Take a Walk (by Craig Groeschel)

5-Star Service 3 (of 5) Published by Craig Groeschel August 29th, 2007

No One Pointed

When Amy and I checked into the resort, the lady at the desk walked us all the way to our room. Every other place I’ve ever stayed simply pointed in the direction of our room, or pointed to a very confusing map and expected us to wander around by ourselves.
After a couple of days, I noticed a pattern: Every time I’d ask where something was, the person would leave their post and take us to the desired destination. This small gesture was huge to me.

When someone walks into our churches, they don’t have a clue where to go. Instead of pointing towards the two-year-old room, or toward the bathroom, or toward the small group booth, we should stop what we’re doing and walk them all the way to where they’re going.

Who knows? We might make a difference… or even make a new friend.

What are some small gestures you can make toward guests that might make a big difference?

Video Blog (8.29.07)

What I Have Learned

This weekend Church of the Suncoast has it's 71st service. This would have probably been a better post for the 75th service, but I was thinking of it today. So, what have we learned in 71 services of setting up and tearing down in 3 different locations now? In 71 services? In 71 messages? Here are some random thoughts:
  • Blue tape is da bomb! We have gone through hundreds of rolls of painters tape (or blue tape). We use it to hold down the snake and other wires from the sound cart, to fix broken things (I talk about that in a minute), and to hold up signs. It is great because it doesn't leave any residue like duct tape.
  • Stuff breaks and no one tells you. If you do portable church you will break stuff, and people will not always tell you about it. So have some basic back ups like direct boxes, mic cables, par can light bulbs, batteries, more blue tape...
  • You don't need as much money as you think for sound and lighting. We are still using the same 16 channel sound board, snake, and speakers we started with. We went with Carvin for their durability and affordability. We spent about $12,000+ on sound and lighting and have only added a few lights and some sub-woofers. Get enough to do what you want, then look for cheaper ways to do it!
  • Overnightprints.com is the best place to get programs printed. We design one for each new message series and just leave a blank area inside for announcements. We then use a HP laserjet to print those.
  • People want to know the real you as a preacher. The more you show people who you are through videos or stories the more they relate. Like it or not you are what brings them back on the front end.
  • Work on the transitions. Ask the people on Sundays about how anal I am about the transitions. I learned a long time ago to make those as quick and as seamless as possible. Don't have someone that is coming onto the stage in the seats. Put them backstage even if you have to create a backstage.
  • Get a worship leader!!! We borrowed, or worse, for the first few months. DON'T DO THAT! Get a person that can lead through the music even if you don't pay them for the rest of the week. You need a skilled person on the weekends!
  • Watch the number of seats. You can make or break a room by how many chairs you put out (assuming you can change that). Stick to the 70% rule. When you hit 70% capacity put out more chairs.
  • Thank volunteers! Tell them thank you, thank you, thank you every chance you get. They will be your lifeblood as your church grows. You can't do it alone!

I'm sure there are others so maybe later. But, think about those and if you have any let me know - brian@canthisbechurch.com

Motivation for Me in Ministry

Motivation in ministry can come from strange places... This article was kind of motivating for me as I wrestle with growing our 1 year old church that was started for people like this:


This is almost the exact words of one of my wife's friends. I hope and pray that Church of the Suncoast is and will be a place for her and people that "are just not that interested in God."

Growing Healthy Churches Tampa RE-CAP

Here are the notes from today's GHC Tampa gathering:

Send your resource ideas to brian@canthisbechurch.com for the GrowingHealthyChurches.blogspot.com site.


Assimilation steps

People need a job. Not leaders, just volunteers. Volunteers bring friends! People need a relationship and a responsibility!

Churchleaderinsights.com for assimilation seminar.
Ø Hand written note and gift on first time
Ø Letter on second time
Ø Third time form letter

Lunch with the pastor after the service (maybe once a month). Connection Power assimilation software. When you meet someone out front pass them off to someone else where they live. You have to find what works for you and your area. Have something after the service for people to stick around for... Ways to end a conversation with grace to get to guests (Dave has one-liners).

Help with communicating to volunteers
We have to move from e-mail to conversations. We need to call them for that week if they are working. Monthly schedule through snail mail. If someone checks the box to volunteer need to follow up with a phone call. Look for enlisters to follow up with volunteers. Keep it SHORT in e-mail. Text message every Saturday night.

Book – “Made to Stick” – How to make things “stick”

The Ideals of GHC
Building relationships
Equipping for growing a healthy church
Encouragement to keep going
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Words of hope and courage!

