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Friday, May 30, 2008

Keeping The Sanity

Thoughts From Tiffany Cooper

Life can get overwhelming if you don’t set boundaries for yourself. I am a wife. I am a mother to 3 kids ages 4, 3 and 1, plus our 4th baby is due this July. I am also a pastor’s wife to an amazing church. I had to become very deliberate about my schedule a little over a year ago in order to protect my emotional and physical health.

5 things that help me keep the sanity…
  1. Family Time. I love having time with Herbert. Quantity and quality time are important to our relationship. Herbert has always made family time a top priority, and I am a better wife because of it.
  2. Alone Time. I started having a sitter to stay with the kids once a week, so I could enjoy “me time” without hearing “mommy” non-stop. This time allows me to go places I can’t with the kids, and I come home feeling refreshed mentally.
  3. Letting Go. I quickly realized I had to let go of my perfectionism. It was unrealistic to think that I could have a perfectly clean home at all times. I had to take time to stop and breathe even if laundry had to be done. I had to learn to say no even if it was a good thing. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I am only one woman.
  4. Ministry. Herbert has always made decisions based on whether it’s the best thing for me. He doesn’t require more of me as a pastor’s wife than he does our church family. Behind Christ, I am his wife first, the mother of our kids second and committed to ministry third. He helps balance me because I would go and do and end up feeling drained.
  5. I eat chocolate! Women, can I get an Amen!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Church Planting…Paying the Price

Thoughts From Tiffany Cooper

The idea of church planting sounds glamorous and adventurous, but like many things in life, the reality is much different. While it is great, the price you pay can’t be understood until you’ve been through it yourself. You will work like you have never worked before. At the start of People's Church, we had to be all things in all situations to all people at all times. In our 6 years as a church, I have felt occasional discomfort while navigating through change and growing pains. The greatest change I have experienced throughout the growth of People’s Church is the way people interact with and view me.

At the start of People’s Church, I felt personally connected with everyone. As we grew, it was impossible to know everyone. People began to refer to me as “Pastor’s Wife” instead of “Tiffany”. There were times I felt more alone in the middle of a hundred people than I did by myself. I had to transition from being personally connected to a small group of people to meeting wonderful church attendees for the first time at the grocery store. I’ve made the adjustment successfully, but it was difficult at first.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There Is A Price to Pay

Thoughts From Tiffany Cooper

There is a price to pay, everything has a price. People have often commented that everything seems to come easy for Herbert and me. What they don’t see is the price we paid from the very beginning of our marriage to get where we are today. We have always been extremely deliberate about the goals and principles we live by in our daily life.
  1. We established extreme boundaries to protect the health and growth of our marriage.
  2. We made a commitment to live debt-free (except for our home which we are working to pay off) and maintain a working budget. We have always lived below our means. I remember struggling with the idea of buying a $20 pair of work pants our first year of marriage.
  3. We worked hard from day one. I went to school full-time while working part-time, and Herbert worked as a substitute teacher for several months while traveling as an evangelist.
  4. Our life seems radical to some, but everything we do is for the purpose of pleasing God and fulfilling what He has called us to do individually and as a family.
But you get what you pay for. I have been married to my best friend for over 10 years, and we are still fierce about protecting our marriage. Living debt-free gives us incredible freedom; it’s enabled us to give more away each year. In fact, living debt-free allowed us to finance the start of People’s Church. And yes, we still work hard!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Role As A Pastor's Wife pt. 2

Thoughts From Tiffany Cooper

3. Outsider. I went from being in the inner circle to feeling like the outsider. I was no longer “in the know” about everything. It was hard to accept that others would know more than I did and that others would be more involved than me.

I spent many moments talking with God about my struggles. It was easy to know my true identity and purpose in my mind, but it took a year for it to be solidified in my heart. I had to truly accept who I was in Christ, not the roles I liked to wear like a badge of honor. It is freeing to feel the deep conviction that my first priority behind my walk with Christ is to be Herbert’s wife. My days are dedicated to raising my precious kids and instilling a love for God in their hearts. I serve in the children’s ministry every Sunday and attend a Community Group. I truly love this season of my life and would not change one thing! Besides, I’m confident that my best years of ministry are still ahead!

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Role As A Pastor’s Wife pt. 1

Thoughts From Tiffany Cooper

What is the role of a pastor’s wife? Thankfully, there is not a “one size fits all” mold for pastors’ wives. When we started People’s Church 6 years ago, I put every ounce of my energy into serving in any capacity I could. I loved it! When my first son was born, I went through a difficult transition that altered my role as pastor’s wife.

