Friday, August 24, 2007

Blogging about blogging

We have just launched a new Sunday series that is called Ignite and we're hoping it will do just that in the spiritual lives of our attenders. One tool we're trying out is to create a daily devotional blog so people can take what they've learned in the Sunday service and in their next step partnerships (small groups) and have another resource to take the study to an even deeper level.

I'd be interested in your comments on whether you've done anything like this and what suggestions you have to make something like this more effective.

You can check out our blog at

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Practice what we preach?

Something I've been chewing on a lot lately is the idea of integrity as artists in the church. We are the ones who week in and week out stand before the congregation and proclaim the message for that week. Are we living it Monday through Saturday?

I'm talking about some really practical ways. If we're presenting a service on community and the importance of what we at Cypress call "Next Step Partnerships" because of their ability to help us grow in our relationship with God... are we each IN a Next Step Partnership? If we're talking about the importance of extending grace to people outside of our walls, are we supporting our Extension ministry and serving downtown, supporting our efforts in Haiti and Kenya? If we're encouraging the church to "Just walk across the room" have we gone through that training? and more importantly... are we walking across the room and developing relationships with seekers?

This seems so simple to me, yet it also seems to be where the rubber meets the road. Do we truly practice what we preach? Or do we really, in our heart of hearts, think that preaching it is enough?

Are we taking time to live OUR relationship with God or are we too busy telling others to do so that we don't?

I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.

But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people Jeremiah 23:21-22

Friday, May 25, 2007

Another cool service

Last week, my family and I were on vacation in Weston, FL. It was great fun. While we were there we checked out Flamingo Road Church . The service was really wonderful. A highlight for me was a great worship leader who led in English and Spanish. The transition between the two was seamless and the diversity added a level to the worship for me.

Kudos also to Sharon who also did a great job leading. I long so much in each service I attend to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the WLs believe to the core of their being what they are singing. This was apparent in Sharon's leadership.

Thank you all, Allen, Pete, Sharon and all the others who so warmly welcomed us as guests to Flaming Road. I hope someday to be able to extend the same to you. Come join us at Cypress anytime and find me when you do.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Gift of a service

I know now why we refer to our weekly programs within our churches as "services". I was truly "served" a couple of weeks ago when I had the treat of visiting Charlie and Cristie White at their church Highland Park Church in Lakeland. Serving week in and week out at service director here at Cypress I don't have nearly enough opportunities to "just go to church." Charlie did a great job leading worship. We had a great time visiting with them after the service at a very yummy Italian restaurant. All in all it was a great, refreshing evening.

Thanks Charlie and Cristie! Don't forget to come by so we can do some of Clearwater together and I'd love to return the "gift of a service" anytime!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Power of a Story

This Easter we leaned heavily into Willow Creek's Believe service from 2006 but on a smaller scale. We had 6 people tell "snapshot stories" of times when God really impacted their lives. Immediately following the stories we went into the song Saved by Grace and then a prayer. A really powerful moment was created. It reminded me again how powerful it is to just hear someone's own story of how God has moved in their life. Great job Cypress Arts! I was so proud of you! But more importantly, you moved several people to consider what God could do in their lives if they let Him. Great job!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

They did not inquire...

Joshua 9:14
14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders of Israel really did a lot of things right in this story. Right by me anyway…. They asked a lot of questions. They looked at the evidence. In fact, as I read the story I started to pat myself on the back…”look at that… I do a lot of those same things. I’m handle things like Joshua in the Bible. Good for me!”

Then I read vs. 14. Ouch.

I do do things just like Joshua in the Bible. So many times I put a plan into place in my life, in my ministry because all the evidence says that it makes sense. So why not? But I fail to ask God what He thinks.

I wonder if I’m alone in this? How much better would our ministries be if this was always where we start?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Know your team members

I love it when someone sends me a note or calls me because they ran across something that reminded them of me. It makes me think "they get me!" Today one of my team members did just that. He sent something that took me back to my roots... back before ministry, before working in the church music industry,... back to my square roots in fact. I am so square that I have a degree in mathematics. I know... bad joke. But what do you expect from the Campbell Jr. High math club president?!

So, thanks to Chris for helping me to celebrate Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day to you all!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Looking for a few good books

I am about to wrap up my current book and am looking for suggestions for a new one to read. What have you read recently that you think I'd enjoy?

It can be fiction, self-help, business management, cooking, leadership training, developing creativity... whatever. Let me know your suggestion and why I should consider it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lincoln Logs, Play-doh and Finger Paint

Each creative planning meeting I try to start with a question that will stimulate community building and/or creativity. I am sure that resources exist for these types of openers/icebreakers, but that would be way too easy! As always, I must reinvent the wheel and come up with my own.

This week I decided to ask my team "if I were to give you the options of Lincoln Logs, Play-doh and Finger Paints which would you choose and why?" The responses were very interesting and shed a little light on our team dynamics. We had one finger painter, one sculptor and two Lincoln Loggers.

