Thursday, February 23, 2006


This from the church newsletter (Del Rosa UMC DRUMBEAT) for March:
My Article: "The Cadence"
During the 1980s and 1990s all the rage among the churches and corporations of the United States was to find and develop a mission statement. This congregation was no different. We got together for a weekend retreat and some time to find and formulate a mission statement. From that we discovered something about who our leaders are and were and how we intended to do ministry. I want to share that mission statement with you again.

“The Del Rosa United Methodist Church is a living, growing community of faithful members of the body of Christ. We are a fellowship of active and supportive persons who minister to one another, our community, and our world. We are an inter-active, dynamic and Christ-centered congregation who are dedicated to nurturing, educating, and caring for others in Christian love and faith.”

There is little doubt about the validity of this mission statement. When we gathered last summer and fall to discern our mission and purpose here in this congregation we did some work to find out where we called ourselves to be. We did this without the help of the previous statement in front of us until the very end of our process. At the end we found that our goals and mission is still the same.
I have written on our mission statement on several occasions and I am prompted to do so again as our adult Sunday School class has completed the Purpose Driven Life and is now reading and discussing Purpose Driven Church. A mission statement is there to help us in our purpose. The purpose of the United Methodist Church is “To make disciples.” Rick Warren tells us in his books that God has a purpose for us, and that it is inherent in who we are. The mission statement of the Gospels seems to come out in Matthew 28:19, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” The command Jesus offers is The Great Commandment from Matthew 22:37-39, “37Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
So the question that comes to mind is why do we keep trying to define mission statements and purpose statements? Honestly, I don’t really know. Did Jesus get it wrong? I seriously doubt that. Is there something he left out? It isn’t likely. We have an inherent need to define with more and more accurate terms the ways to do things.
One of the insights I have had recently isn’t particularly comforting. In fact, it is discomfort laid bare. Christianity is not comfortable. If we are not yet loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and not yet loving neighbor as self, life will be uncomfortable. When we actually move out to get better at that we are going to do things that are very uncomfortable, like visiting the sick, talking with the neighbors who don’t fit in “our” neighborhoods, recognizing the prejudices we have and being laid bare before God, we are going to be uncomfortable. And when we finally do make it to that point where we are loving God and neighbor with all of who we are, then we will be uncomfortable because of the very same people, but an entirely different reason, we will, like Jesus, be heartbroken for the pain and suffering in the world.
What we do is make disciples and baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because we are called to love God with all of who we are and love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s it. There’s nothing more, and nothing less.

With God’s grace,
Pastor David

Someone once said

"Tell me something good about your day."

So here it is, an early morning already. But I have a sister and a dad that have both called or text messaged me this morning to find out how I'm doing. That's awesome. Thanks.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I just wanted to throw this out there for all you youth leaders and youth who are leaders. I have found a great new curriculum. (new in the past couple of years). The curriculum is COMBOS, volume 1, 2, 3, and 4. I have to say that it is by far the best curriculum for weekly youth groups that I have found. Whether your youth group is sized 4-400 this can work for you. Now matter whether you go for 30 minutes or 3 hours with your program this can be used. There are scripture basis, games, focus points, focus activities, food suggestions, music selections, video clips, prayer ideas, and more all rolled into the weekly program layout. Each week is then wrapped into a themed 4-week series, and there are 6 series in each combos book.
Just some awesome stuff, and easy for a first time leader to get a grip on too.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sermon Procrastination

You Are Rowlf the Dog

Mellow and serious, you enjoy time alone cultivating your talents.

You're a cool dog, and you always present a relaxed vibe.

A talented pianist, you can play almost anything - especially songs by Beethoven.

"My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Personality Profile

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have high agreeableness.
You are easy to get along with, and you value harmony highly.
Helpful and generous, you are willing to compromise with almost anyone.
You give people the benefit of the doubt and don't mind giving someone a second chance.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Youth Group

Our youth group at the church is experiencing an "Explosion". I have been through some before. This is a great thing, but reminds me of the truth of youth ministry I have discovered. For a few years we were standing about 3 youth (2001-2004). In 2004 we had another family come into the church, bringing another 5 youth. From there we were able to grow a little more and stand around 12-14. This past fall we had another family come and join the congregation, with another three youth. This promptly put us over 15 youth.
Last night we had 30, and last week we had 33. This kind of thing can only be of God. The really cool part is just watching the group dynamics. We have a group full of evangelists (people who want to share this experience they are having with their friends). Many of them bring their friends to youth and that is fantastic, and their social nature definitely shapes the growth and nature of our youth group. The downside is that the youth are social and want to use the entire youth group time as social time, which makes it very tough to lead the program...gotta reshape how we do things.
But, back to the premise of growth. A few observations from about 10 years in youth ministry. The first critical mass is 3. With three youth you can actively have a youth group. Without that number it is very hard to get one or two to make the commitment to such a program. I will say it helps tremendously to have them be from at least two families. The second critical mass is 8. With 8 the group now feels like it can do some "programs" with games and activities and such that are in all the great resource books in publication. The group of 8 youth is also now looking at how to get more youth there, and less than that they are harping on how they can't get more people to come. The third critical mass is 15. From 15 the group doesn't really feel the loss of any one person on a week to week basis. When that happens then the group seeks to grow even more and feels more comfortable bringing friends because they are less likely to be put "on the spot".
Which leads me to the last critical mass, but needs its own paragraph because it is less about growth and more about shrinking. The last critical mass number is about 75. When the youth group hits this number it loses much of the intimacy that brought folks in the first place, and now they begun to walk away because they came to form some intimate relationships.
Some of you may recall a series I did on churches and how big they can become and when it might become "too big". I think the reason for the difference in numbers from adulthood to youth has to do with self-esteem development, and the general socialization process that happens in the young adult years.
Just a few observations I call "truths" because of their lived experience.