Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

Say it smaller?

If you’re like me, there’s the temptation to announce a lot of stuff on the weekends.  Even in a simple church, there’s a lot of things that you want your people to now.  For example, right now, here’s what I feel like Oak Leafers need to know:

  • We are beginning work on House of Rock next week.
  • I need you to give to the Redemption Campaign.
  • We need candy for Halloween outreach.
  • We are baptizing this Sunday.
  • Fuel is Wednesday night.
  • We have a Leadership Summit this Sunday Night.
  • We need help cleaning out the House of Rock so work can begin.
  • We have some volunteer needs in KidVenture.
  • I could go on…

So on Sunday, the temptation is to try and mention all this stuff from the stage.  We will focus on the important ones, but let’s at least mention the smaller ones.  Right?

Nope.  The more little things you mention, the less important your big thing becomes.  Instead of figuring out how to add the announcement as a “by the way,” what we should do is not say it at all.  We shouldn’t say it quicker, we shouldn’t even say it.

So this weekend, we will only focus on one of those announcements from the stage (The Redemption Campaign).  We’ll try and find other ways to communicate the other stuff.

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Planning a Teaching Calendar

In preparation for a creative planning retreat in a couple of weeks, where we will lay out the 2009 teaching calendar by asking the question, “What does God want us to teach in 2009,” we surveyed our email database and got about 200 responses.  We asked them to choose their top three topics from this list:

•    Marriage
•    Finances
•    Faith and Doubt
•    The End Times
•    Parenting
•    Cultural Issues (racism, abortion, homosexuality, etc)
•    Finding God’s Will

The most requested topic was Faith and Doubt.  Second place, just slightly behind, was Finding God’s Will.  And the third most requested topic from this list was The End Times.

It’s interesting to me that the top three topics were more spiritual or Biblical issues, ranked higher than what most people would consider practical, felt-need issues like money or parenting.

This seems to confirm what Willow Creek found in the Reveal study as reported in Follow Me.  People want their church to help them grow spiritually…to help them take a next step in their faith.  According to the study, involving more than 80,000 church attenders, people want their church to help them understand the Bible.  Willow also found that while this is what people wanted most from their church, they also felt like they weren’t getting it.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t need help with their finances or in raising their kids, but it does mean that the #1 thing they want is for their church to lead them spiritually.

Celebrate Wins

I believe that we should look back (celebrate wins) as much as we look ahead (communicate vision).  For most of us, vision is more exciting.  We’re driven people and always thinking ahead.  But we must realize that we’re probably thinking way ahead of our people.  We are on to the next thing while they are wondering what happened at the last thing.

For this reason, we should remind people of what we did, not just tell them what we’re going to do.  For every announcement, there should be a recap or a story.

If you spend two weeks encouraging people to be baptized, why not celebrate it for two weeks after the fact?  Celebrating that win (looking back) will actually reinforce the vision of your church.

If you push a marriage class for three weeks, why not tell stories that come out of that class for the next three?

Don’t let a win go by without celebrating it.

How Many Hours Do You Work?

If you’re a full-time pastor or minister, how many hours do you work each week?  Before answering, consider this?

  • Don’t count reading your Bible for personal growth.
  • Don’t count lunch-hour unless it’s really work?  And just because it’s work-related doesn’t mean it’s really work.
  • Factor in studying for sermons, having meetings, reading work-related stuff.
  • Don’t count drive time, or getting ready time, or time en route to church.
  • Factor in counseling, appointments and work related meetings.
  • Factor out your smalll group, your accountability meeting, and catching up with friends at Starbucks.
  • Figure out how much reading and studying your Bible is work and factor that in.
  • Factor out blogging or twittering, writing your book or recording your CD.

So, how many hours do you work?