Archive for January, 2009

The Revolvoing Door

Last night was a trip and reminded me how much I love our students at MC Atlanta. My office was like a revovling door from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., as one student left another would come to hangout and talk. First it was Jorge, then Rey, then Scotto, then Phillip and then when we had a power outage Nathan, Daniel and Scotto came in and chilled for awhile. I called it quits a little after 2 a.m. before my lamp died (it is plugged into this big old surge protect that operates as a back up battery for my computer). My relational tank was on full when they left … I talked with one about his friend, another about youth ministry, another about family and another about his outstanding work. All the conversations were amazing but the two most memorable ones were with Rey and Daniel.

Rey got a whole years worth of youth ministry training in one week. One of our middle school students threw a fist at youth group last week. Instead of handling it myself, I coached Rey through it. He did an incredible job from talking to the boys involved to the mother of the kid who threw the fist. He felt the victory of one of the student really hearing him and, as a result, making positive choices…and the defeat of the other who really didn’t get it. Rey is an amazing leader and will rock the world as a youth pastor some day (actually he really is one now, but someday will have the official title).

I had never really had much of a coversation with Daniel until last night. I learned about his wonderful parents, how his family is rallying in difficult economic times and that his church home back in North Carolina is Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church. Daniel is an amazing young man full of optimism and Jesus. I am feeling the need for a road trip to North Carolina with a carload of MC’ers soon.

They are all incredible young men of God that if I had a kid, I would want them to hang out with. Right now we are in the midst of Experience where we showcase MC Atlanta to 60+ potential students next year. The hallways have been full of energy all day. Tonight is quiet though, our students are back in their apartments spoiling our guests like only MC Atlanta can spoil them.

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Who Is Asking The Questions

And the survey says… we have been taken for a ride by American Express, Pitney Bowes, Nuvox and Milner phone systems. Seriously, it’s enough to make me beat my head against the wall. However, it’s not their bad, it’s ours for not asking the questions years ago. I think churches have a tendancy to just pay the bills and fail to obtain adequate information. The ongoing question should be why and if you can’t answer it, do your homework and figure it out? Why is this interest rate so high? Why do we have this elaborate postage meter that is so fancy it should be able to spit nickels? Why is our T1 line so expensive every month…have we ever thought about telling them we are switching to a different company just to see what they say? Why are we leasing our phone system and who signed this stupid contract anyway with hidden costs that are lawsuit worthy? Because of the economic times, my amazing team and I are going over every reoccuring payment that goes out of that place. While most of them are totally legit, some leaving you scratching your head. No more…it’s a new day.

When You Can Scale Back No More

I hurt for some friends back home who lost their jobs this week. While I know God holds them in the very palm of His hand, it still leaves a knot in the pit of my stomach. Being the creater and keeper of the church budget at the Tabernacle, I know the feeling of waiting for the numbers to come in each week. It’s a point of GREAT confusion for me. While I feel it’s a lack of faith to hold my breath, it doesn’t prevent me from doing so. When I see the email from Vicky reporting the weekly figures, I literally suck air while clicking it open. This week I rejoiced that we exceeded budget by 19 bucks … I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach last week when we didn’t … historically January is a tough month for us. I scaled back everything I could for 2009. I’m rebiding contracts, cutting out the little fat that there is and helping to get the church refinanced. By doing so, it might give us a pinch of breathing room. Without it, our bottom line will be zero at the end of the year. However, if there is much in the way of out of the ordinary expenses (like a flood and deductibles), weather that affects attendance, etc., it will jack us up. There are times I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. While I won’t be the one to determine who, I know the very jobs of friends who are like family are on the line. So, I pray, I cut and I watch.

Time Out

The ramp up to Epicenter NYLC 09 is fun and exciting, but beginning to take on an incredible pace. In the midst of creating and preparing product, overseeing exhibitors and a number of other things we had the flood (ie insurance adjusters, contracters and industrial hygienist), been refining the 09 budget, getting bids on phone systems, refinancing the church to take advantage of the lower rates and two ladies Cadres (one last week and one Feb. 9-10) … all of which is good and right. However, yesterday I took a time out and left the office at 4 p.m. and said enough is enough. I spent last night and all of this morning chillin at Jeanne’s by the lake before lunch with Kayla and “Find Your Leader” at the mall with my middle school 02 group. It was good to just breathe and sleep. Jeanne’s words to me a few emails ago from out of the country were “don’t forget my porch is annointed.” So, you will find me and Jesus hangin’ there tomorrow afternoon. It was in the 60’s today, hopefully it will be tomorrow but it’s feelin’ a little chillier tonight.

Diet Mountain Dew

So, I gave up Diet Moutain Dew for a few days. Most would have thought I’d fall over in convulsions dead, but I’ve faired pretty well. I haven’t had the “no caffeine headaches” that I would have thought. I replaced my drink of choice with orange “Vitamin Water.” I think I’ve been sucked into a marketing ploy. It’s really melted orange popsicle at twice the cost of the Diet Moutain Dew. However it does say “water” so I’m claiming it as so.

Freebies

Cool free resource for youth workers at…
Youth Leader’s Coach: www.youthleaderscoach.com/vault/
Southeast Christian Church: www.vineresources.com
Simply Youth Ministry: www.simplyyouthministry.com/freebies.html

When Tragedy Strikes

Our little “when the rain came down” inside the building episode this weekend reminded me of the importance of having people who will rally around you when things get tough. About 20 MC students stuck it out for 14 hours on Saturday, another 20 for about 8 hours, to ready the church for Sunday. The final crew left about 3 a.m.

The ServiceMaster man is here and complimented us up on our clean up. However, our efforts didn’t negate the fact that everything behind and underneath the surface is saturated. He is telling me that the floorboards are wet, the walls are wet…everything is pretty much wet… and needs to be ripped out.

None of that pales in comparison to what two friends are going through…

One just lost pretty much everything in a house fire in Illinois. Thankfully, his church is rallying. However, it doesn’t fix the fact that his life is a whirlwind right now. Pray for the Raitz family.

One of our MC students was related to the four killed in the grisly Oklahoma slayings … where the boyfriend killed the girlfriend and her four kids. Most of the kids were from a previous marriage to the MC student’s brother. The MC gang rallyed, including one driving him home so he can go to his nieces and nephew’s funeral. The MC student driving him also happens to be the one who oversaw putting in all the ceiling tiles for us on Saturday. We’ve got an amazing crew.