April 09, 2009

I am So Proud! Words cannot express how proud I am of Mike Ferrante. I first met Mike in 1999. A couple of summers later, I was speaking at the Baltimore Convention Center and we reconnected. It did not take long for us to realize God had orchestrated our lives to intersect. Soon after that, I asked Mike to join our staff at The Mission DC. We continued to work together after we closed The Mission DC until I moved to Greenville, SC. Mike is like a son to me. We have shared life. We have experienced what community is all about. We have laughed together, cried together, rejoiced together, mourned together, dreamed together. Most importantly, we have walked through change together. It has been a journey I truly cherish. Mike is hands down one of the most anointed worship leaders I have ever worked with. Worship is not what he does…it's who is. I cannot count how many times I've experienced the overwhelming presence of God as Mike led in worship. Last fall, Mike and his team from the Westminster Church of God recorded their first live worship album. Mike called me about 30 minutes before the worship service was about to begin. I had the wonderful privilege to pray with him just before the recording was to start. When I listen to this album, I feel as though I was there. I listen with great pride and enjoyment. I love the spontaneous moments found in Jesus to You. I've used the repeat button each time I listen to Every Need. (I am so proud of you Becky Kaskel.) I love to linger in the song To the Cross. Personally, I feel the album falls way short of what a live experience with Mike is like. That's only because that's what I prefer....
Are You Expanding Ministry or Mission? Are you more focused on expanding ministry or expanding mission? When I read this question, it hit me right between the eyes. Like many church leaders, I find I fall into the trap of trying to grow (expand) the ministries I serve. Leading is much more abstract then expanding the organization. We are called to expand its mission. It takes great clarity and understanding of your personal or organizational mission to expand it with purpose and intention. Expanding ministry leads to frustration. We focus on programs and imitate the models of other successful churches to grow ours. After spending time to initiate the programs, we are normally dissatisfied with the return on our investment. Expanding ministry is about adding….expanding mission is about multiplying. When you expand mission, you invest in relationships and focus on people. The things we do as a church are for the clear purpose of helping others understand our mission. Let's look at SpringWell Church as an example. Our mission is to: Create environments that lead people to love God, love each other, and love the world. Everything we do as a church must be about expanding this mission. We do not need to expand our programs or calendars. However, the health of our church is absolutely dependent upon expanding our mission. As we dream and strategize, we must always be asking ourselves, will this cause people to love God, love each other, and love the world. How about you? Are you focused on expanding ministry or expanding mission? Do you have clarity regarding your personal and organization mission? If you are tempted to focus more on ministry then mission, what are you going to do about it?

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