Friday, July 27, 2012

Vacation Bible School 2012

I wanted to write this blog to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the members of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church for all of your efforts that helped to produce a successful Vacation Bible School 2012.
To explain our concept and curriculum this year, let me preface it by saying, The Macedonia Church has experienced tremendous growth in membership. It is evident in our Bible Studies, Ministries, tithes and offerings as well as our New Members Class. WHERE WE DIDN'T SEE ANY GROWTH WAS IN SUNDAY SCHOOL.

It puzzled me because the numbers where there, the people were there, the attendance was there, BUT THEY WEREN'T THERE. All good ministries should evaluate yourself from time to time to make sure what you are doing is viable and producing the desire results. We noticed our New Members class was full; we were graduating people out of the class and filling up the next class but we were losing people after the graduation.
They left the New Members Class and went to Sunday Morning Worship; they went to Evening and Noonday Bible Study; they went to ministry meetings and planning parties but they weren't going to Sunday School.
Upon further review, we discovered that many of our members didn't like the "traditional Sunday School approach of Lecture and monologue they experience in the Sunday School Class. The New Members class and teachers were more interactional with the students then our older more seasoned Sunday School teachers were.

Also we discovered many of our students preferred Topical, more relational Bible Studies than they did Systematic Bible Studies such as the Uniform Sunday School International Series. Realizing I was not going to overhaul my entire System, we decided to tweak it.
We realized you just can't fix round holed people into square peg places (and if you do, it's either too tight so they can't grow and breathe or it's too big and you swallow them up and lose them into the great abyss of church pew members.

We implemented Off The Grid Classes" for our Sunday School. Those who preferred traditional Systematic Sunday School could still attend and others who prefer more dialogue and more interaction with topics that mirror and minister to my current situation can come as well.

These classes became our curriculum for VBS 2012. Our instructors were:

Sister Angelia Forrest, "Debt-Free Living, "How to Manage Your Money Through The Word
Sister Maureen Johnson "Bible Basics 101, Taking the Fear out of Studying The Bible
Deacon Chris Dudley :Doctrine of Sin and Salvation-From Regeneration to Resurrection
Rev. Ray E. Owens Baptist Church Etiquette, BTU for the 21st Century

What an amazing time we had each night from all of our instructors who shared with us the Word of God. The participation was amazing and the attendance grew every night. I am glad we had a chance to show the ENTIRE church what our "OFF THE GRID" glasses were all about. Sometimes we are resistant to change without knowing or even giving a chance to that which we are resisting.

Let me thank our Christian Education Director, Deacon Chris Dudley for doing a wonderful job in the planning, implementing and executing of our VBS 2012.

Let me thank all of the teachers who volunteered their time and energy working with our youth, We doubled our enrollment numbers and tripled them in the ages of 6 through 12.

Let me also thank all of the kitchen workers who worked in a hot kitchen during a hot week with limited A/C but yet served our children and our adults with a gracious Spirit that showed the love of Christ and the Spirit of Macedonia. I am the better for Pastoring great workers like you.

Thank you to all the Church staff that helped with supplies, signs, syllabi, and smoothing over egos that unintentionally got hurt either by a results driven Pastor or just the accidental bruising of feelings due to constant working together.

Finally, thank you to all of our members who contributed free-will to send our children to Six Flags Great America for the close-out of our VBS. Because of your contributions ,EVERY CHILD that wanted to go was able to go.

All of this was made possible by our Deacon Emeritus, one of the Four Horsemen of our church and our former Christian Education Director, Deacon Henry Turner.

May God bless and keep you is my prayer.


Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Broke, What do I do with it Now???

With National Conventions, State Conventions, Vacation Bible Schools, Stop the Violence Campaigns and just the nature of work for Pastors in general, I have been away for a spell from my blog. Thank you to everyone who sent messages of love telling me how much they missed my blogs and inquiring of my return.

