New Sunday Programs

This week at the Suncoast we roll out a new direction for our Sunday program / bulletins. You can click on the pics below, but the big changes are the size.

They are smaller than a 1/2 page.

They also do not have any announcements in them! "What no announcements?" We realized that no one reads the announcements anyway! So why go through all the time it takes to get them to the printer each week so they can be printed. When people have just one option they are more likely do it. So each week we will make one big announcement from the stage and point them to our website for more info or to the communication card to sign up.

There is also an attached offering envelope to this program. Something we have not done in the past. This way someone giving cash can get credit, and if they want they can mail in their gifts later that week.

Finally, cost was an issue. Since the outside is all that changes we were able to get 5,000 shells done for pennies. Then the only cost is the outside printing for each series and its cover graphics.

Looking Back on April @ the Suncoast

This past Sunday was the final Sunday in April so even though the month has a few more days, for me the month is over as I am getting ready for next Sunday (May 3). So I thought I would put down some random thoughts from April at Church of the Suncoast.
  • First of all God blew my socks off on Easter. We had 215 people and 3 people accepted Christ on that day! That was the first time I had been praying for a number and God not only meet it, He blew it up! I had been praying for 200. Our previous high came in Feb of this year at 175.
  • Another go God is there have been 5 people that have took their first steps with God this month! That never gets old and I never want to just assume that will happen each week. So far this year 15 people have accepted Christ AND there has been 17 Sundays. It happens almost every week but I never want to just gloss over what God does here. Our church is a safe place for people to invite their friends and a place God uses to bring people to Him that some churches just won't. So cool.
  • This month also marked the 3rd Birthday for the Suncoast. We started in April 2006 and if you missed the birthday video click HERE. I don't know how many "true" church plants make it to 3 years anymore? But, I do know God has been faithful to the Suncoast. We don't always get it right. I am not the best leader in the world. We are just now about to hire our first full time staff person (other than me) so we have worked mostly with awesome volunteers, but three years later the Suncoast's best days are ahead of us and we keep growing. We have not had explosive growth in those three years, but there has always been growth and the resources to facilitate that. God does provide when we are obedient.
  • On a personal note this month also marked the start of my coaching network with Tony Morgan in South Carolina. This 6-month network is something I kind of rolled the dice on because I felt like I was getting lazy as a leader. Not lazy as in not doing anything. In fact that is part of the problem. I am DOING TOO MUCH!!! I have been so busy doing that I know it has hurt my leadership. So I am hoping this time investment will pay off in me doing less and learning how to lead wiser!
  • On another personal note this month has been one of the hardest on me. I have just had this nagging gloom kind of hanging over me when it comes to the church. Even though God has been doing some cool things I still get really bummed after each Sunday. Trying to pray through it because I know people see it on my face. It is a thin line between being the positive leader and letting people see the real you. I struggle with that. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve too much. The last thing I want is for my attitude to spill over onto the staff and volunteers and cloud their perspective on what God is up to.
  • Looking forward to May I can't wait to see what happens with the Easter crowd. Will they come back? When? How many? What is next for the Suncoast? What will this summer be like. Will God blow things up like He has the past 2 summers with record numbers? Guess you will just have to come and find out :-)

Insert for Why Worry Series

Here is the insert we put in the program Sunday to kind of re-cap the Why Worry series... click on the insert to expand and print.

Working on a Job Description

We are about to hire our first full time staff person (other than myself) at the Suncoast. We have two part time staff and one volunteer staff member right now for our 3 year old church plant of about 200 people (depending on the weekend). I by nature have a hard time putting things in my head into words. That is why I write out everything I say in my messages. So, when it comes to hiring someone and the need for a job description it has been like pulling teeth for me. But, here is what I have come up with for our next hire:

Title of the position
Director of Ministry Operations

Lead Pastor

Overall responsibility
To build, train, and quip teams of people to do the ministry operations of Church of the Suncoast

Key areas of responsibility

  • Monday - Thursday
  • Do Sunday speakers Power Point
  • Update announcements & communication for print or for website
  • Proof the website after it has been updated by Webmaster
  • Send the weekly e-newsletter
  • E-mail & call your volunteers for Sunday (Greeters, Ushers, Parking, Set Up / Tear Down, Tech)
  • Connect with volunteers
  • Pick up the programs as needed from the printer / fold and stuff the programs as needed
  • Package Sunday gift bundles
  • Maintain the message series cd’s & albums
  • Maintain the info table supplies
  • Enter guest data
  • Monday assimilation mailings (Assimilation system)
  • Maintain office supplies
  • Keep up with staff receipts and meet with our book keeper
  • Take on random projects from the Lead Pastor
  • Dream!!!

  • Run Sunday hospitality and info area set up
  • Meet with greeters, ushers, parking teams
  • Make sure the physical environment is clean and ready to go
  • Make sure volunteers are ready to go
  • Orchestrate elements of the service as needed
  • Recruit new volunteers
  • Run hospitality and info area tear down

    Possible responsibilities
  • Run our Community Groups (Semester system by Nelson Searcy)

Consults with
The Management Team (Key staff)

Term of employment
90-day probation, possible benefits

Must agree and buy into the vision of the Suncoast, Microsoft office, ability to build teams, must have an eye for detail.

That took way longer than it should have but like I said I have a hard time getting things from my head to paper. This person needs to be a leader and not just a doer. The goal for this person is to build teams for this stuff and strengthen the teams we already have in place for greeting, ushering, and the parking lot. I also need someone that can by my face and voice at times so they need to be able to react and respond like I would based on the vision on the Suncoast.

I can't wait to see who God brings... this has been a faith building process for sure!

3rd Birthday Video

Video for our 3rd Birthday Party on Friday Night, 7pm @ the Warehouse.

14426 Black Lake Rd. Odessa, FL. 33556

Easter 2009 Re-Cap (Go God)

All I can say about Easter 2009 is go God! Wow! What a day at Church of the Suncoast!

First some numbers and then some detail:

Attendance - 215
(new record)

Accepted Christ - 3

First Time - 17
Second Time - 10

Now some detail:

The morning started with set up at 6:00am. We had some new stage stuff we rolled out this week and it looked awesome. The band showed up about 8:15am and ran through the set. We did three Lee McDerment songs and ended the service with a Jason Mraz song. Really tough wording but the band did great. We ran through the service about 9am and then time to open the doors to see what happened.

I was very anxious to see how the attendance would be. We have been on spring break this week and the only marketing we did was personal invites and some yard signs we put out over the past two weeks. Things had been low in March after a great January and February so I was secretly praying for 200 people which would have been the first time we crossed into the 200's at our 3 year old church plant.

The first service was obviously less attended than the second but it was a good crowd. In fact the service went so well in the first we put that one online. The second service was packed out!!! First time we had seen the room totally full again after going to two services.

We started a new message series called Why Worry and tied it all into the cross. Three people accepted Christ on Sunday. That never gets old!!! The service run down was like this:

Pre-Service "Need to Know" welcome video, Song - "Our God is Love", Welcome - Gave out some similar series CD's, Songs - "We Stand" & "Overcome", Video about silly worry, Message, Song - "Remedy (Won't Worry about My Life)", Offering w/ Old Hymn Video.

A lot more people stuck around for tear down than I thought and by 1:00pm the trailer was packed and we were rolling out of the school.

To all the volunteers you guys rocked it on Sunday! To all the staff, I noticed how hard you worked and thank you. To everyone that invited someone whether they came or not, you were more like Jesus this week than you even realize!

Will you join me in celebrating all this in prayer and pray that God makes what happened Sunday "sticky" for this week.

Go God!!!

Be Mindful of the Maggots

OK, so I have been reading the Book of Acts for the past few months. Just taking my time and God has really been showing me all kinds of things I have never seen there before. I love how you read the same verse at different times in life and they can take on new life.

One of those times happened this morning. Warning this might make you throw up in your mouth a little. Here is what I came across. This was after Herod made a speech:

"The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with maggots and died." Acts 12:22-23

This hit me for obvious reasons. One I don't want to be eaten with maggots. On my top 5 list of ways I don't want to die that might have taken number one or two now. Can you imagine? Let that scene sink in. Let the smells fill your imagination...

As a pastor and communicator it can be so easy to start believing what people say. You preach your guts out and they tell you how wonderful it was or they send you notes saying how much what we said touched them and changed them and gave them hope and... maggots! How many times do we give that praise back to where it belongs? For me... I hide behind a false humility but really I love it. Who wouldn't.

BUT, all of that praise is only because God gave me a gift, allowed me to work on that gift, and because He shows up when that gift is used. It has nothing to do with me other than my obedience. That is the role I play. I am just obedient.

So the next time someone praises your message make sure you tell them where the praise is due. Be mindful of the maggots!

