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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Rest of the Story

A news commentator, Paul Harvey, used to have a program he called The Rest of the Story.  In this program, he shared insights behind the news that were usually unknown.  Today, I'd like to share the rest of the story about some of our churches that are involved in the District Transformation Process.

A few weeks ago, the Morley church went through a consultation weekend.  Perhaps you read the prescription in an earlier blog.  Here are some interesting things that you may not know...

  • Four new families showed up to hear the prescriptions and to see where the church was headed.
  • I preached to 65 that Sunday morning, which was about 25% more than they had been having in attendance.
  • On Monday, two other families from the community called the church just to see what was happening.  They had heard that the church was taking on new life and heading in a new direction.
  • Also, on Monday, an influential man in the community dropped by to see the pastor.  He shared that he thought it was great that the church would be focusing their attention on meeting the needs of those in the community.
  • On that same day, the church was approached by a representative from the Library Association about hosting an event during the Morley Summer Fest.
  • Two days later, a young woman prayed to receive Christ as her Saviour.
  • This past Sunday, she walked the isle, making a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
  • A tile layer who was working on projects in the church and heard about the new vision and direction of the church, returned on Sunday and gave a $1500 contribution, in effect, lowering the cost of his tile work.
  • The church is in the midst of creating children's ministry rooms in the basement.
  • This week a large tubular slide was ordered.  The children will be able to go to Children's Church by jumping onto a slide on the main floor and ending up in a rain forest on the floor below.  One of the amazing things about this is that the church is doing this before they have even voted on the prescription!
  • A new cafe/fellowship area has been added in the main church building.
These are amazing God-things that none of us could have anticipated when we started the consultation process.

In a Town Hall meeting last Saturday at Forest Dale Wesleyan Church, Forest Dale, VT, a lady was so excited about the new direction the church was taking that she was literally bouncing in her chair as she offered an interest-free loan to the church to make the necessary changes to 'get ready for company'.  Pastor John McDonald said this in an email today, "The groundswell of positive discussion is building momentum.  Creative juices are flowing with ideas coming from all sides.  Folks are excited, anticipating the work to be done.  Our most positive note is Elijah, a ten-year old, who asked Jesus to be His Saviour on Sunday!!"

And I get texts from the pastors.  This week, the text messages included...

  • Fifteen baptized at Hadley-Luzerne WC, with 212 in attendance.
  • Seven baptized at Malone, with 72 in attendance.
  • Sixty-seven worshiped at Vantage Pointe (Queensbury), with anticipation building for their official launch on Easter Sunday.
  • CrossPointe (Catskill), normally runs about 65 in Sunday Morning Worship, but this past week, 91 attended the service to hear what the consultation would look like in their church.  Again, anticipation was high.
I don't understand all the dynamics that surround the cluster groups, the consultation weekends, the coaching and the lay ministry training events.  I don't understand how this thing we call the District Transformation Project really works.  I have just come to recognize that these are tools that God has chosen to use to help us refocus our efforts and energy impacting the communities in which we live for Jesus Christ.  These have become tools in my toolbox that I would not trade for anything.  Along with Success University (SU), the DTP process is the most impacting thing I've seen in the life of a district.

On June 16, we're having a training event that we are calling Unleash 2012 (previously called Praise Gathering).  Cam will be sending more information on what that day will entail, but for now, I'd like you to plan on bringing 10-12 leaders per church to be trained in Children's Ministry, Music & Worship, Assimilation, and to hear stories of church transformation and gain insight into ways that these concepts can be used in your churches.

I carry a phone and often I receive text messages from our pastors which thrill my heart.  I think that after reading this blog, you'll understand why.  This Sunday is Easter and I expect that all Sunday afternoon I will be receiving text after text after text of positive stories of what has happened in our churches on Resurrection Sunday.  Perhaps there will even be some more rest-of-the-story-type stories I can share with you.

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