Category Archives: events

Social Media Does The Body Good!

The way we interact today isn’t like it was in the old days.  Back in the “good ol’ days” people would talk to each other using their mouths and eyes, not their computers, websites and fancy smartphones.  The way we connect, communicate and interact seems to be changing constantly at a blinding speed.  The minute I catch up with one thing, I’ve already got to learn a new one.

Fortunately for me, I actually enjoy the social media fad.  I’m on most major social media platforms.  I enjoy connecting with new people and catching up with people from my past.  Social media has completely changed the landscape of communication.

I want to speak specifically to those who are involved in ministry for a minute.

You may or may not like social media.  It may be something you naturally connect with or you might look at it and be completely baffled as to why anyone would get involved with such craziness.  I’m here to tell you something; your ministry needs social media.  Trust me, it does the “Body” good.

Adam Carriker

Adam Carriker

This is Adam Carriker.  He is a former Nebraska Cornhusker, stand out defensive lineman and Blackshirt.  He is a current Washington Redskin, right in my backyard.  I follow Adam on Twitter and am a “friend” on Facebook, mostly for selfish reasons (to keep up with Husker players).  However, this connection would prove to be extremely fruitful.

At our Campus in Haymarket, Virginia, we have a ministry we call, “Grab Your Groceries.”  We connect with social workers and guidance counselors in our local schools in Prince William County.  Through them, we are able to help provide grocery relief for some of the poorest in our area.  We meet very few of the families we serve, but based on our connections, we know the help is going to those who need it most.  The schools and families we serve are beginning to trust us more than other social organizations and it’s awesome to watch as they call us up and ask us to help us with different events at their schools.  I think we’ve stumbled on to a way to bring Jesus to schools without bashing them over the head with a Bible study or prayer group (but that’s a post for another time).

To help GYG grow, we are planning a huge benefit concert.  This is where social media comes back into the picture.  I sent Adam a direct message on Twitter, briefly told him about myself and introduced him to GYG.  I also was so bold as to ask him to help us out.  He responded with a message of his own and the conversation took off from there.  I found him on Facebook (to make messaging simpler) and gave him more details.  He was happy to help.  I asked him to donate cleats, signed by him, that we could raffle off to raise money to buy groceries for the families we serve.  He loved the idea and agreed.

No red tape.

No agents.

No long lines waiting for an autograph at a mall.

But I did make a connection with a professional athlete in the most powerful city in the world.  And he is helping us serve the community in his own way.  And I couldn’t have done it without social media.  Facebook, Twitter and more, have the power to connect you to people around the world like never before.  And in this case, it has served to further ministry efforts to provide grocery relief for those who need it most in our area.  Social media is capable of some very powerful things.

So, what do you think social media could help you and your ministry accomplish?

In what ways do you utilize social media to your ministries advantage?

Do you see ways that social media can be used to help make disciples?

Adam's cleats

Thanks, Adam Carriker, for the awesome donation!  You’re the man!  Go Huskers!  And, Go Skins!  We will be raffling his cleats at the benefit concert on Saturday, September 10th.

Follow Adam on Twitter here.  Check out his bio as well.  Maybe he knows a little something about making a difference in people’s lives.

Follow me on Twitter here.

Osama Bin Laden And The Christian’s Response!

President Obama

The news hit late at night on May 1st, 2011.  The President of the United States of America announces that a very strategic strike by covert military forces had lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden.  The mastermind behind the 9/11 attack on the United States.  The mastermind behind hundreds of other attacks, leaving thousands dead in his wake.

At the onset of the news, I was so excited.  I’m so thankful to the countless men and women serving our nation in the military.  I’m so thankful that nearly a decade of work has paid off for them.  I’m so thankful that they didn’t quit.  I’m so thankful to the President of the United States for not giving up and for allowing us to find him.

Then I woke up Monday morning.  I felt different.  I wasn’t sure what I really felt or which was right.  My thoughts shifted to, “I’m a Christian before I’m an American.  Is it okay for me to be glad this murderer is dead?  How would Jesus have responded?”  I was so confused and not sure what to feel about the death of this man.

I have gone back and forth on this issue most of the day.  I have read Facebook posts detailing each person’s, personal opinions.  I have read the arguments.  I have even watched the videos on YouTube that are already saying the Government invented Osama Bin Laden and that he wasn’t even a real person (crazy people).  I wish I could say that I have some solid answer, but truthfully I’m still wondering what to think.

While I think some more, here are a couple of blogs from two men I respect and who are much smarter than me.  Read their thoughts here and here.

