Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Goal: I want to finish

When I first moved to start Hingepoint Church I had one goal in mind.  Grow, grow fast, grow big, just grow.  After 3 years of ups and downs in church planting I have realized two things that have changed my goal.

1) This is a marathon not a sprint.  Think about the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise always wins. 
2) I want to do more than start well/just grow fast.  I want to finish strong.

Burnout is rampant in ministry.  I and many of you have read the statistics that 70-80% of those who start in ministry do not finish in ministry.  More than statistics I have numerous friends who went into ministry when I did, and started churches when i did who are now completely out of vocational ministry all together.

This concerns me, and truthfully apart from Gods grace I should be where they are to.  Truthfully there are four things that by Gods grace my wife, mentors, and my staff have caught me doing that had there not been an intervention I to would be done.  I share these four paths to burnout to maybe intervene with some of you who are heading down a similar path.

1) Over committing.  This is extremely difficult for me.  I remember a day when there was no opportunity to preach, speak, or mentor anyone on a regular basis.  It is very easy for me to fill my schedule and have two weeks of commitments with two days to fulfill them.  I have gleaned some great wisdom from mentors who have helped me remember that "no" is in the English vocabulary and it needs to be in mine as well.  In ministry time is valuable and I have to steward it well, and so do you if you want to make it to the end.

2) Work for Jesus, but not with Him.  I have gone through many weeks of ministry and felt more distant from Jesus at the end than I did in the beginning.  This is bhttp://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5846069276889168998#editor/target=post;postID=859784385975286247;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postnameecause I have tended to sacrifice time with Jesus for working for Him.  I am right now learning that there is a difference in working for Jesus, and working with Him.  When you work for Jesus its your strength, your wisdom, your energy, your ability.  When its with Jesus its by Him, to Him, through Him.  For burns me out, with leaves me with my cup overflowing at the end of the week.

3) Neglect your family.  Truthfully this is the most painful and dangerous of the paths to burnout to write about.  I wish I had no experience here, but truthfully there have been season where I have sacrificed taking care of my family for the sake of caring for others in the Church.  This will burn you out, because ultimately you are disqualifying yourself for ministry by doing this.  Read 1 Timothy 3 and Titus.  Nothing is more sobering and bitter than knowing that your wife and kids resent the bride of Christ because of my/your poor leadership to be the leader of our own house. 

4) Financial crunch.  Flat out if you want to start a Church and your finances are jacked up you are increasing your chances of burnout immensely.  To say that financially the last three years have been a challenge is an understatement.  There are numerous times where the temptation to quit has centered around being able to provide better for my family by doing something else.  Financially being in ministry is tough, and temptation comes on the rougher days of ministry to try and sway you away.  If you are thinking about starting a church in the future, stay out of debt in the present.  None of us go into ministry for money, but I have seen several friends leave ministry because they couldn't take the financial pressure that can come in ministry.  By the way I dont think Pastors should be impoverished peasants, but truthfully if you are going to be a church planter you have to be ready for seasons of financial crunch. 

That's where I have struggled with burnout, but by Gods grace I have changed and gotten through.  How about you?  Whats your goal?  I want to finish strong.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A note to the Hingepoint family

Hey guys I hope this blog finds you all doing great this week.  Over the past 5 months we have been praying and looking for a permanent facility for our Church.  Our heart is for the whole city of Bakersfield, and we really feel prompted to be as close to the center of the city as possible.  With that we found a property that seemed like a dream fit directly behind Bakersfield High School.  We sought to secure a long term lease with the owners of the building, and we knew that we would have a final word on the building this week.  Unfortunately at this time we seem to have hit a dead end.

With that I want to give you a couple of things that you can do, as we continue to seek out where/what God would have us do next.

1) Pray.  Pray that God will give us direction on where to go next.  Pray that He will continue to give us wisdom on how to best steward our finances and continue to move in faith toward our future.  Finally pray that He will continue to give us opportunity to see more people reconciled to Him. 

