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College Week 2

Saturday, September 30, 2006 by Mike Lovato

We're two weeks into Thursday nights now. The first week we had 15 and this week we had 29 (including 4 leaders). 30 students was the goal I was hoping for this week, but 29's cool. On the fourth Thursday of each month it's going to be a hang-out, coffeehouse style feel. This week we basically just threw decks of cards on some round tables, put some music on the sound system, and had some food and stuff. People seemed to really like it. Chris Davis was going to play some acoustic stuff, but we ended up not doing that....it was going fine without it. Next week we launch a series called "What Matters Most". More to come...


Gentle Correction

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by Mike Lovato

We had a city-wide post-See You at the Pole rally tonight called Saw You at the Pole. We were the host and our band was leading worship. There was a slight gap between songs during which one of our students who was singing took the opportunity to express a little school pride. Then the girl singing next to him decided to brag on her school. Then the keyboard player ran up to the mike to brag on his. I was ticked. We were transitioning into a more intimate time of worship and it felt pretty inappropriate. Luckily, by the time I talked to them I was ok. I realized they weren't trying to be rude. They weren't trying to ruin a worship time. In fact, it probably didn't hurt us all that bad (I still wouldn't want them doing that). They just don't have much worship-leading experience, had an awkward pause, and tried to fill it with what they know. I hope that when I talked to them afterwards it didn't seem like I was still upset. I want them to learn from it.

After all was said and done, I found myself wondering, "Was I upset because they took students' focus off God or because it messed up my pre-conceived idea of the flow of the worship time and made us look goofy?"

Not 100% sure, but still learning...


Thursday Night Launch

Monday, September 25, 2006 by Mike Lovato

We launched our Thursday night gatherings last week. Here's my basic rundown: the room looked very cool. I bought a bunch of floor lamps at Target and killed all the flourescents. So that was cool. Worship was good, message felt pretty good. Downsides: there were only about 15 of us there which was a little bit of a bummer. There was a big CBU event that night so that may have hurt us. During my talk there were two times where a guy raised his hand and asked a question....which isn't completely the format. I guess that could be the format (although I'm not leaning that way), but they were the kind of things that could have waited until after.

I have a meeting today at 4 to talk about how we're going to incorporate a coffee bar each week and turn it into full coffeehouse once a month. That should be cool. My hope is to see 30 students there this week.

Last, but not least, we have the most amazing volunteers involved in college ministry! They're making it fun and much easier for me.


Launching Tonight

Thursday, September 21, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Well, in just under two hours we'll be launching our first Thursday night college gathering. I'm excited about it, but have no idea what the turnout will be. It starts at 9pm which will either be awesome for us or hurt us. The format's pretty simple - 20-25 minutes of worship through singing and 25-30 minutes of teaching. I bought some lamps and we're turning out all the flourescents in our meeting room to have a little more informal feel. Jon's helping us out with leading worship until we really put that team together. We're competing against the barn dance of CBU's TWIRP (The Woman is Required to Pay) Week. That was Nicole and I's first "official" date back in the day. Maybe some future married couples are learning to do-si-do together tonight.


Midweek At a Glance

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Series: Cribs: Making God at Home in Your Life
Message: The Bedroom: Private Life
Game: Average. We've done ice-breaker type questions at the tables the last three weeks. I think it went ok at the tables, but needed a little more up-front energy.
Music: Above Average. Songs: Make a Joyful Noise, Oh Praise Him, Forever, Wonderful Maker, How Great is our God
Message Length: 20 minutes-ish (I think?)
Message Quality: Average.
Videos: Above Average. Did the second Cribs video from the series to close it out. We did our house. It came out a little long since we took so much footage, but students laughed and liked it.
Volunteer Interaction: Average.
Student Response: Average.
Attendance: Above Average.
1st Time Guests: 3-ish


Numero Cuatro

by Mike Lovato

Well, as of a walk-in meeting a few minutes ago, I've just lost volunteer #4 in 2 weeks. This one wasn't as heavy a situation. She's decided to move on to another church. Evidently this is the season I'm in now.

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My True Ethnicity

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I just got a letter that starts "Dear Pastors of Asian American churches,". How awesome is that?


Watching my Weight

by Mike Lovato

Ok, so I agreed today to join a Weight Watchers group at work. There's going to be about 15 of us in the office doing it. I said I was only in if I wasn't the only guy. Well, Mike Pierpoint (evangelism pastor) is in and it looks like I am too. I'm at almost 225 pounds and should probably be at about 175 or 180. My heaviest was 235 a year or two ago. We'll see how it goes.



Monday, September 18, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I really want to post pics from the retreat, but I can't find our camera. Last time I remember it, I was laying on the sidewalk at church after we got back...taking a picture up towards the sky. I hope I didn't lose it because our other one broke and we just replaced it with this one a few months ago.


