Archives For Church Related

I read these over at History in the Making. These just don’t apply to a church plant, they apply to any church. I think we can all relate to this list. Here it is.

  1. Talk about how much you love your church because it’s so small and personable.
  2. If your church doesn’t have a particular ministry, start attending it at another church, rather than starting one where you are.
  3. Don’t forgive anyone for hurting you or offending you.
  4. Instead of telling the pastor about your frustrations, hold out in silence as long as you can, getting angrier and angrier until you can finally leave in one, unforseen blaze of flaming glory.
  5. Go to church for what you get out of it.
  6. Don’t invite anyone.
  7. Forget faith ~ that’s the pastor’s job. Sit back and wait to see what happens, rather than becoming personally invested.
  8. Use “prayer” as a conversational piece rather than a spiritual discipline (as in: “I’ll be praying for you,” or “Let me pray about that.”)
  9. Do frequent “polling” in hallway conversations to see if other people have the same concerns about the church as you.
  10. Meditate on how wonderful the church would be if it weren’t for the pastor.

I saw a neat link from Church Relevance last week about a website with free demographic info for your community. This site is different from most because it breaks down the 5 most prominent lifestyles and then describes them with unique labels. I did a quick lookup on Galax and here is what I found.

From PrizmNE: Back Country Folks, Golden Ponds, Heartlanders, Simple Pleasures, and Young & Rustic

From ConneXions: Active Urban Singles, Cautious Pre-Retirees, Premium Payers, Simply Mature, and Switchers & Shakers

From P$YCLE NE: Bottom-Line Blues, Country Cottages, Middle Ages, Old Homesteaders, and Senior City Blues

So, this is pretty interesting. On their site, you can find out how they describe each group. For our church, this is helpful information in understanding our community and culture. I don’t think I fit into any of the categories. I guess that shows how weird I really am!


Claritas offers a free resource called “You Are Where You Live” that enables you to look up the 5 most prominent lifestyles within a specific zip code using any one of the following three sets of segmentation research:
  1. PRIZM NE: 66 distinct segmentations (lifestyles) based on demographic and consumer behavior data
  2. P$YCLE NE: 58 distinct segmentations based on demographic factors that have the greatest effect on financial behavior (e.g., income, age, presence of children, home ownership, etc.)
  3. ConneXions: 59 distinct segmentations based on household consumption of communications products and services

It is a great resource for helping your church better understand the community it is reaching.

How to Share Your Faith

March 27, 2007 — 1 Comment

Ed Stetzer has a great post over at the Resurgence about sharing your faith. He talks about the different approaches and why we need to return to the model of Jesus for sharing. In our area, many churches feel that confrontational door to door evangelism is the only way to share your faith. I believe that sharing your faith is best done through relationships. I like Stetzer’s comment that the church is like a bear fed by tourists. The truth hurts sometimes. Let’s teach our teens and adults to be bold about sharing their faith to the people that God brings into their path. Check out the following quote


To share Christ, we have to go beyond formulas that fit on napkins. The Gospel is not a doodle. Isn’t God’s story of redemption and reconciliation for His creation bigger than what can fit on a napkin? People are searching—but they are searching for something more than fire insurance or “five steps to financial freedom.”

For 30 years we’ve taught people to “bring your friends to church” and have considered that evangelism. Well, there are not as many boomer seekers out there as there were back in those days. We must to share Christ, and that will be mostly done through relationships (sounds like Jesus, right?).

Today, the church is like a bear fed by tourists. It’s lost its natural ability. We need to share Christ in meaningful ways without just inviting people to a congregational event. … let’s get that back by starting where people are, listening to them, building a relationship, telling them about Jesus, sharing with them the story of redemption, and bringing them to a bloody cross and an empty tomb.

Unleash was Awesome

March 16, 2007 — Leave a comment

We got back late last night from the Unleash Conference. It was absolutely amazing. What I love about Perry’s preaching is that he is not afraid of speaking truth, even if it steps on your toes. I felt like he was speaking directly to me in both of the main sessions. We must continue to lift up the name of Jesus. If we preach Jesus, then people will be changed!

Check out outlines of Session 1 and Session 2 from Tony Morgan. I also got to talk with Tony at the conference. He’s a great guy who has really inspired me as to what a Christian blog should be. The comments are really flying in on Tony’s blog about the main sessions. When you don’t hold back, not everyone will like it. I loved what Perry had to say and I appreciate his courage to say it.

The Breakout Q&A sessions were good as well. I’m sure the NewSpring staff was tired of being asked, “how do you get volunteers?” and “how do you get the money?”, but they kept on communicating the importance of vision. People don’t give of their time or their money to a need, they give to a vision. My only problem is that I wanted to be at all of the breakouts. I think they will put the transcripts of the breakouts and the messages on their website soon. I hope so, to see what I missed in the other breakouts. When they do get them up, I will definitely link to them. I attended the breakouts on “The Volunteer Experience” and “The Creative Process”. Jenni attended “Creating Excellent Experiences for Kids” and “Creating Community in Church”. We learned a lot that is transferable to where we are as a church.

The music was off the hook! I think my insides are still shaking from all the subs on the stage. If you measure the Worship time by the amount of chill bumps, then this one was near the top. I truly felt in the presence of God. The singing really opened my heart to what I needed to hear. I like how they have worked some contemporary songs into their set list. It reminds me of a statement that I heard someone make a long time ago. “What is Christian Music? When did the music get saved?” If the lyrics support the point we are making and are Biblical, and if the song connects with people, then why not use it in church? Makes sense to me.

