Category Archives: Greater Things Thursdays

“Greater Things” Thursday #20 – Senior Reception

“Greater Things” Thursday #20 – Senior Reception

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video for the theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting an area in which we are desiring greater things.

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Graduation. What a wonderful time to share some words of congratulations as well as shedding a few tears. Families are proud of what their children have accomplished, and congregations have a natural time to pass along some well-wishes, too.

Each year, Lebanon Road has a reception for our young people who are graduating from high school. As with most things we do, it is very well organized, and a great way to congratulate and honor these young people as they transition to a new phase in their life.

The meal is simple: we have finger foods, so less time is spent waiting in line, and more time can be spent with those we are honoring. However, before we ever get to the meal, there is an event that, in some ways, is the highlight. After our Sunday evening services, we show a video of each off our graduates. The video is filled with pictures of them from the time they were babies up through the present time. Also, music is especially chosen that is appropriate for the video. One of our members spends countless hours putting this together, and it is a thrill to watch.

At the meal, the congregation presents each graduate with a new Bible (one that has wide margins for journaling), and there are also “laundry baskets” filled with cards, gifts, money cards, and other things for these great young adults. Our youth minister, JD Buckner, always takes a few moments to speak of each graduate, and does a great job of making these words very personal and meaningful. Our ladies do a fabulous job decorating. The decorations are simple, but perfect for the occasion.

The one “touch” I add is a PowerPoint presentation. I make a time-line of world events and pop culture moments from the year in which most of the graduates were born. Here is a link to last year’s presentation, with events from 1991. ( I would have included this year’s, but I’ve got some neat things in it, and didn’t want to ruin the surprise!)

It is a joyful time to share together, and I hope our graduates are touched and honored by the efforts of each one who helps and attends.

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To make this an even “Greater Thing,” we simply need more folks to attend and to give our graduates their well-wishes. Each word, hug, handshake, and gift is another reminder of the love at Lebanon Road. Our next one is Sunday night. Let’s all be there!

“Greater Things” Thursday #19: A Newer, New Members’ Board!

“Greater Things” Thursday #19: A Newer, New Members’ Board!

The 2011 theme at Lebanon Road is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video about our theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are informing you of an area through which we are seeking greater things.

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A few weeks ago in our Greater Things Thursday, we told you about our New Members’ Board. It was exciting to see this board and to see that we had a nice-looking way to help our members put names with faces, and to distribute addresses and phone numbers so directories could remain as up-to-date as possible.

Well, we ran into a problem, but it was the kind of problem we love to have. We had too many new members! We were not being able to leave anyone up on the board for more than a few weeks before they had to come down for more new members. Yes, I know, if this is a problem…bring on more problems like it!

So, we had to expand our board. But, since we are striving for “Greater Things,” we also didn’t just want it to be larger. We wanted to make it nicer looking, so that it “fits” in our lobby in a clean looking way. I think that was accomplished.

Leah did the vast majority of the work on this, and I think it turned out very nicely. Here is what it looks like now.

The “old” board could hold just 8 pictures. We have had more than 8 people either baptized or place membership just since that was put up, so we expanded this one to hold 12 (and, if absolutely necessary, 14) pictures and information cards.

Again, it is a great problem to have, but it was a problem. We are glad the board turned out as nicely as it did, and can help us keep the pictures up for a few more weeks, so our members can put faces to names.

Lebanon Road folks, pray that this board isn’t big enough! And make use of the information cards, so that your directories can be up-to-date with all our members.

“Greater Things” Thursdays #18: Meltdown!

“Greater Things” Thursdays #18: Meltdown!

The 2011 theme at Lebanon Road is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video about the theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are sharing with you an area in which we are striving for greater things.

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Our youth group is great! They do a lot of things together, and they have a unity that is really amazing. JD Buckner, our youth minister, does a good job planning activities that help them grow closer to God and to each other.

One of those events is a weekly get together called Meltdown. Why “Meltdown”? Well, it’s because the building that our young people meet in for many of their activities is called “CORE.” Core…Meltdown….get it???

Here are some pictures of CORE, followed by more about Meltdown:

These seats are crazy comfortable!!!

Our youth group did all the decorating, including these painted picture frames!

It's a youth group house...food HAS to be involved!

What is Meltdown? It is simply a time where our young people can get together on Wednesdays for an hour or so and be together. Remember that we live in a fairly large metropolitan area, and we have students in about 8 or 9 different high schools that cover a significant geographical area. The more opportunities they have to be together, the better.

Meals are provided, or the kids bring just a couple of bucks to go out for something, but the emphasis is simply on being together and being encouraged by one another. While this is a simple program, I think it serves a great purpose, as our young people are involved in each other’s lives, and are gaining relationships that will help through difficult times.

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I would like to suggest two ways we can make Meltdown even greater.

The first is obvious: more young people attending! The more, the merrier, especially at an event like this each week. Meltdown is a great thing to invite friends to, because it is relaxed and just enjoying being together.

The other suggestion I have is for some of our adults to provide the food every so often. Parents must come up with a few dollars nearly every week, and some have more than one child in the program. It would be great if some of our members bought a few pizzas, or grilled a few hamburgers every so often to help out!

“Greater Things” Thursday #17 – New Business Cards

“Greater Things” Thursday #17 – New Business Cards

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video for this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are sharing an area in which we are striving to do greater things.

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Nearly every congregation and preacher has business cards. Often, someone has ordered a zillion of them at some point in the past and then they just sit there. Maybe a few are given out every so often, but the stacks in the boxes never seem to get any smaller. Usually just the preachers have a few they might use from time-to-time.

Why? There are a lot of reasons, but two seem to be most common. One is that the cards aren’t really made available. The “office staff” is considered the ones who will use them the most, so they are the only ones who even really have an opportunity to use them.

Also, though, cards are often out-dated and (dare I say it?) ugly! Not much thought goes into the design of the card, except to pack as much information as possible onto them. So, they are not pleasing to the eye.

One of our goals for 2011 at Lebanon Road is to find simple ways to get our name out in the community a little more. And, as one very simple way to  help with that, we have designed and ordered new business cards. Also, we leave a good number available in different parts of our building for our members to use (instead of just the preachers). We ordered 500, which is not a massive number. That provides us the flexibility to change the information or design fairly often at little cost. (We ordered through VistaPrint.com. If you’ve never used that site, I recommend checking them out!)

Here are the cards. They may be simple, but they are far nicer than the older ones, and they were very inexpensive.

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How can we achieve “Greater Things” with these cards? USE THEM! They are available on both of our information tables, so our members can pick them up and use them. Leave them with tips when you go out to eat. Give them to new neighbors. Take some to your place of work and leave them out for folks to see and take…..

….we can always order more!

“Greater Things” Thursday #16 – More Mystery!

“Greater Things” Thursday #16 – More Mystery!

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction to that theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting a different area in which we are seeking to do greater things.

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Well, it happened again. A few weeks ago, we were welcomed by what I called “mystery cards” in this post. We had another anonymous (mysterious!) surprise waiting on us this past Sunday, too!

I will admit that I know who did this one. No, it was not me or my family. The only reason is that the givers gave the extra supply to me for folks to have if they wanted more.

What did they give this time? First, there were more cards. These cards had a list of ideas for folks to do as they seek to do greater things. It was a great little reminder that “random acts of kindness” can go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal.

But, further, this time there were also pens! The givers had taken the time to have “Greater Things” pens made! They ordered 500, and gave every one of them to the congregation to use and distribute. What a generous and thoughtful gift!

I am so proud of those who do things like this. They don’t want their name “in lights,” but they are encouraging us and providing great motivation as we seek to keep the momentum going this year.

Here are a couple of pictures of the pens. (Sorry for the quality of the pictures, but it is hard to focus on the lettering since it is so small on pens.)

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What could lead to greater things in this area? More “behind-the-scenes,” anonymous gifts like this! It shows a heart that is motivated and that desires to serve however it can serve. Let’s all seek ways we can do the same!

“Greater Things” Thursday #15 : New Street Sign

“Greater Things” Thursday #15 : New Street Sign

The 2011 theme for Lebanon Road is “Greater Things.” For an introduction, including a video, to this theme, click here. Each Thursday we are showing an area in which we are placing an emphasis for greater things.

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This week’s “greater things” may seem simple, but it is the accomplishment of a goal for 2011, and the finishing of a goal for 2010, due to a myriad of red tape.

For almost 10 months, we have been striving to get a new street sign for our congregation. The old one was nice, but was showing its age, and the type of letters used on it are not made anymore. So, we were beginning to run low on letters in good condition. Also, signs need to be enclosed, so letters cannot be stolen or rearranged, and our old one was not enclosed.

Thankfully, due to hard work and multiple meetings of some of our men, our new sign went up earlier this week. While we have not put letters on it yet, we are excited to have this process done!

The sign looks nice during the day, and it truly shines at night.

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For “greater things” to occur, I hope those who put messages on our sign will continue to do a great job. Currently, three of our young people do that, and do a great job keeping the messages current, uplifting, and informative. We pray they will continue with this new sign.

“Greater Things” Thursday #14 – Spring Cleaning

“Greater Things” Thursday #14 – Spring Cleaning

Lebanon Road’s 2011 theme is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video for this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are highlighting one area or ministry that we hope helps us achieve this theme.

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How many times do we speak of taking our Christianity outside the walls of the church building? Some members are very good at it, while others struggle to find motivation to help folks around the area. So, we are providing a way to do this in 2011. The first time is coming up soon (April 16), and it is a “spring cleaning day.”

Our Single’s Ministry is “heading up” this project, but the entire congregation needs to get involved! On that Saturday, there are going to be projects to help folks with housework, yard work, and other “spring needs” around their houses and communities. This is a simple, but fine way for many members to help out some who cannot do–or cannot afford to have done–some of those things that must be done to keep up a house.

Having this as something that is on the church calendar provides us with a way to encourage more members to get involved. Our youth group has it on their calendar, and several of our young people plan on getting involved in this day, too. What a great way for members of all ages to work together on a few projects and show the love of Christ outside the four walls of our building!