Retreat Update

Saturday, September 16, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Just a quick update from our retreat. We're up here at Thousand Pines and just finished with the 3rd of our 4 sessions. Stephen has been doing a GREAT job of communicating to our students. Last night he focused on getting rid of the sin that holds people back in life. This morning was about confidence and convictions needing to: love what God loves, hate what God hates, and see what God sees. Then just now he spoke on having a compassionate heart like Jesus did and meeting real needs in the people we encounter in life. Good stuff. We wrap up with the sessions tonight. Then tomorrow morning is paintball. A very different Sunday morning than I'm used to, but I'm looking forward to it. That's all for now. Maybe I can get some pics on here later.


College Conversations

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Met with Brad Baker, pastor of Crave at Saddleback Church, for a bit yesterday to talk through some college ministry stuff. He came on staff there maybe a month before I left so we barely crossed paths before I headed out to Riverside. He's a sharp, laid-back, and humble guy. We talked about several things, but here's some that stood out.

  • Think in terms of three seasons - summer, fall, spring
  • One retreat in each season - this will propel growth ahead both spiritually and numerically
  • Teaching in each season divided into series of Topical, Philosophical/Theological, and Exegetical (this is a good thought process for planning out teaching series)
  • Core or ministry team consists of: Ministry Team Members (varying, but potentially low commitment), Ministry Team Leaders, Core Lead Team (I don't have my notes with me and may have that wording wrong). That Core Lead Team is the "go-to" people that pour into the ministry team leaders who then pour into the ministry team members.
  • Relationships, relationships, relationships - this permeated through everything we talked about and has permeated our discussion at our church regarding college ministry
  • Brad estimated they have about 85% of their Thursday night service attendance plugged into small groups. That's a pretty impressive percentage.
All in all some good conversation. Brad's only been there a year so I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with young adults in the future.

Last, but not least - I also got to run into Allison Hibbard, Jason Pogue, John Snyder, and Katie "I need to start blogging" Edwards. Always good to see old friends. I miss seeing you guys every day.


God is at Work

by Mike Lovato

Perry Noble has a great post this morning about the fact that no matter what's going on at this moment in your life, God is at work. Whether life is good or bad, God is at work.

That's a good thought for me because this has been a tough week in a lot of ways. We've had two volunteers step down in the last week. Today I have to have a tough conversation with another volunteer. And life's just been crazy busy with ministry responsibilities, seminary, and trying to be a better husband.

But God is at work.


On the Verge of a Rebuild

Monday, September 11, 2006 by Mike Lovato

I mentioned before that we were losing one volunteer due to some conflict. Well, on Saturday I found out that another one is heading out. Looks like we're heading into re-build mode. It's always tough when people move on (especially when there's a need), but I'm looking forward to re-building much of our Sunday mornings with fresh volunteers. We have a big immediate need now, but I want to take our time finding the right quality people. Long-term that's going to be healthier for us.

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Midweek at a Glance

Friday, September 08, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, this had been a semi-regular feature that I haven't done in awhile. Now it's back. Here you go.

Series: Cribs: Making God at Home in Your Life
Message: The Kitchen: Family Life
Game: Average-ish. We did some "Would You Rather?" questions at the tables. We have students at tables on Wednesday nights, but don't usually do a very good job of actually connecting them to the people at their tables. This was our attempt and it went pretty well.
Music: Above Average. Songs: My God Reigns (Jon - if you read this...I will not be sad if we don't ever sing this song again), Indescribable, Pour Out my Heart, Be the Center, Nothing but the Blood. Our band was in full-force tonight for the first time in awhile. Here's what we had: Jon - Electric Guitar/Vocals, Robbie - Acoustic Guitar, Vanessa - Bass, Other Robbie - Drums, Brian - Midi Controller (new addition...added a cool vibe), Brittany - Vocals.
Message Length: 20 minutes
Message Quality: Average. I feel a little out of my prep groove....working on it.
Videos: Above Average. We don't do a ton of video, but want to. We had two this week. One is one I made with just words and images from the Crowder song "Come and Listen. We used that as a transition between "Would you Rather" and the 2nd worship set. The second was a Cribs video we shot at Jon's apartment. Turned out good, but the audio and video quality went to crap through MediaShout for some reason. We may go straight DVD next time if I can't figure that out.
Volunteer Interaction: Average? To be honest, I couldn't really tell. Everyone sat with students and seemed to interact.
Student Response: Average.
Attendance: Above Average. Highest since I've been here.
1st Time Guests: 4? I think they all came with one student from Poly.

Overall, we had a good night. We're starting to have a good flow for Midweek. Now we just need to continually work on it and make it better.


