BFFs vs. Posse

I think we've figured out that teen boys are different than teen girls. With that said, what we do to reach them may also differ. TIME recently released an article contrasting the differences between girls and guys. Their article summarizes the results of new research on the brain from the National Institute of Mental Health.
In a nutshell, girls prefer the one-on-one close friendships (aka BFFs) while boys seem to prefer interacting in packs or a posse.

"The results suggest that as girls progress from early puberty to late adolescence, certain regions of their brains become more active when they face a potential social interaction. Specifically, when an older girl anticipates meeting someone new — someone she believes will be interested in her — her nucleus accumbens (which is associated with reward and motivation), hypothalamus (associated with hormone secretion), hippocampus (associated with social learning) and insula (associated with subjective feelings) all become more active. By contrast, boys in the same situation show no such increase in activity in these areas. In fact, the activity in their insula actually declines." -TIME (07.17.09, John Cloud)

"This research combined with what we already know about gender learning preferences, gives insight into how we can create youth ministries that maximize both a teen's learning and social enjoyment," says Kent Shaffer, ChurchRelevance.
Shaffer elaborates on what your teaching environments may look like based on these results:
When teaching boys, keep the group large but controllable (ie: 12-24 boys) and in even numbers for team competition. Stand and move around while speaking forcefully and realistically. Allow the boys to occasionally move and keep the room at 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cooler colors in your enviornment and teaching. Play sports and competitive games, so the boys can naturally bond via social competition.

When teaching girls, keep the group very small and intimate and allow for one-on-one interaction or even mentoring. Sit in a circle with the girls and speak descriptively and in a nurturing tone. Keep the room at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Use lots of colors, particularly warmer colors, and use visual and\or tactile textures. Create a secure yet stimulating environment where they can feel comfortable in taking risks that you encourage them to take.
So what have you learned about the differences in teaching boys and girls? Do you find this research helpful or insightful?

Related items:
National Institute of Mental Health: Research

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Wedding Entrances

I will forever think all wedding entrances are lame unless they can top what this couple arranged...

RSS Subscribers:
There is video here.

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If you know me I'm all about collaboration.  It's the way of the Kingdom.  I think too many people get caught up in drawing denominational lines and guarding personal territories that they forget we are in this together. I can't help but get excited when I see it go the other way. Here are just a few highlights of a "Kingdom mindset" as I call it:
  • A church recently gives a trailer and portable equipment to another church.
  • A church with a heart for church-planting provides grants to new church start-ups.
  • A church provides tons of free resources from sermon series to other ministries globally. 
  • A church could have went on the defensive when another church moved into the neighborhood but instead welcomed them with open arms by intially changing their marquee to a message welcoming the new church to the neighborhood.

    I'd love to see more of this action.  More collaboration.  I sincerely believe its the Kingdom way.  I'd specifically love to see it among youth ministries.   Whose with me?

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Ruined by Your Calling

Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute!
  • Had a great time in Charleston last week with students.
  • I had an awesome time with our teens.
  • My love also grew for our incredible youth ministry staff. They rock!
  • Enjoyed reconnecting with two of my good friends (Nate and Aaron) while in SC.
  • Really hated to see the week come to an end... but I guess all good things have to?
  • Got to see some of my family last week while in Charleston. SO good seeing them.
  • Enjoyed watching this vid (a little throw back to the 80s) courtesy of Jason today.
  • I'm exposing myself to more hardcore music these days - because its generally not my cupa tea. Today I watched this moving vid.
  • Follow my daily musings on twitter.
  • How the heck did I miss that Rick Warren was now on twitter?
  • I'll be following every purpose-driven tweet fo sho.
  • The dude knows how to tell a story -- even making opening the mail creative.
  • Bummed I'm not able to go to Echo this week. I hear my friend Brad Zimmerman is streaming live. I'll have to watch.
  • My blog reading has been cut nearly in half. A number of the bloggers I have been reading aren't posting as often. :=(
  • I have killed more spiders since I moved here in April than I have my entire life. (Sorry PETA) It's kinda freaking me out.
  • Still haven't gotten to enjoy the pool this summer. I am making plans to do that THIS week.
  • Did you take advantage of the 10% off discount last week?
  • Had a great time reconnecting with my friend over wings for dinner tonight.
  • You can donate to my ministry on this site - click the donate button in the right sidebar.
  • Win yourself and a friend some FREE resources!
  • Joined the WDTD challenge that my friend Clayton is hosting. Here comes 8 weeks of pain!
  • I got contacted by a large organization earlier today and they are giving me some HUGE resources to giveaway right here. Not sure when I'll post just yet but I can't wait!
  • Quite the bad weather today. Hope tomorrow is much nicer.
  • Gotta run!

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    Win Free Resources for You & a Friend

    I'm doing a little cleaning of the resource warehouse and have a number of resources that I want to give away. They are just too good for me not to share them with you. This time around I thought it would be cool for you to share the love... so basically you are entering for yourself and a twitter friend (aka "tweet peep").
    Here is how you win: Just leave a comment with your twitter name (@whomeveryouare) and the name of a twitter friend (@whomevertheyare) and you both will be entered to win! (Hurry, contest closes Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 3:00PM est.) Then make sure you tell your twitter friend that you have entered their name into this contest. They can in turn enter this contest as well by following the same steps! You'll have your name entered twice... giving you a chance to win one of the following resources:

    What I'm giving away: *A book of your choice: Tribes by Seth Godin; Less Clutter Less Noise by Kem Meyer; Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris; Killing Cockroaches by Tony Morgan; Deep Ministy in a Shallow World by Chap Clark; Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry by Jeannie Oestreicher and Larry Warner... among other selections!

    Increase your prize: I'll also throw in some free music (a CD for both you & a friend) if you tweet about this contest and leave the URL to your status\update in the comments (in your original entry please) as proof. (Just add this to your comment with @yourtwittername & your @twitterfriendname).

    Recommendation of Tweet: @terracecrawford is giving away some resources #FREEresources

    Good luck! Winner to be chosen at random (via sometime after 3:00PM EST. on Thursday, July 30. One entry (two winners -- you and your friend) to be chosen by yours truly. Entries only accepted in the comments field of this post. *Winner will receive first choice in resources while friend will receive second choice. *Each participant must have a valid twitter account in order to be officially entered.

    WINNER ANNOUNCED:   Congrats @ericebbinghaus  and @markladams 

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    Me and the boys standing in front of the reflection pool in Charleston.


    Opportunities for You & Me

    Here are some cool opportunties for you and for me...

    Save Time & Money:: I give you the 411 on how to save time & money just by reading blogs! Click here to find out more about how you can enjoy reading and your other favorite blogs in the comfort of your home (or office) and save money while doing it.

    Graphics Designers:: I'm always jonesing for graphics designers to help me with imaging. Whether it be for personal or ministry use, I have a number of designers that I use from time to time but am always looking others who have the talent. If you are interested in working with me, shoot me your email address and I'll have a chit-chat with you at my earliest convenience.

    Sponsorships:: I allow advertising on my blog and occasionally have space for additional sponsors. If you are interested in advertising on my blog drop me an email for rates and availability.

    Blogroll:: Here in the near future I will be making some minor changes to my template (major overhaul will come later) and will be updating my blogroll. For the past year I've spotlighted my current favorites but have wanted to share some *link love* with others (like you!) who are making a difference. If you'd like to be listed in the blogroll leave a comment here with your full name and a link to your blog. *I will gladly link to anyone who shares the love and links to my blog from their personal blogroll.

    Resources:: I give away a TON of resources through my blog. It's what I do. :=) I love resourcing leaders and plan to continue to do this as a ministry of I have a small resource closet (sometimes I refer to it as 'the warehouse') and giveaway a number of items each week -- sometimes through face-to-face meetups, through my blog or even on twitter! If you have resources that you would like to donate to me or would like to form a partnership please contact me. I'd love to chat with you about how we can equip and encourage today's leaders.

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute - from the road!
  • Finished up a great kids camp at our church this past Thursday.
  • Sunday was cah-razy!
  • Somehow (don't ask me how) we got locked out of the school our church meets in and weren't able to begin set-up until 50 minutes prior to our first services. (yikes!)
  • Our incredible crew put themselves in overdrive and got set-up done just 5 minutes shy of our services beginning. It was impressive!
  • Loved Chuck's sermon on Sunday.
  • He sermon was about Jacob... and started out talking about Jon & Kate plus 8 and said "this was like "Jacob, Rachael, Leah plus 8... (plus 5 more with hired help)" LoL! It was classic.
  • I also loved the episode titles he created for this reality show.

  • I think I officially owe this guy about 100k for all his kind words lately. I don't deserve this.
  • This computer sucks! (... and no, I'm not on my MAC)
  • I'm finding bites on my legs. It's scaring me... especially after I found a tick on my foot the other day. Eww! I don't even have pets. I think it is from playing outside so much?
  • Saw the movie UP! with some students on Friday. It was a GREAT movie.
  • After talking with my friend and movie critic extraordinaire, I expected tears to fall.
  • I think I hyped us up so much about bringing Kleenex to the theatres that we didn't cry.
  • It may be also that we actually placed bets (no money exchanged) on which guy would cry first! Ha.
  • Had some great wings too!
  • Did you win the contest for free music? If so you have 14 days from the announcement of the winners to notify me by email otherwise the CDs go back in my little prize warehouse. :=)
  • I miss my car. Really I do.
  • Congrats to my good friend on the birth of a healthy baby boy.
  • Follow my daily musings on twitter this week while I'm on the road.
  • My friend Dave and his church is in the spotlight in the newest issue of Collide Magazine. Awesome!
  • I'm big fans of the entire team at Collide. I got myself a subscription to their magazine months ago. You should get one... its good stuff!
  • Our team has a leadership & member meeting tonight. Say a prayer as we seek God's direction for our church.

  • Did you take advantage of the 10% off discount?
  • You can donate to my ministry on this site - click the donate button in the right sidebar.
  • God is up to some goooood stuff (as usual).
  • I sang You Found Me (the Fray) at a special open-mic night at Crossroads on Saturday evening.

  • Our lead pastor wants to start blogging. Yay! I hope to help him get set-up within the next couple of weeks for your reading pleasure. :=)

  • Girl can sinnng! Just sayin.

  • Peace.

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    It's been a crazy summer so far... but a good one. July has nearly drop-kicked me but I'm not complaining. I was the featured speaker for a week-long missions camp just two weeks ago, last week we host a kids camp at our church and this week I'll be in South Carolina all week long with students on mission. Our theme is Move. My prayer is that this week students will take significant steps in their walk with Christ.

    I've scheduled a few blog posts (like this one) to release this week while I'm away but you may also want to follow my daily musings (from the road) on twitter. Here's to a great week!

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    Less Clutter, Less Noise...

    One of my blogging friends, Kem Meyer, was just interviewed on The Harvest Show about her new book and talked about some of the things that the church needs a little help with. I resonate so much with what she says because I see some of the same issues. Take ten or so and watch this chit-chat.

    Also, I did a little interview with Kem myself. Check it out [here].
    RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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    Free Music Winners

    Time to announce the free music winners from this post. The winners were chosen (at random) through The winning numbers were: 1, 13, 17, 3, 11, 19, 20, 7, 5, and 9.

    Here are the recipients:

  • Mark Adams - Warrenton, Missouri
  • Michael Levitt - Ontario, Canada
  • Jennifer Herrick - Tallahasee, Florida
  • Stephen Bateman - Columbia, South Carolina
  • Art Good - Mooresville, Indiana
  • Vanessa Dobson - British Columbia
  • Ryan Garber - Beaufort, South Carolina
  • Thad White - Soldotra, Alaska
  • Brittany Martin - Herber Springs, Arkansas
  • Chuck Harrison - Newport News, Virginia

    Note to Winners:
  • Winners are responsible for emailing me their full name and address where to ship free music after contest ends.
  • Winners have 14 days (from date of this post) to redeem free music.

