Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just Plain Nasty!

The longer I am a parent the more I come to realize just how influenced I am in my parenting by my own parents. Case in point- I often find myself saying when my children are whining and crying for no apparent reasons "keep it up and I will give you something to really cry cry about." Mercy!! That was a common saying in my household.

Another example, I can always remember driving in the car with my dad somewhere as a youngster and there would inevitably be something on my face and my dad would lick his finger and and proceed to wipe my face with his dirty finger and saliva until I was clean. I hated that. Well, the other day when I took Robert to the bus stop (at the bottom of our drive way), he had some toothpaste still dried around his mouth. Yep, you guessed it. Out came the finger wiper coated with saliva. Didn't seem to phase him though.

I guess this goes to show how much we are a product of our environment! Will Robert do the same to his child??

Friday, February 22, 2008

Laundry Quarter Giveaway Servant Evangelism Event

Last Saturday a few folks from New Season participated in the Laundry Quarter Giveaway Servant Evangelism Event as a practical way to share the love of Christ and let people know God loves them- no strings attached.

This is one of the easier servant evangelism events to organize. Simply go to the bank and get a good deal of quarters. Then take your quarters and put them in Ziploc bags- we put $2 worth of quarters in each bag along with a note that said...

We hope this small gift brings some light to your day.
It is a simple way of saying God loves you- no strings attached.
Let us know if we can be of more assistance.
New Season United Methodist Church
Sundays 10AM Lee Hill Elementary School

We then identified some area laundromats and sent people out with five bags each to give away.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Are You Doing to Reach New Neighbors/ New Movers?

Someone recently called me and asked me about resources for discovering and reaching new movers. I sent them an email with more info than they ever wanted. While I am no fan of long posts- you can find the info below. The stuff below is not exhaustive, just what I have come across.

We currently use They will send out three postcards personalized with the new mover’s name on your behalf from their mailing center using their Bulk Rate Permit to the new movers in your zip code every week. It is turnkey. They will be spaced out over three weeks. For a small additional fee they will also give you the names, addresses and other info for those new neighbors. The postcards are personalized on the back with our local church’s info. This costs $2.94 per household (each household includes three postcards and the names furnished to us via email). also has a similar program- turnkey, personalized with the new mover’s info and your church’s info on the back. You can check it out here. Theirs is cheaper but they are only sending out one postcard, there is a $79 set up fee. There is also a monthly minimum. However, it costs 79 cents for one card. I think you have to do a 50 name minimum per month.

Other alternatives include sending out a letter/ postcard yourself. You would have to buy a list of names. We did this for a while but the turnkey approach of the above and the professionalism of the above companies caused us to switch. There are many sources to get new neighbor lists. The ones I have found do it by zip code. One company is Melissa Data. You can check out their services here. You need to contact them directly for a price quote but because they are just furnishing the names it will be significantly less than the above.

We have also used New Movers Evangelism in the past. This program is run by a real nice fellow named Doug Miranda. You can check it out here. Again, you will have to contact them for the price per name.

When you do your own letter you of course have to print the letter, print labels, stuff and label envelopes, stamp, bring to the post office etc. That of course has to be taken into account when deciding whether to do this approach or one of the turnkey approaches.

Regardless of which way a church chooses I would suggest they do what we have called “The Neighborhood Captain Program.” Here we recruited neighborhood captains for subdivisions and areas in our mission field. When we got the names of the new movers we then sorted and assigned them to the Neighborhood Captain for the subdivision in which they moved. We would then once a month provide our Neighborhood Captains with New Neighbor Bags (small bags personalized with our church logo and info containing a guide to the area, a letter from me, other info about the church, coupons from area businesses etc.). We also gave our neighborhood captains a list of the people with the appropriate number of bags. We gave them the option of knocking on the door, welcoming the person and giving them the bag or just dropping off the bag in front of the door.

As I mentioned, we have been using the program and the Neighborhood Captain Program we devised. Our intent was to go beyond the one letter that other area churches were already doing so we could stand out. Our intent with providing the bag was to “wow” the new neighbors so they would take the next step in visiting the church.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Stewardship of First Time Guests

I am making my way through Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson's Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully Engages Members of Your Church, and am appreciating their emphais that how we respond to and follow up with first time guests is an issue of stewardship. While I have always placed a high value on first time guest follow up I have not looked at as a stewardship issue.

Yet, as these authors point out, every guest that comes through your doors on Sunday is a gift from God. For some reason God has moved in that person's heart to bring them to your church that Sunday and that is a gift. What will you do with the gift that God has given you? Like all of God's other gifts, we are to use the gifts of God in an appropriate way and to his glory. Thus, the practical and non-sexy ideas and work of assimilation are grounded in a theology of stewardship.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Almost Killed by Mike Huckabee and a Tree

Yesterday was a frightful day for me as I saw my lie flash before my eyes twice after Sunday morning worship. Both incidents came about because of the 50-60 mph wind gusts we experienced.

The first time was when I was getting out of my truck to retrieve one of the New Season directional signs and a Mike Huckabee sign that was near our sign flew off of its stake and sped past my head at an amazingly high speed just missing me!! It could have caused significant damage.

The second incident occured as I was on my way home from lunch after church. There on the road before my house I watched in slow motion as we a sizable tree fell before my truck blocking the road. Ten more seconds and it would have fell on my truck.

I guess I used up two of my nine lives yesterday!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Optimistic about the Church

There is much talk these days about the chruch in general and how bad it is, how sick it is, and how out of touch it is. Popular books painfully tell us people like Jesus but not the church. We hear that the church is filled with hipcroites, is pimped out to political candidates, is boring and irelevant, is full of judgmental people, is unwelcoming, has its head buried in the sand and on and on and on. Much of this is true and deserved criticism.

Yet, the church is the church. It continues on. Jesus founded the church and said the gates of hell would not prevail against her (even when the gates of hell were from inside her own walls!). The church is like the nightly news. When it comes to the church people remember the bad stuff but not all the good stuff. As long as Jesus remains the head of the church the church remains God's primary instrument to bring healing, comfort and salvation to individuals and communities. The church is the blood bought redeemed of God.

Yes, we have our warts, our pimples and stretch marks- but we remain Christ's body in the world. Let's be the church that has Christ has as its head!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Place to Call Home

Please find below the first message from the Living Life Together message series "A Place to Call Home."

To listen now, click on the link below.
A Place to Call Home
And, here is the last message from the Desperate Sex Lives Series- Dirty Laundry: Finding Forgiveness.

You and I were never intended to go through this life all by ourselves. God created us to be in community together. When we live life together we can help each other, encourage one another, and provide the necessary support to live this life to its fullest. So, beginning Sunday, February 3rd, we are going to discover God’s plan for Living Life Together and how each one of us can strengthen relationships with others so that we do not go it alone on the journey of life.
Subscribe to this podcast via Apple iTunes by following this link.

Get Apple iTunes for PC or Mac here.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hirsch on Institutional/ Inspirational Leadership

I am currently making my way through Alan Hirsch's The Forgotten Ways- Reactivating the Missional Church and there are many gems. One of them has to do with types of leadership. Let Alan explain:

"In institutional power, it is the human institution that confers the power to an individual to perform a certain task. It is therefore primarily an external source of power that drives the role. Not so with inspirational leadership. Inspirational leadership involves a relationship between leaders and followers in which each influences the other to pursue common objectives, with the aim of transforming followers into leaders in their own right."
p. 117

"He (Jesus) changed the world forever without being an official leader, politician, or general."
p. 118