Thursday, August 30, 2007

Consumption Commitments?

If you were here last week or have listened to the talk, you know we discussed the ideas of discipleship and the difference between being consumers and being consumed.  In that vein I wanted to open this post up to you to comments on what that may mean to you.  If you have decided/felt called to make any decisions you wouldn't mind telling us about then post a comment (you can do that at the bottom of this post).  Colbey talked to us about using her property to grow produce, and we all look forward to baskets of free food from her!  At the Dixon house, we have begun to recycle everything we can as a way of cutting down on our wasteful consumption.  Clothing_rack_2

Additionally I, having admitted to a Hudson's problem, have decided that there really should be no reason to buy any new clothing for the next year when I don't really need it.  So unless a true need arises (which I highly doubt) I will be one year behind in my highly refined fashion collection (t-shirts and jeans).  What about you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We are official...

We officially have an EIN (Employee Identification Number)and meet all of the criteria for directly accepting tax deductible donations. I have made the appropriate changes to the giving on our information page.  Some of you have been asking about direct deposit options, and we should have that capability shortly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Neighbors@Hawkins Opportunities


This week the teachers at Hawkins  have received  the request forms for the  Neighbors@Hawkins program.  I will begin posting those requests on the page that is linked on the right. 

I know that a constant request from the teachers is that someone (or group of people) might come and sit with their kids during lunch.  At Hawkins the teachers eat with the students, which makes for a well behaved lunch, but leaves the teachers with no time to themselves throughout the day.

The first lunch period happens about 11:00 and the last one ends by 1:00.  So, if you are interested in giving a teacher a break during the day while helping them maintain some order in the cafeteria, then let us know and we will plug you in.  If you are interested in doing something else, keep your eyes on the page listed to the right for more opportunities.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Podcasts & Ekklesia Audio

Podcasts/recordings of services
Audio Files can be found here or you can subscribe through itunes by following these steps:
1. Open itunes on your computer
2. click on the "Advanced" tab at the itunes tool bar
3. Click on "Subscribe to podcast"
4. Enter in the following address and hit enter:

itunes should then automatically download ever podcast once it has been uploaded

Consumer or Consumed?

Are you a consumer?
It was great to be with everyone yesterday.  I hope the conversations we were having together will continue for you throughout the week.  I have posted the audio from yesterday on our podcast page if you would like to listen.  If you want to subscribe through your itunes, the instructions are linked on the information page (look to your right).

Here are the questions that we discussed after the talk:
1.    Do you think that we struggle with this idea of being consumers instead of being consumed? How do you see it play out in church life?
2.    Which area of your life do you feel you struggle with the most in being a consumer? (The idea that I expect to get what I want regardless of the effects on others, the environment, my pocket book, etc.)
3.    Is there something in your spiritual/physical life in which God is calling you to change in regards to being a consumer?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meeting time!

ClockWe have tweaked the meeting times just a little bit.  People will begin gathering at 5:00 at the Hampton's house for coffee, snacks, and hanging out.  The actual service will begin at 5:30.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Audio Recording of the Public meetings

I have set up our website so that you can download audio from the talks on Sundays.  If you are interested in getting them the audio Files can be found here
or you can subscribe through itunes by following these steps:

1. Open itunes on your computer

. click on the "Advanced" tab at the itunes tool bar

. Click on "Subscribe to podcast"

Enter in the following address and hit enter:

itunes should then automatically download ever podcast once it has been uploaded

I have these instructions permanently placed on our information page (the link is on the right side of the page)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Open Letter re: Ekklesia

I wanted to put something out there personally that might help explain what is going on with my participation in Ekklesia.  Hopefully this will snuff out whatever rumor mills or gossip may be going around.

I think I told most of you, after my resignation from FBC, that I was wanting to stay active in serving in our community.  To that end I formed a ministry (originally called Charis Community Ministries) that would give me a place to accept some funds to attend some conferences and organize some work around Hattiesburg.  I also set up some bi-monthly meetings with others in town who were interested in talking through theology, ministry, etc.  We had ministers from other churches plus lay people who wanted to take part in the talks.  This group proved to be invaluable to my growth during this time.

