New Direction for the Suncoast

July 10th and 11th I took the staff at the church and their families over to the JW Marriott in Orlando for our staff retreat. First of all it was an awesome time to just hang out as friends and people and refresh... not as staff and all the business talk. Suncoast you are blessed with some awesome people leading! BUT, Monday we huddled up and spent the day seeking God's direction for the church and learning some new things about momentum and about how to close the back door of our church. We had some really hard conversations, honest ones, and I wanted to share with you some of what came out of that retreat.

The first thing, which we have talked about already this year a couple of times and made public, was the need for a new location/building. There are a lot of reasons why, but the bottom line is we are actively looking for a new place to call home. Ideally, this would be something much more permanent where we didn't have to set up and tear down and do church in a trailer. A few doors have opened and others have shut, but we are looking! The area we are looking for is from Collier Parkway to Gunn Highway along SR 54 just to give you an idea.

Another thing that came out of it was about me, specifically that I do too much. I know some of you wonder what a pastor does all week, but I spend my time split between planning the weekend service, doing the daily operations of the church, preparing messages, being the "shepherd" and the thing that gets pushed to the side is being the leader. AND, to be honest someone can do everything I do except lead and preach. That is where I am most effective. So, I need to hand off a lot of what I do. Right now we are looking to bring on staff a programming director who would plan and prepare and execute the Sunday service. Rita and Crystal do a great job with their areas and Steve leads the band, but all of the other elements of the service itself would fall under this persons responsibilities. This would allow me to spend my time preparing my message and actually lead. You can't work on your church if you are too busy working in your church! If we are going to get better as a church then I need to stop being the bottle neck!

The last thing was I need to stop doing set up. So, we need two more guys to jump in and be on the team. It is an every other week commitment and we get going at 7:30am at the school. E-mail me at brian@canthisbechurch.com if you are interested.

There were other "tweaks" that came out of the retreat that we will be talking about soon, but wanted to share these three with you. I think it could be an exciting fall at the Suncoast :-)

Church of the Suncoast APP

If you have an Andriod phone you can now get the Church of the Suncoast APP and it is FREE :-) Check it out here:

The Suncoast APP

FOR iPHONE PEEPS: you can get the same content here as a mobile site:

http://m.canthisbechurch.com/ - Save as a fav

Here is what you get from the APP and the mobile site:


  • Send prayer request

  • Give online

  • Watch video messages

  • Listen to podcast

Check it out today! Thank you Josh for putting all this together! Way cool!

The Sunday That Was (July 24)

The weekend got off to a great start Friday night at "Hot Summer Nights". Well, it was great until Mike nailed me in the head with the giant jousting deal. My neck is still stiff! BUT, it was a BLAST! I don't know what the total count was but people were all over the place! It was a great event to make some of those "outside of Sunday" connections. (Our fall run of NEXT Groups is another chance so be ready to sign up in August) Thank you to Rita, Henry, Crystal and Keith for all your help.

Sunday at the Suncoast was part 3 of our "Go Fish" series. I am still convinced this is the best series of messages we have ever done. This is so huge, so focus shifting for Christ-Followers! AND, we have had 7 people accept Christ over the past few weeks!!! Go God! Leave it to God to bring people to Him during a series about His followers "fishing". The main points from Sunday were:


  • Most of us don't fish because we are afraid, "What if they ask a hard question, what if they freak out, what if they fire me, what if things get awkward?"

  • BUT, drawing from Acts 4... God is Sovereign and in control, He has also invited us to be a part of His story in our generation, so why be afraid?

  • We should ask God to make us BOLDER! (and in fact that was the homework. Start praying for one week, "God, enable me to speak your word with great boldness.")

We also had an amazing video to set the message up, take a look:


video

A big thanks to the greeters for standing out in the July heat! I hope you guys get how important you are to the mission of our church. You are the first impression a guest has! You let them know this is a safe, welcoming place. Keep your eyes on the vision this summer :-) You guys rock.


Well, that was Sunday. Check back later in the week for some news from the staff retreat a couple weeks ago. Do your homework! Throw this in at the end of your prayers, "God, enable me to speak your word with GREAT BOLDNESS."


PS - Be "fishing" for the fall launch on August 21st! Grab some of the new invite cards!

Invite Cards for the Fall Launch

Every year we have a big fall kick off once school gets back into the groove. This year we will kick off the day before school starts on August 21st. We are starting a new series called "Life at the Redline" and there will be lots of fun pre and post service like we did on Father's Day and other big Sundays. Grab some of these great looking invite cards starting THIS Sunday at the Suncoast!

Hot Summer Nights, Friday 7pm

This Friday night, 7pm at the Warehouse (14426 Black Lake Rd. Odessa, FL 33556) we are having something called "Hot Summer Nights". We got real creative with the name being that is is July in the Tampa Bay Area! Right now here is the line up for the whole family:


  • Giant 20ft tall water slide

  • Giant inflatable jousting

  • Cornhole contest

  • Putting green

  • Basketball

  • Wii

  • FREE hotdogs, burgers and drinks

I think that is the big stuff... it is going to be a lot of fun. DO ME A FAVOR SUNCOAST! Bring someone with you.


Don't miss "Go Fish" part 3 on Sunday and next week I am going to be sharing some of the things that came out of our staff retreat last week. Stay tuned for that!

The Sunday That Was (July 17)

The set up guys and staff were stoked this Sunday because we got to leave everything set up from the week before! This used to be a month long treat in past years but it seems to be getting harder and harder to find weeks when we can leave our stuff set up at the school. I love the set up guys and gals though. We all owe them a lot of thanks and appreciation during these HOT summer months.

We were in the second part of the new series "Go Fish" and the message was all about why we have to "fish" as followers. If you missed the message, it will be up on our website www.CanThisBeChurch.com or here on my blog by Monday late afternoon. The big idea was we have to "fish" because the message of Jesus, salvation and forgiveness, is not intuitive. The message of Christianity is not based in experience, it is based in history, the resurrection of Jesus. AND, you don't know history until someone tells you! So, we have to fish! We have to tell, we have to open our mouths and talk about Jesus for people to know.

We are giving away a free fishing trip for two to go along with the "Go Fish" series and the only way to get signed up is by attending on Sundays. The more you come, the more chances you have to win! (Yes this is how we get people to come to church in the summer)

The band did a great job with a new song called "Awakening." We will be doing it again this week if you missed it. Great song, catchy, you will be singing it later in the week.

THIS FRIDAY NIGHT at the Warehouse we are having a big event called "Hot Summer Nights". We will have a giant 20-foot tall water slide, food, cornhole contest, and a bunch of other stuff. Bring the fam at 7pm and plan on having a great time cooling off!

Finally, some big vision stuff going on right now, so please be praying for the staff and I as we seek God's direction about what is next for the Suncoast. You guys rock! See you for Hot Summer Nights!

A Suncoaster's Letter (The Homework)

Dear Mom,

I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for providing me with a strong foundation of faith. My pastor this week was talking about the moment you discovered faith and I couldn’t think of a day I didn’t have faith. So I thank you for all the things you taught me as a child! Even though we didn’t attend church much, you always taught us to pray at bed time, you tried to teach us Bible stories in the living room, you always showed us Gods love. Yes, I attended church classes when I was older, but they did not make me who I am today. So I thank you for the greatest gift a mother can give… the gift of Faith in Jesus!

I am so blessed, I know God has been with me my whole life, I remember praying to him on so many nights as a child and every step of my life. I have had many people help me develop my faith and lead me to take steps of faith that I never thought I would do. I know God placed _____ and _____ in my life for a reason, they also helped me grow and see God and Faith in a different light. I so miss them, but I know they are with me. My church has of course, helped me soar. I know God has perfect timing and I believe the day I received the flyer that lead me to attend to the Suncoast for the first time was part of his plan. It’s the perfect fit! I count my blessing each and every day! So I thank you with all my heart for planting the seeds and helping them grow!

I love you MOM!
Your Daughter

Homework from Sunday

This past Sunday we started a new series that I honestly believe will be the most important thing we talk about all year! That doesn't mean you can skip the rest of the year after this series... The series is called "Go Fish" and if you missed it you can watch it here on my blog at the upper right corner.

At the end of the message I gave everyone some homework. The homework was to write a quick letter to the person or group of people that God used to strategically bring you to faith, or back to faith. The person or group of people that told you the message of Jesus and it "stuck". We said most of us have heard the message of Jesus so there was something unique about the messenger God used, and this letter reminds us:


  1. We were all "fish" once!

  2. We are so glad this person took a chance, got up the courage, and invited us, gave us a book, told us about their faith. We are glad they told us, not mad about it.

  3. If it was not for this person (don't get all theological on me) we might still be a "fish" wandering in the depths trying to make sense out of life.

So, have you written your letter yet? I wrote mine to my parents. I have not sent it to them yet, but I plan on doing so. You can give it to the person, but you don't have to! The point is for us to remember what it is like to do for someone else what someone did for us.


If you have a letter you would like me to post on my blog e-mail me at brian@canthisbechurch.com


See you Sunday for part two of "Go Fish"

New Direction for This Blog

It has been a few months since I last blogged. At first I did a social media fast to spend more time focused on my relationship with God. Since then I have slowly started to twitter more and even an occasional facebook post or comment. AND, after some thought I have decided to go in a new direction with my blog.

Starting this week I will focus on things mainly for my church, Church of the Suncoast. I will be doing re-caps from the following Sunday, talking about upcoming events, sharing thoughts for our people, and casting the vision for the Suncoast. In the past I have shared ministry insights and creative resources hoping to share with others what I have been blessed with, usually by someone else, but for now, for this season, my goal will be to build up and equip the people that call the Suncoast home.

Look for a couple, maybe even three, post a week from here on out. It will likely be on Monday's and Wednesday's, or Thursday's.

Thanks for reading my blog and if you are a pastor or church leader please feel free to ask for anything, my e-mail is brian@canthisbechurch.com