Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Week at Chain of Lakes

This is a big week in the life of Chain of Lakes Church.

First, we are hosting a concert by the Cedar Lake 7, tomorrow night, December 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Senior Center in Lino Lakes, 1189 Main Street. Tickets are $5 for adults; kids are FREE. All proceeds go to support CEAP, a community-based charity that offers many types of assistance to families in need. This concert is a wonderful way for people to be introduced to our faith community. We have invested a lot of our time and resources into this concert—and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Spirit works tomorrow night.

if you haven't bought a ticket yet, you can call our office--651-528-7321--or just come to the concert.

Second, this Sunday, December 6 we will worship for the first time on Sunday mornings. We will gather to worship at 10:30 a.m. at the Senior Center. We are already scrambling this week to do the items in preparation for worship that eventually will become common-place. Items like doing a bulletin, making sure we have all of our furnishings, having people organized to provide worship leadership, and small items like bringing a lighter so we can light the candles. This afternoon I spent a couple hours traveling to another Presbyterian Church to borrow banners.

If people worship with us on Sunday, they’ll have the opportunity to say in future years, “I attended the very first Sunday morning worship service at Chain of Lakes.” We are not doing a lot of advertising for this service as one important part of our gathering is to learn how to worship together.

I am looking forward to preaching for the people at Chain of Lakes. Yesterday I preached at Church of the Apostles in Burnsville. I shared with them that I had been on the road on Sundays since the middle of August preaching and speaking at different Presbyterian churches. I ended up preaching or speaking at Edgcumbe, Central, Community in Rochester, Presbyterian Church of the Way (twice), Kasson, St. Croix Falls, Hudson, Valley, Buffalo, and then concluded at Church of the Apostles’ in Burnsville. I enjoyed being an itinerant preacher/speaker, but I especially looked forward to writing sermons for the people at Chain of Lakes.

This Sunday that will begin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stretched--delivering Thanksgiving baskets

This past Saturday many of us at Chain of Lakes church delivered Thanksgiving baskets to families in Anoka County. This was part of a program set up by C.E.A.P., a community-based charity that offers many types of assistance to families in need. As part of this program C.E.A.P. encouraged churches in Anoka County to give Thanksgiving baskets.

At Chain of Lakes we agreed to deliver baskets to twenty families. It was a bit of a stretch goal for us, but yesterday I was pleased to tell Tom Linman, the Family Services Manager in Blaine for C.E.A.P, that we were able to deliver all of the baskets.

Instead of having these families pick up their baskets at our office, we decided to deliver them to the families’ home. We did this so that those of us delivering the baskets would at least see the settings of these families in need.

Though it was a stretch for our new church to give out twenty baskets, the true stretching that took place was in the hearts of those of us who delivered the baskets.

We talked about this last night at our Chain of Lakes’ Steering Committee meeting. Those of us who delivered baskets shared some of our stories. We talked about how the traditional stereotype of people in poverty didn’t fit our experience. Many of the people to whom we delivered baskets are not immigrants or minorities. They are mainly Caucasian—working people who aren’t working or whose jobs aren’t paying enough to keep them from needing a Thanksgiving basket. We also talked about how the folks who are poor are invisible to the rest of us. They live on streets on which we rarely drive; they live in places that we can’t easily find. Their status is invisible.

It’s my experience that in talking about poverty it’s best to share stories. Oh sure I could recite numerous statistics, like the current national unemployment rate of 10.2 percent. But over time these numbers are just numbers. They don’t communicate the stories of people who are hurting—often hurting in an invisible way. When people become numbers they are too easy to push away.

I remember a woman to whom I delivered a basket this past Saturday. She had been in bed much of the day because of the flu. When she came to the door after I had repeatedly knocked on her door, I was touched by her eyes. The picture of her eyes has come to me often this past week. They were sunken and glazed over—tired. I know that she doesn’t have a car and she isn’t working. I don’t know the reasons for her family’s poverty, but I don’t need to know. What I do know is I’ve carried the picture of her eyes with me this week. They illustrated the harsh reality of her story.

Tomorrow most of us are going eat to excess on my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving. I know that at least twenty families in Anoka County have been given food to celebrate. And I know that many of us at Chain of Lakes had our hearts stretched as we delivered those baskets. As we sit down at the Thanksgiving table, we’ll sit with a stretched heart.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cedar Lake 7 concert

We at Chain of Lakes Church are celebrating our first day of our contract with the Lino Lakes Senior Center by sharing a concert by the Cedar Lake 7 with the community.

On Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00 the Cedar Lake 7, a Men’s Gospel Choir, will perform at the Lino Lakes Senior Center, located at 1189 Main Street in Lino Lakes. Tickets are $5 for adults with proceeds going to CEAP, a community-based charity that offers a many types of assistance to families in need. Children and youth can attend the concert for FREE

The Cedar Lake 7 is an outreach of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Featured on Prairie Home Companion, their concerts are an uplifting blend of spirituals and exciting rhythms. Children and youth will especially enjoy their music.

I am especially excited that on our first day of our contract with the Senior Center we can offer this concert for the community AND support CEAP. One of the proposed Core Values for us at Chain of Lakes is we will have an outward focus. This means we won’t just focus on the needs of the people within our community, but will always be offering ministries that address the needs of the wider community.

Sharing music and helping families in need seem to be a wonderful combination of addressing needs in the wider community.

We are encouraging everyone at Chain of Lakes to sell tickets. We recently mailed tickets to everyone in our emerging community at Chain of Lakes. I am selling tickets myself. Our administrative assistant, Jennifer Huehns, and I are challenging each other to each bring ten people to the concert. This is a stretch goal for me—but I’ve learned that being the Organizing Pastor of a new church is a stretching experience.

We are encouraging people in the north metro and beyond to come to this concert. Come and celebrate with us as we begin a new phase of our journey as a new faith community.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Would you help us?

Today we at Chain of Lakes are scheduled to receive 75 beautiful and comfortable chairs that will be placed in our new worship space. A picture of this chair is on top of this blog. Tomorrow at our “Moving In Party” we are going to assemble and place the chairs in the worship space.

The chairs are comfortable, attractive, and inexpensive—they cost $36.99 a piece. John Ivers—a member of the Steering Committee of Chain of Lakes—did an outstanding job of finding these chairs and arranging for them to be delivered.

We have one challenge—how are we going to pay for these chairs? We don’t have a line item in our budget for purchasing 75 chairs at $36.99 a chair.

We are asking Presbyterian churches and others outside our new church to purchase chairs.

Through basic Mission support the PC(USA) is supporting Chain of Lakes financially. We are grateful for this support. When I go out to Presbyterian congregations to speak, I enthusiastically thank them for their support for basic Presbyterian Mission. This support is our seed money. I come from agricultural stock, so I know that it’s impossible to grow anything—including a church—without quality seed.

If you are a Presbyterian, would you ask your Session to consider prayerfully purchasing some chairs for Chain of Lakes? Encourage them to buy five, ten—maybe twenty. One church has made a pledge of purchasing twenty chairs. Purchasing these chairs is one way your congregation can directly help us at Chain of Lakes.

If you would like to help as an individual, would you consider purchasing chairs for Chain of Lakes? Perhaps you could purchase five, ten—why not twenty?

I spoke at our Presbytery meeting on Tuesday, November 10 about purchasing chairs. It was a gas for me to stand up in front of the Presbytery and make the pitch for these chairs. I shared that these chairs could be an effective evangelism tool—that people would like sitting in these chairs so much that they would come from miles to sit in them. Okay, that sentence might be a stretch, but I have faith that God can accomplish things that far surpass our expectations.

Who knows, maybe our chairs will be an Evangelism tool.

At that meeting, I received pledges for about 30 chairs. At that moment the interest in purchasing chairs seemed so high that one person asked me what we would do if we receive more money than the 75 chairs. I immediately replied that this is a problem which I look forward to solving.

We’re not solving that problem today—we’re encouraging people and congregations to purchase chairs.

If you are a participant at Chain of Lakes we are encouraging you to give financially to our ministry.

Would you help us? Send checks made out to Chain of Lakes Church. Our office address is 6776 Lake Drive #225; Lino Lakes, MN 55014.

Thanks in advance to everyone who will make a financial contribution for these chairs. It is a privilege to serve a connectional denomination!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving In Party

This Saturday, November 21 starting at 11:00 a.m. we at Chain of Lakes Church are having a “Moving In Party” at the Senior Center, 1189 Main Street in Lino Lakes. North Springs Church, the congregation who was worshipping at the Senior Center, celebrated their first service at their new location this past Sunday, November 15. They have moved all of their equipment and furnishings out of the Senior Center. The place certainly looked different last night when we gathered for our Alpha gathering.

