Category Archives: The MET

An Open Seat – NAAM

Technically, National Adoption Awareness Month has ended already, but I wanted to wrap this series of blog posts that celebrate our adoption journey with a look forward. This is not a glimpse into the future for our family, but even bigger than that, of all of our calling as followers of Christ. To catch up on our story, here is the first post in this series.

An Empty Chair

December found our family ringing in the Christmas month gathered on our special movie-viewing air mattress, with every blanket in the house, watching Elf. My kids love that movie, and I enjoy the thought of living life with joyful innocence

like Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell’s overgrown North Pole transplant. Not only is the story funny, but it also encapsulates a beautiful picture of the selfless love of adoption and foster care.

Beyond feel-good Christmas movies, the reality is that in America today, there are just a little over 104,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. Not only are these children ready to be adopted, many of them are old enough to recognize the need, and to carry the hope of finding adoptive parents. They are most likely receiving wonderful care from loving foster families, but there is a reality of the promise of a family to call their own that is missing.

Then, when you begin to look across the world, there are hundreds of thousands more children living in group homes, orphanages, and worse yet, left to fend for themselves on third-world streets. Kelly and I have seen in Africa, first-hand, the extreme poverty some orphans experience, as well as the power of a group of people making a difference. We have laughed with children eating birthday cake for the first time, and cried over the grave of an infant who reached care, but was already too malnourished and sick to sustain life.

The fact is, every one of us has the power to do something about orphan care. Everyone. You may not feel able to adopt or foster a child, and it certainly is a challenge, but you are fully able to support and walk alongside those that do. In fact, if you are a Christian, then these words from James bring more than an ability, they bring a calling:

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. – James 1:27

So as we leave November and look toward the birth of a Savior, called Emmanuel, God With Us, the best way to be unstained by the world of consumer entitlement is to give freely and sacrificially to those who have nothing to offer in return but love.

To be God with them. 

And, as I leave this series of blog posts, I wonder, is there a seat open at your family table for the child who sits alone today? Is there room on your blanket palette for a little one who needs some popcorn and snuggle time?

We tend to think so… and pray that you might as well.

Kelly and I love Elevare International and they work they do for orphans around the world. Find out more here.

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The Porch Light is ON!

This year we turned our porch light on as a campus for Halloween. Instead of pretending to disassociate ourselves from the evils of Halloween, stay darkened, and gather somewhere else… we decided to leverage one of the greatest chances to reach our neighbors for Christ.

Seriously, who really thought that if we all got together in the church gym and inflated some bounce houses, wrote numbers on the bottom of ducks, and marched in a circle for cake, that we were not celebrating Halloween? Or better yet, lets “Trunk or Treat” it… evidently, the church parking lot is to Halloween as christian radio is to U2. Its all a matter of context?

So this year, we armed our campus families with some really fun treats to give away (based on the rubbery shaped bracelets that my kid has a low level addiction to – see photo below), and get the name of The MET out in the community. Instead of worrying about being associated with a pagan holiday, we decided there is no other night when we will talk to most all of our neighbors and have a chance to begin a sacred conversation.

I personally, got the chance to be more than the guy with the old, sqeaky white truck and met most of our new cul-de-sac.

Here is the invite tool that we gave out (along with fun sized Kit Kats at my house):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some other creative ways you have found to influence and reach out to your community?

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List or Listless

I am a person who thrives on chaos and non-linear thinking, but for some reason if I am going to claim any normative standard of productivity, I need a list. I can feel great about a day in which I have meaningful conversations and hang out with the really cool people I work with, answering questions and dreaming about reaching people and changed lives. However, I cannot always look back on those days through anyone else’s standard of accomplishment and see that my time was spent well.

So I make lists and use iCal to stay on track.

Then I can schedule conversations and mark them off… bam. Productive.

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Gruden’s Campus Pastor Camp

I have LOVED the various SportsCenter specials featuring former coach and current NFL analyst Jon Gruden. After watching Gruden’s Quaterback Camp featuring All-SEC and First Round Draft Pick Tim Tebow, and some other guys from lesser football conferences, I gained a huge amount of respect for his style of leadership and coaching. I was pleased to find out that he had written a book documenting his career and quick success from a DIII quarterback to Super Bowl Champion Coach, and just finished reading it on my iPad via Kindle.

So here are some of my thoughts on being a great campus pastor, based on some of highlights from Do You Love Football?! by Jon Gruden…

…I Need To Love My Job
‘Through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, you’re always going to be ahead of the game if you love what you do for a living.
Pastoring- laboring for the work of God THROUGH me- is relentless, overwhelming, and at times impossible… especially apart from the working of God IN me. Like coaching an NFL team, there are people who are fully vested in the outcome of Sunday, and are passionate about seeing wins happen. And often, I don’t always hear what went well… most times I get to hear what went wrong, and assume things are good unless noted. That can be overwhelming… and without loving ministry and loving being a campus pastor, my lifespan is sure to be short. Great news is, I love being a Sweaty Church Campus Pastor… getting to be a part of life change every Sunday makes me tick! I just need a bit more sleep to get it done than Coach G.

…I Am Responsible For The Outcome
“Your players – how well they play, how many games you win – really distinguish a good coaching job from a poor one.”
Its easy to find reasons why guests are not coming back, pioneers are drifting away to the sending campus, or why the environment feels flat… but all of those reasons ultimately come back to my leadership as Campus Pastor. Coach Gruden held his staff and players accountable, but no one was more accountable for the outcome on a Sunday than him. God controls what happens in a person’s heart and mind on a Sunday, but we contribute what happens to their experience.

