Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

Posts tagged “twitter

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.


Your Teaching/Preaching Isn’t “Deep Enough”

bible-study5b

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&gt;.</p>


We’re Launching a 3rd Service at Eagle Pointe!

EPC - New Service Times - Web

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!!!

EPC - This Ain't Your Grandma's Church - Night 1


Haiti Mission Trip Needs – Updated Feb. 18

EPC - Haiti Mission - NeedsWe 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 & a list of the money for projects we need to fundraisePLEASE help us round up these supplies & donationsWe need supplies dropped off at Eagle Pointe by this Wed. Feb. 20th – we are packing everything up that evening.

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.
  • $1000 – building materials for homes (purchased in Haiti)

General Items:

  • 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)

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)
  • 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…


High Class Challenges

Good ProblemsGod is just showing off now! This has been gradually building over the last several months, but especially for the last 2 months our Connections pastor Tim Roman and I have been looking at each other & saying “Wow!” & “Oh my!”.  We have had so many new people & families coming to Eagle Pointe in these last 2 months.  And not just attending on Sundays, but getting in Life Groups & serving on ministry teams – IT’S BEEN CRAZY!  And it doesn’t show any signs of letting up – if anything – this ride appears to be speeding up – “GO GOD!!!”

2 weeks ago at Momentum, our gathering of leaders & volunteers, I shared how we needed to launch a 3rd service time. I also shared how we needed to grow by about 60 more people to make that move effective for the sake of having more volunteers, having enough people in each service that we don’t don’t lose energy, etc. WELL – yesterday we had those 60 more people show up at Eagle Pointe! In fact, here is what I posted on my Facebook & Twitter yesterday – “LOVE when God shows up & shows off! Mind blowing kick off of our “Improving Your Love Life” series today. Music was incredible, message connected, & had our highest non-holiday attendance ever. GO GOD & Go Eagle Pointe’rs!!!

What God is doing here at Eagle Pointe is so special, so rare, and so big that there’s not a doubt in any of our minds as to Who is doing this.  I believe that God is blessing our hearts, motivations, focus, and hard work in a huge way – & I am very grateful for that.

However, with these blessings comes a lot of things that we have to figure out.  How can we be good stewards of the people/souls that God is entrusting to us?  How do we structure our church and ministries to handle what God is doing here?  Not just how do we handle what happened last Sunday – but how do we handle this movement of God in 6 months & a year or 2 down the road?

But there’s also immediate concerns – how soon do we launch our 3rd service time?  How fast can we expand our worship area? What’s the right way to expand? What can we afford to do?  What can we do & how fast can we do it? There’s probably 42 questions along these lines that need to be answered.  What staff will we need & how soon will we need them? How can our Ministry Leaders & Lay Ministers handle all of this?  How can we raise up more leaders quickly?  How do we help our people to spiritually, mentally, & emotionally handle all of these changes & the speed in which God is doing it? How do we help people understand that the vast majority of Christians will go their entire lives without God ever allowing them to be a part of anything remotely close to what He is doing here?

As I hope you can see – it is a lot to figure out.  But as my buddy Tim Meade used to say – “These are high class problems!” As opposed to a few years ago when we were on our knees praying for God to keep the doors of our church open another month.

Now, while we are figuring out how/when to launch a 3rd service – here are a few things we really need our entire Eagle Pointe family helping us with right away: (BTW: 3rd service will most likely be on Sunday evenings)

1) Sit towards the front, move in to the middle of seating sections, etc. Help us fit everyone in & make it easier for people to find seats. You don’t have to sit on an aisle seat & you don’t need a seat or 2 buffer between you & the person next to you. Please be mindful of people trying to find a seat & help them out.

2) Don’t block our cafe & hallways. Let people be able to get in & find where they are going. Move your converstaions into the worship area or outside. Don’t be a human barricade!

3) Volunteer to serve on a ministry team. We need a lot more help in our parking lot, with greeters/hosts/guides, ushering in the worship area, & in our CHILDREN’S MINISTRY working with babies & children. (Our children’s ministry is growing like crazy & needs more adult/teen volunteers)

4) Park in our back lots. Yes – we have more parking around the back sides of our facility. If you are serving and/or a regular here at Eagle Pointe – please help us fill up these back lots first. Let’s leave the front/easiest to find parking spots for our guests & newer folks. (BTW: I try to always lead by example – so you will see my vehicle in the last/furthest back spot)

5) Everyone is on Host Team every Sunday! Even if you are not officially on our host/greeter team – we count on you to help us welcome everyone, help them find there way, introduce them around to others, etc. Keep an eye out for people sitting/standing by themselves. Act every Sunday, as you would if you were hosting a party at your home.

I share all of this with you to help you, as my church family, to see the challenges that are before us.  As the lead pastor I grasp and feel the weight and responsibility that comes with God blessing in this way – which is why I am currently fasting & praying for God’s wisdom & guidance.  Please pray for me during this time & join me in praying for God to show all of us the way. LET’S DO THIS!!! Let’s give God actions He will use & bless! And then – buckle up & hold on! It’s going to be a wild & amazing ride!


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


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,188 other followers