Tag Archives: Sherwood Baptist Church

5 Friday Faves – Spring Flowers, Beyond the Guitar Podcast, Wisdom of Vala Afshar, A Small Town with COVID-19, and Caring Communities

Happy weekend!

1) Spring Flowers – You know the old proverb “April showers bring May flowers”. Well, the April flowers here in the state of Virginia are pretty spectacular right now. Rhododendron, irises, roses, columbine, pinks, and begonias are dazzling with color in our backyard. More varieties will come in May, but these flowers have sure helped us thrive with the “stay at home” COVID-19 order. The rains have come, for sure, and the flowers keep coming. Glory!

2) Beyond the Guitar Podcast – So everyone who visits this page knows we’re huge fans (followers, supporters, whatever) of Nathan Mills (at Beyond the Guitar). The fact that he is our son could be how we “discovered” him, but not the reason we love his music. He is one of the hardest working, most creative, big-hearted musicians I know. When he plays classical guitar you can hear the emotion of the pieces – whether film or TV show themes, or video game music. There was a time when he livestreamed for awhile on an app called krue which is no longer with us but a lot of fun for its season. On his livestreams, he would even sing and talk awhile with us about the music we all loved. #NathanSings and #NathanTalks are rare these days. Well, until now!! Last week, Nathan, with close friend and fellow musician Jeremiah Dias, launched their podcast.  They talk about how it all began – both their friendship and their music careers. Who knows what all they will cover next time, so you’ll want to subscribe.

3) Wisdom from Vala AfsharMr. Afshar calls himself, on Twitter, the Chief Digital Evangelist @Salesforce. I don’t really know what that means, but I do know that he earns a followership because of the dense amount of great information he posts. All encouraging. All fascinating. A few days ago, he listed out 33 bits of wisdom as a thread on Twitter.

Some I’d heard before, but in that long list, I was reminded of how much we have in us (ability/opportunity) to change the course of our lives “as we get older”. Of the 33, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Networking is about giving.
  • If you are waiting for a title to lead, you are not ready to lead.
  • Imposter syndrome is real.
  • Love and cherish your parents by giving them your time.
  • Takers may end up with more, but givers sleep better at night.
  • Good listeners hear the unsaid.
  • Never ruin an apology with excuses.

Did any of these remind you of a favorite wisdom statement? Please comment below. Thanks.

4) A Small Town with COVID-19 – Albany, Georgia. I have a dear friend from that little town in South Georgia and a very large and favorite church calls Albany home.  Other than that, Albany, Georgia, was unknown to me until this Spring when COVID-19 swept through there. It apparently began when an older gentleman came to town in March to attend the funeral of a friend. He either came to town with the virus or contracted it while in Albany. After his death, several others from the funeral party also became ill with COVID-19. As the weeks went by with more and more cases, Albany became the fourth hardest hit town in the US.Photo Credit: Downtown Albany, Ga Facebook page

I have devoured all the news out of Albany over their response to COVID-19. Rural populations don’t have the medical resources available to larger towns and cities. These people must determine how to work together and how best to respond to the health crisis they (nor any of us) were prepared for. So thankful for their resilience.

The Black Pastor Watching the COVID-19 Virus Ravage His Town – David Dent

Rural America Needs Help To Face COVID-19 – Dr. Jennifer Olsen

5) Caring Communities – Of course, none of us prefer the mandates of self-distancing and staying at home. It’s one thing for us individually to take a break from people or to spend a few days in a staycation of our own choosing. To be given orders from our government is something we are not used to.

The isolation is itself difficult but the unknown is worse. Are we making a difference in holding off COVID-19? It is possible we could do less but we will never know (hopefully) how bad it could get if we weren’t self-distancing.

After so many weeks of self-isolating, and the clinical knowledge growing in the medical community, we are beginning to have mixed messages of what is necessary/appropriate.

YouTube Video – ER Physician Drops Multiple COVID-19 Bombshells – Viral

Getting cynical is not the answer. Nor is throwing off caution.

While we are sorting out next steps, what a blessing it is to be in caring communities – surrounded (six feet apart) by people who love one another and encourage and inspire each other.

