B&B BBQ and Baptisms

We had a great weekend last weekend. Major milestones for us as a church. The ground breaking event was powerful, meaningful and full of hope for the future. BBQ downtown was also a great day.

People were Baptized after the service and just before the BBQ. Great to see people who have decided to press into walking with Jesus and choosing to follow Him into Baptism.

We closed off the parking lot(informed people 2 weeks out)... due to a lesson we learned last year...chaos...attempting to set tables between cars was crazy and having cars in the parking lot diminished the community feel we were seeking to create.

So we created space. Interestingly at 4am someone drove their truck right up to the front entrance of the church and left it there. A few of us moved the truck...
The community feel was established.

Our servers arrived, many just walked out of the building and asked what can I do to help?

Why BBQ? Last year a couple of guys asked, "Can we come to the urban church and give our best to the people of Dayton?" Answer. Absolutely! So, 6 teams came and stayed out all night in Downtown Dayton and cooked BBQ. This year there were 9 teams who gave up sleep, traveling from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Simply to show God's love in a practical way to the people of Dayton.

rainbow during BBQ

Result: Community Impact
bringing light, hope, and courage to a dark place.
  • 7 people Baptized. Largest non-holiday attendance in the church.
  • 500+ people served BBQ
  • St Vincent shelter served BBQ for the homeless
  • Dayton Street Team took BBQ out to the homeless camp
  • Robb and co took BBQ to the people of the Biltmore (low income housing in the center of Dayton)
  • Neighborhood is able to sense God's love and a sense of normality
Pictures by Cyndi Parsons.

Value of Serving Others

Intro: For me Jesus is central to my life. When He isn't I lose something...my outward focus. Some of the thinking below has been processing for many years, some conclusions concerning humility and servanthood have been consistent in theory and in practice. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed...I ponder, think and muse often. The below post is a random result of my pondering, and observation.

People matter to God and people should matter to us. God’s heart is revealed throughout the bible. He is an all nations God... Through you Abe all nations will be blessed.

Lk 15...

Shepherd...Lost Sheep
Woman...lost coin
Father...lost son

1. They all lost something that was precious.
2. They are worth searching for.
3. It’s party time. Retrieved they rejoiced. Which reflects the heart of God.

People are valuable to God and they should be valuable to us.

Sometimes we discover the method without discovering the heart or the values behind the method... without the value established within a leaders heart the method can just become a method.

Learn methods and miss the value. Catch the value and your methods may change. (How the value is outworked.)

A heart for people should emerge from our involvement with people. Our vision is to enable people to become involved in the process of reaching out.

Natural Church Development…Talks about church growth by sowing certain seeds within the life of a church. One key component to develop within the life of a church is Need Orientated Evangelism.

Defined: In your sphere of influence you begin to Discern hurts / wounds; Unmet needs; Unfulfilled desires; unanswered questions. Discerning a person’s spiritual address is really important.

Bill Hybels has written a book entitled Contagious Christian. Speaks to the need of relational evangelism…

Fact: the highest percentage of people come to Jesus come to Him out of their relationships with friends, or relatives or acquaintances.

Evangelism in it’s true sense is a process.
Plowing, Sowing, Watering and Harvest. 1Cor 3; John 4 Mark 4 parable of the sower. Parable of the four soils.

How long does it take for a person to come to Christ? a unique amount of time.

Our role is to connect others to the process, and creating opportunities for people to step into that process. Breaking down barriers and building bridges as we attempt to bring people to saving faith. Spiritual decisions are almost always a process.

Recent bumper sticker. Jesus save me from these Christians.

Christians are not very good at living a 'fruit of the Spirit life' before non-believers.

A group of bible scholars were discussing what is it that makes us stand out from other religions of the world.

…Grace… Yet if you interview non believers and ask what the word Christian means? I doubt you would receive the answer—a graceful, and compassionate person.

When action oriented compassion is absent, it’s a tell-tale sign that something’s spiritually amiss. Whether the problem is with the organization or the individual, uncaring Christianity does not attract inquirers into its fold. Bill Hybels.

our way of life should have the attitude of Christ…

I Jn 2:6
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV)

How did He walk? Check the gospels

Interesting to me that people far from God wanted to be around Jesus. They even invited Him to parties. He was full of compassion, mercy, full of grace,and truth. Yet, He was constantly accused of being a friend of sinners by the religious right. Matthew tax collector…despised by Jew and Greek alike. Yet Jesus saw something in him and went to his home for a Matthew’s party.

