The Gospel (New Series)

This Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we begin a new 4 part series called "The Gospel." We talk a lot about Jesus at the Suncoast but it is usually within the context of a topic, like marriage like the last series we did. But for the next four weeks there are no gimmicks. No stunts. No bells and whistles. Just the Gospel. The same Gospel that was written over 2,000 years ago. Take a look at the intro:

I hope you will invite some of your neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, anyone who you think needs to hear about Jesus in a clear and compelling way.


I can't tell you why but let's just say it will be something you will never forget and might just make you a little uncomfortable as you get ready to hear "The Gospel".

The Vow (Series Wrap Up)

This past Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we wrapped up our marriage series called "The Vow" with one of the coolest things we have ever done. After the message was over we gave married couples some instructions and the men came down front where we had a big bucket of roses for them to grab one for their wives. The ladies went to the back of the room and waited as a video played. Then the wedding march rang out and they all made their way down the isles to their husbands. We did a quick renewal of the vows ceremony based on the series content and then as they kissed their brides and had a seat we rolled one of the coolest marriage videos we have ever played. It might have lasted 6 or 7 minutes in all BUT I saw men crying. I saw women crying. I saw people taking pictures after it was over like it was their wedding day. We had wedding cake made out of cupcakes on the way out. The whole thing rocked! It emotionally connected the series for people. If you are planning a wedding series I would strongly recommend you do something like this. For info e-mail me:

Thank you Rita for all your help!!!

Tony Morgan Network Notes

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (4)

Pressure Points:

Simple Church (from last time) – What is discipleship? Seacoast has online tools for people to “learn” on their own. What are those tools or intermediate environments to help people learn even though doing is what it is all about not just “knowing”.


Granger’s Message Series Process:

  • SMT – Meets once a year to outline broadly the topics for the year.
  • 3-6 months – Dive into name and theme of series and each week’s topics.
  • 1-2 months – Start pulling in rest of staff for what is coming up so they can coordinate if needed.
  • 1 month – Communications team nails down promo & graphics and look of series. Message titles also done. Marketing if needed for a big push.
  • 2 weeks – Start promo to crowd, print media done, videos done.
  • 1 week – Invite cards into programs and promo to crowd, e-mails, calls, social networking, promo videos, web-updates (if you can get your people excited the community will come)
  • Week Of – Message written, service rolls.

Series Planning Ideas to Kill Your Momentum:
Address questions no one is asking
Scheduling your series to last longer than 6 weeks
Teaching too much in each message (you don’t have to answer all the questions each week)
Teaching truth without application
Assuming the message stands alone (the whole service is a part of the experience)
Don’t tease the next series
Not creatively connecting the Bible with what’s going on in the world
Not sweating the details

Pressure Point: Change Management – We all like change as long as we are the ones making the change. Begins with building relationships of trust. Get the right people around you before you make the “big announcement”. Help them feel like it was their idea. Manage the expectations this might take some time to work out for the better.

Spotlight Topic: Sexual Sin in Church Leadership
Ed Stetzer – Message on Secret Sins
Open DNS to Block Content
Set boundaries to keep from falling


Look at branding series over the church, people don’t really care about the church on the front end.
Certain environments within the church you have to let them create their own brand… like Student Ministry, kids ministry.
Don’t promote sub-brands without also promoting it as part of the parent brand… “a ministry of NewSpring Church.”
Limit your sub-brands, only a few.

Marketing Mistakes:

Advertising the church, no one cares!
Making promises they can’t keep.
Make sure your follow up system is in place before the marketing.
Trying to be all things to all people. Older audiences will plug into younger programming, but younger audiences won’t plug into older programming.


Better to compare year to year than week to week. Best time for a big push is when you know there will be success, like the Fall. Provide cushion in funds for the summer months, push online giving in the spring. Begin your ramp up in August not after Labor Day.

My Wife's Thoughts

My wife just started blogging and she is still working on how to "create" one, but DANG! Read her first post!!!

