69, 004 Words and 1 Click

With a click of the mouse, the 69,004 words of my manuscript was sent out from email into the inbox of the publisher. These past few months have been busy and yet rewarding all at the same time.

It’s an odd feeling knowing that someone else will read, edit, judge, critique and print your words.

I have so many people to thank for their support in this endeavor. First my beautiful wife for putting up with the late nights,the long conversations while I expounded my ideas and the constant note taking thanks to Evernote.

Next to Rev. Sarah Renfro, Megan Grassell of Yellowberry Bras and Kaylin A. for their willingness to share their stories.

Thanks are in order for Ray Miller, IV for his help in editing as well as composing the forward.

Finally thanks to you for your support and stay tuned!

I look forward to the next steps in the process.

In Christ,

 

Rev. Evan

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New Facebook Author Page Cover Photo

My talented sister has created a new cover photo for my Facebook Page…which by the way you should like… click here.

Check it out!

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Creative Commons License
Rev. Evan M. Dolive’s FB Banner by Haley K. Dolive is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Remembering 9-11-2001

 

NYC Twin Lights 9/11 "Tribute in Lights"  Memorial 2005

New York 9/11 Museum


Photo credits:
NYC Twin Lights 9/11 “Tribute In Lights” Memorial 2005 by Jackie via Flickr Used Under the Creative Commons License 2.0
New York 9/11 Museum by Pete Bellis via Flickr Used Under the Creative Commons License 2.0

The Night I Heard “Thunder and Crashing Metal”

This is not a typical post but stay with me. 

Two nights ago while sitting in my living room, I heard what can only be described as thunder and crashing metal right outside my house.  After the loud sounds I heard a car horn and I knew something was wrong.  I ran outside and saw a truck partially in my front yard.  A young man stumbled out and I called 911.

The driver was fine but his truck was not.   I was informed by a neighbor had the first sounds we heard was the driver hitting my parked car.  I had parked on the street that day because we had friends and family over visiting and oohing and aahhing over the newest Dolive addition.  I had parked on the street dozens of times before without issue.

The impact was so great that my car was pushed up on to the curb, ripped off my side view mirror and tore up my front end.

While my car is more than likely totaled I can take comfort that no one was hurt.  Things can be replaced but people cannot.

Below are some pictures of the car, may they serve as a reminder of the damage that can happen due to drinking and driving.

 

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


 

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The impact was so great that my car was pushed up on to the curb.

 

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Where the truck ended up.

 

Stop Taking Attendance!

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At a church I used to serve there was a well-intentioned person who after every service would tell me how many people were in attendance. “We had 47 today, Preacher,” he would say. I could hear the disappointment in his voice when he would have to tell me a low number like 35. A smile beamed across his face when we had more than 50. No matter the number, he would tell me without fail.

In every church that I have ever visited or served there has been an emphasis on the number of people that attend the morning worship services.
After years in the ministry I have come to the conclusion that the church needs to stop taking attendance, immediately.

For many churches the process of collecting attendance is to get an accurate account of people in worship, to measure how many people occupy space in a pew. Some churches have note pads in the pews so people can fill out their information and place it in a designated area. Others have a volunteer to manually count the people in attendance. No matter how small or big the faith community is an attendance is taken. Some congregations publish the number of people in their church bulletins or have it on a sign in the sanctuary to compare last week to this week.

For too long churches have measured their ‘success’ and ‘failures’ on the number of people that darken the door on 11am on Sunday morning. The quickest way to get people to wring their hands in worry is to tell them that numbers in worship have dropped. Visions of the church closing its doors will run through people’s minds inciting more and more anxiety.

It’s no secret that the church in the American culture is not where most Christians would like it to be. The church was once the central hub of the community is now a place where people go on Sunday mornings if they want to. The church has been in a decline for some time and I believe this has caused us to become more inward focused. As the church began to experience decline numerically the church’s reaction was to try making everyone left happy including the ministers, elders, deacons, lay ministers, organist and even the custodial staff. The boat was not rocked, things stayed the same, a course was laid in and no deviation would be acceptable.

I believe that this is the wrong approach. One time when I was interviewing with a church for a position they inquired if I had any plans that would help the church grow numerically. The answer I told them I believe with all my heart and prompted a bevy of puzzled looks. I told them that I was not a ‘numbers guy.’ I did not measure the success of the church in how many people showed up on Sunday morning. Is Lakewood in Houston, the largest church in America, a “more successful church” because they average several thousand people each week? No. Most churches just want bodies in the pews and babies in the nursery but this is the wrong approach.

I would rather have fifty people in church on Sundays that went out and touched a hundred people’s lives, than have a hundred people in church that only touched fifty.

The church has become too worried about having more people than the other churches in town. The church needs to stop looking inward and start looking outward. There is a world that is in desperate need of a Savior right outside the walls of the church. The time we spend in meetings or around the pot luck lunch table talking about how big the church was in 1947 is wasting everyone’s time.

I have to admit that even I can fall into this number trap. It can be disheartening when a minister prepares a sermon or the choir works diligently on a piece and only a handful of people are there to experience it. I have to remind myself that the people who are in attendance are there to experience God and worship and that is it. God can use all sizes of churches and faith communities to promote God’s message of love, peace, joy and reconciliation.

I want people to experience God in the same way that I do but I am not beholden to a number.

Let’s start taking a new kind of attendance, one that is centered on the other, not bodies in the pew.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Photo Credit: “Checked_tick” by Oliver Tacke via Flickr. Used Under The Creative Commons License 2.0.

Happy National Bow Tie Day!