As many of you know, almost 4 weeks ago we started a 3rd service time here at Eagle Pointe at 5:30PM. It has gotten off to a great start and it is accomplishing our goal – freeing up space in our 2 Sunday morning services & it is reaching new people who, because of work schedules, etc, cannot do Sunday mornings.
We originally decided to add a 5:30pm service on Easter Sunday – in addition to our 9am, 10:30am, & 12pm services – so that none of those folks would have to miss Easter services & for many of those 5:30pm crowd who are just getting in the habit of coming to church, we didn’t want to give an excuse to fall out of that habit.
However, as I’ve had time to think & pray more about this (As I say all the time, just like all of you – I am human, I don’t always get it right, I’m figuring all of this out on a daily basis, but fortunately I have a heart that wants to please God & I am open to His correction) I believe God has helped me look at this from a different perspective…
1) Many of our 5:30pm crowd, who are just getting in the habit of coming to church, probably are not coming anyways. They will probably be doing family dinners, getting together with friends, etc. I also understand that there are some who were planning on coming, who may not be happy with this decision. If that’s you, I hope you will understand the next couple of reasons for this decision.
2) 3 Easter Sunday morning services & a 5:30PM service that same day are going to flat wear out our volunteers, ministry leaders, and staff. I know Easter Sunday is the Super Bowl for Christian churches, and some will ask “how can you pull back on this day? It’s only 1 day!” I get that, but I also know that 1 of the reasons we have so many leaders in our church who have been here for years serving at a very high level, is because we try to strike that all elusive balance & not burn out our volunteers and their familes (sometimes we do a better job than others at that).
3) I want our volunteers, leaders, and staff to have some time with their families on Easter Sunday, which will not really happen with a 5:30pm service. Listen – I want myself & all of us to go crazy, bust our tails, to do whatever it takes this next 1 1/2 weeks leading up to Easter to reach as many in our community as we possibly can, to prepare & be ready for all the people who are going to be here, and serve like it’s our last opportunity to do so ever on Easter Sunday to blow people’s minds, change the way they think about church, & help them experience Jesus!
BUT – then I want them to go home, spend time with their family & friends, and be able to relax & soak in the beauty of the Resurrection and all that it means & provided for us.
So, there you have it! We will have 3 Easter Sunday services at 9am, 10:30am, & 12pm. Join us in letting God use each of us this next 1 1/2 weeks to to whatever it takes to bring as many people as you can with you to Easter at Eagle Pointe.
April 8, 2014 | Categories: Church Life, Family Ministries, Leadership, ministry, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, celebration, Christianity, church, Easter, facebook, faith, God, helping others, Holidays, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, servant evangelism, Social Media | Leave a comment
That’s my story – how about you? One invite really did change my life! Well, it was actually one person inviting me a whole bunch of times to his church until I finally gave in! THANK GOD my buddy Garland Robertson cared enough about me that he didn’t give up on me. I knew Garland for many years, but we had lost touch for a period of our lives. Then one day we ran into each other at a University of Miami football game. We both had season tickets & his were a few rows behind me.
At every football game we would catch up, talk about life, and at some point in the discussion he would work into the conversation something cool that his church was doing & invite me to come check it out. I was always polite about it – but would always blow off his invites. If you look up the word “determination” – there will be a picture of Garland there. He never gave up on me! For 2 years, every time he saw me, he would invite me. He was never pushy or obnoxious about it – he was just determined! He cared enough about me, my life, my family & where I was going to spend eternity – that he wouldn’t give up.
Finally, one day when I was at a place in my life where I was ready – I said “yes”! My life has never been the same since! Thanks Gar & Thanks Jesus – for caring enough about me & not giving up on me.
Easter Sunday (April 20) is the greatest God-given opportunity of the year for you to reach out to & invite people to Eagle Pointe! Don’t waste this God-given opportunity!
