Easter Reflections











  • What a great weekend!
  • Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus never gets old!
  • Celebrating people being made new in Christ never gets old either!
  • I'm so grateful for all the amazing volunteers who served this weekend to help introduce people to Jesus!  I think Connie told me the other day that there were 178 volunteers who served this weekend!
  • It seemed like almost everyone who came this weekend had brought someone with them! Awesome!
  • So cool to hear how 36 kids made decisions to follow Jesus in Treasure Quest this weekend!
  • Great response to the gospel in our adult worship experience too with 44 adults expressing that they desired to be made new in Christ!
  • We decided to offer 4 worship experience times this year, two on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning.  I wasn't sure how they would all balance out, but we had just over 200 in each Saturday night experience and around 300 in each of our Sunday experiences!
  • I loved getting to preach what was probably one of the simplest gospel messages I've ever preached this weekend...bottom line, "Jesus doesn't just give us a new start, be he gives us a new heart!"
  • Loved hearing the report from Innovate and Shawn Kidle that 75 people joined them to celebrate Easter and 10 people found new life in Christ!
  • It was awesome to hear from Matt Robinson at Second Chance Church that they had 8 people who gave their lives to Christ this Easter!
  • So grateful to be a part of a church planting movement!
  • His kingdom come, not ours!
  • Excited to kick off a new series on the Holy Spirit called "The Ghost Inside" next weekend!
  • Hope to see you there!

Ten Things I Think I Think.

I'm a big fan of Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column for SI.  So I'm going to steal his lead and share the "10 Things I Think I Think" from this past week.  I'll start with four thoughts on this weekend's tragic events in Newtown, CT and close out with six thoughts on what happened this week at BridgeWay. 1. We live in a dark world, in need of the light of Christ.  There was no more powerful reminder of the true reason for the season than what took place in Newtown, CT on Friday morning.  Christ came to bring light & hope to a dark world.  This morning I'm reminded of the words of John in John 1.

4 In (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it...9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

2. Our schools are still safe places for our children.  While events like what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School cause us to question this statement, the truth is that our nations Public School Administrators and Educators do a tremendous job of providing safe environments for our children.  There are 98,000 public schools in the United States, serving nearly 50,000,000 children each year.  In the past 10 years there have been 38 children who have lost their lives in school related violence.  This means that in any given year there is a 1 in 12,000,000 of a child losing their life in such a setting.  While by comparison, in any given year, there is a 1 in 5,000 chance of a child losing their life in an automobile accident.

3. Now is the time for grieving with those who grieve.  While there is a time for talking about what to do regarding the issue of school safety, gun control, and mass shootings; leveraging incidents like what took place in Newtown to support a political platform is not appropriate at this time.  I'm reminded that the one thing that Job's friends got right after the loss of his family was that they shut their mouths and simply grieved with him.  My prayer is that we would follow their example for at least the next 7 days.

"Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was." - Job 2:13

4. A moment of silence. 

5. Every parent should hug their children today & everyday.  Turn off the laptop.  Set down the phone.  Put away the ipad.  Sit down with your children and play a game, wrap a present, or read a book.  Get off the couch and bake some cookies, go for a walk, or have a wrestling match.  Or better yet, get on your knees and pray together.

6. I'm super proud of our volunteer teams.  This weekend we made changes to our worship service in the light of Friday's events, and the teams who were affected by these changes all rolled with them very well.  Not only that, but we saw nearly 100 more people in worship than we do on a typical weekend, and all of our teams did a great job with the increased demands.

7. There's nothing like the local church, when the local church is working right.  Because of the amazing volunteers who serve here every week I can focus on Sundays on communicating the message of the day.  It's amazing to see how God uses each of our gifts to impact lives with the gospel of Christ.  I was especially aware of this reality on Sunday.  You had to be there to truly understand what I'm saying, but if you were there, I'm sure you get it.

8. David Crowder's version of "The First Noel" has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.  We sang this in both worship experiences this weekend and it has been stuck in my head ever since.

9. God helped me big time this weekend.  Saturday afternoon I felt led to toss the message I'd written and to address Friday's events from a pastoral perspective.  I'm so glad I did.  God's Spirit was present in a powerful way, and I'm convinced that anything good that was said was straight from God and not from me.  Never have I been so aware of the Holy Spirit's activity in preaching than I was on Sunday.

