke (@sarahemielke), our new worship pastor’s wife tweeted me a link to this post today from Ben Reed on Thom Rainer’s blog….awesome!  There are definitely things we do to ensure that people will be extremely uncomfortable and risk the possibility of them ever coming back to our church again. Here is his list…funny and sad all at the same time.

1. Offer no easy way to plug in to community.

Don’t tell me about small groups. Make me wait forever to plug in…or make me do extensive work to even figure out what kind of groups you offer.

2. Don’t be welcoming in the parking lot.

Just do your job, don’t speak to me as I walk in, and offer a bit of a “it-is-early-on-a-Sunday-morning” scowl.

3. Don’t acknowledge I’m in the service.

Give no head nod to “first timers,” “visitors,” or “folks just checking us out.” In fact, just speak to the inner core, the “members.”

4. Acknowledge me too much.

Call me out and have me stand up. Ask me to publicly share my name and darkest secrets.

5. Don’t give much thought or care to your kids ministry.

People don’t care if their children are safe, watched after, and learn the Bible. Nope. Let them run amuck.

6. Pass the offering bucket twice.

Or thrice. And shame me into giving you money.

7. Don’t share the Gospel, or challenge me spiritually.

Because that’s not why people come to church is it…to be stretched to grow spiritually, is it? Oh, wait, maybe that’s one of the main reasons they show up…

8. Ask me to give me your email address, then spam me.

Overwhelm me, starting on Monday morning, with news from every single ministry your church has ever offered.

9. Visit me at home.

Show up during dinner time, if you can. Or while I’m trying to put my son to bed. That would be ideal, please. Our generation loves the random church-member pop-in when we aren’t even sure we like your church. Love. It.

10. Pastor: disappear as soon as you finish preaching.

Go back to the greenroom. Or Starbucks. But don’t position yourself in the hallway. You are a diva, after all.

We are in a season right now at our church of where we are trying to get better at all of this stuff…I like to say we are “getting ready for company.”

What are some ways that you are “getting ready for company” at your church or business?

Check out the full post here: 10 Ways to Ensure Ill Never Revisit your Church | Life and Theology.

KC Church Responds to Murders

Talk about a church and a pastor that is living out the gospel in its context! Pastor John Mark Clifton and the Wornall Road Baptist Church in Kansas City are having a “Longest Night” event to pray for the over 100 homicides in Kansas City this year. They are gathering to pray for the victims and their families as well as peace over their city. Check out their story of a church almost at death just 5 short years ago that has been reborn and is thriving, and making a huge impact in their community. They are a great motivation for me as I lead our church through similar change. Check them out on their website.

Be Rich Update…AMAZING!

Here is a little update from Andy Stanley on North Point Community Church’s Be Rich Campaign. They had a goal of $1 million that would go to four specific causes. The second part of the campaign besides simply raising a bunch of money was for their church to serve a ton of hours all over the world. Check it out and marvel at what happens when God’s people get together to do something only God can do through them. Wouldn’t it be amazing if these kinds of things would happen in YOUR community too? I think it could happen…if we took the Bible and the Holy Spirit seriously about what we are truly called to be as the Body of Christ.

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9 Ways to Stay Motivated for Ministry

Great article from Rick Warren! Not earth-shattering, but definitely things I needed to read this morning to be more organized and motivated for ministry!

  1. Put your plans on paper.
  2. Break big tasks into small steps.
  3. Decide where you want to start.
  4. Establish check points to track your progress.
  5. Start on the task whether you feel like it or not.
  6. Remind yourself of the benefits of completing the task.
  7. Do a small part right now.
  8. Be optimistic.
  9. Establish an action environment.

I really gleaned a lot from number 7 and especially number 9 (if you’ve every seen my desk and office before!).

He talks about a “game” he plays to get started and do things he doesn’t want to do called the “Five Minute Game.”

Get started! Don’t stall. I play a game with myself all the time called The Five-Minute Game. When I have a big topic or task I need to do, I just say, “I don’t want to do this, but I’ll give it five minutes.” Once I get started, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.

I absolutely needed to hear number 9 and I am working diligently on that step as I get settled in (finally) to my new office here in Belle Glade! I hope to have a lot more progress in getting the “file cabinet” off of my desk soon! Here is what he says…BOLD is my emphasis…

Create a place in your office where you can get all of your tools together for your task. If you’re preparing a sermon, find a place to get your Bible and your study aids all within reach. You need an environment where you can focus on the task at hand. I clear everything off the desk when I’m going to study because I don’t want to focus on anything else.

I’ve noticed some people use their desks as file cabinets. They say it is because they don’t want to forget what is there. But that’s the problem! You sit down to prepare a sermon and you see your phone list or a book you’ve wanted to read and, suddenly, you’ve drifted off task.

Success comes from focusing on one thing at a time. Clear off your desk. Make a to-do list so you won’t forget what you’ve taken off of your desk. Put a tickler file on your desk of stuff you need to look at every day, but then, when you pull it out and look through it, always put it back – so it won’t distract.

I have to figure out a better workflow as well with my “virtual desk”–my laptop and my phone. I am working on a system of responding to email so I don’t get pulled away from important things by a “ding” advertising for the next best thing…or even worse…an invitation to a Facebook game! I have moved away also from Tweet Deck and Hoot Suite for the same reason–FOCUS. I can be totally rolling along on my message or an email message and that little sounds lures me away on a 5,10,15 minutes excursion of ADHD bliss!! Squirrel! See what I mean? I will open up Hoot Suite on my phone when I have a down time every now and then, but I simply can’t make that work with my personality right now. It’s not that it doesn’t fit with my distracted personality, it is just that it fits TOO WELL with my distraction prone personality for me to get any good level of productivity.