Now we at Chain of Lakes have the opportunity to get the space ready for our use.

A number of activities will make up the “Moving In Party.” We will have a scavenger hunt for children and youth which will take place outside the Senior Center. The weather forecast for Saturday is very promising. We adults will assemble the 75 beautiful chairs that we have ordered for our worship space. The chairs are scheduled to arrive this Friday. (Thanks to the many Presbyterian churches and individuals who are making pledges to purchase for the chairs. We are still collecting these pledges and hope that the area Presbyterian churches and individuals will pay for all 75.)

While the kids are on their scavenger hunt, I intend to gather the parents and talk about future Children’s Ministry at Chain of Lakes. We will order pizza and as we are eating all of us will talk about getting organized for our first worship service on Sunday, December 6th at 10:30 a.m.

To know how much pizza to order participants from Chain of Lakes can help us by letting us know either way if they are attending.

I’m looking forward to a beautiful day on Saturday—a day of moving in, planning for the future, eating pizza, and watching our children have a blast!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Worshipping at Renovation Church in Blaine

Yesterday, my daughter, Hannah, and I attended Renovation Church. They are a New Church Development and currently worshipping at Northpoint Elementary School in Blaine.

According to their web site,, Renovation is being birthed by enCompass Church in Vadnais Heights and Grace Fellowship in Brooklyn Park. Both churches are helping Renovation by sharing finances, training, and people. This is one of the best ways to start a church—churches planting churches. I applaud these two churches for these efforts. One of my long-term visions is for us at Chain of Lakes to plant churches.

I found out about Renovation when we at Chain of Lakes were looking for worship space this past summer. When I inquired about the availability of Northpoint Elementary, I found out that Renovation was already scheduled to worship there.

They had a very impressive launch and early start to the congregation. According to their Facebook group page, 308 attended worship on the first Sunday and 194 attended their second service the following Sunday. They are already busy organizing Home Groups and seem to have been successful. They’ve organized three Home Groups of 25 people.

I’m always interested in how new churches get started, so at at 9:50 a.m. Hannah and I pulled into the parking lot of Northpoint Elementary School ready to worship.

As I approached the parking lot I was greeted by a man waving me into the correct place to park. When Hannah and I walked into the school we were greeted at the door. I asked Hannah if she wanted to go to the Kids program that Renovation offers during worship. She decided to do that.

The people leading the Kids program put me through a fairly extensive registration process. I filled out a form at a table set up at the entrance to the space where children meet. Hannah was given a nametag; I was given a tag that I had to show when I picked up Hannah from her Sunday school classroom. I certainly understand the intent of the registration—they obviously want to ensure safe pickup of the children participating in their Kids program.

I was very pleased that Dave Nyberg, a member of the Core Group at Chain of Lakes joined me for worship. Dave and I walked into worship at the gymnasium of Northpoint Elementary a couple minutes after worship started. The gym was dark and the music was being led by a four-man Praise Band. No bulletins were handed out. The Praise Band led us in two songs—ones we would hear on KTIS.

Their equipment was impressive. Renovation had a huge black curtain hung in back of a portable stage. An image was professionally projected in the middle of the curtain. The band was made up of three guitar players and a drummer. It seemed to me that they had all the eqipment needed to share a quality presentation.

After the music the lead pastor of Renovation, David Sorn, shared a thirty minute sermon. The sermon was well-prepared and well-presented. He talked about a number of issues--the main one that struck me was the relationship of the Sermon on the Mount to the Old Testament. David previously served as the Pastor of High School Students at Constance Evangelical Free Church in Andover. The sermon was preceded by a short video clip.

After the sermon we were encouraged to sign a card that was placed under the chair where participants sat. We were encouraged to share an offering (along with the card) in a bucket that was passed. David shared that if we were visitors we didn’t need to share an offering.

We then sang three more Praise songs. The service ended when their worship leader basically said, “see you next week.”

Dave Nybert and I estimated that between 100 and 125 people attended the service.

