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Saturday, December 31, 2011

As close as I get to New Year's Resolutions...

Things I'm pointing my life toward in 2012:

1. Adopting 2 boys from Ethiopia...boys that will become my sons. (the Sons of Thunder)
2. Doing a "right of passage" for Kami when she turns 13. (Purity Ring & Purity Sword combo)
3. Going on a date every week with my wife to a different place. (52 surprises!)
4. Waking up every morning and saying this prayer: "I'm yours, use me." (daily communion)
5. Getting into an exercise regimen that is consistent. (holistic health matters)
6. Leading Impact toward deeper faith and greater fruit. (God-sized dreams)
7. Reading more books and blogs about entrepreneurial leadership. (create the future)
8. Hanging out in the foxhole with good friends. (C.S. Lewis called them 'golden sessions'.)
9. Reading through the New Testament with the Christ-followers at Impact. (story intake)
10. Partnering with a local church in Swaziland and supporting their cause. (global mindset)
11. Being sensitive to sin without being overly-conscious of it. (mastery of the flesh)
12. Going to more good movies to keep my story-starved heart alive. (the universal language)
13. Planning a daddy-daughter date each month with each of my offspring. (stopping time)
14. Writing two children's books called "Pokey the Porcupine." & "Daddy Daughter Dance."
15. Finding a prayer closet and locking myself in it each day to seek God's face. (face time)
16. Affirming the Impact Leadership Team with words and actions. (fueling the Dream Team)
17. Writing more and talking less. (distilling thoughts)
18. Mentoring artists into modern-day Levites. (Artists bring meaning to truth.)
19. Finding a community mission for our family and giving our money and lives to it. (love.)
20. Loving people instead of pleasing people. (small adjustment that makes a big difference)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things I've learned about being a pastor this year...

Things I've learned about being a pastor this year:
1. Things look easier than they really are.
2. Sleeping with decisions makes sleeping really hard.
3. Failure is not only an option, it is inevitable.
4. Vision is easy, strategy is another story.
5. People will get mad at you even if you mean no harm.
6. You can't get anything done when you're fearful.
7. Integrity is more important than creativity.
8. You can wow without a team, but you can't win.
9. Losing the right people is as important as attracting the right people.
10. There is a tact and a timing to how and where things are to be shared.
11. The tight rope of family and ministry is a delicate balancing act.
12. Being a good speaker doesn't make you a good leader.
13. There are a thousand small invisibles behind each visible.
14. People's opinions are influenced deeply by perceived quality.
15. It doesn't take much for people to move from defenders to defectors.
16. Just because the Bible is powerful doesn't mean you can slack on presentation.
17. The key to keeping good people is affirmation, and lots of it.
18. At some point you just have to trust your instincts and let it go.
19. The bats in your head are worse than the critics in your church.
20. It's harder to replace good people than you would initially think.
21. For every idea that works, ten do not, but you don't know that until they don't.
22. People think they want certainty, but what they really want is something dangerous.
23. The challenges only make the accomplishments all the sweeter.
24. You can't be afraid of difficult people. There is no cult like the difficult.
25. Being a shepherd is not only being skilled with the staff, but the rod.
26. There is a direct correlation between success and seduction, triumph and temptation.
27. Financial stress in the church is paralyzing. There can't be vision without provision.
28. Ultimately only God can change the human heart.
29. Very few things get easier with time, you simply adjust your pain tolerance.
30. There is no higher honor than pastoring a flock of "sheeple".

As I conclude my first year of being the lead pastor at Impact, I can't believe the workshops and woodsheds God has taken me through. It has been humbling, sometimes humiliating. Nothing could have prepared me for this role. No class. No counseling. No conference. This has been altogether new and surprising at every turn, but I'm grateful for the great people around me who are supportive and patient with my growth curve. I'm the luckiest man alive to be blessed with the Impact leadership and followership along my side.

I look forward to more learnings in the year to come. If leaders are learners, then I want to be the most voracious student in the class.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lying to yourself on New Years instead of dying to yourself...

What is it about the New Year that makes us feel like things are really new? Something about crossing over the stroke of midnight and the changing of one little number seems to make a world of difference for many looking for a reason to be motivated.

I don't stay up to see the New Year in. I can't keep myself awake. What I'm hoping is that my change this year will have a deeper drive than the chimera of a magic moment. I'm certainly not pinning my hopes on the calendar switch. This isn't my first go around and I've come to realize real change happens when I cinch up my belt, gird up my loins and die to myself.