The main problem I have is that it is much like diet and exercise–there is DISCIPLINE involved in setting up these workflows for productivity. I can set up the workflow, but if I don’t have the discipline to use the workflow; I’ve just wasted a lot of time setting up a system that doesn’t help me, but hurts me in the end.

So tell me, how do you stay motivated and on task in your work? What things have worked for you? Not worked?

9 Ways to Stay Motivated for Ministry.

Tuesday is for Training::Coaching Network Begins

I have been told by many people that “leaders are learners” and that “if you stop learning, you stop leading effectively.” I am embarking on a year long journey that I have been wanting to do for many years now–I joined a coaching network for senior pastors. I have been kicking around going back to school and get a Doctorate in Ministry, but the cost and distance learning would be prohibitive at this time. So, an online tele-coaching network really fit the bill for me.

I am really excited about how God is going to use this network to stretch me and make me a better leader! I believe that I am really in the prime of my ministry life right now and I want to “sharpen the ax” to get the most out of these years on into the end of my ministry career. I know that I have so much to learn about how to be an effective leader, pastor, and follower of Christ.

The format of the coaching network is a monthly ninety minute teleconference call where Nelson Searcy coaches us senior pastors (I don’t know how many are actually in the network). After the call, we are required to turn in our notes as homework as well as do a lot of reading and work through several resources each month.  There is also a mid-month Q & A phone call to help us apply what we are learning. I am really excited about the one day, on site visit, where we get to meet with and learn face to face from Nelson.

I chose this particular coaching network because of it’s focus on Church Health and Church Systems. Much like the body has many systems that (when healthy) make us grow and thrive; the body of Christ has systems that when healthy help the church grow to her full potential. This systems approach is so nice because it can be used anywhere in any ministry context or community. Belle Glade, to say the least, is a very different ministry context that even a few miles to the east or west on the coasts of South Florida; so I am excited to be able to apply the principles of this systems approach to our context at First Belle Glade. I think we are going to see the benefits of me being in this network very quickly here in Belle Glade at this church. It really believe it is a win/win for me and the church to both grow over the next year like we have never grown before.

So tell me, what are you doing to grow in your life right now? In what areas?

Willow Creek, Homosexuality, and the Future of Evangelical Response

I guess it always pays to be on time from coming back at lunch at The Summit.  We missed a huge announcement yesterday from Bill Hybels on the withdrawal of Howard Shultz from the schedule of the Summit because of an online petition claiming Willow Creek is “anti-gay.” I felt like Hybel’s response was one of the best responses I have heard in a long time concerning homosexuality and the Church.

Patrick Lencioni was amazing as a last minute fill in talking about being vulnerable in leadership.  He broke out principles from his latest book called “Getting Naked.” Looks like a great book for sure!

Here is Hybel’s graceful announcement/response to the last couple of weeks.  Total class act!

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I really liked what Ed Stetzer wrote on his blog concerning the announcement.  Here is a portion:

Much could be said here, but let me briefly suggest five principles to consider about the issue of homosexuality and evangelical churches:

  1. The issue is not going away and you cannot ignore it or seek to downplay your views.
  2. The culture sees this as a “justice” issue– Christians discriminating on the basis of immutable characteristics.
  3. Though it is easy to make the case (in the church) that homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture, it will be exceedingly difficult case to make in today’s culture.
  4. Building bridges and showing grace and love is needed, lacking, and essential when dealing with people with different views and values.
  5. At the end of the day, all evangelicals (including centrist evangelicals like those at Willow Creek) will still have to deal with an issue that the world perceives as narrow and bigoted.

Pray for Willow as they are in the media this week– that they will make much of Jesus, will continue to stay true to the scriptures, and will show grace in the process.

Ed Stetzer – Willow Creek, Homosexuality, and the Future of Evangelical Response.

5 Simple Essentials for Leaders « Brad Lomenick

Brad Lomenick--CatalystHere is a great list of essential leadership principles from Brad Lomenick. Just as he says, they are simple, but yet sometimes very difficult to carry out…or maybe just for me anyway.

I know for me, the “Be Humble,” and “Be Decisive” are the hardest for me.  And with the advent of “smart” phones, the “Be Present” is also a difficult one for me.

Of course, the humility piece is always difficult isn’t it? I had a seminary prof tell me one time, “Don’t take yourself too seriously…but always take your calling very seriously.” I also find myself waffling on decisions I shouldn’t. I roll them around in my head, over and over. I have a high school classmate of mine the other day post on his Facebook wall that he and his wife instituted a “device-free dinner table” over the last few months and it has really helped “community” in his home. We need to do that…starting with Dad’s iPhone!!

So tell me, which of Lomenick’s list are the most difficult for you? Why?

Here is the list:

1. Be Humble– you’re not that big of a deal.

2. Be Authentic– your team wants to be led by the real you.

3. Be Informed- ongoing competence requires ongoing learning.

4. Be Decisive- no one wants to be led by someone who can’t make a decision.

5. Be Present- in the moment, focused on now, and physically around. literally.


5 Simple Essentials for Leaders « Brad Lomenick.