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • I finished up my week-long missions project with World Changers.
  • One of the best audiences I've ever spoken to. The students were awesome...
  • ... and now they are blowing up my Fbook, which I totally welcome. :=)
  • I'm still blown away we saw over 17 people come to Christ.
  • This guy has all the stats of the project.
  • I didn't really get much of a weekend ... so I'm a little sluggish today.
  • Great day at Crossroads yesterday.
  • We showed highlights from our Beach Baptism during the service.
  • Extended the contest for free music... I'll select 10 winners tomorrow!
  • I miss my car. Really.
  • Currently in the middle of a huge outreach for kids in our community. Its lots of fun... and very messy. ;=)
  • Follow my daily musings on twitter.
  • Been watching some of the training online from IML. Good stuff...
  • Just read a great quote from this guy. I'll have to share it with you this week...
  • I miss you Mike!
  • Did you take advantage of the 10% off discount?
  • You can donate to my ministry on this site - click the donate button in the right sidebar.
  • Got a random text from someone tonight (a wrong number) asking me if I wanted to join them in business.
  • God is rocking my world right now. Amazing me with his presence and blessing. Keep it coming God!
  • Can't get You Found Me (the Fray) out of my head.
  • I actually think I might sing this for an upcoming open-mic night we're doing at Crossroads next weekend. We'll see.
  • I was serious when I asked... How can I pray for you?
  • I've come to the conclusion that I need a real vacation. I want to go somewhere I don't know anyone. Possibly somewhere I don't speak the language too. Yea, that'd be nice...
  • Just took the Strengths Finder 2.0 profile again. My results changed from the first time I took it. I'll have to share them with you this week.
  • Our lead pastor has invited a special guest to our staff meeting tomorrow to help us analyze the results. I - cannot - wait!
  • Just watched one of my "best of" vids from SNL. Funny stuff.
  • Headed to bed. Big day tomorrow!
  • Crawford out!
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    Personal Prayer Post

    I don't really post personal prayer requests here often (or at least as much as I do on twitter) but so much is going on right now that I need to share the burden.

    Here are some snapshots of prayer requests (in random order):
  • My stepfather, Jimmie, lost his job with GM earlier this week.
    Please say a prayer for an open door.
  • My grandfather, Marion, experienced a stroke this last week. He is recovering okay but still needs prayers for complete healing.
  • My sister, Christina, needs prayer - personal request.
  • I'm currently in need of a car but thank God for loaner he has provided temporarily for me.
  • My church,Crossroads, has planned a huge community outreach this week for families. Say a prayer that we connect with people who need Christ.

    Here are some snapshots of praises (in random order):
  • I just finished speaking at a week-long missions project. We experienced Christ and saw 17+ people give their lives to God this week! Pray for God's continued work in the community where we worked and in the lives of students who I shared the week with.
  • I thank God for provision of a loaner car while I stand in need of a permanent ride.
  • Jimmie has some incredible leads on a job (one in particular that we are hoping he gets).

    What prayer requests & praises would you like to share?


  • Site Shout: Innovative Ministry Leader

    I spent some time last week on the phone with one of the co-founders of Innovative Ministry  IML offers web-based training from some of the most notable, innovative speakers and leaders today.   The training is centered around five key areas: worship, marketing, technology, culture, and leadership.

    After getting access to the site, I spent some time watching some of the training myself - including videos from the archive from Mark Batterson and Anne Jackson.  
    While conferences may never die (and I personally hope they don't), training that is both affordable and convenient (online) is something I think we'll begin to see more of.  Innovative Ministry Leader is at the forefront of this movement and producing some good stuff!  I highly encourage you to check them out... and if you decide to become a member I can offer you a 10% discount code if you use my last name: Crawford

