80 degree hot with a lot of serving going on

whew what a day Saturday... block party, and helping RBT Dayton. Over 100 people served yesterday helping others.

The block party on Main Street was a big hit... 400 + people turned out. Good food, bouncy, music see our set list itunes. Good time had by most. Only had to call the cops 2 times for the same incident... some political name gathering people's names to legalize gambling in Ohio refused to leave argued with cops until the Sargent arrived. Leave or jail is a good persuader. Now we have to have a no solicitation on our sign...sigh. Great to see rich and poor alike having a great time on Main St.

Rebuild day went great 25 people gathered to scrap paint, paint, plant flowers, and redue a brick walk. a bit ambitious but we completed the task. Only took 12 hrs to do the work. whew...80 degree weather helped. Result, total house repaint, new electrics, new indoor trim, high hall repaired, doors replaced and total inside paint job inside and out. It was a long day but well worth the effort.

Rebuild Together Dayton painted and fixed 19 homes with 1000 volunteers. A good thing in our community.

People want to serve, make a difference and show God's love in practical ways. Glad to be part of a serving church.

Social Space

Read a great article this week in .Rev Magazine by Waltz of Granger Community...He is sharp, insightful and understands people. He quoted a book by Joe Meyers The Search to Belong Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups. A great book worth the read.

He mentioned spheres of relationship and levels of relationship moving from social to intimate. I really liked what he had to say. The church in general has removed the social safe place step. In our effort to get people connected we often miss the safe social place aspect and don't understand that people are in process, are on a journey toward relationship with God and others. We tend to move people too fast and expect people to get relationships, worship, discipleship etc. I've heard this statement over the years, "If people are not fully committed to our church and to discipleship and evangelism I don't want to invest my time into their lives." It's the highway or the bye way thinking... Not understanding the maturity process.

Hopefully we at the Vineyard understand.
We are developing worship spaces with the goal of deepening a persons intimacy with God.

Sunday at the Vineyard we have about 25 minutes of worship, familiar, easy to sing, God focused, Holy Spirit honoring and Jesus glorifying. Words are on the screen to help people sing etc. Our worship team does a great job of not meddling with people but gently leading. This is the first worship social space.

Wednesday Of Worship is the second arena we've developed. WOW is designed to bring people a bit deeper. 90 minutes of uninterrupted worship, readings, dance, art, video. WOW creates a space for people move deeper together. It's a corporate time where we seek to deepen our worship together.

God Encounter is the third arena. The worship experience is deeper still. We are together, but the emphasis is on a personal encounter allowing the Holy Spirit to deepen His presence in our lives. We also offer personal prayer for people to receive ministry from our prayer team.

All spheres are important and are intentionally created to help people move from the social, to the personal. Creating safe places is the challenge, as is understanding Vineyard, Dayton people.

Also, we attempt to apply the principles in our Connection Pathway.
our Track is
A Access Point a lunch with our leaders and an overview, vision casting.
B Beginnings membership sessions with key leaders explaining who we are, where we came from, what we do, why we do what we do. Where questions can be raised and answered.
C Community Groups where people can, if they desire to join a small group, some groups are long term some are short term
D Discipleship Pathway our training, growth and development track mainly worked out on Wednesday night training, classes etc and weekend seminars.

We are also launching Quick Connect

Creating a social entry level space, serving opportunities where people can serve together, build relationships and make a difference.

Below is some of the .Rev article geared toward our thinking. (my paraphrase from Waltz)
'Your Corporate Story matters... The stories of bygone days are important, they reveal our roots help us form our identity. They anchor us.(I call them mile markers.) They remind us that we are not alone. People need to know how the church started. The first building. The moves, the reason we began Main Street a couple of years ago. The history before Main Street, The LEC to our now building, to our soon to be erected new building.

It's extremely important they understand our compelling vision they can buy into.
The stories celebrate family, and a sense of identity and belonging. Belonging is partly about embracing roots, heritage and beginnings. The second aspect of Corporate Story is our future together. How they can become a part and play in the game. What's the vision for tomorrow?.. If a compelling vision is cast, then new and old together have an opportunity to be invited to help form the future. Then the impulse to belong will be greater. People want to belong to a story that is still being written.'

The article is worth the read. should be on http://www.rev.org/magazine/ soon.

Visibility...Community Easter Egg Hunt

Another great Giant Easter Egg Hunt! Over 100 volunteers, 15k eggs, many many many kids, hot dogs, face painting, crafts, bouncy castles, prizes etc. All having a blast!

3 months ago I was praying and heard it will be a good day. It was much better than good.

A few years ago I wrote a booklet titled Explaining Evangelism. (badly edited, poor grammer but my first shot at writing... it sold 10k copies and translated into 3 languages in 1991)

In one chapter I mention the concept of visibility evangelism... it's the consistent, going, sowing, caring, praying, serving component.

Consistently going and sowing can raise your visibility and re-define who you are in your community. We often define ourselves by what we believe. Our communities, on the other hand define us by what we do.

Here are a few tips:
Advertise. During major holiday seasons, use news papers, web-sites, blogs. Develop tickets or invitations to give to your people so they can invite their friends, families or workmates.
Think professional, upbeat, fun, colorful, and memorable. Think about sticky Ideas that stick.

Establish High Impact Community / Church-wide Outreach Events. Our annual Easter Egg Hunt, Summer Community FunFests, Block Parties, 4th of July water giveaway, Turkey's giving away Turkeys, Stuff the Bus, Halloween Funfest and our Christmas Party for the less-served make a huge impact on our community. Last year over 800 people served in some way as we moved out into the community. People who serve others also tend to be more outward focused, more balanced, more caring and more likely to share their faith than those who don't.

