I want to personally invite you to one of my church's Christmas Eve services at 5pm & 7pm at Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes.

The service is going to be incredible and you will NOT WANT TO MISS THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES!!! Really, come a little early and enjoy some coffee and cookies and get a seat because the service will start with a bang!

Bring some friends or family and enjoy the evening at the Suncoast as my guest.

We Need Balls!!!



We have someone in our church who is serving in Iraq right now and she has requested some soccer balls for the Iraqi children. Can you please drop off a soccer ball tomorrow or Thursday to the Warehouse (church office). We are open from 9am to 5pm and the phone number is 813.792.5345. Here is a link to find us:

MAP

Thank you so much!!! We will pack them all up and ship them next week.

What You Say Matters!!!

I have been reading in the Book of Titus and in it Paul is giving Titus some guidance on his mission of growing these churches he was now in charge of and at the end of verse 15 in chapter 2 he says this little line:

"Don't let anyone think that what you say is not important."

That line might be for you today if you are a pastor. I know for me personally there are a ton of times I feel like what I say on a Sunday, in a meeting, in a group setting is so unimportant. BUT, Paul says what you and I say as a pastor IS important. God has given you the vision for your church and when you step out on that stage or lead a team of people what you say matters! Don't let anyone think that what you say is not important!

INC Tampa Random Thoughts

Next Year Planning
Has to come from the lead pastor and His time alone with God.

Don’t plan out of fear, plan out of vision.

God where do you want us to be in 6-months?

What do you plan around? Sermon Series, Calendar / Current Events, Easter & Christmas, Attendance Patterns, Vacations, What Are People Dealing With?

Does your planning fit your vision; filter EVERYTHING through your vision.

In planning, is it burning inside you first?

When it is time to market the planning:

OAIcorp.com – Billboard and signs
BigDaddySigns.com – Yard Signs $2 & $5
Infopkg.com – Sleeves for Invite Cards

Blogging Help Needed!

OK, so for the past two weeks I have been in a blogging funk. Got nothin' to say. You might have noticed! Need some help here. What are some ideas for some blog post? What would you like to know about? What inside scoop into the world of church do you want? What topic needs some conversation? Shoot me an e-mail: brian@canthisbechurch.com OR leave a comment, OR @ me on twitter: www.twitter.com/brianmoon

Thanks for your help!!!

:-)

Volunteer Dinner *UPDATE


If you volunteer at the Suncoast we hope that you are planning to join us for the Volunteer Celebration Dinner this Friday night! But we wanted to make you aware of some very important changes. Due to the unexpected closing of Copper Creek, please join us instead at the Warehouse where we will treat you to a FREE dinner catered by Carrabba's Italian Grill.

Can't wait to see you on Friday night, 7pm, at the Warehouse!!

If you have any questions or need directions please email rita@canthisbechurch.com

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I am heading over to my parents for Wed, Thurs, & Fri. Was thinking of playing golf with my dad on Wed but I think it will be raining.

I wanted to thank the staff at the Suncoast for all their hard work. You guys are the best. I hope you get to enjoy some time with your families and Rita enjoy the trip to Disney!

I also wanted to thank the awesome Volunteers at the Suncoast. You guys make God's house work each week and I hope you know the extent of my gratitude! You are my best friends and heroes! See you on Sunday.

Finally, I am thankful for my wife Cheryl. She has stood by me for over 3 years now at the Suncoast and put up with A LOT!!! I hope one day I can help make her dreams come true too!

A Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at the Suncoast. See you guys Sunday for the final part of "Give Me Faith". You won't want to miss it. I think this will be the best message of the series! And, I ain't just sayin' that :-)

Volunteer Dinner

Coming up on December 4th we will be treating everyone that serves at the Suncoast to a FREE dinner at the new Copper Creek in Northpointe Village. This has become and annual event where we just treat our volunteers to a really nice dinner and do all that we can to show them how much we appreciate their sacrifice and help. If you are a volunteer at the Suncoast be looking for an invitation later this week. You will get to pick from about 9 dinners and it comes with a side and dessert! Should be a lot of fun! Don't miss it!!!

Sacred Cows

Recently, I was a part of a conversation about how churches were doing with the economy in the tank and with so many of our people looking for work when the comment was made:

"Shoot the sacred cow in the face and then feast on it"

That got me thinking... there are so many sacred cows in the church world. It used to be Sunday School. Or, it might be a women's or men's ministry. It might be a building. It might be some favorite project of the lead pastor. Maybe VBS or some Christmas production. But most churches have a sacred cow. The thing no one ever talks about getting rid of, BUT that is also an area that is sucking up money like it grows on trees.

Imagine the resources in time, in talent and treasure that could be freed up if you shot the sacred cow in the face and then feasted on it. Maybe you are a church in a building that is killing you. Sell the building and go portable. Maybe you need to kill Sunday School. Maybe you need to kill your women's and men's ministries and feast on the freed up money and people power. I don't know what it is for your church, but I do know this:

"Scarcity brings clarity"

Random Thoughts from INC Today

On Money and the Church:
  • Scarcity brings clarity.
  • You have to know what is coming in and what is going out financially.
  • 1/4ly giving statements. Celebrate what has happened!
  • The more ways to give the better.
  • Start talking about the budget in the fall not January.
  • Teaching series once a year.
  • Know your theology on money.
  • Challenge your staff!!!
  • If your staff is not tithing then they are living in sin.
  • Give away your financial message series.

On Small Groups:

  • Stories from the stage.
  • Get your key leaders to bring or get people to sign up.
  • Will not fill groups from the stage... leaders have to find them.
  • Sell the benefits like pastoral care.
  • Video teaching works.

On Volunteers:

  • Give away stuff at the end of the e-mail for volunteers.
  • Send note or gift to first time volunteers.

New Coastal Kids Director

Everyone... I would like you to meet our new Coastal Kids Director @ the Suncoast. Crystal and her husband Keith have been attending and serving here for the past 8 or 9 months and she is really excited about the new opportunity. Here is what she has to say:

"I am very excited about this opportunity to work with all of the volunteers and especially the children. It's an exciting time at the Church of the Suncoast and it is a privilege for me to be apart of such a great group. I want to thank everyone for their commitment and passion for our kids. Thanks in advance for your patience as I learn all the ins and outs of the current ministry and experiment with different ideas to help us grow for the future. I look forward to getting to know everyone. Communications is key to a great team, so I will be asking for your feedback on many different topics over the next few weeks. Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions, comments, needs, wishes, etc. My main goal is for us to work together as a team to help God's children grow in their faith. Each and everyone of you play an important role in accomplishing that goal!!!"
.
Crystal is also the manager of a Calico Corners here in the area and is a Florida native... kind of like someone else I know :-) Be praying for her as she moves into this roll.

Give Me Faith

This Sunday we begin a new message series at the Suncoast called "Give Me Faith" and I don't think the timing could be any better, total God-thing. As the pastor I kind of get a front row seat on people's lives and I have never seen a time when more stuff has been going on then right now. Marriages on the rocks, people fighting illness, kids going rogue, financial crisis and much of this has led to a crisis of faith. Why? Because it is so easy to put our faith in what God can do and not in who He is. We tend to worship the move of God and not the character of God. So for 4-weeks we are going to be talking about faith, having it, losing it, getting it back. I hope you will take this timely opportunity to bring some people because I know God has some big plans for this series.

