Getting a Gun Pulled On You!

In 2007 we did a series at Church of the Suncoast called "The Dangerous Church". This past Sunday I found out just how true that statement was.

At about 6am on Sunday morning I was pushing a cart full of sound gear through the cafeteria of the school we meet in with the custodian. We were joking and carrying on, talking about an operation he has coming up when out of no where the side two doors fly open and two Pasco Counties Sheriffs pull their weapons and aim them at us and yell "Freeze, identify yourselves!!!" Guns still pointed at my head and the flashlight in my eyes. It was a surreal moment. I have never had a real gun pulled on me. Had a few BB guns aimed at me, but never a live weapon aimed at my head and a guy with his finger on the trigger. It might have only been one step but it seems like I took a number of steps after that "Freeze" as my brain tried to come to terms with the situation. Glad I didn't get shot!

The custodian told the officers that he worked for the school and that seemed to be OK to them and they lowered their weapons... I went and changed my shorts and finished pushing the cart to the stage.

Turns out a coach had left a door open the night before and it set some alarm off, one that never was sent to the custodian. So they cops had been in the building for 45 minutes trying to find the perps. Guess they were following procedure, but DANG!

I wish I had some deep spiritual tie in now or some leadership thought, but really I just had a gun pulled on me!

Help me write the rest. Leave a comment and I will write the application later this week.

Tony Morgan Network Notes

Tony Morgan Coaching Network (5)

[All Marketers Are Liars]

You can no longer force people to pay attention. How do you apply? Free gifts to your people… T-shirts, bracelets. Increase the touches a person gets with your stuff everywhere they go.

When we encounter something for the first time we compare to status quo, if not new we ignore it. Multi-site is something new in a community. New signage. Your people doing something different or unusual.

If a consumer figures it out on their own they believe it 1,000 times more than if you are marketing it to them. Application?

Your goal should not be to create a story that is quick, or has no risk; boredom will not help you grow. When you are telling your own people about something within your church are you giving information or telling a story about groups???

[Discipleship Strategy]

Things God Uses in All Our Lives to Grow Us Up

Practical Teaching
Providential Relationships
Personal Disciplines
Personal Ministry
Pivotal Circumstances

We have to create the chance for this, but we can’t create a lot of these. People have to be responsible for their own development too! Not just dependant on the church alone.

Keep the end game in mind… what does a fully devoted follower of Christ look like? Have to know that before you can move people towards it or even track people’s progress.

Some thoughts on changing the discipleship culture within the church overall since most churches are not really discipling people:

We have to let go of control as the church and simply create opportunities for the above 5 Things to happen. We need to help our people take ownership of their own growth too. We need to capitalize that people have relationships already outside the church and are really busy so this must be simple and repeatable. The church is not the center of our culture any longer. So we need to help people not compartmentalize church from the rest of our lives.

Membership: Clarify mission and vision for it. Adds accountability. Need to decide what membership gains a person. What are the requirements? Does it have a term limit?

Budget: In the good times build about 3 – 6 months of cash reserves. The lean times might actually help cut staff not needed and to stop doing things we didn’t need to be doing. Make sure staffing is less than 50% of the overall budget. 100:1 – One staff person for every 100 people. 30% or less on facilities. 10% Church tithe. If things are bad enough then you have to go for the ASK! Just be honest with your people and tell them your need.


Serving / Total Attendance = 35% – 45% is healthy.

Ways to Boost Volunteerism:

  • Think Volunteers before Staff
  • Hire Leaders NOT Doers
  • Stay Focused, What Needs to be Done?
  • Don’t Fill Roles, Where Does This Person Belong? (Ability / Availability)
  • Teach Shoulder Tap to Current Volunteers… “Can You Do This for Me, Then Follow Up”
  • Make the ASK Personal, One on One
  • Learn How to Train on the Fly, People Are Busy
  • Empowering Volunteers
  • Sometimes You Need to Fire Some Volunteers, Just Because they are Volunteering they Still Have to Be Accountable for the Job
  • Make sure you share stories, Their Service Matters

Other Thoughts: This is part of your spiritual journey. Show appreciation. Give people a break, create an openness before burnout. Semesters… mini-training and mini-party.

Telling Your Story

So what story does your church tell? Have you ever thought about that? What does your logo, colors, first impression, signage, greeters, print publications, music, message... all of it. What story does it tell the people who are making a split second decision if they are going to buy into your church enough to come back the next week?

Most of us make our minds up about something in a matter of minutes and many times for not real rational reasons. You like Coke and not Pepsi not because of taste but because of the story you have told yourself about both of them and that story was arrived at in a matter of seconds or minutes way back when and nothing will get you to change your mind. You now have even made up new stories to back up your initial choice of one over the other.

So take that and apply it to your church. What are story are people going to tell themselves about you? I would encourage you to think that over and ask yourself one question... is it authentic all the way through? Or does your website look better than your church. Does your music not fit your message. Does your building not fit the style of service that goes on there??? Are you at least telling an authentic story? And if so, then what is that story?

Food for thought... what say you? Leave a comment by clicking on the word "Comments" below.

Be Anal

Yes you read that right. Be Anal! For years people have made fun of my analness. I am the guy that sees a chair not straight and will go fix it in our rented worship space. I am the guy that puts all kinds of time into finding the right music for different elements of a service. And, for a while I thought maybe I need to just let it go, but NO! Be anal.

In the book I am reading right now called "All Marketers Are Liars" by Seth Godin I came across this and boom it hit me... this is why I am this way. This is why I am this way at church but not in other areas of my life. Just ask my wife:

"This is why fonts, web design, photography (I would add all those other things like colors, sounds, design, layout...) are so important. Why it matters how your sales force dresses and speaks. When Pat Holt strings together a list of words not to overuse... she's not being a stickler for formality or grammer. Instead she's reminding us that words matter, that poor word use (or any other thing done poorly) is just a red flag for someone who wants to already ignore you."

