Service

Local Missions At NewPointe Millersburg

This past Sunday I spoke briefly about some of the local organizations that we support.  Here is some information on those organizations.

Each campus at NewPointe has a local missions budget that allows us to support and partner with local organizations and help people in our community. Here in Millersburg we have a partner relationship with several organizations. Some we support monthly with a financial contribution and some we work with by providing volunteers, promotion of their services and fundraisers.

We work with organizations that are well run, that help people in need and that are Christ centered.

The three organizations we support financially on a monthly basis are:

  • Love INC (In the Name of Christ) is a non-profit organization that works with all other non profits, churches, government agencies and individuals to help people in need. Basically they try to match people in need with churches, organizations and individuals that can help them best.  They also identify services that are not being offered and help churches get those ministries started.
  • For more information about how to volunteer or send support, contact:  Vicki Conn Executive Director of
    Love INC of Greater Holmes County, Director
    PO Box 144
    Millersburg, OH 44654
    330.473.6017 (office) or email loveincofghc@gmail.com
  • Young Life of Holmes & Tuscarawas CountyTheir vision is that, Every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him.  Young Life is active at West Holmes they also are active at Garaway.  For more information about how to get involved contact Libby Pacula at mlpacula@gmail.com.
  • Here are some of the things that the volunteers at Young Life do:
    • Praying for young people.
    • Going where kids are.
    • Building personal relationships with them.
    • Winning the right to be heard.
    • Providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing.
    • Sharing their lives and the Good News of Jesus Christ with adolescents.
    • Inviting them to personally respond to this Good News.
    • Loving them regardless of their response.
    • Nurturing kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God’s Word and become people who can share their faith with others.
    • Helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential.
  • CRU at Ohio State University – Quin Strouse– to contact Quin about how you can help, email him at qstrouse.9@gmail.com
    • Cru at Ohio State (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ).
    • Quin is a graduate of Ohio State, he got involved in Cru there, it changed his life and he felt called to continue in the footsteps of staff that changed his life and do the same for future students .
    • Quin Provides leadership to a ministry called GreekCru specifically for Greeks/men in fraternities, 40 young men are involved.
    • He has worked with Cru for 2 years.
    • Cru at Ohio State has 700 students involved.
    • Quin is passionate about this ministry and is pouring his life into these students every day. I’m so encouraged with his ministry because he shares stories of life change and keeps us up to date on what is happening in the ministry.
    • Students are realizing and reaching their full potential in Jesus Christ through the work of Quin and others at OSU.

We support and promote these organizations as we are able, through one-time donations, volunteers, promotion and participation with events they organize:

  • Local Food Pantries
    • Millersburg Church of God Food Pantry – We are currently partnering with them to distribute food to elementary school students in West Holmes School District that are on the lunch program.  We package food and send it home with them on Friday so they have food for the weekend during the school year.
    • The Love Center – Food pantry and free medical clinic
    • Glenmont Food Pantry
  • H15 Teen Center in Millersburg – still being organized: for more information email the director at director@h15ministries.com
  • OneEighty formerly known as Every Woman’s House
  • Share-A-Christmas – We participate every year
  • Blessing Design Team a ministry of Barb Chalmers
  • The Christian Children’s Home of Ohio located in Wooster.

I want to encourage you to be generous and give to NewPointe so that we can continue to support these organizations or give directly to them.  If you have any questions you can contact me at cstutzman@newpointe.org

Seven Servant Leadership Principles

 

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The greatest leaders in history are the ones that had a mindset to serve others.  There has been a lot written about servant leadership and many today try to practice being a servant leader.  But just how practical is that in the real world.  When you have to get things done, ship your product or close the sale, how can you serve?

It can be hard when the heat is on to be thinking about serving others.  Yet if you want to be great you must learn the fine art of serving others as a leader.  Here are just a few things I believe are important in having a servant leader mindset.