What a cool dynamic to have people who "play" in different ways. This is evident in how we approach service planning and is also helpful in knowing more of how each of us is wired.

So, what do you choose?

BTW, I'm one of the two Lincoln Loggers.... Who would've guessed!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Shout-Outs

This morning as I came in to the office I was listening to my new Brenton Brown CD (compliments of EMI - Thank you!) and I found myself really worshipping in my car. I just love that! And I've missed it. And it got me to thinking of some people who God has used to help me start getting back to feeling like myself. And these people should be thanked. Some of them will never read this and never know that God used them, but I'd like to recognize them at least here in the internet universe.

First, Douglas who helped me recognize the fog I was living in and challenged me to find my way out. Randy, Chonda, Jacque, Cheryl, Laura and Frank who all helped me to know that it's not only ok but normal to get in that fog sometimes because as one of them said so well... ministry is emotionally hard. What a huge statement that is. And my current favorite worshippers Brenton Brown, Keith and Krystyn Getty and Matt Maher who so beautifully put to words so many of the things my heart was aching to say.

Oh, and I almost forgot... John Voelz. I know this is what God has called me to... but it feels weird to be one of few gals doing it. Thanks for making me feel welcome in the predominantly guy world of creative arts directors. Look! I figured out how to post pics in blogger!!! :)

Thank you all! And whatever you do, don't you dare ever stop letting God use you. Ministry is emotionally hard but know that there will always be someone who needs your wisdom, encouragement or for you to just put words to their hearts. Thank you!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Physical and Intellectual Gluttony: Lots of Food and Food for Thought

Wow! I'm still digesting and probably will be for more than a month. I am on my way home from re:Create the thinktank/conferene hoted by Chris and Randy Elrod. We learned, ate, learned, ate and learned some more. I am exhausted they way I am Thanksgiving Day after visting with people I love and enjoying rich, yummy foods I don't get to enjoy everyday.

This year challenges came at me from so many different directions. My biggest challenge... Don't waste the emense priveleges I've been given. God has graciously put me in an industry that my heart beats for. He has given me a ministry team that I love. He has put gifted leaders around me to help build the team. And for the past two years it has been such a privelege to rub elbows with the folks at re:Create for the past two years. But it can't be only that. What am I going to do with it? What will I do with the knowledge I've gained? with the relationships I've started? I'm not entirely sure yet... except that I must do something!

As for the weight I've gained? I know what to do about that.... I'll be back after my ride.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finding Priests

Exodus 28:1-5
1 "Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. 3 Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 4 These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. 5 Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.

We’re getting ready to focus on our org charts as a part of our infrastructure focus. The concept excites me greatly and then exhausts me.

I can very clearly outline what my teams within Cypress Arts should look like and what roles need to be filled for us to function as a well-oiled machine….HOWEVER… Actually finding the right people to fit into those well defined spots… now that’s a different story!

How wonderful it would be if, like in Exodus 28, God simply told me as He did Moses, who would fill these roles. Maybe He will… I don’t know.

I do believe that He knows who He has created for these roles in this time. I am committing to praying for each of these unfilled roles and for the people He already has set for them.

I take the leadership of teams very seriously and want to be certain to have the right person in that role. But I don’t want to be so cautious that I am paralyzed to make a decision and slow down the growth of the team because of that. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be too quick in my decision and misplace a person. That could cause harm to the person and to the team.

So, I’m committing to praying and listening… Moses waited on the mountain six days before God called out to him.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Saw the Light!

This year for our Chrismtas program we created a service called "Illuminate". We wanted to clearly proclaim the message that God meets us where we are in our darkness and in our mess and He brings light and Illuminates our lives with hope.

Wow, did I ever get lost in all of the typical detail and chaos of the process! More so than any Christmas before. So much so that for the first four services I could not honestly and objectively decide if the end result of all of our work was a good program or not.

Fortunately, we did five services!

For the fifth service, for the first time I was able to actually observe the service. And, it was good. We did clearly communicate our message. And we did it creatively and with diversity and my team really took their performance (whether behind a tech board or on the platform) to the next level. It was a good feeling to realize all of that.

Other than a good feeling, I walked away with questions. How did I get lost in the process this year? How many more "Christmases" do I have in me? Did I harm any of my personal relationships in the process? How can I do this better? and of course, What will we do next year?!

One question that was quickly asked and more quickly answered was Am I really doing what I'm supposed to be doing? I'm embarrassed to say I ask this way too often.

Fortunately I have known for years that there is only one occupation that makes my heart race and that is using the arts to tell people the story of God's love.

So, I don't know the answers to all of the other questions. But with that one being a foregone conclusion I packed up my laptop and headed back into the office this week. And here I sit figuring out yet another creative way to say the same thing.... God loves us and He made the ultimate sacrifice to make it possible for us to share life and eternity with him.