30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 30

I do believe that as the month of November continued, my list of names grew longer, rather than shorter. I can think of two reasons for this:

Reason number one: I am living an extraordinarily blessed life. I am surrounded by people who love me and encourage me. People who have had made significant impacts on my life through their words and/or actions. I never want to lose sight of all the goodness God has given me.

Reason number two: The more I was able to honor people, the more people I saw who I wanted to honor. We live in a culture that loves to embrace the negative and bring to surface all the faults a person may posses. This is tragic. We are called to something greater. Our words have the power to bring someone down, or lift someone up to their full potential. Let’s focus on the latter. My hubby had the opportunity to speak at church yesterday, and his message was all about how positive thinking can be life-changing. If you missed it, check it out here! You won’t regret it.

Grand Canyon
A photo from a trip we took to the Grand Canyon about 6 years ago. I chose this because we are just on the horizon of what God has in store for us. Such grandeur, and our eyes cannot see it all.

There is always someone else to recognize. Another person who could benefit from a little love and encouragement. On this final post, I would like to highlight a few more people. I know I am leaving out more than I am including, and I wish this were not so. But demonstrating gratitude and honor should not be a month-long event. It should be a lifestyle. Will you join me in this?

I think of people like Dallas, Emma, and Ella. My go-to babysitters. It takes quite a bit of trust to be able to bring someone into my home to care for my little girls. I want these ladies to know how grateful I am to have them. They are trustworthy, love the Lord, and my girls adore them. I am so so grateful for them.

There are several staff members at Daystar that I didn’t get a chance to mention. Seth, our youth pastor, is so good at what he does and will one day be directly impacting my own children! Jon does community outreach and is working on a special serve day that will make a huge impact in our city. Jennifer is a counselor and has a sweet disposition, yet a powerful woman of prayer. All of these staff members are important and deserve great recognition.

Rick and Amber have been in our lives for a number of years and I have learned so much through their wisdom. They kept our girls for a few days for us while we went on a trip this fall. They give a great deal of themselves to so many people and it is an honor to call them friends.

Then I start to think about people who have impacted me at various times in my life. College friends like Hannah, Rachel, Beth, Amber, Maddie, Kristen, and Vickie. Each of these women left a positive imprint on my life and I love the memories that we have shared together. I also greatly treasure friends from my childhood like Emily, Sarah-Eileen, Caitlin, and Kaitlin.

Trish was someone I always looked up to spiritually. She and her daughter Ashley threw me a baby shower for my first born. The two of them have a special place in my heart. Ashley, we need another girl’s night soon!

In this month I was able to mention all of my immediate family members, but didn’t get a chance to touch on my extended family. There are too many names to list them all here, but I love each and every one of them. They are spread all throughout the country in places like South Carolina, Delaware, Kansas, California, and Hawaii. Some I have known better than others, but I value each moment we have spent together.

My thoughts travel to one who is no longer with us. Leigh Lane was a precious friend of mine during my last two years of high-school. I was a homeschool girl transitioning to public school, and she was such an inspiration to me. She lived with unstoppable joy and had a great peace about her. She was the type of person you knew had a special relationship with the Lord. I wish I had more time with her.

I could go on. There are so many more. But it doesn’t have to stop here. It doesn’t have to be a blog post or a Facebook status. It can be a card in the mail, a text, a phone call, a gift. Let’s live a life that brings honor to others.

30 Days of Thankfulness: Chelsea & Taylor

Most of my posts have been “categorized”. I’ve had posts about family, friends, Daystar staff and volunteers, and people who I don’t necessarily know but who have blessed me in various ways. This one is a little bit different because the two ladies I’m going to talk to you about are friends and Daystar staff members!

Chelsea

Chelsea and I met at Daystar and would chat regularly on Sunday mornings. The first thing anyone will notice about Chelsea, is that her laugh is contagious! She has a kind and genuine smile that is always refreshing to be around.

During my transition between teaching and becoming a stay-at-home mommy, I worked in the Daystar office. This is the same time frame that Chelsea joined the staff, and I loved every minute of it! We giggled together incessantly about all kinds of nonsense, and were able to share about our lives and encourage one another.

Chelsesa
I was going to put up a sweet picture of Chelsea and her hubby, but I decided I liked this one better. I love her excitement!

You will probably recognize Chelsea from the Sunday morning announcement videos, but her role at Daystar is so much more. Here are a few things that Chelsea does as Communication Director that you may not have realized:

 

  • Designing/approving graphics
  • Creating and distributing the bulletin
  • Updating and maintaining the website
  • Managing all Daystar Church social media accounts
  • Special events planning
  • Organizing the timeline of announcements

And yes, that’s just some of what she does. She is a valuable team member and friend. I have so enjoyed the times when Chelsea and I got our nails done and went shopping together. She is full of joy and life and makes a positive impact on those around her.

