Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Download

  • About all I can say about this morning is, "WOW!"
  • Unbelievable worship and energy in both services
  • We set a new attendance record - ok...we shattered our attendance record today!
  • Thank you for everyone that came to the 9:30 this morning. The 11:00 was actually full again, but I don't know what we would have done if some people had not switched to the early service.
  • It was really cool having Chris back on the mic. It's still a little weird though to watch your worship leader sign autographs after the services. Where's the love for the pastor, people?!?
  • Next week the 11:00 service moves to 11:15. And the parking guys rejoiced!
  • I made a pretty big announcement this morning: We have secured a lease on some additional 24/7 space! We now have offices and a 2200 sf. venue. It was built out as a Christian coffeehouse/performance room, but never opened. We now have a really cool room for youth, college, Alpha, and anything else we can think of - a 1/2 mile from the church! I will try to post pictures later.
  • I just downloaded the latest albums from the Foo Fighters and Rascal Flatts. How's that for musical diversity!
  • Our small group last week had 20 adults and 10 kids. That's almost insane.
  • I can't wait for Catalyst this week. I REALLY do no have the time to go, but I know that I will be glad that I did.
  • I am depressed that the Cubs are in playoffs, but giddy about the Mets historically choking it up end the end! :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some Thoughts

  • Great Sunday at Seacoast Greenville. Tons of energy in the room today.
  • We are out of room in our 11am service. It's probably time for a few of our peeps to move to the 9:30. When that fills up...
  • I will have a very big announcement next Sunday.
  • My boy Chris Sligh will be back with us next Sunday. The AI tour wraps up tonight after approximately 565 dates! :)
  • Our people are starting to really step it up with our "Simply Serve" campaign. It's exciting to see people plug in to use their gifts.
  • Jenny and I are going to see Rascal Flatts in a couple of weeks. I don't care what you think! :)
  • I am taking our staff to the Catalyst Conference this year. This will be my first time. Is it any good? :)
  • I got one of the weirdest emails ever this afternoon. I may have to share it in a future post when I finally decipher what it means.
  • I am flying out to Dallas for the week tomorrow. I may have to hit Pappasitos one night. It has to be done. If anyone wants to hang, shoot me an email.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Virtual Bible Reading

Recently, I have been doing my daily Bible reading online at I don't know if I like it yet. It almost feels like I'm not really reading God's Word. I know that the words are the same, but there's something about holding leather. Also, it's really hard to highlight my screen. :) Anybody else do their reading online now?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Junky Car Club

I absolutely LOVE this idea. I am so close to being able to enjoy a full membership. Just a couple more years on my cars!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'm Exhausted

I am not sure that you can pack more into one week than we managed to do in the past seven days. Here are some of the highlights and some random thoughts on a Sunday night:

  • On Wednesday night, we had our first annual Seacoast Chili Cook-Off. (h.t. Jeff Kinney) All of our small group leaders prepared what they thought was their best chili and the battle was on. There were prizes for: hottest, tastiest, best fixin's and so on. My small group managed to land the hottest award. Nice job Maria! It was a HUGE success with a lot of people getting connected to our small groups.
  • I am now officially officeless. In order to make room for more children's space on Sundays, Ross and I moved out of our office on Saturday. We will be officeing out of our homes for the next few weeks until we have something else in place. You may see me very soon in a coffeehouse near you!
  • We spent most of the day on Saturday setting up for our 3 year anniversary and building a new classroom in the former office.
  • We partied hard today! I think this has to be the coolest Sunday that we have ever had. We had stuff happening everywhere! The owners of Brick House Coffee are Seacoasters, and they basically set-up a Brick House Coffee in our cafe. They gave away a ton of iced coffees. The line before the second service wrapped half way around the auditorium. Those guys ROCK!!!
  • We also had huge chocolate cookie cakes from The Chocolate Shoppe. Mmmmm...... :)
  • We rented a huge jump castle for the kiddies to jump in after the services. It looked fun.
  • There were a lot of people there today. We had so many college students in the second service that a visitor asked me after the service if that was our youth service! :)
  • We had pizza for all of our college students after the 11:00 service. I can't wait to get our college ministry kicked off next week!
  • I shared my vision of being a church that leaves a legacy of serving this morning. Jesus gave us the model of picking up the towel, and that is what we are going to do in our church, in our community, and in our world. We gave everyone a small towel to be a reminder of what we are called to do. Our slogan this year is: Simply Serve.
  • I had 4 people ask me to mention their school's football team during the welcome this morning. Apparently - there were some big games this weekend? :)
  • Next week kicks off our new series "Get Smart" and our new "Get Smart" small groups. All of our groups are doing the same study for the next 6 weeks. We have over 20 groups ready to go!
  • Our staff is AMAZING. If everyone knew all that happened behind the scenes this week, you would just weep for them. Those guys took it all in stride and kept going.
  • I can't wait for a slightly slower week...we'll see what happens. :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Seacoast Greenville is turning 3 this Sunday. It was actually a couple of weeks ago, but we are choosing to celebrate it on the 9th...because we can. :)

We have learned A LOT in the past 3 years. I think I now know what the hardest part of planting a church is. It's not people leaving. It's not hiring staff. It's not finding musicians. It's real estate. Finding a place for a growing new church to meet in a town like Greenville is extremely frustrating. We have been doing some searching over the past 6 months, looking for our next step. Our current building has been great, but we do not own it. That means that we do not have complete control of our future, and that future has looked tenuous at best over the past year as the main lease has changed hands.

Things look good right now, but when we first got word that our building was up for sale, we started an all out search for possible buildings. Here is what I've found:
  • Retail space is expensive! A Bi-Lo grocery store that is 1/2 mile from us recently moved to a new location. They still have 9 years left on their lease, so they are looking to sub-lease 60,000 sf. to anyone but another grocery store. I made a call on it because it's literally down the street from us. It would only cost us - $510,000 a year!!!
  • They do not want to lease or sell retail space to churches. I have had good conversations with realators until they found out it was a church. That usually ends it.
  • We have grown to the point where we need enough space and parking that we also cannot afford. Ah...the other side of growing with unchurched, young people. The part they don't tell you about in the books! :)
  • Warehouse space looks affordable, until you factor in the upfit. Most do not have air conditioning and/or enough parking. You also have to build a lot of walls.
  • Greenville County schools will not let churches in them. We also have 2, count them, 2 movie theaters.
It may not be a bad idea for church planters to get their real estate license first. It will probably come in handy. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Latest Reads

I am a pretty big reader, but not always the most disciplined. I usually have at least 5 books going at the same time, and it is rare that I actually totally finish a book. It seems like most books repeat everything over and over! are a few that are grabbing my attention right now:

  • 5 Dysfunctions Of A Team - I am going back through this with my staff. Great discussion starter!
  • Choosing To Cheat - I know that I am late on this one, but Andy really nailed it! An instant addition to my counseling recommendations.
  • The Big Idea - Dave and the guys at CCC continue to raise the bar on church innovation. I am actually re-reading it to digest some more.
  • The Prodigal Comes Home - I couldn't actually bring myself to buy this one, so I read it in about 3 trips to Barnes & Noble. :) I was a HUGE fan of Michael English in the early 90's. I had no idea that he fell so far.
I have 2 new books that should be arriving by Friday. I love the smell of an Amazon box!

Catch Up

OK, I know that it's been awhile, but don't be playa' hatin'!! Here are some quick hits of what's going on in my little world:

  • It was a fun Sunday with a lot of the college students back! There's definitely more energy in the room with those guys. Love ya NGU!!! Can't wait for Furman in a few weeks.
  • Had lunch on Tuesday with the South Carolina District Superintendent of the Assembly Of God, Steve Brown. I grew up in the Assembly Of God, but have been out of it for 14 years. I really liked him...especially since he picked up the check! :)
  • I am tired of thinking about buildings!!! I am ready to get back to thinking about ANYTHING but buildings.
  • The public charter school that now controls the building that we are in (that's another VERY long post), started on Monday. We now have to remove anything that remotely looks religious from the auditorium every Sunday. At least we don't have to tear down everything! :)
  • Our auditorium in now the gym class during the week. :(
  • The church that owns our building (again...another long post...) took about 100 auditorium chairs to sell in a yard sale. This will probably be a major problem for us in a couple of weeks. We may start BYOC services soon!
  • Chris posted some new tunes on his myspace. Check 'em out...
  • I can't wait for our 3 year anniversary on September 9th! God has done SO much in our church over the past year. We're putting it together now, and there will be some surprises... :)
  • Don't look now, but here come my Cardinals! 2 1/2 back baby!!!
  • It can not be football season when it's 101 degrees outside. It just can't...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Favorite Websites