Read that again and then put into the frame of the Gospel. Each week we are communicating the most important message in the world to people hopefully that already want to ignore us because they are just starting to kick the tires of faith. My point: Be Anal!

Spend time making sure your physical environment is done well and not half A__ed. If something is not straight, take 3 seconds and fix it! What story are your colors telling? What are your fonts like? What kind of mood is your music setting? What are your greeters wearing??? Be anal, not to be a "stickler" but because all it takes is one red flag, even unintentionally, for someone who already wants to ignore your message to do just that.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment by clicking on "comments" below:

Do You Show Your Boobs?

Here is my wife's latest post from her new blog:

Women and Modesty
This is a tough one... you want to look nice for your husband, but you don't want to look too nice for everyone else's husband... where do you draw the line? What do you consider to be immodest?My thoughts:When I try on new clothes and get dressed in the morning, if I lift my arms up and my stomach shows, I don't wear it; if I bend over and a butt cheek falls out, I don't wear it; if I lean over and you can see my boobs, I don't wear it; if it is so tight I have trouble breathing, I don't wear it. Let me tell what I do wear. I wear clothes that look nice on my body type without revealing too much. I wear clothes that I feel good in. I wear clothes that are comfortable. I wear clothes that let people know that I am a lady without showing them what I got...

To read the full post click HERE

More Thoughts on Systems

SystemA way of doing things.

Is your organization people driven or system driven?

Orchestration is the elimination of discretion, or choice, at the operating level of your organization.

Discretion is the enemy of order, standardization, and quality. If something works you do it every single time.

You can’t ask too many questions of the numbers.

The next time you want someone to do something for you, walk over and touch them softly on the back of the arm. People respond better to touch.

Documentation provides your people with the structure they need and a written account of how to “get the job done” in the most efficient and effective way. It communicates to new employees, as well as old, that there is a logic to the world in which they have chosen to work, that there is a technology by which results are produced.

An organizations operations manual is best described as their How-to-Do-It-Guide. It specifies the steps needed to be taken while doing that work, and summarizes the standards associated with both the process and results.

An organization that looks orderly says to your customers that your people know what they are doing. An organization that looks orderly says to your people that know what you are doing. An organization that looks orderly says that while the world may not work, some things can. An organization that looks orderly says to your customers that they can trust in the results delivered and assures your people that they can trust in their future with you.

You will be forced to find a system that leverages your “ordinary” people to the point where they can produce extraordinary results over and over again. You will be forced to invent innovative system solutions to the people problems that have plagued organizations since the beginning of time.

In an organization that relies on employee discretion “How do I motivate my people” becomes the constant question.

Blown Away!!! Time for Cake!

Over the past two weeks at Church of the Suncoast we have seen 5 people accept Jesus as a part of our new series "The Gospel". That always gets me jacked up! Since we started the Suncoast a little over 3 years ago we have seen 130+ people accept Jesus, think about that! 130 people have taken their first steps with God here because we have simply tried to create an environment where God can come and do His thing. We don't always get that right and we are FAR from perfect but that blows me away! Go God!!!

So at our Management Team (staff) meeting tomorrow we are having cake to celebrate these 5 new births into God's family. I hope you personally will celebrate this week at the life-change God is doing here at the Suncoast through this series of talks.

Thank you for inviting people, thanks for serving, thanks for giving to fuel what we are trying to do here. We all are busy and money is tight for everyone but you guys make sure our environments are staffed with volunteers and we are able to hire new staff and keep the lights on. Go God!!!

Working on Systems

Right now at Church of the Suncoast my goal is to work on our systems. And, my goal is to get our staff thinking systems. When I say systems let me give you some idea of what I am talking about.

Right now you can go into a McDonalds in Odessa, FL and walk into one in Tempe, Arizona and get the same exact experience for the most part. I mean only small differences. That is one of the things that makes McDonalds such a huge success, in fact 10% of every food purchase in our country is at McDonalds!!! BUT, the amazing thing is you can get the same experience no matter where you go. Which when you think about it is crazy because you can take unqualified and unmotivated teenagers and if you stick to the systems you can get a known result almost every time. Those are the kind of things I am talking about. The people don't make McDonalds great, the systems make it great.

So, is it possible to take the systems of a church and work on them to such a level that you can put in any arrangement of people with all different levels of skill and motivation and get a known result almost every time. AND, can you do that in such a way that you create not just a task on a Sunday, but create a freedom within a framework that gives them life. Can you create a game they want to play even though you have worked it in such a way that you know the outcome every time.

That is my passion right now and what is getting my attention and thoughts. Not that people who serve at my church or any church are unqualified like the teens at McDonalds! But, can we do our church in such a way that it is almost like a franchise someone could walk into and just work the systems and get a known result even if they knew next to nothing about "doing church".

We will see, fun to think about and work on... what say you? Leave a comment with your thoughts about systems.

The Gospel (Week One Update)

Wow, what a cool deal on Sunday at Church of the Suncoast. Sunday was the first part of a series we are doing simply called "The Gospel" and we took a chance and rolled out AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" to open the service. Thanks to the NewSpring guys for the videos to wrap the song. From there we went right into the message and then we put some "worship" songs at the end as a chance for people to respond to the talk. The best part was 2 people accepted Christ on Sunday and that always makes it a win at the Suncoast. We will roll out part two this Sunday and then after this series is over we will do a special baptism celebration on August 30th. I know God did a lot more than can ever be measured on Sunday so I can't wait to get back at it this Sunday to celebrate all that and talk about another part of the Gospel of Jesus.

Be praying for this series guys!!!