Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Plant Life-Part 1

As we've been exploring multi-site church planting, Brandon and I have been devouring books on the subject. We've been going to other churches to observe how they do everything from loading in on Sunday mornings to leadership development. We've been praying and meeting with our leaders at Redemption, and discussing what will be the best way to launch a healthy church in Charlotte with the same spirit that RWOC in Greenville has.

We've found out it's not going to be easy. Doable? Yes. Easy? No. Who knew all the details that go into planting a church? And the fact that we are an extension campus, quite honestly, takes many large burdens off of us such a fund raising and coming up with weekly sermons. We really get to focus in on the launch team, the acquisition of a property to have services, and the well-being and development of the future flock. Things we love to do anyway!

Included in this pre-launch period was ARC 2.0 Advanced Church Planters Training in Birmingham, Alabama. ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a life-giving organization that seeks to plant healthy and successful churches in the USA. It was founded by my an amazing pastor whom I used to serve while living in Charleston, SC, Greg Surratt, and I respect him deeply on many levels, so I felt confident that this organization would be top notch.

I underestimated it. Completely. We drove to Birmingham to attend a 4.5 day training at Church of the Highlands, and quite honestly, have not seen that level of excellence in a long time. Or ever. The entire week was thought through. Every detail, from the material we'd be going through to the fancy soaps in the bathrooms, was thought of. There was a not a glitch.

I'm not saying it was PERFECT. I'm saying it was EXCELLENT. Perfection is about "me" (or "us"). And this, my friends, was definitely not that. Excellence is about other people and about God. Yes, that was this training was all about for the folks at ARC. They gave us their best so that we would be prepared to go out and plant life-giving churches and that God's kingdom would be expanded through us.

What an awesome way to look at investing. Since everything in the natural was thought through so thoroughly, we were able to flow in the Spirit as we engaged in conversations with other church planters, digested much of the meaty material, and sought the Lord to help us achieve the dreams He's put on our hearts.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on this life-giving church planting process!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bucket List-Greenville Date Nights

As we begin to wind down our time here in Greenville (before we move to Charlotte to plant a new campus of Redemption World Outreach Center) I have been thinking of all the date nights that I've wanted to do in Greenville but we haven't gotten around to. Granted, some are not Greenville-exclusive. In fact, probably none of them are. Hmmm....

ANYWAY....enough about the fact that we could probably do these in ANY ol' medium sized city in America. I'd still like to try to do them here...in Greenville, not cyberspace. Duh.

My point is, is that sometimes we just get into a date night funk. Same restaurants. Same Falls Park destination. Same coffee/dessert choices. Same, same, same. I'm ready for a little variety. 

So, without further ado, my just compiled list:

Par 3 Golf at Crosswinds Golf Course. You Greenvillians have seen the course off 385 going into town. It always looks a little, well...bleak, when it comes to people actually playing. But I say all the better because the less people there the less times I have to shout out "four!" when I shank my ball. I will be sure to let you all know when we decide to do this so you can plan NOT to drive on either side of 385 during that time. Maybe I should also call the police department and have them do a road block while we're on those particularly dangerous to oncoming traffic holes. BBerry and I can each play 9 holes for less than $25 total.

Salsa Dancing at Salsa Greenville/Studio 54. I mean, have you SEEN these people doing this???? It's crazy, and a super good excuse to get extra close to the one I love! Not to mention I hear it's a great work out...In so many ways, it's bringing sexy back. Thursday nights at 8:30pm lessons are only $5 each. That totally allows for some moola to go to grab some Latino food beforehand.

Rock Climbing at Climb @ Blue Ridge. We pass this sign every time we trek to Hendersonville to see B's parents, and I never knew that it is formerly Rocks n Ropes, which was in the West End of downtown! Back in college, I used to go there with some friends, and while I never really got "good' at it per se, I did have an ex-boyfriend who dropped some serious cash on buying me a top of the line harness and shoes...which I still have packed away somewhere. If I can dig them out of my stash of "already-packed-because-it-doesn't-stage-well-to-have-too-much-in-your-home" items, we can enjoy as long as our gripping muscles can stand for less than $30.

Bike Riding Healthy trails to you at the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail which connects the City of Greenville to Travelers Rest (right by our alma mater, Furman!) It's about 10 miles or so, and I've heard it's not only a great workout, but a gooooorrrrrrgeous (Anyone done P90X when Tony Horton says this about 10 times about Dreya? He's totally got a crush on her) view (and no, I'm not just talking about riding behind Brandon and staring at his heiny all day). Free 99, yo! We just have to borrow some bikes, first. Hmm...

Indoor Shooting at Allen's Indoor Shooting Range. The heat that this place packs would make Ralphie's "official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle" look like, well, a toy. I think this could not only be fun, but therapeutic as well. For range usage and rental, we're looking at about $25 to get some shots squeezed out.

