Easter Bunnies

April 4, 2007 — Leave a comment

This list is from Leadership Network Learnings. Todd Rhoades shares ten characteristics of churches who “get it” Check out the link if you want to hear his explanation of each point. He took these points from his personal observations of churches that are really making a “kingdom” impact. I think this list fits in pretty good with most of the new emerging missional churches that I have seen.

  1. Each church has a pastor with a vision.
  2. Each church hires almost exclusively from within.
  3. Speaking of staff, the staff of these churches ‘get it’ too.
  4. A larger percentage of their staff (or staff wives) are pregnant.
  5. These churches and pastors don’t have a clue what they’re doing.
  6. Since they don’t have it all figured out, these pastors all shared with me their desire to connect with other leaders who can help mentor them.
  7. These churches are not shy about sharing resources.
  8. Most all of these pastors are bloggers.
  9. These churches are not afraid to make tough calls.
  10. Numbers are important to them.

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.


March 28, 2007 — Leave a comment

What type of world do we live in? Sanjaya stays and Chris Sligh is gone? Chris was a worship leader at Seacoast Church in Greenville, SC. A real good guy and now he is voted off way too early. Will the popularity of Idol start to go down if talented people keep getting sent home before ones that are in over their head? That just ain’t right.

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.

For the youth out there that give me a hard time, I know I am a serious nerd. But did you know that it’s cool to be a geek now, and it even makes me attractive, just ask Jenni. Check out the top ten list here.

(ht to Tony Steward)

We took the youth group to the WinterJam concert a couple of weeks ago. If you have ever taken groups to concerts or conferences you know how the logistics can drive you crazy. It was a good concert, but it was a little crazy keeping everyone together. I have mixed feelings about concerts with general admission seating. On one hand, you just show up for the concert and don’t have to worry about getting tickets in advance or worry about youth backing out at the last minute. On the other hand, it is almost always a challenge to get enough seats together for a large group.

We left after church and heading to the mall for a few hours before the concert. We left with plenty of time to get to the concert, or so we thought. We didn’t anticipate having to sit in traffic for over 30 minutes trying to take the exit to get to the arena. The concert was at an old coliseum and they honestly didn’t have enough police to help with traffic to get people in. We could see the place, we just couldn’t get there! We ended up having to send a group of adults and older teens to walk in and save some seats. The parking police also separated our two vans into two totally separate parking areas. Not good when you need to follow each other to get out. We were also planning on eating pizza in the parking lot while waiting for the doors to open. Well, the doors opened while we were stuck in traffic, so that didn’t happen. Luckily they let us take the pizza in to eat and we had just enough seats to get everyone crammed in.

So the moral of the story is … when it comes to youth ministry, you always have to be super flexible. Don’t let things that are out of your control like traffic and parking arrangements ruin a trip. The youth are always looking to your example in how to handle difficult situations. If you get mad or frustrated then it is infectious, it spreads to everyone else. There’s nothing worse than a whole group complaining and fussing about stupid things! So be prepared, be creative, be resourceful, and always look for ways to teach by example in difficult moments. Remember, it’s not just the youth who are looking to the youth leader for leadership, it is also the other adult volunteers. In the past, I have had to pull adults to the side and talk to them about their complaining. It really does spread through the group like wildfire.

For any concert promoters out there that may happen to read this, please remember to take into account groups who are traveling a long ways to get to your concert. For us, we have at least a 2 hour drive to go anywhere, so it makes it very difficult to navigate traffic and parking with a convoy of cars and vans. Make it easy for us to park together and sit together as well. It is hard to watch over and shepherd your younger students when they are not all together. I look forward to the day when we can take a bus to events. I have done that in the past and it makes it so easy to get where you are going and stay together. But for the vast majority of youth leaders, we are struggling to focus on ministry while handling all the logistics at the same time. This concert actually started earlier than advertised and went way later than we anticipated. Details like that will drive a youth worker crazy. Any way that you can help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for letting me do some constructive venting.

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