30 May 2005

The countdown continues...

We are in the final week before the summer begins.

Many things are going through my head and heart right now. I am anxious for all the logistics of things that have to be done before we greet our guests. I am already missing some people who did not apply but who are spending the summer elsewhere, like Prague and other European cities. I am sadden by some who did not apply and are not doing well bringing their faith to the surface of their lives. I am excited to see the changes in the people who will not be with us because the Lord has something else for them. (I always love those stories.) I am anticipating new friendships and people who will change my worldview and make the Kingdom bigger in it. I have hope about the broken lives that will be coming and praying we are equipped to love them enough to participate in some of the healing that needs to be done. I am concerned that I will not spend all of my life at camp but be able to focus on my family and friends. I tend to get in so deep to the summer that I spend it all on the staff and not my family. I pray this will be a different summer.

I think I will listen to some Rich Mullins. He always tends to bring me back to what is important. Right Ben?


26 May 2005

Towels, tears, trust...

The conversation with elders or board members have to start with trust. That is difficult because we base a lot of trust on consistancy, comfort, continuity, and conformity. I don't think those are bad words. We all do it. Is someone going to come in here and mess with us and disrupt our lives. We want things to keep at a certain level of equilibrium and bringing in a new philosophy can disrupt many patterns, processes, and the power structure.

So people are going to naturally be resistant at first. Many things have to be clarified, conversed, compromised before anyone will be open to change. The process needs to begin before the program does.

We found because of some lack of communication with the proper people, it caused needless anxiety on the board. Key people were kept out of the loop. This deals with power and control. You are going to get none of it if you go around the persons with the control. Nor should you ever. I learned that. A hostile takeover is different, surprise is important. The Kingdom is not hostile. It brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. NO HOSTILE TAKE OVER. It is yeast in the dough. It is, as we discussed yesterday, more like folding in the ingredients than forcing them in.

I am not naive. I can be very strategic. I can be a survivor and set up alliances and vote people off the island. But the Kingdom is not about that. It is setting up alliances for the sake of love, not power.

There are some key points that we are working with. Is this group a part of the "morning service" church? If there is interactivity instead of a single person speaking during the sermon, what happens if someone says something that is in err how will they be corrected? Will it pay for itself? Are they interested in doing things with the rest of the church? ...Nothing too huge.

I do not want you to think I am against anyone of these people who spend countless hours praying and thinking about the structure of the church. Someone has to. They are thinking about preserving property, programs, and personnel. That is part of their responsibilities. A major part. These people are thinking about attracting people to a place to hear the gospel and for salvation to happen. They want to reach the lost and hurting. They have created working organisms that take care of many things. Education, experiences, equipment for the Kingdom. So they are asking, "why repair something if they can't see the malfunction/"

The conversation must include people who have done good things with people who see new things. This will always take towels, tears, and trust...

I will keep you in the loop...

24 May 2005

Not ready to throw in the towel...

I am in the midst of the post honeymoon conflict of starting something new. As I am sure many of you are aware that we took over a Sunday evening service at our church called it, Time & Space. And as many of you have experienced, working with a committee has its down side. I love the group that gathers to pray for the fellowship on Wednesdays, but it is the Elders who gather once a month to run the church that concerns me.

It is easy to complain about the elders, about how they just don't get it. But that is not Kingdom talk. It would be easy for me to just get together with my friends and start a group of people who get it or it would be the Kingdom thing to be with the elders and begin trying to get them to see what the Spirit is doing. They are not the enemy even though I would want to treat them that way.

Many people in leadership are scared to have change happen. New things freak people out. Managing old things freak people. People feel responsible and when things change some will complain and complaints mean that people are upset with things and they prefer the status quo. So the old addage of "don't fix it if it ain't broke" to some mean if I am alright with it, then it must be working. But they cannot imagine that anyone else is unhappy with it. I like it therefore everyone likes it. It is an interesting problem. "Can't please everyone!" would be the battle cry. "And this generation is never happy with anything..." would be another. Most of the time they don't understand because they don't have any information.

Most people just leave. That is easy. They don't try to fix it. It is hard to try to be a part of something and do something new. You have to swim upstream and most are floating by and telling you your foolish. To bring about change is to be faithful to the body while trying to bring them along. Much easier to float.