See you at 9:30am or 11:00 at Rushe Middle School.

NEW Look for the Insider

Today there is a brand new look here for the Church Insider. Take a look around and tell me what you think. Special thanks to Andre for helping me out with some of the code. Hope you like the new look.

Coastal Kids Re-Brand


Take a look at our new Coastal Kids logo. Over the coming weeks we will be re-branding all our children's ministry stuff to match. This guy needs a name though! Can you help us name him???

Behind the Curtain (The Stories)

Don't miss the end when all these stories get connected in a total God-thing! Thanks to everyone that let us see "Behind the Curtain" of their Suncoast story!

Behind the Curtain (Part 2 - The Stories) from Brian Moon on Vimeo.

Thundersticks & Halloweenie

Two great ideas. One new, one old.

Thundersticks.
This past Sunday if you were to walk by the doors of the school we meet in you would have heard the bass thumping and guitars wailing but you also would have heard the sound of thunder sticks. Yes, Church of the Suncoast now has our very own thundersticks. We ordered these online (several places sale them) and gave them out for free this week before the service. It was awesome to hear after the worship set the sound of thundersticks ringing out to heaven. It also was a way for people who do not normally clap or outwardly participate in worship to do something less threatening.


Halloweenie.
Another idea we started 3 years ago now is Halloweenie. This is where you get the people in your church to have a free cookout in their driveway on Halloween night. We printed up some posters and gave out stacks of invite cards so they could get the word out and then connect people to the Suncoast. Props to Rita for getting a grill and some fake dogs to also dress up the table we gave out the posters on. Last year we had several people show up the next Sunday because they got a free hot dog, a drink and an invite to the Suncoast. We gave out over 150 dogs at my house alone!

John, the Suncoast, & Transition

Many of you have had the chance to meet John Donahue who we hired 3-months ago as the new (and first) Director of Ministry operations. I met John through the Innovative Network of Churches network I am a part of once a month. John also was volunteering at a friends church down in Tampa called Common Ground.

At the time Linda, who was our very first employee at the Suncoast, had moved to California. She was a do it all kind of person and we had to fill her shoes along with some other key roles that I needed to get off my plate and some areas that just needed some leadership. Rita, our children's director at the time also was looking to make a change within the church so she jumped over to Linda's old job and so that role needed to be filled now too. We hired John hoping to get to know him over a 90 day period and see how good of a fit it was here at the Suncoast.

This morning after a lot of painful, gut-wrenching thinking and praying it has been decided that John should no longer be a part of the Suncoast staff now that the 90 day probation period is up. This was not an easy choice because no one wants to ever do this, and it was not a quick decision made on some spare of the moment thought. We care about people and this is not just some giant corporation who hires and fires every week.

John and I both love Jesus. We both love HIS church. We both want to see people come to know Christ. We both want to see people take their next steps with God. AND, we both love our wives and families... so if you are looking for dirt there is NONE! Really, there is no dirt, there is no secret back story, there is no moral lapse, there is no hard feelings it just came down to this:

It just was not the best fit. That is the big scoop, really! It was a fit, but not the best fit. We needed someone with his skills. He was looking for a full time ministry job. He could do the job, BUT it just was not the BEST fit. And, what the Suncoast needs is the best fit. So instead of moving forward for a year or two and having a fit turn into hard feelings or frustration it is just better to stop after this 90 day probation period and both of us can move on to those better fits.

I have worked for churches before that were not a good fit and it is miserable from an employee's perspective! Just ask my wife. "So why do you keep working there then?" Well let's face it there is the reality of making a living.

So to make sure John and Sarah are taken care of we are giving them a financial package to make sure they can get by during this transition. It will give him the freedom to look for the best job without having to worry about the bills for a while.

As a leader I want to see people thrive and my hope is this will allow John to find a role in a church he can thrive in! So I would ask you to join me in praying for John and Sarah as they look for that role and for God's guidance as they walk through this transition.

As for the Suncoast we are now looking for a new children's director. We have been having some awesome numbers of kids each week and we have been in the process of ramping up our Coastal Kids ministry. We have some AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME volunteers in the Beach, Shore & Mangroves who will be keeping things going and my wife Cheryl and others will help with some of the logistics of scheduling and all that in the short term.

The Community Group leadership will fall back on my plate for the short term along with the set up and tear down scheduling, but I have talked with some people about heading that up and things will go on like they always have until we get someone new in to lead things again.

The bottom line for the Suncoast is nothing really changes and we have an awesome new series starting this Sunday called "Behind the Curtain" where we are going to talk about some of the issues we face as a church and how bright the future is. We also, in the second week, will be sharing some stories of how the Suncoast has impacted lives and you will not want to miss that. Bring your popcorn and tissues!!!

I love you guys, I love being your pastor, pray for John and see you on Sunday. Bring a friend who maybe is interested in learning about how church should and could be.

Brian :-)

PS - Don't miss the first 5 minutes of church this week. We have a gift for everyone!

New Invite Cards

We just had these printed... if you would like the PSD files so you can change the info to fit your church just e-mail me:

brian@canthisbechurch.com

Volunteer Burnout (Part 2)

This week I am doing a two part post on the issue of volunteer burnout. To read part one click HERE. Also, I want to say again, at Church of the Suncoast we have not cracked the code on this. We are not a perfect church and we have over used and over extended people from time to time. Here is a great resource to read if you have ever found yourself in that place:

Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson.

So here are the final three things that church leaders can do to keep people from burning out and dropping out of the life of your church.

Remind people of the big picture

One of the things that happens no matter how jacked you are about serving God and serving His church is you forget the big picture. The not so glamorous tasks can begin to frustrate you unless you keep in mind the big picture. This is not set up, this is creating an environment for God to come and change peoples lives. This is not taking care of kids, this is showing the love of Jesus to the next generations. This is not changing a poopie diaper... OK, so that one really is a poopie diaper, BUT when a parent comes and sees a fresh diaper on their kid they know someone cared about them!!! So get creative and remind people of why we do what we do.

Pair people up

My goal, and not one we have been totally successful at, is to pair people up. Never let someone do something alone. People need two things from you. A relationship and a responsibility. They have the responsibility if they are serving so now they need a relationship. Pairing people up gives you on the job training and it builds relationships.

Pray before each task

One of the best things you can do is to circle up your team before the event or task and ask them how they are doing and then pray for them. If someone is not in a small group then where else do people in your church have the chance for someone to just pray for them. Out loud. Where they hear it. Where they feel like these people really care about me. It takes an extra 10 minutes but the rewards are worth it.

Again, we have not cracked the code, and like I said in my last post, we have burned people out at times. But that doesn't mean it is "their" fault and as leaders we should do everything we can to make sure our awesome volunteers feel loved, appreciated, and feel like they are not just doing our work for us, but helping to build God's kingdom!

What say you? If you are a church leader or a volunteer I would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment and keep the conversation going.

Leadership 101, 201, & 301

So as I am reading along in 1 Samuel today I come across chapter 10 and WOW! Saul learns leadership lesson 101 - 301 in one chapter. Here are the three lessons for him and for us today!

