Someone recently asked me on Twitter about what I wish I would have known BEFORE starting NewSpring…so, here are a few things…
#1 - Don’t say “we will never do BLANK.” BECAUSE…you probably will!
#2 - The more your church grows the bigger the target gets on your back. People who don’t even know you will form opinions of you based on something that they heard you said…and bloggers and such will make it their daily habit to read what you say/listen to you preach just so they can tear you down.
#3 - There is not a formula for growing a church.
#4 - God love HIS church WAY more than I do.
#5 - I should spend way less time focusing on being “right” and way more time on being faithful.
#6 - Comparing NewSpring to other churches will either lead to pride or feeling like a failure…I need to desperately seek Jesus consistently to see who HE has called us to be.
#7 - I should learn from everyone…despite theological differences.
#8 - Don’t yell at the entire church just because 10 or less people are mad at you.
#9 - Those who you think will always be with you won’t always be with you.
#10 - I don’t always have the best ideas.
#11 - Excellence can never be compromised just because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
#12 - Only a pastor can really understand a pastor. (I blogged about that in an article entitled, “The Pastor’s Pain!)
#13 - People will always misunderstand you…don’t waste a lot of time trying to explain yourself.
#14 - Leadership is as easy as listening to God.
#15 - One day the “traditional ideas” that I do not like will be the ones I actually developed…and that is when my motivations as a leader will be tested.
BONUS = The fights, the sleepless nights, the critics, the spiritual warfare, the long meetings, the frustration…IT’S ALL WORTH IT! When lives get changed…it’s worth it. When hell becomes less crowded…it’s worth it. When repentance takes place…it’s worth it! When marriages are restored…it’s worth it. IT IS SO WORTH everything we go through!!! SO…don’t EVER give up–EVER!!!
Those are some of the things I wished I would have known.
- The music Sunday was nasty good. We did a couple Lee Mcderment songs: We Stand & Our God is Love. If you have not done those songs yet at your church then get on it! They stinkin' rock! Great job band.
- This was also our first Sunday of passing off the sound and media shouting to new people at the second service. Last week the same person ran it both services. Cool to see new teams forming.
- We had more people this week than we did last week when we did a 30,000 piece mailer and other promotion. The total was 171 people! Once again a new record for the Suncoast!!!
- We had a couple executing errors at the first service... the biggest being mine! I started rushing things about 1/2 way through my talk. I need to relax more... I think I feel the time more knowing another service is about to happen. 9:30 peeps I love you for showing up at 9:30am. Thanks for letting me learn my way into this.
- TWO more people accepted Christ on Sunday... Go God!!! That NEVER gets old!!!
- This past month we shattered our old best attendance month. We averaged 150 in Jan. This month last year we averaged only 88!
- We have now been meeting at Rushe Middle for 1-year, our longest ever at a location. AND, we are good to go for the next 6-months there! Go God!
- We went to two service this month and didn't even know how or if people would come... took a risk on faith and God came through.
What I tried in our staff meeting was to throw out this question:
What problem would not get solved if we abandoned what God has called us to?
We had some great conversation around things like the unchurched portion of our community would be ignored, people would not get excited about church, old stereotypes would not be undone about God and church, people would not have an unexpected church experience... all good stuff that went right into our vision and what we think is a "win" on Sundays.
So then I asked:
What is the agreed upon solution?
And, again we had a great conversation with people sharing thoughts and ideas that you could tell were from the heart. In the end I think they got a little excited about doing church... me too!
So the idea is people, teams, churches need a problem to solve and then an agreed upon solution. As a leader we should be intuitive enough to find problems even if things look like they are going well. And then get people on board to solve those problems.
What problems do you have around your church or team that you could motivate people with? Leave a comment:
The set up had to be done by about 8:15am with the new Sunday schedule and for the most part we had it all done by 8:15. The set up guys rocked it!!! The only issue we had was one of our three projectors all of a sudden had a big line going down the middle of it. We thought it might have been a cable but it was the projector. So we took the middle screen projector and used it on the side. We then took the middle screen and moved it forward and shot one of our motion lights on it and it looked like we meant to do it. I never freaked once. Go God!
