Sunday Suicide

If you are on staff at a church OR you are a key volunteer then you know what Sunday's can be like. It is kind of like the build up to the big game or opening night of a performance. There is a list of things that have to get done and limited time to do them in. Typically, that means you are running around making sure all the details get done.

In Luke 10 Jesus has come to Mary and Martha's house for a meal. In many ways they were doing what we do every Sunday. We get ready for Jesus to meet with us and try to entertain as many guests as we can. You know the story, Martha is running around making sure everyone is comfortable and that the meal is coming along. But, Mary is in the living room just chilling at Jesus feet as He teaches. That doesn't sit real well with Martha so she storms in and tells Jesus how hard she is working and that He should tell Mary to get off her blessed assurance and help!

You know the tension as a church leader or volunteer now right?

Listen to what Jesus says in the Living Translation to Martha:

"Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it--and I won't take it away from her!" Luke 10:41-42

Here is my take away from that. The details matter. I have blogged about that in the past. But as individuals in charge let's not get so busy that we don't stop long enough for two things:

Relationships and Worship

Let's not be the person who uses our work as an excuse not to talk to people and let's not use our responsibilities as an excuse not to stop long enough to worship the One we are here for. My prayer is that we will discover both this Sunday.

Four Questions for Rich People

On Sunday I rolled out four questions that rich people need to ask themselves. The point of these questions was not to make anyone feel guilty, God doesn't want us to feel guilty over our money, He just wants us to be grateful! The point was to see which way we are leaning, are we leaning on our money for our hope and security, or are we leaning on God who is the source of everything?

Tough questions for me personally so know that no one is above the natural temptation to lean hard on our stuff. Check them out:

Question #1
Which of these two statements creates the most anxiety for you?

A. There is no God
B. There is no money in the bank

Question #2
Does fear of not having enough get in the way of your ability to give generously?

Question #3
Do you have money in the bank but no peace in your heart?

Question #4
How hard is it to do the right thing when it will cost you financially?

I illustrated this on Sunday with some boxes of money... to see the entire message check out the message player at the top right.

I am Rich!

Here is the statement we have been building during our "How to Be Rich" series at the Suncoast. Try to work this into your morning routine for 7 days! To see the first two messages check out the video player to the right -->

"God has blessed me with more than I need, I am rich. But, I will not trust in my riches, but in Him who richly provides."

"What! Who's Leaving?"

"Bless those who use bad words about you. Ask God to do good to those who trouble you." Luke 6:28

Two of the things that get talked about the most at our management team meetings is who are all the new faces and people who are checking out the Suncoast and taking their next steps here, AND , "What happened to so and so? And, what about this family? I hear they are checking out other churches..."

There have been hundreds of people that have been a part of the first four years of Church of the Suncoast and probably almost as many that have moved on. If you are a church planter then you know what I am talking about. You pour your life out into people. You even let your guard down and make friends with them. You have them over in your home and circle up in groups. You go to their kids games and then BOOM! First they miss one week, then two, then you send them an e-mail to see what is up and after about 2 or 3 months you just figure they have moved on. It hurts! Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't.

My wife Cheryl and I have had to deal with a lot of this. She had to pull me back from the edge from time to time because you start to wonder what is wrong with you! But, here are some things I have learned... NO, that is not right. Here are some things I am learning because just because someone leaves your church doesn't mean you didn't make a difference and it wasn't a win for your church.

The reality is the more connected a person is the more people know their buisness, and sometimes people just don't want the church knowing their buisness. So they leave and there is nothing you can do about that.
Sometimes there is a family situation that comes up and God has other plans for them? Sometimes they need to change up the routine for them to take their next step?

BUT, here is the bottom line. The time you invest into people doesn't get wasted! What steps did they take at your church? Did they accept Christ there? Did they make some next right choices? Did they kick a bad habit? Did they get a taste for serving and getting outside of themselves? The next steps they took at your church count! Even the small ones, they started coming back to church again for the first time in years and it took your church to do that! Wow! That is huge!

The investment you make as a church leader, staff member, volunteer leader, or fellow church member will not return void (read the Bible). One day on the other side of this life we will get to see the truth of this.

Just because people leave doesn't mean you are a loser, a bad speaker, a poor leader, or mean you didn't try hard enough.

Count even the small stuff as wins!!! And, continue to put yourself out there! God will bless that and He will grow your ministry in ways you can't.

New Series "How to Be Rich"

This Sunday we start a new series at the Suncoast called "How to Be Rich". Even in a down economy most people are still striving for more... a better job, a nicer house, a newer car, and the list goes on. There is more to life than chasing that elusive carrot that dangles so temptingly in front of you, as the insurance commercials try to tell us. Discover how to be truly rich, with what you already have. Invite a friend and join us for How to be Rich. I am really excited about this series!!! Cya then!

ONE Prayer Offering Thanks!!!

Hey Suncoast here is what the people at Amazing Love Ministries had to say to you guys. This is the place in Tampa where we go and feed the homeless on Monday nights and it was one of the places we sent some of the One Prayer offering money:

Hello Everyone,We want to thank you so much for your generous donation to Amazing Love Ministries. We are sincerely humbled by the generosity that your church demonstrated. We are always amazed at God's continuing blessings on the ministry, especially when He surprises us with uenexpected gifts.

Hey Pastor! Cut the Crap!!!

The other day I had a conversation with a pastor I have not talked to in a while and he was asking me about things with the church and I was trying to be open and honest and he laid out a line something like this, "So how is God-moving among your people to become more missional... blah, blah, latest leadership buzz word... blah, blah... quote from Andy Stanley... blah, blah."

Seriously, pastors / church leaders can we cut the crap. We don't have to try to impress each other with who we just read or what fancy church leadership buzz words we know! Only other pastors know what you are talking about and honestly, I hate it.

I am a terrible leader that God has been working on, and to be honest compensating for, ever since we started Church of the Suncoast in 2006. I don't like to read a lot of leadership books because they are talking about answers to questions I am not even asking.

Here is what I care about. Are people taking their next steps with God and are people accepting Christ. If so then you are missional and vision driven and Spirit-filled and... OK, so this might be a little strong but hear my heart. Why would you try to impress someone with what you know and how smart of a leader you are when really God has called us to just be obedient and faithful and He says He gets the glory when we are weak.

Hi, I am Brian and I am a weak leader :-)