Heresy, right? Seriously, I’m not trying to crush everything you’ve come to know and love about the Bible. First I tell you that Joseph and Mary weren’t turned away from an “inn” and then I tell you that Jesus wasn’t born in a stable. Now I’m going to tell you that he wasn’t a carpenter. These are the kinds of truths/facts that you wouldn’t come across unless you were really looking for it, or unless you read the 5th Gospel. Who knew that a trip to the Holy Land would reveal so much about what 1st century was really like. Okay,...Read More
Yesterday I wrote about the birth of Jesus Christ. There was a cultural and historical context that doesn’t support the way most westerners see this significant event. From this point forward, when I think of Christmas, I won’t be thinking of quite stables on a chilly December night because there wasn’t room in the local inn. It’s not significantly different, but it’s meaningful to know how things actually played out. That post was already too long and I had a few more things to day, thus the title of this post. When spending the day in Bethlehem, I learned a...Read More
About midway through our trip to Israel, we visited Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. We actually stayed in a hotel on Manger Square for three nights, so we had a little more time in this little town than the average tourist. Of all the holy sites we visited in Israel, I think that that the Church of the Nativity was my favorite. First of all, our guide was amazing. Secondly, I learned more about the birth of Jesus from a historical/cultural perspective than I ever knew. I left Bethlehem with a completely different view of the birth of...Read More
A few weeks ago, I had the experience of a lifetime. Sara (my wife) and I spent a couple of weeks in Israel and it was AMAZING. Even now, weeks after returning, we’re still processing all that we experienced. I’ve only talked the ears off a few people – so far. One of the most profound experiences for me was the understanding and appreciation that comes with being in the Holy Land. Four over 40 years, I imagined places and scenarios as I read them in the Bible. Obviously, I’ve seen films and pictures of Israel, so my imagination...Read More
Last week we took 140 kids to summer camp. It was an amazing five days and my highlight was what happened on night three. Something amazing happened in the hearts of dozens of kids – but it almost didn’t happen. Our group made up half of the kids attending this camp in Northern Arizona. The camp provided the band, the activities, the speaker and the curriculum. It’s an amazing experience to have no other responsibility than just be with your kids, letting the camp take care of everything else. However, after the first day – we noticed a small problem....Read More
In the How to Camp series, I wrote about how to streamline the camp preparation process. I talked about budgeting, registration forms, and incentivized registration. For the past three years, I honed this process at my church in Austin, TX and saw significant success. The marker for success was this: 50-60% of registrations submitted on opening day (4 months before camp) 14% of registrations submitted in the final month of registration Registration closed SIX weeks before camp began Camp came in UNDER budget The big question I had was, “Will this work somewhere else?” The immediate response I get...Read More
I have four email accounts. All four are google/Gmail accounts and I utilize all four on a daily basis. I have managed to only use one calendar (I import all my calendars to my work google account). I do utilize google docs for each of the accounts as well. This means that at any given time, I have 5-10 tabs open dedicated to my google/Gmail accounts (four email tabs, one or two drive tabs, one calendar tab and usually several open docs. For someone who always has a lot of tabs open, this doesn’t help. That’s why SHIFT has been...Read More
I’m happy to say that I’ve had Jim Wideman as a mentor and friend in my life for nearly ten years. He’s been a hero of mine for much longer than a decade, so it’s really fun to have access to him like I do now. Last month, he and I were in Atlanta together for NEXT, an informal gathering of NextGen and Family Ministry Pastors that I help organize. While at NEXT, Jim had me on his podcast. First of all, I have to say the the recording environment might have been my favorite. The last time I was...Read More
Sometimes the expenses associated with camp can be absolutely overwhelming. You’ve got money going in and money going out and it’s not so easy keeping track. What makes matters worse is that most churches have a line item in their budget for camp. A lump sum of money. But that’s it. The problem is that your line item for camp isn’t enough. Camp needs it’s own budget so you know if you’re over, under or right on track. I hope to simplify this for you a little. First of all, you need to decide if camp is designated as...Read More
One of the most painful part of preparing for camp is form management. Depending on what camp you are going to, what state you live in or what practices your church has, your parents are going to fill out a lot of forms. Church liability/release form Camp liability/release form Release for special activity (like rock wall or paintball) Behavior waiver Lengthy registration form It’s painful, but I’ve found that it can be less painful than we make it. We’re well into the 21st century – we can integrate a significant amount of this process. Integrate Everything You Need into...Read More
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