Carrots and Sticks and Candles

Carrots and Sticks may motivate a horse to run, but Dan Pink argues that for humans, they just aren’t good motivators. In the video posted below, he shares some amazing research about motivation. I thought I’d share a bit of it here for all you guys who are leaders ’cause we’ve gotta learn everything we can about motivating people – especially church people who work with volunteers.

Incentives/rewards as motivators? Here’s a quote:

As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance, but once the task called for ‘”even rudimentary cognitive skill,” a larger reward “led to poorer performance.”

Many studies have shown this to be true across cultural boundaries throughout the world. Here’s an example of one of them:

“The Candle Problem.” Here’s the scenario:

The behavioral scientist brings you into a room and gives you a candle, some matches, and some thumb tacks. He explains that your job is to attach the candle to the wall so the wax doesn’t drip onto the table.

candle01

Many people begin by trying to thumbtack the candle to the wall or melting the side of the candle to stick it to the wall. Neither will work. After about 5 minutes, most people figure out the solution.

Candle02

A scientist named Sam Glucksberg (Princeton) did a series of experiments using the candle problem. He told one group of participants that he was just timing them to establish “norms.” To another he offered a carrot, a reward for the top 25 participants with the best times.

Results? The group that was offered the reward averaged 3 and a half minutes longer. Incentives/Rewards actually stifle creativity. This study has also been replicated over and over for nearly 40 years.

Next, Glucksberg did the same experiment, but presented it in a slightly different way.

Candle03

This time the group who had been offered rewards kicked the tails of the others. Why?? It’s “no brainer” work. ‘Cause, with the thumb tacks out of the box, there was no “creativity” (well, little) involved. Incentives work very well for non-cognitive tasks, but for tasks requiring creativity. . .well, it’s a bad motivator and actually hinders performance.

Here’s the bottom line:

There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business (leadership) does.
Science knows:
1. Incentives/rewards only work in a narrow band of circumstances. (No brainer work)
2. “If then” rewards often destroy creativity.
3. The secret to high performance (motivation) isn’t carrots and sticks (rewards & punishments) but that unseen intrinsic drive – the drive to do things ’cause they matter.

OK – Here are my thoughts: As a church worker, this all makes sense. I can’t really offer our volunteers anything anyway. We may bake them cookies or something to show our appreciation, but we’re not exactly giving huge salaries or bonuses to them. Over the years, I’ve seen a few people volunteer out of wrong motivations – trying to watch their child, or get close to another volunteer, or maybe they just want to feel good about themselves. Whatever the case, those people don’t ever last very long. The people who are the greatest assets to our programs and ministries are those who are intrinsically motivated – those people who really believe in what we’re doing and want to make a difference in the lives of others. Those kinds of volunteers are consistent. They will work into wee hours of the morning trying to get things “just right.” They aren’t “high-maintenance” volunteers. They come to me with new ideas and like to tell me what they’re going to do rather than asking me about all the details of how to get it all done. These are the kinds of people I love to work with. They understand our goals and create new ways of reaching them.

Another thought: What does our carrot and stick system do to our children? We like use this system all the time with them ($$ for grades, ice cream when the team wins, etc) but if these kinds of motivators stifle creativity. . .hmm. . .what hasn’t being created that might exist right now otherwise?

The modern church needs leaders – people who can create a new vision and lead others into a preferred future. Ministry is a creative calling made by the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. If rewards and incentives break down creativity, we’ve gotta stop trying to motivate our people with them. We need all the creativity we can get. The Good News is that God’s creative Holy Spirit resides with us and within us. He’s just looking for a chance to come out of us.

If you’re interested you can check out the video that inspired these thoughts.

Harvest

I read a blog by Alan Danielson this morning that brings home a concept that’s been rolling around in my head for a while.

stickychurchHere’s a quote: “Often we think that a great harvest is when masses make a decision for Christ, but Osborne (in his book, Sticky Church) challenges that mindset. Farmers don’t celebrate and call it ‘harvest’ when seeds sprout tiny green buds for the first time. It’s not ‘harvest’ until the plants have grown to maturity and produce fruit.”

Yes!! That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. The church has grown to be obsessed with hype and big events that engage people in first-time decisions. No, I’m not knocking first-time decisions. I’m just saying that all too often that’s also the end of our efforts. The farmer image captures it very well – the larger celebration should be at the end of the harvest and our efforts should be consistent throughout the growth process!

