stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday:

  • I’ve spent a portion of this week at the North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis. It’s become one of my favorite weeks of the year—as thousands of Christians gather together for a week of spiritual renewal and connecting with each other. Some of my best friends in ministry are here as well, making this a week of positive connection both relationally and spiritually.
  • Some of my week was spent pondering the future of this humble blog. Reason being, I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade, and I’ve been wondering whether that’s plenty.
  • At the same time, it is more widely read than ever, and so I feel like it must be a blessing to someone, somewhere.
  • After spending some time talking with friends in the blogging arena, I’m going to continue—and have some ideas on how to make the blog better. I also just needed some fresh wind in my sails…and I received some with thanks.
  • Craig Groeschel was just excellent. I’ve heard Craig several times, but he was at his best this week. His sermon on Wednesday evening was particularly good. He talked about Life Church’s successes and failures over the years—and as he did, he mentioned this factoid:
  • Craig noted the YouVersion bible app now has more than 150 million downloads, but it almost never happened. It started as a web site even those who created it didn’t use. They ended up going the app route as a last resort…and it took off.
  • I’d say so.
  • In addition, their first video campus failed. Now, they have 116 services on Sunday in 5 different states.
  • His point was, in part, that sometimes failure is necessary in succeeding at something. This is not something we usually embrace. We flee failure and applaud success, without realizing today’s failure may give birth to tomorrow’s success, and today’s success may become tomorrow’s failure. This was simply one point out of many good ones he shared that evening—but it is an important one.
  • Ben Merold, age 87, was my second favorite sermon of the week. Not only was his sermon actually quite good (a Pauline exhortation to different generations within the church regarding unity and the biblical mandate to reach the lost), his poise and presence on the stage was remarkable for a man his age. It left many of us thinking that we want to be like him when we grow up.
  • Ministry is one of the more ageist professions out there. One must wait until their thirties, often, to be taken seriously, and by their sixties, are often viewed as irrelevant to younger generations—and often much earlier than that.
  • This is a shame for a variety of reasons:
  • First, the demographic of a preacher is remarkably insignificant in their ability to reach younger people. I’m not suggesting it’s altogether irrelevant. It’s just not significant. Churches like Saddleback, North Coast, Mosaic, and others remind us you don’t have to look like a newlywed or college kid to make a real impact on their lives. It simply takes intentionality.
  • Relevancy in ministry isn’t about your age or “vibe.” It is about whether or not you are able to connect with others at their place in life from your place in life—whatever that might be. I’ve seen people in their thirties that can’t connect with people in their thirties at all. I’ve seen people in their sixties connect with people in their twenties effectively.
  • Of all the things that can be said to a pastor in passing, the most encouraging is something specific regarding positive life change. The worst—something vague implying impropriety or ill motive.
  • We have a big (and good) announcement to make at New Vintage Church this Sunday. I love big, good announcements. They are further evidence of God’s movement among His people.
  • As I mentioned in the last post, summer isn’t the time to let up too much. After all, churches can grow in the summer. However, it is a vital season for a pastoral “tune-up.” Get spiritually recharged, hone some skills, get some sleep, tweak ministries, pan out to see the bigger picture, and watch some baseball.
  • If you have a soul, you wanted LeBron to return to Cleveland. If you like the Heat, you had no soul to begin with.
  • OK…that’s slightly harsh…but only slightly.
  • How ’bout that Brazilian World Cup team!!!
  • Without Jesus I would be lost. Without Evernote, I might be close.

What’s on your mind this morning?