Small Change Brings Big Pay Offs

I have a jar of change next to my desk at home. There’s nothing special about it. It’s just a large glass jar that Jeannie thought would look good in my study. Some time ago, I started dropping my spare change in the jar. The growing pile of coins looked pretty cool. Like most guys, I hate carrying loose change in my pockets. So, I just throw it in there.

A few months ago I took the jar to a change counter and I had over $300! Over three hundred dollars in pennies, nickels, quarters, and dimes!

Most of us have big projects in our lives and we’ve learned that no matter how large the project, we can get it done if we break it down into small steps.

Our marriages are the same way. Our gestures of love don’t always have to be over-the-top romantic getaways with expensive dinners and violins playing in the background.

Love, true love, is expressed, more times than not, in “small change” ways. It’s small things like knowing how she likes her coffee or making sure you always buy his favorite cookies at the grocery store. It’s holding hands while you watch TV or running the errand when the other is pressed for time.

Believe it or not, these small change gestures add up to substantial sums over time. Like coins in my jar, little gestures of love slowly build into a surprising windfall.

You can’t always do the grand gesture to show your love. So, do what you can. Even the smallest effort adds up!

Map or Compass?

I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. I lived there for over 20 years. More than that, I was the pickup and delivery guy for my family’s television and appliance business. This means I drove the delivery trucks all over the city. I knew every back alley and shortcut in every area of Huntsville. Tell me where you wanted to go and I could tell you the quickest way to get there.

Now when I go to Huntsville, I can’t drive at all. I don’t know where anything is. Why? All of my landmarks have been torn down. My junior high school is being torn down and a brewery is being built in its place. The old farms around town have all been developed into neighborhoods. Banks are now restaurants and streets have been widened and renamed. My own hometown is like a foreign country to me.

Why?  Because the maps in my head are no longer valid. Things have changed. All of my landmarks are gone.

Life is a lot like that. Things change. The landmarks we used to determine where we were and which way we needed to go have all changed. What we trusted in modernity, we can’t trust now in post-modernity. It seems strange to find yourself standing in the same place and suddenly not know where you are.

Jesus, in His wisdom, didn’t give us a map to live by. Life’s geography changes too much and we suddenly find ourselves unable to navigate by the fixed points we once counted on. Instead, He gave us The Way. Jesus Himself is the compass of our souls. Landmarks and geography change, but true north is always true north. There are some things that don’t ever change and Jesus is one of them.

Sure, from day to day we may not recognize the scenery around us, but Jesus—the Compass of our souls—never loses His way. Because of that, we never lose ours.

In the Middle of the Middle Tennessee Initiative

From the beginning, we’ve understood the facilities at 7777 Concord Road are a base—a place where people are enlisted, trained, and then deployed to places of Kingdom service. As growth has continued, we’ve known we would establish regional campuses (forward operating bases) that would be nearer different people and opportunities of ministry.

We knew this was going to happen. We just didn’t know it was going to happen this fast. In the past several months, we have begun construction of the new facility at our Station Hill campus. We’ve remodeled and opened the facility for our Avenue South campus. We’ve brought two congregations into our church. Woodbine Baptist Church and West Franklin Baptist Church are now The Church at Woodbine and the Church at West Franklin, respectively.

In a matter of months, we’ve gone from 2 campuses to 5!

Now, we are busy putting the infrastructure in place to support our continued growth. At the time of this writing, we’re ready to bring in a young man as the potential pastor of The Church at West Franklin. Then, we’ll turn our full attention to developing the opportunities present at Woodbine. Woodbine is going to serve several purposes for us. Not only will it be the base through which we reach the lost in and around that church, Woodbine will also become a training ground where members and residents in training will get their exposure to the realities of transformational community ministry. Right now, we can see where this campus can host several congregations reaching a lot of different people groups. How exciting it will be to see all of this unfold.

Right now, we’re working with several institutions to design and implement a leadership pipeline to identify and develop leaders for not only our congregations, but also churches throughout the region. The postmodern setting of the North American church means we have to train our future leaders in different ways so they’re ready for the different world in which they’ll be working.

Most importantly, we’re working on a process to engage more and more of our members in ministry opportunities presented in all of these congregations and communities. Our church is filled with talented and committed people who want to make a difference. What’s lacking is a process to identify the gifts of our members and then find them a place of service where their gift sets can make the biggest Kingdom impact. We’re looking at PLACE on steroids. This is a critical piece of the MTI. Without the involvement of lay leaders, we’ll never be able to do all that we need to do.

One of the most frustrating and exciting aspects of the MTI is that it never ends. We’ll never be done. We’ll never be finished. From now until Jesus returns, we’ll be busy.

I’m so excited about what God has in store for us. God is up to something in the MTI. Find your place in it and get there!