I learned a ton in my time at FBC and am extremely thankful for the experiences I had with the community and Christ at my job there.  On the other hand I felt certain there was something else I was supposed to be doing next.  I felt that I was suppose to find a new expression of community that might represent a different part of the same Body of Christ in Hattiesburg.  I feel that this desire has become more focused through my time away from vocational ministry, and now I am ready to begin whatever comes next.

Enter Ekklesia Hattiesburg.  Last month a group of people (some of whom where a part of those bi-monthly meetings) and myself decided to take the next step.  We have adopted the name Ekklesia (translated in the Bible as “church” literally means “Called Out Ones”) and started organizing ourselves into a simple ministry that will attempt to give a new expression of Christian community in Hattiesburg.  We are organizing ourselves around our perceived call to serve those in need, and have chosen Hawkins Elementary to be the focus of our attentions during this time, in order to avoid talking about ministry in such broad terms that we don’t make a difference anyplace in particular.  We are going to try to organize an ongoing relationship with the school and (hopefully) partnering with others to change the lives of the students and faculty there.

Additionally we have decided to begin gathering together weekly for a small worship service in each other's homes.  This public meeting is not the focus of the community, but will hopefully serve to be a place from which we are sent out.   We are by no means recruiting for our Sunday meetings, but I know that there are no secrets in Hattiesburg and wanted to put this out before people start talking.  I also know that once we begin meeting weekly, we are then talking about the "C" word (church) that everyone has been dying to gossip about.  I know that the entire town is a little sensitive to the whole church split idea because of recent local church history and I consequently felt like it would be wise to try and explain what is happening to whoever is interested in knowing.

It feels important for me to say very clearly that I love FBC.  I love the people I served with and worshipped with there.  I would not be doing what I am doing now if I had not been at FBC.  It helped give birth to what I consider (rightly or wrongly) to be my call in life right now.  In my mind FBC helped give birth to this new work (although there is no official connection).  In my mind we are different parts of the same body and as such are partners in the overarching call to all followers of Christ.  I know that ultimately I can not control what people think about this, or what anyone else says about it.  I guess I just wanted to go on record saying that I love FBC and pray that God continues to work there.  I hold no ill feeling towards FBC and If I can help at FBC I will.  This next step for me is not a reactionary one and I will try to be careful to make sure people know that.

The last thing I want is to for people to have the impression that we are trying to draw attention, resources, or people from anyone else’s flock. We are not trying to compete with any of our brothers and sister’s in Christ.  We are just trying to do our part in building the Kingdom of God here as it is in heaven. If you have any further questions, or if you are interested in putting your name in the hat to help out at Hawkins Elementary this year then you can email me.  Additionally any information you might need should be available at (or at least it should be there soon)


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dont let the Lord's door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya

LeaveI am constantly challenged as a person who wants to help others to grow towards faith, when I sense so many people not wanting any part of the thing I have found most important.  I hesitate to make sweeping generalizations about why so many are leaving faith communities and what that says about the leaver and the "leave-ee".  I hope it is just a new reality that followers of Christ can adapt to and be challenged to grow with, but I guess that remains to be seen.  Anyways here is an article about why people are leaving church I thought you might be interested to check out.  It probably won't shock you, but the results of the study mentioned are worth considering.

Teacher feedback

Here are some of the things that teachers said would be of help to them if they had volunteers.
(this is as best as I can tell by all of your handwriting)  Keep coming back to this page as we will begin putting specific opportunities there.

