Things that Go Bump in the Night

Living Fearless

Recently, I made the choice to downgrade my satellite package and jump on the Netflix bandwagon. Even though the movie selection isn’t the greatest, there are some good series to watch, and my kids absolutely love it. One of their favorite series is Goosebumps. They love being scared by garden gnomes, mutant monsters, and dummies that suddenly come to life.

Slappy

There’s just one problem. No matter how many times I tell them that Slappy isn’t real, there’s no such thing as monsters, and garden gnomes don’t suddenly come to life, the kids still find their way into my bed at night.

To them it doesn’t matter if the monsters are real. All that matters is that the fear is real. And the interesting thing about fear is that we never seem to outgrow it; we just learn to fear new things.

We no longer fear ghosts, we fear committees. We no longer fear vampires, we fear the people who suck the life out of us every Sunday. We no longer fear the dark, we fear what may be brought into the light.

At the root of it all is our greatest fear, failure. We’re afraid we’re going to screw something up, we’re going to be found out, we’re not going to have what it takes.

I believe that’s why God spends so much time telling us not to fear in the scriptures.

“I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. Genesis 26:24

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Ruth 3:11

Say to those who are fearful-hearted,“ Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13

“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, And do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, Jeremiah 46:27

And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” Daniel 10:19

Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the Lord has done marvelous things! Joel 2:21

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Matthew 10:28

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” Luke 5:10

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17

Without God we have every reason to be afraid, but with God we have nothing to be afraid of.

Stop living your life in fear, and start living the life God has called you to. For He is with you, and together you’re unstoppable.

What are you most afraid of? How have you overcome your fears? I’d love to hear your story, so make sure to leave a comment below.

Multisite – Six Weeks In

Two years ago we got really serious about the idea of going multisite. When you’re in a town of 2,200 people, at some point your growth is going to max out, and we felt like we were nearing that point. We also had a large group of people who were coming to our church from a town about twenty minutes away from us. It was time to get started.

MultisiteMap

We started doing as much research as possible about multisite, but there wasn’t much information about churches our size that were also in a rural community.

So, for the most part we just had to wing it.

The biggest question we wrestled with was whether to do video teaching or live.

After many months of preparing to do video, we ultimately decided it wasn’t going to work at the level we desired, so we completely changed directions.

Now, our lead pastor and campus pastor work together each week to prepare a message that will be delivered at each location. Scriptures and main points are the same; then they add their own personal stories and touch.

We’re only six weeks in, but it looks like we made a good decision.

If you’re thinking of taking your small town church multisite, here are a few things we’ve learned so far.

  • It takes People – The success of any type of church launch is largely dependent upon the size of the “launch team.” Churches who launch campuses often have a huge advantage over church plants because the launch team is largely made up of people already attending the central campus. Our launch team was around 80 people who had mostly been attending and serving at the central campus. They already knew our vision, culture, and DNA.
  • It takes Money – I’ve heard of churches that launch campuses on a shoestring budget, but for us that wasn’t the case. We wanted to do our best to make sure that the experience at the new campus was as close to the experience at the central campus as possible. This meant spending over 100k to make the worship experience the best it could be in a portable facility.
  • It takes Volunteers – Lots of volunteers. You’re not only filling positions for a new campus, you’re also replacing volunteers who are leaving to go to that campus. We handled this a couple of different ways. We went from offering three services to two services at our central campus. This cut down on the number of positions we needed to fill, and it insured that we had critical mass in those two services. We also went on a recruiting blitz a few months before launch asking everyone and anyone to step up and volunteer.
  • It takes Sacrifice – Don’t underestimate the amount of work, time, and sacrifice multisite is going to take. Portable facilities mean arriving early for set up and staying after services for tear down. Most of us will be launching with one service which means volunteers in the kids’ ministry will be missing service so that someone else can experience it. Just remember we sacrifice so someone else can be blessed.

By the time this posts, we will have already had our first baptism service at our new campus. Five people went public with their faith in Jesus.

We believe no matter how much money it takes, how early we have to get out of bed in the morning, how many services we have to miss because we’re changing diapers, the sacrifice is worth it.

Are you thinking about going multisite? Have questions about how we did it? Please let me know by commenting below or visit the contact page to send me an email.

The #1 Cause of Church Conflict

Sheep Leading Shepherds

Perhaps the greatest indicator of growth in a church is the quality of leadership, which also happens to be the largest source of conflict. The issue comes down to who’s leading who.

SheepandShepherd

Many churches seem to want their pastor to be a shepherd, however, many of them don’t want their pastor to be a leader.

The apostle Peter gives us an idea of how a pastor/elder should act,

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 1 Peter 5:2-3

So, a shepherd should:

  • Care for the flock – No problem there. We expect the pastor to care about the people in his church. Visit the sick, comfort those who are hurting, form friendships, all those things.
  • Watch over the flock – The pastor should care about the spiritual well being of his flock. That means preaching and teaching the word of God and equipping people to do ministry. We’re ok with that.
  • Be a good example – No arguments there. Pastors should do their best to live a life above reproach. They shouldn’t be ill-tempered, hot headed, or a drunkard.
  • Lead the flock – Ok, the passage above doesn’t specifically say lead in this context, but when was the last time you saw sheep leading a shepherd? Yet, we see it in the church all the time.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have a shepherd who isn’t also the leader.

If your church is having business meetings in which the entire congregation is voting on issues, you’re allowing the sheep to lead and not the shepherd.

How do you think that’s going to turn out? Sure, it may work out for a short time, but it won’t be long before the sheep turn on one another. When this happens, people get hurt, people leave the church, and Christianity takes another hit.

I’m not saying you should let a pastor do whatever they want without any guidelines or accountability. Those things need to be in place, but you have to allow the shepherd to lead the sheep.

If not, you’re asking for an ongoing series of conflict after conflict where no one wins, and everyone loses.

If you’re a part of a congregational led church, I hope you’ll wisely start taking leadership away from the sheep and placing it back in the rightful hands of the shepherd.

What is the leadership structure of your church? How does it help or hinder your ability to do ministry? Let us know in the comments below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the blog to get weekly tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered straight to your inbox.