  1. Keep Growing – If you want to serve the people you lead and the business or organization you work at, then grow.  If you become a lid for the organization then you are not serving anyone well.  To me this means that you are reading and studying your area of business.  It means that you are talking to others that are doing it better than you and learning as much as possible about how to improve yourself as a leader and whatever product or service you offer.  The bottom line is that servant leaders are constantly growing and changing and improving.  The more you grow the more you can pour into the people around you.
  2. Have a Vision – You have to know where you are going and be able to articulate that to your team on a regular basis.  A servant leader is constantly reminding everyone about why we are doing what we are doing.  Where we are heading and what the win is every day.  Casting vision is vital to being a servant leader.
  3. Think Strategically – A servant leader must be thinking ahead and planning.  One of the best ways you can serve people is by being well prepared and by thinking of things that could wrong before they go wrong.  This involves analyzing what is working well, what is not working well, what is missing and what is confusing.  Going through that process with your team will help bring clarity to the work being done.
  4. Collaborate – Servant leaders realize they don’t have all the answers, so they will involve the people around them in the decision making process.  They will ask what other people think and be open to new ideas and suggestions.  They allow other people that know more about the situation to make decisions and then back them up.  Servant leaders are also very open about what is happening and what is coming, they don’t keep secrets from their team.
  5. Empower People – This is one of the most powerful principles of servant leadership.  It’s developing people and then allowing them to do their jobs.  Servant leaders do not micro manage unless a person needs that extra attention.  Empowering a person is trusting them to make decisions, without having to always check with you first.  This can feel risky at times, but it builds your team and develops leaders.  People learn from mistakes and it allows you to coach your team along the way.
  6. Hold People Accountable – This is another important servant leadership principle.  When you are leading someone it’s important to be clear about what the expectations are and what results you want.  It needs to be in writing and you need to talk about it on a regular basis.  Setting goals and objectives with your team and then asking for regular updates on the progress is a great way to serve your people.  When someone is not hitting the goals or meeting expectations you serve them by having honest conversations with them and telling them the truth and coaching them on how to get back on track.
  7. Care About Others – Finally the people you lead need to know that you actually care about them.  That they are more than just an employee that is getting results.  This means you have to get to know your team.  Find out about their family and personal lives and ask them how they are doing.  It means taking time to have conversations with them and carve out time to have fun together as a team.  If your all business all the time you won’t connect with your team and your not serving them well.  When you take time for people especially when they are going through a crisis it’s a game changer – People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Lead On

Three Life Lessons

Israel, Jerusalem, holy city, former wall around the old town near Jaffa

One of my favorite books is found in the Bible in the Old Testament.  It’s the book of Nehemiah.  It’s a story about a man that led a movement to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, a city that had been destroyed and in ruins for many years.

The reason I like this story so much is because it demonstrates how much can be done when a person works hard and involves God.

Here are three simple life lessons from the story of Nehemiah, I hope you will take the time to read his story:

  1. The first step in any venture is to pray – The first thing Nehemiah did when he heard how terrible things were back home was to pray.  He talked to God and pleaded with God to help.  He also confessed sin for himself and his people, and he asked for specific help in having favor with his boss.  Prayer was his first response, Nehemiah knew that on his own he could not accomplish what God and he could do together.  When we face a challenge in life the first thing we need to do is talk to God, confess our sin, ask for his help and be specific in our requests.
  2. People under God’s direction can accomplish impossible tasks – Nehemiah was a talented leader but he knew he could not accomplish this huge task without the help of God and other people.  He put a plan together and asked for help from many different people.  He was able to keep the people focused on the most important things and not get distracted or paralyzed by fear.  He kept encouraging the people and praying for help, wisdom, protection and courage.  When you have a big vision and you include God on everything and you stay focused, amazing things can happen.  They rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem in just 52 days.
  3. There are two parts to real service for God: talking with Him and walking with Him – Serving God means including Him in every area of our lives.  It starts by talking with Him through prayer, this builds intimacy with God, a closeness that can only come from spending time together.  It also means walking our everyday lives with God.  Walking with God is simply including Him on the good and the bad in your life.  It’s continually acknowledging that He is in control and that we are seeking to do His will and not our own.  Walking with God is also asking for help when tempted, confessing when we mess up and getting back up and continuing on after we fail.