10. Christmas Worship at BridgeWay is going to be off the charts!  We have been putting together some great elements for all three of our worship experiences next weekend.  You don't want to miss it!  We've planned three worship times at 9:30, 11am, and 5pm next Sunday, and there are only about 100 seats left between the three times combined!  Needless to say, "I'd get here early to get a good seat, or to make sure I had a seat for that matter."

Sunday Night Reflections







  • Kicked off our fall vision series "Da' Church" this morning!
  • Preaching about God's vision for "the church" and God's vision for BridgeWay has to be one of my favorite things I get to do!
  • We're working through the book of Acts as a part of our "Uncover the Word"through the Bible in 90 days initiative and I'll be preaching through Acts throughout the month of November.
  • My prayer for this series is that God would expand our understanding of the church, that he would refocus our understanding, and that he would speak to each of us personally about what it means for us to be his church.
  • People were really focused on the message both worship experiences, but 11am was engaged at a whole other level.  There's definitely a difference between our 9:30 and 11am experience...must have something to do with the extra 1hr and a half of sleep that 11am crowd gets.
  • Lots of cool conversations with people about what Jesus really meant when he talked about building his "ecclesia"...good stuff.
  • On a personal note, my voice was absolutely toast before worship today...couldn't really sing with the songs and worried I wouldn't have a voice by the 11am experience, but God and Halls Cough-drops helped me pull through.
  • Loved the worship set today, and especially the song "The Church" by Elevation Worship...the way the band ended that one was powerful...so good...if you missed it I sure wish you could have been there.
  • Next Sunday we'll be looking at Acts chapter 4 and how the church is called to live out a Bold Faith...can't wait to hear how God uses Shawn's message to move people forward in living out their faith!
  • Looking forward to a pretty packed week...
  • Monday I'm looking forward to spending the evening with our LifeGroup...really enjoying connecting with people around food and Scripture...gonna be a good one.
  • Tuesday I'm excited for our Election Day Communion Worship Experience...this is open to anyone who wants to come...if you don't attend BridgeWay, but want to celebrate communion and remember that our identity is in Christ and not a political party I'd love you to join us at 6:30pm at our Pekin location.
  • Wednesday we'll be spending the day at Olivet Nazarene University with our oldest daughter Helena for a campus visit...seriously can't believe that girl's a Senior!
  • Thursday I'm looking forward to spending the day in Princeton, IL for Pastors on Purpose with about 50 other pastors.
  • Then this weekend I'll be in Ankeny, IA at Ankeny Hope Church of the Nazarene meeting with my friend Joy Maberry and her church board for a leadership retreat Friday - Sunday, and then I'll be celebrating my birthday (and our middle daughter Brenna's birthday) on Sunday too!
  • Should be an exciting week!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Week 3 of our "Uncover the Word" series/initiative and I'm really looking forward to every week of this series.
  • I've been really dedicated to the daily readings and have yet to miss a day, it was close once this week, but I got it done just before 11:30pm.
  • I talked this morning about how all of the Bible points to Jesus, and to God's desire for a relationship with us.
  • Talked about the reliability of Scripture today, and how we know we can trust that it is God's word to us and not just a bunch of stories that people put together to form another religion. 
  • This has definitely been the most apologetics that I've taught at BridgeWay in a long time, and it's been a good thing.
  • I'm loving the worship sets that our team has been putting together the past few weeks, and can't wait for next week's worship experiences...trust me it might be the best set I've ever seen us put together at BridgeWay...so good!
  • Next Sunday I'll be teaching a super practical message on how to study the Bible...a great week to invite someone who might have questions about where to start reading the Bible.
  • I really enjoyed getting to spend a few days this past week at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin with about 60 pastors and several of their spouses at our district Pastor and Spouses Retreat.  My wife Steph plans these events every year for our district pastors, and this year might have been my favorite ever.
  • I also got to spend a couple hours yesterday at the Pekin Housing Authority with a great group of leaders from BridgeWay's Impact team who were doing a clothing give-away.  It was powerful to meet some tangible needs in the community and to get to hear several of the stories from the people we got to meet.
  • The next big Impact event we're tackling is providing a free Thanksgiving Dinner for families in need in our area.  We'll be collecting family information over the next couple weeks and then calling for donations (specific items so don't donate anything yet) in November.
  • A couple of other events I'm looking forward to in the near future at BridgeWay are our Leadership Team Retreat this weekend and our Election Day Communion Worship Experience on November 6th at 6:30pm. Please be in prayer for both of these events.  
  • Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your interest in what God is doing at BridgeWay!
  • Have a great week!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Kicked off a new series called "Uncovered" today...and for the next 90 days we're talking about why we should uncover the word of God.
  • For several months I've been sensing that God was going to use this series, and the 90 day Uncover the Word initiative, to take our church to another level of spiritual growth and effectiveness.
  • I'm praying that every person who calls BridgeWay their church home will commit to read through the New Testament in the next 90 days.  And that several would commit to read through the entire Bible during that same time.
  • I'm one week into reading through the Bible and it's been a great experience so far.
  • One thing that stood out to me this morning was just how hungry people are for a deeper understanding of the Bible.
  • I preached on not taking God's word for granted, and shared a timeline of how we got our Bible and the sacrifices that people have made to make sure we could have it in our hands.
  • Those are typically not super exciting messages, but both services were so locked in while I taught the background material that I didn't even get to much of what I'd planned to say...it was pretty awesome!
  • Speaking of awesome, the spirit in worship today was one of the best that I've ever experienced at BridgeWay.  Not only was the band fantastic, but the engagement level of the congregation was great!
  • I shared today that we are nearing casting vision for the addition of another worship experience, but that there are several needs that will need to be met in order to make it happen...one of the most important is that we'd see 30-40 new volunteers step up to begin serving at BridgeWay over the next month.  If you don't currently serve, pray about taking your next step in beginning to serve Jesus at BridgeWay!
  • If you're looking for a digital copy of the reading plan we're using for Uncover the Word check it out at the end of this post.
  • On a personal note lots of things happening in the Schaeffer house this past week...Steph has been pretty sick all week, Brenna & Mia finished their fall soccer season, Helena had her Senior pictures taken today (you gotta be kidding me!), and I'm 1lb away from cracking into the 100's for the first time since 1994!
  • Can't wait to worship with you all next Sunday!

