I'll tell you at the end what the secret is.
But first, some images of our current (I'm blogging from a hotel in Okla.City) trip to Tyler, Texas. It's kind of a multi-purpose trip- connect with some alumni on way down, hook up with the 65 TSC students volunteering at Pine Cove, and family vacation.
Makai didn't have any problems that a little MickeyD's sundae couldn't solve...
The hotel jungle gym (aka: luggage cart) also helped.
They do get a little easier the older they get. Well at least age 7. I know someday there's always the possibility she'll be texting friends the whole way to Dallas. I love it that Ava LOVES to read. Props to Leatha for teaching her and Cameron how to read. Cam is also an avid reader.
The Anthem band led worship at a student ministry conference Friday/Saturday and these girls got all of our autographs. It's hard to keep myself from laughing as I'm signing my name. And these girls had (have) no idea I was getting their pic for my blog. Girls... don't lose those bags of yours, they're going to be a hot item on ebay someday...
One quick autograph story that cracked me up. Bryan, our bass player, had a sort of personal oath (that's strong, but nearly true) that he would never give an autograph in his life. Well, he caved.
He was seen right afterwards outside by the loading dock hanging his head in shame. Bobby was the one who saw him moping around outside in utter shame and disgrace. He said, "Mark, you would've thought Bryan had lost his virginity." Poor Bryan. He caved to some pre-teen girls who desperately wanted an autograph.
I have no doubt that Bryan, now feeling himself in the same category as the Jonas Brothers, has had countless nightmares since Saturday.
So he signed the rest of his autographs with the fake name, "Bob Seether."
Below is a picture of Kent Julian, an old friend from Christ Com in Omaha, who was one of the speakers at this conference. Kent is brilliant when it comes to meta-trends. As one of the other speakers was up there throwing down the 'ol, "70% of students never come back to church after leaving high school youth group", Kent walks over to me, leans down and whispers, "It's not true. We've debunked that so many times in Group Magazine" (apparently a magazine he contributed to). He said it's more like 40%, which is still sad, but not as bleak as the oft repeated 7o-80% statistic.
To be honest, the conference was a bit of culture shock for me. Very Bapt... nevermind.
(but it ends with ...ist)
On a serious note, God worked me over with conviction after Friday night. I had just taught on Romans 12:14-ff at TSC the night before, "Each of you should think of yourselves with sober judgment... do not be conceited"
I really left with a burden for this group of people. They love Jesus, but their approach to ________ is irrelevant. Insert whatever word you like... worship, evangelism... (I'm generalizing- not necessarily any one person or youth group, just my overall sense). One of our people went to the evangelism breakout session, which was mostly reinforcing the idea, "Go to the web and check out all of our great tracts. Order them, distribute them, get the name of Jesus out there."
By the way. If I see a tract on a bathroom stall, I usually throw it away.
I'm sure there's someone that got saved from one. But I'm also sure someone got saved because some prophet with a paint can graffitied John 3:16 on a railroad car.
I always try to leave bathrooms cleaner than when I came in. "God, if I just kept a bunch of janitors from getting saved, please use another means, Lord."
Or another way to look at it is that I kept them from becoming atheists by getting bitter toward Christians for leaving their trash out.
Below: I've never been a huge fan of the mime acts
Below: A look from behind the sound board, as Brittany Lewin(?) is speaking. She was a 17 year old who ran a campaign for a state senator. She was mentioned in the "Do Hard Things" book.
Clint Robinson and I led a session on raising up the next generation of artists. One of my points was, "If you're raising money, for the love, don't use a thermometer. Thermometers are what happens when the teachers design, the leaders follow, and the artists... well... give themselves to secular work where they can actually pursue their potential. Let the artists create, the leaders lead, and the teachers teach."
One thing I love about Cornerstone is the creative control of Mike Despard. His fingerprint is all over Cstone. No committees need to decide what color the walls and carpet are going to be. There's just no reason that needs to fall on the agenda of any elder or church business meeting.
Here's the positive example I gave. This is the artist's version of the fundraising thermometer. The huge mural is in black and white.
Each week gets a 3 inch section. Each section gets color according to where we're at for budget that week. So color means the mural is coming to life and shows the response of God's people, while black and white is the indication that we're not meeting our goal.
I shared some other stuff in the breakout. It was the usual- some insightful thoughts mixed with other things I regret saying. Par for the course.
Ready for the secret?
Cornerstone may or may not be Bapt...
Let's keep it a secret. At least I didn't tell you what kind we are.
Oh, here's a related quiz question: Which Cornerstone pastor spoke at the Baptist Convention of Iowa and had two points to his message entitled, 'The two problems with Southern Baptists in Iowa"?
Here's a hint: The two points to his message were,
1. Southern... b/c we're not in the south
2. Baptist...b/c no one in Iowa wants to be Baptist
Here's the last hint about which pastor gave this rousing speech: His name starts with "T"
and ends with "Roy"
And he's the pastor who ripped his shirt off during one of his messages.
Okay, one more in case you still haven't guessed: It's not Jeff Dodge.
No more hints.
Which leads me to my final picture. Will this blog entry ever end? I was wondering the same thing...
Someone on staff is very proud of the fact that I got my picture in the Baptist Newspaper. This is a picture of me receiving a check from the Association. To be sure, it was a huge blessing. But I thought it was funny getting my picture in the paper. "Cutting edge news!!!!! College pastor receives check for ministry!!!" It's the same feeling as giving an autograph.