101
Saul had just been anointed by Samuel and then Samuel begins to share about what is going to happen next. He ends by saying that God's Spirit will come upon him and from that day on: "Do what seems right because God will guide you." Verse 7. I have heard Perry Noble say "Leadership is as simple as hearing God." AND, that is what Sam is telling Saul. Trust the voice of God in you and do what seems right!

201
Now, they are about to publicly crown Saul as king but they can't find him. They look all over and finally one guy says: "He is hiding among the baggage" Verse 22. How many times as a leader have you been ready to walk into what God wants you to do when you stop and hide behind your "baggage". We all have "baggage" and Saul learned you just have to step up and lead.

301
Obviously, not everyone was buying into this Saul guy. He came from nothing and really had no experience. So some haters started to say: "Deliverer us? Don't make me laugh!" They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him. But Saul paid them no mind." Verse 27. Saul learned the third lesson of leadership. People will hate on you. Pay them no mind!

That is a lot for one chapter of Saul's life. I'm sure he spent years unpacking these first few lessons. I am going to spend this fall doing that. How about you???

Money Made Simple Video



Shot in front of a Chase Bank in Tampa. The building next door was empty so we were able to make it look like I was in front of the bank. Simple video to show how we should manage our money from our Living on the Edge series.

Volunteer Burnout (Part 1)

This week I am going to be doing a series of blog posts on the issue of volunteer burnout. As a 3 year old church plant that hasn’t arrived yet (not sure you ever do) we have a limited number of volunteers to pull from each and every week. Obviously, we are always looking to plug new people into the church by serving but you will always have a limited number of people. So, how do you prevent volunteer burnout? How do you keep people from just flaming out and dropping off the map never to be seen from again?

First let me say these posts are dedicated to the awesome servants at Church of the Suncoast. You guys come early, stay late, and give and give and give. For those of you that have stuck it out and fought through you are my hero’s! There would not be a Church of the Suncoast today if it was not for you.

Second this post is dedicated to the people we have mowed through and pushed you too fast, too hard or too long. You might be at some other church or worse you might have stepped away from the church for a season of life. We are not a perfect church and we have not done a perfect job and our communication can always get better. I hope you know we care for you and that you are always welcome and in our prayers.

So how do you prevent this? A few thoughts today and then look for part 2 later this week:

Give people an out

Make sure you give people an out by either having them serve for a season or by constantly checking in to make sure they are doing OK. There also needs to be an open dialog that they are always able to take a break if they need it.

Let people try other things

One of the things I hope we can get better at is letting people know they can try different areas of ministry if the one they are in does not fit! The best way to find out how God wired you, and where you will get the most life out of your service and thus prevent burnout, is to search around until you find one that fits. There should be this willingness with your staff and key leaders to move people around as needed.

Publically appreciate people

Private appreciation is nice and needed. But, nothing beats being elevated in front of a group of people. So look for ways to elevate your volunteers in front of others when they knock it out of the park!

What ideas have you found that work? OR, if you are a volunteer, what could we do from your perspective??? Leave a comment and let me know.

A Must Read for Planters (Post by Steven Furtick)

By Steven Furtick

Minister of GCD
Here’s one of the most frequent questions we get from church planters:What position should I hire first in my church?

It’s taken me almost 4 years of reflection, but I think I’ve finally formulated my answer. Any guesses? I’ll bet some of you immediately thought: Worship Leader. Nope. Important, but not most important. You can pray and preach your way into the presence of God without any music for a while if you have to. Children’s Pastor? Again, it’s definitely a priority. But not the first priority. At least, not in my experience.

The very first position any church planter needs to fill is the Minister of GCD. That’s short for Getting Crap Done.

Notice I didn’t advocate a Minister of GTT (Getting Thoughts Thunk) or HLM (Having Lunch Meetings). The most important thing a senior pastor needs in the earliest days of starting a church is a support person that will enable him to fly at a high altitude. A good GCD Pastor is willing to be your children’s pastor, administrative assistant, executive director, and custodian. In the same day. A natural born CGD (Crap Getter Done) will learn to live for the thrill of freeing up the leader to do what only the leader can do. And the vision will flourish.

Over time, your needs will become much more sophisticated. You’ll want to hire specialists and people who deal in big ideas. But in the first year or so, you don’t need theorists. There’s no room for that on the payroll. The more limited the budget, the more important it is to fire the show horses and hire folks who know how to execute. Someone who specializes in follow through. Someone who’s not afraid to get his/her hands dirty, and can morph into whatever is needed from moment to moment.

This Is Why We Do Church!

This is by Lauren who comes to our church and has an incredible story. Recently, she shared this with me from her blog:

As a kid I was usually made to attend church every Sunday, but this is the first time in my life that I've actually wanted to go, and I'm really getting something out of it. The past couple of weeks, I've been tagging along with The Pernecky's to church, and it has been really beneficial for me so far. The church's "sermons" are more like messages. They are totally relatable and keep my interest the entire time. Amazing, I know! The first Sunday that I attended, the pastor's message spoke directly to me. It applied to my situation SO closely it was scary. I had tears running down my face for most of the service. Ever since then, they've had my full and undivided attention...

To Read The Rest, Click HERE

You can also follow Lauren on twitter:
http://twitter.com/lo_green

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (6)

[Simply Strategic Volunteers]

  • Helping people find their place in ministry. Lifechurch.tv has stuff on their “open” sight.
  • Teach the shoulder tap to the volunteers. It is their job too!!!
  • Invite, select, equip, engage, evaluate.
  • It is hard to strategize when the bullets are flying.
  • What does the process look like when someone wants to volunteer? How do you follow up? What are the steps? Is it easy or hard? Do you even know it? How can you do more “Show Up and Go”. Challenge with “Show Up and Go” is you have to have someone there to be their “buddy” or “leader” that day.

[Volunteer Development]

  • Identify a target and a time frame.
  • Teaching (from the stage, message series).
  • Invest and invite in the context of volunteering (teach them to shoulder tap someone to join them)
  • Need leaders over the high volume volunteering areas.
  • Make sure the systems are streamlined (training, scheduling, forms)
  • Make serving THE next step for someone attending.

[Financial Stewardship]

  • Begins with teaching… do people know they are supposed to.
  • Preaching in series on money is more productive.
  • Financial counseling and seminars also work.
  • Model it as a church first! (Debt? Reserves? Tithing?)
  • Good financial planning for the church.
  • There is a season for sharing the financial realities of your church.
  • Track the numbers and trends.
  • Vision, vision, vision.
  • Make the offering an event.
  • What are the practical giving goals (get people connected to online giving???)
  • www.thechangegroup.tv

[The Four Helpful List]
What’s right? (Optimize that!!!)
What’s wrong? (Change it!!! One issue at a time)
What’s confusing? (Clarify it!!!)
What’s missing? (Add it!!!)

[Leading from the Second Chair]
Begins with trust with the lead pastor.
Recognize the leaders calling is different than yours.
If you can help accomplish the leader’s vision you win.

[Leadership “It”]
Relationship with Jesus
Marriage
Able to build a team
Being a constant learner
Clear vision

[Church “It”]
Outward focus
Gifted leaders
Giving away ministry to the people
Clear visionKnowing who you are

New Art for Local Magazine

Thank you to Adelicia for letting us put this ad in your magazine for FREE. You guys rock!!!