As a follow up to my last post, I thought that it would be fun to list my top 10 websites. These are sites that I visit on an almost daily basis.
  1. - my national news fix every morning
  2. - local news fix
  3. - you gotta know...
  4. - my blog reading fix
  5. - my gadget fix
  6. - my reading Bible
  7. - see previous post
  8. - my home page for the moment
  9. - see previous post
  10. - I just need to!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tech Toys

I am an admitted techphile (nerd), so I thought I would list 10 of my favorite gadgets, websites and software that help me in ministry and just plain make me smile. :)
  1. ProPresenter - worship presentation software. I have demoed almost every presentation software on the market, and while they all have their good and bad, none of them rival ProPresenter in my humble opinion. It's flat out the easiest to use and it runs on a Mac! We have not had a single crash since we started using it 3 years ago. The most recent upgrade took it over the top!
  2. Planning Center Online - scheduling software. I cannot imagine trying to manage my worship and tech teams without it now! It saves me hours of tedious work every week. The best part - it's totally web based. I can log in and work with all of my resources anywhere that I am. As much as I travel now, that's a good thing!
  3. - chord charts. The first site I check before I start charting a new song. They're not always 100% correct, but they're usually pretty close. Another MAJOR time saver in my week.
  4. Bloglines - rss aggregator. I rarely ever actually go to a blog. Bloglines tracks around 100 different blogs for new posts for me, and I can scan through them all in about 15 minutes. I wish I could do that with books (or people).
  5. - organizational software. I am new to this site, but it's growing on me really quickly.
  6. iPod - mp3 player. We use iPods for all of our pre and post service music. I just set-up different playlists and it's always fresh. Do you remember when you had to burn cd's every week?!?
  7. AT&T 8525 - PDA/Phone. I have had a Treo 650 for the past 3 years and I just made the jump to the 8525. It's a beautiful thing. Working on the road is breeze with everything this thing can do.
  8. iMac - computer. There is not a better designed desktop computer out there. I have one on my desk and we use a 20" Intel version for running ProPresenter. We even used one when we were mobile. They are very compact and easy to move.
  9. - internet radio. I never got into internet radio until I tried Pandora. Pick your favorite artist and let it build a custom playlist for you. How cool is that?!? It also helps my research for new music. :)
  10. Facebook - social networking. I am really digging the networking possibilities of Facebook. MySpace what? :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I am now officially addicted to Facebook. If you're on Facebook, look me up and be my friend!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kid Friendly

Online Dating

Apparently, according to this site, my blog is ok for the whole family to read. I...uh...think that is a good thing? Hopefully it's not like a boring cartoon movie that you have to take your kids to see every once in awhile. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random Thoughts From The Concert

Now that I have slept for a few hours, these are some thoughts that I had last night:
  • I am still amazed at the whole concept of the American Idol tour. Thousands of people pack out arenas to watch people sing other people's songs? Whatever - it works.
  • It was very surreal to see our worship leader, and my friend, singing on stage in front of 9000 screaming people.
  • Jordin & Melinda can saaang.
  • Phil Stacey had the pipes to pull off the win. I think his nerves on tv got to him. Watch his career very closely.
  • I can now see some of the appeal of Sanjaya. He is definitely interesting to watch. In a bizarre, freakish kind of way...but interesting.
  • Blake is a master showman. Not a great voice, but has major charisma. He was my 3 year old's favorite (besides Chris!)
  • The drummer rocked! I think he tours with Usher as well.
  • It was fascinating to see how each of the idols interact with people. A few standouts:
    • Jordin is unbelievably nice. She had the biggest crowd around her the whole time, and she even got down on the floor with my girls. Very cool.
    • Melinda is the real deal. Very, very humble and kind.
    • Gina was really cool as well. Very funny.
    • Chris R. surprised me a bit with how nice he was with the girls. He took the time to talk to them before signing their book. His sister was there and remembered us from Hollywood. She's traveling some with the tour.
    • Sanjaya smiles - a lot. Seemed like a nice kid though.
  • It was cool that a few of them included scripture references under their signature. Brianna got her Bible out as soon as we got home to look them up. They can be a witness in that profession.
  • We are going through a little bit of American Idol withdrawal right now. Last night was the final big event. It has been fun, but I am not losing another worship leader to American Idol! :)

The AI Concert

We had a REALLY fun night tonight. We went out and caught my boy Chris Sligh and the other idols in concert at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville. Our seats were unbelievable - 5th row dead center! When we first got in the arena, we kept slowly walking towards the front thinking that we must have missed our row. I kept looking for security all night to usher us to our real seats. :)

After the show, we got to go back stage and hang out with Chris and the other idols for a little meet & greet. The girls got autographs from everyone except Lakeesha, who was not around. I have some thoughts about the concert, but I will save those for tomorrow. For now, here are a few pics of the excitement:

Pre-show amazement

Chris & Gina duet

The Idol boy band (not pictured: Phil & Chris R.)

Chris & the girls backstage

THE American Idol, Jordan

Hailey & the fam

Gina signing for Brianna

Melinda signing

Phil adding to the Idol book

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thoughts From The Beach

Here are some random thoughts from the past few days:
  • Why do people like sand?
  • Being unconnected for a few days is actually ok.
  • I hear that the church survived without me today, and it was a great day at Seacoast. I don't know if there is any correlation there or not... :)
  • Some people are not meant to wear bikinis on the beach. Women or men.
  • I am losing my office this week. You might have to find me in a local coffee shop for awhile!
  • Craig Groeschel has a GREAT series of posts going on the art of preaching. I had just read this one, when we got a postcard from another local church advertising their new summer series, "Desperate Households." The timing made me chuckle...a bit.
  • This could be a pivotal week for us as a church. More details later...
  • I watched the footage on CNN of the memorial service for the fallen firefighters in Charleston. My heart grieved for those families. Those guys are true heroes. I was so proud to see Seacoast take a part in the service.
  • I did not get to go to church this morning, because we were on the road to get back to Greenville. It was strange seeing restaurants packed and church parking lots mostly empty. The times have changed - so must churches.
  • I am ready to go back to work!!!

Back From The Beach

We got back this evening from a much needed mini-vacation this past week. The grandparents had the girls for a week, so we met them in Florida to reclaim them. But, before we picked up the kiddies, Jenny and I spent a few days in Panama City. If you ever need a body part drawn on or pierced in any way, this is your place. We were able to land a sweet resort spot through They had four separate pools right on the edge of the bay, with a long pier to their own personal miniature beach. I've never been to a place where they give you robes to wear! :) Unfortunately, they also make you give them back. :(

I am usually not very good at just being still - anywhere, but that was basically all we did for 3 days. It was exactly what I needed right now. I have never been in a crazier or more stressful time in my life, and it was time to step off the path for a moment and just sit. My mind needed a break in a bad way. I didn't even open my computer while we were there. I didn't even know that was possible for me!

Anyway, I am back and I am sure the insanity will continue tomorrow at the office, but I feel rested and ready to watch God work it all out for His glory!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


This post at MMI this morning brought up a thought that I have had lately: I would NEVER bring in a church consultant that is not currently serving in a local church somewhere. I know that church consultants have to obviously be gone a lot of Sundays, but when they are at home, they should be active in their local church. Otherwise, they are just blowing smoke.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Deep Thoughts

My life has been unbelievably crazy the last few weeks. I think I can see some margin coming, though. If it doesn't, I may be going to join Paris Hilton - soon! Here's the latest:

  • I have been in between assistants for the past couple of weeks. My last one went all celebrity on us! :) Our new assistant starts tomorrow - and I am very excited!!! Welcome to the team Cara!
  • I spent the past week at the coolest church that you have probably never heard of. I helped facilitate a Leadership Network Community at Heartland Community Church in Rockford, IL. Somebody asked me the other day if I though that video churches could grow very big. Until about a year ago, Heartland was showing video messages from Willowcreek 80-90% of the time. They are 9 years old and have over 6000 people coming on a weekend! They literally bought a 350,000 sq. ft. mall in the middle of Rockford, and turned it into one of the coolest church buildings that I have ever been in. 26,000 sq. ft. of it is just for production space. They have 90 50" plasmas around the building! 65,000 sq. ft. of the space is used just for storage and set building for their monthly kid's program. Yeah - I think this video thing just might work.
  • My wife and 2 little girls are camping with the grandparents in Texas this week. I HATE being in the house by myself for a week. I HATE camping even more. I'm just saying...
  • My brother Geoff was in Hawaii this week doing some consulting. He sucks. :)
  • I have been to Chicago twice in the past 3 months. I have been stranded overnight both times. I don't have good thoughts about Chicago right now...
  • Another local pastor chose to spend his summer sabbatical at Seacoast. I think that's very cool. I pray that we were able to be a blessing to him and his family.
  • Today was another phenomenal Sunday. God continues to bless beyond my understanding.
  • The iPhone drops in 2 1/2 weeks! Can anybody say - Father's Day?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What's Happening