I had to work through 3 issues:

1. Identity. Who am I? I realized that I found a great deal of identity in being ultra-involved in ministry. Once Cale was born my involvement decreased dramatically, and I found myself questioning who I was. I was no longer a full-time English teacher, children’s church teacher, small group leader…the list goes on.

2. Purpose. What impact do I have on the Kingdom as a stay-at-home mom? I struggled with feeling insignificant. How could I make a difference if I was at home doing the “mommy thing” all day? My time felt wasted.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Church Leaders You Need On Your Radar Screen pt. 4

Konan Stephens

I became familiar with Konan at a youth camp. I was the speaker, and he was a crazy youth pastor. A year or so later, I preached for Konan at a youth convention when I was a full-time evangelist and he was the state youth director. Konan is a very humble leader. I have always appreciated his humble spirit. Konan is also a great leader. He began C3 Church in November 2006. The church is located in Pinkerton, Ohio. The congregation began in a vacant 10 year old church building that was given to them along with some debt. This is a young congregation that seeks to bring forth the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a very relevant and practical way. They do this through their simple discipleship process of "Connect, Grow, Serve." The church is already running around 300 people in 3 Sunday services.

Konan is an all around great guy who is flat out getting it done. You need to put Konan Stephens on your radar screen.

Website: www.myC3church.com

Konan's blog: www.C3blog.com

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Church Leaders You Need On Your Radar Screen pt. 3

Aaron Cole

I'm familiar with Aaron Cole because our Programming Director is good friends with him. Aaron also used to be an Associate Pastor at a church in the Tulsa area. Aaron became Senior Pastor of Life Church in Germantown, Wisconsin, in December 2002. Germantown is a suburb of Milwaukee. Life Church began in September of 2000. The church has experienced incredible growth under Aaron's leadership. The church was running around 100 in attendance when Aaron became the Senior Pastor and today is running around 600 in attendance. The congregation currently meets in a converted strip mall that they own. They are in the process of adding a student center, office wing and a 400 seat auditorium. This church is getting it done!

I have been able to spend time with Aaron on several occasions, and he is a very sharp leader and pastor. You need to put Aaron Cole on your radar screen.

Website: www.lifechurchgermantown.com

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Church Leaders You Need On Your Radar Screen pt.2

Tommy Sparger

Tommy is one of my closest friends. We met over six years ago at a church planters’ boot camp and immediately hit it off. We talk at least once a week on the phone. He has been a huge encouragement and friend to me. North Point Church in Springfield, Missouri, is flat out getting it done. North Point Church was mothered by another church in Springfield, MO. I think this is the best way to start a church. You have immediate finances and people, but you have to be a good leader to be able to manage and lead it on day one. North Point began on September 7, 2003, with over 800 in attendance. THAT'S THE WAY TO START A NEW CHURCH! They bought land off a major interstate six months after launching and began building their first building. They moved into their first facility when they were only 1 1/2 years old. They began building their second phase, which included a 1000 seat auditorium, when they were three years old and moved into that facility when they were four years old. North Point Church currently runs 2300 in three Sunday services. They are reaching tons of un-churched and de-churched people.

Tommy is a very creative and innovative leader. You need to put Tommy Sparger on your radar screen.

Website: http://www.northpointnow.org/

Monday, May 19, 2008

Church Leaders You Need On Your Radar Screen

David Crosby

David has been a very close ministry friend over the past 4 years. He is one of the sharpest leaders I know. He is one of the guys I call when I need advice. He is also very smart. The dude is actually Dr. David Crosby. He can think circles around me. Dave is also one of the most humble leaders you will ever meet.

Dave started Pocono Community Church in 2003. God has done wonderful things in a short period of time. PCC is running 1100 in Sunday morning attendance. UNBELIEVABLE! The church is located in Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania. That's right, he is tearing it up on the east coast. Super UNBELIEVABLE! PCC has over 40 nations represented in the congregation (around 60 percent black and spanish and 40 percent white). That my friend is a diverse church! PCC is currently meeting in a school. They have recently bought land and are in the process of building a 30,000 square foot facility.

You need to put Dave Crosby on your radar screen.

Website www.poconocc.com

David's Blog www.davidcrosby.blogspot.com

Friday, May 16, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. The Hornets lost to the Spurs last night. The series is now tied 3-3. Game seven is in New Orleans. GO HORNETS!

2. The kids and I are watching Pinky Dinky Doo right now.

3. Cale is laying on me right now, and my arms are wrapped around him typing up my blog.

4. A few minutes ago, Cale gave his sister the balloon he was playing with so I asked him where he got such a great heart from. He told me, "Because of God." Pretty profound answer for my four year old boy.