Here is where I land |

I am happy that a mass murderer is no more!

I am happy that we finally got the man who killed thousands of Americans in a matter of hours.

I am happy about that.

But…

I am sad that another soul has likely gone into eternity without Jesus as his Advocate.

I am sad that he could not be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some of you land on one side of this argument or the other.  Some of you aren’t struggling with this at all.  And that’s okay.  You don’t have to be.  I’m not telling you how to think about this by any stretch.  However, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I want you to wrestle with something I am wrestling with.  From the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself.  If you are diving in deep, becoming more like Christ, tell me these words of His aren’t hard to wrestle with.

Matthew 5:44-45…

But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

I am glad that Osama Bin Laden can never hurt another human being again!  Praise God for that.

I am sad that he met God without knowing Jesus!

What do you think?

An Anointing!

Exponential Conference

It was the final session at Exponential Conference 2011.  Matt Chandler was the main speaker (I’ll have more to say about him in a later post).  Exponential ends with a bang each year.  This year was no different.  The plan was to have a prayer and anointing time with church planters and teams that wanted to be prayed with before leaving the conference.  The New Life staff team was asked to help with the prayer and anointing.

I stood backstage awaiting instruction.  Our team listened as the session was talked through and how everything would go.  I left with a small tube of oil as did the rest of our team.  As we sat through the service, something began to nag at me.  I wasn’t sure I was ready for this.  Who was I to pray with and anoint these people, these church planters and leaders.  The more I thought about it, the more inadequate I began to feel.  In fact, I sent a text message to one of our guys who was sitting behind me.  It said…

I don’t feel qualified to anoint.  God has much work to do on me still.

His reply was fantastic and really helped me to make one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Up to you.  Question isn’t whether you have it all figured out, but whether you can be God’s agent in blessing these pastors.  If you decide to pass, no worries.

I decided that I would go for it.  I wanted to be up there with our team, praying for all these men and women who were getting ready to start a new church or had just gotten underway.

When the time came, I went to my spot with the rest of the people set aside for this role.  People began to flow forward by the hundreds.  I heard stories from church planters who were tired and worn out.  I heard stories from those who were afraid and anxious about what was coming their way.  I met teams of people who were working together to make an impact in places like Los Angeles, Denver and Orlando.  I met one woman who was on a team trying to plant churches in Canada.  I was able to pray with them and put some oil on their forehead.

I don’t know how everyone else felt.  I can only speak for myself.  What we did for those people, praying with and for them, maybe accomplished as much, if not more, for me than it did for them.  I was blown away by the stories and by what God is up to in our world.  I was given a fresh sense of the fact that, it’s not about me.  It’s all about God and what He is doing.

I am so thankful that I went for it.  I’m so thankful that the man I sent my text to, didn’t just give me an excuse to get out of it.  Instead, he challenged me to bless others.  God worked in my heart and soul through praying for others.  It was an unbelievable experience and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything (except having my wife beside me when all this happened).

If you’re out there, working in ministry, church plants, leadership team, etc, I want to hear from you.  I want to hear your story.  I want to know how I can pray for and encourage you.

God is doing big things my friends.  Sometimes it feels like we’re losing the battle, but I assure you, God is winning the war!

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid!

Keep it up, church!

Keep it up!

Exponential Conference 2011!

Exponential

Today was an amazing day!  The opportunities to learn were amazing and the chance to meet some very cool people is simply fun.

I sat amazed today.  A large stage filled with speakers who are inspiring in the church world.  Names like; Alan Hirsch, Francis Chan, Matt Carter, Neil Cole, Ed Stetzer and more.  There aren’t many things that are obvious to me, but one very clear thing slammed into my face today; God is amazing!

God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and I’m so thankful to Him for all He is allowing me to see, learn and do.  I pray that I will be wise and use His grace to reach as many people for Christ as I possibly can.

As I listened to many speakers today, here are a couple of things that I picked up.

  1. “Everywhere you go, that’s where the church is!”  -Rob Wegner, Granger Community Church
  2. “If you want a disciple making movement, you have to have the Lord’s blessing!”  -Jim Putman, Real Life Ministries
  3. “Don’t plant churches.  Plant Jesus!”  -Neil Cole, CMA Resources

When all was said and done, I developed a challenge for myself.  I’m not going to tell you what that is just yet.  Maybe some day.  For now, it’s a personal challenge that God and I are working on.  I believe that God is up to something big.  And I hope He has in mind to allow me to be even a small part of it.

