Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year

What a year 2007 was. Wow.
Who would have thought that God would speak to each of us and we’d end up sacrificially giving over 12.8 million dollars toward the creation of The Healing Center, a Student Ministry expansion and internship program and launch a well-drilling micro-business/ministry with Self-Sustaining Enterprises in Nigeria? It was a love for our city, our future and our world.

It was a good year at so many other levels. This weekend I talked about The Top 3 Cool Things That Happened at VCC in 2007…and then The Top 3 Things I Screwed Up. There were more things than that (obviously), but I just didn’t have time to unpack them all.

So, as promised, here is my complete Top 10 List. Anton, drumroll please…

The Top 10 Cool Things:

1. We listened to God and threw the net on the other side of the boat. (You’ll have to listen to the message for this one, but it’s based on John 21:6. The Healing Center is just another net…for people who would never step into a church for help.)

2. We learned a little about sacrifice. (People gave sacrificially toward the Luke 4 Challenge in ways that made me cry. No kidding.)

3. We worked hard behind-the-scenes on our integrity. (Yeah, you’ll have to listen to the weekend. Sorry. Too much to unload here…but here’s the graphic for the “integrity strength triangle”. Critical for wholeness.)

4. Waited to hire the right teaching pastor. (We had a stack of resumes a couple inches thick. But it had to be the right combination of a heart for lost people and yet a hunger for the power of the Holy Spirit, a creative communicator with an edge, good and broken, leadership gifting, a certain amount of life experience, etcetera etcetera. We waited and waited. And then waited some more. We were close on some, but it just didn’t seem right. And then we met Joe in Anaheim…)

5. Landed on our five core DNA values. (The 4WARD series was a bigger deal than you think. Remember the mnemonic?—Servant community, Outward focused, Worship, Empowered transformation, and Relevant: SOWER. This shapes everything for us seedflingers…)

6. Integrated “power prayer” into more ministries. (This was subtle but critical. More and more risky prayers were incorporated into various ministries, from MercyWorks to Celebrations to wherever. Karin’s prayer training is sneaking into everything. Like cranberries, as Brian Regan says. Awesome. How cool is it that one of our blind homeless friends at Washington Park was healed at a Good Sam Run? It’s the Kingdom in action.)

7. Saw a real turn in student ministries effectiveness. (What can I say? Pete Bryant and the gang have made unbelievable strides in the last two years. After two-and-a-half years of a turn-around strategic plan, Pete said at his strategic plan presentation a year ago that if this didn’t work, we should fire him. I love that kind of confidence [risk-taking?] in God-sought planning.)

8. The development of a strong, healthy board of trustees. (We have been on a board development track that has really paid off. I’m so proud of these high-powered volunteers who give unbelievable numbers of hours to bring accountability to VCC at the highest levels. I love this gang.)

9. Getting into the Victory of Light Psychic Fair at the Convention Center. (I’m crazy about seeing Evangelism and Prayer Ministries working together and thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to spiritual power. We offered healing and dream interpretation. Get real: who else but the Vineyard would do this…and give away fortune cookies with specially printed fortunes at the booth?)

10. Turkeyfest. (Wow. Kande and the gang came up with a simple idea: instead of VCC buying the turkeys and canned goods each year and then meeting to distribute them—typically about 400 dinners—this year we simply set out boxes with packing instructions. Families then bought the goodies, including the turkeys, and even decorated the boxes and threw in extra treats…and then distributed them as well all over Greater Cincinnati. We ran out of boxes at 800. People were trying to buy boxes from others who grabbed them. Next year: 1600 boxes?)

Now for all us “glass half-empty” personality-types, here are The Top 10 Things I Screwed Up:

1. I didn’t communicate enough. (Yeah, listen to the message for these first three. My introversion/assumption is a drawback…and as Andy says, vision leaks…quickly. I’ve got to communicate more about what we’re doing and why.)

2. I didn’t ask God to move miraculously among us enough…and then take the risk. (Getting too comfortable with my/our spiritual status quo. ‘Nuff said.)

3. I didn’t teach the Vineyard how to feed itself. (We’ve suspected it. Confirmed with the Reveal survey. I own this one.)

4. Didn’t talk to God enough. (This is an embarrassing thing for a pastor to admit, but I find prayer more than difficult. Once again, relying way too much on natural gifts. Not good. The best things that happened this year have been in desperate moments of brokenness/prayer.)

5. I was too cheap. (I think some of this is simply family-of-origin-stuff from coming from a poor background. It’s one thing to be cheap with yourself, but awful when that spills out with others).

6. I cocooned too much. (The dark side of introversion. But even worse is when TV becomes the “veg factor” for down time. For introverts thrown into extroverted contexts, this can feel like an entitlement for us. That kind of thinking sucks.)

7. Didn’t worship enough privately and publicly. (Worship is definitely one of my pathways to connecting with God. Some of my most intense moments have been in the car on some of my Friday morning prayer/drives with a mix CD of favorite worship songs. But life has a way of crowding out those times. Or is that one more excuse? And why?)

8. I didn’t have enough one-on-one meetings with the greatest staff in the world. (We have an incredibly hardworking, dedicated staff that takes the tithe dollars that support them seriously. I need to spend more one-on-one time with them and express my appreciation and respect. We now have about 120 people on staff.)

