Why? Because like a lot of places we have a late problem. People just come late. We have about 75% of our crowd show up about 10 minutes into the service. And, we have tried all kinds of things. We always start on time. We don't wait for people to get there. We used to do countdown clocks, now we do a pre-service video deal called the 4B4. We have free coffee and donuts. We publish the fool out of our start times. But, not much has helped.
I don't know how much this should matter? So this week I just wanted to say thank you to the people that were there on time. So tomorrow we will be sending them a gift... what? I have no idea. Does anyone have any suggestions? An online gift would be cool???
But, I would love to hear your story at your church. Do you have this problem? Is it a problem? Should we care? What should we do? Leave a comment or e-mail me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
Church of the Suncoast is a portable church. Meaning we take a middle school and transform it into a church each Sunday morning. A lot of churches start out this way and I know the temptation when you are portable is to think you can't make a "WOW" impression because you don't have your own building.
BUT, I would argue that it is those little things that create a "Wow" factor. One thing I was reminded of this Sunday when I used the "public" restroom... yes I have my own even at a middle school. But, I used the regular men's room and noticed this table. On it we have mouth wash, tissues, Axe (because that is how we roll @ the Suncoast), mints and one decorative sailboat to complete the Suncoast theme. The time and cost for all this is so small but it creates that "Wow" factor for guests and regulars alike.
So what small, creative things could you do to make a "Wow" factor even as a portable church? Keep the ideas going and leave a comment.
I’ve been to lots of conferences. I’ve read a bunch of articles. I’ve heard many speakers. And lately, there has been a recurring theme that rubs me the wrong way. It goes something like this…
“It grieves my spirit to see churches copying the culture. We shouldn’t be copying culture, we should be creating culture…”
“We have the Creator of the Universe residing within us, so let’s stop copying art and begin creating art…”
“Many churches should be ashamed that they spend more time surfing the internet to find out what some other church did, rather than using their God-given artistic gifts to be innovative and come up with something new…”
These statements often come from the pastor of some mombo-huge church. He has staff, money and volunteer resources at his disposal, and yet in the crowd are church leaders, most of them in small churches with shoe-string budgets and no staff. And they are being told they should feel guilty for using something that’s been done before. “Quit copying. Be original!”
Or the statements are made by an artistic genius…someone who God has uniquely gifted to be a creator of art, most often a person who is paid full-time to live and breathe and research and dream and present the art they create. “Quit being lazy and create new!”
Let me offer an opposing view: Lighten up! If recycling what someone else has already created will work in your setting, then by all means—become an expert in recycling! Go green dude!
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating art. I think more thoughtful lyrics should be put to song; more captivating moments should be captured on video; and more creativity should be applied to drama, dance, stage sets and more. Churches should be coming up with artistic elements that are so new and innovative they can’t even be categorized.
But I have met church leaders who refuse to use something that has been used somewhere else. They want to be the first to do something, try something, or preach something.
You can be innovative without being original. Sometimes the most innovative idea for your church or your community is something that was borrowed from somewhere else. That is okay, because being original is overrated.
At Granger, we get lots of attention for being innovative, and we even host the annual Innovate Conference. However, here is a secret: Very little of what we do is original. Once or twice a year, we have a good idea that hasn’t been done. (At least that is what we think when we do it, but often we find out later that another church did the same thing a few years prior!)
Since when is innovation the goal? Why have we made original the ultimate achievement? Shouldn’t our goal be effectiveness? Shouldn’t we measure success by whether something worked or not…whether it moved people toward Jesus? Is our goal making disciples or being original? Do we care more about artistic purity or life impact?
It is 2009, and there are amazing resources available to you. Most our ideas come from taking someone else’s idea and making it work for us. We Grangerize it. That is, we make it work for our culture, and that is okay with us. We truly do not care whether what we do is original or not—we just care if it works. If it is effective, who cares whether we got the idea from a church in Tupelo or off of YouTube? If we can use the idea to impact our community, why does it matter if it is an already-been-used idea from LifeChurch.tv or Willow Creek?
Artists—keep making great art! Video professionals—keep creating visual wonders that inspire and motivate me. Musicians—don’t stop writing lyrics and songs that draw me close to God.But for everyone else—don’t apologize for being a recycling expert. Find the best of the best and use it to make a difference in your community!