This style of worship is one I've experienced at other new churches in the area--band, sermon, no liturgy. At Chain of Lakes we've decided to worship with a little more balanced style. We'll use traditional forms of worship and try to share them in fresh ways.

After the service I congratulated David Sorn on their very successful launch. I told him that we were starting a new church in Blaine/Lino Lakes and tried to worship with other congregations to learn from them.

Before we went to Renovation I asked Hannah if she would share with me one quality she liked about the church and one thing she didn’t. As we were driving out of the parking lot she shared a lot. I can tell she is going to be an analytical person! She shared that she enjoyed singing with the other kids in her class—I think about eight kids attended their class of 1st to 5th graders. She also shared that she would have liked to have done an art project.

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to worship with Renovation. As I do with every church I pray that they will become the community that God desires for them to be.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Presbyfest cancellation

Last week I received an E-mail saying that Presbyfest was cancelled due to low registrations. Presbyfest is a bi-annual lay leadership event put on by the Presbytery I serve—the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

Presbyfest is one of my favorite events that our Presbytery does. I enjoy it because it is one of the few local, lay leadership training events that brings Presbyterians together. I’ve participated in Presbyfest almost every time it’s been offered; I always try to bring a group of people from the church I serve to Presbyfest; I’ve been a workshop leader for Presbyfest in the past and was scheduled to be a workshop leader this year.

Last December I was asked to serve on the Presbyfest leadership team. I was grateful to be asked, but I declined the offer. I’ve decided to curtail significantly my Presbytery involvement for three years. I figure that being the Organizing Pastor of a Presbyterian Church qualifies as significant Presbytery service.

As a leader I am an incurable optimist. When events happen I always look at the bright side and usually spin them from a positive perspective. However, I try to balance my own positive outlook with the facts. Sometimes the facts don’t lead to a positive and upbeat outlook. I remember earlier this fall at Chain of Lakes when we had 12 people attend our second Alpha session after 38 attended the Alpha Celebration Dinner. I was disappointed—and diplomatically shared my disappointment with our Emerging Community.

I’m very disappointed that Presbyfest was cancelled.

My intent is not to point fingers or enter into the blame game. I know many of the people who serve on the Presbyfest leadership team, and I know that they are effective leaders.

One element of an effective organization is to be a learning organization. In his book, “The Fifth Discipline,” Peter Senge wrote the book about learning organizations. I didn’t read the entire book, but I strive to implement the practices of a learning organization at Chain of Lakes After every significant event we do I try to ask the question, “what have we learned from this event?” After our second Alpha event our worship team at Chain of Lakes came to the conclusion that we at Chain of Lakes weren’t as far along in developing the faith habits of our people as we thought we were. We changed the original plan that we had for the start of worship. Instead of starting with a big Grand Opening worship service, we decided to start worshipping ourselves on Sunday mornings. We put off our Grand Opening service until January. I think this plan is better than the original one. I can’t say I’m thankful that we had such a low turnout for our second Alpha event, but I am thankful that we were able to learn from it and develop a stronger plan for our new church.

My hope for our Presbytery is we can enter into a learning phase about Presbyfest. What has the cancellation of Presbyfest caused us to learn? How will these conclusions change the Presbytery’s programming and the way we program in the future?

It’s bad enough to have to endure the cancellation of Presbyfest; it would be even worse if we don’t learn and grow and become more effective as a Presbytery.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Listening to Miroslav Volf at Luther Seminary

Last Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the Missional Church Consultation organized by Luther Seminary in St. Paul. The title of the Consultation was “Created and Led by the Spirit Planting Missional Congregations.”

Luther Seminary has done these consultations for a number of years—this one was the fifth. Last weekend they shared four lectures and other small group experiences. To read a copy of the lectures go to and type in the password “planting.”

I am still learning about what it means to be a “missional church.” This conference helped me in my understanding of what this means.

By far the highlight of the conference was listening to Miroslav Volf speak. He teaches theology at Yale University.

He started out sharing that he wakes up at night thinking about our culture and his part in the culture. Some highlights for me were the following comments:

“What our culture has come to believe is the importance of human flourishing
Humans have always sought some form of experiential satisfaction
Religious culture was built around trying to resist this basic human instinct and of human drive”

“Culture has become the managed pursuit of pleasure instead of a sustained effort to live the good life.
It’s not simply the pursuit of pleasure—it’s the managed pursuit of pleasure
We work out; we work hard; We maximize utility as we see it—instead of seeing ourselves as living the good life

“Most of the church is organized around a very secular understanding of human flourishing. It’s almost as if the pastors didn’t believe in the gospel. The gospel doesn’t claim their lives or imagination. The pastors had to put fake jewelry around the gospel.”