A couple of our staff gals were thinking about how to get people up front so they asked if they could set up some cafe tables instead of the first two rows of chairs. We tried it and the second service really liked them. A few in the first, but they were full in the second. We had water on the tables and some center piece things they did. I think we will try it for a while. Maybe we can have espresso at those tables or something??? Pretty creative way to get people up front and create something unexpected.
We really had no idea what to expect numbers wise and the 9:30 service started out empty but filled by the time I came out for the welcome. The second service was almost what we had the week before with just one service so that was cool. The 9:30 peeps are my heroes though. They have made room for new people to sit and that rocks! I love you too 11am guys!
We had 169 for the day which was a new record for the Suncoast. Go God! And two people accepted Christ! That was cool. It never gets old the number of people that have said "yes" to God here.
The services flowed well. The music, videos, everything flowed. AND, tear down... holy cow! We started at 12:05 and by 1:01 we were closing the doors on the trailer! You guys dominated the tear down! And, I think we can work on it and get it down to 45 minutes!
We had volunteers for all out greeting and children's environments! Volunteers you guys rock! We didn't know how it all would work but you rocked it! Thanks for being so flexible.
Like I said all in all it was a great Sunday. Now, we just need to work it for a few months and fill the seats with our friends, family, and neighbors. I think this Easter at the Suncoast we are going to need a bunch of seats!!!
9:30am & 11am
As we have grown over the past year we have reached the point where we need to create some new seats. Enough for a second service? Sometimes... BUT, back in the fall I felt like God was saying to me I had become comfortable and being comfortable is the enemy of growth. In the first year of the church everything was a risk. In the second year of the church things became comfortable. So as we get ready to celebrate our 3rd birthday in April I felt like it was time to take some risks. So this Sunday, Jan 18th, we will take a big risk and "go for two!"
We still need people for set up
We still need Children's team members
We still need tear down people
We still need to be inviting people
BUT, we are doing it! We are not waiting until everything is in place and we have all our i's dotted and our t's crossed. Not that we have not been working hard and doing all we can. BELIEVE me we have been doing all we can and trying to plan as well as we can. But, ultimately this Sunday comes down to trust and faith. We felt like we were supposed to take this step of faith and we are trusting God for the results and the needs.
So will you say a prayer for the Suncoast this Sunday?
- Pray that the set up, band practice, service rehearsal goes on time.
- Pray for the staff and all the things they will be leading.
- Pray for my voice to hold out since I have been sick this week.
- Pray that dozens and even hundreds of new faces come to check out the Suncoast from the Bay News 9 story, the 30,000 piece postcard, the road signs, and your invites.
- Pray that dozens of people take their first step with Jesus!
- Pray for all the volunteers.
One final thing to pray about... who should you ask to meet you on Sunday? That to me is the mark of true spiritual maturity. Not how well you know the Bible. Not how many doctrines you know. But, how much you have let the Gospel change you. Because if the Gospel has really changed you then you can't help but share that with people. I am praying for the people you ask to come, pray for mine too.
Church of the Suncoast... you rock! See ya Sunday!
1,027 people checked out our website on Sunday!
Just to give some perspective on that... we did a 30,000 piece mailer that hit starting today and we had 97 unique people visit the site. And, we paid for it!!! Just goes to show the best promotion is free. Word of mouth or out of the mouth of a news person!
Go God! This Sunday we go to two services and I know this will translate into awesome things!!! Be praying and inviting:
9:30am & 11:00am
Rushe Middle School
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire."
Jesus told these guys there mom got it on with Satan!
"Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!"
Jesus called his closest follower Satan.
Here is the truth... Satan hates Church of the Suncoast. Now, he is just exposed! I don't see how it pleases God to send nasty e-mails full of hate either? Our church is not for you and that is fine. I promise I will not e-mail your pastor and tell him "nice" things.
We are church for anyone BUT not for everyone.
That's it. I'm done :-)
In Galatians 6:4 Paul says this:
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else."
The part that kind of jumped out at me as a church leader was "you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else." The day before I read this, I had responded to a comment by Anne Jackson on twitter. She asked if anyone gets the blues at church conferences and stuff like that. And, I always do. During the breaks of church conferences so many people start the peeing contest game. Who can out do the next guy. Plus you are usually at some mega church that just blows you away with their music and production and facilities so for me I always get the blues.
