(In The Life Of The Church)
The Best Thing About East Texas
Outsiders Invited In
The calendar had just turned to September. It was 2004 and Lindsay and I found ourselves at the Crowder's house having been a part of UBC for all of two weeks. David and Toni Crowder hosted a welcome party for the all the freshman. Why were we there? A week earlier we attended an event at UBC called Mass. One of the objectives of Mass was to help new people find a way to serve. We choose to be on the assimilation team. Lacy McNamee and Harris Bechtol were both serving on the leadership team and told us that our first team assignment was to greet freshman at the Crowder's house. So we, who ourselves were learning to assimilate, were now helping other new people assimilate.
After most of the freshman had made their way through the food line we watched to see if the other volunteers got in line. They did, so we joined them. There I was greeted by Kyle Lake. Kyle was finishing his book of God's will and discovered that I had just come from a church in Minnesota that Greg Boyd pastored. That's noteworthy because Greg has interesting things to say about God's will. So Lindsay and I were invited to sit by Kyle. After about five minutes of talking with Kyle, Craig Nash sat down. That's when I met Craig ... on the porch of the Crowder's in the fall of 2004. I remember Craig being warm and genuinely interested in us. In those sorts of environments it's easy to keep all the exchanges superficial. But Craig had no interest in that. He wanted to know about us and where we were from.
A few weeks passed and I noticed that Craig would invite Lindsay and me to a gathering here and there. I remember one night that Fall we got together to play "the name game" and eat a pot of chili that he made. I was always moved not just by the invitation to come, but that we were included so frequently without really being known. That is one the things I admire about Craig the most, he pulls those on the margins into the center.
Teenage Boy (hereafter TB)
Back in the summer of 2011 UBC gained a new member of a different kind. He was/is a teenage boy that lived across the street. Literally, across 17th. I'm not sure about the legality of using his real name so just be content to read "TB." After a few times of coming over to use the phone, or get a soda, we figured out that TB planned to come around a lot. It became a regular part of our summer to listen to his embellished stories and police his chip and cookie consumption. Though TB could be annoying, I think we all felt good about him coming around. The truth was his mom loved him, but couldn't care for him the way he probably needed. I think she was glad for him to spend time at the church.
Eventually we learned that TB had larger problems than we first knew. He was regularly seeing a doctor for his issues and because we had become a dependable source of help in the form of rides and other forms of logistical assistance ... we (the staff) became a part of that process. But no one more than Craig. It was soon clear that Craig had emerged as TB's confidant. In fact Craig was invited to join TB in some of his doctor's appointments.
Eventually TB's mom became so sick that she needed professional help and could no longer care for TB. TB moved away. Our relationship with him began to dwindle and I had nearly forgotten about TB until one day Craig sent an email asking if one of us could give TB a ride because Craig had a conflict.
Helping people can be a self gratifying endeavor. Eventually the sexiness of doing good works wears off and you have to decide if you're really in it for the long haul ... willing to do gospel work. In that moment I learned that Craig was. That is one of the things I admire most about Craig, he is a person of deep conviction.
The Worship of God
I came to Truett wanting to get a Ph.D. I was an arrogant snot. I had a distorted understanding of scripture and cared only for an esoteric form of theology that has little to no impact for the world. Because of this I begrudgingly took some of my required courses from Truett including Christian Worship. My first thought was why does everyone have to take that class, surely that's just something for the music majors to worry about. I did not understand what worship was.
Grace and patience grew me. It's still not something I would identify as one of my gifts, but at least now I have a proper understanding what was meant. On the surface level, it's easy to identify that Craig is gifted at writing liturgy and ordering services. What's more profound is discovering that those gifts are Craig's because he's spent a life time cultivating a worshiping life.
I had begun using the lectionary and tried my hand at planning a few worship services on the church calendar before Craig arrived. Those attempts were mediocre at best. It was Craig's presence that gave meaning and shape to those rhythms within our community. Craig's slow persistence and long suffering commitment is what grew my understanding. Craig taught me how to worship God.
