Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not traditional enough?

We had a visit a few weeks ago by a German lady that doesn’t attend any church… and hasn’t since she was young.  She and her wife live on our street.  Her wife loves the church and comes when she doesn’t have to work.

After the church service, she talked with Robin about our church.  She asked why we aren’t more “traditional”.  This lady wasn’t offended, but she thinks a church service should be more like what she was used to in the Catholic Church of her childhood.

Which brings up the “why” question… why aren’t we more traditional? 

I believe my wife gave her an amazing answer… 

Robin told her that I grew up in the Catholic Church and she grew up in the Episcopal Church, with all the traditions, liturgical chants, etc.  None of that meant anything to her until she had an encounter with Jesus.  She never encountered Him in the church she grew up in (nor did I).

But once she went back to her old church, she was amazed at all the Scripture they used.  There was so much there that could have led her to a relationship with Christ.  But it never meant anything to her because the church and its style were so far removed from her daily life.

The reason for our style of church services is so that a normal person off the street can completely connect with Jesus without having had a church background.  Our church is designed to be accessible to the common man, woman and child.

We want people to experience God in all His wonder and grace and build relationships with authentic Christians.  We want people to experience a God that is holy, but is absolutely loving… a God that isn’t afraid of fun, and that wants to be involved in our daily lives.

And it’s working!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Avoiding team frustration

imageWe’ve recently realized that one of the most important areas we’ve neglected so far is failing to train our team members in every area where they will be serving.  And it’s caused some frustration for them.

It’s been so long since we first started serving in a church (almost 30 years ago) that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be new.  We’ve been doing this so long that we automatically see what needs to be done.  We’re so used to seeing the big picture that we’ve failed to always set our team up to succeed in the small areas.

We’ve also noticed that just because someone says they have a level of expertise in an area doesn’t mean they have the level we need… or that their estimation of their abilities is necessarily the same as ours.  Not that they aren’t doing well, but that we need to invest more time/energy in training.

We’ve done a good job at giving the vision, especially the overarching dream of building a church for those that don’t do church.  But we’ve not done a very good job of training in the specific areas.

So we’re going to be focusing on doing more coaching in the individual areas over the coming weeks and months.  We’ll be bringing in some experts and trainers to help raise their level of expertise and their ability to succeed.

I believe this, more than anything else, will help the undercurrent of frustration that we’ve been sensing.  Our encouragement to church planters… setup a plan to train people in EVERY area where they will be serving.  Then those that are doing well can train others to do it.  We can’t afford to just plug our people into an area and hope they figure it out.