If I don't die to myself not one dream comes true. There are too many people lying to themselves on New Years instead of dying to themselves. This kind of resolution lasts until the second week of January if you're lucky.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the "beer-holder", I mean beholder...

Trouble shooters are easy to find. It doesn't take much skill to point out the symptoms and sources of trouble. I wouldn't have to even rehearse to spout off a solid minute of ills that plague my immediate surroundings, shucks, if I took a deep breath I might be able to do it without inhaling, like a Jr. Higher burping the ABC's.

But beauty shooters are altogether rare. I'm finding myself more and more drawn to people that have the same opportunity to bemoan life's trouble but instead choose to look for and champion beauty. There is beauty in tragedy if you squint enough to see it through the fog. You can make out lines of love and shapes of goodness. Sometimes, the ugly only makes the beauty more beautiful. The darker the night the more resplendent the candlepower of one simple wick.

It seems that Christmas can be a time to troubleshoot the daylights out of life. I hope to spend my day thinking upon Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." This verse covers the philosophy of beauty shooting, which is as simple as choosing what things to think about. When you "make up your mind" to think about "such things" as truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, admiration, excellence and praise, you wouldn't believe what kind of life unfolds that was there all along.

Titus 1:15 puts it this way, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted." It's amazing how powerful our perspectives are. I hope I can lock into beauty today and "think about such things". I have a feeling the quality of my day depends on it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When God doesn't make things better...



And the Lord said to Abraham, "Take your son, your only son and sacrifice him on the Mount of the Lord. In your obedience you will show that you are faithful to your God." So Abraham set out with his son to the place God had assigned. On the way Isaac inquired of his father, "Father, I see the wood but where is the offering for the sacrifice?" Abraham replied, "The Lord will provide an offering, my son. Though we do not see still we must trust." As they reached the place of offering they gathered stones and built an altar unto the Lord. Isaac inquired of his father once more, "Father, I see the altar and the wood, but were is the sacrifice for our God?"

Then Abraham took his son and laid him on the altar. "What are you doing, Father?" Abraham did not reply but silently bound his hands and feet. Taking a knife from his satchel he stood before his son trembling as he gripped the dagger with both hands and raised it high above his head. His eyes darted around looking for God's intervention. Surely he would spot a promise in the peripheral. He looked in the thicket for movement, but there was none. He looked to the skies for a angel, but the heavens were silent. The hopes of his heart were fading with every second of stillness.

With his eyes closed and his body shaking with a mix of fear and faith, he whispered to himself, "Though I do not see, still I will trust in the Lord my God." He looked around one more time certain that deliverance was hiding close at hand. He readied himself for the unthinkable and with the last of his strength he plunged the knife into the chest of his only son. The screams of Isaac were drowned out by the screams of his father.

Abraham was in shock, holding his son in his arms as he gasped for breath. Isaac looked at him with eyes of confusion and sadness. As Isaac's spirit left his cold body, Abraham wept aloud. He looked around wondering if he missed a sign, did something wrong. He waited for his son to come back to life for hours. He stayed on the mountain waiting for God to show himself, show his plan in all this. As the hours turned into days, his thirst drove him to throw his son over the donkey's back descending the mountain in eerie silence. The wind howled through the mountainside with the sound of whispering voices. The voices seemed to be chanting the familiar refrain of an ancient song. "why, wwwwwhy, whhhhh, whyyyyy..." The wind could not finish the phrase, but his mind completed the sentence. "...have you forsaken me?" "Wwwwwwhhhhyyy...have you forsaken me?

Arriving home, Abraham buried his son, but something else was buried that day that can't be put into words, certainly not the words of any human language.

________________________________

I wonder sometimes why this version of the story (not true, just to be clear) seems to be more true to life, especially after you watch a movie like Blood Diamond, Machine Gun Preacher and Hotel Rwanda. Or when you consider the famine in the horn of Africa or the single mom abandoned by her husband who gets two jobs to take care of her kids or the innocent child who is molested by a perverted coach. Why doesn't God always send the ram in the thicket or the angel to stay the knife?

I think it's easy to believe that when you trust God you always get the princess. You always slay the dragon. You always kick the habit or have your fortune restored ten-fold.

What I've learned over the years is that this idea that everything will work out if you just trust God isn't always true in this life. Have you read Hebrews 11 lately...yes, women received back their dead but others were sawed in two. Only on the other side did they find their ram in the thicket, the angel to rescue the damsel.