…Remember, There Is Always A Reason Why

“Just work your ass off, but don’t let your ambition get in the way of the respect for what these people have done – what you have not been a part of.
Its easy to enter a new situation and see what isn’t working or what can be better, but at some point someone made a decision to make it that way. When Gruden would arrive at a new team, his dad chided him to not compromise what needed to be changed or updated, but to also respect the work of those who had been there before. For our campus, its important to realize that everyone walks in the door with a conception of church, and my goal is to work my tail off to lead them to where God is calling us, there is a big difference between judgment call and  judgment.

…Lead My Team To Execute
“Sunday’s your day… We’re going to make adjustments, as you know, but we’re not going to be telling you what to do. That’s your day to perform.
Every Sunday, Coach Gruden would assemble a list of plays, and script during the week the first set or series. Sunday is not a day to guess or try something new, Sunday was  execution day – everyone walks in knowing where we are going. Thorough preparation during the week, people, equipment, knowing when and where to be, anticipating guests… leads to excellent execution on Sunday. Rigor during the week leads to victory on Sunday.

…Build A Team of Vision Carriers

“But I need help to lead. I can’t be the Lone Ranger. I rely on the coaches to give me some juice.
Gruden was talking about leaning into the collective wisdom and will to win of his assistant coaching staff and really this is just leadership 101… by myself, there is no way to keep up with or ever accomplish all that needs to be done, let alone all that wants to be done on our campus. But if I surround myself with vision carriers, sneezers, and freaks about what we are doing, not only will the tasks get completed, but we will have a great time along the way. Competency goes far, but having people who lose sleep Saturday nights because they cannot wait to see what God will do on Sunday… that’s when it really gets fun.

Ok… so nothing really new or earth-shattering in any of those, but it was fun to pretend like I was getting coached by one of the best in his field… My own little Gruden’s Campus Pastor Camp.

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A 9 AM Sweat…

Got to get an early morning sweat on this morning… Love that our church takes its mission to connect people to the real Jesus this seriously. Click the link below to see a quick video.

The MET Gives Back… Packs from Bryan Rose on Vimeo.

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Sweaty VBS

So we just finished 3 weeks of portable-church VBS activity for the summer of 2010… before I declare it the success that it was… let me establish a couple of baselines:

  • Activity in and of itself is not a win. Too often in ministry, we measure the accomplishment of an event without accomplishing the measurable impact of an event. It’s not enough to just pull off VBS, but in this case, wins will be measured in new families connected with, salvation, follow-up and resultant guest visits.
  • Not everything is measurable. Too often in ministry we measure based on personal bias, past experience, and what “other” churches are doing and forget that God works uniquely through our obedience to His call to activity. This side of heaven, we might not ever know the impact of VBS in the life of a child who attends and is exposed to the gospel of Christ for the first time.

I know those two baselines seem to contradict each other… and they probably do. And that’s okay.

Because I think we are called to pursue Christ and create opportunities for people to connect with others pursuing Him and connect with the life changing gospel. We demonstrate truths that are sometimes more caught than taught.

And I also don’t think that we should forget that, according to Paul, God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine… more than we can measure. Sometimes obedience is the point, and God’s glory matters much more than ours. And His glory surprises me. Often.

So, all of that said, VBS 2010 was great… we did 3 VBS 3-day events in 3 communities in Cypress. We abbreviated the curriculum, adapted to a portable mindset, and clearly accomplished one of our goals: to take VBS to the communities we are trying to reach. Our great Cypress kids team also involved new volunteers, connected with new kids, and saw almost 20 kids cross the line of faith.

There are things we will do much differently.

There are things we will do much more of.

There is still much left to be done.

It was sweaty…

…and it was good.

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5 Star Customer Service

I thought I was just buying some peace of mind when I recently ordered my Road ID bracelet, but I ended up finding a company that is refreshingly fun to interact with. I received my bracelet in the mail today, but that was almost anti-climatic after getting emails through the whole process that start like this:

Hello Bryan:
Thank you, again, for your recent Road ID Order (Order #########). You have made a very wise investment in your safety and peace of mind – it’s quite obvious that you are a highly intelligent individual.

or this:

Hello Bryan:
I have some fantastic news! No…you didn’t win the lottery; but, your Road ID order was shipped today (date). Per your request, it was shipped via USPS First Class Mail.

They believe in their product so much, and believed that I would love it as well, they created incentives to get me telling others like this example:

We are thrilled to have you as a customer and hope that we can count on you to spread the word about Road ID. In fact, to make it fun to spread the word, we created a unique coupon for you to pass along to your friends! Here’s the coupon number:

Coupon Number: ThanksBryan744540

This coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order. It can be used up to 20 times in the next 30 days. Feel free to send this coupon via email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, town crier, or good ole fashion smoke signal.

To make your life even easier, we wrote a sample email that you can forward to your buddies. You can find the sample email (and a sample Tweet) below.

And yes, I copied and sent the tweet… why wouldn’t I? It was an easy, relevant and fun experience.

Now, I know “Edward from Road ID” did not personally craft each and every one of my emails- I am sure they were most probably written months ago, and information fields populated automatically… but I don’t care. Every email made me smile and gave me the confidence that I would be getting more than I expected. And I did.

So when it comes to Guest Services at church, my Road ID experience has gotten me thinking… How are we creating unexpected, refreshing, and accessible experiences each week. And when we get the chance to communicate with our guests, are we reflecting the creativity and inspiration of a creator-God or just checking off our “follow-up” tasks each week?

Who knew that being safe could be so engaging and fun? Maybe visiting a church could be as well.

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