Posts Tagged ‘ pastor ’

When God Collided with Me (Video from our 1st Service)

Here’s my story and I am sticking to it!  A few years ago God changed my heart about starting a new church by meeting me head on at a major intersection of my life.  This video is from my first sermon at the first service of Awestruck Church.  More to come soon.  Enjoy.  🙂


Has God ever collided His plans into yours?  How did you respond?  Share your response by leaving a comment.


I don’t have time for this? (you should make time to read this)

What a crazy week!  I have not had time to do much blogging, twittering or any of our social media this week.  To be accurate, I have never seen a chicken run around with their head cut off, but if it is anything like what I imagine it to be then that is what I have resembled all week.  Tons of stuff has fallen in line for Awestruck over the past few days and I can’t wait until 9/7/08!  Only 10 more days and we finally get to put into action all the prayers, tears, dreams, and plans we have been making over the last 331 days.  I have been saying “Booyah” a bunch this week?  I have been excited so I am allowed.  

Our sound system is going to be incredible thanks to Don’s Music City and their desire to be part of what God is doing through Awestruck.  Thank you Jim for believing in our vision.  Our signs should be done very soon, like maybe today.  We have found a great deal on a great projector…finally!  Starbucks has donated the coffee for our first sevice and we have the equipment to serve it up right.  The pipe and drape and backdrop for our stage will be finished by Sunday.  (Could be a long workday for the Awestruck crew.)  Our children’s area is 99.999% complete thanks to our friends at Pine Ridge Church, my wife and Aubrey working so hard.  The videos for our service are going to be off the charts thanks to Evan.  I think he even impressed himself with these.  Layden is ready to flat bring it with our music!  I will warn you that if you are expecting the typical “follow the bouncing ball” type worship, then you might want to visit another church.  Those guys are going to rock out.  Steggy (our pastor of guest experiences) has it going on with our welcoming and greeting stuff.  I have been preparing my message for 10 months now, so it better be pretty good.  Most importantly, by lunch time today Awestruck will officially be able to call Eastern Middle School home!  It has been worth all the hassle and frustration to be able to meet in this incredible facility.  Thank you Mr. Ferrell for all your hard work and accommodation.  Like I said, this has been a busy week.  I know that I have forgotten about some folks and stuff, but you get the idea. I am amazed and gazing in wild wonder at all God is doing behind the scenes for Awestruck.    Get ready Eastern Guilford county, we are coming.

IIWTP Part 4…”Sticktoitiveness”

If I were the pastor…I would not let my vision slip for any reason.  This is a tough one!  I have already been tested on this issue in the adventure of planting Awestruck.  We have not officially begun our weekly service, and I have already considered altering the vision God has infused into my heart.  When we could not find a meeting space, I was willing to move into a new part of the city.  When we were not obtaining the funds we needed, I was willing to change our methods.  When we were not getting any response from people, I was willing to alter who we are and what we were planning.  I believe this is the constant internal struggle of every pastor.  Sticking to the plans and vision that God has called us to, in spite of other people’s opinions.  Going forward with nothing to hold onto other than the faith that you are doing what is right.  Making decisions when they don’t make practical sense.  The “sticktoitiveness” (I think I just made that word up?) of the pastor to follow wherever God leads is what makes or breaks a church.

Now that I am the pastor, I will make every effort to live out the promises and plans that God has prepared for me and the church.  This will be my greatest challenge!  I am thankful for the team around me that is sold out to the vision of Awestruck.  My prayer is that God will continue to surround me with folks that hold me accountable to this.  My adventure of planting a church has been unique from the beginning.  There are similarities among all church plants, but there are so many aspects of my journey that are individual to me alone.  That is the way God intended it, and I don’t foresee that changing in the future.  I will be challenged and questioned along the way, but I pray for the “sticktoitiveness” to hold on tight to the vision God has planted so deeply into my heart!

IIWTP Part 3…I Can’t Do it Myself

If I were the pastor…I would not micromanage the originality and personality out of my staff.  I have seen this way too many times.  Some pastors feel the need to oversee every aspect of every ministry in the church.  I have been very guilty of this with the people gracious enough to volunteer in my past ministries.  As a result, you end up with a bunch of leaders that conform to what the Pastor wants done and your best leaders usually leave.  True leaders in a church have been gifted by God to do what the pastor can’t.  I believe that is why God gives pastors a staff.  The church staff are more than the support system for the pastor’s plans, they are originators and pioneers of great new ideas that lead the church closer to the vision that God has given the pastor.  (That statement might be worth reading a few more times before continuing.)