Nehemiah’s story is amazing and well worth reading.  Read it here – Nehemiah

Lessons Learned at Eight Days of Hope

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Last week I went on a mission trip to Tupelo MS with the organization Eight Days of Hope.  This was the second time I’ve gone on one of these trips with 8DOH.  Back in late April of 2014 Tupelo was hit with a devastating tornado.  The damage was far reaching and the city is still trying to rebuild and regroup.

Basically 8DOH goes into a community and works with local churches, non-profits and the government officials.  They only go to communities that want the help and are open to a Christian organization.  They focus on homeowners that are uninsured, under insured or that need help beyond what insurance will pay.

3,023 volunteers from 37 states served at Eight Days of Hope XI. There were around 60 people from NewPointe Community Church that went.  We worked on 235 homes, multiple churches and multiple parks. We finished 451 jobs with 159 homes being completed. Three homes were built from the ground up. Total amount of work done exceeded $4.4 million dollars. BUT…the most important thing was we had a chance to share the joy, the hope the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Here are some lesson’s from this trip:

  • Team work is vital in accomplishing big things – This trip showed me once again how important teamwork and unity are in getting a lot of work done.  It takes humility, patience and trust to make it all happen. It takes multiple leaders, taking responsibility and working toward the same goal.
  • When planning and hard work meet up with God amazing things happen – A lot of planning and preparation happened before and during those eight days, but God was invited into the process and He accomplished more than anyone would have expected. God moments happened every day.
  • Every job is important – I was reminded that every project was important because it touched a person or a family.  Whether it was cleaning up a yard, building a fence, roofing a house, building a deck or fixing a door, it’s all important. No job was too small or too big, it all mattered, because it was an expression of love.
  • It’s important to serve the volunteers and minister to them as well – 8DOH did a great job of serving the 3,000 volunteers and focusing on ministry to the many people that were giving such a significant amount of time and energy.  They had programmed times for worship, fellowship, entertainment and free time.
  • People love to tell their story – I heard several stories from the local people about how this storm had impacted their lives and how 8DOH brought hope back to them and their families.  Talking about their story helped the people to move forward and get past the tragic event of the past. I also got to hear stories from other volunteers and got to know them better.  Ask questions and find out more about the people around you.
  • You get to know people much better when you work along side them – on a trip like this you get to see the real person.  You get to see them when they are tired, frustrated hungry and uncertain.  You also get to see the fun side of people when they let down their defenses and be themselves. I encourage everyone to consider going on a mission trip at some time in their life.  Here is a picture of the group from Millersburg:10559719_10202362331839757_1586175141656029044_n
  • It’s all because of Jesus – The reason people give up their vacation or personal time to go on a trip like this is because they love Jesus and want to help other people. We are the hands and feet of Jesus and this is one way we as followers of Christ can show love to other people.

I’ve been on many mission trips and every time I have been deeply impacted in a positive way.  I have gotten to know other cultures and other people in different parts of the world.  I gotten to talk with people I would never have met, if I wouldn’t have taken the risk and decided to go.  Maybe God has been nudging you to consider go on a trip like 8DOH or maybe another mission trip.  But the cool thing is we don’t need to go on a mission trip to love and serve people.  There are many people in our own communities that are in need that we can serve and love and help.  All it takes is a willingness to give some time and talent and muscle or to listen and encourage.

If you would like to get involved in changing your local community or want to go on a mission trip, please contact me via email – cstutzman@newpointe.org

 

Community Impact Day 2013

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For the past six years NewPointe Community Church has shut down regular church services on a Sunday morning and went out into the community to be the church by serving others.  One of the core values at NewPointe is Serving Others, so it’s important to put into practice what we value.