First, try to get them to see the need to change. If they can see that there is a need then they will be open to listen to some suggestions for how to impliment the change. Getting mad makes people not listen, not care, not be open, not see anyone else's side, nor do you get any credibility when you get mad.

Why bother? Why not just go somewhere else and start something new? Because sometimes you are an agent of the Kingdom to bring change to the body for the good of the Body.

Love must be a major factor in the change. Love for the people in the status quo as well as compassion for those that the He is directing you to must be a part of the "something new". Or else it is just a shift in power and control. I am not sure it is suppose to work that way. The Kingdom talks about creating new wineskins, not getting rid of the old wineskins. That is where there is some good wine. Alienating the old isn't what Jesus does.

Now I am not saying that you go along with imbecilic thinking. Small worlds with smaller doors. Do what you can to create trust which will lead to change. Dialogue. Listen. Quietly ask good questions. Walk through the fear together.

And if all else fails, get a small warehouse or store front, use someone's living room, go to the school cafeteria, or something and get the heckl out of there.

18 May 2005

I feel a bit sharper...

I had a great day today. I started the morning off at 6:30a with "A Perfect World with Scott Falk". That is always a sharpening experience. Great conversation, an idea for summer and good theology. A great friend.

Then I traveled to Reedley to meet with some of the staff of the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee. I met with Nathan who gave me a tour and an education in Relief. I was greatly impacted. It will show itself in the summer. I then met with one of my favorite people, Sheri Wiedenhoefer, the most radical person I know. I want to be like her when I grow up. She gave me a tour of the Kings County ministries she is doing and a great ride in her hybred Toyota. Then a great conversation over lunch at Uncle Harry's Armenian Restaurant in Reedley. We will be writing a grant together for some new summer programs with at risk youth from her area. It is like hanging out with a saint.

Then on back to Fresno to meet with my friend and mentor Greg Ehlert. I am vicariously taking classes through him at the MB Seminary in Fresno. I always learn a lot through our conversations. He reads the books and tells me what he learned. Great to learn great stuff even if I have a reading disability.

Then back up to Oakhurst and a great time of coffee and conversation with Hunter at the Grind.

It is 7:30ish pm and I am heading home. Just wanted to blog a bit and read some emails.

I am blessed with the family and friends that I have...

07 May 2005

A father’s prayer to the Father…

A prayer of blessing at the wedding of Simon & Natasha Biasell
by N Tony Biasell
May 7, 2005

This doesn’t surprise you GOD, that these two would fall in love and want to commit the rest of their lives together.
You have a plan for them.
You created their lives to be fulfilled by You and each other.
Just as their souls would have a hole without You, their hearts would be reduced without each other.

Let there always be enough beans and rice in the pantry and intimacy in the quiet.
Give their life wonder. Give their life purpose.
Give them people in their lives to show them love and to love.
Give them people who depend on them and friends on whom they can depend.

Let them have Your visions now and dreams as they age.
Create poetry in their speech and jazz in their song together.

Show them a glimpse of what they will be.
Allow them to see glimpses of what You are doing in others.

Fill their home with children.
Fill their lives with youth.

Let them find forgiveness for their fathers and grace for their children.

... for they are Your children, and You are their God.

Thank you for letting us have them for this season, we release them to Your plan and for Your purpose.

In Your Son’s name, Amen.

05 May 2005

The Meeting...

Every Wednesday, I meet with a few people to discuss Time & Space and to plan and hear concerns, ideas, and stories. I enjoy meeting with Ryan McKenzie, Ruben, Pastors Rick and Paul, Terry the elder and anyone else with some authority or opinion. I hear the stories of the time before and what people thought or issues that arose because of something done or said. This is when I generally lose it. People sitting back, never showing up to help, with an opinion. Always wanting to eat the bread but never there to pick and grind the wheat. (You know the story...) But something wierd is happening. I don't get mad anymore (ok a little miffed) it helps to define what we are doing. I am not saying that they cause me to change it but only define it better. Make room or more needed clarity.

A new thing is not always an event but it may be an attitude. We will see what is next maybe I will sport a new hairstyle. I am thinking "the comb-over."