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! To all the new people who are reading and watching, great having you on board!!!!!!!!!

If anyone out there can help me, I need some advice, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH BROKE THINGS? Do you fix it????????? Do you store it away with the mindset to have it fixed later only for it to sit and collect dust until you ultimately throw it away on Big Trash Day???????? Do you do a cost assessment and analyze and determine if its worth spending the money on fixing the broke item or is it more cost effective to purchase something brand new?????????????

The political answer for handling broke things is to REDIRECT THE ISSUE!!!!

Yes it is broke, Whose fault is it for being broke. politicians rarely offer ideas on how to fix problems but they are masters at assigning blame for the current problems we face. Our economy is in a ditch, who was driving? Do you really want to trust the next four years of your life with this person behind the wheel? Assigning blame doesn't fix the problem, it just redirects it.

Man's answer to handling broke things is simple, REPLACE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's broke, get a newer model, Picture tube broke, time for a new Plasma, transmission broke, upgrade to a newer model, Quick, fast, efficient, problem solved, Replace it. I am not criticizing this method, after all, I believe in warranties, trade ins etc but many times we have replaced what could have been fixed.

Some marriages could have been saved but we decided to replace instead of rehab it
A newer model isn't always the answer
New bells and whistles look good but may not run as good as what you used to have.

Replacing is the fast, quick and efficient way to handling a problem but is it the right way???????????

The church can't replace broken people. People broken by sin, lies, divorce, debt, depression, we can't just throw them out on the curb and hope society will take it off our hands. The boy broken by his parent's divorce and starts acting out in school, we can't throw him out, the daughter starving for attention because her daddy is too busy with his job to handle his real job and be the priest of his home, we can't throw her out.

We can't wait or expect government programs to handle the problems of our times,

The church is the place where broken people with broken lives and broken agendas come in order to get fixed so.......

God's answer to handling broken things is REPAIR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want you to know that no matter what is broken in your life right now, God can fix it, no matter what switch doesn't work or light that no longer comes on, God can fix it. It doesn't matter how much it costs because Jesus paid it all and all to Him we owe. It's ok if you can't afford it, the bill was covered at Calvary.

God specializes in repairing broken things:

Ask Adam and Eve after the apple
Ask Moses after the day at the beach
Ask David after Bathsheba
Ask Peter after the Cock crowed three times
Ask John Mark after he ran away

That problem that I had that I just couldn't seem to solve, I tried and I tried but I kept getting deeper involved but I turned it over to Jesus, I stopped worrying about it, HE CAN HE CAN WORK IT OUT

The Church's response to God's Command to Repair it is the Ministry of Restoration, WE RESTORE IT!

We are fixers, not because we are so smart or so gifted but because we have the manual, the church has the instruction booklet on how to fix things. The Bible teaches us how to fix people that are broken"

Galatians 6:1 ESV Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

The word here for restore is a Greek word that was used to mend a bone, like a doctor would put a bone back in place to set that bone that has been broken. And, that is the ministry of reconciliation that God has given to us. Do you know someone like that? I mean, think, right now. Don't you know someone who used to be a member of this church and perhaps doesn't attend anymore? Or, don't you have someone in your family? Or, don't you have someone in your office? Or, don't you know someone in your neighborhood—someone who has been ambushed by sin?

Let me tell you what the message, today, is: If you are that person who has fallen, there's hope for you. If you're that person that has not fallen, there is a warning for you. And, whether you have fallen, or whether you have not, there is a call to action for all of us. And, the Bible says, if we're spiritual, we're to restore such a one (Galatians 6:1). Now, I've got wonderful news for you: If you have fallen, if you once walked with God, and you have fallen into sin, God is the God of a another chance.

Your failure is not Final, we don't have to put you on the curb on Big Trash Day waiting for someone to take you, God can fix you because the mandate of the church is to restore you.

Too long, I know, will get back in the swing of things and shorten.

Please Pray for me,