IMG_6903

My very real view this morning. I almost have the place to myself. This is a great time to practice my yodeling.

As I type, a portion of our church offices (including my own) are getting a quick paint job. Our offices are mostly populated by guys in their 20’s to 40’s, so the walls are not what you would call “pristine condition.” Sure, they started out beigey when we moved in a few years ago, but over time they’ve become rich shades of scuff mark gray and chair ding brown. (No, I don’t know how chair dings leave “brown.” It’s an illustration. Move along.)

But I digress. The paint job has required that we vacate the premises for a few days, because apparently painters don’t like you standing around watching them and making helpful comments (“That’s gonna need a second coat.”) or questions (“Can you do me a mural of a bear holding a sword?”). And so a couple dozen of us have left the building and been forced to fend for ourselves at coffee shops and fast food joints around the Triangle. Today is the last day of this great adventure, and I am both broke and obese.

I’ll admit: I enjoy the occasional day out of the office. Sometimes there’s nothing better than holing up at a local Starbucks to get caught up on email or finish a project while listening to some electro-pop-jazz-funk music blaring in the speakers over your head, all the while eavesdropping on the guy next to you loudly explaining how the Christians stole Christmas (true story).

To do that once every week or so? Glorious. But I’m discovering that working remotely for an extended period of time just ain’t my cup of tea. Even if the refills are free. (Did you see what I did there?)

In preparation for the exile, our Missions Pastor Curt Alan sent out a very helpful memo to remind us how to be good remote workers. I reprint it here without his permission, because I’m 96% sure he doesn’t read this blog so what does it matter.

Hi folks,

With our office and meeting space in transition, I suspect more and more of us will begin to “office out of” and hold meetings in local business (e.g., coffeehouses and restaurants).

As such, we need to be keenly aware that our neighbors (and small business owners) are watching and forming opinions of us, the Summit, and what and whom we represent.

To that end, I’ll offer some well-placed and very specific reminders:

  • When you hold a meeting of 5-10 people for several hours in a local business and only 1-2 people actually order something, people notice.
  • When you do buy something but don’t bother to tip (even minimally), people notice.
  • When you regularly office out of a local business for 3-5 hours at a time, multiple times a week, and only order a small coffee that you periodically refill (for free), people notice.
  • When you office out of or hold a meeting in a local business, rearrange tables & chairs, and then leave without putting things back the way you found them and not cleaning up after yourself, people notice.

This kind of behavior reflects poorly on all of us so let’s be extra vigilant.

(I would also add “Don’t leave your Panera pager on your formica-topped table and walk away while it incessantly buzzes.” I’m talkin’ to you, Lady-Who-Just-Left-Her-Panera-Pager-On-The-Formica-Topped-Table-Six-Feet-Away-From-Me.)

I appreciate Curt’s reminder to be good ambassadors not only for the church, but for the kingdom in general. So how about it, remote warriors? What other tips do you have for us? Or better yet, a question for the food service folks: what are your squatters’ horror stories? Comment below. 

(photo courtesy Mike McDaniel)

(photo courtesy Mike McDaniel)

This weekend the Summit commissioned 108 people to four North American church plants. Over the next few weeks we’ll be seeing these folks move to D.C., Wilmington, NC, and two locations in Durham. Our Summit Network has been training up the lead pastors of these plants, preparing them in part for the rigors of planting a new work.

In full disclosure, not all people on stage were covenant members of the Summit. We were missing some of our covenant members who are going, and in their place Grace Park Church and Waypoint Church both had part of their core teams that were there. But the majority of people standing on that stage have been an integral part of life at the Summit. We’re sending pastors and interns, worship leaders and elders, First Impressions and Summit Kids volunteers, college students, older people, younger people, married couples, singles…you name it, they’re going. People have given up jobs, sold homes, given sacrificially, and poured out their lives to see the gospel go forward in new places.

At the Summit, one of our plumblines is We send our best. We don’t want to be guilty of hoarding talent or gifts; we recognize that God gives us great people so that we can give them back as a faith offering elsewhere. But while we’ve said that now for several years, this weekend I felt it in a real, tangible way.

Two of the men standing on that stage represented the best of the best. Josh Lawrence and Clayton Greene have been my fellow pastors, team members, and personal friends for the last several years. When they made the decision to be a part of The Bridge Church in Wilmington, they represented 50% of my Connections team. One-half. Two out of four. However you do the math, that’s a chunk of “best” that is heading out.

2Musketeers

Josh was my First Impressions Director in our Brier Creek South venue, and held down a side role as my Special Events Coordinator. That’s a lot of hats for a guy workin’ intern hours. Nobody thinks through the logistics of an event and gets volunteers where they need to go quite like Josh. He was the calming force to crazy moments, the unsung hero of all kinds of behind the scenes magic, and just simply got the job done. In addition to that, he served as the small group leader to my two oldest sons for several years, so Josh is a part of our family’s fabric.