So what about you? Do you have any Greenville date nights you've been on that just have to make our list? Anything you've been wanting to do but haven't, for whatever reason? Throw your ideas out, and let's all spice up date night a little bit!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Into Everything Allie

 There's a book called Oh, David! that I read to Allie often, changing the main character from David to Allie. It goes like this:
"Allie's mommy always says, 'Oh, Allie!' (Picture of baby with entire roll of toilet paper unfurled on bathroom floor).
'Open up, Allie.' (Picture of baby refusing to eat-though Allie eats everything she can get her hands on most of the time.) 'P.U!' (Picture of a satisfied looking baby with a full diaper). ' Hold still, Allie!' (Picture of Mama trying to diaper a super wiggling child.) 'Go night, night, Allie.' (Picture of baby standing in crib.) 'Oh Allie, I love you.' (Picture of baby on Mama's lap reading a book)."

This book goes along with some of the things I love about our second born:
  • She loves to explore her world, and isn't afraid to rock the boat, make a mess, etc...when she's caught she always has a coy little smile on her face like, "whaaaaaat? You're mad at me? Have you noticed how absolutely cute I am?'
  • Her love for food rivals my own. We have neighbors who laugh because every time Allie comes over to their house, she always beelines it to their pantry, which is stocked with all sorts of yummy food. Though she eats like ravenous wolf, she stays petite, which may be a great thing if her metabolism stays like that when she's older. 
  • She's as strong-willed as her Daddy, and she knows what she wants. Whether it's her 'bippy' (pacifier), 'ba ba' (milk) or just a good hug, she is really good at persistently reminding us that her desires are not being presently met. I think that if we hone this attribute in, it will work for her in the future as she advances the Kingdom of God!
  •  Her laugh is amazing, and I try to do whatever I have to hear it everyday! She often laughs as she tries to get away from me on the changing table!
  • She's a great sleeper and I have never really had a problem with putting her down to sleep for naps or nighttime. She loves routine, but is also flexible when our schedules dictate 
  • She's a little lover. A hug from Allie Berry will make anyone's day, and she gives them out liberally. I love how fiercely affectionate this little girl is!

What a precious child of God and gift to our family!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Princess Ella

 Next up in my love story is our firstborn, Ella. She is definitely a princess at heart and has grown up so quickly!
  • I love Ella's heart for the Lord already. She loves to pray and read her Bible, and has a knack for remembering the stories in it. She often tells me that she sees angels flying by our car or in her room at night, and I totally believe her. 

  • She is an awesome snuggle bug. Every morning she loves to climb in our bed and get some snuggles before we start our day. Her favorite way to snuggle when Mom and Dad are busy is in her skivvies with a warm blanket and her new kitten, as seen here.

    • She is a builder and an organizer. It is not rare for us to come into her room and see that she has organized all of her shoes, books, toys, etc...

    • She is a great big sister and friend to many. She loves to remind people that "Berrys share" (a motto we have tried to drill into her brain instill in her. Her naivete in playgroups is precious and allows her to be nice to everyone.
  • She loves to dress up. Everyday. Without fail. She will have on some sort of princess dress and accessory on for some period of time. Guaranteed. Her preference these days is the Rapunzel dress her grandparents gave her for Christmas.

What an awesome firstborn I have! I can't wait to see what the Lord does in and through her life!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wuv, Twu Wuv

Seeing as it is a few days away from Valentine's Day, I thought I'd give a little thought to some of the things I love about the people I love the most. And since he's my #1 love (besides Jesus, of course), and we are going to the marriage conference tonight (which makes me want to start transitioning my brain from Super Mommy to Adoring Wifey), I thought I'd start with Brandon. Here are some things that I love about him:
  • I love how passionate he is for the Lord. He is absolutely smitten with Him, and he seems like a little boy when he shares things that He is telling him. 
  • I love that he is an amazing father to our little girls. He encourages them and speaks life into them. He knows how to mold their precious little hearts and he prays for them regularly. 
  • I love his hugs and his loving touch. He always knows just how long to hold me on any given day. He is equally liberal in giving away hugs to his the girls, and also to many in the Church who need a loving touch. 
  • I love how he is always learning. On any given day, he is reading at least 2 books along with his personal Bible study, and he devours other pastors' sermons so he can glean more wisdom. I continually pray that God will give him even more wisdom and understanding than Solomon. 
  • I love how he leads with vision. He takes the time to get a vision and is great at articulating it with again, the aforementioned, passion. 
  • I love how well he takes care of his body. He is not an obsessed meat head by any stretch of the imagination, but he loves to work out and eat healthy, and I appreciate that for so many reasons.
Those are just six of many reasons why I am absolutely, madly, utterly, head-over-heels in love with my HOLY HOTTIE Husband, Brandon Berry!

So now it's your turn. What do you love about your husband/wife/fiance/boyfriend/girlfriend?