Man in the Mirror

Native American man looking in mirror

“Sometimes the words too busy are substitutes for too lazy.” – Eugene Cho

At least that’s true for me. I didn’t always realize it though. For years, I considered myself a hard worker, always getting as much as possible done. If I wasn’t able to do something, like say reading my Bible, dating my wife, or spending enough time with my kids, I would use the excuse of busyness.

It’s kind of my go to excuse. That, or I feel like I’m getting burned out. That’s another good one I tell myself. And yet, despite my busyness, I always found time to play games on my phone, to watch my favorite tv shows, to sleep a little longer in the mornings. So, after a long, hard look in the mirror, I decided to make a change. (Mandatory Michael Jackson Reference)

Over the summer I began waking up an hour earlier than normal. I spend the time reading, writing, and investing in myself while my family sleeps. By waking up early, I’m not sacrificing time with my family later in the day. My goal is to become more devoted to the things that really matter in life.

Acts 2, is a pretty important chapter in the Bible. It’s where the church began. I love verses 42-47. Here’s an excerpt:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What are you devoting your life to? Google defines devotion as showing great love or loyalty to. Maybe a better exercise would be to ask those around us what they think we’re devoting our lives to. We’re not always the most honest with ourselves.

Whatever it is we’re devoting our lives to, is it adding to your life? If not, maybe it’s time you made a change.

Church should be a Piece of Cake

 

 

This weekend I took my wife to her favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s. Maggiano’s serves incredible Italian food, but the highlight of the evening is always their Chocolate Zuccoto Cake. Each slice is 5 inches tall, 4 inches wide, and weighs just short of a pound. This cake is a sight to behold, not to mention it tastes incredible.

maggianoschocolatecake

Here’s five things this cake has that your church needs.

  • It draws attention – I was talking to my friend Will about our chocolate cake experience, and he brought up a great point. He said, “The thing is, they parade that cake around the restaurant so everyone sees it, and after seeing it, you have to order it.”

Are you doing things to bring positive attention to your church? Are you actively involved in serving the community? If your church closed its doors tomorrow, would the community notice?

  • Presentation – I’ve watched enough Chopped and MasterChef to know that presentation is a huge deal in the food world. No matter how good the food tastes, if it’s just thrown on a plate haphazardly, it creates a negative first impression.

So, what do guests experience when they drive onto your property? Is the landscaping nice? Are they being greeted in the parking lot? What about when they walk through your doors, are they greeted with a smile? Does your building smell nice and fresh, or does it smell old and out of date?

  • More than they expected – I’m guessing most people in the United States have experienced chocolate cake in some form or fashion. So, when you order a chocolate cake from a restaurant, you already have an expectation of what it’s going to be like. Maggiano’s chocolate cake blows that expectation out of the water. It’s unlike any chocolate cake I’ve ever seen.

Church is no different. Most people in the United States have an expectation of what church is going to be like. In many circumstances that expectation is going to be less than positive. So, what can you put in place to change that? First Impressions is an easy place to start, but Kid’s Ministry may be your most important area. By creating a great first impression and then providing a great kids environment, you will already surpass most people’s expectations of church.

  • It’s meant to be shared – No ordinary human can eat the Chocolate Zuccotto Cake in one sitting. It’s meant to be shared with others. Your church should be the same way.

So, what are you doing to foster community within your church? Are you offering groups throughout the week? Are friendships being formed? Are people doing life together? If not, it’s time to rethink your strategy for getting people connected.

  • People will drive a long distance to experience it – The closest Maggiano’s to my house is in Nashville, TN, just over an hour away. There are plenty of Italian restaurants closer to my house, but none of them can come close to the experience you get there.

If you want to get guests to show up to your church, give them an experience that they can’t get anywhere else. Ask yourself, what can we do better than anyone else is doing, and then go do it.

I’d love to hear about your favorite restaurants and what keeps drawing you back to them. Post it in the comments section below.

Greetings

Basics - Happy Greeters

Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.

Greeters

On any given week of the year, millions of guests step foot inside a church. How they are greeted plays a huge role in determining if they come back. Greeting ministry should be one of the easiest things to pull off each week for a church, but over and over again I see churches that are doing a horrible job at it.

Some churches make the mistake of not even having a greeter ministry, which is like inviting guests over and saying “just let yourself in.” Others make an even bigger mistake of having the wrong people serve as greeters. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of guests who have been turned off before they ever walk through the church doors. All it takes is a wrong look or a poor choice of words for a first-time guest to become a last-time guest.

So, how can we make sure that doesn’t happen? How can we have a greeter ministry that gives a great first impression?

  1. Greeters should be people who smile. I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many sour-faced greeters there are in churches all over the country. What makes it worse, are pastors and ministry leaders that allow this to continue to happen week after week. If you have a grumpy greeter serving in your greeter ministry, immediately move them out of that position.
  1. Greeters should open the door. NewSpring Church in South Carolina has a policy that says no guest should ever have to open a door. They place volunteers at every entrance of their church to open the doors for their guests. You should do the same. It’s a simple way to serve your guests, and a great first impression of your church.
  1. Greeters should be good at remembering names. One of the most valuable tools in ministry is a good memory, especially when it comes to remembering names. Greeting guests with a smile and handshake makes a good first impression. Remembering their name when they come back a second time makes a great second impression. By remembering a person’s name, you’re placing value on them, which makes a huge impact on people.
  1. Greeters should reflect who your church is trying to reach. If your church is trying to reach young families make sure you have couples with young kids greeting. If you’re trying to reach empty nesters, make sure you have older adults greeting. This doesn’t mean you can’t have diversity within your greeters, you should. But it wouldn’t make sense to have only retired adults greeting in a church that’s trying to reach young people.

If your greeting ministry reflects these four simple ideas, you will automatically see more guests come back to your church.

What are some other ways we can make the church more welcoming to guests?