Ministry

April 06, 2012

Easters past and present


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Happy Good Friday!  I just love the Easter season!  These are pictures from our staff Easter party, we had such a great time. 

The anticipation of this weekend is so exciting.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preview our worship experience at Elevation and it is going to be spectacular.  I am so proud of our team.  I cannot wait for tonight.

Today I thought I would link a few blogs I have posted from Easters past...

Posted 4/9/09, in this post I talk about raising kids in the ministry (there may or may not be pictures from my childhood)
Who says you have to hunt eggs on Sunday?

Posted on 4/2/09, here I talk about praying against attacks from the Enemy.
Put up your dukes

Posted on 3/31/10, it's an oldie but a goodie!  4 year old Elijah tells the Easter story with props (man he is growing up fast!)
Elijah Furtick presents the Easter Story

Posted on 3/30/10, I share one of the Easter activities we like to do with our kids.
Celebrating Easter

Posted on 4/1/10, more the seriousness of the Enemy that we face and our need to fight back.
Keep your dukes up

April 05, 2012

This year I am praying

Easter is an amazing season.  I am so looking forward to the creative gospel presentation at our church (I have had a sneak peek and it is going to be incredible). But on a bigger scale, I can't wait to hear about all the unique ways different churches all over the world are celebrating Easter.

There is something about Easter that people are just more open to coming to church.  And as the Church, we will proclaim the gospel to each and every person who comes through our doors.  The Enemy knows this too.  He will attack in every way he can to stop us.

He will attack our families in any way he can.  If he has to attack our health, our outlook on life, or even our attitude towards each other, he will.  He will try to distract those who are far from God and have had someone invite them to church.  He will do anything he can to stop people from hearing the gospel, and anything he can to stop me from praying.

Sometimes, I forget this.  It's like I get so bogged down in the day to day affairs.  While my husband is working extra hard this week, I am trying to maintain all the actual details.  I just get sidetracked.  Not this year. 

I'm taking today to focus on really praying.  I am praying for my husband as he prepares to invite people to give their lives to Christ.  I am praying for my pastor's wives friends all over the country as they support their husbands and ministries.  I am praying for our staff.  I am praying for all the people who will come.

And I want to pray for you.  If you are on staff at a church, I want to pray for you and your church by name.  If you have invited someone to church who is far from God, I want to pray for them by name.  I am excited to think of all that God is going to do this coming weekend all over our nation and our world.

If you would like for me to pray for you today, leave a comment or mention me on twitter.  I will be checking them all day long and lifting you up.

 

January 05, 2012

Just One

JustoneI am excited that the JustONE Conference is back!  Lori Wilhite and the team of Leading and Loving It have brought their innovative conference back for a second year!

The JustONE Conference is a free virtual conference for all Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry. This 4 week conference will include over 20 speakers sharing from their personal lives and leadership.  I am so honored to be included among the incredible line up of speakers that include Kay Warren, Lysa TerKuerst, and Lisa Young (click here to see the full schedule).

Each session will be shown 4 times during the week.  So find a time that is right for your schedule, and join in!  The conference begins Monday, January 23 and Tuesday, January 24 and is offered both morning and evening… 11am EST/ 8am PST and 9pm EST/ 6pm PST both days. 

This year the conference is based on a beautiful passage of scripture, 1 Timothy 4:12b-16  (The Message) “Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed–keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.”

You can register here for the conference.  Although registration is not required to participate, registering will allow you to receive reminder emails and links directly to your inbox.

November 11, 2011

Will you join me for Thankful Thirty?

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Last night we had a get together for all of the female staff members and staff wives of Elevation.  We call it Ladies First because we lead the way at Elevation.  As ladies, we have such an influence over the heart of our church and it is so important that we are intentional in doing so.  We had such a great time, Lysa TerKeurst even came and spoke to us to wrap up the evening.

Earlier in the evening, Amy Corbett challenged every one to join us on a 30 day Bible reading plan through the books of Psalms and Proverbs. We're calling it the Thankful Thirty Reading Plan. It starts today, 11-11-11 and over the next 30 days I challenge you to take a few minutes each day to read through this plan and ask God to reveal himself to you that day.