Monday Morning Quarterback

  • Busy day yesterday so I had to postpone the writing of my usual Sunday Night Reflections until Monday.
  • Great day at BridgeWay yesterday as we closed out The Family Circus series.
  • I taught on making memories worth remembering in our families.
  • I felt like the whole morning God was moving and speaking to people, and by the response in both services that was obvious...dozens of people making decisions to seek God's direction for their families.
  • Loved the worship set yesterday too!
  • The band did an incredible job with "Solid Rock" by Delirious, and we closed the experience with "Cornerstone" just a great song to close the series out with.
  • This series was as much about making Christ the cornerstone of our lives as it was about leading our families.
  • It was an honor to get to talk about Living Alternatives and to share the story of Ehrica who is working with them to help start a Pregnancy Resource Center in Tazewell County.
  • Lots of great conversations with people after worship about their desire to get involved and help with this new initiative.
  • Then last night we worshiped with Pekin First Church of the Nazarene as Shawn Kidle shared the vision for Innovate Church.
  • It was cool to be able to share about this new church being started by a group of people who came to faith because Pekin First decided to plant BridgeWay 7 years ago.
  • Speaking of church plants...Sunday was the Grand Opening for Second Chance Church in Fishers, Indiana!  So proud of Matt Robinson, the families who relocated from BridgeWay to help start this great new church, and the team that God has assembled at Second Chance!  Keep making Jesus famous guys!
  • Closed out the night last night by reading Day 1 of the Uncover the Word Bible Reading Plan!  
  • We're challenging our entire congregation to read through the New Testament over the next 90 days, and some of us are actually going to read through the entire Bible in 90 days...so far after 2 days...I'm still on track!
  • Looking forward to kicking off a new series on Sunday called "Uncover the Word"...you won't want to miss it!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • I've enjoyed "The Family Circus" series so far and today was no different.
  • I taught on five key areas of renewal that we need if we're going to sustain our relationships long term.  
  • Shared that it's easy to start relationships, but hard to sustain them.
  • The key to sustaining them is that we renew them through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual renewal.
  • The dumbest things I've done in my relationships have all come when I've been worn out physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  If we're going to lead our families well, we have to lead ourselves well first.
  • If we don't take care of our physical bodies now, we're basically saying we expect our families to care for them later when they break down from our neglect.
  • None of us knows everything we need to know to be effective at living with healthy relationships, we all have room to grow.
  • As far as emotional renewal goes, I'm convinced the this is especially important for people in helping professions and single parents who are continually pouring into the lives of others with very few people investing into their lives.
  • One of the best decisions I ever made was to talk to a counselor in order to make sure I was developing emotional health.
  • The music today was pretty eclectic...Hillsong, Gungor, and Blink 182...yup kinda all over the place, but I think it worked.
  • We celebrated communion today to Gungor's "Dry Bones" and "Beautiful Things"...it's nice to be able to have the facility in place to make the logistics of communion a bit easier.
  • We closed the morning out with "Cornerstone" by Hillsong and wow, I love that song!  
  • Just one more week of LifeGroup promotion...I hope you'll get connected to one, especially if you're not on a ministry team at BridgeWay.
  • Oh yeah, and one more thing...I killed my Facebook account this week.  I'm planning on fasting Facebook from now until February  when I get back from my sabbatical.  I'll be using the extra time to read through the Bible over the next three months and to make sure I'm paying attention to my family and what God is saying to me through Scripture and life....so just in case you can't find me on Facebook that's why...I may or may not reactivate it...we'll see.
  • Have a great week, and don't miss next Sunday when we'll be talking about how to make memories that last in our relationships!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Continued our "The Family Circus" series this week by talking about moving from me to we in our relationships.