People we come into contact day by day in shops, restaurants, need to see grace and compassion in action.

We may be reborn spiritually, but we need to grow socially. A great need in this generation to develop social, common sense people skills…learning to be friendly open hearted. Smiling saying hello and thank you go a long way.

To be honest… rudeness, impatience and having a condescending attitude toward one another and the people of our world are not an example of the fruit of the spirit. I don’t care how long you’ve been a believer, or your standing, or position in the community of believers. Having bad attitudes are a symptom of religious pride…thinking we are somehow better than anyone else or that we are the elite.

Consider Jesus. What was his attitude? he was fully God yet fully man...see Phil 2...

Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost.(people who are away from God's presence) He came not to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.

Timothy, it is a trustworthy statement Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

The attitude of the apostles amaze me.

Peter, Cornelius house, I too am a man like you.
Paul understood where he came from. I believe this understanding, kept him tender toward the people he was trying to reach.

Mars hill...he did not bind up false spirits...he presented the Good News and encouraged the people, explaining the nature and character of God, he then encouraged them to turn toward the Living God.

'We are only servants, who have a stewardship committed to us.' He worked... so he would not be a burden to the people in his church community. He served them practically.

Peter...Elders...'don’t Lord it over'... As each as received a special gift use it in serving.

Humility and servant-hood was a continual theme for Jesus toward his disciples. Servant hood was an area the disciples continually struggled with.

James and John were militants who wanted to nuke a city on a mission trip

Luke 9:54-56
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them."] And they went on to another village. (NAS)

It is not Godly to want to curse people or to pray against people in the name of the Lord(oxymoron)…it is not the Spirit of Christ—it is a different spirit. 'We don’t like the way you are doing things so we are going to pray against you. Our way is right, those who don't do they things the way we do them are wrong.' What’s the root? Certainly not grace, not humility and compassion. It's pride...pride smells... Always.


Matt 5:44
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (NIV)

Luke 6:28
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.(NIV)

Luke 6:32-33
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. (NIV)

Luke 6:35-36
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (NIV)

What does all of this have to do with Evangelism. Everything! Serving our way into the heart of our community is not just a method but a value that reflects the heart of God.

J. Oswald Sanders Spiritual Leadership, “True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to others.”

Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline. “More than any other single way, the grace of humility is worked in our lives through the discipline of serving.”

Gene Wilkes Jesus on Leadership “Genuine service—an act initiated for the benefit of another hidden from an audience—will always lead to humility. “

God resists the proud of heart. God gives grace to the humble

What is humility?….it is the stark realization and acceptance of the fact that I am totally dependent upon God’s love, grace, forgiveness and mercy. He is my only hope. I once was lost but now I’m found. No room for spiritual pride. Every day I need His grace, I was connected to God by grace, I am connected to God by grace and I will be connected to God by grace.

Eph 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (NAS)

Paul asks us to consider, to remember, that at one time / you were. Why do we need to remember what we were? Who we were?... It makes us grateful for what He has made us in His Son. Remembering, softens our hearts toward the people of our world.

Kindness Outreach / Servant Evangelism...A method. Yes it is a method but it is more than a method. It is a life value that reflects a servant attitude expressed by action...that says...It is more blessed to give than to receive.

When we lose sight of the Grace of God we become ungraceful, un-thankful proud people. We become Holier than “them out there” and... forget our nudging others toward Jesus is the reason why we are Christians in the first place. Acts 1:8 We are blessed to be a blessing!

If we are rude and uncaring toward the people in our sphere of influence… I wonder just how Spirit filled we really are. In reality we could be a dead unfruitful tree.

Parables...Tree no fruit... curse it cut it down...Tree no fruit...dig in dung, give it 3 years if no fruit cut it down. Maybe it’s time we examine our fruit...

Steve Sjogren... Small things done with great love will change our world.

'The kindness I’m talking about are practical acts of mercy done by followers of Jesus who are inspired by the Holy Spirit to see others through the eyes of God.' steve sjogren

Paul writes it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Rom 2:4

Kindness is not an apathetic response to sin, but a deliberate act to bring a person back to God Nelson’s Bible Dictionary

One of the hall-marks of a fruit bearing Christian is... Grace express by kindness.

Webster’s dictionary implies kindness as a spiritual root by defining kindness as having a sympathetic, helpful and forbearing nature.

Paul exhorts us to allow our forbearing spirit be known to all men. Phil 4:5 Forbearance is the ability to see and love people as God sees and loves them.

Remember the bumper sticker… Jesus save us from these Christians.

Our mandate: Redefine to our world who Jesus really is. How? By being a serving, a powerful and a graceful people as we proclaim the good news. These are the kind of people who stand out like lights in a world of un-grace.

Leading leaders what? 2

think off the top of my head...as a leading leader i need to know the value of people and relationships...team is not just about sharing the same goals, values but being family...the best teams come from being family....another is that we are doing what we do to build His Kingdom not just a church or a ministry...they need to know that I am leading them toward fufilling a mission from God, not just bigger and better religion...they want to know that we as leading leaders value charchter, integrity....that we are real ..what you see is what you see in and out of staff meetings, pulpit etc. that the power behind success is not personality or pressure but the power of His Spirit.... BL

hey probably wish I had a better gauge of what they already knew, so that I did not waste time reteaching or preaching to the choir stuff that they not only get, but are actively applying. Since I tend to tell quite a few stories while providing leadership examples, they also probably wish I would remember what stories I have already told them so often that they can now tell those stories better than I can. I also wonder if they wish I would not make grand assumptions about what they get and are capable of. Being hyper-intuitive and a bit experienced, I forget that was has become as normal as breathing for me, can often still be elusive to them. Tossing them a few nuts and bolts when they not only need the whole crankshaft along with the schematics doesn't help them, even if I can perform the assembly in my sleep--not because of a more advanced skill set or talent, but merely because repetition leads to short cuts, and we might need to explain those short cuts KG

Being a Bringer and an Includer...It's for the birds.

being a person who is friendly and open hearted is a person who cares for others and wants to be inclusive. this pixar short really defines what a church should be...not.

see if you can see the friendly openhearted personality, in spite of others he continues to believe the best, and more importantly has a great sense of humor. I show this to all new people who come to our Beginnings membership class at the end of our time together. Most get the point...see if you can. Might not be a great way of inviting people to be part of what you are doing but a great way to start a group for nudist sparrows.

Leading Leaders What?

I asked some good leading leaders 2 questions...their responses are interesting, insightful and inspirational.

"I understand the question to be in two parts ...

1) What do I think I need to know to lead others?

2) What do I think those I'm leading wish I knew?

I'm primarily leading volunteers, not full-time employees (although I do have a couple of those too), so this will be geared mainly at that scenario.

For (1), I think I need to know what motivates volunteers to get things done. It's a different thing than what motivates people to get things done at their work.

I think I need to know what the Holy Spirit is doing in their life. God is growing and pruning each of us. As their mentor/pastor, I need to help them identify where God is working in their life and help them go through that process with God to actually grow.

I think I need to know how to and have the guts to confront people effectively and with gentleness and love. Many people can confront out of anger or frustration, but as a leader, my confrontations need to be with the purpose of teaching (i.e. teachable moment) and restoration.

For (2), I think those I'm leading wish I knew how to differentiate between the role and expectations of a vocational minister vs. a "civilian" who carries the message of Christ. By this I mean, we are full-time leaders (pastors) and most of the NT is written either by or about full-time leaders (pastors/missionaries). This creates a certain set of expectations that are only applicable to full-time leaders, but get taught (mistakenly, I believe) as expectations for every believer ... which set most people up for failure, guilt, and disillusionment.

As a corollary to the last issue, I think they wish I knew how to help them be more effective at impacting their world for the kingdom of God within the context of the work-a-day lives.

I think they wish I knew how to do "counseling first aid." By that I mean, there are a lot of "standard" emotional and psychological issues out there (body image, eating disorders, promiscuity, lust). I don't think I need to be qualified to take someone through to complete victory in all these areas, but I should have a good understanding of each of these issues, what tend to be their root causes, and help get this person through the crisis and on to a professional for long-term help.

I think they wish I knew how to identify "wolves in sheep's clothing" within the body (opportunists, stalkers, controllers, bullies, etc.) and confront them." JN

"I think they wish I knew...

