Today started off with chest pains at 3:30am – which is normal for someone with a aneurysm on their ascending aorta. Not getting back to sleep I prayed, worked on updating the design of my speaking website and then grabbed a shower. No breakfast as I had to fast for the meds tests at 7am. From there is was off to breakfast in Tampa with my good friend Paul Wirth, who pastors Relevant Church. I cannot stress enough how important it is for pastors to have pastor friends! Paul has been a great friend for many years now and I always look forward to hanging out with him. Hit Ikea to buy some picture frames and then headed back to Lakeland for a meeting about our video production team for HomelessChurch.tv. Before the day was out I had meetings with our student ministry leaders, our mission trip host organization (via Skype) and a local artist about painting our entire building in a mural. I also spent an hour in the hood just hanging out with some of my homeless friends and threw the football with some our teens after their Bible study.
The highlight of the day for me though, was spending time mentoring Mark. Mark is a guy that used to be homeless – was sleeping in the field by our building the very first night we moved in. He has since developed into a good Bible study leader and is on his way to becoming one of our pastors. He is no longer homeless, oversees our facilities and recently asked the woman of his dreams to marry him. It’s been a blast watching God work in Mark’s life. Basically wherever I go Mark goes – walking together, discipling, iron sharpening iron. I enjoy our talks and yesterday was no exception. We discussed accountability and how easy it is for a pastor to lose their integrity.
It’s around 9:30pm and I’m just getting home. Not a typical day for me – and not one my doctor would approve of. But it was a very fulfilling day and I got to spend much quality time with people. Also got to push our vision ahead a little. Heading to bed whipped, but knowing that God moved today. That is a great feeling!
Way back in the year 2004 I began posting to a blog. In those days it wasn’t about leadership articles, feeling obligated to post daily and keeping up with how many hits the blog received. In those days it was just me posting about my life and the path that God called me on – more of a diary I posted to several times a week. Somewhere over the years blogging got more complex…and incredibly boring. So much so that at the height of my blog’s popularity (2,000-3,000 hits per day) I quit posting for over a year. In essence, I killed it. After a year I went back to quietly posting…and again it got more complex…and boring. It was the same grind of coming up with fresh content that talked about church leadership with a goal of getting more hits. I truly hated what I became when blogging…and the need to always “feed the beast” drove me damn near insane.
For the past year I have sporadically updated this blog with stories about being a “ghetto pastor” (not my term, but the one everyone seems to call me by these days). I have featured stories about the interesting people that we reach at Impact! Church and some of the leadership ideas behind what we do. Again, I have begun to feel that my posts have to be planned out and well written – forcing more complexity and a level a stress I just have no interest in continuing. It for this reason that I am making a few changes to the way I blog – and a way for church leaders to get free resources for reaching the homeless and those in need.
First the blog. I still want to tell the story of what God is doing at Impact! Church – because He is doing a lot. However, trying to come up with specific stories is getting to be tiresome. I feel really led to go back to what I was originally doing back in 2004 – using my blog as almost a daily journal. I promise you will still be able to keep up with a crazy cast of Impact! characters like Big Al, Dutch, Jimbo and Foo-Foo. Only it will be within the context of my “journal” entries a few times each week. Some postings will be long and some will be short. All will still be pretty unfiltered and gut reaction (thoughts) to what occurred in the hood that day.
I also want to still provide leadership thoughts, how-tos, resources and updates for other churches that are interested in reaching the homeless, addicted and economically-depressed throughout America. It for this reason that Impact! Church is launching HomelessChurch.tv . HomelessChurch.tv will feature videos, articles, free resources (docs, forms, graphics, etc.) and a monthly podcast that is specifically geared for churches wanting to reach people far from God and folks in the margins. We realize that Impact! Church is kind of blazing a trail into a church built primarily for homeless people. We want to share what we are learning – free of charge – to those churches and church leaders that want to reach the homeless and addicted in their areas. We only launched the HomelessChurch.tv site this week and still have a lot of work to do on it. There are already a few docs and forms on it – our first set of videos will be up next week. Later this month we will have our first podcast finished and ready on iTunes.
So to recap. If want to keep reading this blog – great. It will feature more of journal entries about what is running through my brain several times a week. If you were only stopping here for leadership stuff or church resources, you can start going to HomelessChurch.tv.
Five young college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C.H. Spurgeon preach. While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, “Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?” They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn’t want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, “This is our heating plant.” Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Spurgeon.