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Monday Miscellaneous

"Monday Miscellaneous" has quickly turned into "my only post of the week." Ahh...it's alright.

Threw a bunch of stuff on craigslist today, hopefully some of it will sell, need to pay off the ol' Scooter ticket from a bit ago.

I am realizing more and more how much of a people person/need to be in the center of a lot of social activity kind of guy I am. In college it was great because that was easy. In fact, I had to be intentional at getting time away from the action because I do need some down/alone time. However, post college it's quite the opposite. I feel Becca and I get a great amount of time a week and I feel I can get my alone time when I need it as well. It's the lots of people time that takes a lot of work to maintain. That, coupled with the fact that the primary initiator in our family, my wife, has a different social appetite, leaves me with less of this than I was probably designed for. Oh well, being aware is half of the solution, i'm trying to think of creative ways to rub shoulders more with folks on evenings and weekends without overdoing my schedule, i'll keep ya posted!

Visited a new/different church in town yesterday simply because we could. A charismatic church on the other side of town. It was a great church that had very engaging worship and engaged folks, encouraging to see. The best way I can summarize the differences between our home church and this church is to say that SAC colors inside the lines and Life Church colors outside the lines. Probably the same crayons and the same paper but that subtle, simple difference explains it in my mind. I like many aspects of a colors-outside-the-lines church, there are some aspects I find a wee bit odd and especially uncomfortable for first-time church-goers. A great experience though and refreshing for my soul!

That's all for this week, see ya next time!

Monday Miscellaneous

Okay so it's a little late, and in only its second week. Nonetheless, here she is!

-I lost to my wife's team in fantasy football this week. We play on one of TWO leagues at church (interest has grown). It's decently fun...when my team plays well. What is funniest is that inevitably at top of either league at the end of the season is some lady on staff who never even checked or did anything to their team. Good times...

-Had the first poker night I've ever hosted last night with some college-age friends. It was a lot of fun, although, I lost at that too! Unlike fantasy football, however, that cost me $5! Not bad though for close to five hours of fun.

-I constantly find the same things on my to-do list day after day, do any of you experience this? Apparently, I really avoid certain things I don't enjoy doing, not a good trait, I need to kick this!

-Check-in system week 2, much better, still not great. It's just too slow still. If we have any hope of this being a long-term fit in middle school it's got to get faster, and that's not even getting close to high school who I think would have a much lower tolerance level for stuff like this...we'll see. Usually faster means expensive-r.

-Rode my scooter in the rain and sub 60 degree weather this weekend....oh wow...that's cold and really really wet. I was completely soaked through in less than two blocks.

-played way to long with a new web-based program called sprout, watch that intro video, this thing is revolutionary. I'm imagining all the possibilities!

Monday Miscellaneous

One of the blogs I read of a rockstar middle school pastor does a weekly post called "Monday Miscellaneous" and I've decided I'm completely ripping off the idea. He just posts some random thoughts, most of which wouldn't warrant an entire blog post. Since I've had trouble getting posts up I thought this weekly smörgåsbord might get my posts up.

-This weekend was weekend one of our church's two weekend "discovery weekend." We combine a spiritual gifts seminar with highlighting all the different ministries of the church to raise awareness and snag a few volunteers. The folks running this thing used to think that each booth needed to look the same so everything would be fair. LameO! This year we got a little more room for creativity so my wife helped me throw some random stuff up behind ours. It turned out nice and we got to talk to about 6-7 interested folks, sweet! And we've still got another week!

-Finally decided to buy a mobile me account for the primary purpose of making it easier to edit and maintain our iweb web page. The old model of publishing the iweb site to a folder and using transmit to upload it to some ftp thing was so laborious, confusing and time-consuming that I just never did it. So, I bit the bullet, paid my $99 and now I can hit one button, publish and it's done. I was paying $60 before and so this isn't too much of a difference. The only trouble has been getting my old webhost to close my account so that gotothelink.com will finally show the new content. It should be done by today or tomorrow.

-I've taken over leadership of the creative ministries team for the fall and I'm encouraged with how things are going. Sean O'Connor was employed by our church for the summer to take our struggling--at best, worship ministry and provide some structure, unity and momentum heading into the fall. Even though our student ministries team is well-staffed no one has direct responsibility for this area, hence, its current state. Sean did a great job this summer building into one strong team, implementing a new rehearsal schedule and so far so good. He headed off to YWAM Montana and he's no doubt gonna continue in his rock star journey. So...every saturday at 2:30 I show up and do 30 minutes of setup and sound check, 30 minutes of spir formation/creative planning/team stuff and then each week's guest leader leads a rehearsal for an hour. The leader (solo) then stays and does the 5:00 MS/HS hour and then the whole band shows up the next day to do MS at 9:30 and HS at 11. We've got about 4 different folks willing to come in and be guest leaders on a rotating basis. I really think this system is going to work as long as my lack of administrative skills don't ruin it!

-We (Middle School ministry) are currently in the process of deciding if we're going to attempt a city-wide middle school film festival as a creative way to reach waaay more students than we normally do...I'm pretty sure we're doing it but we're asking ourselves the tough questions about what it will take to do it justice and if we have the resources, $$ and time between now and Dec 12 to pull it off...

-At our first MS volunteer staff meeting in September we asked our group to set some goals for our ministry year. I was blown away by their enthusiasm, passion and vision to see God to incredible things with our ministry. To level the playing field I will use percentages because actual numbers can be misleading and separate rather than unite, i.e. we'd like to grow by 30% this year, not gain 4,231 kids. ;)

I tried to talk them out of some of these but they were persistent.

Goal 1-see our front door/outreach-oriented program grow by 30% from month 1 to month 9 Goal 2-see 17% increase of new-believers (regularly attending, connected to a group) Goal 3-see the MS film festival draw 800% more students than we see on a regular basis(we think this could be huge) Goal 4-see our game show outreach in the spring grow by 10%

I'll keep you posted on how we do!

-Anyone use this? Poll Everywhere? This thing looks soo cool, a little pricey but maybe for a couple one-time events? I can't wait to try it out.

-I'm finally enjoying structure in my work routine again. Summer's lack of structure threw me into major funk and I'm glad that the school year has got me feeling a little better and much more productive. My new goal at work is to never check my iGoogle page at work, maaajor time-waster, so far so good!

-We debuted a new computer check-in system this weekend to mediocre results. We've been working for more than 12 months on a way for us to track who's showing up. For a ministry of our size I believe it's imperative we are still able to have a high-touch and pastoral feel even though there's a ton of kids. We've headed down so many routes, fingerscan, touch screen, bar codes, you name it we tried it. I programmed a homemade check-in system through Excel last year that worked but took too much time to compile all the data. It was helpful, however, in getting a feel for how students would respond to 'checking in.' Our middle schoolers weren't phased so this year we upgraded to a system that would allow our check-in to tap into our churchwide membership database. Then, this thing can print us incredibly relevant data like... first-timers in october how many we average how many different students we see in a month it can alert us to anyone who attended 'regularly' and then dropped off that pattern so we can send them a card... etc... The software was pretty spendy as was our second laptop to run it but it's a worthwhile investment in my opinion. The computers were slow and the line got backed up pretty bad. The program also spits out errors every once in a while which is frustrating, not to mention it takes about 5 minutes to load. We'll talk about it this week and see where we go from here...