Well it’s Sunday morning and I just finished “breaking bread”, or eating bagels on the floor of my new house, with some new neighbors in Indy and I realized that there was something missing…it was the hundreds of people each week that I used to worship with at a YMCA in West Toledo. There is something special about gathering with lots of other Christ followers with hands lifted high and a great band playing in the background.
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“They” say that if a new individual or family in the church is not able to develop at least three significant friendships within the first year of their attendance, they WILL leave the church. Why do you think that is? God has deposited in each of us a desire and craving for authentic relationships and community. If this “hunger” is not satisfied both with God and others, we will constantly be “searching for more.” I’m not talking about a casual friendship. When that is the depth of our connection with God and/or with others, we have nothing more than a shallow, “christian” experience.
We were made to “do life” with other followers of Christ and “to pursue Him” together. In the past couple of years, my family and I have had the joy of doing just that with some great friends and families in our weekly Life Group (or small group as some call it) and at Northpoint.
The measurement of successful leadership is complicated. There are so many definitions, styles, opinions, types, world-views, etc…you get the point. BUT, the one statement that I think can sum it all up is that “Leadership Is Influence”…period! Whether you are a parent leading your kids and family, a teacher molding and shaping the minds of your students, a CEO, pastor or even a cashier at a fast food restaurant…each of us has a sphere of influence. As a leader, any of us can influence anyone in any direction. All of us are leaders in some way, and in turn, all of us are followers too. It’s pretty powerful if you think about it, because who you end up following greatly influences the kind of leader you are and will become. I am proud to have followed and help lead many great “influencers” in the past 4 years at Northpoint.
In many church circles the word “service” refers to the time during the week when the people come together to worship, listen to a message and try to connect with people that they only see once a week. This ritual is performed methodically week after week, year after year for many Christians that GO TO CHURCH. The “service” if often more about consuming than actually serving. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is a good thing for Christ followers to gather and I echo the Bible’s teaching to meet regularly, BUT the church is not meant to be someplace we GO TO for a service. We are called to BE THE church and serve. We are called to do life together, outside of a Sunday gathering, and BE THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST and serve those in our sphere of influence…just like Jesus did.
Are you a Mac or a PC? Some say (usually PC users) that Mac enthusiasts are a like a cult…if so, I am a proud member. It is true though, most Mac users are loyal, outside of the box thinkers, culturally savvy, dedicated to Apple’s mission (to change the world) and seem to have a deep connection with others that have a Mac product. Call it “cult-ish” if ya want, but there is something inspiring and special about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s kinda of like being a part of the staff at Northpoint…except for the “cult thing”.
Yesterday marked the countdown until my family and I pack-up all our stuff and leave the great city of Toledo, OH for a new adventure in Indianapolis, IN. For the past four years, we have had the privilege of serving at a great church, Northpoint, in the northwest corner of Ohio. It was here that I found my passion for ministering to kids/teens and their parents, as the Family Ministries Pastor, and a renewed love for the church. My time at Northpoint has taught me that it is more important to build and invest in people and God’s Kingdom than in platforms and building the church…that is God’s job. We will miss the friends and ministries that we have poured our lives into, and the community of Christ followers that have become like a family to my three boys, wife and myself.