Thankful ThirtySo are you in?  If so, click the picture to download a printable version.  Have a great weekend!

October 27, 2011

Don't blame it on the ministry: Relationship Edition

I was having lunch with a church planter's wife the other day when the topic of relationships came up.  She talked about how she was afraid of forming relationships within their church and staff because what if she opened up to them and they left the church?

I wrote a blog a while back called Don't blame it on the ministry.  The blog was written in the context of raising kids in the ministry. How we can give them a negative image of the church when we blame everything on the ministry.

So to piggy back off of that thought, I want to call this post, Don't Blame it on the Ministry, Relationships Edition.  Here is the thought I want to throw out there... Relationships come and go in life but you cannot live without them. 

If you never spend one second in full time ministry, I guarantee that you will still experience many failed relationships during your lifetime.  It may be that you lose contact with your best friend from childhood.  It may be that you move back home after college and lose touch with your sorority sisters.  Or maybe you move neighborhoods or change jobs or schools.

Then there are the unfortunate and painful times when things go south and you stop contact with someone.  You could even lose the most sacred relationship of all, your marriage.  In fact, if you think about it, besides family relationships (which can often be more rocky than non-family), most people do not stay in contact with their childhood or even high school and college friends.

I think you get the point I am trying to make.  While some relationships fizzle out and others end dramatically, losing friends is a part of life.

So would you go throughout your life never having relationships at the risk of losing them?  You can't.  And you can't do it in ministry either.

Will people leave your church?  For sure.  Will it hurt?  Of course.  We must always remember that there are seasonal relationships and there are forever relationships.  My husband, my children, my parents, those are forever relationships.  They won't always be perfect, but they're the longest term investments in my life. And while I have dear friends that I love and confide in, I must always remember that they are not guaranteed to last forever. Still, that does not mean that God can not use them in my life today.

You have to risk relationships because it is in relationships you find encouragement, camaraderie, and challenge, even if they are just for a season.

I don't regret forming relationships with even the people who hurtfully left my church and my life.  God used those people in my life for a season.  And really, whenever someone leaves my life, I find God usually replaces them for a reason that I'll understand later---either in their life or in mine.  My husband says, "Sometimes God has to delete stuff from your hard drive to make room for an upgrade."

Don't blame lost relationships on being in the ministry.  It is a part of living life.

October 26, 2011

Becoming a pastor's wife

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I am honored Holly asked if I would share with her blog followers what it was like to go from a businessman’s wife to a pastor’s wife. From a regular church member to a staff member. This was definitely a transition for myself, my husband and I as a couple, and also for my family. I am Angie Blackson and my husband Josh (Operations Pastor at Elevation Church) and I have 3 sweet little girls. My oldest, Alyssa, is 6 ½ not 6 and is in the first grade. Kaitlyn, our middle, is 4. And our youngest, Karis, just celebrated her 3rd bithday. As my girls like to tell people, “Daddy is surrounded by girls” and he is spoiled with attention and admiration because of it!

3 years ago my husband and I made the decision to change the course of our field to the ministry. I never dreamed I would be a Pastor’s wife in a million years. It is just not a story I ever considered writing up for myself. Our life of 7 years before making this decision was very typical and completely within the boundaries of my comfort zone. My husband worked a 5 day a week 9-5 job with a set salary that seemed crazy high for a 22-29 year old. We spent our weekends volunteering at Elevation Church, leading community groups, and hanging out with friends.  We had a great life!

Then God called us to join the staff of Elevation Church. I was excited but deep within me there was this feeling of uncertainty. I feel so guilty stating this but I hope this is helpful to someone out there. I was so comfortable and happy with our life I felt like this could be taking a step in a more difficult direction. My perspective was what the American culture has trained it to be. As you get older your pay increases, your house gets bigger, your vacations become more extravagant, your cars get nicer, you even get to tithe more, you get to spend your weekends and holidays however you wanted, and so on.
Thankfully, my husband had the vision during his years in the business world to put us in a position where, when the opportunity came for us to be on Elevation’s staff, we were able to say yes to God’s will.

