Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We are gearing up for our third year of helping out with Guavaween which if you are not from Tampa it is a huge festival here in Ybor City. We will have over 100,000 people walk right in front of our church. Yeah God!!!! This year we are having a huge role in the dayime events with the sponsorship of the main stage where we will be bringing in the Jump5 tour along with Need to Breathe and the Veggie Tales. This is a huge family event with safe trick or treating, face painting and much more. We are expecting over 20,000 people just for the daytime activities. Then when the sun goes down the party really gets started and we walk in the night parade giving out glow bracelets to all of the party goers. We expect to make over 50,000 touches this weekend so please pray for us that God would do some amazing things with this event. I will let you know how it goes on Monday. Have an awesome week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

scared church

Well I have been doing this church thing for some 17 years now. I know by my pic you are saying but how he only looks 25. I know I know shocking but it is true. Well over my years in ministry I have been extremely bold on occations and extremely sacred in others. In the times when I am bold I feel invigorated and full of life and feel like I can take on the world. However, when I am afraid and I function based on my fear it is cripling. So today I wanted to talk about what happens when you lead church in FEAR MODE.

Here are some things that I have seen when church leaders lead scared me included:

1. You risk very little- When you are scared and also leading you many time risk very little. Here is what I mean by this. fear says "what if we spend the money and no one comes" ; "what if people are offending by what we do or say" (who will be offended the Christian sub-culture or the people you are trying to reach) Risk was the only thing that the followers of Jesus had. They risked everything for the chance to make an impact. I often wonder why we are so concerned about what others think when God is asking us to risk big for Him. GCC challenged me with this when they chose to do " in the middle of Granger, Indiana. If they can do that in the middle of Indiana what is keeping us from risking for God.

2. You listen to the naysayers- When you are scared you listen to everyone who says I don't think we can do that people may be offended, or people might leave the church, what if people stop giving, or what will my fellow pastor friends think. I am sorry but if that is you maybe you are in the wrong field. Maybe you should join the traveling puppet team because that is all you are a puppet on a string. God did not call you to be a puppet he called you to lead and when leaders do not lead they cease to be leaders. I can tell you this if I had listened to all of the naysayers in my life Relevant Church would not exist. Maybe we should listen to God first. For more on listening check out my buddy Jamie's post has some interesting insight.

3. You conform rather than create- Most churches that I see right now look like every other church around them and they send out marketing pieces that look like everyone else's and then sit back and wonder why no one is coming to their churches. Maybe they feel like they have already been there and done that. I challenge you to create mantra in your church. Create an image that only you can do. The key is only you can be you and just because someone else across the city says that you cannot and should not do it a certain way does not mean that you have to listen to them. Be creative that is the way God made you he did not mean for you to conform. Romans 12 talks about that and I think that verses has as much to do with the Christian world view as it does with the so called secular world view whatever that is.

So here is my closing thought. DON'T BE SCARED!!! Be Bold and watch what God will do. Here is a quick example. We decided 3 years ago to partner with a local event company to help put on an event called Guavaween here in Tampa. The first year we just served then last year we provided candy now this year we are running one of the stages for the daytime activity. Well with that involvement comes criticism and financial burdens and this year we have taken on something that was way bigger than we could afford. And I will admit I have been scared because I like for my kids to eat. Well all I can say is that just today a check came in the mail for $5000 from someone who does not even attend our church and I can tell you God was saying to me very clearly DON'T BE SCARED.

So on out and and raise a few eyebrows and ruffle things up for the Kingdom with being afraid.

Peace out

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Holy Crap I am stoked!!!

All I can say is that sometime days go from suck to great. I know my last post was a bit of me ranting and that is just par for the Paul course for those of you who know me but like the A-Team "I love it when a plan comes together". Things this weekend here at Relevant were really awesome. We were continuing our series "Confession" which for those of you who do not know about it is a series we designed for the church to confess not people. I think what Donald Miller said in his book Blue Like Jazz really resonated with our creative team. And amazingly we have had our largest crowds ever during this series. Yeah God!! I wonder if our world has been waiting for centuries for the church to just admit that they do not have all of the answers, and sometimes we do talk more than we act, and many times we judge much more than we love, and we have created a sub-culture that is just a bad copy of the real culture that Jesus loved so much and moved in seamlessly.
I can say for me as a leader this has been difficult and freeing at the same time. Because no one like to admit that they are wrong ever. However, when we do this there is an amazing freedom to just be you that is really refreshing. Check out our podcast for more info. Or you can check out the videos at this web site until we get our new and improved video podcast portion of our web site fixed.
Hey I just wanted to give a shout out back to our friend at GCC Rob Wegner for the shout out on his blog yesterday and for the opportunity to show some of our videos at the Innovate conference this year. And for those of you who missed Innovate they are giving it away for free online. Yeah I know crazy because no one will go next year but I am stoked that these guys believe in the local church so much that they want everyone to be able to benefit from the conference for free. So if you missed Innovate this year why not get some of your leaders around a computer and watch the sessions they will rock your world.
Well I gotta go for now. Stay tuned this week because I am going to be talking about the scared church.

