If you’ve seen the Sound of Music I have already lost you in this blog post because you are singing that annoying and beautiful song that is sung that lists all kinds of favorite things (insert internal soundtrack here - and if you are under 25 and have no clue what I’m talking about and are curious - here is the link to the song and you can click if you promise to return to the blog to get the actual point :-)  https://youtu.be/0IagRZBvLtw

Anyway, it got me thinking about two things:

1) I have been friends with Assurance’s next Lead Pastor for several years, but I realized that there were several things that I didn’t know about him. We’ve spent time over the years catching up on church, family, school, arguing over theology, sharing our stories, yet there were some important “friend things” that I thought I should know that I didn’t. So this week I asked him and am sharing with you:  

Lonnie’s Favs:

Pizza topping: Pepperoni

Vacation destination: Disney World and St Simon's Island

Sport: Basketball (favorite sport to watch: football)

Ministry moment: When as a youth minister a youth wouldn't stop hugging me out of emotion after a youth retreat worship session. Still remember his name and location. Very powerful.

Cookie: Macadamia Nut

Gadget: iPhone

Shirt: Old Emory University shirt

Fast food chain: Chipotle

Candy bar: Snickers

Movie: Forrest Gump and The Color Purple

Book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Theologian: Karl Barth (all other theologians must bow down at his greatness...just joking...sort of)

Color: Duke Blue (Ok this is Chris commentary - I might have added the Duke part because Lonnie actually bleeds Florida Gator Orange and Blue).  

2) This gives me a chance to share with you some of my favorite things about Pastor Lonnie. I have known him to be a man of great wit, deep and abiding faith, integrity, he loves Jesus, he cherishes the church, he has dreamed of serving a church that has Assurance’s potential and opportunity, and he loves his sweet family. He is proud of the way United Methodist folk see and express belief in God, but he doesn’t get lost the in polity or the “systems” of the church that often take away more life than they give. He has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry with me and so I know that he is passionate about helping people find their God given gifts, calling, and potential whether that is in ordained ministry or in the ministry of the local church. I know he has a heart for the Charlotte community and wants to see everybody come to a life giving relationship with Jesus. I know he cares about excellent ministry that relates to people where they are. And I know that he is passionate about helping the church reach out to those in need, poverty, or in life transition. He has a special heart for those who have given up on church, he wants to be a part of a church that makes people take another look at God. I know he preaches well and passionately (he has an Andy Stanly @ Northpointe kind of style about him). I know he cares deeply about crafting worship experiences where people can have a God encounter. And I know that he values friendship, because I have been blessed by that friendship and what a gift he has been to me. I pray God’s richest blessings on Him in this season of transition as he moves “northwest” to come serve among us. I ask that you send him a note of encouragement @ lonnie@assuranceumc.org. Just introduce yourself and offer a word of welcome to he and his family. Maybe share with him some of your “favorite things” about Assurance to wet his appetite for the great ministry he will join here. And as always, I am so grateful for you Assurance.  

Next Blog Post is what I have told Pastor Lonnie about you :-) lol!