Now, here are a few things I challenge you to join me in doing these 2 weeks leading up to Easter:
1) PRAY & FAST! – Let’s unleash the power of prayer! Pray for your friends, our community, our church, our Easter services & for CHANGED LIVES!!! (If you want to learn more about Fasting – check out “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough“.
2) EXPECT! Expect God to show up & do the miraculous. Let’s add a big-time dose of faith to our prayers & let’s do our part! Let’s give God some actions (on our part) that He can bless!
3) INVITE, INVITE, INVITE! Go stark raving crazy these next 2 weeks inviting everyone God brings across your path – friends, neighbors, co-workers… If you need more “Easter at Eagle Pointe” invite cards drop by the church & get them. The reality is that most people want to be, or feel like they should, be in church on Easter — so let’s help them out with that! (Check out a recent blog post “Fun Ways to Invite People to Church“)
4) FIRE UP YOUR FACEBOOK! Get on my Facebook page or our Eagle Pointe Facebook page & start sharing the invites & videos we have to promote “Easter at Eagle Pointe”. Change your Facebook profile pic to our Easter profile pic. BTW: It’s working! Since we started our Facebook campaign 2 weeks ago – the number of people who are seeing something about Eagle Pointe & our Easter services have been mind-blowing. So, help us blow up Facebook these next 2 weeks by inviting all your Facebook friends.
5) BE HERE, SERVE & DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! Arrive early & help out in any way you can! We need a number of you to go to our 9:00AM, 12:00pm, & 5:30pm services to make room in our 10:30 service. Please help us pack out our 2 back gravel lots & car pool with family & friends. We need to free up some seating & parking this Easter! As with every weekend at Eagle Pointe – EVERYONE is on Host Team on Easter! You see something that needs picked up – a bathroom that needs restocked – just do it! You see people looking unsure of where they’re going – introduce yourself & show them around. You see people sitting by themselves – go sit with them & make them feel comfortable.
Again, join us in doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach our community for Jesus this Easter!
PS. I wonder who will be doing 1 of our “One Invite Changed My Life” videos someday because you cared enough to invite them???
***CHECK OUT OUR PROMO VIDEO FOR EASTER AT EAGLE POINTE…
April 7, 2014 | Categories: Church Life, Leadership, ministry, Personal Life, Relationships, Serve The World, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, church, compassion, Easter, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, helping others, Holidays, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, Social Media, technology | Leave a comment
Jesus said “GO & make disciples…”. He said “I will build my church…”. One of the primary reasons Eagle Pointe church exists is to live out & share the gospel, to reach our community where 90% of the people do not go to church, & to be used by Jesus to bring about “changed lives”. However, that cannot happen until people come & continue coming to an environment where Jesus can work in their lives. So, us inviting people to our church is absolutely essential to us fulfilling a HUGE part of our core mission. To that end, here are some great ways you can invite people to Eagle Pointe church. Look over this, pray about it, talk with your life group and friends, have some fun, & just do it!
BTW: The biggest GOD-SIZED opportunity of the year to invite people to church is coming up in 3 weeks on Easter Sunday. I HATE wasting God-given & God-sized opportunities! I’m challenging every individual in our church to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring AT LEAST 2 people with them to our Easter Sunday services. So, let’s get after it, let’s do this thing, & let’s allow God to use us to impact our community for Him this Easter!
- Grill out for the employees of a local company or business.
- Host a block party in your neighborhood, get to know your neighbors, & invite them to church.
- Tailgate at high school and/or local sporting events, ballfields, etc. Give away hot dogs and invite people.
- Always keep some invite cards on you & give them to your waitress, checkout person at a store, person standing behind you in line, etc.
- Cookout at a local park & give away hot dogs and/or bottled water.
- Borrow our popcorn machine & giveaway popcorn & invite cards at a movie rental store.
- Provide “full service” at a local gas station – wash windows, pump gas, and leave a car freshener.
- Put out road signs on the weekend (did you know about 40% of people who attend our church for the first time do so because they saw a road sign?)