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    (LoL) with Kem Meyer

    Life on Life is a feature where I interview leaders from around the country who are doing this thing called LIFE. In this interview my friend, Kem Meyer, Communications Director at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN shares her life with us.
    Me: Where do you turn for inspiration (besides Christ Jesus of course)?
    Kem: I get inspiration from places and people that help me renew my perspective. Seeing or experiencing something from another point of view has profound impact. Every time I get outside of my own version of the world, my eyes and heart are opened to learn something new—especially when it’s uncomfortable. Seeking new ways to see through the eyes of others keeps me in a healthy state of wonder and curiosity. The alternative is this stuck, comfortable place where I believe the lie I have it all figured out.
    For the record…been there. Tried that. It doesn’t work. :)
    Me: What do you like most about working on staff at Granger? Kem: Mark Beeson said this in a strategy meeting a couple of months ago, "It is difficult to maximize the gifts of abnormal people. Leaders are abnormal." You know, he's right. Leaders are not normal. They are the strong, the rebels, the skeptical, the intelligent, the independent and the positive deviants. Try to control these people, and you'll never be able to rally their potential.
    Try to normalize these people, and you'll never be able to sustain their positive impact. There are few environments that can handle them. 
    What do I like most about working on staff at Granger? Being in an environment that can not only handle them, but one that actually is committed to raising them.

  • It's not the gifted that have changed my life, although they do impress me.
  • It's not the faithful who altered my course, although they do inspire me.
  • It's not the communicators who keep me focused, although at times they may cause me to think.

    It's the leaders around me to who I, quite literally, owe my life. They grow what's best in me, channel my energy and give me hope in the things that would be easy to quit. The pull me out of status quo and a life of mediocrity. I know this isn’t a short answer to that question, but you knew there had to be something deep and profound there to keep me in Granger, Indiana. Am I right?

    Me: Greatest lesson learned?

    Kem: A + B does not guarantee a result of C. But, in spite of the result, I’m still responsible for my input.

    Allow me to elaborate. A and B might be my part of the equation (my influence & input) but there’s more to the equation than me. My actions can’t be dependent on a guaranteed result—they need to exist in spite of the result. There are other influences/input (C+D+E, etc.) that might yield a result of ‘F’. My greatest lesson learned? Live in the tension—it’s not “all or nothing.” When act like it’s “all or nothing” I assume full credit for the wins and full blame for the losses. Both are dead wrong. I’m a stakeholder. I’m not God.

    Me: You are all about Less Clutter & Less Noise. What has been the biggest help in creating less clutter and less noise in your life?

    Kem: Caller ID.

    Me: Congrats on your new book! Who is this book written for and why should people read Less Clutter & Less Noise? Kem: While I believe the local church is the hope of the world, I don’t believe in huddling inside the church walls. This book is for businesses, schools, not-for-profits or any organization struggling to find ways to get the word out and, simply, do better.

    Me: What is something that most people don't know about you?

    Kem: That I'm not a people person. I really have to work at it.

    Me: You are a blogger...What have you learned through blogging? What do you enjoy most about it?

    Kem: Let me count the ways: Adds value to others. Develops sense of community in spite of pace, location and different schedules. Bonding. Helps give a voice to introverts. Information is posted once, used over and over. Records what’s happening. Puts a face & personality on the ministry. Removes the sterile, corporate voice. Forces me (and others) to organize thoughts and follow-through. Public reminder that people are watching--I’m accountable. Facilitates connectedness and expressiveness. Provides direct access leaders & ministry experts. Immediate access to training, tutorials, experts, best practices. Micro-leads to macro information. Instant focus groups. Contributions to community development with peers. It’s a way to give back & share insights. Reduces “corporate” time creating content. Increases “individual” connectedness to the content that already exists.

    Me: As the communication guru for Granger could you offer a few of the greatest resource finds\tips for churches?

    Kem: Visit me here or here. Read this, this, this, this and this. Go here, here or here.

    Me: Hobbies?

    Kem: Food, gadgets, movies.

    Me: Is there any help for me Kem? Click here.

    Kem: Get me a paper bag. I’m hyper-ventilating.

    Follow Kem's blog at

    Check out the book at

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    World Changers

    This week I'm speaking at a week-long World Changers project in Portsmouth, VA. This group has been one of the best audiences to speak to. Over 250 students have come from at least 6 different states to work in the community and we've experienced God together.

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • I missed being at Crossroads on Sunday.
  • But I had the incredible privilege of speaking at this guy's church.
  • He has such a great heart for the church and his community. 
  • As I write this I'm speaking in Portsmouth, VA for a week-long World Changers project.
  • We have over 250 students participating from numerous states from across the country.
  • Here is a little pic of me speaking on stage to students last night.
  • Here is a picture of the students I'm speaking to this week.
  • It's been an awesome time speaking to these incredible teenagers from all over the US. We have participants here from as far as Ohio and NY. 
  • If you want to follow the blog of the project this week, you can read it here.
  • ... or follow my daily musings on twitter.
  • By the way, the staff I'm working with this week is awesome. 
  • Some of the students here on this project have been dying for me to watch this video since the project began this week. I finally watched it today. 
  • You can donate to my ministry on this site - click the donate button in the right sidebar.
  • Michael Jackson's memorial service is tomorrow in LA.  I think it would be cool to attend...
  • There is a rumor that his brothers are talking about doing a memorial concert at the o2 arena in the UK using hologram technology with Michael
  • Gearing up for a HUGE kids week at Crossroads next week. 
  • Just did a great interview with this cool blogger and plan to post here on the blog later this week.
  • Still praying over my dead car.  :=(   I need God to provide me a new car or resurrect the one I have.  Thankfully he has provided me a loaner for now until a more permanent solution is available to me.
  • I'm currently listening to a little John Mayer as I write this.
  • Don't miss my little contest I just posted.  More resources to come!  :=)
  • Just met a wonderful lady on Sunday who is 80+ years young and reads my blog.  Thanks Jane!  Glad you are following along.
  • A great family in my church took me out to The Melting Pot the other night.  It was my first experience there... and it was a good one!
  • Just head the news that Matt Redman is moving to Atlanta to help Louie Giglio plant a church.  
  • Headed to dinner & then to speak...
  • Crawford out!
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    Free Honey for the Ears

    One of my favorite things about working in radio years ago was all the fringe benefits - like getting free music. Occasionally I still get free music but I can't reveal my sources. :=)

    A kind provider just gave me 10 Jami Smith CDs to giveaway to you, my dear readers. If you would like a copy of Jami Smith's album "Bravo God" just leave a comment with your full name and your current location or territory where you live. I'll select 10 winners (at random) on this Tuesday, July 14, 2009.

  • There will be only 10 winners chosen, at random.
  • Winners will be announced in this post on July 14, 2009.
  • Winners are responsible for emailing me their full name and address where to ship free music after contest ends.

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  • You Gotta Have Faith

    Last week our staff couldn't resist making a little music video for our upcoming series, You Gotta Have Faith, which begins this Sunday at Crossroads.

    RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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    I Became a Church Planter (2 of 2)

    The following is 2 of 2 interviews I recently did with two pastors who are embarking on a new journey -- planting churches. I asked both of them a few questions about their story in each of these interviews.

    Clayton Bell currently serves on staff at Every Nation, Tallahassee as Family Pastor. He won't be there much longer because he is stepping out to plant a church. This is part of his story.

    Me: Tell us about where you are currently serving and what you are currently doing? Clayton: Well, right now I'm in Chantilly, Virginia for the North American conference of Every Nation Churches, the denomination I'm a part of, and will be planting our church through.

    Next week I'm back in Tallahassee, Florida for my last two weeks as the Family Pastor of Every Nation, Tallahassee. I've spent the last year here overseeing the children's ministry and the middle and high school ministries.

    Me: Can you describe your intial call to plant a church? How did God speak to you?
    Clayton: Hmm...My call to plant a church was a long and winding one. In the summer of 2005 my wife and I attended a pastoral school for our denomination, with my intent to be a better executive pastor (my role at the time). Many of the other pastors there suggested we consider being lead pastors one day, which we'd never really aspired to. At the end of the school we recieved a prophetic word that God was calling us to lead a church, which strongly confirmed what we felt in our own spirit.

    And then...nothing.

