Have you ever twitter-complained?
With some companies, it’s the only way to get their attention! With some, they never seem to hear, do they?
I recently visited Six Flags over Georgia (it’s a theme park in the Atlanta area, and before you ask – don’t go) with my kids. It was a terrible experience in many respects. Think Disney – then consider the inverse – and you’ll have Six Flags over Georgia.
While I was searching the park for an open drink retailer, dumbfounded that on a 93-degree day in Atlanta virtually every drink station was closed, I tweeted my frustration.
How do you publicly lead a church when you’re a Campus Pastor, not the Senior Pastor?
That’s an ever increasing question. With the rise of multi-site churches, more Campus Pastors are added to leadership circles every day. But leading as a Campus Pastor presents unique challenges. I want to address one of these challenges in this post:
How do you cast vision for your church when you do not preach weekly?
What would happen if the unchurched in your community suddenly attended this Sunday? Would you be ready?
Hopefully that sounds like a dream come true. Let’s pretend your attendance doubled – or tripled. And it’s the good kind of attendance increase, not the kind where you add disgruntled churchgoers who will soon find reasons to be disgruntled with your church!
At Watermarke Church, that is basically our story. When I first arrived to lead our church, we were stagnant at best. Watermarke was losing families weekly. This presented an obvious problem and distinct opportunity. We had to change and reframe our culture and collectively recommit to our vision – creating a church unchurched people would love to attend.
In our case, the hard work paid off. God led us to make many changes and our church began to grow quickly. As exciting as the new growth was, though, creating a church that attracted unchurched people has a disadvantage I never considered: unchurched people don’t know how to be church people. More specifically, they do not serve or give or participate, they only consume. Of course we were grateful to have their consumption, but I quickly realized encouraging and equipping our unchurched friends to participate IN the mission rather than consume FROM the mission was critical to our mission. More importantly, it was critical to their growing relationship with Jesus.
How much time per day do you look at a screen?
I know you don’t track your screen time, but if you had to guess? I would say between the laptop I’m starring at now, the TV, my iPad, Candy Crush, and my iPhone … 28 hours a day. Maybe more. We all spend A LOT of time in front of screens. Our actual life is moving more and more towards digital life. For better or worse, the next generation is experiencing almost everything through digital media. Just go to a concert and watch how many people experience the show through their phone as they record. Life through a screen is becoming the norm. As I type this, my son is “liking” photos on Instragram, my other son is playing XBOX, and one daughter is watching Netflix. Please don’t tell their mom!
It’s safe to say, in culture, the digital ship has sailed. Which is why, when pastors and church leaders dismiss video preaching, I’m perplexed.
There is a lot to say about creating and leveraging tension in a message. It has been one of the most fascinating discoveries for me as a communicator. In an earlier post, I discussed the differences between a felt and unfelt tension. In this post, I want to discuss a few critical questions I like to use as a tension filter while developing message content. For me, every message must provide an answer or solution to one of these questions.
1. What is the question this message answers?
Every message (I understand there may be some exceptions) should provide an answer that leads to a point of application. And every answer is built upon a question. If you can identify the question at the center of your solution, you have found your tension. Now, build up that tension in the beginning of your message so you can present the answer to an audience who is ready to hear the solution.
I love talking “shop” with other pastors, and lately, I’ve had the pleasure to interact with many. Preaching seems to always surface as a topic of conversation. Every pastor feels the pressure to preach well – not just true, but engaging and helpful.
The most common question I’ve received in the past month or so revolves around the number of times in a calendar year a typical Senior Pastor should preach. The questions do not always start there, but that question tends to be the core issue. The last time this issue was presented to me by another pastor, it sounded something like this: “I know you preach without notes. How can I do that when I’m preaching 51 weeks a year?”
I feel very blessed – no, extremely blessed – to be a part of North Point Ministries where I consistently meet with and get feedback from guys like Andy Stanely and Lane Jones. Of course, there is a lot of pressure knowing every time you preach, Andy and Lane are going to listen and critique you. But that is nothing compared to the pressure I feel knowing that an audience of unchurched people who might be giving God and the church one more chance is listening, as well. That’s pressure – and it’s healthy. Every preacher should feel that healthy pressure. It makes me work hard and take my role as communicator very seriously.
One thing I’ve learned from Andy and Lane is the power of tension in a message. Maybe it’s better to say I’ve learned the necessity of including tension in a message. Too often preachers believe that people will listen and follow because they are talking. That is equivalent to believing people will watch your television program just because you put it on TV or your video simply because you posted it on YouTube. But just because you’re talking doesn’t mean people are listening. Just watch a teenager.