Evan Rummell Update

This is a post from Evan Rummell.?? He was one of our original members of St. Paul's way back in 2005.?? This is what he's been up to…
Since my trip to Uganda during the summer of 2009, the idea of missions and integrating that into my lifestyle has been a huge conviction of mine. After only three months of being back home, I packed up my things and moved from Connecticut to New Jersey to pursue a position with Touch the World Ministries in charge of global media development. My role there would consist of traveling to the various international branches of TTW capturing stories of success, as well as stories of people in need, to bring back home. The goal for myself was to never exploit what was going on through media but rather just capture the essence of everyday life to show people where they could fit into that.
Making this move and transition in my life was one of the hardest things I've done and certainly has stretched me further than I had imagined. My main responsibility with Touch the World, aside from media development, is to support raise for my staff salary. Every dollar that I need to continue my ministry work comes from friends, families, and local churches. Stepping out in faith, knowing and expecting God to provide, has been the most rewarding and difficult part for me. But in the end, God has completely blown away my expectations. Multiple times, I have come down to the last minute for a financial deadline, either raising enough for a monthly budget or even a trips budget, and seen God work through specific people who provide financial gifts for me. With each instance like these that happen, I am more and more confident in my role at Touch the World and convinced it is where God wants me for this season of my life.
I spent three months in Uganda this past summer (2011) filming and living in the village of Adak, located 23km southeast of Gulu, and returned back home to the states rocked. Village life was much more difficult than I thought it would be but the stories I heard everyday were what wrecked me emotionally.
"My brother was tied to a tree and executed."
"My husband died last year and now I have to provide for 19 of my children and grandchildren alone.."
"My husband was beaten, I was bayoneted, my two sons and daughter were executed, my remaining son has AIDS, two of my grandchildren have sickle cell disease, one grandchild has epilepsy, and my remaining daughter has burns and scars all over her body from the rebels."
Each day, I visited 2-3 families and documented their stories. But with each family, I left more and more brokenhearted with a deep feeling of helplessness. But it was in this period that I began to see just how powerful a visit to them was. How powerful a prayer was. How powerful listening and loving them was.
By just opening up in prayer with them, God moved through me, speaking the words that were needed and sometimes answering the groans and prayers of the people in my midst. By simply being obedient and open to what was asked of me, I became a vessel for His Holy Spirit to work through and there I saw the true power of prayer and community.
Philippians 1 speaks of living a life worthy of the gospel, being unashamed of what brings us joy. Knowing that to live is Christ and to die is gain. This chapter was all I read for the summer. God had me fixated on it and for a reason. I live my life in America with the notion that simply going to church is enough. But God has the intention of revealing to me that it's not.
Sharing my life and its story with people. Being a light in the darkness of this world. Living a life worthy of the gospel.
That's God's intention for us.
God did not call us to debate with people over our faith, to shove it down their throats until they believed. No He called us to be lights in this world. He called us to go and share with the world. For some that means sharing in our neighborhoods and backyards. For others, that means China. Afghanistan. Turkey. Germany. Uganda.
But at the end of the day, if you aren't sharing with people why you are different. Why you are changed. Why you are happy, you're doing them a disservice as well as yourself.
God calls us to go. Just go. He did it in my life and my biggest regret will be if I don't listen. My challenge to you is to never turn your ear from that calling. Because for me, I would've missed out on the last two years of my life, the last two years that has shaped and molded me into the Christian I am today. The Christian that is willing to share with any and all why I am happy and different. Willing to risk financial struggle and lifestyle hardship for His name and His renown.
What does that look like for you? Will you turn your ears to Him and join me in the greatest calling we can ever be a part of?

Cleaning Crew!

This fall we are starting a cleaning crew at St. Paul’s.  We’ll be meeting Satruday mornings 9am to 11am starting October 8th to clean the building.

If you’d like to help clean but can’t make Saturday mornings, that’s great.  Just email Jeanne Mullaney at jmmullaney@gmail.com (she’ll be leading the team).  If you’d like to help clean and can make Saturday mornings, that’s great.  Just email Jeanne Mullaney for more info.

If you don’t want to clean at all, that OK.  Just email Jeanne and thank her for her service.

Worst/Best Feedback

On an all church evaluation several years ago (2007 I think) I received the worst/best feedback in my life.