  1. rewards for good kids (i.e popcorn once a week or once a month)

  2. adopt a family at Christmas - classes collect can goods, another gets a turkey

  3. someone to make copies or just float around and help for teachers w/o assistants

  4. chaperons for feild trips

  5. Room Mother

  6. Someone to read to Special Ed students

  7. activities during Black History Month

  8. Doing lunch duty for teachers so they have a break for lunch

  9. uniforms/clothes closet - some kids where the same thing every day

  10. school supplies, sanitizers, tissues

  11. Reading with individual kids that need help

  12. help monitoring (homework etc.) in classrooms for teachers without assistants

  13. special speakers for math and sciences

  14. materials for science fair projects

  15. helping teach organizational skills/ interpersonal skills

  16. drug - alcohol - gang education

  17. tutors

  18. kids needs belts

  19. PE groups

  20. donations/treats/candy etc for Fall Festival

  21. role models/mentors/big brothers/big sisters

  22. playing board games with kids to teach building character

  23. Coats when it gets cold out

The Kids are back!

We got the chance to be there when the kids came in to the new cafeteria on their first day of school Wednesday.  It was fun to get to see the room being used, although I think I had over blown expectations of kid's reactions.  After all it was the first day of their freedom ending and they were in there at 7:30am for breakfast.  I would kick a puppy if it looked at me wrong at 7:30 am, so I guess I can't expect kids to run around screaming in excitement at our murals.  Although they did seem to like it as much as a semi-comatose group of elementary school children could.
I did get a stronger sense of anticipation regarding our attempts this year to serve this school throughout the year.  Please be praying and thinking about what roll you might be able to play at the school this year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

How do I best utilize this page?

This page is set up in a blog (short for web-log) format.  This means that the main body of the page (left column) will be changing consistently to reflect the newest announcement or post.  You can always find older posts by scrolling down the page or by searching the archives by date or topic (both these lists are on the right side of the page).  There are also additional pages listed that will not change very often, but that people may want easy access to (i.e. "What We Believe", "Information", and the page you are on right now)

You can also subscribe to the page so that it will let you know when new things have been posted.  If you click on the "Subscribe to this Blog's feed" link, then you can save the site in your toolbar at the top of your browser window. It will then list any new posts in your browser toolbar.

I would also recommend getting yourself a google account (click here to sign up)  This will give you the chance to do two things that work well with this site;
1) You can subscribe to the google calendar on the blog. (each google account has a calendar feature for free) You can set that calendar up to send you emails whenever there is a new event on the calendar, or get it to text message you to remind you before an event happens.  (for more instructions click here)
2) You can use google reader, which keeps tracks of as many blogs as you would like by displaying all of the new information from every blog you subscribe to in one place (click here for more instructions)

Hopefully that will be of some help to even the least tech savvy of you.  When in doubt about how to do some of these things just check the website often and you shouldn't miss anything.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Luncheon at Hawkins

Thanks to all of you who came out to serve lunch to the faculty at Hawkins Elementary.  I know the teachers appreciated our presence and listening ears.  We had a lot of good discussions with the teachers concerning what we could do to serve staff and children at the school.  Img_0663
In fact, if you were in on those conversations please email me and give me an explanation of what you talked about. (I got your handwritten notes and a lot of them are hard to read and/or understand - so I guess not too many penmanship tutors are in the group) 
We will soon begin the process of figuring out what needs to be met and who wants to do it. (eventually this will be the page where we will list opportunities - you can get to it off the main page)  So keep your eyes out for whatever comes next!

thanks again...

Volunteer with Neighbors@Hawkins


This is where you can link to our neighbors web page to view opportunities for you to serve. Hawkins Elementary is the area school where we have chosen to focus our energies to serve.  If you find an opportunity that looks like something you would like to take you can just contact us

and we will help get you started.  So please keep your eyes out for updates on the neighbors page for ways you can serve the teachers and children of our community that could use a helping hand.

Here are some examples

  1. A constant request from the teachers is that someone (or group of
    people) might come and sit with their kids during lunch.  At Hawkins
    the teachers eat with the students, which makes for a well behaved
    lunch, but leaves the teachers with no time to themselves throughout
    the day.

    The first lunch period happens about 11:00 and the last one ends by
    1:00.  So, if you are interested in giving a teacher a break during the
    day while helping them maintain some order in the cafeteria, then let us know
    and we will plug you in.  If you are interested in doing something else
    keep your eyes on the page listed to the right for more opportunities.

