Archive for the 'Ministry' Category

Jeopardy Question: What is 3.2?

Answer: the number of minutes it takes to comb bind one Pressing Toward the Mark workbook.

A more telling number is probably 16.5, which is the number of hours it takes to comb bind 300 such workbooks. I was really glad to be able to do it, and having the task finished does give me a great sense of satisfaction, but I am pretty sure I would also be fine to never again in my natural life stand for that long at the dining room table pulling, adding front and back covers, cross-stacking, adding plastic covers, punching (six punches per book), and threading (two stacks per book) any PTMs.

It is also clear that my project planning skills are simply not up to snuff. On editing, I never plan nearly enough time, and on this project, I roughly estimated it would take 25 hours. I’m obviously way off – still – but at least this time it’s in the right direction. I always like to exceed expectations.


My mountain

We are getting ready to give some copies of Scott’s Pressing Toward the Mark discipleship course to some Bible school students, and we have finally gotten them edited and formatted to be printed and “comb-bound.” We looked into having all that done at a print shop, and it was pricey, but since it needed to be done relatively quickly and since it was more printing than our home machine could handle with a good attitude, we figured the ministry would just have to foot a rather hefty bill for the printing and binding.

But then Scott met with the associate pastor of a local church to share with him what Take the Challenge was doing, and that pastor was excited and wanted to help, and he offered to have his church staff buy all the supplies and print the whole lot of PTM’s, at NO COST TO US(!!!) and let us borrow their comb-binding machine to put them together ourselves. What a huge blessing!

So we now have 300 pages’ worth of PTM workbooks (50 pages each), 300 front cover stock pages, 300 back cover stock pages, 600 plastic covers, and 300 3/8″ combs in various levels of disarray in our dining room, along with a manual comb-binding machine.

We’re under a time deadline; we have about a week to prepare the first 200 copies, so tonight I faced off against the comb-binding machine. Initially we did not play well together. It took me 36 minutes to produce four bound workbooks. Sigh. But I now have 11 completed, and I am getting faster. I eventually figured out how to speak the binder’s language (without four-letter words!), and I am now able to do a workbook in four minutes. This still means an incredible amount of time will be spent on this task, so if I don’t answer the phone or reply to emails or texts, you will know what I’m doing. I’ll be scaling my PTM mountain!

Delightful gentlemen

We’ve had the honor of hosting four guys from the Louder Thank Words mime team this weekend.  They are one week into their three-week mission trip circling through Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and North Carolina, doing service projects, church services, and mime workshops – like the one they did today for our homeschool co-op.

I will say that these gentlemen are all not only excellent mimes, they are also polite, punctual, and helpful.  I very much like being around guys like that.  They never complain, they always say, “thank you, Mrs. Roberts,” and they act as if my word is law!  It’s neat to see Andrew having fun with them and know that he, too, will one day have an opportunity to make a similar mission trip.

The men are back!

Scott is highly motivated to do things that matter; especially things that matter for the kingdom of God.  Over Memorial Day, he decided to make a major investment into several men.

Some months ago, these guys all watched the movie, “Courageous,” participated in a 15-week “Resolution” study, followed up by a full-scale formal, public “Resolution” ceremony.  It was a BIG deal for those guys and their families.

One of the items in the “Resolution” involves calling out the man in your son and helping him transition from boyhood to manhood.  Scott felt it was time to invite the guys from the “Resolution” study to do that very thing, so he planned an overnight backpacking camping trip to the Falls at Hercules Glades.

They left Sunday after church – five 12 to 15 year-olds and their dads or surrogates – drove to the area, packed all their stuff some two and-a-half miles in 90 degree heat, and set up camp.  Over the next twenty-four hours, they swam, played, ate, and slept AND studied and discussed things like dating and marriage, responsibility, sex, pornography, and other topics related to manhood.

Evidently it was a very productive trip.  Scott summarized it by saying, “We took five boys and brought back five men.”