And today also held a few fun surprises.  It was very cool to sit in a room with 75 church leaders and planters from around the country and world, to listen to Rick Warren share some inspiring vision stuff for the church.  It was also fun to shoot a video with him.  No, really.

I’m very excited about what God is doing through church planting.

I’m very excited that I get to work closely with people who are doing some really cool things.

I am humbled that God even lets me near this stuff.

Typically, I’m scared I’ll just mess it up.  Which is very likely.

Thanks again, God, for being so gracious to me.

And thanks to all those who have made this conference possible.

What are some of your favorite things, that you have learned at different conferences, classes, seminars, books, etc?

What pieces of knowledge have been the most valuable for you in ministry?

I Am Dave Ferguson!

Exponential Conference

I’m here at Exponential 2011 in Orlando, FL.  Our New Life team is volunteering with a ton of cool stuff.  We’re getting to see some pretty cool behind the scenes stuff at the coolest church planters conference on the planet (someone please pass that tid bit along to Todd Wilson for me).  As we were preparing to volunteer today, we were going through some training.  Our fearless leader stood up and inspired us to volunteer like it was our last day on earth.  He was very excited and it was easy to get excited along with him.  I wanted to share a little of what he said.  If you’re a volunteer, apply what was said to your particular area of service.

In order to give this conference the “Wow” experience it deserves, volunteers have to own it like it’s their own.  Our volunteer leader helped us with that.  He told the story of Exponential and how it was the brainchild of so many great people.  One of which he mentioned specifically was Dave Ferguson.

Dave Ferguson

Mr. Dave Ferguson

You are Dave Ferguson…

…he said.  So I left and pretended to be Dave Ferguson today.  That was fun.

The point was well taken though.  If we want this conference to be as successful as it can be, we need to be as excited about it as Dave.  We need to pretend we have invested as much in it as Dave has (and many others, I’m just using Dave because that was the name that was thrown out there today).  I was inspired to, “Be Like Dave.”  He’s cooler than Mike anyway.

Then our leader said, “Every moment is your moment of truth.”  I loved that.  I think that is a great, practical statement that all volunteers in any capacity can grab onto and believe in.  Each moment is the only time you will have that moment.  Your only moment to make a first impression.  Your only moment to make the best impression for Christ that you can.  Every moment is your moment of truth.  I’ll be taking this one home to the volunteers at my Haymarket Campus.

If you are a volunteer at a church (or anywhere else for that matter), I want to encourage you.

Thank you so much for all you do.

I apologize for not telling you as often as I should.

I want to encourage you to view your role as a moment of truth.  Put yourself in the shoes of “the boss” for a minute.  Think about how much they invest in whatever it is you are doing.  You are that person.  Care for it as deeply as they do.  Give it your all.  Especially if you are volunteering in a ministry.  There’s nothing more important than the work you are doing.  View every moment as your moment of truth.  It is your moment to make a huge impact on someone’s life and ultimately for the Kingdom of God.

Do you volunteer?

What do you do?

And, thank you.  Thank you so much for volunteering!

Tomorrow, I’ll be Dave Ferguson again.  Not a bad looking guy I guess.  It could be worse.  I could be….whoa!  About got myself in trouble there.

Exponential Conference 2011!

Exponential Conference

The day started bright and early at 5:10 am today.  Getting ready quickly, I joined the rest of the New Life Christian Church team at the nZone.  From there it was off to the airport, onto a Jet Blue flight and in Orlando, Florida before 11:00 am.

We are here for the Exponential Conference.  It’s an amazing church planters conference that brings together multiple church plant organizations.  This year features Matt Chandler, Francis Chan and Alan Hirsch.

I’m so stoked to be here.  I’ll be posting a lot of my thoughts throughout the day on Facebook & Twitter.  I’ll also try to update this blog with some other thoughts toward the end of each day.  Check back for all the great stuff happening at Exponential 2011.

Easter Traditions!

On Friday night, I called my kids up to the living room.  The only light in the room was candle light.  I read some Scripture (John 13) and talked about the night before Jesus was crucified.  Yes, I know Friday night isn’t the right night for that, but I had a late meeting on Thursday.

I told my three children about foot washing and what it means to be a servant to others.  Then I went around the room and washed all their feet.  Then, I washed my wife’s feet.  I didn’t expect it, but each of them took turns washing my feet.  It was a great experience and opened up some great conversation, at least from my two oldest children.

