Friday, August 29, 2014

Double Conference 2014

This week the Pastoral Team at Mountaintop spent two days at NewSpring’s Double Conference (which also provided some of our staff their first chance to experience the awesomeness that is Clemson University).   Here are some random (stream-of-consciousness) thoughts from an amazing conference.

 If people speak the same language anything (and everything)) is possible – Genesis 11

Everybody that walks through the door has a vision for the church.

To gather those who feel spiritually superior to others #failedvisionstatement

To be angry at the world for not being as awesome as we are #failedvisionstatement

To resist change and be proud about it as we die a slow painful death #failedvisionstatement

If the early church was so awesome… why did people die for not giving…. get sent to the world and not go… sleep with their mother-in-law… #weirdstuff

It’s better for Jesus to change a heart than for us to change a behavior.

Can people smoke in your parking lot?  (our staff can)

Sick people don’t need to hear how sick they are.

Too many Christians sound like Americans in foreign countries – speaking loudly and rudely….

Nehemiah 8 – make them understand.

If you aren’t excited about your church no one will be.

It’s hype if you don’t believe it – if you believe it, it’s hope!

We celebrate what we worship #selfie

It’s okay to be excited about the church.

When babies walk and fall down – we celebrate their first steps then pick them up!

The early church wasn’t known for theology – they were known for their generosity.

What if the church was known for being nice to people?

If our church really wants to reach people we have to give up our seats (and parking spaces).

Found people find people

All Andrew did was bring Peter to Jesus and then get out of the way.

Asking people to come to a place where they can meet Jesus IS evangelism.

It’s okay to have normal conversations.

Changed lives should be celebrated – what gets celebrated gets repeated.

Having intentional services for reaching people far from God really does work (2 to 3 times a year).

Saved people serve people

Members have rights – Owners have responsibility

The only way a church begins to experience ownership is when people begin to serve.

Servanthood is THE way to become great.

If your aren’t serving you aren’t growing – if you aren’t serving you aren’t serving you aren’t becoming more like Jesus.

“If you had the gift of discernment, you’d be able to discern that I don’t care!”

4 reasons people aren’t serving 1) they desire attention not spiritual growth, 2) we motivate by guilt not vision, 3) they don’ t know they can 4) they don’t know they are called to serve.

The difference between elders and deacons – elders drink and deacons smoke.

There is a problem when the “4 to 6” try to tell the “40 to 60” how to run the church.

A church is not effective when the pastor ministers to people but when the body ministers to the body.

I am a child of God first – A minister of people second – A (job title) third.

In everything we must be 1) prayed up, 2) punctual, 3) prepared.

No one should serve more than 40 - 42 Sundays a year.

If you aren’t doing ministry one person at a time you aren’t doing ministry – you are herding people

Stop Training – Start Developing

When people grow things get messy – messy people don’t need to be judged – they need people to walk with them

Pretty people are always hiding something.

Do we have an environment where people can confess sin and be messy?

To be a successful church you MUST have a strong children’s ministry and strong student’s ministry.

If you are going to have a strong student’s ministry you have to FUND it!

If you don’t have funds then “you haven’t cast the right vision to pull the money out of the people who have it”

Growing churches change.

The change in the church reflects the change in the leader.

Proverbs 4: 7 – whatever the cost!

The church didn’t have a Bible for 350 years – what they had was each other.

You can’t out give God.

It takes money to run a church.

Every church has a resource challenge.

If your vision is bigger than your current resources you are on the right path.

If you think this church is after your money – give it to another church (I will give you some names).

You can give without loving but you can’t love without giving.

Too many people go to the Burger King Church - have it your way right away.

Don't lead through imitation – Lead through revelation

One of the biggest mistakes a church (or leader) can make is to begin to care way more about progress than process.

Too many leaders (and churches) want to be discovered - not developed.

You make progress when you make mistakes and deal with them.

You can't pray away a mistake - you have to deal with it and go back and make the right decision.

Don't confuse benevolence with ministry.

To feel better about yourself go to a watermark and see someone else in a bathing suit.

If you have to tell someone you are anointed - you aren't.

Nothing is more crippling to a church than an insecure leader.

We have G-rated the Bible. 

