January 2010

Most of you who stalk…um…follow Summit staff know that Small Groups Guy Spence Shelton is single-handedly sending the family doctor to Aruba in February.  So far this month, every family member but Spence has spent time in either the doctor’s office, ER, or a full-blown hospital visit.  This week, it was his oldest son’s turn.  And yesterday, the Babysitter Fairy wasn’t too kind to ’em when it came time for Kid #2 to be taken care of.

Which is why – for some reason that I still do not nor ever will know – Spence’s wife Courtney called me just before lunch and asked if I’d be available to hang out with Ben (not quite four months old) later that afternoon.

For some reason, I forgot that it’s been almost eight years since there’s been a baby in my presence.  I like babies, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t necessarily like spending time with them socially.  Neither would you if your dinner partner pooped themself.

But I digress.  Here’s the breakdown of the afternoon:

2:00 PM: Arrive at Chez Shelton, get the rundown from Babysitter #1, who is our staff counselor whose heart language is Spanish and I’m pretty sure that’s what she was speaking when she gave me the to do list.  She sounded like Ricky Ricardo when Lucy flooded the apartment with Cheez Whiz.

2:00:15 PM: Suddenly alone with the kid.  Begin to get suspicious that Cynthia left so fast.  What had he done wrong?

2:00:22 PM: Realize that Ben is sleeping pretty well.  Also realize that this could be an answered prayer and a time to get some work done.  But first: get the lay of the land.  Where are the diapers, the food, and what’s on TV?

2:01 – 2:28 PM: Try to figure out Spence’s stupid remote.

2:29 PM: Ben stirs.  And by “stir” I mean, “Make that cute sound that babies make when they’re waking up, followed by high pitched wailing that caused the neighbors dogs to run just a few minutes later.”

2:30 PM: Realize I should have paid more attention to Cynthia’s feeding instructions.  And heated up the bottle instead of fiddling with the remote.

2:32 PM: Juggle Ben.  Work Courtney’s elaborate bottle warming system.  Pray that I’m not radiating Ben by holding him directly in front of the microwave.

2:33 PM: Realize that I will never ever ever be able to hear out of my left ear again.

2:34 PM: Try the “test the milk on the wrist trick.”  Realize I have no idea what I’m doing and just stick the bottle in the wail trap.

2:35 PM: Bottle time.  Benny boy is finally happy.  I’m happy.  I figure out the remote and settle on A Baby Story on TLC.

2:38 PM: Realize that I have become a woman.  Switch to Fox Business Channel.

2:44 PM: Remember that babies should burp, just after Ben appears to have a blue tint.

2:45 PM: Think about how cool it would be if I could teach him to burp his ABC’s.

2:50 PM: Last of the bottle is finished.  Ben is embarrassed about something, because he’s red faced.

2:51 PM: Realize that’s not embarrassment.

2:52 PM: Repeat to myself over and over: “You can do this.  You’ve had three kids.  This is not a big deal.  There’s a big bottle of hand sanitizer waiting on you.”

3:00 PM: Ben makes it to the bouncy seat.  I make it to the couch and proceed to rest my hands in a Clorox bath.

3:02 PM: Pull out the laptop because dang it, I’m going to get some work done now.  Attempt to hack into Spence’s wireless signal.

3:04 PM: Disappointed (but not surprised) that his password is MyCampusPastorSux.

3:21 PM: I contemplate how odd it is that I’m babysitting at 37 years old.  Consider calling up some friends and asking them to bring over their Chubby Checker records so we can push back the living room furniture and do the mashed potato.

3:30 PM: Ben decides that he despises the creator of the bouncy seat.  I realize the same.

3:31 PM: Begin the Put The Baby To Sleep Waltz, including swaying around the living room, making silly noises, and attempting to hum.  Pray like crazy that there is no Nanny Cam.

3:40 PM: Ben goes to sleep.  I go back to e-mail.

4:10 PM: My wife calls.  I whisper so as not to wake up the man child.  I wonder if I’ll get in trouble with the Shelton’s for being on the phone when I should be babysitting.  Also wonder if that will affect my pay.

4:15 PM: Raid the pantry.  Realize that everything is probably infected with whatever Zeke has.  Decide to take my chances with starvation.

4:20 PM: More e-mails.

5:00 PM: Ben stirs (see above).

5:05 PM: Help arrives in the form of Lori, my administrative assistant / frequent Shelton babysitter.  I channel the spirit of Cynthia channelling the spirit of Ricky Ricardo and by

5:05:19 PM: I’m outta there.

8:22 PM: Review my Campus Pastor job description and realize I didn’t sign up for this.

Proof that the kid likes me.

In case you missed it, one of our covenant members hit the big time on ESPN last week.

Jon Lunn is one of our First Impressions Team leaders.  He’s also a NC State University student.

And a rabid Duke fan.

So it was pretty awesome when Jon showed up at the Duke / NCSU game and sat in the NCSU student section wearing his Duke jersey.