Conflict update

Thursday, September 07, 2006 by Mike Lovato

We had our meeting last night with the two volunteers who have been in conflict. Another staff member joined me and I was SUPER glad she was there. She really carried the meeting for us. Anyways, to make a long story short, the issue wasn't entirely resolved and one volunteer is probably stepping out of our youth ministry. It also opened up some discussion on our sunday morning program. Short version on that is it needs a lot of work (which I knew), a lot of fresh volunteers (which I knew), and probably some volunteers moving on (which I probably knew but hadn't completely admitted). Anyways, sort of a tough meeting. We'll see what happens next.

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Church Website part deux

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 by Mike Lovato

The website is back up and running in its newly redesigned form. Lori did a great job on an ultra-quick redesign. The new site is MUCH more current looking. You can check it out here.

The only issue: there's a funky looking picture of me on the homepage. Nicole and Anissa look normal. I look like I forgot to take my medicine.


CBU Involvement Fair

by Mike Lovato

So today was CBU's involvement fair. They had the In-n-Out truck there serving food and a ton of different churches, banks, companies, military branches, etc. with displays. Here's how the day went.

I set my alarm for 7 hoping to be out the door between 8 and 8:30. At 9:06 Nicole got out of bed and I freaked out realizing I was running late. Got ready quick, took care of a bunch of stuff, and made it down to the church office. We were supposed to have a banner ready to go by 10am. I called the sign place at 11 or so and he said it would be ready at 2. That would be great if the event didn't end at 1:30. So he says he'll start printing it. I get over there at about 11:30 and he says something keeps crashing....ok, now it's working, but will be a bit....send somebody over at noon. I get a call a few minutes later as I'm almost at CBU that something still keeps crashing and we're not going to have it. So, we have no signage. That's ok.

Long story short, we set up and were good to go. It was BLAZING hot. Everyone was melting. But we had quite a few students come by and were able to get them some info. Also was able to re-connect with some of the students who had visited Sunday. Met a Saddleback guy named Kyle which was kinda cool to have that in common. All in all, worth the time and running around. Hopefully some students will check our church and college ministry out as a result of it.


Blogs I Dig

Monday, September 04, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Ok, I'm starting a new occasional feature today. It's called "Blogs I Dig." Every so often, I'll give you a peek at a blog that I enjoy on a regular basis. Probably most of the time from my "blogs o' sweetness" list over there on the right, but we'll see what happens.

Today's Blog I Dig:

Kurt Johnston

Kurt is the jr. high pastor at Saddleback Church. He's my former boss and a cool friend. If you serve in jr. high ministry at any level, you should be reading Kurt's blog. He's the man when it comes to understanding ministry to that unique age group. A surprising thing I quickly picked up while serving with Kurt is that he may be even more of a leadership guru than a jr. high guru. Don't get me wrong, he bleeds jr. high ministry, but he also is one of the sharpest guys I know when it comes to know how to lead and develop people. When I have a leadership issue or major decision to make, Kurt is one of the guys I go to. Kurt's goal is to blog every day except Sunday so there's always fresh content there to pick up. Check his blog out and enjoy!

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by Mike Lovato

I hate conflict. Seriously, I avoid it like the plague. My personality is very people-pleasing and it takes me forever to work up the courage to confront someone about an issue, especially if I feel like they won't like me as much afterwards.

So we have these two high school volunteers who have been butting heads for a while now. I've yet to really see the conflict happen, but hear the reports from each of them after it does. Well, it finally hit the fan yesterday morning and I had one volunteer crying and another who was just pretty mad. So I comforted the cryer and touched base with the other one. And now we're going to have to do a little sit-down in my office this week to work through all this junk.

I think both of them at some point said they needed to work it out "for the kids." Now I agree that they need to work it out so we can minister in a healthy way to students. But that sounds like the angry married couple who sticks it out "for the kids." I don't want people sticking it out for the kids. I want them to stick it out because it honors God and honors the relationship they have as a result of being a part of the same spiritual family.

I hope that healing will happen here. I'll try to post again after the meeting.

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College Ministry Launch

Sunday, September 03, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Today was our first Sunday with new CBU students on campus. We had about 50 (including leaders) at our welcome lunch today. Probably 30ish new students there. I was pleased with the way it went. Format was pretty simple:

Hang Out
Table Talk
Quick Ministry Overview from Me
More Hanging Out and Food

All in all, pretty successful. We got info from most, if not all, of the new students. We included options on the card for wanting to plug into different ministries and had a lot of people check stuff there.

This week in college ministry...
Follow up on guests from Sunday
CBU Involvement Fair on Tuesday
Begin promo for BBQ on the 14th
Get ready for another big Sunday


Check this Out

Friday, September 01, 2006 by Mike Lovato

Check out this post on Josh Griffin's blog. Look at the second item on his list of google searches that led to his site. That is stinking awesome.



Mike Lovato is a follower of Jesus, husband to Nicole, daddy to Addison, and pastor to teenagers in Riverside, CA.


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