Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of 2009!

2009 in the books!
Man what a year! Every church goes through various stages of growth and development much like people do. One of the critical things for any organizational leader is learning to identify what kind of stage or season you are in and helping people respond appropriately. As I compared the last several months of 2009 at Ridge Church to the same months a year ago it is literally staggering to see the difference and the progress. We are in a growth phase that is connecting us with new people literally every single week. We have also seen literally unbelievable life change in people in 2009. I truly believe that Ridge Church is postured walking into 2010 to experience a year like none before in our short history as a church. Buckle your seat belt...and definitely decide see and experience it for yourself.

God is raising up an army of people in the Ridge community that are and will fully engage in expressing his love to both our city and our world in radical ways. I can't wait to hit 2010 full speed!

If you missed it--catch up on our last message of 2009 HERE. The content is so relevant for so many people--Can chaos, uncertainty, and peace all exist in the same season?

The Challenge:
Join the facebook Challenge HERE. We want to invite 1,000 people to our opening series of 2010 through our facebook event page. It's going to be crazy!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembering09 Every face=a story

This is a little 2009 video flashback to remind us of some of the amazing things that God has done and is doing in peoples lives through Ridge Church.

Where it all began:
This all began as a dream back in 2005 of a church that would welcome people that had given up on church but had not necessarily abandoned the idea of God. We also wanted a place for followers of Jesus to be excited to bring their un-churched friends and a place where children would drag their parents to church. That dream began to take shape resulting in a few informational and core gatherings in 2006. By the end of 2006 we had a core team of 35-40 adults chomping at the bit to get this thing started. In 2007 we had about 28 night worship services to test the waters and then "finally" in September of 2008 we fully launched to the public and began meeting every Sunday morning.

TRUTHFULLY: We couldn't have imagined how hard this would be--or how much it would require of us but I don't think we could have imagined how rewarding it would be either. Watching people who had given up on God--turn the corner and enter a personal, life changing relationship with Jesus never gets old. I can't wait to see what's around the next corner!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ridge staff jib jabs-pretty funny!

The Ridge Church staff made a cameo in "jib jab" for our Volunteer Christmas party. It was great to laugh and relax with this incredible group of people that make Ridge Church what it is. Couldn't do this without you. Thanks! If you are attending but haven't joined the volunteer team--what in the world are you waiting for? Check back tomorrow and as you watch the video remember and be proud for what God has done through you this year! Pretty amazing stuff. Enjoy the jib jabs:-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's simply not possible...

What we do and who we are at Ridge Church is simply not possible without high levels of commitment from high level people who generously give of themselves, their time, their gifts and abilities, and their financial resources. Honestly we have an absolutely impressive group of people that have consistently and selflessly thrown their shoulders under this young church and this mission we so passionately pursue.

Volunteer Celebration:
Last night was about them [volunteers]. We had a great time with our volunteers through a Christmas dinner and celebration. We laughed together, worshiped together, ate of course, celebrated life change, and dreamed together. There are no small volunteer roles at Ridge. Every car well parked, every person greeted with a smile, every guest helped, every child and parent professionally checked in, every diaper changed, every line memorized for upstreet or waumba, every group prepped for adults or students, every stage and graphic designed, every light operated, every worship song prepared and lead---and yes every chair, pipe and drape, truss, or sign moved early in the morning MATTERS to our mission!! Volunteers, thanks for making this church what it is.

If you missed the party you truly missed out. Here is a quick video shot from my phone of a simply awesome reflective time of worship (sorry it's not great in the dark):

Check back throughout the week. I'll post some pretty funny staff Jib Jabb videos as well as a life celebration video that Rusty put together for the volunteers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You're gonna look like Santa

"You're gonna look like Santa"
I don't know if I've just been paying more attention lately or if my kids have just been saying a lot of really funny stuff with great application to other areas of life.

Trust me, there was a back story to how we got to this place in the conversation but I'll fast forward to the good part:

Me: When people get older they stop growing taller.
Josie: (Blank and slightly concerned look)...You mean you're not growing anymore?
Me: Well...not taller just fatter (I patted my belly)...That's how adults grow.
Josie: (laughing hysterically. She has a contagious laugh)
Josie: (Still laughing)...Yeah daddy you love cookies and sweets Just like Santa Clause. If you keep eating them you're probably gonna look like Santa.
Me: (laughing hysterically and thinking to my self--that's not really funny because she might be right:-)

*I ate at least three cookies later that night!*

Hear me out...
Since my early days in full time ministry as a 22 or 23 year old I've been passionate about this idea of "who we are becoming as people." That passion drove me deep into discipleship relationships through the years. I pursue discipleship for myself and others consistently. For me it's not just about a transfer of facts though. It's about a transfer of your life. It's follow me as I follow Jesus. It's do, what I am doing so you can become what I am becoming. It challenges the mentor as much as the one being mentored. So my variation on Josie's words is this, "If you keep doing what you are doing who will you end up looking like?" Who is mentoring you? Who are you mentoring? This isn't just for pastors. It's for Christians. It's for Jesus followers. Go buy a copy of "Mentor Like Jesus" by Regi Cambell and begin the journey. The premise of the book is this "More time, spent with fewer people, equals greater kingdom impact." Sounds kind of like what Jesus did huh? Find a mentor or become a mentor or do both!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spreading Christmas Cheer Elf style!