2) Give.  Truthfully in 2012 we continued to grow numerically, but unfortunately we did not continue growth financially.  We honestly cannot move forward if as a Church we don't prayerfully, consistently, joyfully, and sacrificially continue to give.  Please take some time this week to pray about what God is prompting you to continue to give.

3) Invite.  We have begun to push the limits on our space at our current location.  This is attributed to you consistently inviting new people to come to Church.  We know that this season is not a season of holding, but of growth and we want to continue growing internally as disciples and externally on mission.  Remember we are praying that we would see over 100 people surrender their lives to Jesus between January 2013 to Easter 2013.   BTW we saw 15 surrender their lives to Christ in January!

Thanks for taking some time to read this update.  I truly have never been more hopeful about what Jesus is doing in and through us.  I cant wait to gather together Sunday.

See you then.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year in review part 2 (Church)

This past year has been the most incredible year I have ever had in ministry.

At Hingepoint Church this year we have seen 89 salvation's!  I always prayed, begged, and asked God to be apart of what I am seeing Him do in our Church right now.  In our first 3 years we have now seen over 230 salvation's as a Church!  230 people!!!! Don't read past that without it hitting you.  230 people with a real story, real eternal destiny, and a new identity in Christ.  One of the biggest highlights this year was Easter at Hingepoint.  We saw over 300 people at our Easter worship experience, 30 people gave their lives to Christ, and 18 were baptized on the spot!

This year also marked another huge event in the life of our family.  I grew up in a great Methodist Church in Moonville, SC.  In Methodism you are baptized (Christened) as a child, and then again at confirmation (usually around the age of 12).  My father, sister, and I all went through this at the Church I grew up in.  However I came to Christ at 19 during my freshman year of college.  After giving my life to Christ I began really reading my bible and realized that I needed to get baptized.  At the time my dad told me he supported me, but did not see the need.  Fast forward to this summer, and my dad after reading the word felt the Holy Spirit prompt him to get baptized!  The story gets better.. This past May my dad called me and asked me if I would baptize him when I was home this summer.  This was/is the greatest moment I have experienced yet.  I can truly say that I will never forget this picture.

Finally you need to know that I serve alongside some of the hungriest, God seeking, Jesus glorifying, Holy Spirit filled people on the earth.  Going into our Christmas services this weekend I am completely pumped about what Jesus is going to do!   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 in review part 1

Over the last year (since I blogged last) a lot has happened. I want to update you on some of them before 2012 ends.

Morgan and I were blessed with our first child (Macie).  Its crazy to know that this weekend she is going to be 1!  As a man, husband, and pastor being a father has grown me up so much.  I prayed passionately last year that God would give us a son.  I felt like I could "deal" with having a son, and honestly I am/was scared to death of raising a daughter in this world.  With that I can truthfully say that having a daughter (next to my salvation and marriage) has been the best gift that God has given me.  Macie has softened my heart, and the rough edges that I had.  She is a complete daddies girl, and a Clemson fan in training.  I have never learned more about the Fathers selfless and overwhelming love like I have through being a dad to Macie.  Psalm 127:3 says "Behold children are a gift of the Lord.." this like all the bible is absolutely true. Each night before Morgan and I go to sleep I bend over into Macie's crib and pray over here as well as whisper in her ear, "Macie daddy loves you, but Jesus loves you even more."  

I am thankful to the Lord everyday for the opportunity to be a disciple, husband, and now dad.  2012 has been a great year.  More to come soon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

4 answered prayers this thanksgiving

Morgan (my wife) and I are very goal oriented people. Each year we sit down to make goals for the year about where we hope to be at years end. We seek the Lords guidance on what we should pray/ strive for and then go on a date to talk about what we feel God leading us to go after. At the beginning of this year we sat down with 4 clear prayers/goals on our hearts.

