Your Heritage of Faith

At Randall, we have established that "Fifth Sunday is Family Sunday." We have kids involved in greeting, ushering, music, as well as our tech team. One addition this month we are adding is the family choir. Now, when it comes to the mission and focus of the local church, it should be noted that "choir singing," or children's ministry" cannot be found anywhere in the book of Acts. Why do we do it then?

While children are not part of a specific missions strategy plan, we do see in Paul in Acts 16 take young Timothy under his wing and begin training him and developing him for carrying on the mission of making the name of Jesus famous to everyone, Jew or Gentile. As well, this passage concludes by saying "So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers" (Acts 16:5). God was blessing this approach to reaching the lost!

Just like young Timothy, we are able to celebrate generations later the legacy and heritage of faith of those spiritual giants who have gone before us. But what do each these individuals all have in common regardless of their specific time slot in history? An intentional drive and purpose for being certain that the mission of God is carried out not just a year from now, or ten years from now, but a hundred years from now. Now that is a legacy. What about you? What is your heritage of faith?

As I stated earlier, choir singing or a worship band are not necessarily part of the mission of God. However the church functioning as the healthy body of Christ is! The reason we worship each Sunday is not to elevate one another, but to elevate the One Almighty. The direct purpose of singing together is not musical quality, but missional community. This is why we take four Sundays a year to incorporate multiple generational preferences all into one space. We want to be a heritage of faith for the next generation. We invite every man, woman, and child to "find your place." Maybe your "place" is in the choir?

Stretch yourself. Try something different. It will be fun! We are making it easy for singers of all ages to join us. Two songs, and two rehearsals. Bring your voice and bring your entire family to practice Thursday, January 26th at 7PM, and Sunday January 29th at 8:30AM.

Pastor Milo

Taking The Pulse on Church Revitalization

Easter Sunday 2016 marked the beginning of my tenure and relationship with the congregation at Randall Church as Lead Pastor. When I was called, it was understood by all that this would be a church in transition, a church with a beautiful heritage of faith that needed to be revitalized for the next generation. We made a few minor adjustments to start, but in August 2016 we looked at the fall with great expectation, hiring two new staff members, Mario Delgado and Bryan Long. Where have we gone since then?

The Short Game: The Last 6 Months
One theme that remains consistent in the life of a church going through tremendous transition, is that change will always be happening! Can you believe it is already 2017? Can you believe that we have already run two cycles of Sunday Electives since August? That we have two new staff members completing now six months of ministry with us? That we journeyed through 26 weeks of sermon series on Forgiveness, Finances, the books of Ecclesiastes Ephesians, and now continuing in Hebrews? That we have organized ourselves in care corridors to disciple and encourage one another as well as meet practical needs in our community? That our enrollment in Randall Kids is at an all-time high in recent memory? Can you believe that we baptized four in the last six months, and voted in two sessions of DNA membership to our church?  While change is difficult, God is at work, and it has been an unbelievable ride!

The Long Game: Church Revitalization
Tom Cheyney, author and speaker for church revitalization says this: Revitalization and transformation is difficult. If it were not so difficult you would already be doing it! Church revitalization takes some time. Nearsighted consultants believe it can be wrapped into a six-month period. I have discovered that if you are not willing to invest a minimum of 1,000 days you should not get into the effort of revitalization and renewal.  

As a leadership team, we are taking church revitalization seriously. Guess what 1000 days from my start date of Easter 2016 is? I didn't know, so I figured it out today. 1000 days lines up exactly to Christmas Eve 2018. So there is the target. I pray that you are in this for the long game with me. I pray that while you are excited for what God has done in the last six months, that you will have a Holy-Ghost-longing for what he will do with a revitalized body of believers. I pray that we will not short-circuit the process and begin patting ourselves on the back too soon. Why? Because I truly believe that the best is yet to come! 

I believe that if you are every man, woman, and child within our church's geography, that you will have an opportunity to find your place UPward in Christ, INward in the Church, and OUTward in the Community.

That is what a truly revitalized church looks like.

Start the countdown. Start praring with us. Let the revitalization start with me.

Pastor Milo

Book Review: Shepherding a Child’s Heart

At age 35 it would be very foolish of me to try to outright define who I am. Particularly in the last few years, it seems like the words in various books jump off of the page, or the illustrations of various challenging speakers seem to come to the same point: “you still have a lot of growing up to do.” Nonetheless, one of the skill-sets that God seems to have given me that I have seen at least moderate success in a short span of 15 years in ministry, is the aptitude of a church strategist. I grew up in a fundamental church in the country, have served in multiple progressive and new church plants in various environments, and currently serve as pastor of a church with nearly two centuries in existence. As time passes, my experience continues to become more and more diverse. Yet, I’m learning that to be most effective I need to talk less and listen more. I’ve become intentional about developing an “elevator speech,” or “napkin notes” for what is most important and most compelling about the organization I lead. My belief is that people will be most excited about where we are going, and will engage in activity with us, if I can relationally connect them to the heart of our ministry.

I was stunned and taken back however about 2 years ago when my wife approached me lovingly one day about our four kids and home and said: “Why is it that you can scribble down the mission of our church on a napkin but you don’t have any idea where our family is headed?” Point taken. She had me pinned down to say the least. What would be my response? Why was this important? Where would our family be directed? How would we get there? Her poignant question triggered what seemed like thousands of follow-up questions in my mind, and the reality was that I didn’t seem to have any answers for any of them. It brought me to my knees in prayer, it challenged me to read some books outside of the “church strategic plan” section of the bookstore as well as my own library, and most importantly it motivated me to look at God’s word with new eyes. What would be our family mission statement? What would be our family values?

One of the helpful books in this process was actually assigned to me in a coaching network. Although the work was new to me, it had been out for more than 20 years and has high reviews across the board. Yet, I was reading Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding A Child’s Heart with a fresh set of eyes. Furthermore, the concepts of the book seemed fresh to me as well: “The Scripture teaches that the heart is the control center for life. A person’s life is a reflection of his heart.” “When we miss the heart, we miss the glory of God. One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness, and glory of God for whom they are made. I want my kids to have a heart hurt for the things that God’s heart bleeds for. How can I do that if I am only disciplining their behavior, and not deal with the reason behind their poor behavior. In a similar fashion, I can reward positive behavior without ever encouraging my children to see God being glorified when they choose live life with a joyful attitude.

I’ve had to make some adjustments. I’ve had to re-think how I parent,  and stop making the assumption that if I am generally engaged in their lives that they will start to “get it” in regards to giving their heart to God. I will need to communicate with them regularly, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a few major talking points along the way. Tripp says: “A regular habit of talking together prepares the way for talking through strained situations. You will never have the hearts of your children if you talk with them only when something has gone wrong .”  I've had to make some adjustments in my schedule. there are two mornings a week that I no longer am able to get the physical exercise I had blocked out in my calendar previously. Perhaps I’ll put on a few pounds in the end, but it will be worth it. Instead, I have a date with daddy with each of my school-age daughters one morning a week before classes start.

And do you know what? I have a better idea now of what it is I want them to know. I have a better idea of what biblical truths I want to share. Also, I have a better idea from this book how to communicate with them as they grow into different life stages. So here is how I hope to shepherd my children’s hearts. So here is what I want to communicate to my family. So here, is my “elevator speech.” Here is what I believe will change their lives for eternity:

BE: Who You Are (Ephesians 1:1-2)
KNOW: Whose You Are (Ephesians 1:3-4)
LOVE: Actions Speak Clear (Ephesians 1:5-7)
GO: Adventure Is Near! (Ephesians 1:8-10)