Here it is???

Vince???s delivery on his sermons is so sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooow.?? And he tends to repeat himself, repeat himself, repeat himself, repeat himself, repeat himself.?? Am I being clear or do I need to repeat myself?

Do I need to explain why this was the worst feedback I???ve received??? It???s hard to hear criticism about something you???re passionate about.?? It???s hard to hear criticism that contains no affirmation.?? It???s hard to hear criticism that mocks/mimics/makes fun of you while critiquing you.

When I read this I thought __________, you buddy!?? And I was very upset.?? This feedback hurt.?? And it hurt mostly because it was true.

And that???s why this was also the best feedback I???ve received.?? It was true!?? My delivery stunk.?? It was way too slow.?? And I repeated myself way too much.?? I needed to change something ASAP.?? And I did.?? I went to preaching from outlines to preaching from manuscripts and my delivery dramatically improved.

The reason feedback often hurts is because it???s true.?? I???ve received much nastier criticisms than this.?? But they weren???t true.?? They weren???t accurate.?? They weren???t reality.?? And so they didn???t hurt.?? This feedback hurt because it was true.

So let me encourage you.?? Listen to feedback.?? Listen to feedback poorly given.?? Listen to feedback given by someone mocking you.?? Listen to feedback that hurts.?? Listen for the truth–because the truth can come from anyone.?? And the truth is always a friend.??

I???m thankful for this worst/best feedback I received.?? It made me a better preacher.?? I wish it could have been done a little better.?? But at least it was done.?? And I???d rather receive truth poorly given than no truth at all.?????????? ????????????

Feedback Sandwich

Here???s how you give feedback in a way people will listen.?? You give them a feedback sandwich.?? Positive affirmation.?? Constructive criticism.?? Positive affirmation.

This is how Jesus does it in the Book of Revelation.?? When Jesus addresses each church he begins with affirmation.?? Then Jesus calls for specific repentance.?? Then he ends with a great promise. ????Jesus models the feedback sandwich.??

Positive affirmation.?? Constructive criticism.?? Positive affirmation.?? That???s the feedback sandwich.?? That???s HOW we give feedback to one another.?? We???re simply following Jesus model.

But WHY do we give feedback in this way?

We give feedback in this manner because it reflects reality.?? Nothing we do is so bad we can???t affirm something.?? Nothing we do is so good we can???t critique anything.?? So any honest feedback will have both ???Well Dones!??? and ???This Could Be Better???.??

We give feedback in this manner because it challenges the speaker.?? Some people have trouble affirming anything.?? These people need to learn to affirm.?? You can always affirm something.?? Other people have trouble critiquing anything.?? These people need to learn how to give constructive criticism.?? We can always improve in some way.

We give feedback in this manner because it challenges the listener.?? Some people have trouble hearing affirmation.?? Affirmation makes them uncomfortable.?? They need to learn how to accept affirmation.?? Other people have trouble hearing criticism.?? Criticism makes them angry.?? They need to learn how to accept criticism

We give feedback in this manner because it reflects the gospel.?? The first and last words are positive.?? The first and last words are affirming.?? The first and last words are good news.

So start handing out those feedback sandwiches!?????? ????????????

Our Vision.

A Message From Vince

At St. Paul’s Church we dream of more.  More and more people becoming more and more like Jesus Christ our loving Savior. 

We see a church extending Jesus’ love to all.  All are invited:  doubters and believers, young and old, the university and the community.

We see a church gathering.  More people assembling at weekend services to hear about God’s love.  More people congregating in small groups to experience God’s love.

We see a church learning.  More people feeding on God’s word.  More people delighting in prayer.  More people living by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We see a church equipping and empowering.  More people discovering their unique passions and gifts.  More people becoming loving ministers in the church.  More people discovering their personal mission.  More people becoming loving missionaries in the world.

We envision eight hundred attenders, three hundred members, six full time staff.  We envision owning our own facility in Storrs, CT.

We dream of more for St. Paul’s because God’s love is more.  We dream of more for St. Paul’s because God’s power is more.  We dream of more for St. Paul’s because God deserves more—more of His glory to shine forth from His church. 

And we believe we’ll see this dream become reality.   And when we do we’ll ask God to give us an even greater vision—for God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.