Now that I am the pastor, I will do everything I can to empower and encourage my leaders to function in the gifts and talents they possess.  A statement that I hear all the time at my house is “I can do it myself”.  If you have young kids then you understand this.  They want to do everything with no help.  If we try to help them it often leads to a tears and some sort of tantrum?  As a pastor I am learning to get past the “I can do it myself” mentality!  There are some things that I could do, but not with the level of excellence as someone on my team who has more passion and skill than I do in that task.  I am learning to lead my leaders and set them free to accomplish great things.  They know the vision and purpose of Awestruck, and they have a desire to see our church become all that God wants us to be.  My leadership team is making huge things happen right now as a result of me taking my hands and plans out of what I have trusted them to do.  I hope to never micromanage them to the place of becoming miniature Josh’s.  My desire is to see them do what they do best, and as a result our church will reach our greatest potential.

IIWTP Part 2…Doing What Only I can Do

If I were the Pastor…I would not neglect my wife and kids.  Ministry is a 24 hour a day position with the the expectation of being available to all people at all times.  Pastors are expected to give guidance, love, and support to the people in our church.  These are great things to do, but in the process we wear ourselves out and having nothing left for our own family.  I have been guilty of missing events with my family to spend time with other people.  I have missed out on enough valuable time that my kids now ask, “Is daddy going with us?” when they get dressed for an evening outing.  I left my own birthday dinner one year to make a hospital visit!  Pastors are great at being spiritual leaders for every family in their church, and often that leads to the neglect of their own wife and kids.

Now that I am the pastor I am making it my top priority to spend as much time as I can to love on my wife and youngins.  I have two responsibilities in life that only I can accomplish: Being a husband to my wife, and a Daddy to my kids.  There will be occasional situations that I have to be away, but gone are the days where I constantly choose the needs of others over the time my family needs from me.  I have made this commitment to my wife and communicated this very clearly to my leadership team.  I want to be the greatest husband and father that I can be.  I believe this is the greatest example I can set for the folks at Awestruck.  My number one value, outside of growing closer to Jesus, is loving and leading my family.

IIWTP Part 1….Being Real

If I were the pastor…I would not feel the need to act more spiritually accomplished than I really am.  That is one thing that bugs me about pastors.  It only worsens when you put a large group of pastors together in a room.  I hear a lot of bragging about the great things God is doing, but very rarely hear of the real life struggles and dilemmas they face.  I am not saying that I want to make my life an open book and air all my dirty laundry for my church, but I believe it is crucial for my church to understand that I am human.  When I asked my leadership team what they expected of me, the first response was to be the moral, ethical, and spiritual leader of the church.  Simple enough?  I am convinced that part of setting the spiritual bar high is letting people know when I struggle and how I am working hard to grow in my relationship with Jesus.  

One thing I will prioritize and value now that I am the pastor is being honest about my personal journey with Jesus Christ.  I am also bothered by what happens at the opposite end of this spectrum, a trend of pastors that feel the need to take on the habits and behaviors of a lost world in order to reach lost people.  I am aware of the things of my “old self” that I still struggle with, but because of God I have been able to let go of my past addictions and bad habits.  God is in the business of making us “new creatures”!  Getting there is sometimes difficult, but people need to understand that you can make it.  Being real and honest in front of the people that I am called to lead earns me the right to be heard and respected.  I do not need to put on the false front of a spiritual hero with no problems, or behave and cuss like people that have not yet experienced the life changing grace of Jesus in order to be a good Pastor.  I just want to be me, doing what God has called me to do.  As a pastor I want to be honest about my struggles, but lead people to a close, intimate relationship with Christ that brings about newness.  That is the adventure I am on and I have been called to be their guide.

If I were the Pastor…

If my values and priorities are going change as my identity in Christ becomes clearer, (read “Every Dead End brings us Closer”) then it must involve both thinking and action steps.  I have never been a pastor.  I have spent the last 10 years of my life in full time ministry working under pastors.  I have pastored my own ministries within a church, but never been the main man at the helm of the ship.  Because that is what God has now called me to do, I have been doing a great deal of thinking and reflecting on what that means for me.  What do I value and what will I prioritize in my role as Lead Pastor of Awestruck?

More times than I can count over the last years I have made statements that began with, “If I were the pastor”.  Some ended with sentiments of mimicking a behavior that I had seen in someone, and others ended by stating the mistakes that I plan to never recreate.  Now is the time for me to live out all those ideas.  Ready or not, I am living in the stage of, “Now that I am the Pastor”, and gone are the days of evaluating from the sidelines.  Over the next few days I am going to post several things that I hope to hold most valuable in my role as pastor.  It is my plan, my wish list of sorts.  Some will take years to fully attain, others will be a constant daily effort, but I believe each one is vitally important.  You could call this my online accountability.  If I post it then I will be questioned on it, and that is exactly what I am hoping for.