Once a year all of the campuses of NewPointe find projects in their local communities and people volunteer to give of their time, talent and energy to serve our schools, villages, nursing homes, non-profit organizations and individuals that are in need.

This year we had nearly 1,900 people serving in four different counties in Northeast Ohio.  I serve as Campus Pastor at our Millersburg location and we had over 250 people serving on 29 projects throughout Holmes County.

One of the projects this year was with the Humane Society in the Glenmont area.  Their property was run down and in need of repair and over 20 volunteers spent 4-5 hours working on cleaning, painting, weeding and fixing things.  There is still some work to do, but that team made a huge dent in what needed to be done.

Another project was for a lady that had a kidney transplant that rejected, so she is back to doing dialysis.  She has not been able to take care of her property, so a team of volunteers stained her deck, landscaped her property and did multiple other projects to improve her home.  It was a total transformation of her property.

We also had three team go to local nursing homes to visit with residents and to provide two church services to residents.  I was able to visit with two elderly gentlemen and the one man talked with me for several minutes and then I asked him if I could pray for him.  He said yes and I prayed for him and his health and his family.  When I finished I noticed he had tears in his eyes.  He said that he doesn’t normally cry but that had been happening more lately.  I asked him if he and his wife have a church home.  He said they do not go to church.  I told him he is welcome anytime when he is feeling better.  I left information about the church and my name so he could talk to his wife.  Who knows what God is going to do with that.

There are so many more stories that happened on Sunday.  We don’t want this to be just a onetime event, so we are planning to have local serving opportunities throughout the year.  As we find people and organizations that we can help, we will spread the word and organize work days to help out our community.  We are calling it the Helping Hands Team.  If you want to be on the email list to be notified of projects, you can email me at cstutzman@newpointe.org

There is no better feeling than when you serve someone else.  Let’s be known as the church that serves.

Don’t Recruit, Develop

I work on the staff of a multi-site church.  We have three locations and will soon have a fourth.  One of the big challenges in any growing organization is people development.  In the non-profit and church world we often talk about recruitment and finding the right people and adding them to our ministry teams.  Many of our staff have been asking for help in recruiting better.  This is vital as you have more people attending the church, that means more children and teenagers and adults to lead.  That takes a lot of volunteers to do it well.

I think that trying to be a better recruiter is the wrong mindset or perspective.  As I think back on my last 10 years in ministry I don’t think I would call myself a good recruiter.  If that is your mentality, you tend to focus on what people can do for you and help serve in your ministry.  Every person you meet you are evaluating to determine if they could be a good fit in your area of ministry.  People sense that pretty quickly and are often turned off by that.

The right mindset or perspective is to think about people development.  In order to attract people to your ministry there needs to be several things in place:

  • First it starts with your own personal development – If you are not growing, you will not be able to attract and develop other people.  In order to grow, you must have a plan.  I like to use a Life Plan model that I discovered in the book “Becoming A Coaching Leaderby Daniel Harkavy.  This plan looks at all the important areas of your life and helps you develop a set of goals in each area and then helps you take action on those goals.  Michael Hyatt has a great article and resources on his website about this Life Plan system, check it out here – Life Plan

 

  • Second, you need to identify your inner circle – This is the group of people that get the vision and mission of your ministry and are actively involved.  This could be key leader’s or people that have influence and are willing to tell you the truth.  This is the group of people you should meet with regularly and invest in.  Do a book study with them, ask them questions and involve them in your decision making process.  These are the people that will attract and invite others to join them in the vision and ministry.