Promotion Strategy (Fall Launch)

The fall is one of the big times a year that churches seem to get a bounce in numbers like Easter and Christmas. Once church leaders started seeing this they also started promoting this time of year like they also do Easter and Christmas. Church of the Suncoast is the same. We are 3 1/2 years old and each fall we have done a marketing blitz.

This year we tried something different though. I picked this up in a passing conversation at one of my coaching network meetings with Tony Morgan in South Carolina. Someone in passing said something about "If you can get your people excited about something then you don't have to market". So I started thinking about it and the more I thought about it the more I felt like we should give it a try.

Here was my frustration that led to this also. We get these awesome bumps from a marketing blitz, or if you do church in Florida you get a medium bump... anyway that is another post. But the very next week it is back to normal. Maybe you pick up a few people down the line but it is a one time shot for the most part.

So this fall for our Fall Launch we focused 100% on getting our people jacked up about the new fall series "Living on the Edge" and then put the ball in their court to bring people.

Here is what we did:
  • Invite cards for the series
  • Invite card sleeves with hints
  • An internal mailing list postcard
  • Free t-shirts with the tag line "Don't Jump" on the front and info for the series on the back
  • A vision video
  • Two weeks of on stage announcement
  • A special "From the Pastor" e-mail about inviting on Wednesday of that week
  • Lots of tweets!

Here are the REAL results.

We had 13 first time guests on the first week of the series and a modest bump. We had 14 first time guests this week and a bigger bump! In fact we were up 11% on the second week of the series over the first week where all the push was made. Now, the bump was not spectacular like if we had done a 60,000 piece postcard and a bunch of yard signs, but then again we have never been higher the second week after a big push than the week of the push.

Now, I am not saying we should all stop promoting to the community at large. But, the next time you say something like, "Well we just don't have the money to market like those guys" stop complaining and focus on getting your own people jacked up about what God is about to do. The results just might be more lasting in the long run!!!

Funny Video for THIS Sunday

OK, so normally I don't let you see what we have planned for the upcoming Sunday. Normally, I make you wait until the week after and then I will post some stuff or a creative element. Well, not this week. This week we are moving to part number two of our new series "Living on the Edge" and we are talking about time. For a blurb click HERE.

Here is how we are setting up this weeks talk. Take a look:

It's Monday (By Clayton King)

It’s Monday. Be Careful, Pastor.
Clayton King

If you are in any kind of ministry, leadership role, or work in a local church setting, you need to read this. Why? Because today is Monday, the most vulnerable day of the week for you. The day you are most susceptible to temptation, pride, irritability, fatigue, and discouragement. If there is one thing I know about Mondays in ministry, it’s simply this; after God uses me on Sunday, Satan and my flesh will come against me on Monday.

Sundays are game day for ministers. It’s more than just going to church and doing your ministerial duties. Sundays are the time when it all comes together; the lesson, the sermon, the conversations, the meal afterward with a family, the anticipation of what attendance will be, what the offering will look like, and what the response will be to the gospel. The stress and pressure can literally beat a minister to the ground, but the strange irony is that it can also create within us an excitement that energizes us for the assignment. It is actually the stress and adrenaline that do both; they motivate us to carry through and then they cause us to crash and burn both emotionally and physically. Many ministers have no idea why they feel the way they feel on Monday. They think they’re just tired. It is so much more than that...

To read the rest head to Clayton's Blog:
http://claytonking.com/?p=615

Tell A Story

Hey Church of the Suncoast... who have you told a story to this week??? On Sunday we begin our big fall launch series called "Living on the Edge". And, what I am asking everyone to do is this:
  • Pray about just one person you think God wants you to bring this Sunday.
  • Give that person an invite card or a postcard.
  • Tell that person a simple story about the Suncoast. People remember stories. It can be about what your first time was like, it can be about a service that stands out, it can be about what the church has meant to you, just share a story.
  • Then ask them to come with you. Don't just invite them, ask them to meet you at a specific location at a specific time.
  • Wear your "Don't Jump" t-shirt this Friday if you can. Tell some stories with what you are wearing.
  • Leave your impact cards at some of the places listed on the card holder.

Tell stories this week.

Pray for this Sunday.

Awesome things are going to happen!!!

Too Much for Me

Thought I would take a minute to let every church leader out there know that right now there is just too much for me. I am in over my head. I can't do it. Does that sound like you? Let me explain:

We have several families right now at our church that just need a lot of help. I won't go into all the details but financially, emotionally, even legally just a lot of need! Can't do it, too much for me.

We are about to have our Fall Launch for 2009 on September 13th and there is just too much to do and keep track of.

Financially... our church has $900 in the checking account (Thank God we have some back up money we saved from the good economic times) but that is the reality right now, that is a lot of pressure.

The stress of starting a church from nothing 3 years ago and trying to get to the point where everything doesn't rise and fall on me has proved too much for me.

NOW, before you think I am crying a story to you, THIS IS NOT THAT!!! My point is simply to reach out to every pastor and church leader right now and say, "Are you there too? Is it more than you can do? Is it too much for you too?" Perfect! No really, perfect.

I am reminded daily that I am not a good enough leader, preacher, vision caster, and boss. Not to mention husband and Christ-Follower. But, I am convinced that is where we need to be more often. To be honest the amount of "Know it All" self-promoting church leader / bloggers is nauseating me these days, and I think it also nauseates our God!

I can't do it all, be it all, know it all and I would never lead someone to believe I did. The intro to my blog says I am a church planter that hasn't arrived yet and I think that is a good thing because that means I have to depend on Jesus for everything!!!

So if you feel like it is all too much for you, you are right! It is too much for me too. Let's encourage each other to depend on Jesus even more and know that He has great things in store for us. He never said it would be easy or that we would not want to throw in the towel. But don't. He is able to do far more than we ever think possible.

Living on the Edge Promo

Promo for our Fall Launch on September 13th

9:30am & 11:00am

(Shot on the roof of the Italian Club in Ybor City, Florida)

Getting a Gun Pulled On You!

In 2007 we did a series at Church of the Suncoast called "The Dangerous Church". This past Sunday I found out just how true that statement was.

At about 6am on Sunday morning I was pushing a cart full of sound gear through the cafeteria of the school we meet in with the custodian. We were joking and carrying on, talking about an operation he has coming up when out of no where the side two doors fly open and two Pasco Counties Sheriffs pull their weapons and aim them at us and yell "Freeze, identify yourselves!!!" Guns still pointed at my head and the flashlight in my eyes. It was a surreal moment. I have never had a real gun pulled on me. Had a few BB guns aimed at me, but never a live weapon aimed at my head and a guy with his finger on the trigger. It might have only been one step but it seems like I took a number of steps after that "Freeze" as my brain tried to come to terms with the situation. Glad I didn't get shot!

The custodian told the officers that he worked for the school and that seemed to be OK to them and they lowered their weapons... I went and changed my shorts and finished pushing the cart to the stage.

Turns out a coach had left a door open the night before and it set some alarm off, one that never was sent to the custodian. So they cops had been in the building for 45 minutes trying to find the perps. Guess they were following procedure, but DANG!

I wish I had some deep spiritual tie in now or some leadership thought, but really I just had a gun pulled on me!

