Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review - Onward by Howard Schultz ...

Coffee has been a huge part of my life since I was 12 years old. My first interaction with coffee or a coffeeshop was a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks in Bloomington-Normal, IL. At they time my coffee taste buds were not so high and I needed a lot of sugar added to handle the coffee taste. But as I continued to grow up and my palette was toughened, I moved from a white chocolate mocha, to a vanilla latte, to drip coffee with a little bit of sugar, and now finally good old black coffee. My relationship and growth with coffee has grown from merely a small to go cup of coffee to a full on experience. In each city I have lived in over the past 5 years I have a specific coffee shop that has become home (Coffee Hound, Starbuck's, Corner Bloc, Mojo's, Strange Brew, & Coffee Emporium). Although I have a heart for local coffee shops, there has always been a place in my heart for Starbuck's Coffee Company. I am not really sure why, but there is merely something about my start of my relationship with coffee that links me to Starbuck's. This link has only continued when I got ahold of the story of Starbucks book Onward written by their Founder & CEO Howard Schultz himself. This book is written in the view of the story of Starbuck's and their journey from Pike Place to the thousands of stores across the world. Howard spend much of the book writting about the importance of leadership and leadership by communication. Reading through his words you can clearly see that coffee was not just grounds and some hot water, but coffee for Howard is a lifestyle, coffee for Howard is an experience. What I could take away from this is the connection between the Starbuck's business model and the business model of the local church. So much of the time we think of church as being merely a Sunday morning event that we are required to be a part of because scripture says so, but this is not our product, our product is a lifestyle or an experience. The Lord has called us to a build a church that is centered on bringing people into relationship with his son Jesus Christ and in doing so leading them on the path of sanctification. With this responsibility we cannot merely "sell a good cup of coffee", but we have to make people realize that a relationship with Christ is so much more. Like Howard, I look forwarrd to examining the ministry I am a part of and begin to understand if I am merely adding hot water to coffee grounds or if I am creating a once in a lifetime experience that will change the way people live their lives. till another day, normallyINDIE

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

50 and counting...

Almost 11 months ago I set out on a mission to write a blog post once a week, and although there have a few weeks where it has not been a priority (finals week, wedding, honeymoon) I did seem to find a way to catch up and always stay on pace to reach my goal. I am proud to say that although I have yet to hit the 1 year mark I have hit 50. That's right 50 posts (1 each week for the last 50 weeks).

Now for many of you this may just be a blog therefore what's the big deal when you read 50 posts. But for me this is a journal that goes through the moments of my life that have been influential from moving to Indianapolis, to marrying my wonderful wife, and ultimately moving back to Cincinnati to pursue a career in ministry.

As I look back on all 50 of these posts, I see high points during this year as well as low points that deserve a moment of reflection, each in their own special way. I have changed over these past 50 posts and it can be seen through my writing and studying.

If anything, this blog has been an outlet for me to speak my mind to whoever is listening, but most of all share my concerns about this world with the Lord. There is something truly freeing about putting words to a page. It trully can be a form of medication for a person that is struggling with anything from doubt to depression and happiness to joy.

I pray that over the next 50 posts I continuelly to see my life changed as well as the lives of others around me to be changed, not because I can write words to a page, but because the living God speaks through me. That is my prayer for this blog and my prayer for the community I am apart of, that they would all, someday be transformed by the power of the Gospel.

till another day,


Monday, April 2, 2012

And the Vote was...

If you have been following Groesbeck United Methodist church in Colerain Township for the last couple of months, you know all about the Consultation process. This being a process that was voted on and issued by the West Ohio Conference of Methodist Church (for those of you who are non-denominational, this is the form of organization for the Methodist Denomination in West Ohio). Led by our conference leaders Sue Nelson Kibbey and Brian Brown, our church was chosen as one of only 12 in the 1100 that call themselves West Ohio Conference members. This is truly an honor to be considered for this and our church members as well as staff were really exciting to see what this meant.

Therefore, over the past months there have people evauluating our church, all the way from our building structure to our worship style. They explored all areas of our church community and at the end of their time of evaluation they gave us 5 prescriptions. These prescriptions were 5 changes that they believed needed to be made in order to take our church to the next level. After a month of town hall meetings and conversations the church membership body took a vote and by a wide margin the prescriptions based (92.7%) and will be initiated over the next 3 years here at Groesbeck.

This exciting time of evalutation mostly makes me felel as though I should praise the Lord for the gift he has given us as a church, but it also reminds me that there are some huge opportunities that must be taken advantage of over the coming years. We, as a staff and church body, have an amazing opportunity to change the lives of thousands of people in the Colerain community through the changes and development that will come with these prescriptions. All of which are centered on our core task to go and make disciplines.

With all that being said, I would ask for your prayers in the coming years for guidance from our loving and faithful Lord as well as leadership. We are feeling callling to shared the gospel with as many people in the Colerain area as possible, therefore we need your prayers.

till another day,


Book Review - Weird by Craig Groeschel

In the midst of such a relaxing week off in the Dominican Republic during my beautiful wife and I's honeymoon, I had the opportunity to read the book Weird by Craig Groeschel. Craig is the leader of as well as the creater of the YouVersion Bible for all mobile devices. What brought me to reading this book was the innovation that Craig seems to be so excited about innovating in the ministry field. Just as the entire world is moving, our ministry world must also be moving and changing to become more innovative in order to relate to the lost and deing world we live in.

Overall this book was not necessarily what I thought it would be. The premise of the book was merely about the changing way we look at our everyday lives and instead of being normal, being "WEIRD" This statement is not new to Christian behave as Jesus also calls us to be aliens in this world, just as he was. But Craig takes a few steps further and breaks down every aspect of the human life and shows the importance of being "WEIRD". All the way from Parenting to Financial decisions all people must be "Weird". This is an intresting concept, but it is not necessarily anything that I have not heard before. The book was a simple read with many simple concepts that were easily appliable to life daily.

If you are looking for a book that is a simple read for students or for new Christians this is a great foundation for those seeking some guidance through life as a Christian. This book is nothing new in the ministry world, but it is a great, simple read.

till another day,


Alec & Jenny ...

As many of you know, on March 10, 2012 I married the most most wonderful woman in the world at the Harrison Center for the Arts in Indianapolis, IN. The wedding was perfectly designed from the save the dates almost two years ago to the centerpieces on that beautiful day. (check out for updates) I was so honored to be a part of such a special day and most of all to take a role as husband for the rest of our lives. Our wedding day doesn't just mean we are now married, but it also means that we have begun a journey, a journey that sends us into a relationship that will pass through decades and generations and most of all will begin a new family.

Jenny and I's respective families are the Schroeders and Tods, the Schroeders calling Indiana home and the Tods calling Illinois home. The marriage of us two has now instituted a new family and that is the Tod's that are calling Ohio home.

We have finally come to the point that after 2.5 years of long distance that my beautiful bride and I will be beginning our new family here in Cincinnati as the Tod Family.

follow the Tod's at for updates on our new lives together.

till another day,