We left from Titusville, FL after dropping off our dog, Lady, with her her grandparents and drove to Tallahassee. We were just there one evening, so we really only had time to drive around the campus of FSU and have dinner at Andrew's Capital Grill and Bar. We have been there before to see all of the important stuff, so we really had no agenda. I would recommend every Floridian visit our state's capital though, and our nation's capital as well. It is important to know a little history, and I say that as someone who never really did well in history. I never wanted to take the time to memorize all of those names and dates... I wish I had a teacher who had made it interesting (sorry to any former history teacher of mine who might by chance be reading this). :)
We woke up pretty early and spent the day driving through south Georgia to see where my husband's mom is from and where he spent many summers visiting. We also visited some grave yards and spent some time at the tombs of where many of his family was buried. I would recommend taking a trip like this. You learn quite a bit more about your spouse when you can hear stories about their childhood and their family and see where those events took place. Read more...
First of all we have been seeing some really cool things happen over the past few weeks. 3 people have accepted Jesus which makes 11 SINCE Easter!!! That is why we do church! We baptized 3 adults and dedicated one kid two weeks ago. We have some new people serving. AND, we have had 34 first time guests since Easter without any advertising, just invites and word of mouth!
So some go God stuff has been going on! But, our overall numbers have just not been there. So here is what went into the one service decision...
First, every time the numbers dip I freak out, can I be that honest? You tell yourself not too, but I am human! I looked back over last years numbers from this same span of time from Easter until now and we are running the same on Sunday's... BUT, even though this is just the trend of how our attendance goes there is more to it than that. God has been really doing something inside me and I felt it would be disobedient to not go to one for at least this summer. Can't explain it other than to say I want to be obedient as best I know how.
Second, we want our main service to be a safe place for guests to come and feel at ease. The summer is hit or miss crowd wise so with the two services on a low Sunday it was not a safe environment! Kind of like walking into a restaurant when only 5 people are there, makes you wonder right? Have everyone in one service will make even the low weeks of the summer feel safe for a guest we want to treat like a VIP.
Third, summer provides a natural time to do this, it just fits the rhythm of life.
Fourth, since we went to two services in the spring of 2009 we proved we could do it and that was cool. About 1/2 the time we have needed two and the other 1/2 we could have done with one. I like two, BUT again this is about making out guests feel safe, NOT ABOUT US.
Finally, it gives us a chance to rest up our volunteers over the summer. The school said we could not leave anything set up, like in past summers, so we will be doing set up and tear down all summer long. With a 10:30 service we can let our set up peeps come in as late as 8am!!! Dang :-)
A bonus in all this is we can do some fun stuff after the service like a 4th of July celebration (which IS GOING TO BE STINKIN' AWESOME!!!)
If you are a regular at the Suncoast what we need from you is to invite like crazy this summer! You guys are the only marketing we have right now :-) You ARE what makes this place go! You are God's hands and feet and voice. Let's make this summer one we never forget and blow the doors off the place.
I hope you guys heard my heart on Sunday and if you have any questions shoot me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you Sunday @ 10:30am!!! Who ya bringing??? Hopefully your dad for Father's Day... hint, hint!
The second place we want to send some money to is Amazing Love Ministries. We have been volunteering there once a month to help feed the homeless of Tampa. Every week they feed over 300 people!!!
The whole goal of ONE Prayer is the church standing together and using our combined resources to do good! These two ministries do a lot of good. We hope to be a small part of helping them do more good.
to give drop the special ONE Prayer offering envelope into the basket on June 20th or give online HERE.
We basically left the school the way we found it on Sunday morning at 6am. I asked our awesome plant manager to take out some of the cafeteria tables but 1/2 of them were left set up the way they are Mon-Fri. When you walked in it was still a cafeteria. Everyone sat at the tables instead of the normal seats in rows. We even left the trash cans out and everything! (See the video below)
We had a local sign shop make us 36 x 24 signs to put on the walkway poles where a volunteer normally would be. We had signs for greeters, children's ministry and the coffee and donuts! Yes no coffee and donuts! (See the video below)
We actually had the kids come into the service but when the parents went to where they normally check their kids in we gave them a goodie bag with crayons, coloring pages, some candy and a little American flag for Memorial Day. For the most part the kids we well behaved, it was a distraction, but that was the point!
Cardboard Cut Outs.
We also bought some cardboard cut outs to be a fake greeter and tech team. For the tech team they found the 3 Stooges... no comment :-) (See the video to see Mia and the tech team)
We made up some really nasty programs that people had to fold themselves... take a look:
Our staff had little gifts and treats for our current volunteers to show a little love. Some even had a drawing for a $25 gift card. Others gave out food. I had a cooler of drinks and donuts for the set up guys back stage. Little things that made them feel like they were in the know.
Other Creative Stuff.
We tossed out some beach balls during the first song just for fun. I did a posterboard countdown from 10 - 1. We put the offering baskets so the people in the seats had to be their own usher. And, I used a giant notepad for my message notes.
As we have looked back over a couple days now it was a huge win I think. We got new people to volunteer and everyone now knows what we are willing to do each week to make sure our guests feel welcome and like a VIP. To see my message just use the message player at the top of my blog here.
If you are thinking about doing a "No Show Sunday" send me an e-mail. I would love to share what we learned and learn from you as you do it even better! Here is the re-cap video of how it looked: