Sunday, September 25, 2005

Milestone At Seacoast Greenville

They say that one of the hardest things to do in a new church plant is to go over 200 in attendance. That seems to be the first major "hurdle" in growth. Today, we went over 200 for the first time. I know that attendance is not the only (or biggest) checkpoint for the health of a church; but it is nice to see people catching onto the vision and inviting their friends to experience what they have. There is a feeling of excitement that seems to grow every week right now. I just pray that we never stray from the original vision - reaching lost people for God. If we continue to do that, our church will grow.

Best Thing Since Potato Chips

I found a technology that I think I would give up my Ipod, Treo and Powerbook for - DVR (digital video recording). We recently switched satellite tv services, and part of the deal was free DVR on two tv's. I'm not really sure how I have lived to this point. A few things come along in life that truly makes life better...ESPN, Bloglines, XM Radio, squeezable ketchup...and now DVR. I realize that this is admitting to my tv problem, but at least I can now schedule my addiction!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

2 Services

Today was our first Sunday with 2 services - and it felt great! When we moved to Greenville to start Seacoast Church Greenville, we were doing 4 services at the Long Point Campus. When I came on staff almost 10 years ago, we were running 2 services in our small auditorium. It was really strange to transition to one service when we started here. It just didn't feel right to go home after doing one! I always felt like we were just warming up at that point. As hard as we work on the weekend service - we should get to do it more than once!

We also had the biggest attendance, outside of our first Sunday, today. Our Dream Team really stepped it up and did a great job! Everyone was there early for the first service and some of them didn't go home until the doors were locked this afternoon. You guys inspire me every week! I am so proud to be serving alongside of you every Sunday.

Let's do it again next week!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New Restaurants

I love going to brand-new restaurants. Especially one's that have some personality - like if they yell stuff at you when you walk in the door, or sing silly songs while they prepare your food. It's always best; however, to catch them in their first few weeks because they are doing everything that they do with complete enthusiasm. They always act like they are really glad that you are there, and they absolutely believe in what they do. Almost always, if you go back after a few months, the enthusiasm seems to be gone. You may still get the occasional new employee attempting to yell something unintelligible at you, but mostly they seem to be settled into just being another place to eat.

I thought about that with our church. I remember the excitement that we had that first Sunday. We couldn't wait to see what was going to happen when people started walking in the doors! There was this "We're going to conquer the world for Christ!" attitude that everyone had. We hadn't started just doing "church" yet. It wasn't just another place to come and put in your hour of God-time yet. We were still yelling silly stuff at people as they walked in...ok, that may have just been me...and it was a little weird.

I never want lose that first Sunday excitement. I still believe that we can conquer the world for Christ! I want people to feel genuinely welcomed and loved the second they drive onto our parking lot. What we do every Sunday is more important than anything else we do during the week. We have been called to change people's eternities, and I will never get bored of that.

"Welcome to Heaven!!!"

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Exciting Time

We are hitting an exciting time in the life of our church right now. Next Sunday we go to 2 services - 9:30 & 11. I think it's good timing because we were adding rows of chairs like crazy this morning! I am also very nervous about how everything is going to come together for the two services. I know if it's God's will, everything will work out. I just hope it wasn't bad burritos from the other night!

Next Monday we will bring on our first full-time Associate Pastor - Ross White. Ross has been with us since the beginning, and I am very excited to get him on the team full-time. He has basically been working for us every night and Sundays for free (not a bad deal). I am sure that his family will be happy to have him back for the evenings!

I can't wait to see what God does at Seacoast Greenville in the next few months!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Seacoast Greenville Article

Don Chapman at (a great site!) wrote a nice article about us after attending our 1 Year Anniversary service. It was great to read, because that whole day is still kind of a blur for me! Here is the article:

- WorshipIdea: Video Church

A few weeks ago I talked about how refreshing it is for us
worship leaders to attend a worship service we didn't plan.
Recently I had the chance to sneak out after our praise set
and attend a new, local church plant that you'll find very

Seacoast Church is a huge mega-church in Charleston, SC. A
few years ago they outgrew their location and began taking
steps to enlarge their building. Charleston denied the
request to expand. Soon after the pastor discovered churches
around the country that are starting to expand by video. A
church is planted, has its own praise band and campus
pastor, but relies mostly on a sermon video feed from the
mother church. The sermon is taped at the main church's
Saturday night service, then broadcast Sunday morning. The
new plant considers itself a part of the main congregation,
and will rent facilities (public schools, movie theaters)
instead of purchasing buildings.

