Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not Above My Pay Grade

It's been a little over a year since President Obama famously (or infamously, depending on who you ask) side-stepped a pointed debate question with his "answering that above my pay grade..." response.

This post is not about Obama or is about knowing what is and is not in my realm of responsibility as a leader. I've heard and read way too many worship leaders recently say something like, "who am I to judge a person?" when referring to the decision of allowing a person of questionable intentions, attitude or character lead worship.

This post is also not about what kind of people (maturity) we should allow to participate in the ministry of leading worship...I'll leave that decision to each church and that debate for another blog. This is about those of us in leadership recognizing that we have been given the responsibility to discern the intentions, attitudes and character of those who call themselves believers and help determine if God would be glorified through their participation.

I know of some church bands that do not have auditions for musicians because, "who are we to judge a person's gifts and calling?" I've heard of some worship leaders who do not set up spiritual values for their band members because, "who are we to judge what's going on in a person's heart?" Seriously? That just blows my mind...

It's not always easy, and it certainly is not always the popular decision, but having standards in ministry and sticking to them is about giving priority to God and others. There are too many church people serving in a ministry that they are neither skilled or spiritually qualified allowing this to take place, church leaders are not helping their church give their best to God, are devaluing the unique gifts and calling God has given each of us, and are giving people an easy opportunity to get bored and frustrated with church.

I believe that every member of God's family has been uniquely shaped to serve the church and the world in an excellent way, and that every church should have opportunities for those who do not yet know God personally to jump in and partner and serve. I also believe that people are given the best opportunity to grow spiritually when they are serving God and others in ways that God has created them for.

If we sincerely love God and value people, we will be willing to be a leader, rise to our "pay grade", make some tough decisions and help people truly experience all that God wants for their lives.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday Blitz

> Sunday continued our tag-team teaching series...we went from personal holiness to corporate holiness as a church. Probably one of the best messages I've heard in a long time.

> The past two Sundays have reflected the end of the busiest part of our tourist season...the out-of-town numbers are down, but the locals continue to check us out. Word is we have about 10 new partners (members) getting ready to call NHC their church home!

> Operation Backpack was a HUGE success this year! We gave free school supplies to about 160 elementary school students...we're already planning to make next year bigger and better!

> F1RST Wednesday reboots in September after taking the past two months off. It's been great to have a break from planning, and to observe the Lord's Supper on Sunday mornings with so many people, but I'm really stoked about gearing up again!

> Matt the Intern has gone back to school...he was a great addition to our staff and church family, doing a ton of stuff, a lot of which nobody else could or wanted to do. We'll miss you Matt...come back and visit (and bring your gear with you)!

> I'll be out of town this coming weekend for a wedding...I'll miss the final message in our holiness series (Our Holy Mission), but will catch up thanks to our handy dandy podcast!

> Which means, Tricia and I should be worshipping with our friend at C3! Always love the chance to just participate (without preparing/leading) during worship!

Rock on!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Connection Group Commercial (03)

We've produced five Connection Group Commercials to show at NHC over the month of August to help promote our upcoming's the third...

Check out the second commercial Here!

"Visitor" vs "Guest"

It's amazing how one little word can affect the church's perception of people and people's perception of the church. For example, how many times have you ever heard or used the word "visitor" when referring to people who are not regulars at your church? What if, instead of thinking of people as a "visitors" at our churches, we thought of them as "guests"?

A “visitor” is typically somebody who comes and goes without much preparation on our part or much thought afterward. Most of the time, a visitor is a consumer only...a person who is simply looking for a specific service or product. A visitor is only interested in investing whatever (time, energy, money) is necessary to to get what they want out of their stop.

Hospitals have visitors. Museums have visitors. Grocery stores have visitors. Usually, some amount of effort is made to prepare for visitors, to make them feel welcome, to clean the floor, to have the service or product hot and ready. But, the primary purpose of preparing for a visitor is to serve their consumer just enough to entice them to buy into a certain product or service, with the hope that maybe they'll exit quickly to make room for another consumer and return when they need that same product or service again. The bottom line when focusing on visitors is about getting as many satisfied people in and out the door as possible.

A “guest”, in comparison, is typically a person who is cared for and has been intentionally invited. Most of the time, a guest is somebody who is a participant...a person who looking for a specific experience. A guest is often interested in investing in the greater purpose of the group.

Homes have guests. Elementary classrooms have guests. And, churches should have guests. A guest is somebody you’ve dusted every nook and cranny for, put out your best china for, prepared a certain meal for. You wait for them at the door, offer them your favorite chair, spend time getting to know them, and invite them to be an active participant in what you are doing. The primary purpose of preparing for a guest is to serve their felt everything possible to offer them the opportunity to experience change, with the hope that maybe they'll have a desire to enter into a deeper relationship. The bottom line when focusing on guests is about being ready to have a life-altering connection with every person who comes through the doors.

I don't know about you, but I want to see people as guests and not visitors. I want people to see the church as a community, not a retail store. I want the members of my church to realize that their interaction with our guests, whether a quick "hello" or an extended conversation, could have an eternal impact. I want our guests to come to my church hoping for something more than friendly people, a positive message and some feel-good music.

What about you? Are you serving visitors or are you serving guests on Sunday morning? Does it really matter? If so, what would it take to change the focus of your church?


Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday Blitz

> This Sunday was packed with about as much stuff as any I can remember...we just had a lot to do and talk about and celebrate that all seemed to culminate into one's a rundown:

> Operation Backpack, an outreach event that offers free school supplies to local families is ready to roll this week. We've changed the event from one day to three this year. This Sunday was Backpack Sunday...we encouraged everyone to wear the backpacks and school supplies they bought to the church.

> It was Matt French's last Sunday at NHC as our summer intern. He's done a great job, been a lot of fun to work with, and has made some life-long friends with many of our locals. We sent him off with a few pocket-fulls of least enough gas money to get him back to school this week.

> Our second week in our "Holier Than Thou?" series, and our second week of tag-team preaching from our pastor and Matt Glock. It's been a great series so far, and I'm really looking forward to hearing Matt go solo next week, talking about what corporate holiness looks like.

> We also remembered the Lord's Supper, which fit in perfectly with the message about personal holiness. Next month, we restart our F1RST Wednesday worship gathering, but it's been enjoyable to do Communion on Sunday mornings the past few months.

> The numbers were down this week, which is a sign that people are headed back to school and back to work. It also means that the fun and craziness of doing summer church at NHC is coming to a close.

> The band only did two songs together yesterday, which, is probably the least number of songs we've done as a full band since I arrived here a few years ago. George (harmonica), Rachel (vocals) and I (acoustic guitar) did a trimmed down version of "What Do I Know Of Holy" and Rachel and I were the only ones leading "By His Wounds" during Communion. It's fun to shake things up, but I'm looking forward to rocking hard again next week.

> I peeked in on our Discovering NHC class during the afternoon, and only recognized about half of the faces...of the faces I did recognize, half of them are new believers. All of that is a great thing!

Rock on!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Connection Group Commercial (02)

We've produced five Connection Group Commercials to show at NHC over the month of August to help promote our upcoming's the second...

Check out the first commercial Here!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Holier Than Thou?

Here's the series title graphic we're using for our new Sunday Morning Series about holiness...after I got done with it, I realized that it looked a bit like Harry Potter, which is fine with me...


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Connection Group Commercial (01)

We've produced five Connection Group Commercials to show at NHC over the month of August to help promote our upcoming's the first...


Connection Groups

As I mentioned, we've got a new ad campaign promoting our Connection Groups. Here are the two in-house posters we've created...I'll post our first commercial in a little while.


Sunday Blitz

> The crowds continue to surprise us...this Sunday was our biggest yet, with well over 600 people in attendance. I'd like to guess that this coming Sunday will be the last huge one before school starts and the tourist numbers start to drop, but trying to predict things this year has already proven worthless.

> We've started a new, four-week series called "Holier Than Thou?". Our pastor and one of our missionaries are doing a tag-team teaching approach each Sunday...the message on God's holiness was very good this week, and we're looking forward to the remaining three weeks.

> We introduced a new song, "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road as our theme song for this new series. Beautiful song, with some very honest, introspective lyrics...we'll be using it again, maybe every's that good, so give it a listen.

> There are just some Sundays where the music seems to click on a higher level with the hearts of people...this was one of those Sundays. Maybe it was the fact that we did one more song than we normally do, but everyone seemed prepared to worship from the start.

> This was Amber Elwood's last Sunday at NHC...she'd the local artist who has been helping us illustrate our Moses series...which reminds me...I need to post some more of her paintings for you to see. Thanks for using your gifts, Amber!

> The heartbeat of NHC is our connection groups, and we're taking the month of August off to give our groups a groups a break and give people the opportunity to change groups or try them out for the first time. We've got a new ad campaign for our groups...our Sunday morning crowd is enjoying it, and I think you will too...more to come shortly...

> A big announcement was made this past week...I and the rest of our full-time staff will be going bi-vocational for a season. I'll be working about 20 hours for the church and 20 hours elsewhere, and will be job hunting over the next few weeks. I'd appreciate your prayer!

Rock on!