  • After two weeks into this series, I'm really glad we made the move to change the focus of our September series to a focus on family and relationships...so many stories of people getting help the past two weeks!
  • We had dozens of first time guests today and it's definitely not going to be long before we have to add a 3rd worship experience...rolling around the idea of a Saturday night or a third Sunday morning option...what do you think?
  • I love that we plan 6-12 months out, but when our team agrees that we need to make changes that we can make it happen in just a few weeks!
  • We even made some changes in the service during run-through this morning...they were good changes and made the whole experience better...I love our our teams are willing to roll with it when that happens.
  • The band did a great job this morning, and they did one of my favorite songs "Lead Me to the Cross" and one of my new favorite songs "The One Who Saves"...we can do that last one anytime...so good!
  • One of the cool things that happened today was that we had Spirit Photography set up a family photo-booth in the office and wow was it busy!
  • I think they said there were around 80 families who came through throughout the morning...I really appreciated them working an extra half-hour to make sure everyone who stayed after the 11am worship experience got a great picture.
  • Here's a look at the ones our family took...fun stuff!
  • Another big deal this week is that our fall LifeGroup Atlas is now available and we've got about 14 different LifeGroups that you can be a part of this fall...be sure to get signed up because they will fill up quick!
  • Not a BridgeWay initiative, but I'm so proud of Todd Keller and the team at Point of Change Church of the Nazarene in Bloomington, IL who had their grand opening services this morning!  They have worked hard over the past several months, and I'm excite to see how God uses this team to connect people to Jesus and restore relationships!
  • Looking forward to a jam packed week of writing this week as I work to finish up our Family Circus series and write several outlines for our upcoming "Uncover the Word" sermon series!

Monday Morning Quarterback

  • Great kickoff to "The Family Circus" series!
  • Shawn, Connie and Tyson did a great job building some fun house mirrors for the lobby...my favorite is the Slim Jim...you'll have to check it out yourself to see what I mean.
  • I spent more time covering statistics than I think I ever have in a message, but it was all to make the point that our culture is a difficult place to initiate and maintain healthy relationships.  You'll have to check out the message video later this week to see what I mean if you missed it.
  • It was a little tense at a few different points in the message, especially at 9:30...a good tension, but tense for sure.
  • Speaking of 9:30...wow that place was packed at 9:30...pretty much with people wanting to get home in time for the Bears game...funny when the Bears play doesn't usually make that big of a difference in our attendance, but it sure did yesterday.
  • It was good to have Tyler Sowards from Olivet playing with the band today!  Rumor has it he might make a return visit sometime in the future.
  • The band did an amazing job with "Cornerstone" by Hillsong to follow up the message....perfect song!
  • My buddy Matt Allen was in the house today and gave Tyson a pretty sweet compliment when he said, "Man I really think that guy believes what he's singing." Exactly!
  • Huge shout out to our Guest Services, Parking and Treasure Quest teams today for handling the flip between the services so well...especially with the 9:30 going about 6 minutes long!
  • We're consistently seeing between 500-550 people in worship each weekend, and are seriously looking at adding a 3rd worship experience on either Saturday night or Sunday morning.  The biggest need is for a strong group of volunteers...so be praying about how you can help more people connect by serving regularly.
  • I'm hearing great things about our Treasure Quest worship band that is now leading worship in the Student Auditorium every Sunday morning!  Love having a live band in our kids environment and developing new musicians!
  • Looking forward to a couple of cool things next Sunday:
  1. Free Family Photos before and after each worship experience...thanks to Spirit Photography!
  2. LifeGroups getting ready to kickoff in October...you'll be able to begin registering for LifeGroups this Sunday!
  • Well I think that's about it...have a great week and see you next Sunday!

Relationship Purpose Statements

Today I taught on having a clear picture of the goal for your relationships at BridgeWay.  I'm convinced that one of the biggest reasons relationships struggle is that people have no clear picture of what the goal is for their relationships. One of the most helpful things I've done to help in this area has been to clarify a purpose statement for each of my key relationships.  I first did this as a part of my life action planning process.

Here are the purpose statements for my relationship with my immediate family:

STEPH - To be the best husband I can be to my wife, helping her to accomplish God’s purposes for her, partnering with her in leading our family in a biblical way, and developing a lifelong friendship with her.

KIDS - To be present with my children; loving, training, encouraging and equipping them to become everything that God has for them to become.

While I don't get these right all the time, shoot I'm not sure I get them right half the time, they are reminders of the goal for each relationship and help to hold me accountable to being the husband and father God has called me to be.

The Five Secrets to a Healthy Family - This Sunday at BridgeWay


With all the event and emotions involved with being a part of a family.  Sometimes being in a family can feel a bit like a high wire act.  Find out how to walk the wire with out falling off.  This Sunday at BridgeWay!



1. Free Family Pictures Sunday, September 16th

We've got a fantastic professional photographer (Spirit Photography) lined up to give you and your family a great free family photo on Sunday, September 16th!  Pictures are on a first come, first served basis and will be shot 30 minutes prior to the start of each worship experience and following our 11am worship experience.

Consider inviting someone you know would love a great family picture, but might not have the finances to make it a reality!

2. All About BridgeWay Lunch

We had so many people at August's All About BridgeWay Lunch that we've added another one!

Sunday, October 14th following the 11am Worship Experience.

We'll provide a great lunch, childcare and an opportunity for you to meet the church staff and hear about our mission and vision as a church...all in under an hour!

3. Merge Student Ministry Parent's LifeGroup

If you're the parent of a teenager, you're invited to a LifeGroup just for you! Wednesday nights during Merge (7pm - 8:30pm) BridgeWay Pekin Campus

4. Fall LifeGroup Leadership

If you're interested in leading a LifeGroup at BridgeWay this fall be sure to reply to this e-mail and we'll help you take your next step!

Crank It Up!

Pastor Dale & the Bridgeway Staff

Something Big Is Happening Tonight

No I'm not talking about the kickoff of the NFL season...I'm talking about the kickoff of Merge, BridgeWay's student ministry!

Merge is a place where students can...

  • Connect with Jesus
  • Develop friendships
  • Find Christian mentors
  • Get help with homework
  • Serve others

It all starts tonight at 7pm at BridgeWay's Pekin Campus!


So if you're a 7th and 12th grade student, bring a friend and check it out!

And if you're a parent looking for some encouragement, Merge has a group of parents that meet each week for support, encouragement and learning too!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Closed out our God at the Movies series today and I gotta say it might have been my favorite God at the Movies message we've ever done.
  • Looked at the movie "We Bought a Zoo" and talked about how to start over again after a disappointment...some really great things were happening in both worship experiences and God was moving big time!
  • We've had a ton of people ask about getting the videos of the messages, but unfortunately we can't post them due to copywriting laws.  Bummer I know.
  • Gotta give a shout out to Tom and Cinnamon Nieukirk and their family for helping lead a stripped down parking team today...if you can serve on this important team please shoot me a reply. 
  • The band did a great job today, and I'm so thankful to have Tyson Dodd leading worship on our team...his spirit and skill in leading is such a blessing to the church.
  • They just killed the song "Take Heart" by Hillsong United today...I mean wow...just wow. It was the perfect follow-up to the message and led powerfully into the commissioning of our church plant team for Innovate Church.
  • As great as the worship experience was today, the highlight for me was getting to commission the Innovate Church team.  So proud of Shawn and Holly Kidle, Nate & Ali Morrison, Derek and Sarah Leith, Steve and Star Smith, and Ryan and Brittany Kohler for listening to Jesus and doing what he's asked them to do to start this new church!
  • Thanks to Chris Borth for getting the picture at the top of this post of the commissioning prayer for the team.
  • Now just because they're beginning to meet as a launch team, don't think you're gonna get rid of them all that easy.  They will still be around over the next several months as they prepare to launch sometime in 2013.
  • So yes, for those who are wondering, you'll still get to hear Brittany sing for a few more months. 
  • Pretty pumped for the next series we're kicking off on Sunday...can't wait to see what God's gonna do through our "The Family Circus" series as we talk about leading our families using biblical principles.  Gonna be some great stuff!
  • We'll I think that's about it for this week...I'm still hurting over the beat-down my boys in Maize and Blue took last night so might might have to hit the sack a little early tonight...but before I do that I think I'll watch a little Zac Brown Band on HDNet...love their Sunday night concert series.

