Monday, August 25, 2008

The first practice service is a success!

Yesterday, Area 10 showed up at the Byrd Theatre for our first practice service and it was a blast.
We had volunteers helping with set up, sound, lights, children's ministry, and all that. The place, once it was all set up, looked amazing. The worship band sounded great. It was an exciting time. We had several people join us for the first time which was pretty awesome. I'm always surprised when people find us, even if we've done no advertising whatsoever, for that service.

Thanks to the launch team, who are doing the heavy lifting here to make it go. We had our share of technical glitches, but it's nothing we can't get worked out. Thanks also to Todd, from the Byrd, who helped us immensely with our setup.

We have 13 days to work on the details until we do it again. I can't wait.

Area 10 collects a ton of food!

The big food drive happened this weekend. It was incredible. On Saturday, a volunteer army walked the streets and stationed themselves at Ukrops and collected up bags of groceries.

All totaled, we delivered up just over 2000 pounds of food. 1 ton of food!

The food bank was thrilled today. It was awesome to be a part of this. Want to hear some cool stories? Check this out:

1) We planned this food drive months ago. We decided that we would go door to door to deliver fliers for the food drive. On Tuesday night August 19th, we hand delivered 4,000 fliers. We choose that date, pretty much arbitrarily.
That same day, all day long, channel 12 broadcasted from the Central Virginia Food Bank. They made a plea for people to help. So, that same night, residents of the fan and the museum district got fliers for how to help. Coincidence...maybe...but I'm just going to call that a God thing.
2) The volunteer teams that delivered the fliers and collected the food were pumped. Several of them reported back about how well it went and excited they were. Some of them, talked to residents who gave food, and who had already heard of our church at the byrd...word is getting out. That was pretty cool.
3) One lady told us at Ukrops what a great idea this was. She said by us collecting at the store, it made it so easy for her to donate.

I want to say a big thank you to a few groups. One is Velocity Church and Area 10 for handing out fliers. Second is to Journey Church for helping us collect all the food. You all were amazing and really stepped up to this thing.

And finally thank you to my fellow Richmonders who were generous with some food! In slow economic times it would be easy to stockpile, but you all stepped up and showed a love beyond reason here in the city. THANK YOU!

Disclaimer: No groceries were injured in the taking of this grocery bag picture.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Food Drive!

We are doing a food drive this weekend. The Central Virginia Food Bank needs food and we want to help. We have an army of volunteers that are going from door to door through the museum district and the Fan (on the east west streets only!) to collect canned goods tomorrow morning. So if you live in those areas, put some canned goods on your porch by 8 a.m. tomorrow and we'll come get them and take them to the Food Bank.

1 month out

The countdown clock on the right has reminded me..we now have less than a month before our church launches at the Byrd. It's crunch time now...We're in the home stretch, it's the 2 minute drill...the bottom of the 9th....insert your sports analogy here....

I'm ready. Not actually READY...but I'm ready. God and I are talking regularly about this. He has called me to church planting for years...but now is the time.

We have a launch team that is ready too. They have that pioneer spirit...they want to see something new birthed here in the city. I'm so proud of them for seeing something that doesn't really exist. I'm humbled that God has given me these people to lead.

So put your seat backs and your tray tables in the full upright position...this month is going to be a wild ride.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A practice service this Sunday!

This Sunday, August 24th at 10 A.M....area 10 invades the Byrd Theatre. It should just be a small group of us gathering...but we are ready to try out the systems for children's ministry, sound, lights, video...and all that. I'm excited about this. A photographer from the TD will be there...I don't know if we'll have anything great to take a picture of but we'll try! A lot of our launch team is going to be out of town, which makes sense as everyone gets in their last summer hurrah before school starts up.

Well come out if you are in Richmond! It should be fun. We'll be there...10 o'clock.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Getting the gang together

Tomorrow night, Sunday the 17th at 6 p.m. the Area 10 launch team is meeting up. We will be talking about the food drive, the school supplies, and discussing everyone's roles for Sunday morning. Our first preview service at the Byrd is one week away, so we have lots to discuss.

See ya there!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So what are we?

I'm perplexed here. Our church is called the Area 10 Faith Community. We chose that name because the heart of Richmond is called Area 10 on a real estate map. And I like it. It's original. It makes people think of Area 51...which has this nice mysterious UFO like vibe (OK- that part wasn't really intentional) and it's super easy to get a URL for or Surprisingly no one has taken that name.

