creating culture

16 04 2007

Mark Batterson always challenges me – this is a guy that you must add to your RSS feeder or Bloglines list if he’s not there already.

Below is a quote from his blog today – this is timely and timeless information.

Church and Culture

As I see it, the church has four options when it comes to engaging culture: 1) ignore it, 2) imitate it, 3) condemn it, or 4) create it. And each option leads in polar opposite directions.

We can ignore culture, but the byproduct of ignorance is irrelevance. The more we ignore culture the more irrelevant we’ll become. And if the church ignores the culture, the culture will ignore the church.

We can imitate culture, but imitation is a form of suicide. Originality is sacrificed on the altar of cultural conformity. If we don’t shape the culture, the culture will shape us.

We can condemn culture, but condemnation is a cop out. Let me just call it what it is: condemnation is spiritual laziness. We’ve got to stop pointing the finger and start offering better alternatives. If the church condemns the culture, the culture will condemn the church.

Those three options will lead the church down a dead-end road to irrelevance, but there is another option–the only option if we’re serious about fulfilling the Great Commission and incarnating the gospel. We can compete for culture by creating culture.

In the immortal words of the Italian artist and poet, Michelangelo: criticize by creating.

At the end of the day, the culture will treat the church the way the church treats the culture. And we’re not called to condemn. We’re called to redeem.

Enough said…


comic relief and sunday night download

15 04 2007

first, really need to give a shout out to our first impressions teams, our care teams, and our children’s teams-today they executed with love and excellence…our worship team was on target today with a great worship set…pastor mel’s sermon was overwhelmingly on target from everyone i’ve talked to – i’ll be listening to it tomorrow in the am…so, to all the cotn volunteers and staff – thanks!

second, time for some comic relief …tony is a church planter meeting down at the mall of georgia…just found out that he is the one that married a key couple in our church…keep your eye on millcreek!

third, we’re in the final stretch of fpu…really glad…this has been a great group of people and i really think they’re getting it!

fourth, had a great discussion with guy and todd…i love dreaming with people that know how to do so out of the box…i believe greater days lie ahead for cotn because of the things He’s putting into the hearts of people…

i’m watching the apprentice right now…i really want to do this show! donald, if you ever read this, at least consider me…i’d love to do this show…i told pastor mel this last week one day at lunch and he totally agreed that he could see me on there…hmmmm, think that’s a good thing or bad one…i’ll take it as a good one (that was his intent). plus, i really believe that the greatest message in the world, deserves the greatest marketing and promotion in the world…why not let the platform be a national one?

finally, it’s going to be a great week…

check out time…

10 04 2007

Just came across this on NewSpring’s website – what a great thing!

Yet another church opening up their experience and their resources to serve the Body of Christ – I love it!

If you have time, check out the two main sessions that Perry teaches on video, there’s also some of their music and prayer time on there if you want to enjoy it. Thanks Tony for making us aware of these things…really, and I mean REALLY appreciate the heart that these guys at NewSpring have for the Body of Chris.

Here are the two video links:

Morning Session

Afternoon Session

And, here are a ton of resources that are pdf’s available for download – as I always say, skim over the top of it and pick up the nuggets that are best for your situation:

Breakout Session PDF
Blogging and Communications
Creating Excellent Experiences for Children
Creating Community in a Large Church
Financially Equipping Your Congregation
Production Team FAQ
Senior Pastors Only
Staffing for Success
Student Ministry
The NewSpring Experience
The Volunteer Experience

so stoked!

5 04 2007

so stoked about several things:

  1. easter’s just 4 days away – i believe God is bringing breakthrough as He did that powerful day!
  2. this has been a great week of keeping in mind all the Christ went through to pay in full the price of my (and your) salvation
  3. my kids are on spring break which means we stay up later and life is funner…get over the grammer
  4. easter is soon upon us – their is hope, their is life, their IS resurrection – let us not forget!
  5. michael hyatt read my post yesterday and commented – wow! – the wonders of the internet. seriously, he did comment (which is cool), but I really meant what I said about his blog – always consistently solid material – sub to it now!
  6. easter sunday WILL be powerful – the set, the drama, the music are crazy cool – BE HERE!
  7. i just found out that I’m in the top 200,000 blogs that technorati is tracking – ok, my blog rank was 104,993 – that’s almost the top 100,000 – oh, how i remember the days of not even being able to break the 500,000 mark – btw, technorati is more than likely hope michael was able to track my comments – really cool though that he took time to comment though
  8. in case you missed it, easter sunday is just 4 days away – i look forward to this powerful time of year where we remember the sacrifice of our Lord and the life He made possible
  9. life is full – quantity and quality of life is really great right now – that’s what Christ brings because He brings “life more abundantly”
  10. easter in 4…see you then…