 

  • Third, you need to regularly meet with people one-on-one – I first learned this in the business world.  I worked as a banker early in my career and learned quickly that people will do business with me and even pay a little more interest or higher fees if they like me and feel that I am serving them well.  I would take people to lunch, golfing etc and get to know them and their families.  I would meet them at their business or home to make it more convenient for them.  Now when I meet with people one-on-one I don’t go in with the mindset of getting them to volunteer, its more to get to know them and let them get to know me.  I have the mindset of how can I serve this person and help them grow.

 

  • Fourth, you need to be willing to ask – Depending on how my meetings go with people I ask them to consider serving, giving or joining.  I don’t do this too early in the relationship, however I will mention things that I think they would be good at based on what they talk about.  Once I have built a rapport with someone I am not afraid to make a big ask and challenge someone, but only when I have change in my pocket with them.

 

  • Fifth, Don’t get discouraged when people are not ready – Some people are not ready to make a commitment.  People have been burned before or are over committed and need to say no to some other things before they can say yes to you.  Keep meeting with them and investing in them, even if they are unwilling to commit.  If you think long-term you will end up with some great leader’s.  The best leader’s are often reluctant to jump right in.

 

  • Lastly, when someone joins your team know how to lead them – Some people need lots of attention and coaching.  Others need little supervision and just occasional encouragement.  Leader’s, though want to be able to make decisions and be a part of the process.  Knowing how to lead each person is vital to their growth and level of commitment.  You cannot lead everyone the same way.

More people will join your team because they like you than any other reason.  Knowing this is huge, because if you are not likeable or approachable it will be difficult to attract people around you.  If that is a struggle for you find some resources that can coach you on being likeable.  A great book on that topic is The Likeability Factorby Tim Sanders.  You also need to make sure that your ministry or organization is organized and well run, because people will get very frustrated if you are flying by the seat of your pants.  That may feel exciting to you, but you will lose a lot of volunteers if you don’t pay attention to details and strategy or if you don’t execute well.  Part of that is allowing gifted volunteers to lead you in areas you are weak.  That takes humility, but it can make a huge difference in the people you attract.

Lead On

 

The Secret to Great Leadership

 

What do the greatest leaders, husbands, wives, parents, friends, bosses, politicians or pastors have in common?  I believe they get the idea of serving people.  Servant leadership has been around for a very long time, it was the way Jesus led and many of our best leaders throughout history got it as well.  Robert Greenleaf said it well: “The true test of a servant leader is this: Do those around the servant leader become wiser, freer, more autonomous, healthier, and better able themselves to become servant leaders?”  Would the people you lead say that about you?  Would your spouse say that about you?

The main thing that keeps us from serving the people around us is our ego.   Selfishness is the destroyer of relationships and leaders.  One of the keys to becoming a better leader, husband, wife etc is to be humble.  Here are two great definitions for humility: Ken Blanchard – “People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think about themselves less.”  Fred Smith – “People with humility don’t deny their power; they just recognize that it passes through them, not from them.”

The other thing that keeps us from serving others is fear.  We fear losing control, being taken advantage of, not being heard, being rejected, failing, looking stupid and on and on.  To battle against these fears we need to practice unconditional love.  Think about the way you love your child.  You don’t only love them when they perform well, you love them no matter what.  That is called unconditional love, and that is what makes a leader great. In a business setting this means telling people the truth, being direct and yet gentle.  It means having the courage to challenge someone and do it it a gentle way.  It means you actually care about the people you lead and know them as a person.  It means you listen well and admit when you are wrong.

