Accomplishing a Dream

The Lessons Learned

This Sunday we celebrated our ten-year anniversary at Strong Tower Church. As amazing as the last ten years have been, I believe that the next ten are going to be even greater.

Dream

In the fall of 2007, my pastor invited me into his home to share his dream of creating a church that would attract those who had given up on church. We had no idea how to accomplish it, but we were young and naïve enough to try anything.

There was one big problem among many smaller ones. Strong Tower Church had already existed for almost two years, and it wasn’t doing a great job of attracting people. The average attendance in 2007 was just over one hundred people. Not bad for a town with one red light, but far from the dream God had birthed in my pastor’s heart.

Fast-forward eight years and as we get ready to celebrate ten years as a church, we’re also getting ready to launch our second location. Who knew 100 attenders could turn into 150, then 250, then 400, then 600, then 700+, and who knows maybe even 1,000 by the end of 2016?

Yet, those aren’t the most important numbers. The most important numbers are the hundreds of people that we’ve seen give their lives to Christ and go public with their faith through baptism. Those are the numbers we really care about.

So, how do you go about achieving your dreams? Here are a few things I’ve learned.

  • It’s Harder than You can Imagine – Every dream has a cost attached to it. The bigger the dream, the bigger the cost. It’ll cost you friends, it’ll cost you money, and it’ll cost you sleep.
  • It’s More Work than You Thought – I’m convinced that God blesses those who work the hardest and the smartest. If you’re not willing to work harder than you ever have before, your dream will never be a reality.
  • It’s More Worth It than You Realize – As hard as it is, and as much work as it takes, it’s so worth it. I am reminded of that over and over again each and every week as I see this dream come to life.

I’ve been so fortunate to see this dream realized at Strong Tower Church, and I can’t wait to take this dream to a brand new community.

What goals and dreams do you have? How are you accomplishing them? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

What Season are You In?

Life has seasons. I was reminded of that a couple weeks ago when I met with my young adults LifeGroup. All of them are in a unique season of life where the opportunities are endless.

SeasonsofLife

I have to admit, I was a little jealous. Often I go through seasons where I feel like I’m not accomplishing enough. I’m not saving enough money. I’m not spending enough time with my family. I’m not investing in myself enough. I’m not developing enough relationships. And the list keeps going. Maybe you can relate.

Jon Acuff says this in his newest book Do Over

“There are different times in your life, career, year and week when you will hustle differently than in others. Perhaps right now you’re in family season. You’ve got young kids and need to focus on establishing your family. A dad of a four week old told me he was still getting up at 5am to try to work on his dream. I told him to stop that. He was already getting up at 3am to help feed the baby. He had enough dream to work on right now, it was called raising a human. That’s plenty for that season.”

Perhaps, you’re going through a difficult season right now. We’ve all been there. There are some seasons where it just seems like nothing goes right for us. The danger during this season is thinking it’s never going to get better.

Others of you may be going through a really productive season right now. We all want to be there. These are seasons in which it seems like everything keeps going right. The danger during this season is to think it’s always going to be this way.

The truth is every season eventually gives way to another. Winter eventually turns into spring, and summer eventually turns into fall.

I believe each season has something to teach us. It may be patience, it may be humbleness, it may be perseverance.

Whatever the season there’s a lesson to be learned.

What season are you currently in? What have you been learning? Make sure to share in the comments below.

Is Attending Church Hard Work?

I used to believe that some people didn’t attend church because they felt the church had little to offer them. I’m now starting to believe that people are attending church less because attending church is kind of like work, and none of us, me included, are crazy about work.

Getoutofbed

Now, before you write me off, just humor me for a minute. What does a typical church-going family’s Sunday experience look like?

Depending on what service time you attend, you may or may not be dragging yourself and your kids out of bed. You’re getting showers, baths, dressed, and if you have time, eating a quick breakfast.

You’re then driving anywhere from a few to several minutes to get to church. Depending on the parking situation, you may have a short walk, or you may have to be bussed over to your final destination.

You’re greeted and welcomed with hugs and handshakes from some people you may or may not know. You either wait in line to check-in your kids, or you drop them off to strangers who you hope have been background checked.

You make your way to the auditorium just as service is starting and get ready to stand for the next twenty to thirty minutes as the worship team sing songs you would never listen to on the radio. To complicate things further, during the middle of the music someone passes around a bucket or plate that you’re expected to put your hard earned money in. Just as your legs are about to buckle, thankfully the pastor takes the stage, and you’re allowed to sit down.

Depending on your church the pastor may or may not preach a message that you can apply to your life. Either way, thirty minutes into the message you find yourself wishing you had taken the time to stop and get a cup of coffee on the way in because you’re starting to doze off. Another fifteen minutes go by, and you’re asked to stand again, only this time you’re to bow your head until your neck develops a crick in it.

Then more music, dismissal, find your kids, find your wife, find your car, find a restaurant without a one hour wait, and then get home to watch the last half of the ballgame.

No wonder people are attending church less often, and this “make believe” family doesn’t even volunteer or attend a small group.

I have to admit attending church is hard work, but the benefits are fantastic. You would think the benefits would be enough to motivate people, but I’m finding in my own life that’s not always the case.

Let me explain. Several months ago I decided to start this blog. I didn’t want to take away from my family time, so I started waking up an hour earlier than normal to write posts.

It was incredibly fulfilling, and people actually started reading and subscribing. Then the holidays hit. Kids were out of school, I was off of work, and it became easier and easier to sleep in a little later each morning.

Before I knew it I was trading writing posts and spending time with God in for an extra hour of TV at night and an extra hour of sleep in the mornings.

I knew what I should’ve been doing, but I couldn’t find the motivation to do it. When push came to shove, I chose what was easy over what was beneficial.

It reminded me a little of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14,

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to be tempted to take the easy way out, especially if you’re taking your cues from the crowd.

But, if you’re going to do anything that leads to blessings and benefits, at times it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to involve some work.

So, you have to ask yourself, “Are you going to get out of bed?”

Are you finding that people are attending your church less often? What are you doing to defend against that?