The first huge transition we faced going into the ministry was our budget.  I first need to state that Pastor Steven and Chunks (Executive Pastor) do a great job taking care of their staff financially. They took time looking over our budget and crunching numbers to make sure the salary they set for my husband would not leave us in a deficit. It was well above the industry standard. But it was a little less than we had gotten used to making in the previous few years. It took my mind getting use to the fact that Josh would not come home announcing he got promoted and with the promotion comes a $10,000 pay raise. My perspective had transitioned to when Josh gets a bonus we can put a fence in to now planning ahead and saving for big ticket items. According to Dave Ramsey planning ahead and saving is the better route anyways. Pastor Steven is also very creative in how he financially supports the staff. One example is how he invests in our marriage with sending Josh and I out for a date at no expense to us. And honestly, I have never been a part of a culture that puts more emphasis on generosity and taking care of its own than Elevation.  Still, it was a different framework. One I had to work to get used to.

The second major transition we made was what our family time looked like. We started out by doing what we were use to doing, Friday night thru Sunday family and date time. It took me about 6 months to figure out that our “family” time was non-exsistent. What I ended up doing was sitting down with Josh and writing our detailed weekly schedule out. I am a visual learner. Once our schedule was written in front of me I was able to get creative with what our family time looked like. In the beginning there were nights the girls and I would bring dinner to Josh and we would eat as a family at the Elevation offices. Our dates often times ended with checking on construction sites. Before you say that does not sound like family time or a date night hear me out. I had trained my girls and myself that supporting Josh is our number 1 job. We get to be a part of what he is doing! We loved going to the office and seeing the people he works with. I loved seeing the progress of Matthews and Blakeney as they were being built. I guess it is all in what your expectations are and mine were simply to be with Josh and be able to be a part of what he was doing each day.

The last major transition we dealt with when Josh became a Pastor was the way the outside world looked at us. In the beginning we had a hard time admitting Josh was a “Pastor”. Not because of shame. We noticed that when we shared what Josh did people would visibly put a wall up. Our neighbors stopped asking us over for dinners or social gatherings. It was as if they had in their minds we were judging them because of our new position. I can’t report that this has changed completely. I think we will always deal with this. But God is good! He has taken our position and used it over and over for his glory. I stopped worrying about what people thought of us and chose to love in a way that is true to who I am. Time has shown that our neighbors respect us. There have been times they come to us seeking advice or prayer. And since being on staff at Elevation we have seen 3 families in our neighborhood give their lives to Christ and get baptized. God has given us a platform at church to be able to speak into so many lives.

My role as a wife and mother remains the same whether in the ministry or in corporate America. It took God taking me out of corporate America to change my perspective. I wish I had lived in corporate America the way I live now. It makes complete sense to me now when Pastor Steven says everyone is in the ministry full-time. Pastor’s wife or Business Man’s wife I should be viewing my budget in a way that stretches each dollar and spends each penny wisely. I should be intentional and creative with my family time. I should choose a radical lifestyle that causes people to wonder what it is that is different about me.  And I should be intentional about encouraging those God has brought in my life.

What started out seeming to be a major sacrifice has actually turned out to be one of the greatest upgrades of our lives.

September 29, 2011

Thoughts from Haiti

Last week I went to Haiti for pastor's wives with C3 Global and Lisa Young.  This was my first time visiting a 3rd world country and my experience was very impactful.  I have had a difficult time putting my trip into words so here are a few bullet points of the trip and a few things I am processing.

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  • I absolutely loved serving alongside other pastor's wives.  The time spent talking, learning and 110922sl_haiti_323encouraging each other while travelling was invaluable.  But then the opportunity to serve alongside each other was so much fun!
  • 110922sl_haiti_312 I haven't been out of the country in almost 10 years (large in part to the ages of my children) but in actuality, the ages of my children, really allowed me to feel like I was putting my every day skills to work.  You don't have to speak the same language to know how to feed a baby, when they are full, or if they are tired.  I guess what I am saying is I realized I needed to speak "nurture" more than I needed to speak Creole.  I felt as confident playing, with feeding, and loving on kids as a doctor would in a clinic. 
  • Seeing children who have so little really puts things into perspective.  When I saw 110922sl_haiti_729the boy playing the drums with markers and thought of all the drum sticks all over my house and I was moved to tears.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at what my children have.  I want to pass that on to them.  There is no place for guilt, but I can have a renewed vision for teaching my kids gratefulness and generosity.  I am not sure what this looks like but I do know that we will be donating some toys and clothes in the near future.
  • 110922sl_haiti_662 I am proud of my church.  I am so proud that when I give my money to Elevation, they are strategically generous to our community and our world.  I am love that I can serve at an Elevation sponsored orphanage in Haiti and at an organization for homeless kids in my backyard.

