Every Sunday I’m sharing a recap on some of what happened that week. It will be quick (in brief) and I’ll write in my underwear (in briefs). Here ya go:
1. On Sunday I preached at Real Life Church in Valencia, CA. It’s a great church and it was a cool experience, especially since I strategized about it with the guy who started it the year before he started it.
2. Had a good Launch Team meeting last Sunday night. We talked about being “God Stalkers” and we all agreed to fast from something this week and to add something to our life this week, both with the intention of helping us to pursue God more wholeheartedly. I fasted from TV all week and from food for a day, and added a “personal retreat day.”
3. This week I met with…
- A future church planter. They are coming out of the woodwork and asking to meet with me. It’s become like a weekly thing!
- Two local pastors to learn more about doing ministry here in Vegas.
- Two pastors from a church that is supporting us, who happened to be in town.
- Two guys from the group that markets Las Vegas. Like they’re the one’s who came up with “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas” and “Only Vegas”
- Samantha, who is going to be doing a part-time internship with us in our Creative Arts Ministry
- A bunch of guys at a “Christian Business Men’s Luncheon”
4. Robb and I volunteered at a fundraiser (for local food banks) at the Hard Rock Casino.
5. I had to do a lot of financial stuff – working with staff people on fundraising stuff, working with our bookkeeper on budget stuff…
6. I worked a little on some messages I’ll be preaching at a few churches this summer.
7. I’ve continued to keep learning more and more about life and ministry here in Vegas. Thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned:
- I think the first word out of every person’s mouth who we interviewed, when we asked what the greatest problem in Vegas is, and especially for people who work on the Strip, was “addictions.”
- One guy told us that there are a fare amount of community service organizations in Las Vegas, but basically none of them are focused on the Strip or people who work on the Strip.
- “Las Vegas will never become an old town, because we don’t allow our buildings to get old. We tear them down and build new ones.”
- When talking about what’s unique about Vegas, one guy commented that there are lots of people here who don’t have a penny to their names, and there are also lots of people who have a billion dollars in the bank. He said that in his hometown in Kansas, there are NO people who don’t have a penny, and NO people worth a billion dollars.
- We asked two guys who market Las Vegas what they thought the greatest asset of Vegas was, they said, “Adult freedoms.”
- Another person talked about Vegas’ culture of excess, pointing out that there’s no last call here – the bars never close.
- Someone told us about the people in charge of “Player Development” at a casino. Each manager of player development will have about 20 people (from around the country) they oversee. Their goal is to get these people to come and stay at their hotel, and leave their money in the their casino. And they basically do it by pastoring those people. They call them, check in on them, send birthday and anniversary cards, ask how their children are doing, etc., etc. Pretty sad that, for the sake of money, they do a better job being attentive to their people’s needs than most pastors or small group leaders do for the sake of God.
- One local pastor told me how people in Vegas have a great need to be led. That the type of people here make it a “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Jesus” kind of culture, rather than a “Follow Jesus” kind of culture. They need leadership, a human example to follow. He challenged me to really step up into that role.
- It’s definitely an interesting town, and learning it’s culture and people is interesting. I think that when we eventually have to make decisions based on all this it’s going to be complicated and a little frustrating.
TO PRAY ABOUT THIS WEEK:
1. The open door we may have at the Hard Rock. We’ve started developing a good relationship with an influential guy on their staff, and hope that they’ll let us help their employees. Talking about possibly doing “Life Skill” seminars, or being chaplains. Please pray this all works out!
2. We’re still looking for a good location that we might be able to lease and have a 24/7 spot for services, seminars, support groups, etc.
3. This week we again have some important meetings: With a Youth Missions group that is planning on having teenagers live for a month in Vegas as missionaries, and maybe help us while they’re here. And with a non-profit community service coalition it looks we’re going to become a part of. And with a guy who is a local business leader, and who owns the local Triple A minor league baseball team. And more. Please pray that God is leading the way and that we don’t get in His way…