“People are either takers, givers, or traders
Takers—we are so consumed about ourselves that we are willing to take.
Traders—I want something back when I give
Givers—I want to give more than I receive.
“we are a culture of traders and not of givers. We want something back for the gifts we give.”

“If we are traders it’s hard for us to appreciate grace.”

This last point on takers, traders and givers especially resonated with my experience of people, in particular Minnesota people. It’s hard for us to accept the FREE gift of grace that we have been given. We want to turn grace into a transaction.

I was especially inspired about his ideas regarding gifts and immediately ordered his book, “Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.”

I look forward to reading the book and writing about it on this blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Upper Room

Late yesterday afternoon I drove to St. Louis Park to worship with the Upper Room community. Upper Room is a church who started as a ministry within Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina. If I have the story correct, they were spun off as a separate congregation within the last year.

I attended the Upper Room once when I served as the pastor in Plainview. They have always been very successful at attracting a large number of young adults to their community. When I attended a service at Christ Presbyterian a number of years ago I would guess that close to 400 young adults participated.

I’m always interested in learning from churches who successfully attract young adults to a faith community. So at ten minutes to five yesterday afternoon I got out of my car on a side street and walked to the building where they are worshipping. I wasn’t able to park in the parking lot of the building because there was no room. Upper Room is leasing space from Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in St. Louis Park.

At the doorway to the building many young adults were hanging out. The sanctuary was lit by a lot of candles. Candles in the chancel area, candles or lights (I don’t remember which) on the side of the sanctuary—candles all over the place. Music was playing as I sat down in the sanctuary. For me the mood was mysterious—and inviting.

The too-practical side of me wondered what the budget for candles is at the Upper Room.

The service started with congregational singing led by their Praise Band. The three songs we sang were ones I’ve frequently heard on KTIS. The lyrics were projected in three places in the sanctuary. After one song the lights in the room changed colors—I think from red to blue. The congregation—I would guess approximately 150 to 200 attended, almost all young adults—must not have been singing as loud as usual. The song leader encouraged us at one point to sing louder.

After the singing we watched a video of a dramatic reading by a woman who portrayed the women at the well—the story in John 4. It was very well done. As I watched it I wondered if the woman was a professional actor—the quality was that high. After the video Kurt Vickman, the lead pastor of the Upper Room—gave about a 35 minute sermon on the theme of the day, which was “Searching for Water.” This sermon is part of a series called, “Soul Cravings.”

After the sermon the Praise Band led us in more singing. During the singing we were invited to come forward and take a bottle of water. Different bottles of water were set on a table in the chancel. They were marked to share the different types of refreshment we are given by God. People could kneel down to pray and then take a bottle of water with them. I took a bottle marked, “living water.” It’s powerful to be reminded that God’s living water is actually alive within me. That bottle of water is now in my car and is a visible reminder of that.

After the service I talked briefly with Kurt Vickman. I congratulated him on the service and wished God’s continual blessings on his ministry and the ministry of Upper Room.

I have all sorts of take-aways from my experience. The main one is how cool it is for me to see young adults worshipping together and being a community living in the rhythm of Jesus!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood shootings

Why would an officer in the army start spraying bullets at his own comrades? For me this is the key question in the story of the Fort Hood killings. What was the motive?

Finding the truth is not easy. Already people with ideological positions are sharing their views. The alleged shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan was stressed from caring for victims at Walter Reade Medical Center, he had an Islamist political ideology, he was trying to get out of his upcoming deployment in Afghanistan. I agree with President Obama’s statement yesterday that it is important not to jump to conclusions until all the facts are known.

But let’s face it—it’s very hard not to speculate.

I can’t help but look at this story through the lens of faith and a Reformed understanding of the human condition. When Nidal Malik Hasan was born no one lifted him up and said this baby will turn out to be a killer. When he came into the world the people around him celebrated the gift of new life.