VOM trip a success

Jessica, Josiah, Andrew, and 15 other folks from our Friday Night Light congregation spent the past four days on an extended service project to the Voice of the Martyrs ministry in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

It was Andrew’s first mission trip and, despite a few challenges, he did well.  For the most part, he had a good attitude and worked hard.  He also kept the guy’s apartment neatly arranged, sometimes to the chagrin of the other fellows.  = )

Jessica drove there and back, taught two messages, and coordinated all the cooking, in addition to working her shifts.  She told me about some of the truly nifty equipment they have for wrapping and strapping.  I heard from others that she did a GREAT job with the meals and that her second message, in particular, was AWESOME!  BTW, she fed 18 people three times a day for three days, under budget and with some food left over.  WOW.

Josiah is home, and I saw him briefly last night and again briefly this morning before he left for work.  I haven’t yet heard from him about the trip, but our neighbor, Bob, said, “I did have to kick him a bit to get him up in the mornings, and you know, he’s really meticulous about things – like about some of us who snore or mumble in the night. . . ”  I told Bob maybe Josiah will get meticulous about his room, too.   = )

All in all, it sounds like the trip was great for our team of young people to bond together, work together, and accomplish something significant for the Kingdom.  A worthy investment, for sure.

Should be illegal

Online insurance application forms that require you to re-type the exact same information on screen after screen after screen after screen after screen – and which require that information to be entered into so many different boxes that it is completely impractical to copy and paste.

Credit card statements in which the amount due does not equal the total of the listed charges.

Bookkeeping software in which – when recording a check written to, say, a credit card company for a monthly bill that includes multiple charges to various entities (which must each be manually itemized correctly by category) – the software CHANGES the dollar amount you have entered to a DIFFERENT dollar amount that bears no relation to anything, and then adamantly refuses to allow you to change that figure back to the amount you originally entered (and for which you actually wrote the check).

57 + 1

Our Memorial Day cookout and baptism turned out well, with 58 warm bodies in attendance.  We hosted folks from our Friday night fellowship, a couple other AIM families, some friends of friends, and students from two AIM mission trips that start tomorrow.

The baptism – Nicky, Lilly, Emily, and Courtney – was to be held at Big Rock, and therein lay the challenge:  how to transport 50 people plus lawn chairs and miscellaneous photographic and swim gear half a mile down the creek road to Big Rock?  Some of the folks are older and have health issues that preclude such a walk.  They would need to be driven.  The young people could walk, but there are places where the dips in the road are so deep and wide that they stay full of muddy water (all the way across the road) year-round.  They could walk down Coffee Road instead, but then they’d have to cross through the Lane’s yard, and we’d need to get the Lane’s permission for that.  It’s also illegal to park your vehicle at any point along the creek road, so if people were driven down in, say, vans, they would have to be dropped off, and the vans driven back.  Which would leave the drivers of the vans at the house and not at Big Rock for the baptism.  It was a lot like the puzzle about how to get the chicken and fox and bag of corn across the river two at a time in one canoe.

So we ended up loading a lot of chairs and stuff and then driving a bunch of vans down to Big Rock.  Passengers and gear were disgorged, drivers drove back to our house and then around to the Lane’s, where they left the vehicles, then cut through the Lane’s yard and hiked back down to Big Rock.

Meanwhile, we non-drivers sat and stood around on the gravel beach, duly NOT getting in the water (no swimming till after the baptism), visiting, and sweating.  And waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting a while longer for the driver guys to re-appear.  Which they eventually did, and so we were finally ready for the baptism.  Except that the Bible and notes Scott had asked us to pick up for him as we left the house in someone else’s Suburban were still in the Suburban, which was probably parked at the Lane’s house.  Ah, well.

