Archive for May, 2013

Harry’s Firsthand Account of “Firsthand”

Posted in Book Review on May 28, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

Firsthand: Ditching the Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own
by Ryan and Josh Shook

firsthand-bookOne of the obvious failures of my ministry is that I have not been able to find the key to keep young people engaged in the Kingdom from post high school until they began to settle down in life with a job, marriage and children. This book is a great tool in helping this part of ministry.

These two guys, with a refreshing honesty, provide a path for young adults to find a “Faith of Your Own.”  First, they trace the path of their own lives, growing up in a home where their father was the pastor of a very successful church.  The expectations of living and sharing the Christian life were real.  But each man expresses how he was able to get past living on a secondhand faith of their parents and grandparents to become passionate Christ followers.

Then they present an plan to help those who are struggling with making their faith “Firsthand” and effective.  I give this book a full five Hazelnut Lattes.  All post-high school young people  should read this book and I recommend it a useful aid for church leaders to help young people find a “Firsthand Faith.”

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Purchase “Firsthand” here on, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the VEF.

Harry Gill headshot - circle smHarry Gill
Director of Church Resources

The Rappahannock Ride-In

Posted in Across the Commonwealth on May 23, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

The photo below is from the Rappahannock Church of Christ annual “Josh Baughn’s Ride-In” event. Hundreds of motorcyclists ride in each year to support the cause.The event is entirely free – they only accept donations for a child in need. This year they are supporting the family of a little boy, Sebastian, who is fighting cancer.  The ride takes place June 2 of this year, so you still have plenty of time to plan your ride!

For information and a great video on the event and Sebastian’s story go to!


Dave Hileman headshot - circle sm
Dave Hileman
Executive Director

A Fusion lesson from St. Benedict and Civil War nuns…

Posted in Fusion Groups, Waypoint Services on May 21, 2013 by Waypoint Church Partners

The VEF facilitates many “Fusion” peer groups around the Commonwealth to provide local ministers an effective environment to be stretched in their ministry. Fusion groups cycle monthly through 4 primary categories for professional development: Shifts in the American culture, emerging ministry paradigms, micro-skills needed for ministry and the spiritual formation of the pastor.

05_RichmondHillLast week my Fusion group focused on this final category by gathering at the Richmond Hill Monastery in historic Church Hill on the East end of downtown Richmond. The history of this Ecumenical Retreat center is fascinating. Immediately following the Civil War the local Bishop looked out across the war-torn ruins of the city and sent word to Baltimore for a group of nuns to be sent by the Bishop to begin praying for the healing of the city.

For the next 120 years the property overlooking downtown Richmond would serve as a monastery, convent and boarding school until its sale and renovation as a prayer retreat center in the 1980s. Richmond Hill follows a simplified version of the Benedictine Rule as the rhythm of life and ministry on the property.

After Constantine normalized Christianity in A.D. 313 many believers ventured into the dessert to follow a more rigid, monastic form of spiritual life. They often created a systematic “Rule” to measure the status of their daily spiritual life. By the time Benedict came along in the 5th century there were dozens of “Rules” of varying length and complexity being used. Benedict decided to make a composite rule that could be used more broadly by those living this monastic life. His “Rule” is 73 chapters long containing very pragmatic instructions about living a monastic life in community with others.

Richmond Hill follows a simplified 12-part “Rule” to govern the cycle of life and ministry on the property: Conversion of Life, Obedience, Community, Simplicity, Humility, Hospitality, Prayer, Racial Reconciliation, Healing, Ecumenism, Christian Social Transformation and Stability.

Of the 12 we discussed with one of the resident priests on-site, I was struck by a couple of these broad areas of focus. First was Prayer: They practice 3 daily corporate prayer sessions at 7am, 12pm and 6pm. Strangely they are meant to be interruptions in the day, not integral parts of it. Stopping to pray when you’re getting ready for the day, working or before a meal is meant to regularly jar you back into prayer for the city, reconciliation, etc.

Second is stability. The order values longevity in ministry that produces stability not just for the monastic community, but for the individual lives as well. When you make a commitment to stick it out at a place of ministry through difficult times or with difficult people the gradual maturity produced as a result creates personal stability you’d not gain by fleeing to the next open ministry available to pursue.

We could learn a lot about ministry from this ancient order: Regularly scheduling prayer interruptions to force us to pray for all the concerns we ought. Staying put in ministry not for the purpose of adding stability to our church, but for the maturity it produces in us.

For more information about the VEF and Fusion Groups, contact our Director of Church Relations at Harry Gill at

Tim Cole headshot - circle smTim Cole
Director of Church Planting