These communities could be attached to our work or our neighborhood. Our church or civic group. Our family and friends. Photo Credit: Jared Burwell, Movement Church

People we can count on to reach out to us and serve us when we need them the most. People we can reach out to as well.

Community. Always, and especially in these days, we need to know we have it…even if, for now, it comes in the form of a video meeting.

5 favorite finds for this week…what are some of yours? Please respond in the Comments. Keep safe and be well. God is with us.

Bonuses:

A Therapist’s Simple Rule Transformed My Marriage – Jancee Dunn

Captive Thoughts – Sherwood Baptist Church

Country singer and songwriter Lauren Mascitti was, just until last week, a contestant on the TV show American Idol 2020 season. She is amazing. Lauren’s performances on this show, especially her original songs, were so big, full of heart. Her original song “God Made a Woman” is my favorite (minute 2:35 in above link). The lyric version is here.

A Side Effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic? Reading Got a Lot Harder – Emma Pettit

7 Ways to Make a Senior [Citizen]’s Day While Social Distancing

People Recreate Works of Art With Objects Found at Home During Self-Quarantine – Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine

Grandpa Remembers Back When We Were in the Time of Coronavirus

When God Makes Us Wait – Barbara Rainey

Photo Credit: Karen Garner

Helping First-Time Guests Want to Come Back a Second Time – Church Assimilation and Connection Teams

Blog - Church Connection Team - bpnews.net Photo Credit: bpnews.net

Any one of us in church was once new to that church. Such an awkward place to be. I remember just this year walking into a church gathering for the first time. It seemed everyone else knew each other and there was a general sense of easy familiarity between people. Were we the only ones new? Of  course not!

Being new is not where any of us want to stay. Trying to find a church home or just “going” to church aren’t very deep relational experiences. They are first steps to being part of a church, but you definitely don’t want to stay in that new or transient place long…or the temptation is just to not go back, or not go often…definitely doesn’t reflect what it’s like to really be church.

This is why churches need to be intentional in welcoming and connecting first-time guests. We met Ken Bevel at a conference a couple of years ago, and he introduced that term “assimilation” to us. He is a retired Marine Captain, and actor in Kendrick Brothers’ films (Fireproof, Courageous), and pastor of assimilation at Sherwood Baptist Church. He talked with us a bit about his job of working with a team who is responsible for that first-time guest – from the parking lot to “pew” to “home group” (real connection with others in the church).Blog - Ken Bevel - COnnecting[Ken Bevel (r), Pastor for Assimilation & Events, Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia – making the guy on the left feel welcome.]

When we gather as church, extending hospitality to each other is a service we want to extend to all who join us. We’re still new as part of our church community (Movement Church) and don’t really know who’s new or if it’s just that we haven’t met them. Movement Church has a connecting team and we benefitted from it. Our strategy now is to treat those we meet, entering the building or in the hall or grabbing coffee, as if they were first-time guests. Sometimes they are…and sometimes they’ve been a part of the community for much longer than us…it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we welcome one another…with generous grace and genuine interest.Blog - Connections & Assimilation - bpnews.netPhoto Credit: bpnews.net

Churches gather in all kinds of configurations – large and small, in homes and large buildings or public places. Blog - Connecting and AssimilatingBlog - Connecting & Assimilating - bpnew.netProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Credit: House church pic is mine; other two bpnews.net

Whatever our church, we want to watch out for those first-time guests just as we honor those long-time faithful ones. What do they need? Who might they enjoy meeting there? How do we pray for them…follow-up with them?

Below are great resources to help the church set strategy to be intentional in our hospitality…to make first-time guests feel at home and want to come back a second time. Better still…to become part of who we are…a community who loves God and all those He places in our spaces.

12 Ways Churches “Welcome” Guests – Chuck Lawless

Six Simple Things a First-Guest Likes – Thom Rainer

Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests – Thom Rainer

Ten MORE Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests – Thom Rainer

Creating a Strong Assimilation System – Powerpoint – Stephen Gray

Connecting With One Another – A Step-by-Step Approach to Guest and New Member Assimilation – Thesis – Kevin Ray Milburn

Ten Church Strategies – The Assimilation Strategy

Marine Captain-Turned-Pastor “Courageous” – Ken Bevel – The “Courageous” Interview with Kam Williams

Sherwood Baptist Church