If you ask me, “what’s it?”, the answer is the action bro. Here is a short inspiring piece to support this claim.
Archive for September, 2007
I watch Food Network. I willingly watch Food Network.
Recently I was watching Iron Chef America. Iron Chef America is a cooking show with a game show like feel. Two chef’s have an hour to create five dishes using a secret ingredient. A panel then judges the dishes based on taste, creativity, and use of the secret ingredient. I happened to stumble upon “Battle Beets” where challenger Homaro Cantu took on Iron Chef Mashar Morimoto.
It was amazing. Cantu uses technology in his cooking. In “Battle Beets” he used a high end laser to caramelize edible packing material. Sushi was made with edible paper that had gone through a printer he had invented with pictures printed on each sushi roll. My favorite was his use of liquid nitrogen to create beet balloons.”
Fascinated with this, I dug a little deeper on Homaro Cantu. He’s a chef, inventor, and molecular gastronomer. He owns a restaurant and a design firm.
As I was watching the show, I was thinking that what Cantu was doing, while really cool, was mostly some high-tech bells and whistles. But, he wowed the judges over, not just with those bells and whistles, but the food looked great and tasted better. It wasn’t some stunt with the intent of over shading the food. It was good food.
Now, I consider myself about in the middle of the technology continuum. I’m ahead of some, but behind others. But going a little deeper on how Cantu used technology effectively in a meal got me thinking a little bit about using technology in the church.
Technology is out there. It’s constantly changing. It’s a tool with huge potential. But the problem comes when the technology overshadows the message…or when the technology becomes the message (with respect to Mr. McLuhan). As a result of my pondering, I came up with a couple thoughts regarding technology and the church.
1. Technology should compliment not just the message, but the mission and the values of the church. For Cantu, the design compliments the food. The liquid nitrogen balloon beet only added to the goal of having it taste good.
2. Use technology to tweak the usual. Cantu has three patent pending (along with hundreds of applications) where he applies new technologies and designs to the usual. He invented a fish-steaming box using high-tech polymers. On Iron Chef, he served one of his dishes with a spoon whose handle was twisted like a long corkscrew and in it, he inserted a large sprig of rosemary to add another sense to the experience. We do this in the church already. Instead of sermons on cassettes we have podcasts. The snail mail newsletter has been replaced with the email version. In what other areas can technology tweak and give new life to the usual?
3. How can technology help with thinking outside the box? If you fail to finish a course at his restaurant, you will receive a refund of sorts: a phony dollar bill flavored to taste like a cheeseburger and fried. He produces a printout of a cow that you can eat. It taste like filet mignon. He has even begun creating inserts for magazines that are edible. Eat your heart out Willy Wonka! What outside the box idea do you have? Is there some technology that can move you toward that?
I’m curious. All of you techno-church planters and pastors who are ahead of me on the technology curve…what piece of technology or design is helping you fulfill your mission and move toward your vision? What can’t you live without?
ZIPskinny is a free online resource that allows you to research a zip code’s demographics as well as compare it with up to 19 other zip codes. It is a great resource for learning more about your church’s community. Data includes:
- Marital Status
- Educational Achievement
- Household Income
- Population Density
- Percentage of 5+ years Residents
Mark Batterson was born in MN and is a church planter extraordinaire who is admired by many of us planter types for his imaginative, innovative, visionary leadership. He is the Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. In his blog (worth adding to your blog reader), yesterday he had this inspirational post:
“I just felt like I wanted to make a plea to other churches. A few years ago we created a position on our staff called church planter in residence and I think it’s one of the best staffing decisions we’ve ever made.
We get a motivated staff member for 1-2 years. And they function like a utility player in baseball. They have their hands in everything! And then we send them out to plant a church and we continue paying them a stipend. Here is what is so healthy about that: we’re always in the process of planting churches!