Consistency. This is the key to raising your visibility within your community. We have our outreach year planned. We are consistent. We just keep on keeping on. We go. We share. We serve. We care. We seek to be Bringers and Includers. The community now defines us as the pretty good church who actively cares for our community.

Each week people from our community come to the Vineyard to check us out. Many, discover faith then go out to serve. It's the cycle of Sowing, Reaping, and Increasing.

Good deed creates good will that opens hearts to the good news. Rusaw

It's Easter Time

One person asked the question, What is the most important part of the life of Jesus?:
A) His birth
B) His ministry on Earth

C) His crucifixion
D) His resurrection
E) His ascension
F) His return?

I personally think there should be an G) All of the above.

The mystery of God come to earth revealed through His Son on earth only doing the Fathers will, and the wonder of kindness, mercy and justice revealed at the cross and the amazing hope being raised by the power of the Holy Spirit is beyond words.

His promised return brings hope.

I remember speaking about this one April...I used a ladder as a prop. I began by sitting on the ladder and talked about the decision in heaven to send Jesus to earth. As I spoke I came down the ladder, and talked about some of what Jesus had done on earth His miracles, His teaching, His serving.

He came to His own but His own did not accept Him they rejected Him. They also crucified Him. I walked back up the ladder and talked about the crucifixion. I stretched out my arms and mentioned He shouted, Father forgive them for they no not what they do.

I came down off the ladder and went under the ladder and talked about being buried in a tomb for 3 days...and how He became victorious and now has the keys of death and hell. He was raised by the power of the Spirit and burst out of the tomb.

I walked out from under the ladder.
I then mentioned that for 40 days He taught His disciples about the Kingdom of God; He instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit.

I then walked back up the ladder talking about His ascension. While sitting on top of the ladder I talked about how He didn't leave us alone but He poured out the Holy Spirit to empower all believers. I used a small bucket and began to sprinkle out small shinny gold flakes signifying the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And mentioned we are now living in the hope of His soon return.

For some reason worship was electric at the end of the message.

Today all that Jesus did for me is still a mystery, Holy, real and sometimes overwhelming. This weekend many people all over the world will discover Jesus. I'm praying they will be transformed by the Good News. God came to earth to pay for their sins.

The Giant Easte Egg Hunt

Each year I look with fear and trepidation toward our Easter Egg Hunt. What's the weather going to be like?...

a few months ago I heard in prayer it will be a good day. Now the definition of good from my perspective might be a little different than heavens. Last year we pulled off The Easter Egg Drive Through which was a good day...only one car wreck and traffic backed up for a few blocks...only problem wind and ice = pain. Nevertheless hundreds of people showed up for the eggs. And we had a good time! So good is relative.

We have our usual gang of 100+ people signed up ready to cook hot dogs, serve drinks, paint faces, help kids make a craft, 15,000 eggs with prizes thrown in, and a couple of bouncy castles.

So it will be a fun day. Each year we think will anyone from the community show up?...and to our surprise hundreds of kids mom's and dad's do...It is a great way to show God's love to our community in a practical way.

Here's last years recap... The Great Easter Egg Drive Through

wow what a day...our special set up team arrived on time at 9am...we set up the Egg Stations, signs, unpacked the egg bags, ate some great Krispy Kreeme donuts, downed some coffee and waited for the next team...

Interestingly we advertised the hunt to begin at 11am yet people began to line up their cars at 10am...
A sense of 'o boy what's going to happen' began to drift into my head.

The Egg Drive Thru teams arrived we went over instructions...ever tried to explain instructions or a concept...for something you've never done before? What we were doing was fluid, innovative, moving, morphing, learning as you go type of idea.

Who would guess that thousands of people decided to come out to an Egg Hunt in wind blowing ice crystals cold...better than last year where the temp was a -17 bone chilling, teeth grinding gale. This year the temp was a balmy 32.

We began moving the cars into the drive thru at 10:30 am...the cars began to line up in a bumper to bumper fashion backing up past the entrance of the park down the street past the entrance left and right in both directions for two blocks...That's a lot of cars and a lot of people in those cars.

We finally found a rhythm in about 30 minutes... Cars pull in... Egg givers walk to cars...ask how many kids...give number of pre-bagged eggs into car with a smile and have a great Easter along with an invite to our Easter Services and a flyer explaining why we were serving.

The vibe, atmosphere was filled with excitement...Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob, Winnie the Poo, a 6 foot giant Easter Bunny, Zowie the clown and Ronald McDonald all waved and welcomed the kids.

The Drive Thru lasted for 2 hrs of constant keep em moving banter...This was the trick...how to keep cars moving...keep people safe...without sounding like a drill sargent. I admit I was a bit bossy in an upbeat type of way.

Our small army of main traffic keep em moving guys, did a great non-stop job. In the midst of all this movement...there was a sense of peace, fun, and encouragement. Our community loved the idea, kids hanging out the windows, pictures being taken with Dora, the giant Easter bunny and grateful parents relieved that they didn't have to stand out in the cold...Many smiles, thank yous, you guys are nuts, way to gos, smiles and waves as people drove away.

Our teams out did themselves in their positive serving and flexibility willing to attempt something new and out of the box. I like great ideas, teamwork, innovation, fun, full of energy, genuine serving, and caring for our community in ways that really make a difference.

Liking Magnificant U2

this will be another u2 classic...much moment, sound, rhyme, passion, great small, to large sounds. ipod with head phones amazing.