- Follow me on Facebook & Twitter, and/or Eagle Pointe on Facebook – & share postings, videos, etc with your friends.
- Help local schools with their festivals. Instead of re-creating the wheel, just help a school make their event better.
- Take a couple of hours and put out invite cards on mailboxes in your neighborhood.
- Go to local shopping centers & put invite cards on car windshields. Try not to get arrested…that keeps it fun!
- Coach or help out with a local kids sports team. Build relationships with families & invite.
- You and your kids set up a lemonade stand.
- Have a free garage sale…give away things and invite people to church.
- Do a free car wash.
- Go around a neighborhood and collect canned food. Invite people to church while asking for food.
- Hand out helium balloons at special events. We have a helium tank you can use.
- Set up a bounce house at the movie theater when a big kids movie premiers. Or in front of another store. Managers are often open to anything that draws attention to their store.
- Put a giant Eagle Pointe sign in the back of your truck. Politicians do it – our cause is way more important!
- Take breakfast to school teachers. Simply email the principal and ask if you can do it, set a day, and make it happen.
- Help with field days at a local elementary school. What school wouldn’t appreciate volunteers?
- Take food to fire stations. Let them know you appreciate them and that they are always welcome at your church.
Better yet… come up with your own idea, get your friends or group/team involved, and make it happen. Let us know what you’re doing & how we can help! ***BTW: Your friends, neighbors, & co-workers are the easiest of all to invite because you already have a personal relationship with them.
April 3, 2014 | Categories: Church Life, Faith In Action, ministry, Personal Life, Relationships, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, church, compassion, Easter, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, help, helping others, Holidays, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, Ministry, servant evangelism, serve, serving, Social Media, technology, twitter, Volunteer, Volunteers | 1 Comment
Here’s a blog post I did a while back, that fit really well with my message/sermon from this past Sunday at Eagle Pointe. So, I thought I’d share it again…
Once in a while we will have someone say that the messages/sermons at Eagle Pointe church are not “deep enough”. Here are just some of my thoughts on this…
We didn’t start Eagle Pointe because Christians couldn’t find a good church to attend. There are some really good churches in our area led by some really good pastors. Instead, we wanted to start a church determined to reach the 90% of people in our area who did not go to church anywhere. That choice/conviction affects just about everything we do.
In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul writes that his goal was to preach the gospel “not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of it’s power.” For me, teaching/preaching isn’t about impressing people & showing them how smart I am or how much I know, it’s about connecting people with Jesus & helping them know how to live out the Christian life the way Jesus intended.
Someone once said that great teachers take complex material & make it simple, while bad teachers take simple ideas & make them complex. The reality is that the Gospel is very simple – it takes “theologians” to complicate it! Jesus taught in very simple easy to understand ways. He used stories & illustrations. All of His sermons were very topical in nature. He took complex ideas & laid out step by step explanations of what they mean & how ordinary people could live them out. (And we simply try to follow Jesus’ example)
Simple sermons are not the same thing as simplistic sermons. Our mission here at Eagle Pointe is to “Lead people to Love God, Love Others, & Serve the World” (a summary of The Great Commandment & Great Commission). These concepts are very simple. It’s following them that’s tough. In my humble opinion – the problem for most “Christians” is not that they don’t have enough knowledge about the Bible – it’s that they are simply not living out, or don’t know how to live out, what the Bible says. (They know what to do – they’re just not doing it).
Below is a great example of a very typical message here at Eagle Pointe. We studied Joshua 1:6-11 (6 verses). We taught on God’s righteousness, faithfulness, grace, & forgiveness. Now, I could have broken down the Hebrew translation of different words, the historical meaning & context of word usage, how this lines up with other promises of God in the Bible, etc. Some people would have walked out saying that it was such a great sermon & now they could run out & try to impress people with their new found knowledge. However, they would have no clue how to apply this to their lives & live out these truths.