There have been many mornings and afternoons over the last several years when Craig would faithfully lead a small group from our community through communion service. Craig has never been flattered or discouraged by attendance numbers because Craig worships God to worship God. That is the one of the things I admire most about Craig, he worships God.
One of the ways that the human resources team serves our community is by encouraging staff. I remember one occasion when I walked into our meeting space which had been filled with all kinds of eatable goodies and a makeshift tree with about 60 encouragement notes attached to it. The notes had been written by people in our community. Toph ensured that all of them were read out loud for all of us to hear.
When Craig's turn came up, one after another reported how much they appreciated Craig's words. How Craig's words had been a balm of healing. How Craig's writing had been a lifeline. Paul tells me that we are all part of the body. Craig is undoubtedly the three points of contact comprised by the thumb, middle and pointer fingers that hold the pen. Craig is not just entertaining (though he can certainly be that), Craig writes with a piercing truthfulness and a captivating thoughtfulness. Craig is a voice for so many who have trouble finding their own.
In Eugene Peterson's book The Pastor he writes, "I began to understand the sacred qualities of language. My work as a pastor was immersed in language. There was hardly anything I did that did not involve language: the Word of God provided not information but revelation." That is the one of the things that I admire most about Craig, he pastors with words of meaning.
The Ground Beneath Your Feet
In Exodus 3 God, in the form of a burning bush, tells Moses to kick of his sandals because he is on Holy Ground. There's a rabbinical tradition that says that the bush was always burning, it's just that Moses was able to finally see it. No one has more consistently reminded me that the bush has always been burning than Craig. I used to think that Craig prided himself on finding extraordinary things in the seemingly mundane. I would later learn that this conviction came from his belief that there is no sacred secular divide. The places we exist are full of the Glory of God.
Jose Ortega y Gassett once said, "Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I will tell you who you are." I suspect that is true of all of us. In Jeremiah 29, the prophet delivers a startling message to the would be exiles of Israel, "get comfortable in this foreign land ... in fact learn to love it." Very often I run into people who all but curse the places that they have come from. Craig is not that person. He has heeded Jeremiah's words so that he's never far from home. I'd say Craig is one of the those rare people who is able to tell the landscape who it is.
As far as I can tell Craig Nash has lived in two places for most of his life. Chandler, Texas and Waco, Texas. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that no one has loved Chandler and Waco more than Craig. His contagious affection for place has taught me to love place. That is one of the things that I admire most about Craig, he has an eye for seeing the burning bushes wherever he is.
As Craig gets ready to leave for his journey I'd ask that you take the time to share with him what you have learned from him. Either send him an email firstname.lastname@example.org or come this Sunday share with all of us his celebration lunch.
Meet Our Newest Leadership Team Member
Event Technology Coordinator for Baylor Institutional Events, but really I just enjoy helping people understand and enjoy media technology…especially the audio side of it.
This is a cruel question for someone who lives/breathes media. I have seen many great films and I am sure I will see many more. Currently I have been really enjoying the DC Animated Universe. Specifically Batman: Year One and Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Best Restaurant in Waco:
Clay Pot will forever be my go to place, but I have recently been digging what Portofino’s has been doing. There are some excellent choices here in Wacotown! (The pasta station at Penland cafeteria is always reliable too.)
Bible verse/chapter/book that has been meaningful to you:
Proverbs 27:17. My older sister asked me to make a piece of art based on this scripture for her when I was in 5th grade (probably to secretly help me with my calligraphy class) but it has stuck with me for years. As I get older, it continues grow in meaning each time I gain (or lose) friends and family. It says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Those relationships you have are so much more than just conversation and time shared. They are formative moments in your life. Who you will become and who you will influence depend upon these interactions.
Best television show:
This again…ok, let me break it down into categories:
Animated: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Comedy: 3 way tie: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Big Bang Theory, Moone Boy
Drama: Gotham (DC usually has a lighter side in TV á la The Flash or Smallville, but Gotham has the dark, gritty aspect of the stories, and I like it.)