Everything works out except when it doesn't. And what do you do with God when it doesn't, when fantasy is exposed as a counterfeit of faith. What do you do when Jesus doesn't come and you get beheaded?

"Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." - Jesus in Matthew 11.

I'm really having a great day and I'm in a good mood. I don't know why, but this story was in my mind as I was driving to work today and I couldn't shake it. Maybe God doesn't want us to be Merry at Christmas this year. Maybe he wants us to feel the pain of the world and that sympathy will bring the peace and good will that we're singing about. A peace that is often beyond understanding.

Just some thoughts I had this morning.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Success = Biting your tongue off.

You can't believe how much success is simply earned by the simple discipline of biting your tongue.

I think the further you go in leadership, the more restraint you must exercise. There is all the more opportunity to spout off and retaliate when someone talks down to you or slanders you or patronizes you. There are days when I want to "go off" on someone dishing out a well deserved reprimand putting them in their place. Thoughts gather like storm clouds forming perfect come-backs that result in getting the "last word".

But for all the communicating one employs in leadership, the communication that leads to the greatest influence is wisely barred up behind your teeth, staved off by a mix of God's Spirit and the will to die to yourself. And make no mistake, it takes all the will-power you can muster to talk yourself out of talking, especially when it would set the record straight. These are the zingers that almost hurt to hold in.

I feel like I've been on the brink of sending several emails this week that would have felt so good to release to the wild. At times I even began tapping out a rebuttal to a disrespectful tone or a sarcastic choice of words or a false accusation only to backspace my way to a blank email exiting out of the window and moving on to more constructive exploits. I won't lie, it doesn't feel as good. There isn't an immediate payoff. In fact, it's downright gut-wrenching to let someone off the hook. It makes me mad just thinking about it.

But this is why James 3 says, "not many of you should presume to be teachers, because you will incur a stricter judgement". You can't just "go off" anymore or "tell it like it is". Nope, those days are in the rearview mirror along with other childish antics. The filter must tighten its screen, each word weighed, each motive measured.

I wonder if God's greatest rewards are reserved for the leaders who nearly bit their tongues off in an effort to take the higher and narrower road.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Daddy/Daughter Dance with Taylor (poem)...


The First Guy

On a blustering evening

in the month of December,

I danced with my baby

On a night to remember.


It wasn’t the first time

I’d dressed for a ball,

Cause I have other daughters,

In fact, three in all.


But every one’s special

In a way all her own,

Cause each girl’s different

When you get them alone.


This night was Taylor’s,

The runt of the litter,

The last of the darlings

which is sweet, and yet bitter.


This was the last

Daddy/daughter dance fling,

Where we dressed up

To wiggle and giggle and sing.


She kept her dress hidden

In the back of her closet,

I wish I could take

Her excitement and pause it.


There's something about

Little girls in cute dresses,

That grabs your cold heart

and thaws while it blesses.


I waited impatient

For her to come down,

As the princess in curls

All wrapped in her gown.


And low and behold

With a smirk on her face,

She descended the staircase,

Head titled with grace.


She looked at my eyes

Awaiting my stare,

I stood breathlessly

Gasping for air.


She glided to hug me

And asked with her eyes,

“Am I beautiful, daddy?”

That look never lies.


We hugged for a moment,

Made our way to the door,

This was plenty enough,

But, alas, there was more.


We headed for dinner,

She held my big hand,

We talked about dancing

And the night we had planned.


We ate Chinese food

In a booth fit for two,

We talked and we mingled,

Our hearts stuck like glue.


We left after dinner

and set out for the dance,

the passenger seat

held a girl in a trance.


She stared out the window

With dreams in her eyes,

Living the night

Before it arrived.


Cafetorium space

Was turned into a ball,

Decorations of royalty

Filled every hall.


We hung up her coat

she grabbed on my hand,

This moment is special,

You just don’t understand.


You’re not in a school

With a Deejay and punch,

There are no boys or drool,

This is not merely lunch.


In her mind it’s fantasy

Played out in real life,

You are not just a daddy,

You are now her white knight.


As we spun and we twirled

I soaked in each moment,

Wrapping my eyes around

Her like a garment.


She climbed on my shoes

For every slow dance,

Getting some practice

For her future romance.


On one of the slow songs,

She laid on my shoulder,

My mind raced ahead

And imagined her older.


Dancing with someone

Quite other than me,

My time as her man,

Would become history.


But for now I’m the one

She looks to for love,

And I am her hero

When push comes to shove.


And no boy will ever

Know this girl like I,

Cause I am her daddy,

That makes me the first guy.