Overcoming Disappointment - This Week at BridgeWay

Disappointment. We all face it eventually. Find out how to start over after disappointment. This Sunday at BridgeWay

Two identical services:

9:30am & 11:00am 3216 Veterans Drive Pekin, IL 61554 (next to Sonic and Holiday Inn Express)


1. Merge Student Ministry Kicks-off this Wednesday!

With the kickoff of the football season, we're kicking off our new student ministry "Merge" this Wednesday at 7pm!

If you know any students between 7th and 12th grade be sure you invite them to check it out!

2. All About BridgeWay Lunch

We had so many people at Sunday's All About BridgeWay Lunch that we've added another one!

Sunday, October 14th following the 11am Worship Experience.

We'll provide a great lunch, childcare and an opportunity for you to meet the church staff and hear about our mission and vision as a church...all in under an hour!

3. Leadership Community

Saturday, September 2nd from 10am - noon BridgeWay Pekin Campus

We love volunteer leaders at BridgeWay!  This event is designed to honor, equip and inspire our volunteers for leadership at home, in the church, their workplaces, and our community.

4. Fall LifeGroup Leadership

If you're interested in leading a LifeGroup at BridgeWay this fall be sure to reply to this e-mail and we'll help you take your next step!

Crank It Up!

Pastor Dale & the Bridgeway Staff

Why Take a Vacation

I'm a confessed workaholic.  My brain tends to think of ways to do more work not less.  So the very idea of a vacation from "work" leaves me feeling uneasy and unproductive.  There is always one more phone call that could be made.  One more email that could be sent.  And one more message that could be written.  The thing is, God didn't create us just to produce.  God created us for his pleasure.  The Bible puts it this way in Revelation 4:11

“You created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created”

I often forget that God created me not just for what I can "do", but also for the sake of God's own enjoyment.  And if God desires to take enjoyment from my life, I'm guessing it might be good for me to enjoy it as well.  And that just might be taking a break, a "Sabbath" if you will, from work on a regular basis and taking time to enjoy myself and the people God has place around me.

Besides providing joy to God, I'm convinced that taking time to "vacate from work" is important for several other reasons:

1. Vacations remind myself and others that I'm not the Messiah, Jesus is.

Too often I'm tempted to believe that I have to have the answer for people and their problems, so it's easy to forget to rest or take a break.  This leads to a false sense of importance and builds a congregation that is dependent on their pastor rather than on Jesus.

2. Vacations remind me to trust God not myself.

When I (or anyone for that matter) works all the time I end up trusting in my own ability to get things done.  Taking a break reminds both the myself and our church that God is where we place our trust.

3. Vacations produce creativity.

I heard Mark Batterson say one time, "A change of pace plus a change of place will often provoke a change of perspective".  It is often on the back side of a vacation or time of rest that I'm best able to hear God speak into my life.

4. Vacations promote health.

Without regular periods of rest and renewal, our bodies deplete their serotonin levels and the results are burnout, sleeplessness, hypertension, memory loss, decreased learning ability, and depression.

5. Vacations create shared experiences and strengthen relationships.

There is only one way to strengthen relationships and that's through time together creating shared experiences.  In place of time, people are tempted to substitute money and manipulation in order to keep relational bonds tight, but both of these are destructive and ultimately damage our relationships.

6. Vacations actually increase productivity.

Several recent studies have uncovered what God already knew, that time for rest actually increases productivity.  In fact most research indicates that there is a decreasing level of return the longer we work without rest.

