Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Beginning....

When pondering over a title for this blog it did not take very long to come up with "The Quiet Place". We are living in our RV fulltime up at Camp MACOBA now and during the winter months it is definitely a quiet place...well if you don't count the critters of course.

Currently I have two other blogs (
Restoring the Church Ministries and Camp MACOBA) which I will continue but I want to try and do this one at least weekly, maybe even more frequently. I am kind of thinking a good time would be on Sunday afternoons...we will see. This one may include some of the things I talk about on the other ones but will have much more personal thoughts and observations.

This winter has been an unusual one here in North Alabama with the ground being wet from either snow or rain almost every day since Christmas. This has delayed some outside projects I had planned up at the camp. The New Year looks to be our busiest one yet as many things are on the horizon. It seems that God is bringing the three areas of ministry I am involved in together and hopefully I will be able to see how these three pieces of the puzzle all fit together to honor Him in a mighty way. He knows what He is doing I pray for the wisdom to see it as well. The pieces I am referring to are Restoring The Church Ministries, Camp MACOBA Hosts, the North American Mission Board and the Madison Baptist Association where I am serving currently as the Associational Sunday School Director.

The first piece is Restoring The Church Ministries. This month we begin our fourth year and our mission is becoming clearer all the time. Simply put, "we help churches." Out target group is typically those who run 150 or less in attendance, which is pretty much most of them. I say typically because we certainly try to follow the Lord's leading in all we do and if He leads us to a larger church we would go. Now while we are open and certainly will be glad to offer the type of help other ministries out there offer, conferences, counseling, marriage seminars, Leadership Training, and those type of things, we feel success best occurs when we can come and be part of the church we are assisting. In one church we spent a year with them where I served as Minister of Education/Associate. During that time we started two new Sunday School classes, led a $70,000. 00 Children/Preschool area renovation project, (which came in under budget), installed and successfully updated a church record keeping system, and assisted in raising up two leaders in the church and another in training (which was the Pastor's main purpose for us being there). In another church I served as administrator and aided the Pastor in leading the church to go to dual Sunday Schools...efforts the two previous times in the past had failed. While our ministry is tailor-made to the church's greatest need, my background and heart is in Education/Sunday School.

The second piece is
Camp MACOBA Hosts. A little over a year ago we entered into a mutually beneficial agreement with the Madison Baptist Association to serve as Camp Hosts. Church Camps are going out of business every year all over the country and the same thing almost happened here a few years ago. A group of dedicated men, many which are now on the Camp Committee, came forward at the annual meeting when the camp was being considered to be sold and said they could not stand to see that happen and mobilized much time and effort to clean the place up. We too fell in love with the camp our first time up here and have given our time and money to help move it in a positive direction. The economy is down and we have sought out other ways to help raise money and have formed some partnerships over the past year. The MBA Office tells us that in 2010 more people used the camp than any year they can remember. We have many ideas, which all take money, but are confident that God wants to use this place in a mighty way in the future and we'll feel honored if we can even be a small part of this.

Piece three is the
North American Mission Board. Last year we went through the long process of applying to be missionaries through the NAMB. Late in the fall we were notified that we had been approved! We will be serving in this area at least until I retire from the Fire department in about three years and then who knows. There are two type of missionaries that come under the NAMB one that receives funding and one that does not which is called Mission Service Corps (which is what we are). At some point I will have to look into the ins and outs of this issue but if you know someone out there who wants to adopt some missionaries.... :)

Finally the last piece is with
MBA as Associational Sunday School Director. I am so honored to serve on the Leadership team in this area. I have scheduled several conferences for the Association this year along with our annual Sunday School Banquet. My goal is to really focus on serving in this area in 2011. My wife Denise serves selflessly as well. She led the women's ministry just a few years ago in a church with 600+ in attendance.

We are expecting our second grandchild in March (first for my daughter). My daughter and her husband are currently serving in a new church start which is exciting. My son is on staff at Flint River, where he takes care of any publications and graphics, and his wife joins him in serving in the youth ministry. How could a man be more blessed than knowing his whole family is serving the Lord!

One project within the ministry is a book I am working on. The goal is to interview 100 Pastors and use this information to help others who are new or considering coming into the ministry. So far I have met with ten and already learned a lot. Criteria is that the Pastor has to have been in the ministry at least 15 years. A couple of questions in the interview involve what they did not learn at Seminary that would have been helpful to know and ways they have dealt with crisis.

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