Now here is the challenge we face: we’ve got dozens of church planters who would love to come and do a CPR at NCC, but we don’t have the financial model to pull it off. I’d love to have a dozen church planters on staff all the time! But we have to figure out how to make that work financially. We’ll keep working on it, but I want to challenge emerging churches to consider adding a church planter in residence position to their staff! So many church planters are looking for a place to get their feet wet. They want to plant, but they need to be in a church system for a couple years!
Imagine a thousand churches with a thousand church planters in residence!”
Here is an important principle from Luke, the author of Acts. Because the Christian movement is of God, it cannot be overthrown. The principle is laid down by Gamaliel, and it is endorsed and supported by Luke throughout the book of Acts.
… keep away from these men and let them alone, [don't tase them, bros] for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,
(Act 5:38-39 ESV) [but they did tase them before letting them go, cf. v. 40ff.]
Notice how Luke supports this idea (dynamic growth serves as a kind of practical apologetic, i.e., as an evidence for the reliability of the message) throughout the book. See, e.g.,
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Act 2:41)
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, (Act 2:46)
But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. (Act 4:4)
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Act 6:7)
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. (Act 9:31)
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. (Act 11:21)
(See also 11; 24, 14:1, 13:21, 16:5 and 19:20. I really recommend that you open these texts and consider them (I don’t have space and time to cite them all here)
Growth is normative. Stagnation and decline are not. They are symptoms of spiritual dysfunction. The church (the kingdom of our Lord) grows and grows.
Here is the significance of this principle for Planting Partners. By what mechanism does the church grow and grow? Throughout the history of the Christian movement the answer has been the same. Largely through the planting of churches!
Society and culture are dynamic realities that constantly shift and change. They are moving targets. Our message remains the same. Generations and demographic patterns are perpetually in a state of flux. What is called for is a massive army of passionate entrepreneurial leaders who will respond to the Spirit’s call and stake a claim in the Name of Christ on an emerging segment of the society/culture as it presents itself today and is likely to present itself tomorrow.
Those who do so may trace their roots to the apostolic Pioneers of Pentecost!
What is the significance of this post for pastors (like me) of existing churches? Read the principle articulated by Gamaliel once again and take it to heart. Pray for your local church planters and don’t be grumpy about their success! “You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:39)
I look forward to opening the email from Church Leaders Intelligence Report every time it shows up in my in-box. There are often fun facts and tidbits that I can pug into messages. It is worth subscribing to IMHO.
Laws of Lifetime Personal Growth At what age did you stop growing taller? The average age when the human body stops getting taller is debatable, but it’s generally between the ages of 16 and 21.
As children we grew year after year, sometimes in spurts, sometimes imperceptibly, but our bodies were always growing. The growth of a leader can be similar. At times, it may feel like the wheels are spinning and no headway is being made. In other seasons, new breakthroughs and victories are clear indicators of a growth spurt. To grow consistently, the key is to manage your daily agenda.
I wish I could pass along an easier solution or secret formula for leadership growth, but daily discipline makes all the difference between growth and stagnation.
Adapted from Laws of Lifetime Personal Growth by John Maxwell, Leadership Wired Vol. 10, Issue 6
Subscribe or Forward to a Friend
Subscribe to the free Church Leaders Intelligence Report by clicking here.
Or forward the current report and this link to a friend.
Cohabiters are ambivalent about marriage: 44% want to marry while 41% say they aren’t sure.
Pew Research 7/1/07
The National Bureau of Statistics reports China’s annual economic growth chalked up its 5th straight year of double-digit growth and will soon overtake Germany as the 3rd biggest economy in the world.
USA Today 7/19/07
Mentoring is worthwhile for both the mentee and mentor, finds a Sun Microsystems analysis. Mentoring was least effective for its highest-performing employees, but workers whose performance was in the bottom 20% raised their salary grade 4.75 points on a 5-point scale. The mentor can draw things out of the lower performer who may not be sure where he is going or what he needs to do. Higher performers tend to build their own support networks.