  2. Box_top_logo

    We are also collecting box tops to raise money for the school.  You can drop those box tops off at our Sunday Meetings.  Here is a pdf document ( Download box_tops_items.pdf

    )  that shows the various box tops items.

Information about Ekklesia

Contact Info

Sharon Miles -
Michael Dixon -

Meeting Times & Locations

We are graciously hosted by Court Street Methodist Church Sunday Nights.  You can enter through the front doors of the church and go directly left into the chapel.

Sunday Nights

5:00     hangout and drink coffee.           5:10-5:30 - Family Experience (Kids & Parents)

5:30     Public Meeting time 

here is a map to Court Street (or you can click on this link for a google map)

See you there!


Information on Giving

1.)    Checks made out to Ekklesia Hattiesburg.
        a.    You can bring these to Sunday night meetings (or)
        b.    You can mail it to:  Ekklesia Hattiesburg
                       PO Box 641 Hattiesburg, MS 39403

2.)    Pick up and fill out an Ekklesia “Automatic Withdrawal Form”.  After you complete the form your account will be automatically deducted for the amount you request on the 5th of every month.  (This will begin on January 5, 2008).  Click on the following to download form Download ekklesia_auto_debit_2.pdf

3.)    Any other unusual donations (stocks/properties/etc.) will best be given to our account with the Greater Hattiesburg Foundation.  Let us know if you would like to make this kind of donation and we will make necessary arrangements

- Ekklesia is attempting to conduct our finances in an open and accountable manner.  If you are interested in knowing more about the finances of Ekklesia please feel free to ask questions to any of the leadership and we will be happy to answer as best we can.  You can see our budget layout below

and here is our current budget, and last years final financial numbers

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What We Believe

We at Ekklesia Hattiesburg believe in being:


We will attempt to order our community around the essentials of being a follower of Christ.  While we embrace the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the finer points of theology, we will seek to be defined by nothing other than the things that were central to the life and teachings of Jesus.  We will seek to have this simplicity permeate our beliefs, organization, programming, finances, and facilities.


We believe that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).  We believe that the “only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).  We believe that all things are ordered under our call to Love our God and our Neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-38; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:26-28)  we will seek to make our words, actions, worship, and shared lives initiated by and bathed in love above all things.  If we have not love we have nothing (1 Cor. 13)


We believe we are all here chiefly to participate in the mission of God.  We accept the priesthood of all believers, and believe that all are called to ministry of this mission. We believe the mission gives birth to the church, and not the other way around.  We believe we are called to help bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in Heaven.  We believe that Jesus embodied God's kingdom characterized by love, grace, peace, justice, personal salvation, and the restitution of all creation. We will attempt to only take part in things, which in some way bring these things to earth.


We believe in the incarnation.  This is to say that we believe that the God of the universe became flesh and blood and “moved into the neighborhood”.  We believe that we also should follow the model of the incarnation, which pro actively and humbly engages in community with those who need it.  We will not operate on a “come and see” basis, rather we will engage in  “going, showing, and telling”.  We will serve those we love, just as Christ has done for us.

Our First Sunday Meeting

We at Ekklesia have decided to begin the public meeting portion of our community.  We will begin meeting on Sunday Night August 19th at 5pm.  We will meet at the Hamptons house.  After meeting we will be eating together at the Hamptons.  Childcare will be available.  If you are interested in attending please email me for directions and more info.   If you would like to bring some food please indicate it by adding a comment so that everyone can see what you are bringing.

Looking forward to seeing you guys there!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thanks for the help


I wanted to thank all of you that came to Hawkins Elementary this week to help repaint the cafeteria.  In one short week you all turned the appetite suppressing

gray cafeteria into someplace the kids will be excited to go (even if the pizza is square and cold!)

I can't tell you how good it is for my soul to work with so many people who believe that faith and building the Kingdom has something to do with bringing beauty to a place that doesn't usually get attention.  Here is the album I have (probably not complete yet - more pictures to come) and here are the murals we did...Img_2888


Thank You to all of you who made it a priority  - The Kingdom has a better paint job this week because of you!