As is our goal every weekend, in this message below, we taught some very deep spiritual & theological truths in a way that was very easy to understand; easy for people to see how this is relevant to their everyday lives; easy for people to know how to apply these truths to their lives & truly live this out; & then we challenged them to action (to do something with/about it). Our goal is to teach the Bible in a way that truly benefits people Monday through Saturday – not just on Sunday.
We also challenge people, and challenge them hard, to – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22). We challenge people to not just come to church, hear a good message, feel good about themselves, leave & do nothing with/about it. We challenge people to apply it, live it out, & to actually DO the things Jesus commands us to do. BTW: A LOT of Christians don’t like that. (But I’ll save that for another post)
We designed our church services to be the front door of our church. It’s an environment designed to help people take steps in their faith – it’s not designed to be the end-all & only source of teaching in your life.
Every weekend we have to strike that delicate balance of teaching Christians and non-Christians – people who’ve been in church for 20 years & people who are coming for the 1st time – young, old & everywhere in between – to take simple steps to follow Jesus. We have several other environments designed to help you “go deeper” in your faith. There are life groups, men’s & ladies groups that study the Bible. About once a month we offer “Disciple U” classes on subjects like apologetics, theology, church history, and books of the Bible. People have plenty of opportunities to “go deeper” around here.
A question we ask A LOT around here is – “Where’s the fruit?” Think about it - “Where’s the fruit?” You know – Jesus’ whole “I am the vine, you are the branches” thing? And – Jesus’ whole ”if a branch does not bear fruit, it will be cut off from the vine” thing? (But I’ll save that for another post as well)<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/74074810″>Catch the Wave – Pt. 4: Courage</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user1086269″>Howard J Koepka</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
April 1, 2014 | Categories: Church Life, faith, Faith In Action, Leadership, ministry, Serve The World, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, Christianity, church, Easter, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, helping others, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, Ministry, servant evangelism, serve, serving, Social Media, technology, twitter | Leave a comment
In case you haven’t heard – we are launching a 3rd service time/worship experience here at Eagle Pointe & I am beyond pumped about this!
Since January we’ve been talking about the need to add a 3rd service time here at Eagle Pointe. And as I shared at Momentum on Jan. 26th (if you missed it – watch it here), I said that we needed to add about another 60 adults to make this work. Meaning – we didn’t want to have 1 service with only 50 people & not much energy in it & we needed more people to volunteer & attend a 3rd service.
Well, we have added those 60 more adults. Both of our Sunday morning services are getting uncomfortably crowded, our Children’s ministry growing very fast, and we are maxing out our facility’s capacity. (Which will very soon hurt our retention of guests). So, after a lot of talks, prayer, fasting, & planning over the month or so with our staff & ministry leaders, we have made the decision to step out in faith & launch our 3rd service.
I will confess to you that as the leader/pastor of this amazing church family, I feel the weight & responsibility that comes with every decision we make. I will also confess to you that I struggled a little with this decision (Yes – I am human). I was a bit worried about making this decision prematurely, what if it doesn’t work, do we have enough volunteers, etc. I also know that we sometimes have waited too long in the past to make a decision & that delay has caused us to lose the momentum God was building.
As I was praying about & wrestling with this decision – God reminded me that the results aren’t up to me (I/we just have to do our part, give God actions He can bless, & be obedient to Him). During a recent staff meeting, I did not share what I was thinking/feeling, I just asked each of them to share what they were thinking/feeling/sensing about all of this. To my surprise, every one of our staff members said we needed to go to 3 services quickly. They acknowledged that yes it would be more work, require us to recruit & train more volunteers, & that it would be a challenge – but that with all the people & families coming to & getting connected here at Eagle Pointe, that we could not afford to wait any longer. I LOVE OUR STAFF!