How they are feeling. (I would like them to know that it would help if they would talk to me sometime about how they are feeling.)

What it is like to always have to submit to someone else. (I would like them to realise that we are all called to submit to one another-I try to submit to all those I serve.)

The importance of showing my appreciation to those serving with me. (I would like for them to know that my natural 'love language' may be different from theirs and that my expressions may have been lost in translation.)

That they are just as 'gifted' as me-and probably more so than me in some areas. (I would like them to know that I probably agree, but leadership is not all about 'giftedness'.)

(Some) would like me to know that I'm not all that great a leader. (Again, I would probably agree with them. I would like them to know that I often have sleepless nights with cares that are directly related to leadership responsibilities-something
that I would gladly trade with them, but I'm afraid that it comes with the territory.)

They would like me to know that they are doing the best that they can to serve God and people. (I would like them to know that I really do appreciate them and the works of service they do and that I love them very much.)" TR

"Leaders need to know:

- it's not about them
- it's about earning respect by integrity and faithfulness
- it's about serving those who are led
- it's about presenting clear / attainable goals
- it's about seeking wise counsel
- it's about patience with followers
- it's about patience and perseverance in failure
- it's about seeking God". SC

"A leader leading leaders needs to know the heart of God as revealed in Scripture and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
He needs to be sensitive to the direction that God wants to go, as opposed to what the general consensus of what makes "good" leadership technique.

A leader of leaders needs to seek to understand the next step for those he is leading and encourage them in that direction." CW

"Make your vision clear, listen, communicate well, and never, never give up!
Give people clear steps/instrutions in order to make things happen. Give feedback, be positive and encouraging, constructive criticism where necessary. Treat people as valuable individuals." JM

"One of the things I harper on especially is the need to have the right kind of tools to do the job right.
I watch carpenters and builders, and observe which tools they use and how they use them. It really is fascinating to see how easily things can be done, if you have the right tools and know how to use them. Unfortunately, many pastors think that their job is just a gift, and do not know how to sharpen their gifts into skills.

First of all, do they know what tools they have at their disposal, and then do they know how to use them effectively.
I guess I try to help folks focus on two things: First the importance of a mentor or coach. (Best to get young people to actually spend time living with you and sharing life) Character is more caught than taught. In doing life together, you train all the time with very practical skills, not just knowledge.
That is a quick answer to a mighty question!" BT

"Some wish I knew how to help them become employed even though they have limited abilities.

Some wish I knew how to help them be free of an addiction without shame.

Some wish I knew how hard they struggle to stay afloat emotionally and financially.

Some wish I would remember their name.

Some wish I knew how to stop the oppressive thoughts.

I need to know the presences of the Lord more and more.
His guidance, healing, comfort and truth. So much of the
things that come to me have to be sorted out by the Spirit.

I need to know how encourage my leaders to seek more of the Holy Spirit as He leads them.
The worries of life come at you like a mob scene. Things coming
at you from every direction. The Holy Spirit and His word
need to be the turn style or the filter that help us sort out and control the worries and decisions of life. " RR

"I would say the #1 thing would be communication-
people can't read your mind but they can read your actions or lack thereof. They need to hear from you on a continual basis. The leader jeopardizes his relationship, team harmony and security, achievement of goals, long term commitment, if he doesn't communicate on a regular basis. Having a multiple staff means more multiple meetings- don't hire if you are not willing to invest time and energy into their lives. Don't hide behind your desk but get out where they are and talk, talk, talk. Also have regular sit down time with them eyeball to eyeball, knee to knee." DK

"I think leaders need to know....They're never as good or as bad as they think they are. Most preachers, in particular, think they hit it out of the park or are ready to slit their wrists on Monday morning. In reality, people are rarely as impressed or depressed by our efforts as we think they are." RB

"four things I've been thinking about since I saw this last night.

First is being able to see peripheral. You know this, cause we've talked about it.. but noticing the things not normally noticed is key.

second, being able to communicate the outcome. Making sure that people aren't feeling like they're being "blindly led". Many young and old followers need assurance of the end is in mind.

third, encouragement... being an on the field cheerleader/ game player is part of being a leading leader.

fourth, releasing the lead. Knowing when to let others have a chance to shine.: CR