Monday, March 28, 2011

God Makes No Mistakes

Yesterday at Nags Head Church, we talked about humanity as God's creation. In doing so, we decided to contrast Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" with Gungor's "Beautiful Things" to illustrate the huge (yet deceptive) difference between how God's Word and the beliefs of society. We sang an acoustic version of "Born This Way" (similar to This Video), and then invited our church to pay close attention to the difference as we sang "Beautiful Things".

Based on the feedback, I would say it was incredibly effective, and certainly surprising to the parents and grandparents who had no idea their kids had already been introduced to "Born This Way".

Below are the two songs mentioned above. I have to warn you that "Born This Way" is a little disturbing to watch (close your eyes and listen if nothing else), but I believe it is something that we need to see and hear to understand how desperately our world needs the Truth of Jesus. Pay close attention to the way Lady Gaga mixes Biblical Truth ("God makes no mistakes") with untruth ("There ain't no other way").


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Facebook as a Ministry Tool - Profile Banners (Update)

This is an update from the post below.

After talking with a few people and trying a few different methods, the easiest way of allowing others in my church to use the banner is to upload it as outlined below and then invite others to simply tag themselves...the trick is, to tag in reverse order, starting with the 5th photo/graphic (on the far right) and ending with the 1st (on the far left).

And, I have found at least two other churches who are using profile banners to market for upcoming events.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Facebook as a Ministry Tool - Profile Banners

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to spend time building relationships, both with our church partners and with people in our community, both face to face and online. We've discovered that Facebook is an incredible tool to help accomplish this. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting some of the best ways we've discovered to use Facebook for ministry and mission.

I'll start first with something that I'm still working on. One of the changes that came about with the latest Facebook upgrade was the collage of five photos that now spread across the top of profiles.

It literally only took a few days for somebody more creative than me to figure out how to build "profile banners", a series of five photos that make up one single graphic that people can upload and use for advertising, marketing, or just to share more of their personality.

I began seeing more and more of these banners pop up, people advertising their personal business, telling the world of their love for Justin Bieber, asking people to think and pray for Japan...and, I began wondering, is this something that people in our church could use to let their friends know about upcoming events, like a small group party, a surf camp, or Easter Sunday? So, I started searching online, and I found this video...

So, I followed the instructions, and within about 20 minutes had created the banner below.

The tricky part now is trying to figure out how to pass these five graphics onto others in our church to do the same...

I'd love to find out if any other churches have taken advantage of this same idea, and if they have been able to easily pass this onto members in their church. Is this something you'd consider using as a tool for communication in your church?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Confusing Conviction and Pressure

Spiritually speaking, Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit moving within you to change your life from the inside out. Pressure comes from people, circumstance, etc. trying to persuade or force you to change from the outside in.

It's easy to get the two confused when you're opposed to both. God will use both to move us to becoming more like Him, but He never uses pressure without conviction.

Do you agree?


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't Be a Schizophrenic Church!

One of the biggest topics of discussion over the past several years among worship leaders has been about churches that offer multiple worship gatherings with different styles of musical worship. For example, a church will offer a 9am "traditional" gathering and an 11am "contemporary" gathering. Is this a good idea, is it the best strategy, is it a really stupid thing to do?

From my experience, a church that offers multiple styles of musical worship is, practically, functioning as multiple churches. Just because two groups of people meet in the same building, share the same pastor, give to and spend from the same budget doesn't make them one church. And, if these kids of churches do attempt to function as a single church, they tend to suffer from something that resembles schizophrenia...they are constantly dealing with internal conflict, they fail to think logically, and they may experience delusions and hallucinations.

As described several times in the New Testament, a local church is at it's best best when it is functioning as one "body"...when the hands, legs, eyes, neck, etc. are all serving their unique roles to serve each other and and fulfill the purpose of the church.

In comparison, a church with two or more groups of people who do not worship and serve together cannot function as one body. It's certainly not impossible for two groups to coincide together and partner with each other to serve God and others...I've heard of a few churches that offer multiple worship styles and function well as two separate churches, but only because they've recognized their situation for what it really is and have made the decision to do so.

But, for one church to be unified, to be one body, it's individual members must share goals, purpose, vision, strategy. It is difficult for a single church with multiple worship styles to be one unified body because each worship style identifies who the "target" audience is going to be (whether purposefully or not). Although people will tell you they love a church for many reasons, few people will attend a church service that uses a musical style that doesn't fit their personal preferences. Especially when the pastor is preaching the same sermon twice with two different accompanying musical styles, people are naturally going to migrate to the service with the style they prefer, and stay there.

And, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing. People naturally thrive in an environment that is comfortable and with a mission that is challenging. We all have personal preferences, and that's a good thing. And, naturally, people with similar preferences will group themselves together. And, if so, why are so many churches trying to force their square people through a round hole?

Interestingly enough, Jesus didn't spend much time instructing his disciples (the very first New Testament church planters) what music style to use, what color to paint their church walls, how to most effectively divide the time of an average a church service between music and sermon. My guess is, because He is God, Jesus knew that all of those things are really up to each individual church to figure out for themselves (hopefully, in a peaceable way)...instead, He focused on teaching those twelve guys about the things that are not up for debate (if you're not sure what those things are, read the words of Jesus in the Gospels).

Seriously, how many churches would be in a much better place if they would simply recognize the truth of our human tendencies and choose function as two separate, Bible believing/teaching churches?