Peace out

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Today Sucks!

Have you ever had one of those days where you came into the office and things were great then about 3 minutes into the day the wheels started coming off of your train? Well that has been my day today. Now I know that the spiritual answer would be to say "God is in Control" but I never really liked that song and it sounds really cliche anyway. So for me today just sucks. We are negotiating with the people in charge of this huge community event that we are partnering with for the end of the month and just yesterday everything looked like it was rolling perfectly but today we got a call from someone else that said one of the local TV stations is sharing the stage with us and our schedule was going to need to be changed. I know maybe I just hate it when things do not go according to my plans but as everyone know the WIRTH plans are the best plans. You know the verse. "For Wirth know the plans he has for you" ok that was pretty bad but I know things will work out I just feel a little stressed right now.
Also, just FYI we are extending our "Confessions" series one more week. Check out the video podcast from last week for a laugh. Then we will be launching our "Marked" series so all of you cool peeps out there with TATOOS get ready to show them off at this site will go live some time next week I will let you know. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weekend Reflections

Well, after returning from Granger at 10am Saturday Morning. Yes that meant we had to get up at 4am. My team was not to thrilled about that but I did become a hero to my son because I made it to his football game, which they won. (GO LIONS) So then after the game it was back home to crash. You see Saturday was my birthday yeas I turned 39 on Saturday which really sucks because I really do feel like I am 29 and my wife would say that sometimes I act 9 so if I average that out my average age is a little over 25 and that feels pretty good to me. If any one else would like to use my formula please send $19.95 to the address listed below for you copy of "Age Paul's Way" HA HA

Well after my power nap it was time for a little football and yes my Gators ave one away to the Auburn Tigers Saturday Night. I am just glad that I did not suffer through the game in Gainsville I actually went to bed long before the final kick sealed the deal.

So Sunday morning came with very little issues other than we are still in our confessions series which has been quite difficult for me as a pastor but very healing for many people in our church so that is awesome. Well the first service went well except for one of my illustrations but you will have to check out the video podcast to see that. It was pretty funny. Then we launched into the second service and a demon got into our sound board. There was snap, crackling and popping going on throughout the whole system finally we had to shut it down half way through our worship set. So I went out and just started my talk which was a little weird because my segue went the song that the band did not sing. We made it through and it was great but then the real greatness started. At the end of my message Carl was back stage and said don't worry we are ready to go. He and the band had during my talk put together an acostic set that was amazing. Really that is what I love about Carl he is a pro and pros do not leave things hanging they make things happen. We had more comments about the worship during the second service than we have had in quite some time. The worship was awesome. Also, we had 304 in our two morning services which is a record then we had another 98 during the night service for a grand total of 402 for the day. WOW God you are amazing. A year ago we were averaging 250 and now we had 402 I cannot believe this. I cannot wait till this weekend. See you then.

WOW what a week!!

Well we just returned from Granger Indiana this past Saturday from the Innovate conference. All I can say about that is AMAZING!! Guy Kawasaki was on fire and now I understand that as a church planter it is ok to be crappy. HA HA I guess you would have to be there to get all of that but our team left with so much energy and excitement about what God is doing here in Tampa it was awesome. BTW the peeps at Granger are amazing!! special shout out the Jason Powell and Lindsay Wasik you guys made our stay fabulous. Can't wait to hang out with you guys next year.

So about our time in Granger, well we entered a few of our shorts for the film festival and what do you know we won two out of three categories from the people choice and won best of show for our Real Men of Genius. We were blown away. Special thanks to all of you who voted for us. We now feel like the little church that did not could. One of the things we learned at the Innovate conference is that if you are going to do a conference is that you need to go over the top with care and hospitality and Granger did that better than any other conference I have ever been to in my life. Also, their staff was available before and after the session to talk with whoever wanted to talk. I have never sen that before at any conference. Never stop doing that Granger that is what sets you apart you seem like real people. Well I want to blog about what went on this past Sunday so I will sign off on Innovate.