So here are some quick shots from the past week and a half. (Warning the following post contains pictures of a pastor not just working but having fun too)

BridgeWay Easter Reflections

  • To say I'm blown away by this Easter at BridgeWay would be an understatement!
  • What God did in the past 24 hours is humbling and thrilling all at once.
  • To think about the hundreds of volunteer hours that went into preparing and executing this Easter's worship experiences and outreach events puts a huge smile on my face.
  • I love our volunteers!
  • Not only our volunteers, but our love the ministry staff team that God has brought together at BridgeWay...Shirley, Connie, Shawn and Nate you guys are seriously the best!
  • We've been praying as a church that we would see God reap a huge harvest at BridgeWay this Easter...to that end people have been praying and fasting for several weeks.
  • Saturday and Sunday it all came together!
  • We packed out our first ever Saturday night Easter worship experience.
  • Thought we'd see around 200 people, but by the end of the night around 360 had joined us to celebrate the resurrection!
  • Not only that, but about 40 people between our adult and children's services stepped out to follow Christ!
  • We might have to do this whole Saturday night experience thing again.
  • Today was just as exciting...with a total of 1,161 people worshiping with us this Easter and around 129 making decisions for Christ!
  • I loved the song selections for today...opened up with "Walk" by the Foo Fighters (always a great day when you get to play a little Foo)!
  • In Christ Alone, Happy Day and Forever Reign were also in the mix.
  • The band killed it and I'm seriously impress Brandon's voice held out through 2 run-throughs and 3 worship experiences...nicely done.
  • I really felt like the message this Easter was strong...which if I'm honest isn't always the case, but it really felt good.
  • I said it on twitter earlier, but I'm so humbled that I get to preach the gospel.
  • I could go on and on, but I'll simply say that this was the best Easter ever at BridgeWay, and the great thing is that I believe that the best is yet to come!
  • Happy Easter!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Great close to our "Breaking the Silence" series today...I taught on "Breaking the Silence on our Secrets".
  • Encouraged people to break the silence on their secrets because most of the people closest to them already knew what they were hiding.
  • Dozens of people in both worship experiences made decisions to break the silence and confess their sin to God and to the people they had wronged.
  • Had some fun with Justin Robbins and an illustration about sin, brownies and dog doo doo...you had to be there.
  • Loved the combination of this video and this song....very cool elements used to set up the message.
  • Amazingly proud of our Treasure Quest team at BridgeWay and a special shout out to Jesse Pierson who was teaching in our K-6th ministry today and helped to lead 7 students to make first time decisions to follow Christ!  I'm so pumped to see the team that God is putting together at BridgeWay under the leadership of our Family Life Pastor Connie Borth! Great job!
  • Getting extremely excited for our three Easter worship experiences next weekend...Saturday night at 5pm, and Sunday morning at 9am and 11am.  Who you gonna bring with you?
  • Be praying for our direct mail invitations that will be going out on Monday and Tuesday of this week....be sure that you help them to be effective by inviting someone yourself.
  • I'm also super excited for The Easter Offering that we'll be receiving next Sunday...our goal is to raise over $10,000 to build a playground for the Carol House of Hope and to help with some of our final build out expenses so we can get into our new building ASAP!
  • You can check out the progress on our new building here!
  • This week there was a ton of buzz about the huge Mega Millions Lottery....it's estimated that the odds of winning were over 175,000,000 to 1.  Not too great if you ask me...not when the odds of God keeping his promise from Malachi 3:10 to pour out blessings on those who honor him with their finances is 1 in 1.  I'll take those odds any day!
  • Pumped for my friends at Nuevelle Church in Louisiana who will be opening their new church on Easter and who kicked it off yesterday with their own version of Operation Egg Drop...say a prayer for them if you will!
  • Not to be outdone our own Matt Robinson and the team at Second Chance Church in Fishers will be launching their Saturday night campus next weekend and kicked off their promotion with a great Egg Drop of their own that actually made it stop raining and the skies clear!  You know you're in for something miraculous when God dries up the skies for you!  Say a prayer for Matt and his team this week too!
  • Well it's been a great weekend but I believe next weekend will be one of the best in the history of our church!  Don't miss it and bring someone with you!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Kicked off a new series called "Breaking the Silence" today by talking about Breaking the Silence on our Gratitude.
  • Love the quote from Andy Stanley that I shared today..."Unexpressed gratitude is actually ingratitude."
  • Proverbs 18:21 says that words have the power of life and death...so for followers of Jesus it's essential that we speak words of encouragement and break the silence on our gratitude.
  • This is especially true because on average we say 6 critical comments for every 1 encouraging comment we make...no wonder we have so much toxic communication in our relationships.
  • The one place we get gratitude right is at funerals..there's just one problem with that...yup you guessed it.
  • So be sure to speak words of encouragement and gratitude before the person is no longer with us...or put another way...begin to break the silence on your gratitude before the relationship is dead.
  • Another key verse we looked at today was Proverbs 11:25 which says that "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."  Gratitude is not a zero sum game...I actually get something in return.
  • The band did a great job leading today with a great set of worship songs...Loved closing both worship experiences with "We Won't be Quiet" by David Crowder Band...fun stuff.
  • It was also great to have Camila Pierson leading worship for the first time...be sure to let her know she did a great job.
  • Looking forward to the second week of the series next week when we talk about Breaking the Silence by Speaking for Those Who Can't Speak for Themselves.
  • Looks like we'll be able to begin putting up walls at our new building this week!
  • Big travel plans this week and a bunch of missional meetings...I'd appreciate the prayers!