I love you, Taylor Hope Lena.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Hitting the Ceiling, Hitting the Wall, Hitting the Floor...

Hitting the Ceiling. (Dreams die.)

This is the place in life where you start to give up on the things you were shooting for in your youth. You reach a certain age and you find yourself relinquishing diehard desires that “used to” drive you. Life has thrown you some curves and you’ve swung and missed enough times to know that few hit the home run, heck, most don’t even get in the ballpark. You still enjoy your life, you just don’t wish upon a shooting star or expect great things anymore. You settle for normal and simple, which isn’t all bad. Sometimes the best things in life are the little things. However, when you stop striving for the impossible, aiming high, and going for broke, you also kill the very thing that makes us like God, namely, the ability to create things that don’t yet currently exist. Only God can create something out of nothing, but we can create something that exists but has not yet been discovered. Dreams are essential to keeping us motivated to stay curious about what does not yet exist that needs to. God created and then quickly invited man to name the animals. We can’t create animals, but we can create names. But this takes someone who has an imagination and hasn’t stopped dreaming.

Hitting the Wall. (Life dies.)

This is the place in life where you begin to wonder if even the normal, simple things of life are worth pursuing. Things that are basic needs are hard to come by. Friends, Family, Work, Provision, Shelter, Money…it seems like things that are just happening easily for other people take extra/extraordinary effort to pull off. You’ve given up on hoping it will get better tomorrow or next week. Unlike the past, you hit the wall now and you just can’t bounce back. You don’t have any fight left in you. You’ve fought back before only to be in the same place again. Your relationships are tired or tiring. You’re work is paying less and demanding more, if you’re employed at all. There is too much month left at the end of the money. Debtors and Creditors are breathing down your neck. You’re on your 3rd marriage. You’re kids are growing up and with every year they are wising up to the dysfunction and looking at you differently, almost disrespectfully. And why shouldn’t they, you don’t even respect yourself anymore. You sleep more, eat more, and sin more, but you’re still trying to hide it from everybody. The only problem is you can’t hide depression forever and the only one you end up fooling is yourself. It’s starting to get real dark.

Hitting the Floor. (I die.)

This is the place in life where you flirt with the foulest of feelings. You are either angry or anxious or absent. Depression comes in many forms, but at this level it manifests itself in the form of isolation and a complete dearth of motivation. You can’t muster energy, constructive thoughts, or baby steps of progressive movement…breathing is labor at this stage. You have exhausted all options, used every mulligan at work, and cried wolf with all your friends and family. Your mind is telling you that the walls are closing in and that it’s probably best to pull the plug on yourself before someone else does it for you. Thoughts of ending your life take on more specific plots instead of generic and general feelings. In your mind, life is already over, so why not put the period on this “life sentence”. It’s not just exiting the drama for yourself; you begin to feel like you are a burden to everyone that knows you, and that you would be doing them a favor to erase yourself from their lives. There isn’t a darker night of the soul a person could know.

__________________


I mention this progression of depression because I’ve witnessed it first hand as people spiral from the ceiling to the wall to the floor. It must be said that whatever stage a person is at, God is a God of resurrection and restoration. He can reach into the darkest of night and shine his light of life in/on your dead heart.

I don’t know that I’ve ever hit the floor, but I know the ceiling and the wall quite well. Who knows, maybe the phrase, “I just wish I could go to heaven right now. I wish Jesus would just come back.” is a spiritual way of saying you wish this life would end. I know it’s not the same as wanting to end your life, but I think it comes from similar place of wanting out of this broken and messed up world.

No matter who you are, you will hit the wall. It’s important to detect the walls you’re hitting and to get help before you hit the floor. There isn’t any shame in raising your hand and saying, “I need help, for real.” I know people feel a stigma in revealing dysfunction and despair, but it really quite normal to have these feelings. The quicker you go there with someone, the quicker you will find healing and wholeness.

I just had to write this for those shrouded in darkness. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Incremental before Exponential.

A phrase came to my mind a couple days ago in a staff meeting. "Incremental before Exponential."

It's hard for me to stay in this mindset. I want results, preferably big ones. My nature is not bent toward slow and steady, quite the opposite.

I get fidgety and antsy if something isn't successful on the first try. I get anxious if the preferred picture doesn't paint itself in the first few minutes of an event. I want my Life Group to be deep on the first night. I want every message I give to be "life-changing" since everything is advertised to completely "change your life" these days from soap to slippers.

We are creatures of instant gratification, and I think this might be why Paul was trying to get the people off of "milk" and onto "meat". In another passage he talked of "putting away childish things." There are several milky meanings that could be extrapolated from these texts, but I think they all boil down the inability to embrace delayed gratification and hard, slow, disciplined growth. We like growth like we like our Little Ceasar's Pizza....Hot, Ready, Now!

I was thinking about the time Jesus said that if "you're faithful with the few I will make you a ruler over the many." Small steps and little wins are where things typically start. You have to prove yourself faithful in obscurity, and often times anonymity, before God entrusts you with more. And this is for our good.

Those that are faithful with few will be masters of many. Incremental before Exponential.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Great Impact Leadership Team...

I am the lead pastor at a church with amazing leaders and artists and servants.

For some reason, I was struck with how fortunate I am to have crossed paths with the talent and heart that surrounds me. And all the more fortuitous is the honor I have to do what I love for my livelihood. My joy is my job. My vocation is my vacation. How many could say that?

Getting back to the people that I work with...these are special people.

Our Children's Ministry is led by Andrea Struckmeyer. She is a gifted writer, actor, speaker, artist and visionary. Kidzone is a full-fledged hour and fifteen minute program every week of the highest caliber. Games, Work stations, Drama's, Music, Art, Breakout groups, Snacks, Hand-on learning, Videos, and teaching pulled off by over a hundred volunteers and leaders is a sight to behold. It's like Disney land every week for infants to 5th graders. It is probably the single greatest attraction to our church for families. We are blessed.

Our Student Ministry is led by Jon Bell. He is new to the staff and is bringing such fresh energy to our body! The student ministry is exploding with growth this fall going from a little over 40 the first week to almost 100 the last 2 weeks! Wed. nights are filled with a live student band rockin' out Worship tunes, Funny Youtube clips, Dancing, Crazy games, Small group breakouts, Food, Octoball, Video Games, and Energetic Teaching! What a great job he's doing and what a genuine heart he possesses! It's great to have his family in our humble little town!

Our Community Life Ministry is led by another newbie on our paid staff, well, not so new to Impact, but a new position to backfill Bruce's position upon his departure. Bonnie is a part-time lawyer as well as a part-time staff member of Impact working with connections, communications, community, and culture. She is overseeing EMT and Life Groups and anything that has to do with community life. She knows how to network with the best of them and has a knack for pulling people together. It never hurts to have a lawyer on your leadership team, especially when you're being led by an accident prone lead pastor formerly called Dennis the Menace in his childhood. What a blessing Bonnie has been since the inception of Impact 8 years ago and how fortunate we are to have her join the team in a higher capacity to see the movement surge forward! I love the Davis' family!

Our Reach Ministry is led by a retired pastor by the name of Gene Beerens. He came out of retirement to put his neck out there for the kingdom and for the vision of Impact. He receives no paycheck and yet serves our body each week with passion and purpose making sure broken people are welcomed in and given an opportunity to find healing. He is a sage and a mentor for our staff as well as our body as a whole. What a gifted thinking and activist he is and we are blessed to have his seasoned presence on our team! Fortunate beyond words.

Our Missional Ministry is led by a retired business man named Ted Cox. He also has come out of retirement to serve the kingdom and has a unique vision of banding people together to "love their neighbors". After years of just doing church, he was moved by God to "be the church" in his neighborhood, taking the gospel to the streets so to speak. He is getting a number of people in our body to reconsider the kingdom and to wonder about how God is wanting to use them in their jobs, volunteering roles in the community, and in their neighborhoods. It's grassroots and organic. He's been such a powerful addition to the team this past year...we are blessed!

Our Church Planting Ministry is led by none other than Phil Struckmeyer, the original church planter of Impact back in 2003. He is always on the move and is often referred to as the apostle of Impact. He travels thousands of miles a week visiting churches and supporting church planters and church plants with the sweat of his brow and the beating of his heart. He is a visionary, dreamer, strategist, cultural architect, and pastor of pastors. I've never met anyone else with the humility and passion he possesses for his calling. He keeps the movement alive.

Our Tech and Programming Ministry is led by the prodigy, Dave VanKeulen. He has been on board at Impact since he was 16 years old and is a brainiac of all things technological. But he is not a techie nerd in the full sense of the word. He is the rare blend of tech savvy and emotionally intelligent. His eye for atmosphere and his ear for live sound is stellar. His attention to detail and his pulse for programmatic excellence is unparalleled. There is no way we should have someone of his caliber in the sticks of Lowell, but because we caught him early and because God is shining his face on Impact, we have been blessed beyond measure. What a gift to our body Dave is!