Over time something went wrong in Hasan’s life—just as something went wrong in the lives of other mass murderers. I believe that all of us are born with the possibility of creating tremendous good and perpetuating terrible evil. For some reason evil won out in Hasan’s life.

What's confounding is the very day that Hasan allegedly murdered 13 people,he gave away his furniture to a woman who lived in his apartment building. Sure we could speculate that Hasan thought he was going to die in the shootings, so he gave away his stuff. But a death-wish doesn't have to prompt an act of generosity.

The human spirit is complicated.

I would like to learn the key moments in Hasan’s life that turned him into a killer. Just as I would like to learn the key moments in the lives of the other mass murderers. Since Columbine these incidents are way too frequent.

We in the faith community have a role to create a culture that resists violence. If Martin Luther King and Mahattma Ghandi taught us anything it’s that violence perpetuates itself. I’m not trying to make a statement about war or guns, I’m just pointing out that repeated exposure to violence does something to us—our hearts become corroded.

Until we create a culture that doesn’t glorify violence, we will continue to grieve such evil.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Church Development Conference

This past week six of us from Chain of Lakes attended a New Church Development conference sponsored by our denomination. The conference was called, “Can I Get a Witness” and was hosted by San Clemente Presbyterian Church.

The conference was a marvelous opportunity for the six of us at Chain of Lakes to spend time together and to learn more about New Church Development. I have gone to church conferences for the past 16 years; I love them. In some ways I am a conference junkie. The problem I always encounter is translating the excitement I feel about a conference back to the people of the church I serve.

The good folks at the Church Growth Office of the PC(USA) made it easier to bring lay people to this conference. The registration for the conference was only $200 and the lodging was free. The Church Development Team of our Presbytery also made it easy for us to bring people as they contributed over $1,000 to the airfare of our group.

Having five others from Chain of Lakes join me will deepen the impact of this conference into the ministry of Chain of Lakes.

One highlight of the conference was having our group meet Doug Cushing. Doug has been my New Church Development coach since last December. Our denomination has wisely instituted a New Church Development coaching program. Every New Church Development pastor has the opportunity to have a coach. Doug and I talk on the phone once a month. He doesn’t tell me what to do—but reflects back from his experience and training what he hears from my stories.

Doug spent a significant amount of time with our group in San Clemente. He ate with us, sat down in fellowship with us, worshipped with us, and spent Tuesday afternoon in Dana Point with us. He asked good questions of our group about what is happening at Chain of Lakes and shared stories from his experience of being a successful New Church Development pastor. As a Packer fan he endured our ribbing of the recent triumph of the Vikings over the Packers.

Both of the speakers at the conference were from third-world countries. The speaker that resonated with our group the most was Murithi Wanjau, the senior pastor of Mavuno Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya. In his humble speaking style Pastor Wanjau shared the amazing work of the Spirit in his church. Their church has experienced tremendous growth, but what was amazing to me is the impact the people of the congregation are having and will have on the nation of Kenya. One statement that he made that resonated with me was his encouragement to depend on God and not strategies. Certainly strategies are important for churches, but too often we look to techniques for our answers instead of sitting down and patiently waiting for a word from the Lord. Prayer is not a substitute for action, but action without prayer is not complete.

On Tuesday afternoon the six of us and Doug Cushing went on a site visit to Dana Point, California. Dana Point is a beach town located about ten miles north of San Clemente. The Presbyterian Church in San Clemente is investigating the possibility of starting new churches in different areas. The participants at the conference went out in a number of groups to learn about different areas and bring back a report and suggestions.

We interviewed people in Dana Point asking them about the community, the needs of the community, and how a church could make a difference in the town. Paulette Zvorak and I ended up talking to two folks in a surf shop for about thirty minutes. Our group discovered that one need of Dana Point is ministering to surfers. No faith community is successfully reaching this group of people. We at Chain of Lakes came up with the idea of hiring a married couple who would develop relationships with this community, open up a storefront, and eventually start holding events. This could be a ministry under the umbrella of San Clemente. Over time it could evolve into a worshipping congregation, but the start would be a ministry of relationship.

We were touched by the hospitality of the people at First Presbyterian in San Clemente. They went out of their way to help us feel welcome. One small example of this was a welcome pack that they shared with us in our hotel room. Their modeling of hospitality will be one we at Chain of Lakes will lift up as an example.