Scott was good to go, but then Kristi got a call from Amy.  Amy and family were driving in from a two-week vacation in the Chicago area, and they were specifically trying to get back in time to see Kristi’s two kids (Nicky and Lilly) be baptized.  They were “ten minutes away.”  Okay.  We guessed we’d wait.  After all, what’s a little more standing around in the hot sun with no water, no bathrooms, and 50 people (some of whom we’d never met), when you’ve already been doing it for over 30 minutes?

In the mean time, Scott talked with the folks who were going to be baptized (ages roughly 8, 6, 15, and 17) and explained what would happen and the added little fact that after he had them affirm their salvation, they would need to give a testimony of God has done in their lives.  I think they were a bit intimidated by that.  Amy’s family arrived, and we all then rushed down to do the baptisms before the sheriff arrived to give them a citation for parking their van illegally along the creek road.

Scott gave a good three-point talk on why believers are baptized, and then Jorge baptized Nicky and Lilly, and Dave baptized Emily and Courtney, while Ryan and Kristi shot video, and Sue and I took pictures.  All went well, and there were even a couple folks on four-wheelers on the far side of the creek who we are pretty sure watched the proceedings.  Not sure if they watched because they were curious or because they were hoping to get us all arrested for trespassing, but in any case, we did have the baton in hand.

With Eva, Mildred, and Bob, I made a quick escape in the one van that was available.  Meanwhile, I guess Scott ran back, because when we arrived at the house, he already had the charcoal smoking.  The rest of the troops wandered back eventually, having had a glorious time swimming, jumping off Big Rock, and enjoying the company of one (probably severely traumatized) snake.

Over the next hour, much setting up, talking, frisbee throwing, cooking, cuppers tossing, and ladder-ball playing occurred, followed by prayer and 57 people diving for FOOD!  (Actually, they all lined up quietly, ladies first.)  The lone dog in attendance, Sasha, quivered at the end of her leash, but politely abstained from the delicacies.  All ate well and there was much rejoicing and few leftovers.

After the meal, the young people (all 25 of them!) played a rousing game of kickball next door, while the men engaged in a heated cuppers tournament.  We ladies sat around, were beautiful, and cheered our menfolk on.

The party ended about 9:00 PM.  And Scott looked at all that we had done, and behold, it was very good.

It’s a curious thing, ministry

No matter whether it’s a church or some other ministry organization, I have decided that serving in any kind of ministry is THE most stressful, challenging occupation in which one can be involved.  It ought not so to be, but it is clear that our enemy (Satan) attacks ministry more than any thing in the universe.  The other thing that makes ministry difficult is that it nearly always involves people.   = )

Cashew chicken, anyone?

Our annual ministry banquet was a success.  We had 69 warm bodies present, but there were a number of last-minute cancellations and no-shows.  Since we had planned to have enough food for 100, we have LOTS of delicious cashew chicken left over.  That is okay, as we will give much of it away to some of the families who attended.

It was a great evening, and we believe that those who came were informed, inspired, and encouraged.  The AIM students did two excellent presentations, “Faithful” and “Thank You.”  Why DO I wear mascara when I know they are going to present?

The offering was astonishing in the good sense.  In fact, we were overwhelmed at the generosity of the donors.  We also had lots of volunteer help, which really took a load off Scott and me.  There are things we need to remember for next year, and some changes we should make, but overall, the banquet accomplished its goals.

Now I just need to figure out creative, dry, organized storage for all the supplies that we’ll be able to re-use next year.  That, however, will be a challenge for another day.

Added bonus:  Scott’s team is going to the Super Bowl!

I’m not ready

My first piano lesson in two months will happen tomorrow, and I am very not ready.  Thankfully, the lesson is at 3:15 PM, so if I get everything done in the morning (and that would be a first), I will have plenty of time to practice, right?

That’s nothing compared to the video shoots Scott and I havev been trying to do lately.  Yesterday morning we battled sunlight and noisy bugs.  This morning it was just a matter of trying to get the right background and say the right things.  We’re trying to wrap up a promo video for our ministry, and I won’t tell you how many takes it took to get a fairly good version of a one-minute spot.

But you could guess.

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