Help me write the rest. Leave a comment and I will write the application later this week.

Tony Morgan Network Notes

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (5)

[All Marketers Are Liars]

You can no longer force people to pay attention. How do you apply? Free gifts to your people… T-shirts, bracelets. Increase the touches a person gets with your stuff everywhere they go.

When we encounter something for the first time we compare to status quo, if not new we ignore it. Multi-site is something new in a community. New signage. Your people doing something different or unusual.

If a consumer figures it out on their own they believe it 1,000 times more than if you are marketing it to them. Application?

Your goal should not be to create a story that is quick, or has no risk; boredom will not help you grow. When you are telling your own people about something within your church are you giving information or telling a story about groups???

[Discipleship Strategy]

Things God Uses in All Our Lives to Grow Us Up

Practical Teaching
Providential Relationships
Personal Disciplines
Personal Ministry
Pivotal Circumstances

We have to create the chance for this, but we can’t create a lot of these. People have to be responsible for their own development too! Not just dependant on the church alone.

Keep the end game in mind… what does a fully devoted follower of Christ look like? Have to know that before you can move people towards it or even track people’s progress.

Some thoughts on changing the discipleship culture within the church overall since most churches are not really discipling people:

We have to let go of control as the church and simply create opportunities for the above 5 Things to happen. We need to help our people take ownership of their own growth too. We need to capitalize that people have relationships already outside the church and are really busy so this must be simple and repeatable. The church is not the center of our culture any longer. So we need to help people not compartmentalize church from the rest of our lives.

www.mynextsteps.org

[PRESSURE POINTS]
Membership: Clarify mission and vision for it. Adds accountability. Need to decide what membership gains a person. What are the requirements? Does it have a term limit?

Budget: In the good times build about 3 – 6 months of cash reserves. The lean times might actually help cut staff not needed and to stop doing things we didn’t need to be doing. Make sure staffing is less than 50% of the overall budget. 100:1 – One staff person for every 100 people. 30% or less on facilities. 10% Church tithe. If things are bad enough then you have to go for the ASK! Just be honest with your people and tell them your need.

[VOLUNTEERING]

Serving / Total Attendance = 35% – 45% is healthy.

Ways to Boost Volunteerism:

  • Think Volunteers before Staff
  • Hire Leaders NOT Doers
  • Stay Focused, What Needs to be Done?
  • Don’t Fill Roles, Where Does This Person Belong? (Ability / Availability)
  • Teach Shoulder Tap to Current Volunteers… “Can You Do This for Me, Then Follow Up”
  • Make the ASK Personal, One on One
  • Learn How to Train on the Fly, People Are Busy
  • Empowering Volunteers
  • Sometimes You Need to Fire Some Volunteers, Just Because they are Volunteering they Still Have to Be Accountable for the Job
  • Make sure you share stories, Their Service Matters

Other Thoughts: This is part of your spiritual journey. Show appreciation. Give people a break, create an openness before burnout. Semesters… mini-training and mini-party.

Telling Your Story

So what story does your church tell? Have you ever thought about that? What does your logo, colors, first impression, signage, greeters, print publications, music, message... all of it. What story does it tell the people who are making a split second decision if they are going to buy into your church enough to come back the next week?

Most of us make our minds up about something in a matter of minutes and many times for not real rational reasons. You like Coke and not Pepsi not because of taste but because of the story you have told yourself about both of them and that story was arrived at in a matter of seconds or minutes way back when and nothing will get you to change your mind. You now have even made up new stories to back up your initial choice of one over the other.

So take that and apply it to your church. What are story are people going to tell themselves about you? I would encourage you to think that over and ask yourself one question... is it authentic all the way through? Or does your website look better than your church. Does your music not fit your message. Does your building not fit the style of service that goes on there??? Are you at least telling an authentic story? And if so, then what is that story?

Food for thought... what say you? Leave a comment by clicking on the word "Comments" below.

Be Anal

Yes you read that right. Be Anal! For years people have made fun of my analness. I am the guy that sees a chair not straight and will go fix it in our rented worship space. I am the guy that puts all kinds of time into finding the right music for different elements of a service. And, for a while I thought maybe I need to just let it go, but NO! Be anal.

In the book I am reading right now called "All Marketers Are Liars" by Seth Godin I came across this and boom it hit me... this is why I am this way. This is why I am this way at church but not in other areas of my life. Just ask my wife:

"This is why fonts, web design, photography (I would add all those other things like colors, sounds, design, layout...) are so important. Why it matters how your sales force dresses and speaks. When Pat Holt strings together a list of words not to overuse... she's not being a stickler for formality or grammer. Instead she's reminding us that words matter, that poor word use (or any other thing done poorly) is just a red flag for someone who wants to already ignore you."

Read that again and then put into the frame of the Gospel. Each week we are communicating the most important message in the world to people hopefully that already want to ignore us because they are just starting to kick the tires of faith. My point: Be Anal!

Spend time making sure your physical environment is done well and not half A__ed. If something is not straight, take 3 seconds and fix it! What story are your colors telling? What are your fonts like? What kind of mood is your music setting? What are your greeters wearing??? Be anal, not to be a "stickler" but because all it takes is one red flag, even unintentionally, for someone who already wants to ignore your message to do just that.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment by clicking on "comments" below:

Do You Show Your Boobs?

Here is my wife's latest post from her new blog:

Women and Modesty
This is a tough one... you want to look nice for your husband, but you don't want to look too nice for everyone else's husband... where do you draw the line? What do you consider to be immodest?My thoughts:When I try on new clothes and get dressed in the morning, if I lift my arms up and my stomach shows, I don't wear it; if I bend over and a butt cheek falls out, I don't wear it; if I lean over and you can see my boobs, I don't wear it; if it is so tight I have trouble breathing, I don't wear it. Let me tell what I do wear. I wear clothes that look nice on my body type without revealing too much. I wear clothes that I feel good in. I wear clothes that are comfortable. I wear clothes that let people know that I am a lady without showing them what I got...

To read the full post click HERE

More Thoughts on Systems

SystemA way of doing things.

Is your organization people driven or system driven?

Orchestration is the elimination of discretion, or choice, at the operating level of your organization.

Discretion is the enemy of order, standardization, and quality. If something works you do it every single time.

You can’t ask too many questions of the numbers.

The next time you want someone to do something for you, walk over and touch them softly on the back of the arm. People respond better to touch.

Documentation provides your people with the structure they need and a written account of how to “get the job done” in the most efficient and effective way. It communicates to new employees, as well as old, that there is a logic to the world in which they have chosen to work, that there is a technology by which results are produced.

An organizations operations manual is best described as their How-to-Do-It-Guide. It specifies the steps needed to be taken while doing that work, and summarizes the standards associated with both the process and results.

An organization that looks orderly says to your customers that your people know what they are doing. An organization that looks orderly says to your people that know what you are doing. An organization that looks orderly says that while the world may not work, some things can. An organization that looks orderly says to your customers that they can trust in the results delivered and assures your people that they can trust in their future with you.

You will be forced to find a system that leverages your “ordinary” people to the point where they can produce extraordinary results over and over again. You will be forced to invent innovative system solutions to the people problems that have plagued organizations since the beginning of time.

In an organization that relies on employee discretion “How do I motivate my people” becomes the constant question.

Blown Away!!! Time for Cake!

Over the past two weeks at Church of the Suncoast we have seen 5 people accept Jesus as a part of our new series "The Gospel". That always gets me jacked up! Since we started the Suncoast a little over 3 years ago we have seen 130+ people accept Jesus, think about that! 130 people have taken their first steps with God here because we have simply tried to create an environment where God can come and do His thing. We don't always get that right and we are FAR from perfect but that blows me away! Go God!!!

So at our Management Team (staff) meeting tomorrow we are having cake to celebrate these 5 new births into God's family. I hope you personally will celebrate this week at the life-change God is doing here at the Suncoast through this series of talks.

Thank you for inviting people, thanks for serving, thanks for giving to fuel what we are trying to do here. We all are busy and money is tight for everyone but you guys make sure our environments are staffed with volunteers and we are able to hire new staff and keep the lights on. Go God!!!

Working on Systems

Right now at Church of the Suncoast my goal is to work on our systems. And, my goal is to get our staff thinking systems. When I say systems let me give you some idea of what I am talking about.

Right now you can go into a McDonalds in Odessa, FL and walk into one in Tempe, Arizona and get the same exact experience for the most part. I mean only small differences. That is one of the things that makes McDonalds such a huge success, in fact 10% of every food purchase in our country is at McDonalds!!! BUT, the amazing thing is you can get the same experience no matter where you go. Which when you think about it is crazy because you can take unqualified and unmotivated teenagers and if you stick to the systems you can get a known result almost every time. Those are the kind of things I am talking about. The people don't make McDonalds great, the systems make it great.

So, is it possible to take the systems of a church and work on them to such a level that you can put in any arrangement of people with all different levels of skill and motivation and get a known result almost every time. AND, can you do that in such a way that you create not just a task on a Sunday, but create a freedom within a framework that gives them life. Can you create a game they want to play even though you have worked it in such a way that you know the outcome every time.

That is my passion right now and what is getting my attention and thoughts. Not that people who serve at my church or any church are unqualified like the teens at McDonalds! But, can we do our church in such a way that it is almost like a franchise someone could walk into and just work the systems and get a known result even if they knew next to nothing about "doing church".

We will see, fun to think about and work on... what say you? Leave a comment with your thoughts about systems.

The Gospel (Week One Update)

Wow, what a cool deal on Sunday at Church of the Suncoast. Sunday was the first part of a series we are doing simply called "The Gospel" and we took a chance and rolled out AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" to open the service. Thanks to the NewSpring guys for the videos to wrap the song. From there we went right into the message and then we put some "worship" songs at the end as a chance for people to respond to the talk. The best part was 2 people accepted Christ on Sunday and that always makes it a win at the Suncoast. We will roll out part two this Sunday and then after this series is over we will do a special baptism celebration on August 30th. I know God did a lot more than can ever be measured on Sunday so I can't wait to get back at it this Sunday to celebrate all that and talk about another part of the Gospel of Jesus.

Be praying for this series guys!!!

The Gospel (New Series)

This Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we begin a new 4 part series called "The Gospel." We talk a lot about Jesus at the Suncoast but it is usually within the context of a topic, like marriage like the last series we did. But for the next four weeks there are no gimmicks. No stunts. No bells and whistles. Just the Gospel. The same Gospel that was written over 2,000 years ago. Take a look at the intro:

video

I hope you will invite some of your neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, anyone who you think needs to hear about Jesus in a clear and compelling way.

ALSO, DON'T MISS THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE SERVICE!!!

I can't tell you why but let's just say it will be something you will never forget and might just make you a little uncomfortable as you get ready to hear "The Gospel".

The Vow (Series Wrap Up)

This past Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we wrapped up our marriage series called "The Vow" with one of the coolest things we have ever done. After the message was over we gave married couples some instructions and the men came down front where we had a big bucket of roses for them to grab one for their wives. The ladies went to the back of the room and waited as a video played. Then the wedding march rang out and they all made their way down the isles to their husbands. We did a quick renewal of the vows ceremony based on the series content and then as they kissed their brides and had a seat we rolled one of the coolest marriage videos we have ever played. It might have lasted 6 or 7 minutes in all BUT I saw men crying. I saw women crying. I saw people taking pictures after it was over like it was their wedding day. We had wedding cake made out of cupcakes on the way out. The whole thing rocked! It emotionally connected the series for people. If you are planning a wedding series I would strongly recommend you do something like this. For info e-mail me: brian@canthisbechurch.com

Thank you Rita for all your help!!!

Tony Morgan Network Notes

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (4)

Pressure Points:

Simple Church (from last time) – What is discipleship? Seacoast has online tools for people to “learn” on their own. What are those tools or intermediate environments to help people learn even though doing is what it is all about not just “knowing”.

www.mynextsteps.org

WEEKEND SERVICE PLANNING

Granger’s Message Series Process:

  • SMT – Meets once a year to outline broadly the topics for the year.
  • 3-6 months – Dive into name and theme of series and each week’s topics.
  • 1-2 months – Start pulling in rest of staff for what is coming up so they can coordinate if needed.
  • 1 month – Communications team nails down promo & graphics and look of series. Message titles also done. Marketing if needed for a big push.
  • 2 weeks – Start promo to crowd, print media done, videos done.
  • 1 week – Invite cards into programs and promo to crowd, e-mails, calls, social networking, promo videos, web-updates (if you can get your people excited the community will come)
  • Week Of – Message written, service rolls.

Series Planning Ideas to Kill Your Momentum:
Address questions no one is asking
Scheduling your series to last longer than 6 weeks
Teaching too much in each message (you don’t have to answer all the questions each week)
Teaching truth without application
Assuming the message stands alone (the whole service is a part of the experience)
Don’t tease the next series
Not creatively connecting the Bible with what’s going on in the world
Not sweating the details

Pressure Point: Change Management – We all like change as long as we are the ones making the change. Begins with building relationships of trust. Get the right people around you before you make the “big announcement”. Help them feel like it was their idea. Manage the expectations this might take some time to work out for the better.

Spotlight Topic: Sexual Sin in Church Leadership
Ed Stetzer – Message on Secret Sins
Open DNS to Block Content
Set boundaries to keep from falling

BRANDING / MARKETING

Look at branding series over the church, people don’t really care about the church on the front end.
Certain environments within the church you have to let them create their own brand… like Student Ministry, kids ministry.
Don’t promote sub-brands without also promoting it as part of the parent brand… “a ministry of NewSpring Church.”
Limit your sub-brands, only a few.

Marketing Mistakes:

Advertising the church, no one cares!
Making promises they can’t keep.
Make sure your follow up system is in place before the marketing.
Trying to be all things to all people. Older audiences will plug into younger programming, but younger audiences won’t plug into older programming.

SUMMER SLUMP

Better to compare year to year than week to week. Best time for a big push is when you know there will be success, like the Fall. Provide cushion in funds for the summer months, push online giving in the spring. Begin your ramp up in August not after Labor Day.

