It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Sunday Lessons post but I couldn’t help but share this one with you…
As many of you may have heard Cross Point was “blessed” to be listed on the Westboro Baptist Church picket list this week. And when I say “blessed” I actually mean it. While this frustrating disruption required a great deal of extra work this week in preparing our team and our congregation, it became an amazing opportunity for us to remind ourselves and everyone who attends Cross Point, why we believe what we believe. We were able to do more to cast vision and inspire people to Christ-likeness in one week than we could in our normal routine.
Here’s the video our pastor shared all week leading up to Sunday:
Message From Pete Wilson // Sunday July 15th 2012 from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.
Westboro did show up (although rather briefly) along with several other anti-protest groups, as well as nearly every news station and the local paper. There was one point where I just looked around and thought, “no one ever prepares you for this part of ministry leadership.”
In reflection, here are a few things that I learned as a leader through this experience:
- Every event is an opportunity to cast vision and remind people of who God has called us to be.
- Creating a response plan and coaching our staff and volunteers through it was a great exercise in preparation. We may not always have a week’s notice for these kinds of things, but we’ll be even more ready next time.
- Not everything is controllable but how you respond will give you a great deal of influence. The media were extraordinary kind and honoring to us in all the coverage.
- Don’t ever underestimate the weight that your senior leader carries. Pete was previously committed to speak at another church yesterday and was not able to be at Cross Point for these activities. Yesterday I experienced just a glimpse of the weight that he must feel in leading our church week in and week out. I knew that every word I said, every action I took and every direction I gave would impact the thousands who attend and the countless who were watching how we handled this situation. I’m grateful for a pastor who trusted me to lead yesterday but even more grateful that I serve under his leadership everyday!
What’s the most challenging leadership situation you’ve led through?
Baptism and Communion yesterday at all 5 of our campuses!
We celebrated over 75 people baptized!
And all of us remembered through communion.
A powerful day as we enter into Holy Week.
This week may you be moved by the significance and sacrifice of this event.
What will you do to mark this week as holy?
Today I had the privilege to sit down for a 30 minute conversation with one of our Cross Point volunteers whom I had never met before. This incredibly sweet, super vibrant, insanely passionate young women regurgitated our vision better than I do most days. As I asked her why she served, she gushed with fervor over the importance of making people feel welcome and how that was the thing that made Cross Point distinct for her. For the first time she felt like she belonged at a church. That she was known, loved and appreciated. She has found community and is on a mission to purposefully help others find it too.
I couldn’t have been more proud and I couldn’t have been more ashamed at the same time!
So proud of a volunteer who ‘gets it’. A VOLUNTEER who gives and serves and loves and contributes to making Cross Point the church we dream for it to be.
So ashamed that I didn’t come to work with the same passion and fervor that she did. That it took a volunteer to lead me today to a place of gratefulness and appreciation for the special place that God has allowed me to be a part of.
What good in your life are you taking for granted because it’s become too ordinary?
There are not enough kids in my life… or more accurately I don’t make enough time to spend with the sweet kids in my life.
That was my Sunday lesson yesterday.
After a very long and challenging day, I was racing home to meet my sister and two of my little friends to bake Christmas cookies. Both my sister and the mom of one of my little friends asked me if I was too tired or spent to still bake cookies. They each graciously offered to reschedule if I wanted to.
I didn’t even hesitate… NO WAY! I had been looking forward to this all day!
These little bright spots of sunshine brought with them lots of joy, laughter, new arrangements of Christmas songs including…
“Frosting the Snow Man” and “Frosty the Dough Man”
and a kitchen covered in red icing!
They were the highlight of my day!
Sometimes in my busyness and responsibility I forget that the seemingly simple things are sometimes the most profound.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Sunday Lessons post.. sorry about that.
We wrapped up the Better Days series at Cross Point today with a message on “Gratitude”… fitting of course for the week of Thanksgiving. Although it was the type of message that most of us will hear this week, Pete’s intentionality with it somehow caused it to resonate differently for me.
There were plenty of great quotables from his message but the lesson that sticks out to me the most is this:
“Gratitude is never invisible or silent.”
I’m ashamed at the number of times I’ve gone about my day thinking of the things that I’m grateful for with my team, but failing to verbalize them.
If I didn’t say it, it’s as if I didn’t think it. My team will never benefit from appreciation left unsaid.
Do you ever fall into this trap? Maybe this is the week to start speaking up.
G R A T E F U L
I long for my life to be marked by this word.
Today we kicked off our new series “Better Days” and Pete challenged us to evaluate how much cynicism effects our level of hope and faith. It’s so easy to get trapped by the negativity and fear-based sensationalism that surrounds us.
Better Days // Starting OCT 23rd from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.
Gratefulness changes your perspective.
A grateful attitude breeds a hopeful heart.
What are you grateful for?
Join us for the #BetterDaysChallenge and take time each day this week to journal or twitter 3 things that you’re grateful for.
I’ll go first. I’m thankful for…
- The beautiful fall weather.
- An evening at home with my husband.
- The group of talented, brilliant young women who lead at Cross Point.
Okay, now your turn!
I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank screen for some time now… and for the second time today.
I’ve replayed my day over and over trying to identify what I learned today.
What was my “ah ha” moment?
What was my lesson to tuck away and remember for another day?
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
It was a good day. Our staff did great. Our volunteers rocked as always. We had some things go well. We had some things go not quite as planned. We rearranged when needed. We critiqued as necessary. We praised others often. We laughed. We were challenged. We had fun.
It was a good day.
So I guess that’s the lesson for today… sometimes there is no great leadership dilemma that I have to solve.
Sometimes it’s just a good day.
And that’s a good thing!
Sometimes we forget what the rest of the world is doing.
Most Sundays I wake up to a before-sunrise alarm clock and set out on an early morning drive to the office. It’s usually a bit hazy. The dew lingers on the grass and the fog is still hanging in the air. Everything is generally pretty quiet and peaceful.
But the last couple of weeks I’ve had some alternate plans that have had me out and about mid-morning on Sunday. And it seems I’ve kind of forgotten what the rest of the world is doing on Sundays.
- At about 8am Percy Warner park is buzzing with activity, especially on a beautiful fall morning like today.
- Around 10 or 11am the Interstate is clogging up with carloads of Titans fans, flags proudly flapping in the wind, headed to the game.
- About the same time, every local Starbucks is full of casual coffee-drinkers sipping their treat of choice and reveling in a good read.
I was amused by all the activity that happens each and every week while I’m tucked away inside the four walls of a place that I would still rather be more than anywhere else.
However I have to admit I was easily tempted by each of their activities. All equally enjoyable things that I would be eager to do if given a lazy Sunday morning.
My Sunday Lesson today is that sometimes I forget what the rest of the world is doing. I forget what is competing for their attention. I forget what a commitment and sacrifice it is for them to attend church rather than one of these activities that so easily woos them.
Church leaders, don’t forget! Don’t forget what we’re competing with. Do everything you can to create a place as compelling as any one of these other environments. Because if we can create the place, they’ll experience something that none of these other things can ever do… provide them an encounter with their Creator and Savior.
Everyone is preoccupied.
As a church leader I approach Sunday as if it’s the priority if everyone’s week. It’s “game day” for those of us who get to do this for full-time employment and so it’s natural that Sunday feels like a big deal. My life on the weekend even revolves around being ready for Sunday.
- We rarely make Saturday evening plans because I prefer to be home relaxing to get to bed on time.
- I wake up earlier on Sunday than any other day of the week.
- Sometime during the weekend I’ve planned what I’m going to wear and I make sure it’s washed and ironed.
I plan very intentionally to be at my best on our big day.
I think it’s critical that I treat this day so seriously. It really matters. In fact today across all of our campuses over 100 people gave their life to Christ.
That’s a big day!
But I also think it’s important that I don’t project my intensity onto those attending. Sometimes I catch myself expecting them to be as excited as I am about jumping out of bed and coming to Cross Point. It’s a nice desire, but it’s a poor expectation.
It’s a poor expectation because I’m failing to be aware of all that is going on in their lives. They’re preoccupied by…
- the argument they had before leaving the house
- a friend who is hurting or sick
- the loss they feel in a relationship gone wrong
- the teenager they had to force to get up and get moving
- the aches that keep their well-worn body from moving like it used to
- the stress of their job and what’s looming for them Monday morning
- hope that the Titans will win
- the pain from the burn they got from pouring scalding hot water on themselves trying to make breakfast (Oh wait! That was me )
We’re all preoccupied by something.
Our lives are full and sometimes just making it through the doors of church is a miracle in itself.
My Sunday lesson this week is to anticipate each Sunday with eagerness and expectation but to weigh that with a tenderness and sensitivity for the load that people bring with them through those doors.
The greatest gift we can give them is an hour of uninterrupted space for God to speak to them.
May He do that through the work that we do every single Sunday!
Today I was struck by a couple of unique perspectives…
The first was a volunteer who was serving his heart out at Cross Point. Each week he arrives early and stays all day to serve. He has no greater joy than getting to spend his day serving.
The second was an email from a young couple who were a part of Cross Point for several years but recently felt a call to go plant a church back where they are originally from. I get a weekly report from them sharing the highs and lows of their ministry experience, but whether good news or bad news there is always a firey passion in their correspondence. These guys are seeing God at work in every moment and their excitement is contagious!
My lesson today was to challenge myself to always keep these passionate folks around me. It’s too easy to lose sight of what God is up to if you let yourself become preoccupied by the minutia of the mundane. Anything, even ministry, can become mundane if you’re not purposeful about keeping the vision fresh.
How do you keep fresh perspective in your work or ministry?