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?