Archive for November 6th, 2008


Joyless Christians

November 6, 2008

frown boy frown

Ever met one? Ever been one? I could answer yes to both of those.

One of the first things to go when you lose hope, is laughter, and your sense of humor. Children so easily laugh, so easily giggle, so easily dance. What happens to us? Seriously. I go to some church business functions (not Sunset’s of course) and wonder who died? And we are supposed to be the ones who know our future, know our hope, experience mercy and grace. That reality should fill us with a sense of joy despite our earthly trials.

This week in our worship gathering the worship team is going to be talking about the spiritual discipline of celebration. You can’t celebrate without joy, and you can’t have joy without hope. Has your laughter died? Are you losing your sense of humor? Are you losing hope? Have you forgot how to celebrate?

Joy and gratitude go hand in hand. Every moment of life is a gift. Whenever I read verses like the ones I read today in 1 Peter, I always get this sense that if I could truly grasp this, truly comprehend it and the words could break through to my soul, that it would fill me with hope and joy and gratitude and lead to celebration.

Read these verses and try not to have hope, I dare ya.

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad.[b] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Now celebrate those truths and let your face know it!



Management Team update

November 6, 2008

management team pic

What is management team?  It is a small group of people that are on Ron’s team to help fulfill the mission and vision of our church.  Some of you will find this stuff boring, others will probably be curious to know what happens in meetings like this. My main goal in posting these weekly meetings is communication. It’s easy to take shots at a “committee” making secret decisions with a secret agenda. It’s much more healthy to open up the dialogue to the people we are serving. That really is the point of this team,  to serve our congregation and our community. I wish we could change the name to Servant Team or something similar! Your feedback and comments are welcome!!

The team includes Ron, myself, Barb Fiel, Mike Matousek, Eric Venable, and Beth Werner.

So today (Nov 5th) after our management team I wrote this to the team I serve with and am responsible for.  This is in letter format with some bulletin point items.


Dear Team,

I left management team today with many emotions. Honestly my heart kind of broke a little because I didn’t want to have to report on what we talked about. I didn’t and don’t feel the ability to put “positive” spin or “big picture” language to the hard part, which was more budget impact. I physically feel like a piece of wet cold spaghetti because I know that what you do, what we do, often takes money, and right now this church is in cut back mode, for real and appropriate reasons, and that can be discouraging. I guess what I want you to know, is as I report on this, it matters to me, how it affects you, how it makes you feel, how it can make things harder, it matters to me, and I don’t report on this casually, not even for a second. I am pretty sure something that I just wrote makes me a rookie leader, but I’m good with that. I guess with that intro I better talk about the budget first because you probably wouldn’t read anything else before that now anyway!

Ron asked Mike (operations) to come up with a contingency plan budget, of taking another $150k out of the budget, (above the $500k we already took out), but to do it with no staff impact, in case things get worse in the economy. So Mike has gone through line items, and come up with a proposed contingency budget cut totaling that. If this were a just in case thing, trust me, I would not be mentioning it to you now. But the reality is until we get a report in January that things are going good (Mike to determine what that benchmark is), we need to look at these cuts as entirely possible. So in the mean time, we have been asked to clear expenditures, even ones that are in our current new budget, through Mike. He has not set a dollar figure on that, but my advice is to look at the attached list, and if the area you want to spend on is listed there as possibly becoming zeroed out, then it qualifies as something we have to check on and get cleared if we want to spend in that area. (I am not including that list on this blog, tmi!)

Other topics today that I attempted to engage in

Review Policies & Procedures Manual

We wrapped up this discussion today.

*Setting tougher policies of hiring relatives on staff in the future to avoid conflicts of interest. Current situations are grandfathered in. (that is being added to the policy manual)

*Retirement plan significant change. This one has the most immediate effect. Currently Sunset gives 1% of your retirement, but gives you 2% automatically even if you don’t put in. And then the third percent happens if you put money in. Now you have to put in money to get any back. If you don’t put any money in, you get 0 matched. This isn’t official yet but probably will be after the session vote soon.

*part time employees don’t get paid 8 hours on a holiday, they get whatever percentage of that day that their status reflects. (half time employees would get 4 hours on a holiday, 30 hour employees would get 6 hours of pay on a holiday.

Church/Worship Growth Plans

Started by reviewing some old notes and strategic plans when Julie was on the team, regarding church growth, priorities etc.

*We are going to have Prayer area in the lobby starting on the Nov 16th service, for additional prayer support after the call to Salvation. But the intent is to have it every Sunday.

*Mike is setting up the area, Barb is coordinating with Gail Tait on the people side of things. It may be something that we incorporate in on if people from our teams are interested and willing.

*Stage language-continuing to make sure that it is welcoming, relevant, work with people who give announcements, worship leaders etc on this. This was an action item with Julie, that is now under my ownership.

**We discussed that there is a need for church to have a feeling when you come in and not just a place for information. How do you feel, ambience etc when you come in?  It’s important.  We have a great building, but no place for a group of people to routinely hang out, and have conversation etc. Ron charged Mike to begin to develop a plan to utilize our lobby to be a place where relationships could form and deepen, to connect.  So much of this also has to do with staff being available and present as much as possible, particularly pastors.

*Overall action item for our team, remind the teams that serve  that we are deputizing them to stay after, connect with people. We NEED help, I need help, I can’t connect with hundreds of people, but our ministry can make a dent in this.

*Strategic Plan Progress

Mike says that many of the goals are vague and unmeasurable. So we are going through and cleaning up the language on some of it.

Strategic plan should connect with the goals in the review process.

Talked about how to report what our  own ministry goals are, and how they are lining up with the strategic goals of the church.

OK, now that I have written all that out, my blood pressure is coming down just as yours might be going up. I will say this, I truly believe that it is in budget crunches that the true test of our heart and motives and reliance on God gets a chance to shine. And even in the midst of this stinky reality, there are so many wonderful things happening each week that I for one am still crazy about being here and being with you guys. Thank you for being patient with me in learning how to navigate this type of communication and trying to learn how to lead through this stuff. Pray for me.

The end