*** One side note of transparency. For the first four or five weeks when Church of the Suncoast went to two services we saw great numbers and things happening. It was easy to take the credit for that. But, for the month of March we were down and I wanted to blame God. How easy it is to take credit when God moves and then blame Him when things don't "appear" to be moving forward. I think it all goes back to the lessons from this verse!***

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (1)

See more from Tony @


Pressure points. Leading ourselves & leading laterally and leading up…

***We need to be learning but we also need to be building into the leaders around us when we get back. Within our church and outside our church.

Transitioning – style, season, the next level. Pray through it. Have lots of conversation about the vision. Is this just a change or does this help us accomplish the vision. Ask questions hoping people arrive at the same destination together like they came up with it. Spend time getting people on board before you make the big decisions. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Bottom line is you will have to make a decision but press through; you will lose staff / friends, but press on if God has called you. You have to know the people are on the team in these deals. (In really big deals there is credibility to bring in someone from outside) Communication in king!!!

Portable to Permanent. Stay portable as long as possible. Make it as easy as possible on your volunteers. Spend the money to make it easy. When you do move prepare your staff. Pressures change, have greater expectations. Becomes more self – seeking. Might not double as soon as you think in size. Have to figure out the set up team guys and how to involve them. Have to preach vision hard!!! Try to avoid that sense of arriving!

Leading Yourself. God has to do a work in us before He can work in the people we lead. So what needs to change in your life? Are we so wrapped up in ministry that we have abandoned our relationship with Jesus? If we don’t stay healthy we will screw up or burn out. Read Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley.
Steps: God gets our attention, sense of urgency for change. But, we usually skip discipline so it doesn’t stick. Ideas: protect the dinner hour, take a few minutes when you get home if you need it, spend some alone time, put away money for vacations, take a day off each week, movies – escapes…, (our most blessed area is also where we will most be tempted and if we don’t keep God in it we will worry about it!) date night, write down what God is teaching you, wrap up the day with your spouse in bed, prioritize your day and week to give you some down time, pass off your daily stuff like e-mail, calendar, stay up with the culture. Be open to criticism. Don’t forget you are a servant.

Tony’s schedule:

Sunday – Services all day. NO Saturday services for health of staff.

Monday – Thursday daily check in meeting first. Q: “What is the one thing that if you get it done you will feel successful?” Easy way to know what is going on with each other.

Rest of the day:
Senior management team meeting w/o Perry

Then SMT w/ Perry.

Tuesday – Creativity meetings with Perry. No meeting time after that in the afternoon.

Wednesday – Time with his team / staff. Afternoons open for whatever comes up.

Thursday – Morning open. No meeting time in afternoon.

Friday – Day off, get stuff done at home, writing.

Saturday – Day of rest, family day!!!

Blocking off time is NOT natural!!! Some seasons you have to get in there and do it to set the vision but you can’t stay there to be where God wants you. At some point you can’t have “tasks” on your plate anymore. You need an assistant that can do things for you!!! God has wired someone within your church to do this for you and if you don’t find them you are keeping them from doing what God wants them to do. You need to stop doing some things today!!! Some things you love being able to check off your list!!!

Delegation. Do a 60-day contract.

Turnover. Get the right people in the right places! Semesters to try it. Create a place to belong to.

Systems Filter: Do we really need it? Will it make life easier? If we didn’t do this what is the worst thing that would happen?

Leading Up & Leading Among our Peers.

Things Perry Noble most wants in staff people:

· Pray that God puts His vision inside of me (the leader).
· Make sure that you can support that vision.
· Loyalty is priceless.
· Do as much as you can to take things off his plate.
· Always be incredibly honest.
· Encourage me to take time off.

Leading your peers:

For you to understand not only what is going on in your church but those other ministries out there. Help people stay focused! Help people keep things simple! Ask questions rather than give answers. Empower teams (big difference between delegation and empowering them). Realize some people might be “slower” than you like. Be bold. Be truthful. Be loyal to them.

Young Leaders: Pride & Fear – Combat through humility by humbling ourselves before God.

Not Much Blogging This Week

You might have noticed not a lot of blogging this week. I have been getting ready to head to South Carolina for a network with Tony Morgan (live). It is a great opportunity for me and I would love your prayers as Cheryl and I travel and then as I get my brain and heart picked apart so God can build me back up. Not fun, but then growth never is. Can't wait to meet the other guys in the network and see what God does over the next 6-months.

Keep up with what I am learning by following me on twitter: