Over the past couple of months, I have been investing a good amount of time in launching our grassroots community development organization, Edgewater Collective. Thankfully, the mistakes and lessons learned from starting, maintaining and closing a coffee bar has helped me in starting this new venture. This time around I am seeking advice from those who have gone before me and done the same type of community development organization.
One of the big questions from the start has been, “Are we a faith based organization?”
I sought advice from others, talked with our board and came to the conclusion that some of our board members might be “faith-motivated” but our organization will not be faith based.
Wait! What?! Why would a seminary trained pastor with over ten years of experience in the church not start a faith based organization? Read the rest of this entry
Parenting pastor’s kids is not easy. I was once a pastor’s kid. We knew everything or at least we thought we did. We could answer any Sunday School question even the ones whose answer wasn’t Jesus.
Now I am a parent and a pastor and therefore, my children are the dreaded PKs.
For the last few years, Hillary and I have decided that “Family Time” is one of our sacred traditions. Family Time is a once a week event at the Newton house that involves some sort of spiritual emphasis through an activity or story.
Thanks to the US Government we received a bit more cash into our bank account so we decided to invest in a great tool for our weekly Family Time. We purchased the set of DVDs from What’s in the Bible.
What’s in the Bible is a DVD series from the creative mind of Phil Vischer of Veggie Tales fame. Each DVD comes with two 25 minute sessions that expertly navigates through the stories and big themes of the Bible starting in Genesis. Hillary and I are amazed at the theological depth of the content and yet how it simplifies it for children. And it’s funny! We also like how each DVD comes with a set of questions to ask the kids after each session.
So now we have ten DVDs with 20 sessions that we are going to stretch over the next 20 weeks. And What’s in the Bible is only to the Gospels so there are more DVDs coming over the next few years.
Check out more from What’s in the Bible here and find out who Buck Denver is and why ponies make an entrance into the series. This is a great tool investing spiritually in our children.
Below is the first five minutes of DVD 1 to give you a taste.
In February Hillary picked up a part-time position at our our daughters’ elementary school as a paraprofessional. Neither of us knew it at the time, but this change to a dual income family has changed our marriage and family life in some significant ways.
At the beginning Hillary only worked about one hour a day helping a teacher with iPads in the classroom. With testing and other needs in the school, Hillary quickly started to work more hours. For the past month she has been at school for six hours a day. Before working outside the home, Hillary managed our finances, shopped for our groceries and many other responsibilities around the house.
Now that she works during the day, many of those responsibilities have changed. She no longer has time to get it all done while balancing work and home life. Through the last few months we’ve learned a couple of things about surviving in a dual income family and I think it has actually been a good thing for our marriage and family life.
Here’s an eye into what we’ve learned and are continuing to learn:
Communicate, Communicate, Then Communicate Some More
For this to work Hillary and I both need to communicate honestly about our roles and responsibilities and how the changes have impacted us personally. This is easier said than done when we both have a long day and just want to veg in front of the TV and watch Duck Dynasty. But to thrive and not just survive, we need to communicate daily about our struggles and what needs to be done.
I shopped for the family groceries for the first time since our kids were born. Stay at home dads you can laugh at me now. Hillary gave me the list and I pulled it off and just forgot to get Wheat Thins. This was a huge step for Hillary to hand over the grocery list. It was hard for her to give up control of the list. When our girls were sick I was the one who stayed home so Hillary could work. To make this work, we had to take a look at the family responsibilities and see who could accomplish it even if it meant that I bought the weekly groceries.
No Lazy Dad
It is easy to come home and just let Hillary take care of the girls. Hey, I work all day and deserved to rest. There is so much wrong with this scenario. Honestly, it is just plain selfish if I buy into these ideas. And now that Hillary works with kids all day at school, there definitely isn’t any room for me to just sit back and be the lazy dad. Hillary deserves to rest and get a break. It truly needs to be a partnership at night until the girls go to bed.