So, next Sunday March 16th we will launch our 3rd service time. It will be at 5:30PM on Sunday evenings. This will also coincide with the kick-off of our next teaching series “Full Throttle” (appropriate series for stepping out in faith in God’s direction). I’ve been encouraged to hear from a number of people who were excited about this. In addition to freeing up space on Sunday mornings, I am very excited about the potential for us to reach another demographic of people who Sunday mornings are just not an option for. A lot of people in retail, restaurants, medical, etc either work too late on Saturdays or work on Sunday mornings. This Sunday evening service will be a great vehicle for us to reach out to these people & share with them about Jesus.
PS. I can tell you that families with young children will LOVE Sunday evenings. 5:30PM is late enough for families to enjoy Sunday afternoon activities & it is early enough to get the kids in bed at a reasonable time before school the next day. Also, once these families figure out how much easier it is to get kids who are already up & about to a 5:30PM service, rather than fighting to get kids up, dressed, & fed in time to get to church in the morning – they will never do morning church again ;-)
Now, here’s what I need your help with:
1) We need you to talk this up in your groups & teams. Your groups/teams will take on the same attitude you have about this. Will it require extra work for some of us? Yes! Especially for our staff & I. But as Tim Roman said in our staff meeting – “It’s only 1 stinkin’ extra hour a week in order to reach a whole bunch more people for Jesus! I think in light of what Jesus did for us, that we can do this for Him!” I LOVE TIM! I encourage you have & share Tim’s attitude as we communicate with & get our church family involved with this.
2) We need more of you to jump in & serve in a minstry & we will need some of you to “double-dip”. We will need people for the first 2 or 3 months to come back & just serve & help us get this Sunday evening service off to a great start. If you can help with this, please email Tim Roman. (BTW: Some of our greatest needs right now are Children’s ministry, Ushers, & Parking team. Please help us encourage people to sign up!)
3) Join us in praying for this endeavor – praying that God would use it & bless it in order to reach a whole bunch more people for Him.
4) Go crazy inviting! Go out of your way to “run into” people who Sunday evening may appeal to & invite them to come on March 16th & beyond. We have invite cards available in the cafe. We have a lot of stuff on social media to share with people. We also will have new roadsigns available this Sunday for you to help us get out into our community. Let’s do our part & allow God to use us to pack all 3 services next Sunday March 16 & beyond.
Well, that enough info for now. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me or any of our staff if you have any questions.
THANK YOU for being on this wild, crazy, God-sized adventure with me! THANK YOU for having a heart that is all about Loving God, Loving Others, & Serving the World. THANK YOU for having a WHATEVER IT TAKES heart & attitude. I am really excited about what God has in store for us.
Let’s do this!!!
March 6, 2014 | Categories: Church Life, faith, Leadership, ministry, Social Media | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, Christianity, church, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, Social Media, technology, twitter, Volunteer, Volunteers | Leave a comment
I Normally Don’t Do This
It’s the end of the year and I’m writing you because I need to share a few things with you! As a church we have seen a TON of amazing things happen this year. We have had SO many people commit their lives to Christ & get baptized – marriages restored – families put back together – people growing in their relationship with Jesus – and on and on.
While there has been SO MUCH good, I have to inform you about something that is a challenge. We are ending our financial year and we are not where we need to be yet.
Our financial goal for the month of December was $60,000. This would cover all of our operating expenses & our Serve the World Campaign (the amount needed to fund our work in Haiti, the Philippines, and other local & global mission work for 2014)
At this moment we are about $10,000 short!
While I’m sure we ALL greatly enjoyed an amazing Christmas – having many of our church family traveling did not help our cause. Many of you have been out of town over the Christmas holiday & may not have had the opportunity to generously give towards this.
We are about $10,000 from finishing strong! We are asking you and every person that loves this church to make a year-end donation that will bridge the gap from where we are to where we need to be.
We do not want to start another year hoping we do well financially! We want to finish strong so we can start ministering strong in 2014!
So I’m asking you to:
1. Ask God, “What do you want me to do financially this year?”
2. Give a year-end gift to help our cause — Drop it by or mail to our church office, Give online, or drop it in the offering basket this Sunday & note “year end” in the memo section. * To count towards 2013 taxes it must be postmarked by Dec. 31st.