 

  • I'll end by sharing a few more pictures from my trip since a picture can say more than I could ever try to describe.  All these pictures are taken by Sean Lyon who accompanied us on the trip.  Thanks Sean and Corey!  I had a great time with you all!

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May 17, 2011

You asked... early ministry

I wanted to know how you dealt with your hubby going to seminary and working at church? What kind of adjustments did you have to make (i.e. budget, time spent together, etc.)? I'm pretty sure you addressed something along these lines in the past but I wanted to hear more about how you felt. What helped you get through this time? What verses did you cling to? Thanks in advance!

We moved to Charlotte in September 2005 to plant Elevation Church.  We did not take a salary from the church at the time and my husband was supporting our family through itinerant speaking.  In addition to pastoring our church, he was attending seminary.

His schedule was crazy.  He was attending seminary at an extension location 2 hours away all day, every Monday.  On Tuesday-Thursday he would work on messages, lead our staff (volunteers as well), and do seminary work.  On Friday and Saturday he would usually be off preaching at some event.  Sundays we would have church.

At the time Elijah was just a few months old and a very fussy baby.  Needless to say our life was hectic and unsure.  We didn't even know if what we were doing was working.  It was a time in our life that God was building our faith.

But here is what I want to say.  Sometimes I think God builds your faith because what he has for you down the road is even more difficult.  Kinda like you can't learn to multiply until you first learn to add.  How did we get through such a difficult time?  We took one day at a time.  God was building in us the faith and the stamina that we would need for the days ahead.

Our lives are hectic now too.  My husband still travels, he has graduated seminary but is now working on writing his 2nd book, he still has a message to prepare each week and a full staff to lead.  Instead of one child, we now have three.  And we still have days where we are not sure if what we are doing is working.  And we take one day at a time.

Matthew 6:31-34 says this
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

To live in the dream of "one day when..." is a deadly trap.  Do what God has called you to do today.  Tomorrow will not necessarily be easier, just different.

January 21, 2011

Women in ministry, don't miss this...

My friends over at Leading and Loving It are hosting a conference this May.  I am disappointed that due to the little one soon to enter my life, I won't be able to attend, but if you are a woman in ministry, you really shouldn't miss this event.  If you register before the end of January, you will be entered in a pretty awesome give away.

Here's a bit more information about the retreat.

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Who: A Retreat for Pastors’ Wives
Sr Pastors’ Wives? Yes.
Associate Pastors’ Wives? Yes.
Youth & Children’s Pastors’ Wives? Yes.
Worship? Small Groups? Teaching? Yes. Yes. Yes.

When: May 10-12, 2011
Retreat begins at 6pm Tuesday and ends at 11am Thursday.

Where: Nashville, TN
Retreat at: Union Station
Accommodations: Holiday Inn

Cost: $325 which includes 2 nights at the hotel, your registration fee and more!

For more information or to register, go here.

 

 
Check back here later this afternoon for the announcement of the winner of my give away this week.  (And I may have decided to give away more that one thing!)

December 16, 2010

Bless Back Worldwide

About 7 months ago, I thought I was going to be able to be a part of a trip to Haiti taking place after Christmas.  Then I got pregnant.  I still get to be a part, I just don't get to go.

George Collins,the founder and leader of Bless Back Worldwide, as well as a hardcore Elevator, is leading his 2nd group of people to Haiti in the next few weeks.  They will work in an orphanage and a hospital.

A few days ago, I was privileged to stand before the team and encourage them to strive for unity and humility on their trip.  I also got to pray over the group.

I am so excited to hear what God is going to do in and through each of the people going.  I would ask you to join with me in praying for this trip as well as Blessed Back Worldwide.

Here's more from Tonia Bendickson about Bless Back and their upcoming trip.

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