Learnings from ARC – Pt 2

If you missed what ARC is, take a few moments and read this post.

Many times when you listen to a message you end up walking away with only one point.  And many times that one point isn’t necessarily the crux of the message the speaker wanted you to grasp.  However, I think that is the role of the Holy Spirit – to make things pop out at you.

On Tuesday, we got to hear from Pastor Rick Bezet, Senior Pastor of New Life Church, a multi-site church in Arkansas.  He spoke on some key principles in doing ministry well.

  1. Don’t forget about the hurting world.
  2. Keep the Lord first.
  3. Be very wise with your pace.
  4. Be quick to forgive.
  5. Be not afraid.

Great points all.  But the one quote that has stuck with me since was some advice from his mentor, Pastor Larry Stockstill, Senior Pastor of Bethany Church in Louisiana.

“Pray in the morning until joy hits your heart.  Never tackle the duties of the church until you have met with the Lord.”  I’m not sure why (maybe because it is convicting), but that has stuck with me ever since I heard it.  And it speaks to an overall narrative I’ve been working through for the past several months – I WANT MORE OF GOD.  Pastor Daniel asks us, “When people spend time with you, who do they get?”  Who do people get when they get me?  I’m not entirely sure.  But I do know I want them to get God.  I want there to be such a presence of Jesus in my life that it’s blinding.  And the only way to do that is that “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

One of the ways I want to accomplish this is that first time in the morning with God.  I love that imagery.  “Pray until…”  It is much like Jacob who “wrestled until…”  It is the posture that God has something good to give us, namely Himself, and we won’t relent until we have received it.  That is what I want.

Learnings from ARC

Last week several of our staff had the privilege of attending the ARC Conference at Church of the Highlands in Birgmingham, AL.  ARC stands for the Association of Related Churches.  Its primary goal is to plant healthy, life-giving churches.  They are one of the best, if not the best, organizations that equips, trains, funds, and launches new churches across America and even the globe.  That is why Lifepoint loves contributing to this amazing organization!  They say that the ARC Conference is the largest family reunion in the country.  It does feel like that.  I wanted to take a few posts that exceed 140 characters and let you in on what I learned during my 3 days.

During the day we had the opportunity to attend breakouts, smaller gatherings of people digging into a specific topic we face in the church.  It could be how to find a healthy rhythm as a Pastor.  How to plan a service.  How to better identify and develop leaders.  There were dozens to choose from.

My first breakout (APP sessions they were called) was “5 Weekly Habits to Build the Family You Want.”  I don’t know about you, but I want a healthy family.  I was ‘husband’ before I was an Executive Pastor.  I’ll be a dad after I retire.  So having a healthy family is super important to me.  One thing I learned was Healthy habits lead to legacy lives.  Kirby Anderson (http://kirbyandersen.com/) led the session with his wife Gail.  They have 5 children, one of which is going to ARC training to plant a church.  Not a bad legacy!

The things he said were simple.  Stupid simple as a matter of fact.  “I know this” kind of habits.  But why don’t we do them?  Why do we allow life to create complexity in our lives.  One thing we try to do as a church as we grow larger is stay simple.  We believe this leads to a more focused and healthier church.  Why not that for our families?  What would happen if we implemented SIMPLY habits each week – Habits like, talk with your spouse, eat together as a family, date your spouse.  It is a reminder that the most important things in our lives our not the glowing orbs in our hands – it is the relationships around us (Wow did I learn some amazing things about relationships I’ll share on a later post – MIND BLOWING).

Several of the habits we do well with.  A majority of the time we eat a meal together once a day.  We do fun stuff together as a family.  But some of the things I need to shore up.  I need to spend more one-on-one time with the boys.  If you have 6 kids just rotate once a week.  It is doable!  I need to spend more uninterrupted time with Jennifer.  I need to put the phone down more (don’t we all).  Overall it was a great reminder to focus on the simple things and create simple habits within our daily lives that create a routine of interaction.  I only have once chance to raise these boys and I want to get it right!