Then, I read to them about the Lord’s Supper from Matthew 26.  We talked about what the Lord’s Supper is and why we have communion each Sunday at church (Acts 20:7).  We had grape juice out and some crackers.  Some of you might not agree with my next move, but we talked about how communion reminds us of Jesus’ crucifixion and what He did for us.  Then we all drank some grape juice and at the crackers.  It was a special night and I wanted my kids to understand what communion is and who it is for.

Communion

Then, we went into the dining room to have supper.  It was a good segway into the next part of our evening.  After dinner, we made “empty tomb” cookies.  It’s actually amazing how they are hollow inside.  If you want the recipe, you’ll have to ask my wife.  We made them together and talked about different parts of the Easter story.  Smashing up walnuts we talked about how Jesus’ body was broken.  Putting some vinegar in the cookies we talked about how Jesus was offered vinegar to drink on the cross.  We added salt and talked about the salty taste of tears and the people who were crying when Jesus died.  It was really cool.  I’m hoping to make stuff like this a Rodda family tradition.

*On a side note, I even let my oldest son watch a few scenes from The Passion of the Christ.  I thought he was old enough to see a pretty accurate image of what the crucifixion was like.

I don’t remember a lot of Easter traditions in my family.  We probably had some, I’ve just forgotten (I know, I’m a bad son).  I’m looking forward to sharing cool moments like this each Easter with my family.  I pray it helps them develop a strong connection with how important Easter is and how it is much more than an Easter bunny and candy.

Does your family have any Easter traditions?

I’d love to hear them.

Please share in the comments.

Whirlwind!

Starting last Monday, pretty much everything is a blur.  My week was insane.  Literally, at moments I thought I was going to go crazy.

I’m happy to say, I’m still alive.

I was able to get an awesome deal on a new (to me) trailer and cabinets for our church.  We are mobile, so everything has to go in a trailer.  We are making moves toward a one trailer system.  The day we picked it up, was insane.  Everything from driving the opposite direction looking for a trailer, to reading a last minute ad in a flyer where we ultimately bought a trailer.  Emails from out of the blue.  Crazy cool conversations at times.  Then, topped off with an awesome Sunday morning with a near record attendance for our campus (on a Sunday not a holiday).  We are also connecting with a couple, area communities to help with their Easter events.  We are bringing moon bounces, sno-cones, popcorn, ice cream and face painting, all for FREE.  It’s a great way to plug in to area communities and their events.Ashton James

Stepping away from church talk, I volunteered to manage my son’s, 6-7 year old, coach pitch, little league team.  For those of you who are getting to know me on this little blog o’mine, I don’t really have anything to do with baseball.  Heck, I don’t even have a favorite team.  I don’t watch baseball.  I don’t really play it.  Now, I’m coaching it in one of the most competitive areas of the country.  Sheesh!

Beyond the lack of confidence since I know nothing about baseball, I’m super excited to spend time with my son.  I’m also really looking forward to meeting other families in the area.  Hopefully, God will use that to lead to some cool conversations.

It’s amazing how God opens doors through the most unlikely scenarios (me and baseball) for ministry.  I truly am excited to see where this might lead.

In other news, I’m really wanting to get back on Facebook.  My wife is posting awesome pictures online and I desperately want to check those out.  If you haven’t checked out her amazing photography, you should.  Misty Rodda Photography.

Time to relax for the rest of my Sunday evening.  I think I’ll run and grab a Dr. Pepper from somewhere.  Yeah, that sounds good.

Thursday!

StarbucksIs it me or does Lady Gaga’s song, “Born This Way,” make absolutely no sense?

I like Dunkin’ Donuts.  I love Starbucks.

I’m brainstorming, “NOVA’s Largest Easter Event.”  What do you think about a skydiving Easter bunny?

Did anyone else notice how freaking awesome the weather was today (at least in NOVA)?  Heaven will be like today, only every day.

I wish I could afford to fly to Japan.

My legs still hurt from a leg workout I did on Tuesday.  Guess it’s been a while since my legs were forced to lift some weight.  I’d like to thank my brother-in-law, Josh, for nothing.  Nothing but pain.

Today was a long day.  Dropped my sister and her husband off at the airport first thing in the morning.  An hour and a half in DC traffic, followed by an hour in DC traffic to get to work.  Two meetings (which were both good) followed.  Knocked out a couple projects at the office.  Headed home.  Hung out outside for a while because as I stated earlier, the weather was freaking awesome today.  God descended on North Virginia in 70 degrees, a slight breeze and a lot of sun.  Grilled some burgers for dinner.  Now, off to hang with some guys and watch some March Madness.

Nothing much spiritual here today, only a small glimpse into the wheels turning in my head as I went through the day.

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