Thursday, August 28, 2008


Last Saturday a ton of Chapin Baptist volunteers showed up before daybreak at Kohl's on Harbison to participate in our third annual Clothe a Child. After a deluge of rain earlier in the week, God cleared out the clouds and brought a beautiful, cool, breezy morning.

Clothe a Child was birthed out of a student leadership class that Anita and I led for a couple of years. The students wanted to raise enough money to go to the Student Leadership University for a week in D.C. I thought it was a great idea as long as they were willing to raise twice that amount and use the other half for a local missions project. They accepted the challenge. We sold barbecue after church; we served fancy meal at a Valentine's Banquet; and we did a lot of "high-level" begging. When it was all said and done, the dozen high schoolers had raised more than $20,000, enough to go to D.C. and enough to buy $100 worth of new school clothes for 100 elementary-aged children.

I believe Clothe a Child has caught on. And I hope we can do it each year for many years to come. One of the primary reasons CAC has been so successful is because of the leadership of Sonja Hollis. Talk about a high energy go-getter. She is awesome. She does all the negotiating with the local department store, mobilizes all the volunteers, and then makes it all happen. Of course, she has folks helping her along the way. But it is Sonja's leadership and energy that makes CAC a memorable event each year.

This year we moved from Goody's to Kohl's (since Goody's is no longer around and since Kohl's thankfully opened a store in Harbison). Joni, the store manager was great to work with. Some of her employees donated their time to make the event happen. Because of their volunteer hours, Kohl's will be making a donation of $500 for next year's CAC. When the last family went through the checkout line, we had purchased new school clothes for 122 kids. Awesome!

Here are a few shots taken at last Saturday's event. A big thanks to Larry Russell for his camera work.


For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today was the first day of our long-awaited and much talked about transition. It was a wonderful day of worship. There are still many kinks to work out. But all-in-all it was a great day. One of our concerns was how well the 10:45 service would be attended. 50-75 would not have surprised us. But, oh me of little faith. We had 150!!!

The prayer time in each service was moving. I about lost it in one of the services. The only thing that allowed me to keep my composure was another person coming forward requesting prayer. Pray with me that we can build a culture in our times of worship where people freely move forward for prayer or for significant spiritual decisions. What we saw today should become an every-week occurrence.

The fellowship time is wonderful. My friend Don Brock at Gateway Baptist shared with me recently that they built in a fellowship time when they moved into their new facilities. He said many resisted the idea at first. But now everyone loves it. I believe the same thing will happen here. However, I've got to find my new groove. I was enjoying the mingling today and it was 10:40. I thought I would casually work my way up to the worship center since I had 20 more minutes. Then it dawned on me that worship started in five minutes. Oh, well, I'll adjust soon.

Just as I'm praying for a culture of prayer in our worship services, I'm praying for a culture of hungering for God's Word in our small group times. I'm praying that whether classes meet for an hour, for the designated 80 minutes, or for two hours in some of our night time groups--that as God's Word is taught, people will hunger to become more and more like Jesus. I'm praying that genuine community will result.

God is at work. Lives are being transformed. Potential is unlimited. Come next Sunday expecting great things.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Is Church

Today was a long day. Someone asked me if I could tell a difference between my usual preaching three times a Sunday versus the one time today. My answer was that I was just as exhausted. Even though I preached just once, the fact that we had a completely different schedule today threw me out of sync. But actually that's a good thing (beware of ruts!). Video feeding the messaage was a first for me--weird feeling. But I hear things went very well for the first Sunday. All the audio/video snafus will be worked out over the next several weeks.

As I think back over the day, I recall an axiom that Bill Hybels talked about at the recent Leadership Summit. His axiom says, "This is church." That's how I feel about what happened today. The fellowship time was super. The remodeled fellowship hall looks fantastic, thanks to James Clonts' oversight and to the church family for your REACH contributions. It was great seeing people mingle, old and young alike. I'm told our new expresso machine should be up and running next Sunday.

Now, back to the "This is church" axiom. In addition to the fellowship time, it was a moving experience for me to see our people circled around the worship center as we prayed for our church, community, and country. This is church.

And then the picnic and worship, that's what church is all about. The outing required a large volunteer force. Seeing everyone pitch in...this is church. 26 were baptized in the lake. I was so pumped after the baptisms that the leeches crawling all over my feet when I came out of the water didn't bother me (I'm serious!). It's awesome when families are baptized together. One of our members, after we baptized five from one family at the same time, wondered if we were trying to match Michael Phelps record of 8 (gold medals). What can I say? This is church.

I'm looking forward to our next series of messages that begins next Sunday. "One Verse Wonders." We're going to take a look at six or seven of some of the greatest verses in the Bible. I know...they're all great. But you know what I mean. Don't forget the new schedule begins next Sunday.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 SUMMIT (2)

Bill George currently is professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. He is author of True North and Authentic Leadership. The main part of his talk dealt with six things a leader must do to move from "me" to "we".

1. Understand the purpose of your leadership. Why would people want to follow me? You must travel to your true north.

2. Gain self-awareness. Get feedback.

3. Practice values. What happens to your values when everything is about to go down the drain?

4. Lead with your motivating capabilities. Doing so leads to your sweet spot.

5. Build a support team around you. Prayer groups, one person, etc.

6. Lead and integrate into your life. Be the same person always.

Why do senior leaders fail? Because they fail to lead themselves.

Wendy Kopp is founder and CEO of Teach for America, an organization dedicated to eliminating educational inequity in our nation by enlisting the most promising future leaders in the effort. Earlier this year she was named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

All I can say is WOW! This just shows what one person can do who has a dream and then spends the energy to make it happen. I have ordered the Summit DVD. This interview is worth watching, folks. She leads a national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors, who commit to teach two years in urban and rural public schools. The results have been outstanding. These are graduates who are giving up lucrative job opportunities to accept meager salaries. But they are making a huge difference. Ten percent of this year's graduating class at Yale (all majors) applied for a position with Teach for America.

Kopp believes that regardless of environment, all children can excel and succeed in the classroom if quality leaders are providing a quality education. It is amazing to hear her share the two-year results from the children.

For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, August 10, 2008


What a great subject for my 100th blog posting--the annual Leadership Summit. This year due to economic factors we all decided to attend the one at CIU. The conference, as usual, was tremendous. I'm thankful that Willow Creek sets aside these couple of days every August. The sessions provide renewed energy and fresh vision. However, I confess that I missed the couple of days away in Charlotte. Getting away, I believe, is a great investment of time and dollars. It provides opportunities to hang out more with our Chapin Baptist leaders, especially in the hotel after the sessions are over. Hopefully, next year, we can "get away" again.

I'll use two or three blogs to give you some of my takeaways from the conference.

Bill Hybels--"The High Drama of Decision Making"--Most of his talk focused on some axioms that have had a great impact on how he does ministry. His talk, was a home run--worth the price of admission. Here are some of his axioms.

  • Vision leaks--Therefore, it must be repeated over and over and over and......
  • Get the right people around the table. God wants every church to prevail. Therefore, if there are issues, get the right people together to talk through the challenges. These people are looking for you to lead.
  • Facts are your friends. Bill spent a good bit of time talking about their REVEAL study which helped Willow recognize their shortcomings. The facts may hurt; but they are essential for moving forward.
  • Leaders call, "Foul." In meetings, the leader must maintain control or things can get heated. Sometimes, he must call a time out to get the group refocused.
  • Take a flyer--Do something big for the kingdom along the way; maybe, something global. Challenge people to do something BIG!
  • This is church--Church is not meetings and visioning and strategizing. When the people of God come together to serve the needy or the grieving--that's church.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."