Young Church Attenders
For teens who attend church often, sexual activity is delayed from the national average of 16.5 years until 17, while nominal evangelicals begin at 16.2 years. Teens with good life prospects and a strong sense of the future – kids with economic and educational ambitions – tend to avoid risky behavior such as drugs and early sex. Without those prospects, the temptation is strong to live for the moment. Teens require a community that supports their good choices, especially in times of testing and personal crisis. Kids who are embedded in a social network with shared norms are more likely to abide by them.
Cleveland Plain Dealer 7/31/07
Church and Family Life
Americans who attend religious services at least once a week are far more likely to say their family life is “very important” to them than non-attenders. The ratio is 96% to 75%, a 21-point difference.
Emerging Trends 9/01
Kids More Pious
Though Gallup polls dating to the ’50s say young adults are less likely to attend services or say religion is very important in their lives, clergy of all stripes are seeing a small wave of young adults who are more pious than their parents.
USA Today 7/8/07
Teen Spending Power
Teen spending power (ages 12-17) approached $190 billion in ’06. At just under 10% of the US population, teens work and tend to spend their earnings on themselves. Teens also exert significant influence over family spending — estimates suggest they will influence $150 billion of purchases in ’07.
The ’06 ACT scores for home-schooled students averaged 22.4 vs. the national average composite of 21.1. Homeschoolers have outscored the national average since ’96, when testing officials started tracking them.
Average annual ’05 earnings of workers 18 and older with an advanced degree was $79,946 vs. $54,689 for those with bachelor’s degrees, $29,448 for a high school diploma and $19,915 without a high school diploma.
Census Bureau News & Facts 8-13-07
Firefighters, scientists and teachers are seen as the most prestigious occupations by U.S. adults, while bankers, actors and real estate agents are the least prestigious occupations, according to an annual Harris Poll. Clergy ranked number eight.
This American Life
Americans are living longer, but not as long as people in 41 other countries. For decades, the U.S. has been slipping in international life expectancy rankings, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles. Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands. A baby born in the U.S. in ’04 will live an average of 77.9 years. That ranks 42nd, down from 11th in ’87. Andorra, a tiny country between France and Spain, has the longest life expectancy, at 83.5. Swaziland has the shortest, at 34.1.
Right or Wrong?
A ChristianNet.com survey finds 49% of Christians say drinking small amounts of alcohol is ok, provided they don’t become drunk. Many say consuming alcoholic beverages for relaxation or a social gathering is acceptable. 39% agree it is wrong to drink alcohol for any reason. 12% are unsure. Only 24% of believers feel it is acceptable to consume beer.
One News Now 8/16/07
Marketers have to be careful about using humor when targeting older Boomer consumers. They still like a good laugh, but prefer humor that is more self-deprecating and gentle, vs. humor that relies on belittling someone or something, or is in your face.
Boomer Project 7/12/07
Delivering “Wow” Service
Andre Harris, director of national customer service for 120 shopping centers reveals, five steps for delivering “wow” service. Hear: Find out what customers want, need, expect and value, and respond to that 100% of the time. Hire: Customer orientation is a core competency. Train: Give attention to such detailed behaviors as how to interact and engage with each customer group. Measure: Use secret shoppers, as well as using both customer and employee satisfaction surveys. Reward: Recognize the “Wow” stars monthly with cash awards. Let peers and customers nominate the stars.
1 To 1 Media 8/6/07
A recent Harris Interactive customer service study finds 88% of shoppers believe a company with solid customer service is “more enticing” than one with “the hottest, most innovative product offerings.” Just 12% prize a hot, innovative product over one backed by superior service. Also, customer service experiences drive much of the word of mouth on which many consumers base their purchase decisions. 90% of respondents noted that, on average, they tell at least 1 person about their unfavorable customer service issues; 85% tell multiple people. For favorable experiences: 88% share their positive ones with at least 1 person and 81% share them with several.