Incredibly stupid, but pretty awesome.

Even better was when his mug went on national TV…at the end of the game…as Duke was getting spanked.  The picture says it all:

Moral to this story.  Jon is fearless.  So if he tells you you’re gonna scoot in this Sunday to make room for guests, you’d better do what he says.

(Disregard those instructions if you happen to be wearing this.)

A couple of weeks ago we launched a new venue in the Bay at our Brier Creek Campus, which will allow us to add over 250 seats at the 10:45 hour.

Anytime we launch a new venue, I have a combo bag of feelings which include extreme elation (“This is a great opportunity for people to serve!”) and extreme apprehension (“If we can’t get enough people to fill up a brand new First Impressions Team I’m going to have to get a fake beard and go into hiding and lose my job and make a living by selling gum wads I scrape off the bottom of tables at Panera Bread.”).

Roughly ten days before the Bay launched, I was squarely in feeling #2.  And then came the e-mail from one of our rock star small group leaders.  After a few exchanges, their group made the decision to adopt the Bay as their very own, and thus filled more than half of the needs on the First Impressions Team.

Back up.  Read that again.  They made the Bay theirs.  The entire group.  They ALL stepped up to serve…together.

I don’t care who you are, that’s downright cool.  This multi-generational group already does life together.  They meet weekly to pray for each other, learn from each other, and study scripture with each other.  And now…now they are serving with each other.

That’s very cool.

I want you to see these people for yourself.  This is about half the group (hey…the other half were busy serving).  Sorry about the blurry photography…we were in a rush.

Meanwhile, if you’re a part of the Summit and are looking for a group to join or a place to serve, we’d love to help you do that.  Check out Starting Point, the connection event designed for you.  Next one happens at Brier Creek AM on February 7 after every service!

The scene: our Chevy Trailblazer, hauling the entire Franks crew.

The setup: a back seat convo between Austin (12) and Jacob (13).

Austin: So this kid in my class says, “Which religion are you?”  And I said, “I’m a Christian.”

Jacob: Christianity isn’t your religion!  That’s like a relationship.  Southern Baptist is your religion.

Austin:  Uh-uh! Southern Baptist ain’t my religion!  It’s my genre.

Pray for me.  Please.  That kid’s gonna live in my house for another six years.

First things first: tomorrow is Saturday.  You know, Saturday: that day that many Americans view as their very own God-given right to sleep in late, have brunch at a little bistro-style restaurant with a name like Crepe Diem (literally, “Day of the Thin Pancake”), and fold your socks.

But for this Saturday, let me encourage you to put the socks on hold and get the crepes to go.  Because this Saturday is Frontline at the Brier Creek Campus.

This Saturday is for every current and potential volunteer in the Summit Kids and First Impressions teams, and for potential vols on the Production team.  If you are serving – or are interested in serving – at the Brier Creek AM or PM or Cole Mill campuses, we need you there.

Here’s reality: last Sunday we had nearly 2700 people at the Brier Creek AM Campus (a 41% increase from the same Sunday last year).  Statistics say that this coming Sunday will be much bigger than that, and the numbers will stay at the 2700 range from now until Easter.

So we need you.  We need you to greet guests.  We need you to love on kids.  We need you to run cameras, flip switches, and wear cool headsets.

Summit, this is your time to shine.  If you’re not serving, you may just be squandering the gifts God has given you.  Please – come to Frontline.  You can find more information here.

Forgive me, blogworld, for I haven’t penned.  It has been seven days since my last post.

Where have you been?

Um, you know, around.

Whatcha been doing?

Oh, stuff.

You’re going to need to be more specific.  Your readers need to know.  Well, they don’t need to know, but they’re nosy like that.

Um, yeah.  So we launched that new venue in the Bay last Sunday, so that took some time.  Then I had the first big info meeting on that Dubai trip, so bam – some more time.  Then the office was shut down on Monday.  Tuesday the WonderIntern was in the office and we had computer troubles.  Wednesday…

Hold on.  Your intern’s name is “Tuesday.”?


You said, “Tuesday the WonderIntern.”  That’s weird.  I’ve heard of “my man Friday,” but Tu…

No, no, no.  Tuesday was the day that we had computer trouble.  As in, “ON Tuesday, the WonderIntern”…

Okay I get it.  Move along.

Then Wednesday was just busy.

So you don’t care enough to take time to blog?

Oh baby, do I ever care.  I care like a big dog.  But you know, the creativity.  Sometimes it’s not there.

You mean like this post right now?

Something like that, yeah.

So what about tomorrow?  Will you have stuff for us tomorrow?


Okay.  We’ll check back.  Or maybe not.  Because dude…you might have just jumped the shark.

I don’t know what that means, but I’ll have Tuesday look into it.

After devouring The Church of Facebook, I feel a little like the monkey who kissed the skunk: I didn’t get all I wanted, but I got more than I could stand.  The title led me to believe that I would be reading a manifesto on social networking’s influence (both good and bad) on the local church.  And yes, I received a little of that.  But I was also the recipient of so much more.