Vow Homework (Part 3)

OK, so Sunday came and went and in my talk I really didn't get into this week's homework much so here it is:

The vow of partnership

We, not me. The vow of partnership says our marriage will be about we and not me. It’s the foundation for a marriage based on mutual commitment—a marriage that’s built to go the distance. But what does partnership really look like on a day-to-day basis? Let these ideas help you begin to see ways you can serve your spouse throughout your marriage.

The Complete Package
Did you ever consider that some of the characteristics you love most about your spouse might come from the same place as the things that get under your skin? Maybe you enjoy his spontaneous, carefree nature but get frustrated by his lack of planning and organization. Perhaps you appreciate her perceptive take on your experiences at work, but wish she wasn’t so sensitive at home. There’s no a la carte menu when it comes to marriage—your spouse is a package deal. This week, take some time to discuss your differences with your spouse. How can God use those differences to complete you two as one? How are you are uniquely gifted to serve your spouse? What can you do this week to put those gifts into action?

Uncovering Your Family Identity
Here’s a great topic for dinner conversation this week: what defines you as a family? Successful families have a vision that is driven by core values. What are four to seven values that drive you (or should drive you)? Think of things like generosity, compassion, integrity, etc. Then, find a way to creatively document these values and revisit them regularly to stay on track.

Apology Expected

The fine art of apology is a marital must. Learning how to do it well can transform your relationship. Yet if we’re really honest, many of us would say we struggle with apologizing. Here’s the cool thing about apology: it’s something all of us can learn…and marriage gives us the perfect environment to practice our new skill! There are lots of great resources available to help (some as close as a quick “how to apologize” web search). Here are a few basic pieces to a sincere apology:

  1. Describe the situation – who, when, where, what you did.
  2. Acknowledge the damage done and the feelings you caused.
  3. Say what you should have done differently.
  4. Commit to changing your behavior and ask for forgiveness.

United Front

In marriage, submitting to each other is a commitment to being on the same page as your spouse. It doesn’t mean you’ll always agree, but you’re willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get there. Are there areas in your marriage where you and your spouse are more untied than united? Sex? Money? Kids? What can the two of you do to tackle those issues? If you just can’t see eye-to-eye, don’t overlook the tremendous value in seeing a Christian counselor. ( They can help you work out the kinks in your relationship.

The VOW (Update)

We are at the 1/2 way point in our marriage series called "The Vow" and if you were not there Sunday your homework this week was the:

No, you will not get a virus if you head to that site. We started this site back in January to help married couples with intimacy. And after Sunday's "Vow of Pursuit" we rolled it back out. So do your homework! :-)

ALSO, the final week of the series we will be having wedding cake and giving couples a chance to renew their vows. Still working on the logistics of that, but I encourage you to renew them with us on Sunday, July 26th at Church of the Suncoast. Stay tuned for more info.

If you missed either part of this powerful series on relationships check out the podcast HERE. You can also watch the talks HERE.

Bring some people with you Sunday for Part 3!

The Numbers

Yesterday at Church of the Suncoast was a day for the numbers... Here is why church planting is so hard to find trends in the numbers.

We had terrible adult numbers, been a while since we were that low!

We had close to record children's numbers!

We had a terrible offering!!!

We had 12 first time guests! Normally, we have about 6 or 7 per week.

So what does that mean? Who knows. Here is what I have learned finally after 3 years of this. Watch the numbers. Look for trends. Find patterns. BUT, don't kill yourself over them! Was I bummed after the two services yesterday that could have fit into one. YES! Did I want to go out and find a "real" job. Yes. As a church planter you always take the numbers personal.

BUT, the vision is still here. Lives are still being changed, like crazy change is going on. People heading for hell are now heading to spend forever with their Heavenly Father. God still provides and I am not going to kill myself over the numbers. Numbers are important, but reading beyond them is sometimes even more important.

Hang in there these summer months church leader!