The king wants no other price for the bride than 100 Philistine foreskins #ministryismessy

You will never have authority until you learn to operate under authority.

The distressed, in debt, and discontented gathered around him #firstchurchplant

After the service the "normal" people go home but "they" find you every Sunday.

Start loving the people you have and God will trust you with more people to love.

Process > Progress

It's all about the bass - no treble...

We never take a Sunday off - every Sunday is THE most important Sunday.

You know you are planning well when there is margin to accomplish what you planned.

Pray more than "I pray this works!"

Often the thing that makes the difference is hard work.

Creativity doesn't save anyone!

Excellence is removing anything from the service that distracts us from who Jesus is

Our goal isn't to be cute, clever, creative or reverent - our goal is to connect people to the gospel

Pray - Prepare - Plan - Practice (Perspire) 

It's awesome to be at a conference where the Senior Pastor celebrates SCar getting thumped by A&M last night - just saying...

God will only ask you to do what He has – or will – give you the ability to do.

Common language contributes to a healthy staff.

Listen to Jesus

Embrace C.H.A.N.G.E. – Care about people. Health. Awe. Numbers never lie. Grit. Everything matters.

Do your kids and spouse LOVD that you work at a church.

It’s okay not to be okay – it’s not okay to stay that way.

Do whatever it takes to accomplish whatever needs to be done.

Our staff should be in shape, out of debt and one step closer to Jesus.

A win anywhere is a win everywhere.

When we forget that the Lord is our shepherd religion replaces relationship.

Religion kills relationship.

We create golden “calves” because we are always tempted to worship stupid things.

Either the Lord is your shepherd or you are going through the motions.

When God is our shepherd it means we will lack nothing.

Stop telling God what you don’t have and focus on what we do have.

An empty vessel can’t fill broken people.

Ministry flows (overflows) out of what God is doing in us

The shepherd MAKES me lie down in places where I can totally relax.

Don’t let anyone else define what’s an emergency for you.

We have become addicted to the noise of social media.

the rate at which I am doing the work of God in the world 
is destroying the work of God in me

You can’t plan Pentecost (but you can prepare).

If you can plan what God will do over the next three years – that’s a small “g” god – our God does immeasurably more.

If you make a good decision when you are tired – it was an accident.

Refreshment = Refocus

If you are going to make a mistake – make it in the right direction.

Praise God for vegans  - more meat for me!

You don’t get the table prepared by God without also getting memories.

We can get so caught up in the presence of our enemies that we take our eyes off of the table God has prepared.

I got 99 problems
But you won't be one
Like what!



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Glory Days?

Some of you are aware that there’s a social media trend known as Throwback Thursday.  The idea is simple – on Thursday you post pictures from “a while ago” on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).  Sometimes the pictures were taken during our “glory days” and sometimes the pictures are reminders of those awkward years that we somehow survived.

On Sunday, August 31 we are working on a worship element at Mountaintop that requires as many “Throwback” photos as we can gather.  So here’s what you can do to help us:

Find a great (or even a not-so-great) throwback picture of you, your friends or your spouse (whether or not you tell them is up to you) and then email the photo to our Creative Arts Pastor, Ben Kuykendall by next Thursday, August 28.

Then don’t be late for worship (if you are out of town you can join us online) on the 31st as we remember our Glory Days!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Stuff for Mountaintop Students

This week Mountaintop Students have been at BigStuf Camp at Panama Beach learning that  life is full of stories. Stories that inspire. Stories that make us laugh. Stories that make us cry. Stories that change us forever.

What many of us may not realize is the fact that we are in the middle of the biggest story that’s ever being told – the story of God as it’s told in the Bible. A lot of times we see the Bible as a collection of different stories. Adam and Eve. Noah. Joseph. David and Goliath. But, God didn’t see it that way. Each story was a small part of His big story. A story about redemption. A story about a better way of living and new world that is to come. A story of love, adventure, life and death, heroes and villains.

This week our students have been learning about their part in God’s amazing story.  As they return home tomorrow they are going to have awesome stories to share with us.

If you want to get a preview of those stories (and some great pictures) check out our Student Ministry blog posts from the week at Mountaintop Students or click BigStuf to find out more and even live stream their worship services.


There’s Big Stuff going on in our Student Ministries as God tells His story through them.