Great read! As a church planter you have to be the master of recycling!
"Spotlight" by Mute Math
"Show me what I'm looking for" by Carolina Liar
"Forever" by Red
"Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon
"Hard to believe" by Vota
"So close, so far" by Hoobastank
"One day" by O.A.R.
So what kind of pre-service music are you playing these days? We change ours every message series...
Here are some of the things we are cutting back on at Church of the Suncoast:
- We do a Volunteer Central area on Sundays for volunteers to get some food and chill. We are having to cut back the size of the spread. We were spending thousands of dollars on this and even though we hate to do it... we are cutting back to some cereal bars and such.
- We have had two billboards along SR 54 (our main drag in our area) but we are cutting one of them. Even though they have been great for us the $1,500 a month / sign price tag is just more than we can do right now.
- We lost a staff member a month ago who did all our video and graphic stuff and we are not replacing him right now. We will outsource it, get volunteers with some skill, or I will crank them out like the early days.
- We are about to start our budget process and I am guessing we will cut it about 15% from 2008's.
So where are you cutting back as a church leader? Where are you cutting back personally? How are you getting creative to still keep ministry at a high level of excellence?
Leave a comment:
- For the fourth straight week we broke the previous highest attendance. Not by a alot, but we have had 169, 171, 173, and this week we had 175 (maybe 177). Each week a new record! I like that. AND, please know that the only thing I am bragging about is what God is doing. I am not trying to compare and all that. I just get excited about letting people know God is doing something at the Suncoast.
- We baptized 5 people!!! That is what it is all about!
- We dedicated 5 children!!!
- Another person accepted Christ!!!
- Even though Steve, our worship guy, was out of town the band still cranked it. Thank you guys! We have kind of been taking some hits to the band recently so I was nervous about Sunday, but they did great. We still need a few new people, but the sound has not suffered. Very cool. Great job Steve for getting them ready. We even busted out some Hank Williams Jr for our new series and you could tell people were like... "What... did they just say "...if I get stoned and sing all night long..."
- For the past two weeks I have felt like I did better at the first service than the second, which was my concern that the first might not be my A-game, but I think it just depends on the week. They each will take on a life of their own. No two talks are a like.
- The set up teams keep totally owning the set up even with having to get done quicker now. Tear down gets it done too!!!
- We did some tailgating after the baptisms. Cool. The school installed new video cameras so in some cubical in India they got to watch church people party.
- We had a couple come from Indiana. There pastor sent them to our church because he reads my blog. Wow! What an honor!
This new series is going to be huge I know it. Please, please, please don't miss part two this Sunday guys.
For me personally, I try to read books as much as I can. I am not a big reader, just being honest, so for me two books a year is good. The last book I read was "IT" by Craig Groeschel. I read blogs once a week or so... you can find a list of those from the right. I also constantly listen to other guys preach. I study both the content and the delivery. I also am a part of INCTampa a gathering of local church planters that meets once a month. I always learn from them. I also go to one church conference a year. Last year we went to Drive at Northpoint, took the whole staff and it rocked.
BUT, for the past few months I have felt like I was in a learning rut. I didn't feel like I was learning, I was just reacting. I have never felt like I was a good leader. I never know what to do, again just being honest. A few weeks ago Tony Morgan made an announcement that he was doing another coaching network in South Carolina. I have done coaching before, but never one that was this time and resource intensive. I applied thinking what chance do I have to make the 12 spots. This week I got an e-mail saying I made it! I was pretty pumped. Kind of cool!
My point is this. I had always put off this kind of leadership learning. Several other guys have networks around the country. I have thought about a few, but never felt like it was worth the cash! But, I realize that I need something different. I need to start learning so that I can start leading again. And, sometimes it will cost you! But do it!
I will keep you posted on all I learn.
What learning opportunity have you been putting off because of money or time???
Because we repeat and reflect our family traditions, we must identify and understand those habits or patterns in our life that are destructive. This 5-part series confronts the problems many of us face today because of negative family traditions we have inherited. The process to change takes time, but it is possible. Through God's eyes we have hope and a new perspective on why we do what we do.
Don't miss it!
9:30am & 11am - Rushe Middle School