5 Learnings on Hiring

Right now at Church of the Suncoast we are in the process of hiring our next full time person and here are a few things I am learning along the way:
  1. Take it slow! I don't know what slow is for you, but for me slow is like a week. I am always in a hurry so for this hire I have spent about 3 months testing the waters. Take it slow! Especially, if this new hire is from outside your church. You need to get to know them and they need to get to know you and your ministry.
  2. Make sure you like them! You will be spending more time with them than your spouse potentially so make sure you like them!!! Really, I can't make this point enough. If you would not spend the day with them on your "off" day then don't hire them. May seem kind of shallow, but it is true.
  3. Check with your wife / or husband. My wife and I have been in the process of getting to know our new potential hire and after every meeting I check with my wife. Don't hire someone your spouse doesn't like either!
  4. Check references. I know that sounds kind of elementary but I can't even begin to tell you the number of places that hire without doing some digging. ALONG with that I would also do a BACKGROUND CHECK just to make sure this person is who you think they are.
  5. Read Their Social Media. Now, I know some people might find this to be an invasion of privacy, but if they put it on a blog, a tweet, on a video then they meant it to be seen. So find out what they say, tweet, check their facebook page, snoop around. Jesus said to be as wise as a fox!!!

I hope to let the cat out of the bag in the next week about who the newest member of the Suncoast staff is... stay tuned!

The Vow (7 Days of Prayer)

The vow of Priority is one of the four vows that can help our marriage last a lifetime. It means God is our #1 priority and our spouse is my #2. So here’s a challenge for this week that brings your top two priorities together: spend the next seven days praying with your spouse. Below, you’ll find tools to make it easy. And, singles, you’re included too! Check out the guide below to see how you can take part.

Day 1: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33

Couples and singles: God, we pray that you’d be first in every area of our lives. Please show us what that looks like and we can make you our #1 on a daily basis.

Day 2: You shall have no other gods before me. Ex 20:3

Couples: God, we pray that our relationship with you would come before any other and that it would provide our ultimate fulfillment. Please allow our marriage to reflect the overflow of our individual relationships with you.

Singles: God, I pray that you’d use this season in my life to strengthen my relationship with you. Please help me find my ultimate fulfillment in you.

Day 3: And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment… Philippians 1:9

Couples and singles: God, we pray that you would help us see what needs to change to make you first in our lives. Please give us the strength to make those changes.

Day 4: With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without… 2 Corinthians 7:1

Couples: God, we pray that you’d help us protect our priorities. Please empower us to move beyond the distractions that pull us away from our relationship with you and each other.

Singles: God, please help me guard your #1 spot in my life. I pray that you’d empower me to avoid distractions and guide me to the opportunities and relationships you want me to pursue.

Day 5: So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:19

Couples: God, we pray that we would encourage each other to keep you #1 in our lives. Please lead us as we lead each other back to you.

Singles: God, I pray that you would bless me with relationships that support me in keeping you as my first priority. Please show me how to encourage my friends as well.

Day 6 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus… Romans 15:5

Couples: God, we pray that your priorities would become patterns in our lives. Please guide us to communicate about these things regularly and keep us on the same page as a couple.

Singles: God, today I pray for my future #2. Please guide me to someone who is of the same mind when it comes to you, and please prepare me to welcome that person into my life.

Day 7: And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you… 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Couples: God, we pray that as we honor you in our lives, we would be blessed with renewal, peace, and joy. Please allow your priorities to lead us to a stronger and healthier relationship with you and each other.

Singles: God, as I honor you and wait for #2, I pray that you would bless me with renewal, peace, and joy. Please fill this season of my life with your abundance.


If you’re new to the idea of praying with your spouse, this is an ideal opportunity to begin. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Just find a quiet time of day, get comfortable, take turns praying out loud, speak simply, and keep it to a reasonable amount of time. For couples who pray together, fewer than 1% of those relationships end up in divorce. Connecting with God together is worth the investment!

The Vow (Marriage Series Begins)

This Sunday at Church of the Suncoast we begin a new series for the month of July called "The Vow". If you are in the Tampa Bay area I challenge you to make this series a priority this summer. Here is why:

Nearly 70% of married men & 60% of married women have affairs.

In the U.S. less than half of the married couples will stay married for 15 years.

Let those numbers sink in for a minute! That is why we talk about marriage at the Suncoast and why I hope you will be a part of this new series for the month of July. Oh, and bring your spouse!!! Singles you need this too!!!

9:30am & 11:00am
Rushe Middle School
Land O' Lakes, FL

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