PS – If this one concept is this powerful, I need to read this book.

Planting a “Practice”

“What if church planters quit planting churches and instead planted church “practices?” Like a doctor’s practice, I believe the church shouldn’t be about building some institution, but about practicing the faith that has been given to them. It should be about “being” the church – not about building the church. The analogy breaks down in the sense that at a doctor’s practice, the only one “practicing” is the doctor. The church should be a place where everyone is “practicing” – maybe more like the imagery of the doctor’s “clinic” on Patch Adams. Everyone was a patient (in need of something), but everyone was also a “doctor” who helped others – sometimes he helped by listening, or by picking up trash, or whatever, but he contributed to the health of someone else and that made him a “doctor” by Patch’s definition.

I think these are important ideas for church planters. If a planter begins his ministry working to build/grow a church, then things are going to get really confusing – think about it – everyone has a different idea about what a church should be. And everyone has a different need that they want to see met by the institutional church. Instead, if the planter works to “be” the church and works to equip others to “practice” their faith, then won’t that church naturally become whatever it’s supposed to be? If each member is doing the ministry that God has called him to, then when they are assembled, it wouldn’t be about building the institution, but simply about celebrating the things God has been doing throughout the week.

This was just a random thought I had in the car today. I thought it was worth sharing.

Micro Expressions

Did you know that our emotions come out in our faces? Of course you did. Poker players bank on it – looking for the “tell” in the other players faces. Everyone looks into the eyes of the one they love when they’re being told “I love you.” Why? So you can determine the sincerity behind the words. According to the experts, we also make “micro expressions” which happen so quickly that the average onlooker doesn’t even pick up on it. Some expressions are made on purpose, but these “micro expressions” are involuntary. Everyone makes them and no one is very good at controlling them.

So what? Well, this means that if we could learn to watch for these micro expressions, we could better understand one another. Is this what Jesus did? Did Jesus just know how to pick up on things more than we do?

All this sort of reminds me of the TV show, “The Mentalist.” The guy isn’t some sort of psychic or anything, he just notices what others don’t notice and is able to put the story together in ways that no one else was able to think of.

Another thought. . .do you think a body of people (like a church) might make “micro expressions” without knowing it? I mean, we just went through a process with a mediator. His job was to tell us what we didn’t recognize about ourselves. Is that what he does? Look for our micro expressions? How can we build the kind of relationships with people that would allow us to recognize these micro expressions? If we did so, how would our lives be different?

Anyway, these were just some random thoughts today that came to me from reading “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Pagan Christianity

paganchristianity“Pagan Christianity” by Frank Viola and George Barna is an interesting read. I read it a few months ago, and quite honestly, I’ve been wrestling with it ever since. I haven’t blogged or posted anything, ’cause I simply don’t know what to think.

The book is written to describe the origins of many of our church traditions. By the title, you’d accurately presume that most of our traditions are heavily influenced or even completely based upon Pagan practices. This is true. The authors make a strong case and truly have their “ducks in a row” in regards to documenting these things. Here’s the problem though – just because something has it’s origin outside of the church, doesn’t make it wrong or even unbiblical. For me, these ideas expressed in Pagan Christianity, have helped me to consider and think about what practices are truly “necessary” according to the Scriptures. Acts 2:42-47 describes the things the early church concerned themselves with:

Teaching/Learning, Fellowship, Breaking of the Bread, Prayer, Filled with awe by signs and wonders (by God), Shared with one another and took care of each other, were intentional about being together, Praised God

Now, somewhere along the road, the church became much more and people began to focus on other things. Some of those things have benefited the church over the years, but that doesn’t mean they are necessary. The message of the Gospel will never change, however, the methods must change with culture.

 


 

Below is a list of the origins of many of our quote/unquote “Christian” traditions as described in the book. The authors give much more detail and do a very thorough job, but this is just a basic list. There’s a lot here so you might just want to “skim” it.


1. The church building – was first constructed under Constantine in AD 327. They were patterned after Roman basilicas/Greek temples. Before that, Christians met in homes, community centers, and Jewish temples.

2. Sacred space – was a borrowed idea from pagans in the 2nd-3rd centuries. Burial places of martyrs was considered “sacred” and when churches were built above these cemeteries – they became “sacred” too. Sacred space for the Christian is everywhere since the Holy Spirit resides in us.

3. The Pastor’s chair – came from the cathedra, which was the Bishop’s chair or throne. It replaced the seat of the judge in the Roman basilica.

4. Tax-Exempt status – came in AD313 for clergy and 323 for churches with Constantine. Pagan priests had enjoyed this privilege prior to that.

5. Stained-Glass windows – were first introduced to the church between 1081-1151 AD.

6. Gothic Cathedrals – were built according to the philosophy of Plato in the 12th century.

7. Steeples – are rooted in ancient Babylonian and Egyptian architecture and were popularized in London around 1666.

8. Pulpits – came from the Greek “ambo” which was used to deliver monologues. They arrived in churches as early as AD 250.

9. Pews – evolved between 13-18th centuries in England. (Participants became spectators.)

10. Order of Worship – Evolved from Gregory’s Mass in the 6th century and revisions were made by Luther, Calvin, Methodists, etc. Early church meetings  were marked by spontaneity, freedom, every-member functioning, and open participation.

11. Centrality of the Sermon – Martin Luther in 1523.

12. Candles – were used in Roman ceremonial courts in the 4th century and made their way into the church at the same time.

13. Lord’s supper taken quarterly – was practiced first in the 16th century under Zwingly. He also introduced the communion table.

14. Congregation standing and sitting when clergy enters/exits – borrowed practice from Roman emperors in the 4th century – brought to church by John Calvin.

15. Somber attitudes – were practiced by John Calvin and Martin Bucer based upon the medieval view of piety.

16. Guilt/Condemnation for missing a Sunday – came with the 17th century New England Puritans.

17. Long Pastoral Prayer before the Sermon – 17th Century Puritans

18. Altar Calls – were instituted by 17th century Methodists and popularized by Charles Finney.

19. Church Bulletins (and written liturgy) – came to the church with Albert Blake Dick’s stencil duplicating machine in 1884.

20. Solo hymns, Door-to-door witnessing, and Evangelism Campaigns – were started with D.L. Moody (1837-1899)

21. Decision cards – were introduced by Absalom Earle and popularized by D.L. Moody.

22. Bowed heads, eyes closed, raise your hand to respond to the Gospel – was first done by Billy Graham in the 20th century.

23. Solo/Choral music during the Offering – 20th century Pentecostals.

24. Sermons – were borrowed from the Greek sophists. John Chrysostom and Augustine popularized the Greco-Roman homily and made it a central part of Christian churches.

25. Long sermons, notes, sermon outlines – 17th century Puritans

26. Pastors (as an office) – did not exist until Ignatius of Antioch in the early 2nd century. They didn’t prevail in most churches until the 3rd century.

27. The Clergy/Laity split – didn’t occur until 100AD with the writing of Clement of Rome. By the 3rd century, Christian leaders were universally called clergy. Prior to this, clergy and laity were equal in standing/reputation/etc.

28. Ordination – evolved between the 2nd and 4th centuries and was based upon the Roman custom of appointing men to civil office.

29. The title “Pastor” – wasn’t popular until the 18th century under the influence of Lutheran Pietists.

30. Wearing your “Sunday Best” – began in the late 18th century with the industrial revolution. The emerging middle class sought to be like their wealthy contemporaries.

31. Clergy attire – began in AD 330 and was based upon Roman officials garb.

32. The Clerical collar – was invented by Rev. Dr. Donald McLeod of Glasgow in 1865.

33. Choirs – were first introduced in the church in the 4th century as Christians copied the idea from Greek dramas and temples.

34. Boys choirs – were also borrowed from pagans in the 4th century.

35. Funeral processions and Orations – were borrowed from Greco-Roman paganism in the 3rd century.

36. Worship Team – was first used in Calvary Chapel in 1965 and was patterned after secular rock concerts.

37. Tithing – was not a widespread practice until the late 18th century. The tithe was taken from the 10 percent rent charge used in the Roman empire and then justified using the Old Testament.

38. Clergy salaries – were instituted by Constantine in the 4th century.

39. Collection plates – can be traced to the alms dishes of the 14th century. “Passing” the plate began in 1662.

40. Ushers – can be traced back to the 3rd century as a “church porter,” but truly began with Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

41. Infant Baptism – was brought into the Christian faith in the late 2nd century due to the superstitious beliefs of teh Greco-Roman culture. By the 5th century, it replaced adult baptism.

42. Sprinkling replaced Immersion – began in the late Middle Ages in Western churches.

43. The “Sinner’s Prayer” – was first used by D.L. Moody and popularized by Billy Graham’s Peace with God tract and Campus Crusade’s Four Spiritual Laws.

44. The term “Personal Savior” – spawned in the mid-1800s by the Frontier-Revivalist influence and was popularized by Charles Fuller (1887-1968).

45. Lord’s Supper – was condensed from a full meal to just bread and a cup in the late 2nd century as a result of pagan ritual influences.

46. Sunday School – was created by Robert Raikes from Britain in 1780 in order to educate poor street children. They were not given religious instruction, but a basic education.

47. Youth Pastors – developed in urban churches in 1930s-40s as a result of seeking to meet the needs of a new sociological class called “teenagers.”

 


 

Now, that’s a lot to take in. Viola and Barna (the authors) are very intentional about saying that just because these traditions are not rooted in Scripture, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t practice them. For me at least, they do however, raise the question, “What are the practices which are necessary in our culture?” And what would a church look like if it focused only on those things deemed necessary? If a church wants to focus on “teaching/learning” as the Bible describes, what is the best way to do so? In years past, Sunday School was the answer, but what about today? What avenue is best in our culture?

What about a building? Could a church function and be healthy without a building? The answer is absolutely “Yes!” It did quite well without a building for it’s first 300 years. But in our culture, a building is just assumed. Could a church actually be more healthy without a building? What provisions would need to be made? What else would need to happen to function without a building?

Anyway, as you can see, these ideas and their implications are huge. I haven’t gotten it all processed out, and probably won’t for a while. I just wanted to share some of it here and see if you guys have other ideas or thoughts. Please respond. I’d love to know what everybody else thinks.

Rule of 150

Start of the Humber Half- Marathon June 29th
Creative Commons License photo credit: cwarkup

“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell describes the concept of the “Rule of 150.” I’ll try to give you a summary, but I’d recommend the book too.

In anthropological literature the number 150 shows up again and again. Out of 21 different tribes, the average number of people in their villages is 148.8. Military planners have arrived at a rule of thumb which states that no more than 200 men should be in a fighting unit together. Over the centuries they have discovered that you simply cannot get too many more than 150 men to know each other well enough to function well in working together. The human brain has even been tested and it’s based upon the neocortex ratio, estimates have been made that the maximum group size for humans is 147.8. A religious group called the Hutterites who have lived in self-sufficient communities together for hundreds of years have a strict policy that every time a community reaches 150, they split into two and start a new one. “Keeping things under 150 just seems to be the best and most efficient way to manage a group of people,” says Bill Gross, one of their leaders.  A group of 150 can be knit together, but more than that and we become strangers. Fellowship gets lost.

Gladwell goes on to describe Gore Associates, the company that makes “Gore-Tex” fabric. At Gore, no one has a title. The idea is that everyone is on the same playing field – everyone matters. (Kind of reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 and how the Body of Christ works.) People don’t have bosses, but mentors and sponsors. Salaries are determined collectively. There are no corner offices. Instead they use those “nice” spaces for conference rooms and public areas. They have a rate of turnover in their company that is a third the industry standard. “Bill” Gore, the founder of the company stumbled into the principal, but once said, “We found again and again that things get clumsy at a hundred and fifty,” and he made it the company goal to have no more than 150 employees at each plant. Long term planning is described as “put[ting] a hundred and fifty parking spaces in the lot, and when people start parking on the grass, we know it’s time to build a new plant.” Sometimes they build plants right across the parking lot fom one another, but it still kept the people separated enough to build their individual communities.

The Rule of 150 describes the kind of relationships where you know someone well enough that what they think of you matters. Robin Dunbar says that in a group of 150, “orders can be implemented and unruly behavior controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct man-to-man contacts.” Formal middle and upper management structures are not needed at a company like Gore ’cause in groups that size, informal personal relationships are much more effective. Peer pressure is much more effective than a boss. Another benefit is that when the sales guys know the manufacturing guys, he can go directly to them to discuss how best to serve their customers.

Imagine the implications of this theory. I wonder what the “break room” looks like at Gore? Probably doesn’t have all the little cliques like I remember seeing in the last break room I was in. I wonder how the church could benefit from these ideas? What happens to the community within a church at 150? What kinds of structures could we do away with if we worked towards multiple churches with no more than 150? Would things be more healthy and sustainable? Would we have the same kind of petty arguments? and if so, could they be handled differently, under this type of system? How would accountability be affected? I’m just wondering about some of this stuff, and thought I run it past you guys. Anyone else have any thoughts? How ’bout you Hans?

Changing a Culture

09-01-22-icebergSome of the church leadership people met with Dave Herman, (our “Transformation Coach”) this morning and I created a few diagrams to help explain some of the things he shared. Although we talked about quite a few other topics, most of the conversations centered on changing a culture.

I think it’s important to first define culture. For the purpose of this conversation, we are not talking about the culture at large but rather “organizational culture” and specifically our own church (Lake Jackson FUMC) culture. In my “Christian Leadership” classes at CBS, we learned that organizational culture is defined as “that which is assumed.” People assume things to be a certain way because a culture has told them so. Assumptions are made based upon the way things have always been done within the culture of that particular organization. Culture is an understood (and mostly agreed upon) set of rules by which everyone plays within that organization. Culture was also described like an iceberg. The way an organization does things (what is seen) helps us understand it’s culture, but there’s usually a lot more under the surface. You can change what is seen, (like core values or mission statements) but without changing the cultural support, nothing will really be different. The look may change, but the direction and momentum remains fixed because culture carries so much weight.

Anyway, here’s the first diagram:

01 Changing a Culture

The congregation is represented by the blue line and the leadership by the green.


Church/organizational culture is portrayed by the purple wave which flows in and out of it’s members as a story. The church culture is very difficult to define (a wave) because it is ever-changing and organic in nature. Culture is created, reorganized, and understood by the average member throughout their lives. When they hear stories of things going on in the church or are reminded of memories of the “good ol’ days,” they instinctively define the church by those stories. Although it changes often, the church culture is mostly defined by who the people are, and what they’ve done in the past. This results in a status quo or good ol’ days mentality. Some of the members, are also leaders. They may not hold positions, but they have influence and others hear their stories with greater appreciation.


03 Changing a Culture

The leadership of the church is called by God to direct, empower, and equip it’s members to live out the story of God rather than the story of the status quo. They should be mostly concerned about the future of the church and should speak a new story into the lives of it’s congregation. A story which represents the calling they believe God has placed upon them collectively. The red wave represents this “God story.” It’s also important for this story (vision) to be clear, concise, and compelling. (not like a wave)

I should be clear to say that the purple wave may very well be Godly too, but it is fluid in nature and much less defined. Setting a church on a specific course requires strategy which calls for definition and focus.


05 Changing a Culture
Too many church leadership teams function the wrong way. They call members to join them. Yet, in the servant leader model, the leaders are called to serve their members – step out of their positions to work alongside them. In doing so, they build relationships which allow them to gain influence. Once that influence/relationship is built, the leader can tell the new story and begin to have an impact on the culture from the ground up. A leader serves. That means culture is formed as leaders kneel.

06 Changing a Culture

As those relationships grow, the members, become leaders/interpreters/proponents of the new story which they have seen lived out in their leaders. Pretty soon, enough members have become a part of the new story that the church culture approaches a tipping point. Then the culture truly begins to be shaped by the new story/vision as it ripples through the congregation. Unfortunately, there will always be a few people who will never join the new story. When the whole culture changes around them, they find themselves trapped. Some will leave the organization. Others will just go into hiding, hoping that the new story will fail so they can come out and say “I told you so.” Some will just live out the rest of their lives in bitterness – always trying to regain their personal story. The good news is that God’s story has room for everyone! Some (the disciples) will choose to follow while others (the Rich Young Ruler) will hold on to their own and miss out on God’s best.


I’m excited to be a part of a new story here at Lake Jackson FUMC. I pray that I can be one of those green X’s who will serve this church family by humbly telling a new story and seeking to love in such a way that the culture, community, and my friends will know Jesus more.

Just a final note of thanks to Dave Herman. This is very insightful information, which will benefit us greatly as we seek to be a part of God’s work in the transformation of His church. I also want to apologize if I have misrepresented him in any way. The explanations are a combination of his words and my own thoughts. Dave, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did I get it mostly right?