However, if I had to have a "desert island” show it would probably be Chuck. Action, adventure, romance, comedy, drama…Chuck has it all.
Anything in the cold. I’d rather bundle up by a fire than be sweating away in the heat with no way to cool down.
Something you might not know about me:
Confession time. I am a pretty big nerd…though if you have gotten this far you may have already figured that out, but let me put it into perspective for you. I listen to a podcast that analyzes the Star Wars films one…minute…at…a…time. That’s right, each episode covers one minute of the Star Wars universe. Starting with Star Wars (or as some might call it "Episode IV" or "A New Hope”) and currently through ROTJ (that’s shorthand for "Return of the Jedi.”) With good reason the podcast creators have a general disdain for the prequels, and I doubt there will be a podcast on Phantom(I), Attack(II), or Revenge (III). I am OK with that decision.
Craig's Thank You Party
We are having a thank you party for Craig after church this Sunday May 17th. UBC will provide the food and drinks. We are asking you champions to plan on bringing a side.
Also if you could help us set up after church we need help moving the chairs back and setting up tables and chairs in the sanctuary.
UBC Financial Update
UBC Financial Status
as of: May 13, 2015
THE PLAN: Our fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015) budget is $353,126. Fixed expenses (staff salaries, and building and office expenses) accounts for $302,441, or 85.6% of the total, and ministry expenses (the many things our church does for our community and for those who attend) accounts for $50,685 or 14.4%.
OUR EXPENSES: Between the end of March and the middle of May, we spent about $24,793; for the year, our expenditures total a little over $267,000.
OUR INCOME: Our income from tithes and offerings between the end of March and the middle of May was about $17,228; our annual income from tithes and offerings through the middle of May totals $259,583. Income from other sources (building rental, the garage sale, and some designated gifts) totals about $19,000.
If you would like to making partnering with UBC a part of your regular giving a great way to sign up for that is through easy tithe.
As you might suspect maintaining our volunteer base in the summer is difficult for 2 reasons. 1. A large percentage of our students leave and 2. schedules even for those who live here full time become very erratic. In that regard we are looking for summer volunteers. I've identified three areas of ministry that we could use your help.
1. Greeters: Greeters serve the mission of UBC by offering a friendly hello, answering questions for visitors and helping people find rooms and other connections when needed. If you are interested in serving as a greeter please email Maxcey @ email@example.com.
2. Coffee Makers/Mug Cleaner: CM's and MC's serve the community by providing taste coffee and providing clean mugs and carafes for serving coffee in. if you are interested in serving as a CM or MC email josh @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Children's ministry: Children's ministry workers serve our community by teaching #champions4thelord about Jesus. We have opportunities at all age levels. If you are interested email email@example.com.
In Family News ...
Meet Our Newest UBCer
Dominic Paul Webb-Morgan
Birth Weight: 7 lbs. 1 oz.
Birth Height: 20 1/2 inches
Enneagram Number: 5
Our friend and champion for the Lord Kaley Eggers writes a blog post once in a while. she wrote one this week I think you should read if you haven't already seen it.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Jeff & Teri Walter
Coffee Makers: Jacob and "hopefully someone else" <-- his words
Mug Cleaners: Sarah and Sayla
Shutdown Team: The Cavemen
Sunday Sermon Text: Acts 10:44-48
Summer Sunday School Begins June 7th
UBC Summer Party Jun 28th ... more information to come
Empty Nester Event: Our next empty nester event will be May 30th at the Haines house. Fajitas will be provided. Please plan on bringing a side, dessert or drink to share. If you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have an Emergency? Do you Need to talk to a Pastor?:
254 366 9779
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
Chair- Kristin Dodson: email@example.com
Jana Parker: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Denman: Stan_Denman@baylor.edu
David Wilhite: David_Wilhite@baylor.edu
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
Sharyl Loeung: email@example.com
Jon Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
Tom Haines: email@example.com
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: email@example.com
Lacy Crocker: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC HR Team
If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
Maxcey Blaylock: email@example.com
Mathew Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: Jeff_Walter@ubcwaco.org
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu