December 16, 2012

From the Y to the Why Not

Stuart Hodges

From the Y to the Why Not

Stuart Hodges (@stuhodges) leads Waters Edge Church, the 36th fastest-growing church on the Outreach Magazine Fastest Growing Church Top 100 list. In the Outreach article, Stu shares several nuggets that contributed to the church’s growth. Note how the nuggets focus on the importance of articulating and leading consistently from a clear mission.

From the verbiage we use in an e-mail communication to things we do on Facebook, we’re connecting people to mission. We utilize weekly team huddles to keep our volunteers connected to the mission, We emphasize the mission regularly in our community group curriculum. And throughout the year, I constantly tie the mission of our church into sermons. We limit our programs. By saying “no” to additional church programs we can say “yes” to resourcing outreach. If we said yes to every great idea for “the church” there would be no time, energy or dollars for outreach.

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September 14, 2012

Partner Updates

Congratulations to: First Baptist Church Prattville, Ala., for retiring their debt.

New facilities have been opened recently:  Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev., has moved into their new location; Valley View Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has opened its new youth, administration, connections, and family ministry space; and Orange United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C. has opened its much needed parking area and youth space.

I enjoyed sharing my stewardship story with the people of Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Northport, Ala.  God is powerfully at work among this congregation as they step forward with a generous and sacrificial faith.

 

September 8, 2012

Vision Planning vs. Long Range Planning

FBC PrattvilleVision Planning vs. Long Range Planning

Travis Coleman has been the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Prattville, AL since 1989. During his time as leader the church has experienced consistent growth year after year, they have engaged in many building projects, and multiple long range plans. The formula for growth remained consistent making ministry appear to be a rather simple task.  Then things changed.  The church hit a plateau, then a slight decline. Younger churches were starting around them and doing quite well.  The growth of their city shifted and the church debt appeared to be an obstacle they had to conquer.  Read More

July 16, 2012

How the Economy is Helping the Church

Finances & the EconomyHow the Economy is Helping the Church

We have just experienced (and are still recovering from) what economists are referring to as the worst economic crisis of our lifetime. It has affected every family, business, community, and church. Across the country the loss of jobs, personal income, real estate values, and personal portfolios have been the norm. For many cities, the local church has lost members, leaders, donors, and now exists in shrinking communities. Even high capacity churches continue to move forward, yet the numeric and financial growth pace is much slower.

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July 6, 2012

Congratulations to Partner Churches

The leaders have led and the people followed. Congratulations to the following churches on their recent stewardship projects:

  • Central Baptist Church in Crossville, TN
  • Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery, AL
  • Mountain Top Church in Birmingham, AL
  • Inverness Vineyard Church in Birmingham, AL
  • First Baptist Church in Cullman, AL
  • First Baptist Church in Trussville, AL
  • First Baptist Church in McDonough, GA has completed a stewardship assessment and is now dreaming about God’s next steps.
  • First Baptist Church in Prattville, AL has successfully launched a newly clarified vision and ministry alignment.

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May 16, 2012

Called to a Spiritual Journey, Part 4

journey_bwStewardship is not just about a capital project or specific campaign, it really is a Daily Journey of being engaged in the vision of personal and societal transformation.

In the New Testament, it is seen so clearly in 2 Corinthians 8-9. There is a cause for a large offering to meet a need among God’s people. So God continues to follow his pattern of seeking to engage his people in his mission through his leaders. This results in the Corinthian Church, which was poor, suffering, and riddled with conflict at times to willingly, joyfully, and completely surrender their resources to the greater cause. Read More

May 7, 2012

Called to a Spiritual Journey, Part 3

journey_bwIn the end, the Stewardship and Leadership journey is really about the The Visionary Journey.

Ezra contains a great story of the people of God waiting for the call to return to their land and fulfill his vision. Only they are going to need a series of miracles, help from outside sources, and a ton of endurance. God does his work as usual, calling his people to a journey. He engages the resources of outside governments and paves the way for his spiritual work. As the willing people return to their homeland and begin construction, they are met with tremendous opposition. This causes them to quit on the plan for a long period of time. Read More

April 30, 2012

Called to a Spiritual Journey, Part 2

journey_bwThe Leadership Journey can be clearly seen in the construction of Solomon’s Temple in 1 Chronicles 28.

God has clearly spoke to his leader David about the permanent structure to be built so God’s people can meet with him and reveal him to their world. Only David is not to complete the construction, his son Solomon will have that privilege. This will call David to share the vision with Solomon and for Solomon to lead the people, not simply to be excited about it, but to actually own it. This ownership will result in more engaged leaders and people in the redemptive mission of God. Read More

April 22, 2012

Called to a Spiritual Journey, Part 1

journey_bwThe Stewardship Journey for God’s people can trace its history back to the initial construction of the first place they would meet to worship Him.

The priority of the creation connecting with their creator in worship is clearly evident in Exodus 31. It is the story of God engaging skilled laborers who are supported by the resources and time of his people to prepare the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting, a sort of portable church, if you will. These details are preceded by a plan of the resources needed and design directives for the facility (Ex. 25ff). Once this facility is commissioned to begin construction, Moses, their spiritual leader, leaves the people and removes himself to gain the next spiritual vision. Read More