1)Start a family
2) Buy a house
3) Morgan find a job using her college degree
4) The Church to double

To make it clear to you, these were not easy attainable goals in our minds. We financially had budgeted well, but had given to the Church to an extent that we did not have any savings. Morgan has a passion for kids, but no doors were opening for her to really use her degree out here in our first year in Bakersfield. Starting a family was something we wanted to do, but we wanted to make sure we had prepared for parenthood (I understand your never fully ready yatta yatta yatta).

After a few weeks I was reading in Luke 18 about the rich young ruler. I have read this story hundreds of times, but this time it was difference. As I finished reading I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to give every dime Morgan and I had to the Church. It was an all in moment. I immediately assumed that I was hearing God wrong, but began praying that if God wanted me to do something so outrageous as give every dime we had that He would confirm it in Morgans heart as well.

When Morgan came home for lunch I asked her what the Lord was telling her to do that day. Without batting an eye she looked at me and said, "Give a lot of money to the Church." I immediately said "How much," which she followed with "All of it."

My heart started racing, and we felt the Holy Spirit rush into the room. We pulled out our check book, looked up our bank account info, and wrote a check to the cent for what we had. After doing so Morgan and I got on our knees and prayed the goals we felt God leading us toward over that check. It was our way of saying to God, we trust you, and your ability to provide over our own.

After a few days crazy things started to happen. We came home one day to find a grocery card on our door. Another day someone had left a gas card at our door.

By May the Church had more than doubled, and we had seen 8 weeks in a row where we saw people give their lives to Christ.

By April we found out that we were pregnant! Then in June we had purchased a house (There is so much to that miracle that it deserves its own post). Finally early this fall Morgan found out that she was one class away from being able to be a director of a preschool. Today she finished her last homework assignment for that class. Following our daughter (Macie Leigh Chambers) arrival this December she will be starting a director position at Heir Force academy.

To say this year has been a Wow God year is an understatement. We have learned that God is more real than we believed. We are so grateful for what Jesus has done, and coming up on this thanksgiving I thought that we should share this story with you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3 Churches I wanna learn from in 2012

I am big into learning from other Pastors and churches. I am just as big of a fan for my staff to learn from them, so while making 2012 plans today I decided to share the 3 Churches I want to learn from in 2012.

1) Element Church in Cheyenne Wyoming. I got to meet Pastor Jeff in a coaching network last year. Element Church began meeting in 2007 and I think that our staff and myself could learn a ton from them. Here is to hoping we can get out to see them sometime in 2012.

2) Transformation Church in Charlotte, NC. Pastor Derwin Grey is someone I first met in college. He is a former NFL player, but he is an incredible Pastor and communicator. I especially value how multi-ethnic his Church is. I know that it will be a bank buster to get our staff out to TC, but I know it will be worth it. If you live in the south you should definitely go and learn from Pastor Derwin.

3) Gateway Church in Dallas, Tx. Pastor Robert Morris' book "The blessed life" has radically changed my wife and my life. We have given every person who took the tithe challenge with our Church a copy of the book this fall, and we are already seeing peoples hearts being changed in our Church. Hopefully we can get some of our staff out to their Church conference in 2012.

We (Hingepoint Church) will always spend money to learn from people who are running hard after Jesus. I don't worship them, or what Jesus has done at their Churches, but I do value the wisdom He has given them.

Proverbs 4:7
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Expose the sin

Psalm 32:3-5 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah Then i acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah Sin wants to hide.

Sin is a burrower.

It clothes itself with darkness, and it desires to remain hidden deep within.

Its ultimate goal is death, death to your body and death to your spirit.

John 1:4-5 says that "In Him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkenss, but the darkness has not understood it."

Jesus exposes sin.

Jesus leaves it naked, vulnerable, and powerless.

Expose the sin. Don't allow it to clothe itself with darkness.

In doing so, I promise you will find freedom.