    I spent the next year trying to figure out where and when with several possibilites never really leading anywhere. As soon as we decided to start moving in a direction of planting I lost my job and we went through a tremenously difficult family situation, all within the same 30 days. How we went from there to here is better answered in the next question. a church planter must learn before he sets out: I can do nothing else but this.

    Me: Church planting is what some would call "risky business." What was the 'tipping point' for you to take the plunge into starting a new church?
    Clayton: After losing my job in 2006, I explored several other options at churches around Florida, but we felt God calling us to stay in Tallahassee to be around friends. I found a job at a local marketing and PR firm, and I had NO idea what I was doing!

    Thankfully, God blessed me with an incredible boss and coworkers, and I learned so much during that time. In fact, I learned the one thing a church planter must learn before he sets out: I can do nothing else but this.

    I had opportunities for advancement at the PR firm, but didn't want them. I would be praised for a project and almost suffer a breakdown in same day because I knew I wasn't called to this. Minstry wasn't something I did as a job; it was a holy and humbling calling that God had placed upon my life, and it wretched my soul to not be walking in it.

    Me: What do you think you'll miss most about your current role\ministry?
    Clayton: The people. The comfort. The security. The knowing what was next, what next Sunday would be like. The friendships we've formed. This is the only church I've ever been a part of, and I've been serving in one capacity or another for 10 years. That's not going to be easy to leave.

    Me: Tell us about the new church you are creating? What will it be like? Will it be unique? Clayton: OK, I love you, Terrace, but I hate that question. And maybe I'm stupid because of that. But I don't care if my church is uniqe or different, I just want it to be honoring Jesus. I don't care if someone drives past another church to get to mine. I just want them in a Christ-centered church, no matter who's it is! (Editor's comment: AMEN!)

    Now that we're past my rant (Editor's note: This is why I love Clayton Bell - he keeps it real & brings the heat!), I'll answer you in one line - Trinity New Life Church exists to see people love Jesus, love people and serve the city. Everyone loves God, but loving Jesus means being in a relationship with him and obeying His commands. Not many are willing to do that, but it's the only thing that matters! Additionally, any life truely transformed by Jesus will not be lived in isolation or selfishly. So we will love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we will love our neighbors as ourselves. While our faith will always be personal, it will never be private.

    Me: So when do you launch?
    Clayton: Trinity New Life Church is planning on launching on a weekly basis March 14, 2010.

    Me: What does the road look like prior to your launch?
    Clayton: We're currently building a team of 40 adults to help us launch TNLC, as well as raising funds to launch the church. In November we're planning on hosting our first monthly preview service, which will continue until February of 2010. In between we're planning on facilitating multiple service projects, community outreaches, and neighborhood parties. We're not expecting everyone to come to us when we open our doors, so we're going to them to show and tell all about Jesus.

    Me: What's the most valuable thing you've learned so far in this particular leg of your journey?
    Clayton: Faith, brother. Faith and confidence in Jesus, not in self or circumstances, is more crucial than I can convey. The importance of prayer, both corporatly and personally, has increased in my life. And perhaps the greatest leson so far has been the clarification of my motivations. Church planting's a popular thing to do right now; is that why I'm doing it? Why am I doing this? There can only be one real reason- to lift up the name of Jesus Christ among those who are lost and hurting. No church planter should step outside of his door any morning if that is not his primary motivation.

    Me: How can we support you in this new endeavor?
    Clayton: So glad you asked! Checks can be made out to... :-)

    Actually, the biggest thing everyone can do it PRAY! And not just say they'll pray, but actually pray! You can sign up to join our prayer team by clicking here

    Additionally, if you live in the Tampa area and you're interested in helping with a church plant, come on down! If you know anyone in the Tampa area and want to hear more about the church, please let us know that as well.And if you do feel led to support us financially, in any capacity, we'll be more than happy to help you store up treasures in heaven! (Editor's note: Yet another reason I like Clayton. He is hilarious!)

    Me: Anything else you'd like to say?
    Clayton: Thanks for the opportunity to share about Trinity New Life Church! You can follow us on the web at,, and become a fan on Facebook.

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