Saturday, December 8, 2007


The following transcript is from a voicemail message I received last week:

Ryan May, this is Rob Alderman. I just heard that you are going to be planting a rival church in Chattanooga. I want you to know this is not good, that the Lord will be very upset with you for this. And I plan to do everything I can to stand against it and to make sure that it does not prosper. And that your evil ways will not come to fruition.

My phone number in case you’ve forgotten it because you don’t ever call me anymore is…. But, I’m not certain that you’ll be able to get though because I don’t think my phone allows heretics to call me. Congratulations on the baby. I hope he turns into a person that won’t go and plant churches right next to their friend’s churches. That’s all. Bye.

I shamelessly put the above transcript before what I'm about to write for mere shock value... the reality is that Rob is a great friend who left this message in complete jest. But, I told him I was going to post it, so there it is.

Rob pastors a church group called Bridges Community that, to my understanding, meets in bars throughout the Chattanooga area. A very cool ministry. When I called Rob back, we had a good conversation about how different our ministries will be and he assured me that we can be associated with him so we can claim our church has an "urban" ministry. :)

Rob, I'm looking forward to ministering in the same town as you and have no doubt we will each be reaching a different audience, while still having the same mission: to reach those who do not know Christ.

After all, that seems to be God's plan...

"All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27)
"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." (Ephesians 4:16)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We are officially growing the church from the INSIDE OUT! Selina is pregnant!! Up until today we had only shared the news with our immediate families and a few friends. Today we announced it to the Seacoast staff. And now... the world!

How we told Selina's family - we gathered with them in Georgia for her grandma's 75th birthday a few weeks ago. Near the end of the party, I distributed gift bags to each member... including my wife, so as to not cause any suspicion. On my go, they opened their respective bags which contained buttons that said, "Proud [Aunt, Uncle, Papa, Momo (our "grandma" name for Selina's mom), etc.] of the Mayby (our name for a May family baby)!"

How we told my family - on Thanksgiving I had the honor of praying over the meal. I opened in usual fashion and then closed with, "...and dear Lord, thank you for the little baby growing in my wife's belly. Amen." Then everyone opened their eyes, waiting to hear that we were only kidding. But, alas, we were not and mom then shrieked in excitement.

How we told the Seacoast staff - At All-Staff, Greg opens the floor for people to introduce newcomers to the team. I took that opportunity to say, "Well, this is my wife, Selina, it's her first time here. And we would also like to introduce someone else to you, but right now he's a little hard to see, since he's only 2 centimeters big and in my wife's stomach." More shrieks, a lot of clapping, and many congrats followed. Oh, and the start of a song by pastor Greg to the tune of Happy Birthday, only substituting the word birthday with conception... I think you had to be there...

Anywho... we are extremely excited and looking forward to adding a bit more pressure to the move to Chattanooga and the start of a new church. And now we are just trying to figure out all the important things, like what the baby will call his grandparents, how much extra money we'll need over the next 18 years, and does SkyMall magazine sell a change-less diaper.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


While in Indiana, we took Friday afternoon to visit with Shane and Rachel Frazier who are starting a church in Lebanon, IN on January 13th. We met Shane and Rachel during our ARC assessment a few months ago. We had a great visit and enjoyed hearing about how God has provided for them leading up to their launch date. We look forward to seeing what God does through this amazing couple.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Yesterday evening we went to visit my long-time friend, Adam Sessions, and his family. During our time together Adam's mother, Sandy, told us about a home bible study group she started attending with some other ladies in the neighborhood. Sandy has not attended a church in many years, nor does she attend one now, but here she is, growing in her relationship with Christ within the comforts of her own neighborhood and among her own friends. Sounds like church to me!

I asked her how the group got started and she said that one lady decided to start it and made some calls and then those ladies called some more ladies and before you knew it, 10 or so women were meeting for the study every week. I told her that was a perfect example of what we would love to see happen at The Net Church... people gathering on their own and extending an invitation to their network of friends. That's how the gospel grows... one by one, intentionally, through relationship.

Author and researcher, George Barna predicts in his book Revolution that home groups like this, that are not a part of a local church body, will continue to grow. I do believe the local church holds value though and my hope is that instead of trying to compete with this trend, we will make it our goal to marry the two. This will require the church to be a place that's relevant and a place that home group members will want to attend. By God's grace we will be known by these characteristics and be able to watch the church grow!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

Selina and I flew into Chicago last night and are spending the holiday in Indiana (we agreed early on to alternate years between the two families). While watching the Macy's Parade this morning, to our surprise, the Ooltewah High School Band made an appearance! They performed in full-on clown garb. I watched with pride, knowing that this time next year we will be residents of the city of Ooltewah, Tennessee!

Corresponding article...
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Thursday, November 15, 2007


Tuesday I got the priviledge of playing William Wallace, parodying a scene from Braveheart. This picture is of me and my buddy, Jim Miles, heading to the shoot.