5. Cale is still sitting in my lap, and he just said, "Dad, I love you a lot." Cade just came and got under the covers with us.

6. My mom has spent the last three nights at our home. She loves watching the grandkids play.

7. I am hosting a Church Planters Round Table starting on Monday. Looking forward to it. We have people coming from all across the nation.

8. This Sunday we conclude the series Deep. The following Sunday we are beginning a SUPER HOT SERIES titled Juicy Fruit.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kids Update pt. 3

Caris (my baby girl)

Caris will be 2 years old in August. Some interesting things about my baby girl.

1. She is the most daring kid we have.

2. She is a flat out hilarious nut :)! She cracks me up big time.

3. She talks better than any of our other kids when they were her age.

4. She loves to smile.

5. She loves to dance and put on a show for us.

6. I am so glad I have a baby girl!

7. She is emotional!

8. Love her to pieces!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kids Update pt. 2

Cale (my oldest child)

Cale is 4 years old. He will turn 5 in December. Some interesting things about my big guy:

1. He is really growing up. He talks really well and holds a great conversation. Dad is pretty impressed.

2. He is starting pre-school this year. I can't believe it!!

3. He tells Tiffany and/or me every day that he loves us a lot. "Dad, I love you a lot". It melts my heart every time.

4. He is a very picky eater. He better get over that with the quickness.

5. His very favorite color is pink (at least that what he told the ladies at the dentist office on Monday). :)

6. He likes to play outside.

7. He is a very cautious kid.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kids Update

Cade (my middle child)

Today is Cade's 3rd birthday! We are having a family birthday party tonight. I can't believe my little man is 3 years old. Some interesting things about my little guy:

1. In weight he is under the 20 percentile for kids his age. He is a tiny guy.

2. He has a very tender heart.

3. He is a strong willed kid.

4. He loves for me to read books to him.

5. At bedtime, he loves to pray for his mommy and sometimes his daddy.

6. He loves for me to push him on the swing. He really enjoys swinging.

7. Tiffany and I have always had a sense that he could be in full-time ministry. We would never push our kids to do that, but we have always had this sense in our hearts about him.

Cale tomorrow!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Update

1. It was a great Mother's Day weekend.

2. The kids and I took Tiffany out to eat at a nice restaurant on Saturday. We showered her with lots of love and cards. She's the best!

3. My mom flew into Oklahoma City last week from her home in Rochester, New York, so after church, my mom, several other family members and I went out to eat. It's always good to see mom.

4. After we had lunch, we went to my uncle and aunts house in Del City, OK. The kids had fun playing, and I played a card game with some of the adults. I love playing card games.

5. 43 people gave their hearts to Christ on Sunday. GO GOD!

6. There was a man on Sunday who came up to me after one of the services and said that he needed to change. He was very broken when he talked to me. It gripped my heart to see someone who knew their life was spinning out of control and desperately needed help. I'm so glad that I serve a God who has the POWER TO CHANGE A LIFE!

7. The Hornets and the Lakers lost in the NBA playoffs. The series for both of them is now 2 wins and 2 losses. Both teams were up 2-0. GO HORNETS, and I do like the Lakers but not as much as the Hornets.

8. This coming up Sunday we are concluding our series called DEEP! The following week we are beginning a brand new series that I'm very excited about. The series is called JUICY FRUIT! We are going to learn how to live in the Spirit. It's going to be a fun summer studying the fruits of the Spirit. You can know how close you are to God by the fruit that is evident in your life. DON'T MISS THIS SERIES BECAUSE IT WILL BE LIFE-CHANGING!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Some of our staff went to the DRIVE conference this week in Atlanta. It was a great conference. Andy Stanley is a great communicator. I left challenged and inspired.

2. Flying home on Wednesday from the DRIVE conference was a mess. I didn't get to my home until almost 1AM. It was a long day.

3. People's Church turns six years old on Sunday. It's been a great six years, but the most exciting thing is the best is yet to come.

4. Don't forget Mother's Day is on Sunday!

5. Went to lunch with this guy www.bigisthenewsmall.com yesterday. He is a great guy, and I enjoyed the fellowship.

6. My two boys have really cuddled with me since I got home from the DRIVE conference. I think they missed their daddy. My little girl is too busy running around to come cuddle with me, but I sneak in a hug here and there.