Come see us next month on September 10th

The Suncoast is on Facebook

If you have a Facebook account take a look at the official Church of the Suncoast page. Still learning about it, but at least we are there :-)

Growing Healthy Churches Tampa Bay

This coming Monday the Growing Healthy Churches Network is gearing up for the fall. This is a time for church planters and those just trying to grow a church to come together for a time of resources sharing, idea sharing, best practice sharing, and problem sharing. Note the key word... Sharing. Church planters are the most generous people on the planet. If you live within driving distance of Tampa I would love to have you as my guest. Here are the details:

Growing Healthy Churches Tampa Bay
Monday, August 13th
10am - Noon
The Italian Club in Ybor City, FL.
Free Breakfast
Optional Lunch @ the Green Iguana

For more info e-mail me at brian@canthisbechurch.com

The BIG Move

Yesterday Church of the Suncoast moved for the second time in our short history. I thought this e-mail would put it in better perspective then I could. This makes a long day worth it:

---Start E-mail---

"I was reminded today of a 5 hour set-up at a day care in February, 2006.


How do you make this work?

How are these dip switches supposed to be set?

Why can't we get any sound out of the microphones?

Should we run the wires out and around the sides?.

Blue tape everywhere!!!

We were at the day care for at least 5 hours setting up, and then there was the tear down and putting everything - that's everything in the trailer.

Would anybody come? Would Bruce be able to help them all park wherever they wanted?

Some times we had a band. sometimes we had part of a band. Sometimes we had a worship leader, sometimes we borrowed a worship leader, sometimes...well...

But it got better. The set-up became a breeze and at least one set-up flunky said, "hey we don't need to be here this early anymore".

Then, we moved...

The room was now much bigger and had a real stage. The cable runs were longer. The new power speaker wire connectors didn't hold the insulation the way they should. The fog/haze machine connector broke.

The tables have benches! Rats, people prefer individual chairs.

Everything needs to be longer, set-up higher, bigger. Bigger room, bigger sound, more services for the people, more opportunities for the people to get involved.

Chasing down the feed-back gremlins was a regular day.

Making sure we left everything better than we found it was the norm

Usually it was.

Set-up the first time, Yup, again a multi- day event and about twice the time it took in the end.

Again, at least one set-up flunky from the "blue" team (Hey, there's teams now) suggested "hey we don't need to be here this early anymore".

Then, we moved again...

The horrible realization hit like a brick. "Everything no longer fits into our trailer".

But, we need it all. or most of it.

The new place will be great. A new group of neighbors, a new opportunity to reach out and bring a new chance for people to take their next steps with God.

The set-up required about 3.5 hours. 1.5 on Friday and 2 hours on Sunday morning (7 - 9 AM). That's a whole 1.5-hours less than the day care. Hum?

Two rear screen projectors, a complete new stage layout, lighting brings back the bridge, the up lights are on the center stretch of fabric. The subs and the speakers are stacked, There are two separated spaces in the Mangroves plus a picket fence and a colorful drape The Kidmo is a drape makers dream. I can't even count the chairs that got moved out and then back in. Those tables and benches were sure a lot easier than the chairs...

Three channels chose be be flaky on the sound board. Six members of our wonderful band filled the place with praise. You gave the message, and made it all look effortless.

One sign apparently went missing. Several people missed the street and had to turn around b4 finding us. ( Hey you gotta find us to worship with us!). Take-down took 1.5 hours so we have a little work to do there. The Pastor worked way too hard, so we've got a little work to do there.

Today the Church of the Suncoast has at least 4 times the number of people that call this place home from those days in February, 2006. We also have at least 6.5 times the money to re-launch September 2nd.

God is doing great things through this ministry, and he's using his servant Brian Moon to lead the effort. Through all of the details. Through all of the uncertainties. Through all of the challenges.

You done great my friend.

Well done.

PS You know.. I'm feeling like God's just getting warmed up here."

---End of E-mail---

Does Your Church Plant Tithe (Revisited)

One of my first posts on the Church Insider was about tithing as a church plant. We started Church of the Suncoast on only $17,000 dollars!!! BUT, even in those tough and tight first few months we were committed to being a conduit of God's blessing. Time and time again as we gave, God gave back.

The latest tithe check we wrote went to help some missionaries in Costa Rica, to help Nelson Searcy do church planting conferences, to some people within the church, and to the local food bank. All together it was just over $5,000. We sent that out about a month ago...

This Sunday we received a gift of $40,000!!! Go God!!!

So again, my question to every church planter reading this. Does your church plant tithe?

Videos (the new stained glass)

A lot of traditional church leaders find the use of video at Church of the Suncoast unsettling. "Why do you need all those videos. People will think it's all about being entertained..." I have seen the push back to using creative video in church from people that have checked out the Suncoast from traditional backgrounds and my answer to the critics is this.

Videos are nothing more than today's stained glass. I grew up in a church that had three huge stained glass windows. It painted a beautiful picture of the cross. It visually told a story that is sometimes too deep for words alone. Video does the same thing. Video paints a picture of spiritual truths that sometimes are too deep for words.

So why not embrace it! Technology is here to stay and to fight against it or to not use it in my opinion is a sin. Seriously, instead of ignoring technology why not harness it and leverage it for God's kingdom! Why not use some of these multi-sensory mediums like video, and lighting, and the arts to stir something within people that is too deep for words.

Check out today's best stained glass sites: