Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “Holidays

Why We’re Cancelling Our 5:30pm Easter Sunday Service & It’s Not Because We Don’t Love Jesus ;-)

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.

EPC - Easter 2014 - Graphic - Website


One Invite Literally Changed My Life

EPC - One Invite - Changed My Life

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…


Fun Ways to Invite People to Church!

EPC - Easter 2014 - Graphic - Website

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.


Christmas Eve at Eagle Pointe

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!

EPC - U2 Christmas Eve - Slide - Copy


How Welcome Do Visitors Feel In Your Church?

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?

Bikers - Welcome


U2 Christmas – Let’s Do This!!!

EPC - U2 Christmas - Web 3

This Sunday Dec. 8th we will kick off one of the most fun, rockin’, & most powerful series we’ve done here at Eagle Pointe. (And that’s saying something!)

Join us this Christmas season and get a backstage pass to one of the greatest bands of all time, talking about the greatest message of all time. We’ll use today’s arts, media, and songs from U2 to  learn the secret of the exciting & fulfilling life we were all meant to live.

The music, dramas, videos & messages we have planned, for each Sunday in December & on Christmas Eve, are going to flat-out blow you away! So, do not miss ANY of this series & please help us use this series to reach a whole bunch of people in our community for Jesus this Christmas season…

U2 BillboardWe will have invite cards available at church for you to hand out. Check out my Facebook page & our Eagle Pointe Facebook page for videos, invites, etc that you can share. Help us blow-up Facebook all month long by sharing invites & videos to our “U2 Christmas” series! Do your best to bring people with you each week of this series & on Christmas Eve. (BTW: Have you seen our Billboard???)

Our Christmas Eve services will be at 2:00, 3:45, & 5:30PM on Dec. 24th. Help us make the most of this month-long, God-sized opportunity!

Be sure to take a minute & watch both of the promo video for this series below…


Christmas Gifts – On a Mission From God

EPC - Christmas Gifts - On Mission

Before many of us dive head-first into that giant orgy of materialism – you know? BLACK FRIDAY! The day when Americans spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff we don’t need – 1 day after saying how thankful we are for all that we have! Before we do that – I want to challenge all of us to completely rethink our Christmas gift giving this year!

Rather than buying into the consumerism, materialism, & greed that is so often a part of the American Christmas experience. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff that people really do not need & that will be collecting dust in a few short weeks. Let me challenge you to make your Christmas gift giving be “on a mission from God” this year!

Here are a few ideas of how you can get people a great Christmas gift – while supporting a great cause – & helping those who are A LOT less fortunate than any of us are.

1) Serve the World Christmas Gift Certificates.

These can be given as gifts & let people know that rather than get them a gift they probably don’t need – that a certain amount had been given in their name – to help provide for Children’s homes, Homeless shelters & struggling families locally, as well as, provide food, schooling, immunizations, medical care & the love of Jesus Christ in parts of the world where the average family lives on less than $2 a day. As well this donation helps fund local mission work, community service days (Faith in Actions), & benevolence assisting struggling families with financial needs & counseling. These Gift Certificates are available through our church office or in our Cafe on Sunday mornings.

2) Bags of Coffee from Haiti & Rwanda

We serve Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee each Sunday at Eagle Pointe & we make bags of this coffee available for purchase. Bags of this coffee make for great Christmas Gifts while at the same time help provide a job & a living wage for farmers in 2 of the poorest countries in the world. Bags of different blends of coffee & espresso, as well as bags of chocolate & peppermint espresso bark, are available through our church office or in our Cafe on Sunday mornings.

3) Eagle Pointe embroidered gear

EPC - Embroidered Gear

If you’re getting a gift for a family member of friend who is part of our Eagle Pointe family – why not get them something they can sport to show off their church family. This is a great way to promote what God is doing here at Eagle Pointe and a great discussion starter to share your faith and invite people who are disconnected from God and church. These are priced to pretty much just cover the cost to produce and a portion of the sales goes towards our Eagle Pointe mission work. Contact Gina Koepka – (404) 375-9899 for more info.

Again, let me challenge you to make your Christmas gift giving be “on a mission from God” this year! I’d love to hear your stories of the impression this made on those you give gifts to this Christmas.

Oh, and here’s one last thought on this idea…

Christmas - Necessity 2


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