My Wife's Thoughts

My wife just started blogging and she is still working on how to "create" one, but DANG! Read her first post!!!

http://cherylmoondotcom.blogspot.com/2009/07/ultimate-example.html

Vow Homework (Part 3)

OK, so Sunday came and went and in my talk I really didn't get into this week's homework much so here it is:

The vow of partnership

We, not me. The vow of partnership says our marriage will be about we and not me. It’s the foundation for a marriage based on mutual commitment—a marriage that’s built to go the distance. But what does partnership really look like on a day-to-day basis? Let these ideas help you begin to see ways you can serve your spouse throughout your marriage.

The Complete Package
Did you ever consider that some of the characteristics you love most about your spouse might come from the same place as the things that get under your skin? Maybe you enjoy his spontaneous, carefree nature but get frustrated by his lack of planning and organization. Perhaps you appreciate her perceptive take on your experiences at work, but wish she wasn’t so sensitive at home. There’s no a la carte menu when it comes to marriage—your spouse is a package deal. This week, take some time to discuss your differences with your spouse. How can God use those differences to complete you two as one? How are you are uniquely gifted to serve your spouse? What can you do this week to put those gifts into action?

Uncovering Your Family Identity
Here’s a great topic for dinner conversation this week: what defines you as a family? Successful families have a vision that is driven by core values. What are four to seven values that drive you (or should drive you)? Think of things like generosity, compassion, integrity, etc. Then, find a way to creatively document these values and revisit them regularly to stay on track.

Apology Expected

The fine art of apology is a marital must. Learning how to do it well can transform your relationship. Yet if we’re really honest, many of us would say we struggle with apologizing. Here’s the cool thing about apology: it’s something all of us can learn…and marriage gives us the perfect environment to practice our new skill! There are lots of great resources available to help (some as close as a quick “how to apologize” web search). Here are a few basic pieces to a sincere apology:

  1. Describe the situation – who, when, where, what you did.
  2. Acknowledge the damage done and the feelings you caused.
  3. Say what you should have done differently.
  4. Commit to changing your behavior and ask for forgiveness.

United Front

In marriage, submitting to each other is a commitment to being on the same page as your spouse. It doesn’t mean you’ll always agree, but you’re willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get there. Are there areas in your marriage where you and your spouse are more untied than united? Sex? Money? Kids? What can the two of you do to tackle those issues? If you just can’t see eye-to-eye, don’t overlook the tremendous value in seeing a Christian counselor. (www.pathseekercenter.org) They can help you work out the kinks in your relationship.

The VOW (Update)

We are at the 1/2 way point in our marriage series called "The Vow" and if you were not there Sunday your homework this week was the:

http://www.sevendaysexchallenge.com/

No, you will not get a virus if you head to that site. We started this site back in January to help married couples with intimacy. And after Sunday's "Vow of Pursuit" we rolled it back out. So do your homework! :-)

ALSO, the final week of the series we will be having wedding cake and giving couples a chance to renew their vows. Still working on the logistics of that, but I encourage you to renew them with us on Sunday, July 26th at Church of the Suncoast. Stay tuned for more info.

If you missed either part of this powerful series on relationships check out the podcast HERE. You can also watch the talks HERE.

Bring some people with you Sunday for Part 3!

The Numbers

Yesterday at Church of the Suncoast was a day for the numbers... Here is why church planting is so hard to find trends in the numbers.

We had terrible adult numbers, been a while since we were that low!

We had close to record children's numbers!

We had a terrible offering!!!

We had 12 first time guests! Normally, we have about 6 or 7 per week.

So what does that mean? Who knows. Here is what I have learned finally after 3 years of this. Watch the numbers. Look for trends. Find patterns. BUT, don't kill yourself over them! Was I bummed after the two services yesterday that could have fit into one. YES! Did I want to go out and find a "real" job. Yes. As a church planter you always take the numbers personal.

BUT, the vision is still here. Lives are still being changed, like crazy change is going on. People heading for hell are now heading to spend forever with their Heavenly Father. God still provides and I am not going to kill myself over the numbers. Numbers are important, but reading beyond them is sometimes even more important.

Hang in there these summer months church leader!

5 Learnings on Hiring

Right now at Church of the Suncoast we are in the process of hiring our next full time person and here are a few things I am learning along the way:
  1. Take it slow! I don't know what slow is for you, but for me slow is like a week. I am always in a hurry so for this hire I have spent about 3 months testing the waters. Take it slow! Especially, if this new hire is from outside your church. You need to get to know them and they need to get to know you and your ministry.
  2. Make sure you like them! You will be spending more time with them than your spouse potentially so make sure you like them!!! Really, I can't make this point enough. If you would not spend the day with them on your "off" day then don't hire them. May seem kind of shallow, but it is true.
  3. Check with your wife / or husband. My wife and I have been in the process of getting to know our new potential hire and after every meeting I check with my wife. Don't hire someone your spouse doesn't like either!
  4. Check references. I know that sounds kind of elementary but I can't even begin to tell you the number of places that hire without doing some digging. ALONG with that I would also do a BACKGROUND CHECK just to make sure this person is who you think they are.
  5. Read Their Social Media. Now, I know some people might find this to be an invasion of privacy, but if they put it on a blog, a tweet, on a video then they meant it to be seen. So find out what they say, tweet, check their facebook page, snoop around. Jesus said to be as wise as a fox!!!

I hope to let the cat out of the bag in the next week about who the newest member of the Suncoast staff is... stay tuned!

The Vow (7 Days of Prayer)

The vow of Priority is one of the four vows that can help our marriage last a lifetime. It means God is our #1 priority and our spouse is my #2. So here’s a challenge for this week that brings your top two priorities together: spend the next seven days praying with your spouse. Below, you’ll find tools to make it easy. And, singles, you’re included too! Check out the guide below to see how you can take part.

Day 1: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33

Couples and singles: God, we pray that you’d be first in every area of our lives. Please show us what that looks like and we can make you our #1 on a daily basis.

Day 2: You shall have no other gods before me. Ex 20:3

Couples: God, we pray that our relationship with you would come before any other and that it would provide our ultimate fulfillment. Please allow our marriage to reflect the overflow of our individual relationships with you.

Singles: God, I pray that you’d use this season in my life to strengthen my relationship with you. Please help me find my ultimate fulfillment in you.

Day 3: And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment… Philippians 1:9

Couples and singles: God, we pray that you would help us see what needs to change to make you first in our lives. Please give us the strength to make those changes.

Day 4: With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without… 2 Corinthians 7:1

Couples: God, we pray that you’d help us protect our priorities. Please empower us to move beyond the distractions that pull us away from our relationship with you and each other.

Singles: God, please help me guard your #1 spot in my life. I pray that you’d empower me to avoid distractions and guide me to the opportunities and relationships you want me to pursue.

Day 5: So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:19

Couples: God, we pray that we would encourage each other to keep you #1 in our lives. Please lead us as we lead each other back to you.

Singles: God, I pray that you would bless me with relationships that support me in keeping you as my first priority. Please show me how to encourage my friends as well.

Day 6 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus… Romans 15:5

Couples: God, we pray that your priorities would become patterns in our lives. Please guide us to communicate about these things regularly and keep us on the same page as a couple.

Singles: God, today I pray for my future #2. Please guide me to someone who is of the same mind when it comes to you, and please prepare me to welcome that person into my life.