Chelsea, I admire your hard work. I love listening to your stories and every chance I get to chat with you. You are a treasure!

Taylor

The funny thing about my relationship with Taylor, is that we have walked very similar paths four years apart. I met Taylor one night at the Tap, Daystar’s college ministry. She and I were getting to know each other and discovered that we were both recipients of the NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship and had pursued a degree to teach math. She was just beginning her job search, and I was about to leave my position. In jest, yet with all seriousness, I asked her, “Do you want to take my job?”

Of course, I really didn’t have much say in who would come in after me, but she ended up taking my exact job! When I left teaching, I began working at Daystar Church. When Taylor left teaching, she began working at Daystar Church! My first baby was a little girl, and now Taylor is expecting her first child… a baby girl. I love that our paths have been so similar.

Taylor
Taylor and her hubby are so excited about their baby girl!

Taylor’s role at Daystar is that of Connections Director. She, like Chelsea, is on the announcement screen on Sunday mornings. The times when they do announcements together are my absolute favorite. These two are hysterical and play off of each other. I love it.

Taylor’s responsibilities are all things A-Team. She oversees Growth Track, works with the leaders within the A-Team to make sure everything is running smoothly, and ensures that any special events have the people needed to make it a time of excellence. On any given Sunday, Taylor might be hopping from campus to campus to make sure everyone has everything they need.

Taylor, one of the things I love the most about you is your enthusiasm. Whatever you do, you do it well with a passion that inspires others. I am so glad to know you!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Pastor Tom & Pastor Dan

The lead staff team at Daystar Church is made up of four individuals: Pastor Allen, Pastor Tom, Pastor Dan, and my hubby. I’ve already written about two of them, so this morning I would like to honor Pastor Tom and Pastor Dan.

Pastor Tom

I personally believe Pastor Tom is a financial genius. He has the title of Executive Pastor, which means he has a lot of responsibilities on his plate. Here are just a few of the things he oversees:

  • Financial goals. One of the goals written into the bi-laws at Daystar Church, is that the budget for each coming year will be based on 90% of the previous year’s income. What does this mean? It means that the church should automatically be saving 10%, plus the ability to save extra from any new growth. This allows the church to be in a healthy place financially.
  • Budgets. Each individual team submits their budget to Pastor Tom for approval. He is able to look over everything and determine which areas may need to be increased or decreased based on meeting Daystar’s financial goals.
  • Cash Flow. This sounds very complicated to me. In the most simplest terms, Pastor Tom monitors the cash flow so that all the money is in the right place at the right time, without ever putting the church in a place of financial pressure.
  • Legacy Campaign. In this exciting time of being able to have two new permanent facilities for Daystar Church, there is a lot of managing to do. Pastor Tom has the financial knowledge to be able to determine how much we need before starting a project so that it can continue without taking away from the current facilities.

There is more, but truth be told, I don’t really understand it all. I have come to Pastor Tom on several occasions asking for help with financial decisions and he has always been willing to make time for me and my questions. He is able to explain complicated topics in a way that makes sense. Not only is he a valuable resource, but he is a kind and tender-hearted man who loves the Lord.

Pastor Tom
Pastor Tom is such a friendly guy and always has a cup of coffee in his hands!

Pastor Tom, I am so thankful for all that you do! You have been a huge blessing to Daystar Church and the lives of people around you. Thank you for contributing your knowledge in such a powerful way!

Pastor Dan

I once had the opportunity to work across the hall from Pastor Dan, and he is a hoot. He is always excited, loves to laugh, and is constantly whistling his favorite tunes. In addition to his love of life, he has a passion for spreadsheets. More often than not, if you come across any sort of spreadsheet at Daystar Church, Pastor Dan is responsible.

Pastor Dan
Pastor Dan and his wife, Kay, who also works at Daystar Church!

Pastor Dan’s main responsibilities are all things involving small groups. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Structure. Small groups are based on a “free-market” idea. This means that leaders and participants can choose to have a group based on their interests, demographic, or a specific study. Pastor Dan helps leaders narrow down their focus and trains them on how to use their group to help people grow closer to God.
  • Curriculum. For the first time, Daystar Church has started providing it’s own curriculum for small group studies. This has been true for the Legacy and Noteworthy small groups. Pastor Dan has ultimately been responsible for the creation of the curriculum. He makes sure everything flows together and is done with excellence.
  • Organization. Remember those spreadsheets I mentioned earlier? Pastor Dan organizes Rally Day each semester to help people find just the right small group. If you have ever been to Rally Day, you are sure to have seen a spreadsheet detailing which small groups are available and a map that shows you how to find the small group you are looking for.
  • Encouragement. Pastor Dan is so good at sending out encouragement to his leaders every week. He touches on what challenges that week might face, and encourages small groups to keep pushing through various obstacles. Being steady in the hard things helps us find growth and life!