entertainment vs. event-ment

4 04 2007

i was in a contemplative state of mind this morning (really, that’s code for sleepy!) and was thinking about the blogs that I track. many of them are church planters and they’re getting it done! i love the passion, the creativity, the zeal and the vision these guys exude. their sermon series, their methods of ministry, their communication all stick with the message, but in a fresh way. then something struck me…(after my first cup of coffee)…

i’ve seen it said on various blogs that the opposite of entertainment is boredom…and, i’ve bought that statement. in fact, i, for the most part, agree with it. i’d rather you NOT be bored as i minister, as i lead, as i teach or as i preach. i want you to be engaged…i want US to be engaged. so, i decided to do a quick look up of the word ‘entertainment’ – this is what i found...”noun – an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention.” hmmm, well, that’s what i want to happen – as i communicate the powerful message of the gospel, i want to be able to hold the attention of people…but, what if?

what if, with all of the focus on what we call ‘seeker’ we’ve really created nothing more than an event to go to? we’ve packaged church services so that they are entertaining (yes, they hold attention, which we want), but also they’ve become what i call ‘event-ment’ – whereby people only attend because of the event? is this wrong? is it so bad to go to church because, “you never know what’s going to happen” (which is true for most of life)? is it wrong for peole to view church as an event? what is our theology of ‘church’ becoming when we reduce it to an event in people’s PDA’s?

what if my trip to the georgia dome on monday night was viewed as only an event? how sad! here’s why…because frankly as good and fun as the game was, the conversation and friendship and fellowship (nice, churchy word) was far greater. what if in 3 years i only remember the game (an event) and forget the surrounding ‘process‘ of the game (finding our way to MARTA, getting stuck underground on MARTA, having really meaningful conversation with a great friend…that’s the process i’m talking about)?

i’m certainly not against the other churches that are growing at a phenomenal pace…i’m not about to slam any of the bloggers or churches that i follow – these guys are getting it done, i love them, i love what God is doing through them – i’ll continue to read and follow closely what God’s doing in their lives and churches. i’ll continue to grow and learn as a leader because of what they are doing.

here’s my concern…are we hiding our creativity and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking behind the cloak of ‘entertainment’ yet at the same time creating an atmosphere where church is only an event – much like a trip to s’bux or target? have we called it entertainment when in reality it’s just event-ment? would love to hear what you think…

what God is doing…

26 03 2007

what God is doing is bigger than COTN!

‘four seasons’ of first impressions

25 03 2007

we’re breaking down the first impressions training and expectation into the following…just thought i’d share about these things – it’s what works for us.

essentially, we’ve decided that almost every service contains these four seasons within it (only one is really ever dropped, but not often). we’re going to begin to look at what takes place in each ‘season’ and what ministry as a first impressions team member looks like during that ‘season.’

here they are – the ‘four seasons of ministry at cotn’

  1. pre-service – i.e., the greeters and ushers greeting (not talking to their best friends about recipes and bbq’s), removing obstacles, heightened awareness for guests, setting the atmosphere for miracles
  2. service – partnering with the pastor speaking to maintain the right order and atmosphere, intercepting ‘problems’ before the pastor has to (i.e. kids crying in the sanctuary)
  3. altar – almost always happens! this is why we get together every week – for GOD to move BIG TIME! – having ushers ready to assist with needs at the altar, praying for the pastors, protecting them (their integrity, their time, their ministry)
  4. post-service – this is the ‘exit greet’ – where we thank people for being at cotn – tag teaming them for ministry next week

btw, this is one of the BEST websites for learning from when it comes to first impressions