Area 10 really is a nice name. It's way better than my other choice which was: Upper Room Tongues of Fire, Holy Trinity Discount Baptist Tabernacle. Or URTFHTDBT for short.

My issue is what do we call people who attend our church? I once went to Willow Creek church in Illinois and heard Bill Hybels refer to people at his church as "Creekers" which I thought was very funny. Especially for a church wanting to be "Seeker" they have Seekers and Creekers? Can you be a Seeker Creeker? As you grow in your faith are you a Meeker Seeker Creeker?

Where does that leave Area 10? Could we be 10ers? If there are three of us...does that make us the three 10ers? You see my problem here. And churches go nuts with their name too. We could call our people 10-acious! (I could be 10-acious C!) Or have a compassion ministry called 10-der Loving Care! Could we have some marketplace ministry called 10t Makers?

I'm open to suggestions here people. I'm hoping we can call our people insanely awesome radical followers of Jesus. But that's a bit cumbersome and slightly weird. Any good ideas out there?

Letting God do His thing

This week I've felt a little overwhelmed. There are, by my last count, (warning:exaggeration ahead!) about 81,000 little details to get covered before we launch this church publicly on September 21st. And I had this great revelation today:

I'm not going to get all those details covered.

I'm just not going to. I'm one dude. I've been in Tennessee all week. Our whole church staff is in the mountains this week. We are all doing great stuff, but not a ton of it is directly related to all those little details. And today...I just don't care that we aren't cranking on all the details.

When I get home, I'm going to play with my kids on Saturday. I'm going to chat and snuggle with my wife. That's all I want to do. I don't want to write, memorize, strategize, or network. I want to just get home and BE.

But here's the thing I was challenged with today. This church is God's not mine. He's got this...He really does. It's my job to live like I believe that. How easy for us to try to play His role...for us to live like we're the world changer or world sustainer.

Go ahead God. Do Your thing. Sorry for the times I try to take Your job.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The American Idol Church

The other day, I was flipping through the channels when I saw one of those idol type shows. I think it was "so you think you can dance" had 3 of whom was British. It had music and staging strangely familiar. The whole thing basically looked like American Idol. It was a complete American Idol rip off. And you could tell that's what they were doing. And it was lame. There is nothing worse than a rip off of some other show. You can almost smell it a mile away.

So this got me thinking about our church.

In 1997, I read Purpose Driven Church and thought it was amazing. I wanted to try to "catch a wave". I thought Rick Warren was the smartest pastor ever.

Then I read "when God builds a church" and became convinced that all a church needs is to have great preaching and worship and then it will grow.

I read Brian McClaren's stuff and met him in 1999 (before he was all famous and awesome) and went through my emergent phase. I started using words like "conversation" and "journey" all the time. After journeying for a few years and not getting anywhere I got tired of the journey and moved beyond that.

I've learned from Andy Stanley that vision leaks so now I want a clear vision, that sticks..or is sticky.

I've read Mark Driscoll and thought that I should probably cuss more.

Over the last dozen years, I've figured out what color my parachute is, I've developed my purple cow and taken it from good to great. I've identified my 5 dysfunctions on my team, and have been wowed by the latest leadership parable. I've seized my divine moment, fell in love with the divine romance, practiced the art of the start. I've pushed the flywheel in an effort to find my tipping point. I've orbited the giant hairball and overdosed on Nooma.

All these things have been just fine. But none of it is authentically me.

If I try to Frankenstein all these things together and hope it builds a great church here in Richmond, I am doomed to fail.

I want to start a church that fits Richmond. This church is not being planted in mine or anyone else's head. It's being planted in the city and culture of Richmond.

So, in the next few weeks I'll be fleshing that out a little bit on this blog. I'll be talking about what our church will look like based on the vision God has given us here.

I'm done reading the books. I'm done going to the conferences. The temptation to rip off everyone else's ideas and make them my own is too great. I want to plant an original church.

The day our church has three judges, one of which is the day I quit.

Cartwheels and Coffee is Open for business!

After about 64 days, thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, 20 or more gallons of paint, and about 5 city inspections, Cartwheels and Coffee is now open. Thank you to SO many great people who all pitched in to make this happen. I looked around today...saw kids playing in there for the first time and I was soooo happy. This whole process has been incredible. I want you all to see. Check out the pictures of the finished product. I used my built in camera on my laptop so all of the pictures are reversed...whoops.