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What can make this day “greater”? More participation and more projects!

Lebanon Road folks: let friends and family members (especially the elderly) know about this day, so that there will be a lot of work to be done. We want to help as many people as possible. Also, take a moment and sign up to help! There are sheets in the foyer to let you indicate if you have a special skill or talent that might be needed during the day.

“Greater Things” Thursday #13 – Those Giant TVs

“Greater Things” Thursday #13 – Those Giant TVs

Our theme for 2011 at Lebanon Road is “Greater Things.” For an introduction and video for this theme, click here. Each Thursday, we are emphasizing an area in which we are trying to improve so we can do greater things for the Lord.

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One of our emphases for this year is technology. We are not trying to “do everything” with technology, but we are striving to lay the infrastructure for growth in this area. While some are reticent of any technological change, we feel that the simple things we are doing are helping our congregation.

One of the changes we have made is adding two large TVs in different parts of our building. These TVs are not for viewing shows and games, however, they are helping us with different areas of ministry.

First, we placed one in our downstairs nursery. For several years, there has been an audio feed into that room, so the ladies who help out with our children during services could listen to the worship. However, with this video feed, they can watch. We have been told many times already by those who are down there that they feel much more like they are part of the worship. Amazingly, after one week with the TV in the room, the chairs they use to rock babies were lined up in front of the TV to watch, and have remained that way ever since!

The other TV (a large, flat-screen) was placed in our fellowship hall. Again, it can be used to show the services live. The thinking here was for future growth. If (or, as I like to say WHEN) we grow to the point where we overflow our auditorium, the TV will serve as a temporary way for folks to still be part of the service. This television also has a secondary use in our fellowship program, as we have shown short videos on it during meals and fun times, and some groups have used it for ways to watch a movie or show during a get-together. It will further be used in the Fall when we have a grief class (taught partially via video) that will meet in that room.

Adding two TVs may seem like a small thing, but we really feel they are there with purpose, and that they are helping us lay the groundwork for great ministry possibilities in the future.

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For “greater things” to occur, we simply need to remember the purpose for this addition to our building. These TVs are not there to make us look “cool” or just to have fun. They are there to help some (in the nursery) as they worship, and to provide us a backup for future growth. Let’s pray that they are always used for those purposes.

“Greater Things” Thursday #12 – Ministry for Single Christians

Lebanon Road’s theme for 2011 is “Greater Things.” For an introduction to our theme, including a video, click here. Each Thursday, we write about a program or work that we want to do even better at in this year.

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One of our newest ministries at Lebanon Road is our ministry for single Christians. One of our members came to our elders a few months ago with a proposal of not just “starting” a program, but researching and making it the best it could be right from the start. We have many members here who are unmarried, and the ministry is doing a great job encouraging and teaching these members.

While still new, the ministry has held classes, had social functions, and enjoyed other periods of fellowship. They are also leading certain areas within the congregation (including something we will discuss in the “Greater Things” Thursday in about 2 weeks).

One of the great things done in preparation and in getting this ministry started was going to other congregations to learn how they have been successful, but also to allow for more interaction in different functions in the future.

We have also given a small space in our bulletin to this ministry for the past few weeks. The leader of this work does a good job of putting short, but very encouraging, notes that help us all understand more about the ministry.

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To strive for greater things, I have just two suggestions. First, I want to see our congregation praying more for this ministry. Not only is it helpful, but it is new. It is hard to get a new ministry off the ground. Even if we don’t pray for “the  ministry,” I hope we will pray more for those who are single.

Also, we need more involvement. We do not have a large number of single adults, but we have a significant number. I pray more will see the good that is being done by this group, and will want to learn more.

“Greater Things” Thursday #11 – Time Saver Supper

“Greater Things” Thursday #11 – Time Saver Supper

[The theme for 2011 at Lebanon Road is "Greater Things." Each Thursday, we are writing about a particular area of our congregation in which we are striving for greater things this year. To read an introduction to our theme and see our introductory video, click here.]

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We had one last night. A “time saver supper.” This is a great idea that we have been doing at Lebanon Road for several years, and it has become a highlight for me of each month.

The dishes may not be this fancy, but the food at our time saver suppers is!

Since we live in a mid-sized city, traffic and commute times have to be considered in scheduling certain events. (Our family, for example, drives 12-20 minutes, depending on traffic, to the church building, and we are nowhere near the furthest away from the building.) So, one Wednesday night each month, we help folks with that decision of “what to eat.”

At 5:30, we begin serving a wonderful meal. These are not box lunches or sack meals. These are full, well done meals by some of our great members who give of their time to make healthy and tasty meals! Folks can come in as they are able all the way from 5:30 to 6:30 and enjoy the meal. Usually, around 60 to 70 come and enjoy both the food and the great fellowship.

Personally, I love these meals and the time together. They are a great way to get together in the middle of the week for fellowship, and those who help prepare the food and serve the meals are showing their servant’s hearts. What could be better?

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The only thing that could make these events “greater” is to have more come and enjoy them together. They are a great way to help with that evening commute and meal, so take advantage of them.