Don’t Let The Fruit Hit The Ground

you know when you’re driving and you see something on the side of the road catch your eye? i’ve seen this several times now over the last few days. and today i pulled over to take a picture of it.

really it’s a sad picture. apple orchards are all over the place here in upstate new york. and from what i hear, this year is an especially bad year for apple farmers due to the early budding after a warm spell at the end of the winter. if you could see all the trees around the ones captured in this picture, you’d see hundreds of apples laying on the ground, one on top of another.

it makes me think of ministry and how we’re called to steward the “fruit” God has grown in our midst. it’s so easy to say yes to too many of the wrong things, and make ourselves so busy at church that we can’t gather the fruit that God grows through His Spirit working in our efforts.

i don’t want my ministry to have any apples hit the ground. i feel like i’ve worked harder this summer to prepare for the harvest of a new ministry year than ever before, and i don’t want to miss the fruit that God will bring. we can’t afford to let them fall through the cracks.

every txt message. or facebook post. or response card after a service. or even a half-baked, awkward attempt by a junior higher to express an interest in jesus… we as a ministry and as a leadership team have a responsibility to steward the fruit growing on our vines.

too much is at stake… don’t let the fruit hit the ground.

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Randomness

been a LONG time since i’ve had both the time AND the desire to blog simultaneously (you know you’re getting behind when this guy is posting more than you). i don’t know about you, but summer tends to throw everything “normal” in the routine off the wagon.  that’s exactly what’s happened for me over the last few months. in an attempt to get back into the swing of it all, here’s some random things i’ve been up to and what i’m thinking…

1. i started taking judo back in june.  i’ve been growing weary of spending all my time inside the church walls with other christians, and so when an unchristian friend of mine started inviting me to do judo with him, i sensed God’s call to adjust my schedule and make time for it. been the best thing ever, and i’m thankful for the open doors of relationship it’s opening up. plus, some days it just feels really cool throwing somebody over your shoulder. 

2. had some new revelations on student leadership. i’m not sure they’re really new, actually, but i’m starting to view it all differently. for years i’ve told our teens that we have this team, that team, this opportunity to serve, this place to get involved, etc. etc. and encouraged them to sign up.  but i’ve been trying to look at recruiting differently these days. we have a ton of slots to be filled by students in our ministry, but i’m finding myself now going after more of the individual students that i see who are ALREADY serving in some capacity, especially if it’s not a “formal role” we’ve already identified. student leaders are servants. period. i’m not looking for the cute, fun, and popular kids who can influence the masses. i’m just looking for humble servants who don’t mind setting up chairs and serving behind the scenes.

3. adelina is so stinkin cute it drives me bonkers. i love spending time with her. i love being her daddy. i love taking her for walks, making sand castles with her, and seeing her excitement when i ask her to help me take the dog out. this little girl has brought more joy to shanna and i than i could possibly imagine. and apparently she already is trying to get my money!

4. thinking a lot about “sticky faith”. it’s growing into a buzzword in student ministry circles, and finally i gave in and started reading the book. so so good.  sticky faith is all about making practical and tangible tweaks to our student ministries so that our teens are more likely to graduate with a faith that sticks after high school. we’ve got a lot of things we’re going to continue rolling out to make our ministry more “sticky” in the months and years to come, but one that gets me so excited is something we just started last month.  now every other week, our teens will be joining the adult worship service on sundays for the praise & worship part of the service, and each time the goal is to have a few teens on stage leading worship right alongside the adults. there’s definitely some unique challenges to it, but i think the wins are going to far outweigh the work. i’m so thankful to serve in a church that values teenagers as much as lakeshore!

5. there’s nothing like beach volleyball. one of my favorite moments this summer was an evening when we sent a text out to our teens, told them to meet us at cheeburger cheeburger for dinner, and then walked over to the beach afterwards for some volleyball. we didn’t know it was gonna happen, but there was a band playing some music and a huge crowd. with the sunsetting at just the right time, the atmosphere couldn’t have been more perfect. and it was so cool spending some time getting to know a kid who had just visited our church for the first time a few days before!