Our Worship Arts Ministry is led by Ryder Jones, who plays the electric guitar like he's taking a walk in the park. He composes music, writes songs, plays with a variety of bands at local venues and clubs, was the lead guitarist on Shawn McDonald's last album, leads worship with a rabid and raw heart that ushers people into God's presence, and leads our artists with a personal and professional care that is respectable and noble. His humility is extraordinary and his musical giftedness is renowned in the Grand Rapids area. What a great heart and what a generous gift of God!

Our Administration Ministry is held together by Tara Grizzel, a new member of the team. In a matter of a few short months she has organized and orchestrated several delayed initiatives bringing joy and passion to the details of administration which can often be dry and lifeless. She is a go-getter, holding my feet to the fire and making everyone accountable to follow through with their duties. She is responsible, faithful and dependable. She is a great proactive thinker. Her intuition and initiative has been a breath of fresh air and her work ethic is matchless. What a great addition to an already great team!

Our Kid's Administrator is Chas Symanski, the co-leader of Kid's Hope and the right-hand "woman" of Andrea in KidZone. She is a details oriented, task-driven, organizer of all things children and has a passion for our church and community when it comes to youth. She will be working on our new website to keep it updated and clean, taking our ministry to new levels of excellence in the coming days! What a blessing her presence has been this year!

Our Frontline Ministry has been led by Deb and Dick Frisbe, another retired couple that have devoted so much time and energy to Impact it might as well have been a full-time job the last 5 years! They lead a huge team of people who make sure everyone coming to Impact has a great first impression and a healthy connection to our culture. They are transitioning out of that leadership role and we are excited to see who comes in and builds on the foundation that they have laid! What a blessing the Frisbe's have been to our body!

Our Cleaning Ministry is led by Karen Pedley. She volunteers countless hours every week making sure our building is spotless and our volunteers are coordinated each weekend. You cannot believe the amount of meticulous energy she pours into the cleanliness of our facility, down on her knees cleaning the base boards, scrubbing toilets, dusting, cleaning windows, sanitizing toys and chairs, vacuuming floors, mopping halls, etc. She and her team don't ask for a dime, they serve sacrificially every week and God pays them with attention. There's no pay like God paying attention! I love her servant's heart!

Our Buildings and Grounds ministry is lead by Cy Floyd and his faithful sidekicks The Grieves father and son duo, Mark and Mitch. Cy is always rallying guys together to pull off last minute projects and much needed renovations or restorations. Things are constantly needing fixing and Cy and the boys are on it like stink on a monkey. Cy is a retired business man who is used to leading hundreds of people to carry out responsibilities. I can't tell you how much I appreciate his leadership at Impact and his stubborn refusal to retire from God's work!

Our Finance Ministry is led by Lori Floyd who has been laboring over our books for over 7 long years. She spends almost 20 hours a week making sure everything is squaring up in the budget and bills are paid. She is so gifted at organizing our finances and even more importantly our fiscal vision which is unlike any fiscal vision I've every encountered. The audacious goals and the risks taken to make sure we stay on the cutting edge of the kingdom would probably cause most people to quit, but she just smiles and pressing forward. I love her sacrificial passion and protection of our ministry. Where would we be without her stabilizing heart behind the scenes! Probably in jail!

Our ministry is also held together with several support staff serving in a cornucopia of capacities. Anything from putting together powerpoint presentations, to locking up the doors at night and turning off the heat, to being a mayor in Kidtown, or a KZ host in Kidzone, the babysitting for Life Groups, etc. The endless volunteers that serve under our leadership range in the the 200-300 range. We couldn't do it without all of these committed Christ-followers. From those hosting and facilitating Life Groups to those heading up the Men's and Women's ministries to those serving as mentors in the Recovery ministries to those rallying people together for the Prayer Ministry, to those leading and serving on the Frontline ministry, to our Leadership Accountability Team who superintend the goings on of Impact...it's a collaborative effort that couldn't be pulled off without everyone pulling their weight for the glory of God.

I just felt it was time to give honor where honor is due. The ministry of Impact is a complex mixture of ministry with so many layers of leadership it would take me hours to explain to you the well-oiled machine it is. Suffice it to say, that it is an honor to lead and serve along side such gifted and godly people and I hope this team stays together for many years to come.

Here's to a great end to this year and an explosive start to the next!

Bring on 2012!

Jason