For the last several years, one of the biggest things we have been attempting to do at Eagle Pointe is to “change the way people think about church“. You might be wondering: “WHY would we want to change the way people think about church?” Well, most people in our world who don’t go to church aren’t necessarily turned off from God. They’re turned off from church! They’re turned off from Christians! Why? When many people think about church and Christians they think of words like:
- After my money
SO when we re-started Eagle Pointe, one of our primary goals was to “Change the way people think about church” – because if we change the way they think about church, we can change the way they think about Jesus! We can help them see that Jesus is incredibly relevant to their lives today – and that having a relationship with Him is a whole lot more simple, fun, rewarding, and fulfilling than they could ever imagine!
Changing the way people think about church is our motivation behind our:
- Casual, Contemporary, & highly Relational Atmosphere
- Great music people can relate to
- Dramas with a sense of humor that connect with the heart and mind
- Messages that are relevant, understandable, and that help people Monday thru Saturday – not just on Sunday
- Fun & Engaging children’s and teen environments
- REAL people doing REAL life!
If you haven’t been into church for a while – PLEASE give it another shot at Eagle Pointe. We’ll change the way you think about church!
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
We will have a mission team heading back to Haiti February 22 – March 1. We will run a free clinic for the week seeing 400+ families a day. We will also be providing medical care at 2 orphanages & 2 tent cities that we work with. In addition, we will be doing some construction projects at a local church, as well as, building homes around the local community. And we need your help to pull this off!
Below is a list of supplies needed for our Haiti mission trip. As well, there is also a list of the money for projects we need to fund-raise between now & then. PLEASE help us round up these supplies & donations. We need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by Sunday Feb. 9th – so we can pack everything up & have it ready to go.
If you are unable to bring items to Eagle Pointe – again, donations of money are definitely needed (we will be buying a lot of needed supplies in Haiti – easier than carrying it all & supports the local economy). You can donate online HERE (be sure to select “Haiti”) or email me.
Money – fundraised: (This is what is left to be raised before we go)
- $1000 – medical supplies for free clinic we run while there.
- $3000 – building materials for homes (purchased in Haiti)
- $600 – local laborers to assist w/ construction projects
- Tooth brushes
- Tooth paste
- Small toys, dolls, etc to giveaway to children (LOTS of small items are easier to pack in suitcases & can cover more kids – ‘happy meal size’ is ideal)
- Candy to giveaway to children (lg bags of smaller pieces)
- Reading glasses (varying strengths)
- IPhones & Blackberries (Our ministry friends in Haiti can get service pretty cheap – but phones are very expensive. This is also much cheaper than computers/laptops so they can have email access, etc)
Medical Items: (Donations to help purchase these are greatly needed as well)
- Anti-fungal medicine (Lotrimin or other otc athletes foot meds)
- Permethrin 5%
- Benadryl (tabs & children’s liquid)
- Ibuprofen (adult and children’s liquid)
- Acetaminophen (adult and children’s liquid)
- 1 % hydrocortisone cream or other prescription steroid cream
- Antibiotics by prescription (Amoxicillin, Keflex, Bactrim, Ciprofloxacin, Augmentin, etc)
- Mebendazole by prescription
- Antibiotic eye drops – by prescription
- Visine and Visine allergy
- Albuterol inhaler by prescription
Please help us make a difference in the lives of so many struggling people & families in Haiti & show them the real, practical, & tangible love of Jesus!
BTW: If you are unfamiliar with our work in Haiti – here is a glimpse of just some of what all we do…
February 11, 2014 | Categories: faith, Haiti, Missions - Local & Global, Serve The World, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, Christianity, church, compassion, disaster, disaster relief, earthquake, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, Haiti, help, helping others, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, mission, missions, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, suffering | 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 know, I know, that was a beer commercial but I think it illustrates a great point for churches to consider – how comfortable do new people, different people, people who are not exactly like you, FEEL when they come into your church???
Many of you know that I walked away from church for a 6 year period of my life. I was a bodyguard & head of security for some of the biggest rock n’ roll bands in the world. I rode motorcycles, had long hair & tattoos, & I remember vividly the looks I would get from those who I looked different from. I remember when I “gave church a try” with Gina, who would later become my wife, and the uneasiness I felt. Would this be like the uptight, holier than thou, legalistic church I had grown up in? Would these people accept me or would I be an outcast?
Most of the people coming through our doors have never been to church, or haven’t been in many years because of a bad experience or they never saw the relevance of church. And as they pull onto our parking lot they are experiencing a great deal of uneasiness. They are wondering – Am I dressed right? What will they people be like? Will I be accepted or looked down on? What is the music like? What is the pastor like? Will they ask me to drink the Kool-Aid? Many times I liken it to going to a party where you don’t know anyone. As uneasy as that is for all of us, it’s about 20 times worse for people walking into a church where they don’t know anyone.
Listen – it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to put them at ease immediately. I tell people that our “Host Team” (greeters, parking, ushers, coffee servers, children’s check-in, etc) may be the most important ministry in our entire church. Studies tell us that the average visitor to a church will make up their mind within in the 1st 8 minutes as to whether they are ever coming back to that church again. Did you catch that??? EIGHT STINKIN’ MINUTES!!! 8 minutes is about the time it takes for them to park, walk in the building, check-in their kids, grab a cup of coffee, & MAYBE have heard the 1st song! Think about that!
We are in a community where 90% of the people within a 5 mile radius of our church do not go to church regularly. We work our tails off to try to reach out to them & to get them to “give church a try”, & when they come they are feeling that uneasiness & they are looking for an excuse to say “AH HA! THAT’S why I don’t go to church!“
So, in addition to having a kick butt Host Team, I tell everyone who comes to Eagle Pointe that WE ARE ALL, every single one of us, is on Host Team EVERY weekend! It is up to us to make sure that everyone, no matter who they are or what they look like, feels loved, welcomed, accepted, & appreciated from the moment they pull onto our parking lot until they the moment they leave.
Because if we blow that first 8 minutes, if we don’t make a great first impression, then we will have just wasted that God-given opportunity to impact that person & their family for Jesus Christ! And that is completely unacceptable to me!
Remember: Jesus came to invite the outsider – not coddle the insider!
So, how welcome do people feel in your church?
December 10, 2013 | Categories: Church Life, Leadership, Relationships, Social Media, Spiritual growth | Tags: Acworth, Appreciation, Atlanta, blogging, blogs, celebration, Christianity, Christmas, church, compassion, evangelism, facebook, faith, God, help, helping others, Holidays, humanitarian aid, internet, invite people to church, Jesus, Kennesaw, love, mercy, Ministry, servant evangelism, serve, serving, social justice, Social Media, technology, twitter, Volunteer, Volunteers | Leave a comment