I came across this great acronym SERVE from the well known Chick-fil-A organization.  This is the guide they use in all their management and leadership training.  I think it is a great tool to use for our personal mission statements and for any business.  Here it is:

  • S stands for See the Future – Having a clear vision of where you want to go is crucial.  Whether that is for your business, your family, your marriage or your church.  Once a clear vision is established, goals and strategies can be developed to help get you there.
  • E stands for Engage and Develop People – In order to engage and develop the people you have influence with you need to know them.  This means understanding what their goals are and helping them get there.  It also means understanding what speaks to them, what they care about.  To engage someone you need to pay attention to them and listen.  This is where the idea of mentoring comes in, walking along side someone to help them get better.  It can also be coaching someone on how to improve in certain areas.
  • R stands for Reinvent Continuously – This means on a personal level are you learning, growing and getting better?  The greatest leaders I know are constantly reading, listening to someone speak, spending time with mentors and coaches to sharpen their wisdom and skills.  Everyone should have a personal development goal every year. This also applies to your organization or relationships.  Helping the people you lead grow and reinvent themselves helps your organization grow, the same can be said for a marriage.  It is also important to remain flexible through this process and understand that if something is not working, stop doing it and try something else.
  • V stands for Value Results and Relationships – Both are critical for long term success.  You can have it both ways if you are a servant leader.  When you have high expectations for results and relationships your influence goes up, because the people around you know that you care about them and yet expect the best from them.
  • E stands for Embody the Values – This is all about building trust.  Do your actions line up with the talk?  Do you live consistently with the values you profess?  Where there is trust there is strength and health.

Serving the people you influence is hard work, but the rewards are well worth it.  Be strong and courageous and lead by serving well.

 

Two Boys Making A Difference – Alex & Dominick

Recently NewPointe Community Church started a campaign called 2 coats.  This idea came from one of our creative staff members in our children’s department.  We partnered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters on the goal of coming up with 300 coats.  That was the beginning of some amazing stories.  Let me share two stories that have challenged me and encouraged me.  I want to introduce you to two young boys; Alex who is 7 years old and Dominick who is 6 years old.

Alex made the decision to start saving money earlier this year to donate to the church to help buy a playland at the Canton Campus.  He diligently saved all the money that came his way and had built up a nice stash of $101.01.  While talking with his parents about the money, he thought that maybe instead of saving for the playland, he could use the money to buy coats for the 2 coats campaign  His parents thought that was a great idea, so they went to Old Navy to buy some coats.  After he purchased the coats someone else from the church found out what he did and called Old Navy to let them know about Alex and NewPointe Community Churches 2 coats campaign.  Old Navy loved the story and agreed to give a 30% discount on other coats our church would purchase the following week.  They called the discount the Alex Discount.  They also talked about making a donation to 2 Coats as well.  The same person that called Old Navy also called Fox 8 in Cleveland and they loved the story as well and are coming down this week to interview Alex and Old Navy.  Amazing how one child can make such a big difference.

Dominick also has a great story.  He is turning 7 on November 27th.  While his parents were planning his birthday party, he told them that instead of presents from his friends he wanted to make a donation to a local good cause.  They started looking for some place to make a donation and they had several options, but then the church announced the 2 coats campaign.  Dominick immediately thought it would be great if his friends would bring coats instead of presents and he would donate them all to the program at church.  They mailed out invitations announcing the coats donations and had a chance to share with several parents that Dominick had thought of this himself and about NewPointe and the vision to help people in need.

These two boys are great examples to us all about being generous and showing compassion to other people in need.  I am sure there will be more to each of these stories and there are many others brewing as a result of one idea that inspired many others to be generous.  We collected money to buy more coats at Old Navy over the weekend, and will be announcing that total this coming weekend along with the update on how many coats we have been able to give to Big Brothers & Big Sisters.  The campaign runs until November 27th, so their is still time to join in.  To contact NewPointe click Here

 

Nuggets from James

This morning I spent about a half hour reading through the book of James. What amazing truth and incredible wisdom. It was such a refreshing and challenging time that I thought I would share a few nuggets that really brought some renewed focus to my faith.

