Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Helping guests to feel welcome at church - Rick Ezell

Fact 1 - Your visitors make up their minds regarding your church in the first ten minutes.Before a first-time guest has sung an inspiring song, watched a compelling drama or well-produced video vignette or heard your well-crafted sermon they have made up their mind whether or not to return. But, you probably spend more time and energy on the plan and execution of the worship service than preparing for the greeting and welcoming of your first-time guests.
Action - Use the following questions as a quick checklist:
Are parking attendants in place?
Is there appropriate signage?
Are your ushers and greeters performing the “right” job?
Is the environment user-friendly and accepting to guests?

Fact 2 - Most church members are not friendly.Churches claim to be friendly and may even advertise that fact. But my experience in visiting churches as a first-time guest demonstrates that most church members are friendly to the people they already know, not to guests.
Watch to see if your members greet guests with the same intensity and concern before and after the worship service as they do during a formal time of greeting. The six most important minutes of a church service, in your visitors eyes, are the three minutes before the service and the three minutes after the service.
Action - Encourage your church family to:
Introduce themselves with genuineness.
Find out if guests have questions about the church.
Introduce guests to others who may have an affinity or connection.

Fact 3 - Church guests are highly consumer-oriented.If your church building is difficult for newcomers to navigate, if your people are unaccepting and unfriendly, another church down the street may have what they're looking for. You need to look at your church through the eyes of a first-time guest. Rick Warren says that the longer a pastor has been a pastor the less he thinks like a non-pastor.
Action: Consider employing objective, yet trained, anonymous guests to give an honest appraisal. Many restaurants, retail stores, and hotels utilize the service of one or more mystery guests to provide helpful analysis of welcoming and responding to the consumer. Churches would be well served to utilize a similar service.

Fact 4 - The church is in the hospitality business.Though our ultimate purpose is spiritual, one of our first steps in the Kingdom business is attention to hospitality (Hebrews 13:2). Imagine the service that would be given to you in a first-class hotel or a five-star restaurant. Should the church offer anything less to those who have made the great effort to be our guests?
Action - Encourage members to extend hospitality to guests by offering...
to sit with them during the church service
to give them a tour of the church facilities
to eat lunch with them after service
to connect with them later in the week

Fact 5 - You only have one chance to make a good first impression.Your first-time guests have some simple desires and basic needs. They decide very quickly if you can meet those criteria. The decision to return for a second visit is often made before guests reach your front door.
Action - Use the following questions as an evaluation tool:
Are you creating the entire experience, beginning with your parking lot?
Are you consciously working to remove barriers that make it difficult for guests to find their way around and to feel at home with your people?
Do newcomers have all the information they need without having to ask any embarrassing questions?
Are your greeters and ushers on the job, attending to details and anticipating needs before they are expressed?
Does anything about your guests first experience make them say, Wow! and want to return?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mark Driscoll on men, leadership & church planting

I saw on YouTube today an insightful little video where Mark Driscoll shares some great thoughts on issues regarding Church Planting. Check it out here.
There are also a number of Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York) clips which are worth checking out also. Enjoy, consider and grow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Evangelical Music Conference 06

The EMC 06 was really worth attending. Faith, Jess and I (Nerida) went along to the conference which was held at the Creek Road Presbyterian Church last Saturday (20 Oct 06). It was fantastic to see so many others there (around 200) from so many different churches.

The bible teaching by Mike Raiter (Bible College of Victoria) was excellent, he did a particularly good job on the topics of 'Singing in the Spirit' and 'The Power of Song.' We also discovered some great new songs to bring back to our home churches and we were all stretched as we attended different electives about Church Band Dynamics, Vocals and Songwriting.

Personally, the highlight of the day was the bible talk from Ephesians 5:15-20. It encouraged me to renew my focus and purpose for serving in the Newlife Music Team. It was also great to be exposed to edgy new songs with quality lyrics and to be able to purchase the resources needed to make sure we're ready to go forward into 2007.

I'd encourage everyone on the Newlife Music Team to get ready for EMC 2007, it really is a conference not to be missed.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reaching the City

Erich Bridges of the International Mission Board notes that "Nearly half the world's population now lives in cities. That total will reach 60 percent by 2030. By 2015, the number of megacities with populations topping 10 million will reach 23. Beyond the massive physical and social challenges posed by such giants, Christians have yet to find effective strategies for evangelizing them."

When I think and pray about the work that God has placed before us in reaching our generation with the good news of Jesus Christ, I believe more and more that reaching and influencing these 'cities' with the gospel is strategic to effectively reaching the smaller (and equally as important) communities beyond them.

When it comes to the comment that "Christians have yet to find effective strategies for evangelizing them (the cities)" I reckon to be continually praying & working at it, trying new ways to communicate the unchanging message is always the way forward for Christ's Church.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Big Vision for a BIG City

Lately I've been amazed by what God is doing in the City of Brisbane, and indeed the whole area of South East Queensland. It seems that every time I turn around I hear of another church being planted, and for that I praise God. As a Pastor of a local Church it has got me thinking... sure we need to plant more "new churches" but what about the rest of us? How can we as existing churches get in on the action and privilege of reaching the lost not only in our local communities but beyond?

Well, one of the influences on my current thinking has been Pastor Dave Ferguson of Community Christian Church, Chicagoland, USA. Dave argues that existing churches should seriously consider the strategy of multiple campuses in multiple locations whilst remaining a single Church entity.

Ferguson comments that of the 1,500 odd multi-site churches in the US some are giga chuches like Willow Creek but the vast majority are average churches that have simply faced the tough question of “How can most effectively reach our generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ?” The answer they’ve reached is simple and cost effective, launch new congregations in new locations where God is using the members of your church to reach people through the gospel.

You can check out more of Dave’s ideas on the multi site movement at http://www.daveferguson.typepad.com/. Enjoy!

Welcome to 'Ignition Brisbane'

This blog aims to be a place where leaders and members of Jesus Christ's church can interact, discuss and find inspiration in reaching today's generation with the timeless message of the gospel. I hope you are encouraged by your time with us.