Hello, Crossroads Family!
I received the following email message this week from my friend Bart Larson who is a photographer, author, and hospice chaplain. I feel like it connects with what we’ve been considering on Sunday mornings from the book of Revelation.
In a world that seems to be going crazy, I find it helpful to take a step back and look at the eternal perspective. It’s a rather sobering thought, but within a few short years 100% of us will have died (or been raptured) and stepped into eternity. When I was in my 50’s, I had a hospice patient who was dying of cancer. Back when I became a Christian in high school, he became a hippie and got into drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Weeks before he died, he gave his life to Christ. One day he was lamenting all the wasted years of his life. I tried to make him feel better and I said, “Well, it is a whole lot better late than never.” I still recall his response, “But Bart!! I can’t bring back my wasted years!” And I said, “No, you can’t!”
Take it from one who knows, the older you get, the faster the years seem to go. It feels now like I’m having a birthday every six months. In the only psalm in the book of Psalms written by Moses, he prayed: “Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12). Amen!
I hope this Sunday’s worship and study of God’s Word will help us gain additional wisdom for moving forward in life … and into eternity! See you Sunday morning at 10:00 at the Community Center!
Elders Meeting Notes
Thanks for praying for our church elders — Dave, Shane, Forrest, and myself — as we seek God in shepherding the church. Below are a few brief notes from last Sunday’s meeting. I appreciate these guys and their heart for you.
Ministry Team Leaders
In our effort to meet with ministry team leaders at the beginning of this year, this Sunday we met and had good conversation with Mark Mooneyham (Greeter Team), Michelle Mooneyham (Martha’s And Mary’s Group), and Heather Hall (bulletin and website). Michelle is formulating a plan to make the MAMS group more of a creative, relationship-building and outreach ministry rather than study. We discussed with Heather the need for an updated church directory. She is putting together a form for Crossroads attenders to fill out if they wish to be included in the directory.
We’re looking for a person, or team of people, to organize Easter breakfast, Sunday morning, April 9.
Our hope is to have a fellowship / meal event on the third Sunday of each month from April through October. We’re looking for people who would like to organize those meals and fellowship each month. It could be as simple as a carry-in meal, or more creative if you would like. The idea is to enjoy some time together once a month during the warm months. If you, or your family, or a team of people, want to take one of those Sundays, please let one of the elders know. I’ll have a sign-up list at church starting this Sunday.
Options for purchase or rent seem limited at this time. We discussed one rental possibility near the square.
Larry Osborne “Sticky Teams”
We discussed the first few sessions of a video series called “Sticky Teams,” by Larry Osborne. I’ve included some of the highlights below. The “Sticky Teams” idea is good not only for our Elder Board but also for all of us as a church.
We discussed needs in the church family and among the elders and their families. We concluded with prayer.
Larry Osborne is an Evangelical Free Church pastor on the West Coast who has a great sense of humor and has written a number of good books about team-building. I’ve heard him speak in person more than once. His video teaching series, Sticky Teams, gives helps on building strong leadership teams and a strong church. Here are some of the main points from the first two sessions:
What Makes a Good Team?
Strong, stick-together teams are built by people who know what the mission is. Most fights in a ministry team (or in a church, for that matter) are not about goals; rather, the fights come over the choice of methods and priorities for reaching the goals. People who build strong teams are not sidetracked by a desire for power, prestige, or personal preferences. Beware: Our natural self fights against stickiness. As human beings, we’re prone to tear apart rather than stick together.
Why Leadership Boards Go Bad
Larry shared five reasons why leadership boards (or other teams) become unhealthy or fall apart:
1. Where you meet.
A church board that meets in the church building can sometimes take on a business-only approach. By meeting in a home, meetings become less formal and there’s more opportunity to build strong relationships among team members.
2. Ignoring relationships.
When people share a common mission (as is the case in a church like ours), sometimes it’s assumed that everyone will get along well together. That might not be the case if we don’t make intentional efforts to grow relationships with each other. What are we doing in the church to foster relationships rather than presuming upon them?
3. Not meeting often enough.
When a team doesn’t meet all that often, there’s pressure at meetings to make immediate decisions (since the group won’t be meeting again for a while). Osborne recommends scheduling in some extra team meetings where no decisions are made but instead dreams are shared, relationships are grown, and more time is given to prayer.
4. Constant turnover.
Many church leadership boards have a term-limit structure built in that essentially causes about 1/3 of the board to turnover each year. As a result, just about the time a new board has learned to work well together, a significant portion of the board is replaced … and momentum has to be built again. Osborne shared one possible solution to this frequent turnover problem that occurs on many church leadership boards.
The larger an organization grows, the more complex it becomes. How, in a church, or on a church ministry team, can we continue to add new people but keep decision-making simple? Currently at Crossroads, your participation in fellowship events, relationship-building, and congregational meetings helps us facilitate communication and decision-making. Thanks for all you do, and for your prayers for the people and ministry of Crossroads Church!
Relationship-building seems to be critical, doesn’t it. God tells us in many ways in the Bible to learn to love each other! As Larry Osborne says, that’s not always as easy as we think it should be. We can’t assume that we will all just naturally get along. As you pray for Crossroads, pray for genuine love to be a characteristic of our lives!
1 Corinthians 13, taken here from The Message version of the Bible, refreshes our vision for living out love for one another:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
I hope to see you this Sunday morning!