3rd Space

McmanusErwin McManus spoke at the RightNow conference in Dallas 2008 and shared a great message that solidified some of the things I’ve blogged about in the past. Here’s my summary of his talk:

Acts 17:16 – “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18  A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
19  Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?
20  You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”
21  (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22  Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.”

Erwin points out that there are 3 different spaces described here.

The 1st space (vs 17) is where Paul goes when he is first troubled by the idolatry – The Jewish synagogue. Most church folks do the same thing. When they have a problem, they first discuss it with the people closest to them – people like them. We like to bounce ideas off of people who think, look, and act like us ’cause it’s a safe way to arrange and solidify our own thinking. This is the space we arrange, create, and maintain to help us feel safe. It’s home. It’s where we invite others to join us. Many churches use an “attractional” ministry strategy to get people into their 1st space. This is a great strategy as long as it continues into the 2nd space.

The 2nd space is also seen in verse 17 – the marketplace. Paul immediately, takes his concerns to the people outside the church too. This is the space that no one controls – where everyone is welcome. Unfortunately, most Christians rarely speak of faith outside their “safe” church walls.  However, if they did, they might get invited into the sacred 3rd space.

The 3rd space is seen in verse 19. “Then they took him” describes the 3rd space. It’s the place that others control and create. It’s the place where they invite others. It’s in this space that Paul’s concerns are finally eased. In this 3rd space, he gets to talk to the main people he’s concerned about.

This 3rd space is truly where Christians can reach the world. Instead of waiting for people to come to church, the church should go to the world and express Christ’s love in such a way that they are invited into the 3rd spaces of others.

Another post with similar ideas can be found here: Welcoming or Welcomed?

A Forest Dream

Dream
I had a dream last night that I was running around a forest with some friends. It wasn’t like we were running from anything. All I know is that we were running. We were up on a hill overlooking a subdivision of houses, but running further into the woods. I was naked and was hiding behind leaves, trees, etc – but I didn’t seem to care too much. We came across a strange U-shaped rock formation which you could get underneath. Somewhere along the line, I forgot I was naked. Together, along with some people we met near the formation, we began to build a glass roof over the inner part of the “U.” This created a cool room underneath which let the light in and illuminated everything. It was a room which was very organic – very much a part of it’s surroundings. Our plan was to make it a restaurant. Then I woke up.


I woke up wondering what in the world was this all about? Here’s my best guess at an interpretation.

Restaurant = Church

The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be a part of building is a church – a community of people who are seeking and serving Christ together. Restaurants are also places where people are served. So a new church must be the restaurant.

Naked = Vulnerability

In order to plant a church like that, I will have to be very open and vulnerable – I’ve also always felt like my personality allows me to be vulnerable pretty easily. Maybe that’s why I didn’t care about being naked too much.

Rock Formation Room/Organic = Type of Church/Community

The church I would hope to be a part of building (which by the way, may not have a building at all) is one which would be a community of people who sort of melt into the landscape and surroundings by serving their community. A group of indigenous people.

Friends = Partnership

I can’t imagine embarking on a process of planting a church all alone. I’m guessing that’s why my friends were with me.

Other thoughts: I’ve never really thought much about where I could plant a church, but maybe there’s a subconscious part of me that realizes I might be best suited for planting just outside a populated area. Maybe we were running further into the woods reaching people.

Anyway, that’s my best guess. Anybody else got any thoughts?

Cathedral

Livingston_2This weekend, I experienced the sacred mystery of an amazing cathedral. Entering, I was first struck by the arches of east Texas pine stretching to a ceiling of endless blue. An easiness washed over over me and the world’s worries disappeared as I became overwhelmed by a sense of peace. We rested on old rocking chairs at a humble altar of two by four decking where we offered up our most lofty dreams and concerns communing with each other and the Creator. We laughed around a table sharing something more than our lives – truly sharing the present moment. It’s a sacred place – a holy place – where God engages us and helps us to think bigger stretching our hearts beyond the corners of our present state. It’s truly a joy to be in this place – an experience that I’ll never forget, and yet it’s also one which is not alone – I have come to expect and long for these experiences.

Thank you Godbolds! I truly consider our times with you in Livingston sacred.

Here’s a few pics of Kasen’s second trip.
Livingston_bath_2
Livingston
Singing_w_daddy With_aunt_laurie_2

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