  • Compassionate Service – What a Christian does really matters – A good bit of James has to do with our actions.  How we treat other people, the way in which we listen and speak to other people, the way in which we serve other people.  The idea of compassionate service can only happen with a transformed heart.  On our own we tend to do the selfish thing, but when we are plugged into God and filled with His Spirit, we can love people unconditionally.  James reminds us that we are called to serve others.  The measuring stick of our commitment is not our lip service, but our life.  Here are a few principles James teaches us:
  • Selfish motives prevent a servant’s ministry
  • Following rules cannot save us, but following Jesus can
  • A lifestyle that costs nothing is worth nothing
  • A faith that is only in my head is dead
  • A worthless past is resolved by a present that works
  • Careful Speech – What a Christian says matters.  The way in which we speak and the words we use reflect what is inside of us.  The words we use have great power.  James calls it the tongue, and it can dispense both blessing and cursing.  Here are some things James shares with us on this idea of taming the tongue:
  • The tongue is a spiritual meter.  If we can bridle it, we can bridle the whole body.  It becomes the gauge for our maturity.  Our faith will never register higher than our words.
  • The tongue is like a horse’s bit, a ship’s rudder, or kindling wood.  It starts things in motion.  If we control it, we can guide our lives, just as a bit directs a horse and a rudder steers a ship.
  • The tongue is powerful.  Like a huge fire, it can ruin or bless our entire lives.  This power was meant to send us down the rigfht path, not to kill us.
  • The tongue can reveal what sort of wisdom we harbor inside.  A good tongue protects our integrity.  James asks:  Is yours a good guard or a bad one?  Does it create peace or reveal hypocrisy
  • Consistent Growth – How a Christian changes matters.  James calls us to be patient, just like a farmer who patiently waits for his harvest.  The farmer knows that if he picks the corn too early, he will miss out on some of the grain.  It’s the same way with us.  Spiritual growth is a process, not an event.  We grow daily, not in one day.  We are either growing or declining.  Our goal as followers of Christ should be to grow in our faith, in our character development and in our influence with others.  Here are some thoughts about growth:
  • Growth takes work and effort
  • Growth means you have to stretch out of your comfort zone
  • Growth means learning something new or developing a deeper understanding.
  • Growth takes focus, you can’t drift or get distracted.
  • Growth takes accountability, it accelerates when someone is watching.
  • Growth means learning from the past.
  • Growth takes action, practicing what you now know.
  • Growths means gratitude for past blessings from God.

What’s You’re Vineyard?

I was speaking to a group of about 30 men Saturday night.  My talk was about Christian men and being a Real Servant.  One of the points I made was from Mathew 21:28-31.  This is the story of the two sons Jesus shared with some of the religious people of his day.  Here is the Message version of that story:

“Tell me what you think of this story:  A man had two sons.  He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’  “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’  Later on he thought better of it and went.  “The father gave the same command to the second son.  He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’  But he never went.  “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”  They said, “The first.”

This is a simple story about talking and doing.  It’s about listening and being obedient.  The first son was honest and said he did not want to go work, but later felt conviction and changed his mind.  The second son was probably not being honest.  Maybe he just wanted to look better than his brother.  However he never followed through on his promise to go and do the work.

Our vineyard is whatever God is calling us to do.  No matter how good your intentions, if you don’t do it or go, it’s all wasted.  Just because I feel good when I hear or see a story of someone making a difference doesn’t make me a servant with compassion.  Just because my heart breaks for the starving homeless children and families in this world doesn’t make me a person with compassion.  I can think about giving more, going on a mission trip, leading a small group, praying more for the people in my life, shining brighter in my workplace, helping a friend that is hurting, but just thinking about it or even saying I want to do something is not enough.  I need to actually do it.  I need to make that step and go to the vineyard to do the work God is calling me to do.

We don’t have to go and do some huge, great thing for God.  We just need to go do our work in the vineyard.  There will always be more people willing to do great things for God than there are people willing to do little things.  But those little things can help God accomplish great things.  Instead of waiting to do something big, be faithful in the little everyday things He is calling you to do.  The small meaningless things you are doing everyday is preparing you for the plan God has for you.  Loving God means obeying God by doing what He says.

Which son are you?