Day 7: And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you… 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Couples: God, we pray that as we honor you in our lives, we would be blessed with renewal, peace, and joy. Please allow your priorities to lead us to a stronger and healthier relationship with you and each other.

Singles: God, as I honor you and wait for #2, I pray that you would bless me with renewal, peace, and joy. Please fill this season of my life with your abundance.

Pray…together?

If you’re new to the idea of praying with your spouse, this is an ideal opportunity to begin. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Just find a quiet time of day, get comfortable, take turns praying out loud, speak simply, and keep it to a reasonable amount of time. For couples who pray together, fewer than 1% of those relationships end up in divorce. Connecting with God together is worth the investment!

The Vow (Marriage Series Begins)

This Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we begin a new series for the month of July called "The Vow". If you are in the Tampa Bay area I challenge you to make this series a priority this summer. Here is why:

Nearly 70% of married men & 60% of married women have affairs.

In the U.S. less than half of the married couples will stay married for 15 years.

Let those numbers sink in for a minute! That is why we talk about marriage at the Suncoast and why I hope you will be a part of this new series for the month of July. Oh, and bring your spouse!!! Singles you need this too!!!

9:30am & 11:00am
Rushe Middle School
Land O' Lakes, FL

NEW Need to Know

Top 10 Things I learned on Vacation

My wife Cheryl and I just got back from our longest vacation in 7 years! I thought a good first blog post back would be the top 10 things I learned on vacation.
  1. I have an amazing wife who I am so blessed to know and love in this life. She is the total opposite from me (which is fun) but I would not want to be married to anyone other than her! Thank you for coming along for the ride babe! (PS - she is now on twitter @IAmCherylMoon)
  2. We have an amazing country! As we got to climb mountains and see things Floridians seldom see and meet the vast variety of people in America I am convinced God has His special hand of blessing on this nation and I pray we will factor Him into our national conscience again before it is too late.
  3. I missed our church. Church of the Suncoast is the place I want to go to even when I am on vacation because it is the church I would go to even if I was not the pastor!!!
  4. We have some awesome staff and volunteers! I missed two weeks and things didn't skip a beat! Thank you Steve, Rita for making sure everyone was in place and thank you to all the volunteers who stepped up! Got to see some other churches volunteers and you guys spank them!!!
  5. I think it is impossible for me to attend another church and not critique it... God you made me like this! BUT, God is doing stuff in other ministries and lives are being changed like they are here at the Suncoast! Go God!!!
  6. Twitter is a great way to let your family and friends be a part of your vacation, I love technology!
  7. It was a bad week to be a celebrity!
  8. Marriott rewards points are awesome! We got 7 nights for just $125!!!
  9. The real South is so different from Florida... there are so many churches! we drove from Chattanooga to Greenville on just back roads like 76 and there must have been 150 - 200 churches! Florida is different, it might even be harder to do church here! I heard someone in the South say "Well it is not hard to get a crowd it is what you do with them..." WHAT? Florida is different!
  10. Coming back from being gone that long is strange, hard, frustrating, BUT TAKE A LONG VACATION WHEN YOU CAN. You need at least 5 days to be able to enjoy the last 2 :-)

Random Thoughts from Tony's Network

SIMPLE CHURCH

Sunday -------- > Fully Devoted Followers of Christ

In traditional church a mix of programs fill the gap…

In the Simple Church you don’t have the programs but what fills the gap? What makes the spiritual disciplines / formation “contemporary”. Small groups can become the next Sunday School.

Organizational Change:
Adkar – Book by Jeffery Hiatt

Awareness for the need for change… why do we need this???

Desire for change… communication of the desire or creating it!

Knowledge… the how, what do you want them to do.

Ability. Do they have the ability to change?

Reinforcement. Affirming the change and the “wins”.

STRUCTURE

*Have one key leader per area… give people only one boss.
** The structure will change, maybe every 18 – 24 months.
*** Make sure your best leaders are at the upper levels not just because the function a key area that you think should be there.


Seasons of Leadership:
You lead by example (on the front end of a church or ministry)
You then lead other people (I can’t do it all, just pass off tasks)
Now you lead other leaders (you begin to empower people for ministry)
Finally, you lead by vision (the whole organization, can see the whole picture)


PRESSURE POINTS

Staff Meetings
Death by Meeting (Patrick M. Lencioni)

Marketing
Text to First Time Guests… 80% came back.

Volunteers
Serving is an heart issue… people don’t see the needs is the parking lot is full, you have kids volunteers, and everything gets done.

Delegation v. Empowerment
Task / Results
I own it / You own it
Do my task / For the overall mission
My way / Our way
Can you / Will you (already know you can)
Management / Leadership
Here is what I need / What do you need from me
Serve me / Serve you
Preferences / Organizational values
Limited / No limit
Subordinate / Peer, team


STAFFING
1. Create a culture that expects volunteers to do it before staff
2. 1 staff /100 people – 40 to 50 percent of budget spent on staff
3. Staff ahead of the growth
4. Hire from within whenever possible
5. Don’t hire from a resume, hire from passion, ability, do you like them?
6. Hire people you like, chemistry with you and the team
7. Hire leaders instead of doers
8. Long hello’s and quick good-bye’s
9. Pay your staff well
10. Hold your staff accountable for their attitudes

Where's My Bailout (NOTES)

Here are the notes from Part 2 of "Where's My Bailout"

DANGER SIGNS: ENTERING THE DEBT TRAP!

1. Living on credit instead of paying cash
2. Delaying payments or paying just the minimum due
3. You are unable to tithe or save
4. You can’t pay your taxes
5. Impulse buying
6. You’re always looking for get rich quick ideas

STEPS OUT OF THE DEBT TRAP

1. Commit to becoming debt free NOW!
2. Start paying God and myself first
3. List everything I owe
4. Have a sale
5. Set up a repayment plan
  • Order your debts by interest rate (highest to lowest)
  • Decide how much extra money you have a month to pay towards your debt
  • Use all of your extra money to pay off one debt at a time (from highest rate to lowest rate) while paying the minimum on the rest
  • When one is paid off move to the next using all your extra money and paying the minimum on the rest

6. Decide to pay it off in half the time

7. Add no new debt

For the podcast from this talk visit our website later on Monday:

http://www.canthisbechurch.com/code/php/podcasts.php

UN-groups

Today at Church of the Suncoast we are starting something new with our Community Groups. We are going "UN - grouped". This semester (summer) we are asking people to gather on their own around 5 strategic books. We had an idea that for the summer people are used to hanging out with the friends they have, the ones they have made at church, and the people they know from serving on a ministry team, so why not leverage those instead of trying to force people into a group full of potential strangers in a more structured setting like we normally do.

So, about a month or so ago I made the announcement that starting on June 15th they would be encouraged to group up and pick a book from our list. The list of books we spent time picking can be found HERE. These either address a need our people have, or it challenges them to think, or it lines them up with the vision of our church. Instead of spending all our time on training and finding leaders it was spent finding the right books.

This is a big risk too because we kind of step back and say have at it, if you are a church leader you can understand how that can go sometimes... But, like everything else at the Suncoast it is an experiment. We want to see if people will leverage their current relationships and if some natural leaders emerge out of it. Who knows so check back in for some updates on how things are going.

If you want some more insight feel free to e-mail me:

brian@canthisbechurch.com