Category Archives: Church Planting

A Welcome Lollipop Flower

October 2014 057Sometimes, it is just nice to let people know you are glad they are there. The kids at my church did this one Sunday when PK was talking about service. We had the kids be greeters and then during their lesson, they made these Lollipop flowers. When the last song was playing they went in and handed them out. It was neat and really, who doesn’t like a good lollipop every once in a while?!

 

 

October 2014 056For this craft you will need:

  • Enough flower circles and petals as you need Glad You Popped In
  • crayons, scissors
  • lollipops
  • something to cover the table

To put them together, cut out the circles (I have some that cut fancy edges, so I did that ahead of time). I also cut out the leaves ahead of time too. Put a cloth down on the table or paper underneath as they color. I used many colors on my flower and just drew circles all around and think it turned out neat. Next up, use a pencil to punch a small hole on each dot. A regular hole punch is too big and the things will fall right off the lollipop stick. Then just slip on the flower and then the leaf. If you find it doesn’t stay, a little piece of tape can help.

Super easy to do and not very expensive this small treat brought a smile to many faces. The adults opened theirs up just as quick as the kids did! Have fun!

God Will Work Out the Details

God Will Work Out the Details

Last time I wrote about our church plant and another joining up and how we have asked ourselves, “Does God want this?”. As we plan things, we need to remember that God will work out the details. He has given us the gift of putting two like minded pastors in the same area who want to work towards the same goal: getting people to know Jesus. As with anything, there are a lot of little details to work out. But they are just that, details. How should we respond to the details? Well, we just need to go and do it.

There is a story in Genesis 24 about a dad who is arranging a wife for his son. Do you know it? Abraham has been promised more descendants than there are stars. He sends his trusted servant to find a wife for his son. The servant asks, what if he should find a woman, but she won’t come with me? He is told that God will send his angel ahead of him. In other words, God will work out the details, you just need to go.

Well, the servant goes and do you know what he does? He prays! And as he prays for a sign an answer to his prayer is given. It turns out Rebecca is the one God has chosen to be Isaac’s wife. It turns out God knew the details and set Rebecca there at the right time in the right place. And then do you know what the servant did? He praised God for leading him to Rebecca and for being faithful.

How often do we go on a mission, trying to do it all and figure it all out for ourselves and when we do, feeling pleased as punch that we got the job done? When really we need to do what this servant did. He had faith, he went on the mission, prayed, and praised God when it was over.

Are we willing to go on mission for the glory of God? Do we really believe that He is in control? Are we willing to let God handle the task? God is in charge of results. We need to follow through and not be afraid to fail.

In fact, when God calls us to do something, He will enable us to do it.      -PK

And just because He can, sometimes God will throw in an extra blessing for us because He loves us so much.

So as you go about your day, remember Abraham’s servant. Remember it is your choice to follow God’s will. Don’t let fear, busyness, or pride talk you out of following God’s will.  Therefore as our two churches join together, we will listen and pray for God to be glorified in all that we do. That is the right thing to do.

Does God Want This?

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but  understand what the Lord’s will is.”

And so the question, “Does God want this?” should come to mind. Our church plant is almost three years old. However, a unique opportunity has presented itself to us. When we moved to this town, PK became friends with another local pastor of a church plant in town that was almost a year along. (That church hadn’t shown up on our radar or our sponsoring church’s radar or else we probably wouldn’t have moved here.) So, the two became friends and several months ago they jokingly said to each other, “What if we combined our churches?” Hmmmm, what if the two churches, who meet less than a mile apart, joined forces and resources to become a greater presence in the community for Jesus?

So, this past month, the two churches have been meeting together to get to know each other. We’re having some mixers at people’s homes, sharing pastoring responsibilities, children’s workers are teaming up, and people are talking over food. And, we are praying, “Does God want this?” Is this God’s will for these two churches to join together to become one? Right now all things point to YES!

Does this mean both of our church plants were failures? That we would never be able to reach people for Jesus if we stayed separated? No. It means that we have both have had time to grow up leaders and lead people to Jesus. We both have different impacts on the community and we both know a lot of different people.

I’m going to end there for today. Next time, I’ll share a story from the Bible that shows just how God prepares us and promises us that He’s got it all under control. For now though, here are PK’s Top 10 Reasons Not to Merge Churches that he shared this past Sunday. It’s a little tongue in cheek, so it’s ok to smile! And if you want the full message check PK out here: A Match Made in Heaven Enola.

Top 10 Reasons Churches Should Not Merge

Quick Father’s Day Gift

In case you forgot, like I almost did, tomorrow is Father’s day! We don’t do a big hoopla about it at church but we do want to recognize Dad’s. I’ll set these out on a back table with a tablecloth and maybe some lifesavers or lollipops spread around.  Anyone can pull this off!

Dews for DadHere’s the label Dews for Dad. It’s so easy and you know Dad probably doesn’t want a flower!

Do You Know What This is a Sign of?

Look at this picture. What do you see?