1 to 1 Media 8/20/07
Perhaps the most-exciting and most-significant thing you will do early on as you are preparing to plant is choose a church name. Your name says a lot about who you are, where you want to go and what is important to you. In essence it is a 1-3 word vision statement. Your name is a HUGE part of your church’s identity and while you are recruiting and fundraising it is your only identity so it is critical that your name give an accurate snapshot of your vision.
Over the past 10 years I’ve been involved in starting and naming four different church/ministries. If I had to do it all over again, it is quite possible that I would name each one of them differently. Presently, I am in the beginning stages of a renaming process of the church I am pastoring, except this time the ministry is 100 years old! Through this process of [re]naming five different ministries, here is what I’ve learned:
- Your name should reflect your vision. As I said, your church name is like a mini-vision statement. People should be able to get a decent snapshot of who you are just by your name.
- Your name should be indigenous. Your name should say something about the community you’re in, the people you’re serving, or who you’re trying to reach. For instance, Mosaic is a great name for an urban community of diverse ethnicity, but it doesn’t make much sense for a homogenous small town. When thinking “indigenously” about a name, think a little broader than your vision. For instance, think “city” instead of “street.” Think “Africa” instead of “Somali.” Think “neighborhood” instead of the people in your neighborhood. The reason for this is that it’s a lot easier to change your church’s vision than it is to change your name and once you get running on the ground for a couple years, you may find out that the people in your neighborhood are different than you thought, you have to relocate or redirect your efforts.
- Your name should be spiritual, but not religious. In a strained effort to be relevant, the 80′s and early 90′s saw a rash of church names that sounded like suburban subdivisions. I know I may be stepping on toes here, but personally I don’t want my church to be constantly mistaken for a country club (as was the case for one church I worked for). What makes a good name for a shopping center doesn’t necessarily make a good name for a church. I think this sort of naming is an over-reaction to obscure religious names like “Elim,” “Calvary,” and “Bethany.” There is danger in choosing a name that is either “too religiousy” that unchurched people have no clue what it means or so “relevant” to the culture that it means nothing at all. Rather, your name should communicate that is a place for spiritual seekers in a way that non-religious people can understand. I named a church plant I led in St. Paul Loungedivine because I wanted to communicate to seekers in our neighborhood that it was a comfortable place to explore spirituality. There are a lot of cool words and names that convey spiritual significance without being “churchy.”
- Your name should be unique, but not too unique. Ah hem… Speaking of Loungedivine… Unique is good, but if your name is too unique you really narrow your focus and potential crowd, so be creative, but don’t let your creativity run away with you. Personally, I think Crossroads is a really cool name with multiple meanings, but so do like 1,000 other churches with that name. If you choose a name that’s not entirely unique you are at the very least going to have a hard time finding a web domain name.
- It’s good to involve others in the process, but that doesn’t mean it should be democratic. It’s good to bounce ideas off of others, ask for suggestions and brainstorm together, but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion matters. Ultimately, the final decision on a name needs to come from the person who’s casting the church’s vision. If you want to include others in the process then have them help you narrow it down to a Top 3 or 5, then the planter needs to make the call.
Choosing a name is exciting! Sometimes it comes only after much discussion, deliberation and prayer and other times it’s a sudden revelation in the middle of the night. Whatever the case, don’t take this privilege lightly! Mull over your vision, hangout with the people you’re trying to reach, and do some research. Your name is the first impression others will have of you and you never get a 2nd chance to make that first impression.
I know guys who have spent a lot more but most of the planters in our network seem to have spent between $9k to 20k+ on sound stuff.
Don’t neglect the sound. It is one of the most important places you will invest in the pre-launch stage. You can certainly find a huge variance in opinion but I am convinced that any churches planting in our top 10 cities will find it imperative to make a significant investment on sound. Increasingly technology is expected to work and sound good.
If you are planting in a smaller town where most/all churches have antiquated to worthless sound systems, you can pick up a used system at a local music store or on e-Bay for probably about $2k. Or beg, borrow and steal.