But, Paul is saying that if we do all we know how to do, for as long as we can, with as many people as we can, then at the end of the day we can rest in knowing it was a job well done. AND we don't have to compare our churches, music, services, facilities (or lack of) with others. We were successful at what God had called us to.
Kind of cool. I needed that.
The other thing that messed with me was in Galatians 6:7
"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant."
Wow! OK, so we all know that. Nothing new, BUT when was the last time you actually looked at your life and inventoried what you were sowing? I came up with four areas I am going to be looking at:
Spiritual - What am I sowing in my time with God?
Relational - What am I sowing into people around me?
Physical - What am I sowing into my body?
Professional - What am I sowing into the church?
I hope you will let those mess with you too. You WILL REAP what you sow!
Leave a comment, what are your thoughts:
First, we are in the middle of a series called "Sex and the Suburbs" and we are also right in the middle of our SevenDaySexChallenge.com - We are asking married couples to have sex for seven days and singles to abstain for seven days. Don't miss Sunday's conclusion to the series.
Second, on January 18th we are going for two! We will be going to two Sunday services, 9:30am & 11:00am at Rushe Middle. The staff and I have been going crazy trying to get all the pieces together. But, the good news is this. We have no idea what we are doing! Really, we have no idea how this will work or if people will even come. Why is that great news? Because God called us to take this risk and when God calls you can either obey or disobey. And because we have decided to obey God's lead on this we can just do all we know how to do and trust Him for the rest. If we do that, if we are faithful, then we have successfully gone to two services.
Third, we are also signing up people for our new Community Group format. We are doing a true semester system and once the sign ups end Feb 1 they are closed until May sign ups. Don't miss out get your group card filled out on Sunday ASAP!
Finally, Bay News 9 came yesterday and did a story on our billboards. They said it was supposed to air yesterday, but still no word on when it will go. When it does I will try to link to it or put it here on my blog.
So if you have been coming here looking for new thoughts and stuff... I don't have any. I am full throttle right now. Sorry guys! Thanks for reading my blog though. It means a lot that you would keep checking it out.
Stay tuned for a 2008 re-cap soon.
I will try to download the video after it shows and put here on the blog.
1. Ten Things
I was going to make a list of the 30 things I have learned in 30 years since I just turned 30 on Dec 23, but I don't think I have learned 30 yet so here are ten.
- God has never let me down when I trusted Him with my money. NEVER! Too many stories to tell about God's faithfulness.
- To have friends you have to be a friend. Thank you mom for teaching me this one.
- Life is NOT fair. Thank again mom for this one. Fairness stopped in the Garden!
- God most often uses you in the interruptions of life. Never be too busy to change a tire, respond to an e-mail, or listen to a elderly person.
- Just because you can doesn't mean you should!
- Enjoy it while you can!
- Let other people help you.
- When I am weak, HE is strong.
- Date your wife!!!
- Leadership is more caught than taught.
2. Christmas Eve @ the Suncoast
On Christmas Eve we had two identical services and it was cool to see God fill both. We had 162 in attendance with A LOT of “regular” people out of town. I really think we could have had 200 people if more had stayed in town. One person accepted Christ!!! And, we met our Christmas Offering goal of $8,000. Go God! The services I think were the best we have ever done at the Suncoast from start to finish they rocked it.
3. My Trip to NewSpring
Over the break Cheryl and I kind of ran into NewSpring in Anderson, SC and they had a 6pm service so we went. We had been looking at waterfalls all day up in the mountains. The service was a re-cap of all the God did there in 2008 and it was awesome! Those guys are probably one of the top three churches in America right now in my book with all they have going on and with their vision and direction. I met Lee Mcderment, their worship leader, and their executive pastor for a minute or two. Nice guys. Seems like they still care about the up and coming churches like the Suncoast.
4. New Series – Sex & the Suburbs
THIS Sunday we kick off a new series called “Sex and the Suburbs” and I am expecting big things from this deal. Don’t miss it! That’s all I am saying! We also are launching a new website for it called:
See you Sunday @ 10am at Rushe Middle School
The ten things I have learned in my first 30 years!
The awesome Christmas Eve services @ the Suncoast!
My trip to NewSpring Church over vaca!
Our new series Sex and the Suburbs!
Stay tuned for all of that and more... I have to get caught up first. 47 e-mails!!! Yuck!