7. Thank God for a Sabbath day. It was God's idea to take a day off every week, and I'm excited to rest with my family today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What I've Learned Over Six Years Of Being A Senior Pastor pt. 3

16. You can have a growing ministry and a healthy family life.

17. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

18. Fasting and prayer are key to a powerful life and ministry.

19. Studying and preaching messages is a lot of work.

20. People will leave your church. 6 years later, it still hurts, but at least I know that it happens to everybody.

21. You can't meet everybody's needs or expectations because you are only one person, so don't try.

22. I'm living my dream. I'm living for the King of Kings, I have a great wife, wonderful and healthy kids, an awesome staff, an off the hook church family and friends who love me for me. Life doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What I've Learned Over Six Years Of Being A Senior Pastor pt. 2

8. Starting a new church is a great way to reach people who don't know Christ.

9. Mistakes are a part of the journey. I've made more mistakes than I have time to write about.

10. A new church takes a lot of work. A new growing church takes even more work. If you don't like to work hard, don't start a church.

11. Integrity is a huge component to an effective church.

12. Pursuing Christ is key to being a healthy and passionate follower of Christ and pastor.

13. Networking with pastors in your area is key to your personal and spiritual development.

14. Meet with pastors in your city or area when possible. When you meet with them, come prepared to learn. In other words, shut up and quit trying to impress them and learn all you can from them.

15. You may never meet some of your greatest mentors. I've been very blessed to be personal friends with some of my mentors. Although I will probably never meet many of my mentors, their books, blogs and messages will continue to impact my life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What I've Learned Over Six Years Of Being A Senior Pastor

1. Starting a church on Mother's Day weekend is STUPID!

2. Nobody brings their family to a brand new church on Mother's Day.

3. You will be depressed all summer long if you start your church on Mother's Day. The summer break for students is a week or two after Mother's Day, and your new church will struggle.

4. Just because you find a cool place to meet and do a big mail out doesn't mean your church will grow. The first 3 months of our church, we averaged around 50 people. This was not what I expected!

5. Weird people show up to a new church.

6. Power hungry people show up to a new church.

7. Disgruntled people show up to a new church.

More encouraging words tomorrow :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend Update

1. All I can say about Sunday is UNBELIEVABLE! It was one of the best days in the history of People's Church. 76 people got baptized in water. 76 people made a public profession and declaration of their faith. It was a holy moment for PC!

2. 29 people gave their lives to Christ yesterday! It always pumps me up to see people make a decision to follow Christ!

3. I haven't received the count yet, but many, many people signed up to be involved in a ministry at People's Church. That's DEEP! Deep is serving others! Maturity is for ministry! Thank you PC for DIVING DEEP INTO MINISTRY! You are going to make a tremendous difference! You are also going to have the incredible thrill of being used by God!

4. I can't believe that People's Church is turning 6 years old this coming Sunday. That's right, we started People's Church on Mother's Day six years ago.

5. In honor of Mother's Day, this coming up Sunday we will be giving something special to every lady in attendance. Bring your mom, your kids and your entire family, and let's celebrate the goodness of our risen Savior.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. We had a KICKIN’ youth service on Wednesday. There were 311 people in attendance and 26 teenagers gave their lives to Christ. PC has a huge heart to impact students lives with the gospel!

2. Teenagers, don't you dare miss youth service this coming up Wednesday night. PARENTS: Get your teenager to youth service. I guarantee God will rock their world in a good way!

3. This Sunday we are baptizing lots of people. Don't you miss out on obeying God by being baptized in water. If you haven't already, call the office or email them at erin@peopleschurch.tv to let us know which service you will be baptized in. It's going to be an EXCITING SUNDAY!

4. I am praying about and brainstorming about the schedule for the Church Planters’ Round Table that I am hosting at PC this month. Sorry, the Round Table is already full.

5. Tonight is the Couples Connect at the PC building. Married couples, don't miss out on having a blast with other married couples. Be there at 7PM for food and fun!

6. The New Orleans Hornets won their first round match up against Dallas! I'm pulling for the Hornets to win it all!7. I'm going to the next level spiritually. I'm excited about what God is doing in my heart and life. GOD I'M YOURS! HAVE YOUR WAY IN MY LIFE!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Effective Delegation pt. 3

Wrap around communication

I hate having the uneasy feeling of delegating something that is important and not ever knowing if it actually got done. There are some things in our church that I always want to have my hands around, and if I don't, I have an uneasy feeling. Because of this, we created what I am calling wrap around communication (I stole this term from someone else). Wrap around communication is simply getting an update on what you have delegated. We have actually created some wrap around communication systems. What I mean by systems is that they happen consistently. They are built into our daily or weekly schedules. An example of one of our wrap around communication systems is my assistant sends me an end of the day email informing me of things that got done, things that are left unfinished and any information that I need to know. I love this email every day because it puts me at ease about the things that are important to me.

Wrap around communication has improved my STRESS level big time!