3. Ask God to bless the gift so many lives, familes, & eternities will be radically changed.
Your Friend, Pastor, & Partner
Howard J. Koepka
I LOVE that video!!!
Can you believe it? Christmas Eve is only 5 days away! I am SO looking forward to the Christmas Eve Celebrations we have planned for you and the 20 friends you’ll bring with you this year. We have 3 amazing Christmas Eve services (2:00, 3:45, & 5:30PM) planned for you & all the people you bring with you! The music, message, videos, communion, candlelight singing, & more will BLOW YOU AWAY! Trust me!!
Here are four specific things that you can do to help us prepare to celebrate Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe:
1. Invite, Invite, Invite & Fire Up Your Social Media!
It’s always amazed me that although we know many of our friends are LOOKING for a church to attend on Christmas Eve, we still feel nervous when inviting them. Maybe it’s the fact that we all feel a bit nervous when talking about things that are important to us. The truth is, when you invite a friend to join you for church on Christmas Eve they very often will come, and even if they cannot, they’ll appreciate the fact that you thought of them. Remember: Christmas Eve & Easter are the 2 times a year when more people are willing to “give church a try” than any other. Use that! Take advantage of that! Get BOLD in inviting!
Call your friends & invite them! Go to mine or our Eagle Pointe Facebook pages & share the video & info about our services on your Facebook & Twitter. We will be sending out an e-mail invitation that you can easily send to all of your friends. Step out of your comfort zone and really make an effort to bring as many people as you possibly can this Christmas Eve. Offer to pick them up and drive them here. (In fact, carpooling will help with parking – Seriously!!! Also, our 3:45pm service will probably be our fullest service, so if you could attend one of the others – that would be great!) Let’s do OUR part & then step back & watch as God does His part!
2. Come to worship AND SERVE this Christmas Eve!
If your friends are meeting you here rather than riding with you, make plans to worship in either the 2:00, 3:45, or 5:30pm services and then serve during another service. We will need lots of help in the children’s ministry and host team – if you are able to help out please contact Lisa Skelly (children’s) or Tim Roman (host team) a.s.a.p.
3. Help out in any way that you can.
If you see ANYTHING that needs to be done – a piece of paper that needs to be picked up, a person who needs a question answered, a restroom that needs to be cleaned – I encourage you to “just do it.” One of the great things about Eagle Pointe is the way that we all pull together to meet whatever is needed.
Let’s make every effort to see that everyone has the best possible experience here at Eagle Pointe. Let’s see to it that not one person walks through our doors without being greeted by several people and introduced around. Let’s make everyone feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. Hopefully, they will leave thinking, “That is the friendliest place I’ve ever been to.” EVERYONE is on the Host Team this Christmas Eve! (Actually, that is the case every Sunday as well!)
Studies show that most visitors to a church will make up their mind within the first eight minutes as to whether they are ever coming back again. Let’s do absolutely everything we can to get them to come back again.
4. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
Join us in praying that after we do our part – that God shows up in a HUGE way & does what only He can do! Pray for your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, & our community! Listen: It’s NOT TOO LATE to do whatever it takes to bring someone with you to a service. I am asking everyone to stop for a few seconds and ask God if there is anyone else that you need to invite… and if He places someone in your heart and mind then don’t just pray for them… GO GET THEM!!! Also, Pray that our lives will be changed this Christmas & that the lives & eternities of 100′s of people will be changed this Christmas Eve.
5. Personally celebrate the Good (GREAT) News of Christmas starting today.
Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call Him Emmanuel which means God with us.” God is with me & God is with YOU – THAT’S what Christmas is ALL about! Start praising God and celebrating today and every day the GREAT news of Jesus!
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday & on Tuesday for Christmas Eve!
December 19, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Social Media | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, Christmas, church, compassion, disaster relief, earthquake, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, Haiti, help, helping others, Holidays, humanitarian aid, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, technology, twitter, Volunteer, Volunteers | Leave a comment