New Christmas series called "The Nights Before Christmas" started today at Ridge Church. We had a little "Code of the elf" intro leading into a pretty sweet opener from the band (led by Josh Via). My phone camera isn't great in low light but you'll get the idea. Really fun day. Awesome message from Andy Stanley. Great Hot Chocolate...and an awesome Christmas tree lot--stage set! Truthfully our church is way better than sleeping in. (for adults and kids!)
Adult Worship Intro

I also snuck into upstreet (k-5th grade) today and snagged a few seconds of video on my phone. Amazing leadership both from staff and volunteers in that environment. It's totally interactive and creative. Our children are sponsoring a child named Erik in Kenya and had a Compassion and Christmas stage set in place. (*Remember--All this in a load in context*) Great job!
Upstreet Sneak Peek

Last but not least. I rolled into one of the Waumba Land environments (very creative and engaging for kids!). So cool to watch how much the kids enjoy being in there. Also, what a total blessing to have so many middle school and high school students serving in this ministry. Again, great staff and volunteer leadership.
Waumba Land Sneak Peek

Friday, December 4, 2009

How many grades did you fail?

[Recent car conversation with my 10 year old Son:]

Brayden: The thing I hate about school is that you have to go for 13 years.
Me: (laugh)...I know Brayden. That's messed up.
Me: Brayden guess how long I was in school.
Brayden: I don't know (his favorite response in life)
Me: Almost 20 years... (I'm counting college, grad school etc)
Long PAUSE...
Brayden: How many grades did you fail?
Me: (run off road a little bit from laughing)
Brayden: What's so funny?

Let's face it we are conditioned to think in terms of failure rather than progress. When something takes a long time we assume failure is involved rather than progress. What I know both from my personal experience with God and from the Bible is that God our heavenly Father is not in a hurry. Many times when people "finally" place their trust in Jesus after many years of life they can look back over their life and see various experiences and relationships that from the vantage point of "right now" were clearly God's activity. Strangely we often don't recognize God's activity in our life until we are looking back. Sometimes our failure is progress toward relationship with God. Sometimes our failure is God's process of moving us toward himself. Listen to Simmy's story it is so powerful. Thanks for your courage Simmy:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

If something changed would you tell?

If something in your life changed significantly would you tell people?
We are so grateful that several people at Ridge Church who have and are experiencing awesome change in their lives [because of their relationship to Jesus first and his followers second]--have taken the next step to tell the rest of us. Meet Brittany (yes, another Brittany!). Some of you will hear her story and think that it sounds familiar because it is so much like your life. There's nothing like a personal relationship with Jesus. These people have discovered that truth and now they are courageously sharing it with each of us. Contact us if you want to learn more about a relationship with Jesus.

Check back tomorrow to hear Simmy's story!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You need to hear this story

Every follower of Jesus has a unique story of their journey to faith in Jesus. However it's always interesting to see the commonality in their stories as well. Those listening can often relate with what's being said because there are so many crossroads with our personal stories. We don't tell people what to say. These are their stories and they are powerful because of that fact. Our church exist to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus so experiencing these stories never gets old! Brittany, thanks for your courage to publicly acknowledge your faith in Jesus! I hope this inspires many others to do the same. (watch for more videos throughout the week)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"All up in my business"

[Tomorrow I will begin uploading videos from last Sunday--so stay tuned]

One of my daughters was sitting on the floor and we will say she "gently:-)" pushed our dog (Samson) out of her lap. My son kind of scolded her as only big brothers can do and she promptly responded, "Well, he was all up in my business." To her credit he is a total space invader with chronic bad breath. I bet you know someone at work or school that's like my dog if you know what I mean.

Leaders and wanna be's listen up. When it comes to my leadership and your leadership you and I both need someone to be "all up in our business". None of us are good enough to do this alone. We all have blind spots and we are incapable of getting better without some one shaping us. What are you doing to grow as a leader? Who has permission to address your blind spots? Do you have people in your life that love you but aren't too impressed with you to tell you the truth?

Here is a good 11 minute leadership blurb/review--that may or may not get all up in your business but it might be a start. Be careful...he's kind of free with his language but unpacks some great leadership nuggets: