This weekend my family and I traveled to Summerville, South Carolina to celebrate the launch of Riverland Church http://www.riverlandchurch.com . We’ve been a part of this church plant since meeting our good friends Jeff and Lexi Centers two years ago. Throughout the weekend we were blessed to spend time with the Centers, and Rick and Trudy Bonnette as well as meet the incredible launch team they’ve assembled for the church.
The launch team is talented and diverse. They are also committed to the vision. This team is a loving, inviting group who welcomed us in and made us feel like family. They play well to their strengths and have found ways to lean and depend on each other.
The launch team’s desire to serve with excellence is off the charts. For example, in the debriefing meeting several team members reported they noticed a small curtain was out of place during the service. They didn’t want anything, especially an out of place curtain, to distract anyone from the message. This team is one of the things that makes Riverland a great church.
The highlight of the weekend for me was hearing these words at the conclusion of the service. “Thank you. Wow! Thank you!” These were the words Jeff spoke in awe of the move of God when people began to raise their hands and respond to his sermon. Later, we were informed that more than 20 people in the audience raised their hands to indicate they were either re-dedicating their lives to Christ or accepting Christ for the first time.
This is only the beginning. If you know anyone in Summerville, Mt. Pleasant, or Charleston, South Carolina who needs to know Jesus, send them to Riverland Church. It’s a place of Hope, Acceptance, and Generosity where people can find their purpose in God. They meet on Sundays at 10:00am in the Regal Cinemas in Summerville, South Carolina. Check out their website for details. http://www.riverlandchurch.com
“Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. (Acts 7:23 NKJV)
“And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. (Acts 7:30 NKJV)
I’m blessed to turn 40 today and it’s got me thinking: what can I start now? Moses was 40 when his life took a dramatic turn. After living in Pharaoh’s house as a prince of Egypt, God put it in his heart to visit the people of his heritage and start down the path toward their deliverance. Then at age 80, after another 40 years of tending sheep in the desert, God spoke to him from a burning bush, commissioning him to free the children of Israel from slavery. After that he wandered the desert for 40 years leading a nation of more than a million people to the brink of the promised land.
This encourages me because it shows God can use us to do great things at any age. We just need to keep our hearts and minds opened to God’s leading like Moses. If Moses could endure a career change at 40 and begin leading a nation at 80, what can we do if we start now?
It’s not too late for us to go back to school or start our own businesses. It’s not too late to lend our strength, talents, and expertise to help community organizations. It’s not too late to make a meaningful impact in the life of a child. It’s never too late to make our contribution to the world. It’s never too late to decide to make our lives count.
No matter what age we may be, or how large the task may seem, with God’s help, we can start now.
“But during all this I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Then after certain days I obtained leave from the king,” (Nehemiah 13:6 NKJV)
“I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to his field. So I contended with the rulers, and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their place.” (Nehemiah 13:10, 11 NKJV)
One of my personal goals as a leader for the new year is to delegate more. I want to empower others to do more than I could on my own. I must admit in the past when I delegated responsibilities I made the mistake of believing every person involved was a motivated self starter and I rarely followed up with them. The end result is many of those delegated tasks fell through the cracks.
Nehemiah had a similar incident occur in his leadership after the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. He delegated responsibilities to various individuals to lead the administration of the temple. He left Jerusalem for a while and when he returned he found the responsibilities had been neglected. Nehemiah was then forced to make hard corrections where he “contended” with the leaders.
Nehemiah’s situation is a good illustration for the usefulness of the management cycle. The management cycle is a set of steps that can help any manager or leader keep projects moving in the right direction. There are many variations of the cycle but the basic steps are Plan, Do, Check, and Act. Here is an example.
- If I delegate the leadership responsibility for managing our church website, I will identify a leader and team and make a detailed PLAN addressing who, when, what, where, how, and why.
- Next I will commission the new leader and team to DO the steps derived from our PLAN.
- As they follow the steps I will need to periodically CHECK their work to evaluate their performance and success of the plan.
- After each evaluation we will need to ACT by either correcting errors, or making adjustments to take advantage of new opportunities.
- Then we can modify our PLAN, Do the new steps, CHECK our performance, and ACT appropriately again. The cycle continues.
In Nehemiah’s case, the PLAN and DO steps were implemented but the periodic CHECK was missing. The good thing is once he did check on things, he was able to ACT by making corrections. These steps apply to virtually any project or team management situation. Give them a try in your organization for situations where you need to delegate and empower others.
“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22 NKJV)
It’s 6 degrees with a wind chill that makes it feel like -8 degrees in Georgia this morning. For those of you who live in the north, you will say that’s no big deal. But those of us in Georgia and Alabama know that we are totally and completely unprepared to handle any weather below 32 degrees. If there is any chance of ice, frost, snow, even a flurry, we basically ransack the grocery stores for commodities in case we’re “snowed in” and we shut everything down.
Even now my daughter, Faith is enjoying her second day home from school because there is the possibility of black ice on the roads and it’s too cold for kids to stand at the bus stop. But you know what, if she had to, Faith could stand on the bus stop for hours and not feel the cold. That’s because every year, whether we have a cold winter or not, my mother buys coats, hats, gloves, and scarves for my kids as if we live in Canada. We have a collection of 4 to 5 pairs of “only worn once” gloves with matching hats and scarves in Faith’s room.
Why am I talking about the weather? I’m glad you asked. The seasons of life will always change around us. We need to expect it and we need to be prepared. Throughout the New Year we will experience seasons of joy, grief, progress, and struggle. There are seasons of work, rest, worship, growth, great storms and unexplainable peace. We will have seasons of great spiritual awakening as well as tests of faith.
We will need to prepare ourselves with things like prayer, fasting, worship, and personal bible study. These spiritual disciplines can strengthen our spiritual resolve throughout the year and help us handle any season that comes our way.