Saturday, October 02, 2004

Dave Matthews Band rocks

What can i say? I like Dave Matthews. I stumbled across the cd Crash the other day. Hadn't heard it in a while. Just a warning -- this is a long blog. Get a drink and snack.

It is time to start sharing about a ministry idea. Let me tell you where it started and where we are at today. Before Watermark was being formed, God had already started to deal with my heart and my good friend Jeff Johnson's heart. Jeff (and Kathy) and I have been thru some pretty amazing things. And it is this relationship that God has chosen to bless. Jeff and I were talking the other night about how God has really blessed our friendship. To Him be the glory. But as time went on, God started to deal with us on another level. Jeff and I were sensing that God was trying to teach us something.

Because of the work I used to do, I had started to develop philosophies our selling. One of the major points is that people buy from people. Relationship is critical to closing the deal. Education, communicate, and develop the relationship. Several of the salesmen who may be reading this know I would drone on and on about this.

This point is true in different aspects of life. This is the take away. People will come to know Christ because people around them connect, education and develop the friendship. We are the only Christ some people will ever see. This was a spear head for what we felt God was strongly pointing out to us. So jeff and I would dream and talk about what that would look like.

We decided to take this a little more seriously. We went on a mini-retreat. We camped out. tents, fire, grilling, worship music, confession, prayer. IT WAS AMAZING. I cannot remember how it all fell together, but that night was a turning point. We would discuss how incredible it would be to provide a non-threating environment for people to come to know Christ thru relationships with others. We started dreaming about a fire, food, music and message. And the idea of Camp Fire Ministries (CFM) was born.

About the same time, Jeff and his daughter, Lela, built a fire pit in their back yard. This has been a great starting point for lives being changed thru prayer, music, sharing and fire. The Johnson's have a great spot in their back yard where God has moved in many lives. Time and time again, we would get together and light a fire. Before you know it, people would just drop by. People who need to talk and pray and be encouraged. I am thankful to God that I have been there for many great times and thankful that He has given this vision to Jeff and I. I have heard some say, "you guys just get together, goof off and waste time back there". To those individuals I say, I forgive you for saying that. Because that is the farthest thing from the truth. Many lives have been changed because God met us there.

Then, a new concept in church came into our lives - Watermark. We would listen to Steve drone on (just kidding steve) about relationships, community, gatherings, post modern, opportunities to serve, spending life together, etc. This just seemed too ironic. God was confirming in our minds that we were on the right path. I can speak for myself on this - God released me from the "organized church" mentality and allowed me to experience Christ far differently....I could that that paragraph and write for awhile. Maybe later. This was so timely for me because it just solidified what God was saying all along.

So we prayed - collectively, separately, with others. We have drawn up ideas. What does this look like? I know this a long blog. But it is on my heart.

Jeff started doing speaking engagements. 1st Priority, FCA, church groups, youth groups. God provided and is still providing opportunites for him to challenge youth and adults for the cause of Christ. He is also active in the Youth Pastors network here in GH. This provides an opportunity to pour into the lives of youth pastors in this area.

The vision started to take shape. We have a burden for the next generation and a passion for local ministry. These two elements are the foundation for CFM. The local church is the hub for continuing ministry - outreach, evangelism, global, local. And the next generation is the church of tomorrow. That is where we are at. Melting these two areas together.

What does it look like? Well, in three areas. First, our gatherings. They will involve fire, food, worship and message. Simple. Provide an opportunity for people to connect with people. These times will be driven for outreach and connection. Secondly, we are intentional about helping the next generation. What the? By working with 1st Priority, we find a network of people who need direction, prayer, encouragement, accountiblity and connection. Opportunities to do leadership development. We are committed to using that conduit - for youth pastors, youth workers, youth themselves. Again, this will play out in many different ways - but using mini-retreats with fire, food, music and message. Thirdly, we are commited to worship development. There are many churches struggling with worship and technology. We are going to provide a service of evaluation and education for churches who are really looking into worship and technology. This will also play out in several different ways. One way will be working with a church from beginning to end and helping them develop a plan of attack.

Where are we at? we have started the formal creation of CFM. We have prayed about trustees to help govern the ministry and that is in place. Over the next year, we will be ratching up a notch and having some gathering times. We are looking for people to partner with us -- pray mostly; and get involved with our gatherings. We are not looking for financial support. We believe that God will work that out.

Wow. I will expand more as time goes on. This has been a dream, turned vision for about 4 years now. Like I mentioned earlier, we have seen success in the times we have already had. We are now just becoming more intentional about it.

We will be gathering a prayer team. If your interested, see Jeff or I. We would love to talk to you about it.

Thanks for your time.

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