Update from Lead Pastor - Sorting the lumber

Hello Cedars!


On July 25th, the Elders of Cedars Church announced my new position as Interim Senior Pastor, and I’m excited to take on this role. This decision came through a long process of meetings, prayer and counsel.

We know that merging two churches into one has been a huge task, and we then went an extra step of wanting our new church to be very outward focused, keeping in step with the original Cedars vision: to reach our inner circles and see them as our mission fields, to equip the body of Christ to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to train up leaders to plant and lead home churches.

As we merged two churches into one new one in January 2017, both InRoads and CBNC churches had to die, and that has been hard. In order to give life to something new, we had to say goodbye to two churches we loved. Why has it been so hard? That is the question that comes out of all of this.

No one has questioned the need to reach our Inner Circles and to be equipped to do so. Many who have talked with me understand the desire to reach those who may never come to our building but will attend a home church. So why has this merge been so hard?

It really comes down to a need to understand and be understood. In other words, better communication. Change is hard; it’s rarely easy. But when you don’t understand why the change is coming or is needed, that makes it even harder.

I have met with some of you since the all church meeting July 25th, and I have heard your hearts. I see how we can do better. I see how we need to communicate more about what happens around here. The Elders are committed to that, and so is your staff.

Here are a few ways we plan to communicate better and keep you better informed moving forward:

  • The Elders will meet regularly with the executive staff (Jeff Harris, Tim Ruiz & Lindsey Alcosiba). We hope this will go far in making sure we are doing a better job of telling the story God is writing at Cedars.

  • We are bringing the leaders of Women’s, Men’s, and Deaf ministries into our planning and preparation. We want them to be a part of our long term strategy. We want them to see how their ministries not only fit into the bigger picture, but are instrumental in the fleshing out of the church’s vision. How do their events, gatherings or outreaches help us to be a better Cedars? Sometimes it’s just us being family, but at other times, it’s about us being strategic in how we use our different gifts and passions to move us forward.

  • Our Home Churches will be recognized and certified by our Elders and CMA. This will allow us to partner with them whole heartedly and tell their amazing stories. (And boy do they have stories!) Their leaders will also be brought into this communication with the Elders, staff and ministries. This we pray, will mean that we can better serve and support our Home Churches as we move forward. We want our Home Churches to have Cedars as a resource, a support and a champion of their endeavors. We want them to see how they fit into a much bigger picture of what God is doing.

  • We want to make sure that there are avenues for the congregation to speak with the leadership. This week, we are looking into how we make our Eldership more available to the church. Right now you can go to the Homepage on our website and ask our Elders a question. They will respond. We are looking for times on Sunday mornings for you to have access to those leading Cedars. I have made myself available to meet with anyone who chooses. All you have to do is call the church office, and Cindy will get us together. Coffee, or just a meeting. Let me know. My email is jeff@cedars-church.com. Feel free to let me know how I can be of help.

  • We want to use our website and social media more effectively in telling the Cedars Story. We want to make sure that communication is flowing from our Eldership, to our staff and then to you. But that is not enough. How is that communication happening between ministries and our home churches? How are we making sure that everyone knows what is going on? These are the questions we get to tackle.

At the meeting  on Sunday night July 29,  I used an illustration that might be helpful. Here we go:

This is a lesson that is learned each and every year on our home building trips to Mexico. Those who have been on this trip before have seen this take place. It is not meant to cause confusion, but it does. If you have been before, as soon as one task is done, let’s say sorting the tools, then they (those who have been before) just walk over to the lumber pile and start to sort wood. Rafters for the roof in this pile, forms for the foundation in this pile, the good 8 footers for the walls goes over here, and the “not so good wood” goes over here for fire blocks and bird blocks. None of that is bad, unless you are the new person on the trip. You have no idea what is going on! Wood just seems to be moving around with no rhyme or reason. Finally someone notices that there is frustration on the faces of those who want to help, but do not know how to help and feel in the way. Or they feel like they are left out and not a part of the team. So we stop. And someone explains. We want the good rafters for the roof since people will be on the roof, and we want them safe. We want good straight 2x4s for the walls, so our walls can be plum, which will be helpful when we put it all together. We can cut up the “not so good wood” so that it works great for the small pieces we need. A 5 minute meeting, and everyone knows what is happening. Everyone sees the goal. Everyone sees how they can play a part. No one wants to fall through the roof; that make sense. Before you know it, the wood moves again but with everyone aware, on board, and pitching in.

We as a leadership need to take the time to make this happen. To stop and explain why this is happening, or why this thing is stopping. We need people to see that there is a method to the madness, and yes there is a place to jump in. We want everyone to jump in. We want you to know why, and how you can be a part. Please forgive us, if you found yourself looking at all the “wood” going here and there and not understanding what was happening. That is a leadership problem we are in the process of fixing. But, also please, as soon as you understand what is happening, jump in. We need you. We really do. If your job was taken, I want you to know I am sorry. We may need you to take it back, or there could be an even better job. We need you to see what the goal is, and how you can support, pray, give and play a role. We did not explain enough. We had no malicious intent, and yet it can feel that way when you do not see what is happening or the reason behind it.

I will be doing more of these updates. I think this is a lot to take in. I know this has been hard. I also know God is a Redeemer. I am praying and working toward that redemption. Take us up on this. Help us be the Church that glorifies God.

Can I be so bold to ask one last thing? If someone comes to you hurt, and misunderstood, take them by the hand and bring them to me. Please do not let their pain end with you. Take them to the person that can hear them, answer them and hopefully help them. We want to be a healthy and vibrant body. You can make that happen. Thank you for your time. And if you really did read all of this, you have my thanks. Hope to see you Sunday.

Because He Lives…

Jeff Harris