Mark Ezell to Present at IWTL

Mark Ezelllead_now_revised

We just confirmed this week that Mark Ezell, president of  Purity Dairy, will be a presenter at I Want To Lead.   It is exciting to expose our students to a great business leader in our area.

Please pray that all the details for I Want To Lead will come together . . . it is coming fast!

I Want To Lead . . . June 22-25, 2009

The Pizza Buffet – the new Hunting Grounds

Today, I was forced to go to pizza buffet – an experience I try to avoid (especially on a business trip without my kids).   I wasn’t there long before I remembered why.

Being the first week of summer vacation, the Pizza Hut was filled with youngsters.   There was a group of boys, approximately 9 -12 years old.

They had fire in their eyes as they intently studied the buffet line.   With all the good pizzas picked over, the boys were on the edge of their seats with anticipation.  As Flo (the waitress) brought out fresh pizzas, the boys pounced out of their chairs with cat-like reflexes.   They took remarkable angles to cut off all the middle-aged buffet veterans who were trying to beat the young warriors to the spread.    The boys positioned their bodies in the “box out” position that an NBA power forward would use on Dwight Howard.   In seconds, all the fresh cheese and pepperoni slices were scooped up like Amazon piranhas feeding on a bludgeoned pig.

When the feeding frenzy ended, I stood with an empty plate with the same cold, petrified mushroom pizza as my only option.  I stared at the boys with part disdain, part admiration.

Yes, the pizza buffet is the modern-day hunting grounds.  The young warriors train themselves for a lifetime of overeating and gluttony.

Young People Are Not Christian in the USA

Dr. Mel Ming shared some remarkable statistics about the generational breakdown of Christians in the United States. The simple conclusion, the younger you are in our country, the less like you are to be a Christian. Christians according to generations:

– Builders (Age 63 over) 65%
– Boomers (Age – late 40’s – 62) 35%
– Generation X (Age 27-40) 15%
– Millenials (Age 14 – 26) 4%

Another revealing observation, these statistics are virtually reversed in places like South Korean and the parts of South America and Africa where Christianity is thriving.

Women’s Role in the Church

Beth Allison - 09Beth Allison did an excellent job speaking on Sunday.   I have heard a lot of great feedback on her message, and I personally enjoyed the sermon.  We have a lot of great female leaders at CIL, and  it’s great to see their influence increase.   As this has developled, I have been surprised to discover how many contemporary churches still limit the role of women in ministry.   Where you are at, are you seeing the role of women in ministry increase also?  Hopefully, we can discuss this topic more this week.

Our need to be a Hero, Instead of a Leader

It’s not just that we want a hero, we all need to be a hero.   So, we develop a hero complex that keeps dependence on us.   In the church that can mean:

– A pastor never sharing his pulpit
– A board of directors that never rotates members
– A worship leader who never trains other worship leaders
– A youth pastor who never develops a youth staff
– A children’s pastor who wants a bigger audience instead of age appropriate learning

Great leadership empowers people, and doesn’t keep all the attention.    I have found that leaders are those who give generously.  They give compliments, opportunity, attention, encouragement and themselves.   They make people improve, which is the greatest gift one can receive.

Don’t be a hero, be a leader

We Want A Hero

heroDo we want a servant-leader or a hero?   On Sunday, I gave a message called “We Want a Hero.”    We focused on Israel’s demand for a monarch (king), instead of a theocracy lead by God.    Ultimately, God reavealed this truth, when he told them:

And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. – I Samuel 8:7

Does our need for a hero blind us to God’s role?

I have been thinking about this a lot this week in context of the church.  God uses strong leadership to direct his people, but those leaders can’t be the king God is designed to be.   God is our leader and hero, anyone else we place in that position  distracts us from who He is designed to be.

Compassion Team helps Homeless Students

Pastor Kim Driver just sent a great report –  The Compassion Team gave out 65 food-packs , plus extra drink boxes, cereal and a few snacks to homeless students in Sumner County.   That means children will not go hungry because of the action of generous people from CIL.  We are so happy to partner with other organizations and the Sumner County School Board to identify and help these students in our own neighborhoods.   I am so glad to be part of a church that cares for the poor!