9. Didn’t exercise. (Yeah, I know…my body is a temple. A big one. Does cutting the grass count?)

10. Forgot my admin assistant’s birthday. (Donna saves my life on a regular basis. What was I thinking? Or not thinking? I’ll have her put it on my calendar…)

There you have it. Now come on…what’s yours?


  1. Ok, you asked! :)

    Top 3 cool things:

    God blessed us with the best little senior dog with a heart condition who is now a therapy dog.

    Freedom ensued when I put down my idols.

    I got to use my writing and theatre experience for God's glory.

    Top 3 things I screwed up:

    Did not always listen to God when He was navigating. Shipwreck anyone?

    Did not read enough scripture on a regular basis. I tend to crisis study.

    Did not work consistently enough on a long term project. Will rectify that this year.

    2008 is going to be a year of all things new...That theme has been popping up everywhere from personal prayer time to messages at church to random things I hear or read. I'm strapping in for the ride!

  2. Are we allowed to comment on the new picture? If not don't read any futher....

    I miss the old picture. The new one is creeping me out. The old picture was more inviting with the pondering, thoughful expression.

    Peace :)

  3. Thanks, Tabitha. The old picture will come back shortly. Just experimenting.

    The zip-lock forehead is pretty creepy. I usually don't do that in public...

  4. Dave your outrageous honesty amazes me at times...

    Top 3 Cool Things:

    Plugging into volunteering at Mercy Works! The greatest servants in the world serving some of the dearest!

    Great new job

    Learning the difference between having FAITH in God and TRUSTING God

    Top 3 Screw Ups:

    Taking so long to learn the difference between having faith in God and trusting God.

    All the whining and self-pity during my first ever time of unemployment. What a baby! lol

    Not spending enough time with the Lord during that tough time. Like Dave, I'm guilty of going into a TV coma when I don't want to expend the energy to grow.

    The number 8 is the Biblical number for new beginings. May 2008 be a year of exciting new beginings for all of VCC!

  5. Dave,

    When I saw you were going to list ten things you screwed up, I assumed it would be the typical pastor list that revealed very little and ultimately meant even less (that's not intended as an insult, just used to seeing people with influence play it safe); but I believe this list was very open and honest, and as someone who has tried to communicate the "messiness" of walking with Jesus, I appreciate other leaders stepping up and publicly identifying their areas for growth.

    It helps the rest of us realize it's not the end of the world if we screw up, and long as we identify the mistakes, learn from them, ask for forgiveness from God and the people involved, and pursue Jesus in a way that helps us do a little better the next time around.

    Thanks, and I hope things are well back at home base.

  6. Thats a great blog bit Dave.

    Your honesty kicks ass. Love hearing what the Big G is doing in your corner of the globe.

    One thing I slipped into over 2007 was comparing myself to others, its a bit of a killer as it kinda stops you from being yourself, so I'm letting that go for starters in 2008!

    Can't wait to see you givin' it some large ones in the summer, will be in touch good to skype ya the other day.

    Have a sweet week.

    Andy, Claire and the wee ones.

  7. Dave

    quit being hard on yourself!

    Its all under the blood and of course your forgiven!


  8. First, you just need to are such a blessing! When I moved to Cinci in July of '05 and visited about 10 churches, well, Vineyard was the only one where I was greeted by at least 5 different people. I got the true understanding of what a seeker feels. For that, I am so thankful for what VCC does so very well.

    On another note, I'm excited to hear that more Bible reading will be encouraged. I'm in the Word, but not nearly as much as I need to be, but what I've come to realize is that Jesus reminds me of various verses when I need them the most...on that, I think it would be so helpful to hear encouragement of the good ole' Joshua passage about meditating on the Word day and night. It truly is our sword. I've found that I'm quoting Jer. 29:11 and 2 Tim. 1:7, but I know some who aren't familiar w/ those passages and I! I couldn't imagine life w/o them and others!

    Thank you for your honesty and for encouraging honesty among your's my lists:

    Top 3 cool things:
    I graduated from grad school w/ a Master's in Counseling...yeah!!!

    I've begun to "hear" (not audibly ;-)) God more in my prayer life.

    I've come to the realization that everything is a process and those processes will never be complete until Jesus comes back. Doing counseling is a process...hearing God is a process...trusting God is a process...allowing God to mold me into the woman He ultimately wants me to be is...yes, a process.

    Top 3 things I screwed up:
    I got really stressed out trying to depend on my own strength instead of Jesus'!

    I shouldn't have graduated because I got distracted more than I'd like to admit, but my prayer partner made me realize that God's grace was the catalyst that would motivate me to finish the task and it was and I did! AMAZING! EVEN when I screw up!

    I often allowed Satan to fool me into thinking that those various distractions were ministry when in actuality, Jesus was telling me He really didn't need my help in those specific situations and I didn't need to play Savior because that was already done!

    So...there ya go! 2008's gonna be better! The Holy Spirit has taught me so much...not only in 2007, but in the last 15 years I've learned that Jesus is so crazy about me and His crazy love for me only grows! I just hope I can spread that great love to those who don't yet know.

    God bless you, Dave and thanks again! You lead us w/ what I like to call that bold humility. Thank you!

    Because of Jesus,