Last fall Hillary was struggling to find her purpose and connection to what I was doing in Edgewater. But now that she is working at the school and investing in neighborhood kids, she is finding her purpose. Though it is hard to work with kids all day, she is finding fulfillment in her work and is excelling in her role. In just two months she is known for her encouraging spirit and excellence in the classroom. We are truly a team now in reaching out to the kids in our neighborhood.
After two months as a dual income family, we definitely haven’t arrived in figuring this all out. But as we communicate and change our roles and responsibilities, our marriage and family life is better for it.
Ever since we moved to Edgewater, Colorado we have seen our small, one mile by one mile city as our “mission field.” We enrolled our daughters in our neighborhood school and began to network and build relationships. As we did this, we noticed a number of different needs in the community.
All three schools in Edgewater are Title I schools and over 85% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. The test scores are lower than those in the suburbs but they are improving. The teachers and staff are excellent yet some in the community just look at test scores and the schools suffer a bad rap. So I decided to network with other community leaders are start a project called Support Edgewater Schools to improve the image of our local schools and rally Edgewater around our schools. Read the rest of this entry
I’m working with a group of great folks to bring a different kind of leadership conference to Denver called the Epic Fail Pastor’s Roundtable.
It’s a different kind of conference for pastors and leaders. It will be honest, raw and even uncomfortable.
But it’s essential for pastors and leaders.
We need to be better at talking about our own failures, idols and addictions.
Watch this video of one pastor’s Epic Fail and how God rescued him to something much greater.
Find out more about the Epic Fail Pastor’s Roundtable here. Pass it on to other pastors and leaders you know.
As you might know already, parenting daughters has taught me a lot about trust. Letting my daughters go is one of the hardest thing for me to do and they aren’t even teenagers yet. Now that both our daughters are in elementary school, I have even more opportunities to trust.
Recently, I have been driving to work in the mornings so I drive our daughters to school instead of walking them to school. Norah, our kindergardner really likes to have me drop them off in the circle drive instead of parking and walking them to their classroom door. I enjoy waiting with Norah and the other kids for the teacher to open the door and let them into class. Other parents wait outside with their kids as well.
For the past couple of days, I have put aside my trust issues and overprotectiveness, and dropped the girls off in the circle drive in front of the school. I can’t even look in the rearview mirror at “little” Norah walks to her classroom. It’s too hard for me right now. I admit it. I’m a sappy dad.
But I know that by dropping Norah off and letting her walk to her classroom, she is learning responsibility and starting the process of becoming an independent woman. It is better for her development even though it is hard for me.
How do we as parents stifle our child’s growth because of our own insecurities and trust issues?
For more on overprotectiveness, responsibility and letting our kids fail, read this great article from the Atlantic.
Once we stop formal schooling, our personal development still needs to continue. In some ways, if we are intentional about our personal development, we can grow more outside of the classroom than we can within. We learn more by doing, especially when we document and reflect on what we are doing.
During my time at Denver Seminary, we all went through a Training and Mentoring program where we developed learning contracts to guide our personal growth. Each student developed learning contract for character development and skill development.
In my role at Mountair Christian Church, my lead pastor and I decided to develop learning contacts for the spring. Without intentional personal growth plans we wouldn’t be purposeful in our development.
So we each wrote a learning contract for skill development and character development. It is amazing how just developing a plan keeps me focused on what I need to learn.
Here is my skill contract for the spring.
Let me know if this tool helps you.
Ten years ago a friend and I brought a dream into reality and started a coffee bar at Denver Seminary. We had dreams that Kurios Koffee would someday get bought out by Starbucks and we would get some extra cash. For two years we made just enough money to break even and enjoy free coffee. We even jumped into coffee catering and brought our coffee equipment to weddings and church events.
Then Denver Seminary decided to move to a brand new campus in Littleton and I bought out my business partner as he was moving out of town. I took out business loans to fund new equipment for a bigger space at the new campus and was excited for what could be at the new space. Kurios Koffee incorporated and the business systems went to the next level. Read the rest of this entry