I love Chillicothe

If you arrived at this particular post, odds are, you were anticipating a picture. A picture similar to something you might see via the ppl of WalMart website. I suppose I can say, “got ya.”

But that’s not the point.

Whenever my wife & I travel to Columbus, typically, our stops include either Easton or Polaris. We love the fashion, the big city, the people. Each time we eat at a nice restaurant or grab a coffee, we ask, “why don’t we live here?” Then we turn part of the conversation into, “man I miss Virginia Beach.”

Yep, we lived 7 miles from the beach for more than 3 years.

But, back to Ohio we came.

I realized lately that, I love my home town. I love the people in this town. They’re my friends, my coworkers, neighbors, former school-mates. For those on the outside of Ross County, you scoff at our paper-plant that smells like raw cabbage. But that smell, that lifestyle, that small town bond joins us all.

Over the last few years, I’ve had the honor of meeting friends, church friends & leaders from big cities. And they have something special there. And I love that God is doing something great there.

But no longer do I wish I could be there, in a big city. Because I love my city, my home town, and God is doing something special, something unique here. And for that, I’m thankful to be a part of that. God didn’t call us somewhere else, he called us here.

May you embrace where God has you. Where he has you is special.

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Who you love…I’ll love

A song that’s been on repeat for me lately comes from Chris Tomlin and is “I will follow.”

It’s an honest song representing the purest heart of being a follower of Jesus.

Yet it offers such conviction to me. I honestly type this with tears in my eyes.

One line says “Who you love… I’ll love.”

When I hear that, I process this:

Who you love… I’ll love – what about the homeless man on Bridge Street

Who you love… I’ll love – what about friends who betrayed you

Who you love… I’ll love – what about the poor who take advantage of the system & you see everyday

Who you love… I’ll love – what about the desparate & needy, isn’t it just too easy to throw money in an offering plate & let someone else love them

Who you love… I’ll love – what about the co-worker who doesn’t like you

Who you love… I’ll love – what about the friend you can’t motivate

Who you love… I’ll love – I want this to be true in my life.

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God has called you…

We have been blessed beyond belief when it comes to finding mentors & leaders who will speak into our life at Centerpoint. We’re a part of the ARC network & the guidance there has been a tremendous asset in terms of how to lead, what to do, and on and on and on…
But a tendency can occur when relying on such guidance. At times you can aspire to be so much like your mentors & their churches, that you sometimes forget where God has called you. You can put all your efforts into creating models & systems that mirror those of great leaders you’re connected to. And the trap comes when you try to do everything they do and you can miss the mark.
Let me reiterate, having this guidance in my & our life has been amazing and we wouldn’t be where we are without that influence. But we need reminded that God has called us to our unique place & community.
1. God called your ministry, your pastors, and your team for a unique calling – We can learn & adapt from other leaders but God wants to do something special in your community.
2. Find your rhythm – Your town, your ministry has a beautiful harmony that can only be found by listening to the voice of God.
3. GO! – listen to God, listen to others, and go for it. Don’t hold back. Don’t look back. Trust what God has called you to do!

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A video from Catalyst 2010 about honoring those above & before you. This is/was a very convicting message for me as I evaluated my interactions of the past & admittedly I have failed on occasion.

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We cannot do life alone. We cannot plant churches alone. It takes a team. It takes a team who gets the vision & loves people.

At Centerpoint , we have a variety of areas where people serve and we have the need for more willing volunteers in many areas.

We started a dream team push a few weeks ago & I’d like to rehash those highlights.

1) Creative / Production / Arts – Our Creative guys (Josh & Johnny) set the tone inside the theatre each & every week. From all things production (lights, stage, music) to all things creative (video, signs, slides), these guys really play a humongous role at Centerpoint. On paper, they have the feature jobs, but they orchestrate so much of the behind the scenes work. I won’t scare you by telling you what time they arrive at the theatre but it’s early…earlier than me & the Lead Pastor. But it’s worth it. We owe them so much. But, they/we want more excited folks to join their team. If interested e-mail Josh or Johnny.
2) Guest Services – Studies show that the majority of first time guests make a decision on returning based on the first ten minutes in the new church. That means from the entrance of the parking lot to the lobby, drinking fresh coffee and eating fresh donuts, it’s all about a first impression. Our team includes our very own Lead Pastor, our Outreach Coordinator, Denise, and a host of other team members. These folks are inviting, willing to shake hands, show people where to go, and most importantly, feel free to have a conversation with everyone who comes in. If you can smile & talk, we’d love to add you to our already great team.
3) Kidspoint – At one time we thought about nicknaming our kids team “Monsters, Inc.” While a joke, Kidspoint is no joke. It’s all about fun & sharing the Gospel to our youngest CPers. Each & every week, we hear kids saying, “mommy & daddy, I can’t wait to come back.” This team never gets enough credit but we have a host of amazing young women who serve relentlessly in the area of Kidspoint. It’s these women who will have the greatest impact to the future generations. Recently they expanded and added a class. More classes and more kids, needs, more life-giving helpers. Consider joining Kidspoint!!!

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Systems –

What’s been on my heart a LOT lately is the idea of creating or making our church’s systems better, stronger, and sustainable for the momentum. For quite some time, it was my belief that more people comes a better way of doing things b/c with more people, the more time ideas, thoughts, and responsibilities can be delegated. With that we took our system to a certain level that hit a plateau. Then through new friends & great systems available through our network of churches (Association of Related Churches), I was able to read and talk to some great folks, including Casey Graham (co-author of Funded & Free). I’ve had the opportunity to have electronic correspondence with others as well. At the end of it all is the realization that our systems, our way of doing things from an administrative & executive side, must get better. If you’re a leader waiting for people to come, then you’re going to keep waiting. It’s now my conviction that creating a God-instructed system will create & sustain momentum. Pray for us as we continue moving forward!!!

Ironically enough as we’ve had discussions over the last few weeks, I came across another Pastor talking about systems at heretolead.com . Check it out.

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We believe that life happens in the context of small groups. We place a ton of significance on our Sunday morning experience and believe that God leads the way as we create environments where people can come experience and hear the truth & love found in Jesus.
At the same time, we realize that to really connect and to really have authentic relationships, we must meet in homes with small groups of people.

This fall at Centerpoint, we started three groups and to be honest, this is one of the most exciting things happening at Centerpoint.

ALPHA – is a group for those wanting to go deeper within the foundations of Christianity.

STORY – This series is going through the Parables of Jesus that we are teaching on Sunday mornings.

The Open Table – following the curriculum of Donald Miller, this group is an introduction to Christianity as well as to Centerpoint.

We hope share our excitement with these groups. By strategy and leadership, we were able to mix together three groups of people. Some are connecting for the first time and others are building upon relationships. These groups will be the catalyst of Centerpoint that takes our momentum to the next level.

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