Saturday, August 23, 2008

Power Lab is Coming Your Way!

Thanks for checking out our Power Lab details. Till the website for our new faith community is developed, we’ll keep you updated here. Please note, this blog has been intended to keep our supporters updated on our new church start progress, and so other posts may give you a flavor of what our journey has been like, and my style as a pastor-type, but they weren’t really written with you, the general audience, in mind. Enough of the disclaimers; here’s what our mini-Power Labs have to offer your family:

Our goal with these one-day events is to let you check us out safely and comfortably as a possible new faith community for your family. A lot of you have little kids, children in K-6 grades. If you haven’t been active or connected at all to a church in the past, we understand how uncomfortable it can be to get started. At the same time, young families often need help instilling healthy morals, a sense of faith, and life-giving attitudes (like thankfulness) in their children. We are here to help. These Saturday mornings are just for you!

No need to commit to anything but one session.
No need to go further than the neighborhood park near you.
No need to know anything about God, Jesus, or church-stuff in order to participate.
No need to be afraid – we’re not into guilt, judgment, or shame.
Come as you are, wherever your family is on your faith journeys together and we’ll help you to take a simple step forward together, and hopefully have a great time doing it.

The topic of the day will be THANKFULNESS. We do the exact same program all four weekends, so you can choose whatever weekend works best for your family. Here’s how the morning is laid out:

9:00 am Registration and Refreshments
9:20 am Sonic Sing and Play
(fun songs, skit, & introductions)
9:45 am Breakout Stations
(Station 1 Wacky Works Crafts – Station 2 Bible Blast)
10:15 am Test Tube Treats
(snack, thankfulness challenges, parents’ time to learn more)
10:35 am Breakout Stations
(Station 3 HyperSpeed Bubble Games – Station 4 Science Experiment & sharing)
11:15 am Fusion Finale
(more songs, wrap up talks, Great Geyser experiment, and more)
11:45 am Neighborhood Lunch
(a freebee for everyone as long as the hot dogs & floats last!)

The morning is really designed for families to do together. If the adults are working, no problem, but try to hook up your son or daughter with another family for the day. Got little, little ones in the mix? Might be better to plan for a childcare swap with one of your friends, but we will be doing our best to also offer a pre-schoolers program if we can. If we can’t, bring ‘em along and they can go around to the stations with you.

Registration forms can be obtained in advance or filled in on the day of the event. Cost is $10 per child, which primarily covers costs of everything they get to take home. There will be free Caribou Coffee for the adults each morning, and other things for you to take home too! And don’t forget to invite your neighbors to the free picnic lunch after each event.

All of this is coming to you from New Day United Methodist Church, a new church to the Big Lake area. However, United Methodism is not new; we are actually the third largest denomination across the United States. To learn more about us, check out our links on the left hand side of this blog. New Day has not started worship services yet – look for those in 6-12 months; till then, look for us to be listening, responding, and creating something new for you!

Future Plans:
If 15 or more families indicate they’d like more events like these, we’ll start pulling together possible follow-up sessions focusing on helping others, being brave, living forever, and more.

Watch for more ways to try us out throughout the year. We’re going to be calling it The Good Life Series, and basically, these are going to be short-term courses to help address other needs in your lives:
Good Cents (practical help on money matters)
Good Heavens (spirituality and faith basics)
Good Grief (disaster, death and dying concerns)
Good Sex (dating, relationships, and love for both singles and married couples)
Good Times (community building events for good Christian fun)
Good Neighbor (hands on projects of Christian service for everyone)
And more!

Obviously, we hope your kids will come away feeling happy, more thankful, knowing more about the power which Jesus gives, and wanting more. We hope you’ll come away with a positive family experience, a sense of comfort with us, and a curiosity about growing more in your spirituality. For registration forms or more information on anything, feel free to call Pastor Jim Beard at 763-300-9626, or contact us at

We look forward to the fun together with you and your family at Power Lab!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stressful Times

Something new has entered into the hearts of us these past four weeks – stress! After sharing this with my coach, he calmly replied, “Good! That is exactly what church planting should feel like at this point; if it didn’t, we might think you were doing something wrong!” Well, that’s good ...... I guess ......

At this point, we have not only had all of the issues with moving to contend with, but all of the issues of “going live” (so to speak) for the first time in the community. For those following our progress, you may recall our plans to help young families with some parenting support by offering a mini-VBS experience on developing thankfulness in children. It was originally to take place on August 23rd; rather than put “all our eggs in one basket” and limit families to one option, we decided to adjust the plan by going smaller, more local, and on more dates. We are now offering the same event in four of the neighborhood parks, one on each of the four Saturdays in September. Rather than hoping for 40 people all at once, we’re now preparing to serve 1-2 dozen children at a time, thus giving each family more personal attention and care.

The stress comes with making it all happen, of course! How will we decorate? What needs to be on the door hangers? Do we need insurance? Photo permission clauses? How do we keep the Caribou Coffee hot and fresh? Who has a parachute? Gosh, we probably need a United Methodist banner so we don’t look like some suspicious-looking cult; now how are we going to display that? Help, we need a trailer to move this stuff around; anybody have one? Anybody? Families are probably going to want to check us out by going to our website; but that isn’t ready yet. Can we throw a simple one together? Yes, but we have to decide on an official church name in order to take the first step (and the winner is: New Day United Methodist Church!). Still not enough time to put something in place. What can we do immediately instead? (By the way, tomorrow’s blog is dedicated to them and the details of these Power Lab events)

OK, you get the idea. And that’s just one of many areas demanding attention these days. What we took for granted in the past can not be counted on in the present. Even little things like electricity, or a pool of caring volunteers, are now luxuries. I guess we are the first ones who are learning God’s lessons on THE POWER OF THANKFULNESS. Everything is indeed a gift in our lives. Every person has something to offer which can bless us. Every action we take is aimed at blessing someone else with the Spirit of Christ, and even if we can only take half the actions we dream about, we can at least be thankful to be able to take the actions which we can.

The Bible reminds me to do this, if only I’d pay more attention to it: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:30-34 The Message

So maybe I should stop stressing and start praising more. Thank you, almighty Lord, for whatever we have for this event, and all we can do right now to share your blessings with others; help us to be leaders of the thankfulness that is due to you!