Clayton was the First Impressions Director in Brier Creek North, and the evil genius behind a tremendous amount of the “why behind the what.” Clayton has suffered through – and subjected me to – hours upon hours of conversations on why we do what we do, how we do what we do, and how we can do it much, much better. We’ve never met a whiteboard or a blank sheet of paper that we couldn’t fill up with ideas we just knew would change the world. I never walk away from a conversation unchallenged or discouraged. He gets guest services at the heart level like no one I’ve ever seen, and he wants to do whatever it takes to help people take a step towards Jesus.

Send our best? Yes we do. My buddy Ethan Welch, lead pastor of The Bridge, is getting the cream of the crop, as is Waypoint, Grace Park, and Restoration City Church. Whenever we send our best, we are making a sacrifice. There’s no way around it. There are tears. There are losses. There are real, gaping voids that are left behind.

But here’s why sending our best is vitally important: I’d rather give away good people than get greedy with good people. I’d rather see the gospel take root in new places than just build a deep bench of talent in RDU. I’d rather lose geographically-close friendships if it means seeing friends use their gifts to do some serious damage for the kingdom in another city.

We’re called to send. It’s in the DNA of the Christian, and it’s in the mandate of the gospel. So if we’re called to send, why not send our best?

Humanity has only wiped out one disease—smallpox. This is the second. And we’re doing it without meds. (via @22Words) This is simply fascinating.

Guinea-Worm-01-685x451

Right now, a mother in South Sudan is sipping from the bucket of water she is carrying to her family. A man in Mali or Chad is cooling his head in some standing water and takes a couple of gulps. A child in Ethiopia splashes her face and has a quick drink.

One of them swallows the very last Guinea Worm larva that will ever grow to torment a human being again. It will be painful for them, but after that it will literally never happen again.

Five Reasons  You Should Smile More as a Leader. (via @MichaelHyatt) I have what some on my team call a “thinking face.” And it usually involves a less-than-happy look. While I’m actually not mad 94% of the time, this article nailed my frown to the wall.

“Are you angry at someone?”

“No,” I said, somewhat surprised.

“You sure?” she pressed.

“Absolutely,” I insisted.

“Then you might want to let your face know, because it looks like you are are ticked off! It’s intimidating and shutting people down.”

100 Year Old BFFs React to Pop Culture. (via @IAmSteveHarvey) Warning: there’s a couple of mild wordy-durds in this, but they’re spoken by 100 year old women, so I reckon it has to be okay.

A Fake Slum for Luxury Tourists Who Don’t Want to See Real Poverty. (via @Gizmodo) Sometimes I’m not so proud to be an American.

For those of you worried that the presence of heating and wi-fi might not make for an authentic slum experience, don’t worry! Shanty Town has made it more realistic for you by installing a “famous ‘long-drop’ outside toilet” and encouraging guests to heat water in outdoor fires. By burning toxic, life expectancy-lowering trash, I hope!

 

Anonymous “TipsForJesus” is Doing the Lord’s Work by Leaving Thousands in Tips(via @ABC) This is a twist on the fake $20 bill tract, I’ll give ’em that.

On Sept. 8, an @tipsforjesus Instagram account posted the first photo verifying its mission, capturing the image of a receipt for Bar Louie in Ann Arbor, Mich., where they left a $3,000 tip for an $87.98 tab. The account posted two more receipt photos the next day, one featuring a $5,000 tip, the other showing a receipt with a $7,000 tip held by a grinning man, confirmed to be the co-owner of Alley Bar in Ann Arbor. Both of the receipts were signed, “@tipsforjesus.”

 

A Red Fox Dives Headfirst into the Snow in Search of Food(via @LaughingSquid) What does the fox slay? (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

Three links. Three things I’ve been reading this week. Starts in three…two…

Granger Community Church establishment reaches out to communityI’ve long been a fan of my friends at Granger. They’ve designed their new facility with their community in mind.

The Eatery, Reads and Things operators pride themselves on being more than a restaurant or cafe. According to their business profile on yelp, “While excellent food and drink and an open atrium atmosphere with great reads are all accounted for, we truly believe those who serve you and how they serve you is the difference. You aren’t a simple transaction. You aren’t just a number. You’re a testament to the way we do things and a treasure worth hanging onto.”

Communication is a path, not an eventAs usual, brilliance from Seth Godin.

Don’t sell us anything but the burning desire to follow up. The point of his talk wasn’t to get a new customer (impossible), nor was it to get through the talk and get it over with (silly and selfish). No, the point of the talk should have been to open the door to have a better, individual conversation soon.

30 things turning 30 this yearI turn 40 this year. Which means that I remember when most of these things came on the scene. Zoiks.

1. THE MCNUGGET

McDonald’s executive chef Rene Arend created the Chicken McNugget way back in 1979, but it wasn’t available in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide until 1983 because there simply wasn’t enough processed chicken to go around. Oddly enough, that McNugget shortage was what led Arend to create the McRib in 1981.