The video was for the Seacoast Volunteer Gala. Last year was our first year doing a gala and we were commissioned to produce 5 videos to introduce an award for each purpose represented at Seacoast. This year we are doing 6 videos and a live musical number. In addition to being William Wallace, I also got to play Gollum from Lord of the Rings, Yoda from Star Wars, and Rose from Titanic... yes, you read that right. I have a feeling few church planters are going through the things I'm going through for the Kingdom... or would want to, for that matter! :)

The videos are currently in post production and should be available for viewing mid-to-late December. We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This past weekend, Selina and I headed to Chattanooga. It was an unscheduled trip, so we only gave the team about one week's notice that we were coming. But, they made time for us anyway. We got together for a lunch on Saturday with 10 others... already I can see this will be successful by the food that was brought! Thank you, God for a team that knows how to use an oven!

The meal was great, the fellowship was great, and we officially revealed our website to the Chattanooga-extension. The countdown clock is ticking and there's no turning back! I have complete confidence in God's hand on this church... I have never felt more alive and part of His plan then I do right now. The city will never be the same and neither will we!

God Bless!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Last night our small group got together for a game night. We normally would have taken in another chapter of the study we are in, but knowing it was Halloween and our doorbell would be ringing incessantly with trick-or-treaters, we decided to back off the study. And yet, this night turned out to hold a few great lessons in spirituality.

It started when Heather, one of our members, vocalized her desire for a Baby Ruth candy bar. Our pot of candy for the kiddies held a good variety of treats, but no Baby Ruth's. So, we got an idea. When the next trick-or-treater came to our door, we would make them a trade offer... 1 Baby Ruth in exchange for 2 of whatever we had to offer.

Soon after, a swarm of treat-or-treaters arrived. Throwing open the door I said, "Does anyone have a Baby Ruth?" Without pause the girls at the door began searching through their bags for Baby Ruths. I then told them the offer: 2 of our candies, for each Baby Ruth they could give me. They each had one and willingly handed them over.

As they ran back toward the street, I heard them yelling to other trick-or-treaters, "They're giving 2-for-1 for Baby Ruth's!" We got a good laugh out of their enthusiasm and went on with our night. Later, our guests left and we turned off our porch light, calling an end to Halloween. But, to our surprise, about 30 minutes later someone knocked on our door. When we opened it, we were greeted by the 3 girls that had made the original swap. In their hands - 3 more Baby Ruths. We didn't have anymore candy, so we offered them some individual-sized Dorito packs. They made the trade and headed out again.

I thought about that night. Then I told Selina, "You know there's real spiritual application here [the the widows offering in Mark 12, the story of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22, and the parable of the talents in Matthew 25]. I'm going to preach a sermon series someday about this evening. And I'm going to call it: Everything I know about Jesus I learned from Halloween!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Focus on Five: ARC Symposium

Seacoast just finished hosting a two-day conference for the Association of Related Churches. Here are a few things that stood out.

  • Matt Fry talked about First Impressions and discussed the value of a blog... Takeaway: I started this one!
  • John Bolin entertainingly talked about Telling the Story and pointed out that a good story is one that "captures the imagination" and challenged us to start our dream with, "Imagine if...". Currently, we are considering launching The Net from the Rave Theater in Chattanooga. When John said this, I thought, "Imagine if we had so many de-churched people coming to our weekend services, we had to rent out every screen and when we outgrew the theater they were begging us to stay because Sunday afternoon became such a moneymaker for them from all our members taking in a show after service!" That's a story I'd love to tell.
  • Geoff Surratt talked about Connecting people through having multiple video campuses and gave everyone a taste of that process by giving the talk by video while the attendees watched from an offsite campus.
  • Greg Surratt talked about the Weekend Experience and expressed the value of bringing people into the presence of God through experiential worship, so as to keep people engaged. He told about a guy who's dad used to take him to church growing up so he could see that there was one hour each week that was more boring than school... ouch!
  • Randy Bezet closed out the conference with a talk on Aftertaste. He defined excellence as not getting it right every time, but every time committing to doing it better. He also stressed the importance of a safe, high-quality children's area. I am confident we will keep this as a priority!

Final thought... Almost ever speaker emphasized the importance of making it your goal to get people to come back to the church when they visit for the first time. I listened to a message by Chris Hodges (Church of the Highlands) recently and he talked about how the likelihood of someone becoming a Christ-follower dramatically increases each time they come back to the church. A great tie-in comes from Bill Hybles (Willow Creek Church) who says, "People are looking for community over Christ". If we can hook them with a good first impression and get them connected with people in the church to where they feel comfortable coming back, they will more than likely find Christ though that process. Maybe that's what Jesus had in mind when He called us His body!


Superman may be fast, but God has him beat any day of the week. I’m continually amazed at how little my efforts produce and how much God’s efforts produce. It seems I work and work for the kingdom, only to find that when I look up for a brief moment, God has made circles around me without my knowing it.

My grandfather used to say, “God can do more in 5 minutes than we can do in a lifetime.” I’m finding that statement to be truer each day we get closer to launching The Net. Just this past week God brought a young couple into our small group who have been praying about moving to Chattanooga. The girl is from that area and wants to move back, closer to family and friends. We did nothing to gain this contact, nothing worthy of saying, “Look how we brought this thing together.” All we can say is, “Thanks for the lead, God!” and continue to ride His coattails as He continues developing HIS agenda for reaching a lost world. If your not looking, you’ll miss Him… He’s THAT fast!