DQ Spoons

Too many Dairy Queen spoons, I know! Yes, my husband (PK) and I have made a few too many trips to the local DQ this past year. It’s mostly stress eating. His job, my job, or just the burning desire for something super sweet. It’s amazing how sometimes we can just look at each other and we say DQ at the same time. Well, usually we mouth it so the kids don’t hear. (This is an after the kids go to bed treat.) I guess after almost 15 years of marriage you do start to think like one.

Anyway, based on last week’s live-it write up, we realized we needed to put our spending on a live-it too! So, we decided to buy our own ice cream and peanut butter cups and make our own. Oh my gosh, it is so easy! Plus, it is easier on the wallet and waistline!

No fancy mixing machine here, we just use our Kitchen aid mixer. Blend it up and serve.

IMG_0061IMG_0062DQ 2

Doesn’t it look delicious? Cool and refreshing at the end of a hot day? Look, I even used an official DQ spoon. Go ahead and live-it up. All in proportion and you’ll be just fine. Here’s the recipe PK used to make them! A whole gallon is good for six nice sized servings as we found out for PK’s birthday dessert. But for two we use this:

Homemade Blizzards

 

 

Church Planting: Learning to Lean on Each Other

Carrots leaning

I actually grew the carrots pictured above in my garden last year. This is how I grow carrots. I designate a small area, turn the ground, use a spoon to smooth the area and bring a little dirt to the area. Sprinkle the five packs of seeds in the area, and cover them up lightly with dirt. Then, I wait and wonder if they will grow.

I watch them and water the dirt and then one day little green tops pop up. A week later a ton of green tops are up. Now at this point, you are supposed to thin the carrots. Yes, actually pull up something that is growing well and discard it so the ones left can grow better. This is hard to do and while I did it a little, I always think about whether the ones left will grow!

Well, they grew (and I didn’t thin them much) and as my daughter helped me pick them we came across these two carrots. Aren’t they cute? I dubbed them the hugging carrots. The two carrots flesh did not fuse together, but the small one actually popped out and then fit back in to the larger one in its place.

So, how does this relate to church planting? Well, these past couple of weeks have been some sad times in our small, but growing church. People’s faith is being tested and put through the ringer. I won’t air our business here, but imagine something sad and multiply it by four.

As we grow and welcome new people into the church, we get new personalities and gifts. When we first started, it would have been me suggesting and organizing meals or getting the kids to write some cards. Not this time. Other people just did it. It’s no longer just my husband, the pastor, reaching out to encourage the men, it’s other men who are doing this.

You see we are working hard to build a church not built on committees and politics, but built on the love of Jesus. Jesus was action. He taught through parables so people would understand. We are striving to show Jesus’ love in action.

This is how we are like those carrots. There is now a church family that cares for the others in the church and can reach out to hug them. People can reach out and know they can lean on others from our church. It all fits. Is it perfect? No. But it is a sign that we are moving from the thought that the “pastor and his wife do everything” to people saying yes and seeing a need and being there to help or comfort.

Luke 12:35-36 says, “Be dressed and ready to serve. Keep your lamps burning. Be like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding dinner. When he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once.” Are you ready to serve? Are you ready to be the carrot and allow others to lean on you as you grow in your relationship with Jesus and as you use your talents and gifts? If you are, don’t wait for someone else to do what you see needs to be done. Reach out and learn to let someone lean on you. And if the tables turn, learn to lean on someone else. After all, if we can’t support fellow believers then what is the point?

 

Giving Without Expecting Anything in Return

Our small groups have adopted some different, local work forces this year to surprise with a small treat and a note of encouragement. We do this for several reasons. One is to keep our name in the community. The second is to teach new believers how to give without expecting anything in return.

When we put together our gifts, we pray for the group they are for. We pray that the small token might brighten their day and give them encouragement. We pray that someone who is searching might come to our church or another Bible believing church to find out about Jesus. As a growing 2 year old church plant, we are always praying in new people who want their lives impacted by God and want to impact others with their faith.

The hard part of this task is to give without expecting anything in return. When someone drops off the candy bars, it is not to be showered with praise, but to say thank you to them for what they do. We need to take the focus off of ourselves and our need to receive recognition and give praise to Jesus.

I can tell you we have gotten exactly zero new people from doing this, but the people who put them together and deliver them have gotten that warm, fuzzy glow in their heart. It’s a time spent in fellowship, taking the focus off of me, me, me and turning it towards others. After all, who doesn’t need a pick me up in their work day when you are bogged down by the daily grind?

Your gift doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. We usually candy bars or m&m’s because who doesn’t need chocolate? Then I print out a little tag, we write a note and tie it on.

IMG_4626Then we pray that it will help someone get through their day and that they can feel Jesus’ love. Someone delivers them and we just go on with our day.

Be sure to give your new and seasoned believers opportunities to give without expecting anything in return. It’s such a great feeling and one you will want to replicate again soon!

 

 

 

Choices A la Carte: Part 2

Choices a la carte

Earlier this week I wrote about bad choices in sin. Today, let’s look at the flip side. As a church planting wife, I can see that people need hope and help. I bet you can see it too. If people are constantly beat down it becomes hard for them to see God’s love. It’s our job to raise people up, not beat them down more. But, sin happens. Here are some good choices to make about your sin.