Pastor Dan, I am so grateful to know you and appreciate all the hard work you put into Daystar Church. Thank you for your dedication to the Kingdom!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Worship & Production Staff

Many years ago, when I first began attending Daystar Church, there was one guy in charge of all things worship and tech. That guy is now my husband. Things have changed quite a bit since then, which gives me a huge appreciation for Chris, Kierre, Trevor, and Steve.

Production Staff 2
In addition to creating videos for Daystar, Trevor is also over the college ministry.

The biggest change since having these guys join the staff, is the fact that my husband no longer has to be at all the things. He still goes to most things because he loves his work, but there is a huge difference between going because you want to and going because there is no other option.

Production Staff
Steve with his lovely wife, Rachel, and their precious new baby in the background!

But let me make this clear. This option doesn’t exist simply because there are more people on the Worship & Production staff. It exists because they are trustworthy people who are good at what they do. For instance, here is just a taste of what these guys are up to on any given day:

  • Service planning. This involves making sure everything flows smoothly, works for all teams across all campuses, ties in with the message, and ultimately brings people to worship Jesus.
  • Making new music. Have you heard Daystar Worship’s album, King of Glory? Phenomenal. This team oversaw the writing of the lyrics, music, rehearsals, putting on concerts, lighting, sound, making videos…all with excellence.
  • Creating a culture of worship. No matter the situation (Cultivate, Sunday morning, Revival, Concerts) these guys make the focus of the event all about bringing glory to God’s name. They encourage each other and their team. Worship is not about being in the spotlight, it is about honoring the the name of Jesus. These guys do a fantastic job at keeping the focus where it should be.
  • Raising up leaders. One of the most important things any leader can do is raise up the next generation of leaders. The Worship and Production staff are constantly investing in the lives of their team members as they train them musically, technically, and spiritually. I have seen so many people transition to leadership positions as they have grown in this ministry.
Worship Staff
Chris, Kierre, and my hubby. They are proud of their second album release: King of Glory!

Of course, this just touches on their responsibilities. The newest stage design at the Downtown Campus is amazing. At least one, if not all, of these guys will be at any given service at Daystar; including Sunday morning, the Spanish Campus, the youth service, the college ministry, and special events. Then there are things like making sure all of the equipment is taken care of and is in proper working order. Also, have you seen the awesome videos produced at Daystar?

Chris, Kierre, Trevor, and Steve: thank you for all that you do. I see your sacrifice and I see your heart for the Lord. It is so great to have you on our team!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Children’s Ministry Volunteers

On Sunday, I dedicated a post to talk about the Children’s Ministry staff ladies at Daystar Church. If you haven’t read it yet, you should, because they are a fabulous group who definitely deserve some love.

However, as fabulous as they are, they simply wouldn’t be able to accomplish the things they accomplish without the amazing Children’s Ministry volunteers. The staff does the planning and organizing, but the volunteers are making it happen.

Children's Ministry Babies

With three campuses and 8 services offering Children’s Ministry, there is a huge need for people who love to teach children about Jesus. There are those who focus on snuggling babies and changing diapers. Some of the volunteers actually enjoy wrangling toddlers and manage to get them to do craft time while roaring like a lion from the story of Daniel. Two-year-olds and preschoolers each have their own class. When children are of elementary school age, they graduate to the elementary service.

There are always multiple volunteers per room. That, my friends, is a lot of volunteers.

Most people who choose to serve in the Children’s Ministry, serve every single Sunday. Others might rotate on a bi-weekly basis. They do this because they know that our children are forming real relationships with them and it helps to have consistent faces week after week. If my child has a concern, she will feel more comfortable speaking to someone she recognizes than someone she sees just every so often.

Each week, when I go to my girls’ classes, I look forward to hearing about their morning. Sometimes, Emma and Crystal tell me about how they’ve bribed my toddler with goldfish – just to see who could hold her the most. Last week, I was told that she actually took a nap for 30 minutes! I almost fell down from the shock. These people are my heroes!

Children's Ministry Elementary

One of my favorite things is hearing how my three year old led the movements for a song during their worship time. She is always proud when she earns a sticker for reciting her memory verse. I like hearing how others notice the little quirks in her personality; such as her need to clean up and stack chairs at the end of the service. Ms. Tami, the ultimate compliment from my daughter is to walk while holding hands like she did with you, last Sunday.

I wish I could say something special about each individual person, but I’m afraid there aren’t enough days in the month! I am so appreciative of all you do, and from all the mommies and daddies who benefit from your service, we say thank you!!