Sunday Night Reflections

  • Great weekend in worship!
  • Today was the 7th anniversary of BridgeWay...can't hardly believe it's been 7 years already...so excited about what God has done and what He's getting ready to do!
  • I actually wasn't at BridgeWay today though...instead I was preaching at my friend Jim Powell's church (Richwoods Christian Church).
  • It's been a joy to get to know Jim over the past year, and it was an honor to bring the message in their four weekend services this weekend.
  • Great spirit in worship in all their services and what a fun crowd to teach to...especially the 11am crowd at the Knoxville campus.
  • I gotta say that I've got a ton of respect for their East Peoria Campus crew because they're a portable church and I've got mad respect for portable church people.
  • Jim and Richwoods have been a big help as we've taken steps towards the next phase of the life of our church and the move towards our first permanent facility.
  • I'm grateful for the generosity of Christian leaders who are dedicated to helping other leaders to lead better.
  • Back at BridgeWay, I heard that Shawn did a great job preaching on how to deal with imperfect people, and the issue of judgmentalism.
  • Also heard that Brandon did a great job leading worship...and that several other new volunteers started serving in the past few weeks...it's because of the dedication of our volunteers that we can do what we do at BridgeWay!
  • Super excited about this upcoming Sunday...Matt Robinson is going to be back in the house and I can't wait to hear the update on what God is doing at Second Chance Church!
  • And then the following Sunday my wife and I will be co-teaching a message on relationships by answering your questions on marriage, parenting, and friendship...if you've got questions this is your last week to submit them to me at daleschaeffer@gmail.com!

How to Avoid Putting Your Foot in Your Mouth

I have this pretty amazing habit of saying things that I wish I hadn't.  Sometimes it's as if the filter between my brain and my mouth is disconnected.  Over the past few weeks I've been preparing for a message series on relationships and there's all kinds of great stuff that doesn't make it into a message, so I thought I'd share this bit on communication here.

Three Keys for Good Listening

1. Let The Other Person Speak Without Interruption

Proverbs 18:13 A person who speaks on a matter before listening, is full of folly and shames themselves.

2. Pay Close Attention To What Is Being Said James 1:19 My dear brothers, let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to become angry:

- I try to take notes while listening during most meetings and important conversations.

3. Be Sure You Understand What The Other Person Is Saying 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge

- I have found it is a good idea to ask some clarifying questions, to be sure that you understand what is being said. Because sometimes what the other person says is not the same as what you understand them to have said.  My point is simply this. Be sure you understand what is being said to you. Sometimes I will repeat back, in summary form, what I understand the other person is saying to me. If they agree with your summary, you can be reasonably sure you are on the same "wave length."

Four Keys For Good Speaking

1. Think Before You Speak Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous prepares to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. Proverbs 29:11 & 20 A fool speaks all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards. 20 Do you see a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

When you want to talk to someone, especially when you want to work on some important issue, take the time to think about what you want to say. Formulate your point clearly. Be specific not general, and then try to stick with the issue and don't get sidetracked.

- I usually write down an agenda or talking points before we meet.

2. Choose The Proper Time To Speak Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

- Saying the right thing at the wrong time can be as damaging as saying the wrong thing.

3. Bring the Right Attitude When You Are Speaking Colossians 4:6 articulates the proper attitude that we are to have when we talk with others about important matters -- Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.

- Grace is the seasoning that makes difficult conversations easier to swallow.

4. Be Constructive Not Destructive In What You Say Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.