August 2013

Sometimes I go back and read old posts, and realize how badly I still stink – years later – at putting what I wrote into practice. This is one of ’em.

When evangelism creeps into the realm of the “big deal,” it becomes something we’re scared of.  It becomes a topic that is relegated not just to the back burner, but to that little portable propane burner that you took on a Boy Scout camping weekend when you were in middle school and now is chock full of spider webs and fossilized centipedes.  Big Deal Evangelism means that we avoid the topic just like we would avoid selling our I Heart Rush Limbaugh bumper stickers in the middle of a Kennedy family gathering or how we would avoid saying to a woman, “So tell me about your upcoming elective surgery.”

Read the entire post.


Process Practice: Do You Get It? (via @robertvadams) Everybody seems to have good ideas while in the shower. Bob shows us how to generate those kinds of “aha” moments by hardwiring them into our teams.

Inspiration generates ideas, and the process helps to shape efforts in a way to keep the team moving towards a fully developed idea.


Dear Friends of Waiting Adoptive Moms: Some Things You Need To Know (and also, we’re sorry) (HT @rjdoherty) Some great prayer points in here if you’re friends with families who are adopting.

We’re moms without children. It’s an ache that doesn’t go away. It starts before we see their faces and only ends when they’re in our arms. So, we walk about with half our heart missing. It’s hard to breathe, to think, to speak. Something always feels missing. Because they are.


Breanna and the Quarterback (via @_michaelkelley) I’m not much of a football fan (that’s the ball with the pointy ends, right?), but I agree with Michael: this guy just became my favorite college player. I dare you not to cry.

…every few weeks, University of Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam volunteers at St. Jude children’s hospital. He doesn’t do it through any programs at his school. He’s there on his own, playing games with the kids, organizing crafts, and playing the piano either with the kids or as background music as families eat.


This thing is really happening.

After months of planning, weeks of fine-tuning details, and hours upon hours of thinking through every last contingency, we’re almost ready for Church at the Ballpark. It’ll be the biggest worship service the Summit has ever hosted, and an opportunity for the church to gather in one location.

As with any Summit event, this one is going to take an army of volunteers. We’ve identified spots for well over 1,000 people serving in various capacities. Here’s the skinny:

  • Set up. Help load in First Time Guest tents, Summit Kids’ supplies, and hundreds of towels for baptisms.
  • First Impressions. Slap on an orange vest. Greet people on the concourse. Work that seating team like you were born for it.
  • Summit Kids. Let’s face it: this might be your one shot to visit the VIP suites at the Bulls’ Park. Might as well take a couple dozen toddlers in there with you.
  • Baptism Logistics. Pass out clothes. Help with registration. Direct foot traffic for hundreds of people responding to the gospel.
  • Baptism Counseling. Help make sure those who respond understand the gospel and are ready to take the next step. (Limited to Summit covenant members who have completed training.)
  • Prayer. Church at the Ballpark will be lots of fun, but it’s not a game. We’re asking God to do what only he can do.
  • Tear Down. If it goes in the park, it’s gotta come out. Stick around for an after-party workout like you’ve never experienced.

Do we need volunteers? Sure we do. But more than that, you need to volunteer. Believers are hard-wired to serve out of their skill sets, and we want to give you an outlet to get involved.

Don’t currently serve at the Summit? Not a problem. Church at the Ballpark is a great way to jump on a “one-serve” opportunity. Kick the tires. Take us for a test drive. Don’t knock it ’till you love it. (Trust us…you’ll love it.)

Afraid of serving on your own? That’s understandable. But as our volunteers often discover, serving is a great way to make new friendships and discover shared interests. But hey – if you have a small group, bring ’em along.

Don’t overthink this. Don’t put off the decision. Let God use you to welcome thousands of people to Church at the Ballpark. Sign up today.

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This weekend our pastor told a story that’s worth repeating. (It’s also worth repeating that he thought it was a story worth repeating, since he said he heard it from “a pastor friend.” No word on who that friend is, but my money is on Chandler, Platt, or Yoda.)

Imagine for a moment that you’re a part of a fire department’s engine company: you’re the guys who slide down the pole and hop on the truck whenever the alarm goes out. And imagine that I ask you to define your job. You might say:

  • I’m the driver. I’ve led this company for 18 years, so I get the privilege of being the first one out the door.
  • I’m the hose man. I stretch the line from the hydrant to the truck and from the truck to the blaze.
  • I’m the ladder guy. Two story building? Got it covered. Fourteen story building? Boom. I’m there.
  • I’m the engineer. If there’s a bell or whistle on this truck, I know how it operates and why it’s there.

And while you’d be technically correct, you couldn’t be more wrong. There’s a huge difference between task and mission: although your task is to drive a truck or stretch a hose or extend a ladder or flip a switch, your mission is to put out fires.  And if you forget that, disaster ensues.

We face the same things on volunteer teams every weekend. “Hey volunteer, what’s your job?”

  • I stand at this door and hand out worship guides. I’ve been doing it since Job lost his kids in a tornado, and if you get in my way you’ll have the same fate.
  • I park cars. I have battle scars to prove it. College girls texting and not looking where they’re driving, irate people who are going to park where they darn well please, I’ve seen it all.
  • I’m a seater. I have more authority in my little finger than most army generals possess in an entire career. That section doesn’t open until I say it opens. You feelin’ lucky, punk? Try to move that rope before I tell you to.

And while those volunteers would be right, they couldn’t be more wrong. Because while their task is to stand at a door or park a car or seat a rear, their mission is to smooth the road that leads to the gospel. They leverage their skills for the sake of the kingdom. The point of their gifts is to point people to Jesus.

So what’s your job? Better yet, what’s your mission?

What. A. Weekend.

We had a Small Groups Conference, College Leadership Retreat, and the largest Starting Point in the history of the Summit.

We launched four new service times at two different campuses, on-boarded a bunch of new volunteers, and saw well over 300 first time guest households visit the Summit for the first time.

And we celebrated Vision Weekend, our annual time where we pause to reflect on what God has done among us. In case you missed it, you’ll want to see the 2012-2013 recap video. (Grab a tissue.)

You know what I love about my church? It ain’t about my church. It’s not about building a monument to ourselves or a kingdom where we’re the kings and queens. And I think…I hope…I pray we understand that.

It’s not about statistics. It’s not even ultimately about the stories and the changed lives that those statistics point to.

It’s about Jesus…his fame. His renown. His glory. Nothing we do has any value if done apart from him or done without pointing to him.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

It’s Friday, Friday, which means I pull a post out of the archives. If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you. Boom.

If I can curse people with one thing that I’m cursed with (besides my boyish good looks) it’s going to be the inability to detach from the guest experience. I go through very few worship services or consumer experiences without evaluating my treatment as a guest. It’s not because I feel like I deserve to be treated well, it’s because I believe that the gospel demands that we treat our guests well. And thinking through my experience from their perspective helps make that happen.

Read the entire post.

The Church Welcome: This Time, With Feeling! (via @CarynRivadeneir) This is why we do what we do.

While the cynic in me roars that the employees are only so welcoming because they’re being paid to or because we paid a pretty penny to walk down Main Street, the Christian in me whispers: Jesus paid a pretty penny for us too. And while we aren’t being paid per act of kindness, Jesus did tell us to love the folks around us. It seems being over-the-top welcoming, extending hands and smiles and well-wishes to everyone who crosses our paths or walks through our doors or plays on our lawns is the initial, most elemental way of loving them. Of course, the love doesn’t end there, but it’s a start.

All Good Ideas Are Terrible. (via @ThisIsSethsBlog) No need to click through. This is the entire post:

Until people realize they are obvious.

If you’re not willing to live through the terrible stage, you’ll never get to the obvious part.

There’s Cruel, and Then There’s Just Plain Sadistic! (via Cheezburger) Ah, how I can relate.



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