Digging out of the grave we dug happens one choices at a time. (1 Peter 1:3-10) That’s right, I’ll say it again. We have the power and responsibility to make our own choices.

Good Choice #1: Recognizing sin for what it is – What do you do when presented with a sinful opportunity? Do you think about where it is leading? Answering those two simple questions will help you make the good choice next time you are on the brink of doing the sin again.

Good Choice #2: Confess to someone you trust who will keep you accountable – Seek out a mature Christian who is not struggling with the same sin who can help you. Maybe you can find someone who has overcome the sin and let them help you through.

Good Choice #3: Do something about your sin – Check out bad choice #3 about doing nothing. Now do something.

Good Choice #4: Stumbling along the way is better than giving in to sin – When we’ve recognized the sin and are now trying to do something about it, it is not going to be an easy ride. You will stumble and you will fall. However, if you have someone from Good Choice #2 they can help you back on the path.

Good Choice #5: Choosing to break the chain will result in better future choices – My husband called it the eye bounce. You might look at the sin, but quickly look the other way.

Don’t be deceived, everyone struggles with sin no matter how perfect their life looks. Check out my husband’s message, “Choices A la Carte” where he digs into these Good and Bad sin choices using Mark 6:17-28. Sin is not a pretty, feel good topic. We will always sin. But here you will find hope on how to become aware of your sin, work on getting rid of it, and not being controlled by sin.

Choices A la Carte

Choices a la carte

As a church planting pastor, my husband takes his responsibility of shepherding new believers seriously. So, it’s not glamorous, but preaching on sin just can’t be avoided. If we avoid talking about sin, how can we grow in our faith? Here is the truth:

Digging our own grave of sin happens one choice at a time. (James 1:13-15)

That’s right, we have the power and responsibility to make our own choices. When you order from an a la carte menu you select and pay for certain things. Choices a la carte is the same way, you are picking from a selection of choices, and you’ll probably end up paying for those decisions. So, how are you going to choose?

Bad Choice #1: Rationalizing sin – When you want too bend the rules, you do it in your favor. Yup, there’s your shovel and you have broken ground in digging your grave of sin. When you want things to turn out your way and tweak things so it benefits you, you are sinning to your advantage.

Bad Choice #2: Hiding sin – Seriously folks, we can’t be like Hannah Montana and have the best of both worlds. Going to worship on Sunday does not void out the fact that you’re an alcoholic, a thief, a hateful word speaker, or whatever the other six days of the week.

Bad Choice #3: Doing nothing about sin – You know you are sinning and you choose to do nothing. “It’s too hard to stop” or “Everyone else is doing it”. What, are you 5 years old? You can do something about your sin. The problem is, in order to do something, you need to acknowledge the sin and then do something!

Bad Choice #4: Getting caught in sin – At some point that flying low under the radar is going to catch up with you. People you love will be hurt. Are you prepared to hurt and disappoint them?

Bad Choice #5: Choosing to not break the chain of sin – You have the power and responsibility to make your own decisions.

It boils down to this: Satan is full of lies and God is full of love. Satan will tell you sinful things feel good. God will love you and wants you to turn from your sin into His embrace.

I have made these bad choices and if you are honest, you know you have too. They are enough to drag anyone down. Don’t feel beat down. Take some time to honestly recognize your sins. Think about your bad choices and in a couple of days, I’ll be back with the good choices which can help you break the cycle of your bad choices. Remember we have a loving and forgiving God, but we need to be honest ourselves.

Check out Choices a La Carte Part 2 here.

Why do People Plant Churches?

Why do people plant churches 2When you think about church, what comes to mind?

  • an awesome facility
  • programs for you to drop your kids off at
  • Sunday morning worship
  • the coffee shop
  • just the right music
  • serving meals to the homeless
  • a feel good message

Have you ever met a church planter? Their idea of a church is completely different. If the church plant is biblically based, there is basically one thing they base the purpose of their church on.

  • Church exists to reach out to people we don’t even know yet to tell them about Jesus.

Everything else is secondary. Church planters don’t want church hoppers or other disgruntled Christians. We want to meet people who don’t know Jesus and have them come to know Him so they may have eternal life. Then their unbelieving circle of friends can see the change in their lives and ask about it. You then have a continuous cycle of lives changed telling others about why their life changed.

People do this based on the fact that the existence of the church is based on someone we haven’t even seen! You have to have faith!

Church plants know it isn’t going to be about a snazzy building or programs because they don’t have the money or manpower to run those things. It won’t be based on a feel good message because a relationship with Jesus is something you have to work and pray for to grow.

A church plant will be based on prayer and the knowledge that God never asks us to do what He doesn’t enable us to do! Remember the God Factor? 5 + 2 = 5,000 because God will fill in the gaps if we trust him to.

If you are a discouraged church planter, I pray you will press on. Keep reaching out to people you don’t know and tell them about Jesus. Don’t compare yourself to another church in your area, because they are somewhere else in their journey. Remember, it’s not the building you are lacking or programs for families that will change people. Sharing Jesus will.