I also spent some time talking with Pastor Ken Nienke from Fellowship Community Church in Salem, Virginia. I look forward to taking a visit to his church and spending some time with them in the near future. Ken’s a great guy and their church had a very similar start to ours. They are also part of the SBCV, which I think is a great organization. I’ll have to share some of my background with them in a future post. It’s great seeing how Fellowship is growing and reaching their community. I have met and been inspired by their youth pastor James Tippins several times in the past. Check out his blog if you haven’t already.

And finally, Perry made the comment that the sermon begins in the parking lot. From the time we registered on Wed. night to the time we left Thursday afternoon, we were constantly engaged by NewSpring’s incredible volunteer staff. They were there to help us find where we were going and they were great at letting us know how excited they were to be there. And most of them had to take a vacation day from work to help with the conference. They definitely have set the bar high, and it gives me something to really think about as we move forward as a church. They definitely made us feel welcome and I want to thank them for the giving of their time to make the conference successful. Well done!

Off to Unleashed

March 14, 2007 — Leave a comment

After work today, Jenni and I are heading down to the Unleash conference at NewSpring Community Church. It’s about a 4 hour drive for us. We can’t wait. I really want to see how they are making a difference in their community. It’s exciting to see a church that is growing and is committed to reaching and growing people in Christ. I look forward to hearing from Perry Noble and crew about what they have learned. I’ll post some of the highlights when I get back.

Another Missional Quote

March 12, 2007 — 1 Comment

I know preparation is important when preaching, but it is awesome to see God work and speak through the message when that preparation isn’t an option. It helps me to see my need to depend on God, and not just rely on my own abilities. Here is a quote I used for my message Sunday. I honestly can’t remember where I pulled it from. It was late, but I think it fit in perfectly with what I wanted to say. This doesn’t negate the need for a pastor, but it does show the importance of equipping the church.

Most believers are convinced that it is the pastor’s responsibility to bring people into the church as well as into the kingdom of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Scripture is clear on this point. Pastors were given by God to the church to equip the people to do the work.… Sermons are not God’s primary method for reaching people. People are His method for reaching people. What kind of people? Men and women whose lives and life-styles have been deeply affected by the truths of Scripture, people who have discovered the wonderful Spirit-filled life.

God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with “surviving” and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life.

God’s method for reaching this generation, and every generation, is not preachers and sermons. It is Christians whose life-styles are empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit. People are the key to reaching people!

From The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley

Today has been good. No, that really doesn’t describe it, today has been awesome. There are some days when God just shows up and lets you know that He is in control. Today was one of those days.

We had a guest speaker scheduled for church today that was going to talk about our church’s upcoming mission trip to Nicaragua. We have been looking forward to hearing Dr Donald Gillette from Because We Care Ministires. But late last night, right before going to bed I got a phone call. Dr. Gillette was stuck in the airport in Atlanta because of a canceled flight. That meant we needed a message and that meant I was the one who probably needed to preach on short notice. That is where this blog played an important role.

I have always wanted to keep a Spiritual journal. I have tried it several times. My main problem is that I hate writing. I enjoy getting my thoughts out of my head, I just don’t like using a pen and paper. Most of the time I can’t read my writing, and I seriously don’t like to do it. So that has caused me to struggle and stop trying on several occasions. I then tried journaling electronically on my pocket pc. That worked alright for a while, but it does get old using a stylus to write. I have tried typing on my computer, but I found it hard to keep it going consistently. Until I started blogging. Blogging has taken on the role of a Spiritual Journal for me. It lets me post about books I’m reading, struggles I’m having, and things that I am learning. So when I needed to preach on something, my mind immediately turned to what I have been blogging about lately.

I was able to look at some of my posts about Missional living and form that into a sermon. Hopefully it was coherent, but it felt good to preach on something that I am passionate about. As a church, and as believers, we must get out of the mindset that Christianity is all about Sunday morning. Sunday morning is a great time to come together and worship and celebrate and be equipped. But there are 6 other days when we are living in the world, when we are coming into contact with people from all walks of life. That is when we have the greatest opportunity to share Christ and let people see the hope that we have within us.

So this morning went great, and tonight we had a great youth meeting. I love how are teens are starting to open up and share and really learn and grow. God is good. It feels like one of those times when we just have to hold on, because I know God is taking us on an incredible ride.

Check out my message here

Unleashed

February 26, 2007 — Leave a comment

Jenni and I registered today for the Unleash conference at NewSpring Community Church. I’m looking forward to meeting some fellow bloggers and learning more about NewSpring’s story. I always enjoying learning from other churches. Their community is similar to ours, so I look forward to seeing how they are reaching and engaging their community.

Here are some of the breakouts that will be offered at the conference. Now I’ve just got to decide which ones to go to.

  • Senior Pastors ONLY
  • Leading Authentic Worship
  • Creating Community in Church
  • Student Ministry – The Church of Today
  • Financially Equipping Your Congregation
  • Blogging and Communication
  • The Volunteer Experience
  • Creating Excellent Experiences for Kids
  • The Creative Process
  • Staffing for Success
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