I just learned of a church that is spending a ton of money on an awesome drum set even though they don’t have a drummer. It is a statement of priority and direction. Some of our small towns may be able to find complete acceptance in the community with a crummy used system. Most can’t.
Look at where you’re planting and then let that help drive your sound decisions. Don’t settle for junk, and don’t get just anything that comes your way. Consult with and talked with 2 or 3 sound companies not the guy on your launch team who has been running sound at that 1st PrespaBaptiLutheran church down the street.
Below is a list of the sound stuff that The Journey North bought before we launched:
1 Audio Technica AT8630 Joining Plate Rack Mounting 3000 Series Recievers
4 Audio Technica ATM41HE Dynamic cardioid vocal microphone
1 Audio Technica ATW-3110DDual diversity UHF wireless lapel w, channel select
2 DBX 231 Dual 31 Band 3rd Octave Equalizer
2 Furman RR-15 AC Power Conditioner Light Module
2 Gator GR-12L 12 Space Polyethylene 19″ Utility Rack
2 Mackie SA1232 Three Way Tri-Amp. 1200Watt Active Loudspeaker
1 Mackie SWA1801 18″ 900 Watt Active Subwoofer System
1 Mackie 24-4VLZ PRO 24x4x2x1 Sound Reinforcement Console
4 Mackie SRM 450 12″ 2-way high precision active speaker cabinet
2 Pro Co E143-6PB 6′ 14 AWG Electical Cord W/Powerblock
2 Pro Co E123-25PB 25′ 12 AWG Electical Cord W/Powerblock
2 Pro Co E123-50PB 50′ 12 AWG Electical Cord W/Powerblock
6 Pro Co E123-25 25′ Electrical Cord
2 Pro Co E123-50 50′ Electical Cord
5 Horizen LZ-5 Balanced Microphone Cable – 5′
5 Horizen LZ-10 Balanced Microphone Cable – 10′
10 Horizen LZ-25 Balanced Microphone Cable – 25′
10 Horizen LZ-50 Balanced Microphone Cable – 50′
4 Horizen Straightline Direct box
1 Horizen S24x4-100FS StageMaster 24×4 Fan to Box Multi-Pair Snake
2 Horizen BLC-10CS 10′ 1/4″ to MRCA Patch Cable
5 Horizen BLC-10SS 10′ TRS Balanced Patch Cable
4 Horizen BLC-10FS 10′ XLRF to TRS Balanced Patch Cable
4 Horizen BLC-10MS 10′ XLRM to TRS Balanced Patch Cable
4 Quick Lok A-344 Tripod Light Weight Microphone Stand
1 Tascam CD-A500 CD/Cass Combination Deck w/pitch control
Total $ 13,747.00 (2003 Dollars)
Good luck and have fun!
One of the sites I like to visit is called, Church Marketing Sucks. It has great insights into today’s Church and how to help the Church figure out the lost art of communicating the greatest message ever.
In a post this summer they talked about some stats people have shared about where the church meets. I would love to hear your thoughts about church buildings and their importance (especially if you are in Northern and Central Minnesota).
We’ve talked here on CMS before about church buildings.
The article is a report polling 1200 people, asking, “If you were considering visiting or joining a church, would knowing that the church does not meet in a traditional church building impact your decision?” Their answers were particularly interesting.
- 73% said it made no difference.
- 19% said it would negatively impact their decision.
- 6% said it would positively impact their decision.
- 2% were unsure.
I’m not here to interpret the statistics or to tell you exactly the decisions to make. Maybe church building doesn’t suck, but church buildings in general suck. I won’t make the call as to what is right, because I don’t think it’s my place, but what do you think? Does the statistic boil down to 19% negative and 6% positive? Have we overvalued the importance of a building?
Maybe we’ll poll you guys about this in the future to see how you compare to the study’s sample group. But for now, let us know how you feel about this study in the comments.