Jesse Rice is a former worship pastor at a California church [insert your own joke here].  As a holder of a master’s degree in counseling psychology, he’s able to take raw data and turn it into compelling evidence for the role of virtual media and its impact on real community.  Rice writes in a Malcolm Gladwell-esque fashion, taking (seemingly unrelated) fascinating stories and using them to drive home his point: what happens online is connection, but it’s not necessarily community.

Rice builds a case for the redemption of social media.  He argues that through authenticity and intentionality, we can take our online relationships and turn them into an opportunity for the gospel.  In a world where we are surrounded with people who are always on (and sometimes we are those people), we have the opportunity to help move them from “what’s new” to “what’s now.”  In other words, to get their noses out of Facebook and into real faces…faces of friends and family in the flesh.

The author’s work is highly readable, engaging, often humorous (whatever you do, do not skip the footnotes), and is a must-read for small group leaders, ministry heads, and yes…even Connections Pastors.  Rice has launched a redemptive revolution into the oft-reviled world of cyber-friendships.  Even for me, a non-Facebooker, I learned a tremendous amount about the role of Twitter, blogs, and multiple other online forums in my own life.

On page 97, the author downplays his contribution to the social media discussion.  I couldn’t disagree more.  While The Church of Facebook doesn’t have quite as much to do with the church as I first suspected, it nevertheless gave me a new mindset for how to reach a new generation of wired-in people.

Oh, and Jesse: if you ever happen across this post, please allow me be the first to call you a social media guru.  Maybe your mom won’t mind.

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Ha ha ha, that’s a little socio-economic joke, that is.  You see, Dubai’s government is belly up, and we’re going to Dubai, and…

…never mind.

So, I’m leading this trip to Dubai later this summer, right?  And there’s going to be lots of church planters that will be gathered there that we’ll be serving, right?  And we need people to love on their kids and people to lead them in worship and people to keep me from ending any more sentences in right, right?

This Sunday is our first informational meeting about the trip.  Dates are July 16ish through 25ish, but you have to come to the meeting and give the secret handshake before I’ll tell you any more specifics.

The meeting happens in Suite 111 at the Brier Creek Campus at 3:00.  And unlike the other Dubai post where I told you to comment below and I’d remind you about the meeting, I’m not going to remind you about the meeting.  Because if your short-term memory is that bad, maybe you don’t need to go, yo.

But still, if you’d like for me to plan on you, shoot me an e-mail or comment below.

I got in touch with my inner bookworm over Christmas vacation.  Two of the five books I finished will be reviewed here this week.  Stay tuned for a review of The Church of Facebook, coming up on Thursday.

I tend to be somewhat of a snob when it comes to marriage books.  Many of them overlook the fact that marriage is about the greater picture of the gospel, and instead focus on how to customize your spouse (I call it Your Best Wife Now).  That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I read Emerson Eggerichs’ The Language of Love and Respect. Eggerichs walks the reader through Ephesians 5:33, and helps married couples understand that the greatest needs for wives and husbands are love and respect, respectively (pun intended).

Eggerichs gave me tremendous insight into what a gospel-centered marriage should look like.  That’s helpful not only to me as a pastor, but to me as a husband as well.  Filled with practical tools for communication (in my opinion, a main cause of marriage breakdown), the book will be a handy reference for helping married couples achieve a gospel mindset.

The one drawback to the book is that Eggerichs crams 200 pages of material into 355.  At times I felt like I was stuck in one of those reality shows where you get a full preview of the next segment before the commercial, and a full recap of the previous segment after the commercial.  Much of the review and preview was unnecessary, and often made me feel like the book was dragging.

That said, The Language of Love and Respect is a good read, and one that needs to be on your shelf.  Buy it today.

Previous Reviews:

Boys and girls, it’s time.

It’s time for us to be ready for company.

It’s time to get off your tail and into the game.

It’s time to sharpen your skills.

It’s time to pursue the art of awesome.

It’s time…for Frontline.

Coming January 23, we’re hosting our spring Frontline First Impressions Training.  There are two tracks that are designed for potential, current, future, whatever-style First Impressions peeps…read carefully:

  • The Basic Track is for anyone who is interested in exploring service on the First Impressions team.  Or, if you’re already serving but have never done training, this is the track for you.  That session is from 10:00-12:00.
  • The Advanced Track is for anyone who has completed the Basic.  If you completed it three years ago or that very morning, the Advanced is open to you.  Seasoned leaders? I need you there.  This is going to be new stuff that’s designed to get us on the same page for 2010.  That session is from 1:00-3:00.

Both sessions happen in Suite 111 at the Brier Creek Campus, and are open to anyone from Brier Creek, Cole Mill, or Summit en Espanol campuses.  (West Club is doing their thing on January 30…see your Campus Staff for more deets!)

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