Shame on Charleston, but then again, look how God can use
circumstances to expand the Kingdom. Seacoast began planting
video churches like this - first in other parts of
Charleston, then in Columbia SC, Irmo SC and Savannah GA.
One year ago they planted a church here in Greenville, SC. I
attended their one year anniversary worship service.

Want a template for a successful church? Since Seacoast is
starting to take over the south, take notes:

1. A helpful website complete with pastor's blog, sermon
video clips and podcasts. Service times and directions are
easily accessible. I enjoyed reading what's been on campus
pastor Chris Surratt's mind via his blog, and felt I knew
a little bit before I stepped in the door.

2. Top worship. With (only!) about 150 attendees, Seacoast
has a top-notch praise band that could go head-to-head with
anything from Willow Creek. Not as interested in performing
secular rock tunes to draw in the unchurched, Seacoast
believes seekers are seeking... God... and wants to help
them connect through a real worship experience. I enjoyed
the latest worship tunes led by one of the most fantastic
female voices I've ever heard in a local church setting (a
vocalist from the Charleston church who occasionally leads
worship in Greenville.) Not blended, yet not ultra hip, the
music was just right - with a mix of rocking tunes and
gentle ballads.

3. Timely messages. Using pop culture as a touchstone,
Seacoast reaches people where they are (with the truth of
the Word) instead of going over their heads with doctrinal

4. Bookstore. Feeding the sheep is oh so important.
Personally, I'd love to be reading the latest "it"
devotional book but have no idea what it is or where to find
it. Seacoast has a book table in the back with recommended
reading for sale.

5. A vision. After the worship, Chris reminded the
congregation of where the church is heading... with goals of
excellent worship, community and outreach (Chris spoke that
week instead of a video feed, which he does from time to
time.) This congregation knows where it's going.

6. Community. Right after Chris started speaking, everyone
heard a thud in the back of the room. A man had had a heart
attack and fell out of his chair. Immediately paramedics
were called and I watched as people mobilized around the
room to help the situation and joined hands in prayer (he's
fine, by the way.)

It's no wonder this church is starting two services after
only a year. With over 30 new professions of faith, almost
1/4 of the congregation are new converts. Get a taste of
Seacoast at their website:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Trip To Houston

We spent a few days in Houston last week for my sister-in-law's wedding. It's always kind of strange to go back to where you grew up. I experienced a lot of joy and pain in that city. Mostly, a lot of really good Mexican food (Pappasitos anyone?). Here are some of the highlights:

1. Lakewood Church

On Sunday, we attended the 8:30am service at Lakewood Church. While I was in college, I worked a couple of seasons for the Houston Rockets - who at that time played at the Summit/Compaq Center/Lakewood Church. It was absolutely amazing to see a church meeting there! They have totally transformed that place into a really cool church building. I know that Joel Osteen gets knocked around a bit in some circles (it's pretty easy to attack the largest church in America), but our experience was awesome. The worship was rockin' and they had a large army of volunteers every where you turned. At one point in the service, Dodi Osteen had everyone who were evacuees from the hurricane stand-up, and around 200 people stood. They then laid hands and prayed for them. I don't know if I have been more moved in a service than at that moment. Some of those people indicated that they had lost loved ones, or had lost contact with loved ones. I cannot even imagine. What an opportunity we have to live out true Biblical community right now.

2. The house I grew up in

I had not seen the house that I grew up in - in probably 10 years. My wife had to help us find it! It was empty, so we got to walk around and look in all of the windows. A lot of it had not changed. The whirlpool that my father bought at a garage sale and worked for a total of one month - was still in the backyard rotting away. My basketball goal in the driveway had been cut down, and all that remained was half a pole. The memories flooded in as we walked around. Most good, some bad. I've done that now.

3. Pappasitos

We somehow managed to dine twice at Pappasitos while we were there. It's not the Taco Casa, but...ok, it's going to take me a few days to adjust back to the Casa!

God also showed me some things about myself and our church that I am going to share with everyone tomorrow at First Wednesday. If you are in Greenville, make plans to be there tomorrow night at 7.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Seacoast In The News

Here is an article in the local Charleston paper about Seacoast (you will have to register to read it). We're the modern Megachurch!