I deeply apologize for my recent absence from the world of blogging. Someday soon I will be able to write about what has been going on over the last few weeks. It's been...uh...interesting. In the mean time, here are a few thoughts lately:
  • We continue to grow...which is blowing my mind right now. God is sending some AMAZING people to join us on our mission.
  • Some writer named Melville once said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Oh boy, do I know what that means now. It always seems like when God is beginning to do something huge, Satan attacks like never before. The arrows have been flying fast and furious lately.
  • As a pastor, never underestimate the value of having good friends that you can just hang out with. You need that release.
  • The best leadership in your church are people that have been there with you and get the vision. We couldn't survive without those people.
  • They moved Freedom Weekend Aloft this year from Anderson to 10 minutes from my house. It took us and hour and a half to get to the front gate this afternoon. :(
  • My oldest child will be finishing 2nd grade this week. I'm old.
  • After Chris was off of the show, we pulled for Jordan on AI. Seems like a genuinely nice person.
  • The Office finale was great. 24 needs to pull it together next season. It's sad to see Studio 60 go out with hardly a whimper. It was a smart, funny show.
  • Spiderman 3 was a really good 2 hour movie. Too bad it went like - 2:30. Can't wait to see Pirates 3!
  • As crazy as things are right now, I kinda like it. I could not handle a normal 9-5 job! I tend to thrive on SOME organized chaos.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I am a very impatient person. I can't stand to wait on something. If a thought or an idea hits my brain, I want to do it right then. You are more likely to get something scheduled with me if it can happen in the next day or so. Better yet - that afternoon. I can't even think more than two weeks out.

There's is something going on right now that is causing me much, much anguish. God has to be building patience in me...right?!?

Thinking Differently

We had a discovery at our staff meeting on Monday. We were going through different issues that we are having right now, and we kept coming to the same conclusion: we have to start thinking differently as a church. We are not the same church that we were 6 months ago. Sudden growth is very nice, but it also causes wrecks if you do not start thinking more strategically. The questions we are having right now are:
  • How do we get these people plugged into small groups quickly?
  • Are we ready for people to jump into serving?
  • How do we stop running out of everything every single Sunday?
  • How are we going to handle Newcomers this Sunday?
  • What are we going to do when we can't put more chairs out?
We kinda thought we knew what we were doing a few months ago. I don't think that's where God wants us to be. We are definitely out of our comfort zone right now!

So You Had A Bad Day

Ever had one of those days where you'd just like to start over? Where it's not one big thing, but several hundred little things? Today was one of those for me, and it ended quite nicely with the waitress at dinner dumping two glasses of sweat tea and water on me. I thought we might at least get free dessert out of it...but no. Just a, "sorry - are you guys ready to order?" Blurgh.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I've never done this on the blog before, but we could really use your prayers this week. There are a couple of decisions coming down the pipe that need God all over them. I can't go into details right now, but the next few days could be extremely important.


Monday, April 23, 2007


Man - I really, really, really hate being sick. :(

Canceled my trip to the ARC conference. I think I made the right call.

Trust me - You do not want to know the details...

Sunday Thoughts

I have to start this post with the disclaimer that I have been sick for the past several days and right now I am flying high on a couple tablespoons of Nyquil. :) Whatever is said after this may not make sense and will not stand up in a court of law. :)

In between coughs and snot blowing this week (just keeping it real...), I have been thinking about what God is doing right now with this church. For whatever reason, God seems to have put his hand of blessing on us to have an influence in this community right now.

I remember our first year as a church. In a LOT of ways, it was rough. You've read about the churches that go from 0-2000 in their first year...that was not us. My family and I dropped into this city in April of 2004, and we knew four people. Two of them have since moved back to Charleston! No one would return my phones calls - real estate people, schools, other pastors - no one! I had one local, influential pastor tell me that he would not trade places with me for anything in the world. That felt good. (Cue the violins)

The dream of starting with 300 people and the next week having 400, and the next 500...did not happen. We opened our first Sunday with 315 people and pretty quickly settled in at around 120 every week. Our first summer, we dipped under 100 on a couple of Sundays. I was on vacation for one of them...I almost didn't come home. I remember standing on stage on one such Sunday and thinking, "This is not what I signed up for God".

The weird thing was - we were not doing things a whole lot different than we are now. We've always had really good music, the teaching is very solid, the core team volunteers were awesome. But yet, we were not ready...I was not ready. I am amazed when I think about how much God has grown me in the two and a half years since we launched Seacoast Greenville. I needed that time to figure out why this church exists. I needed time for God to break me and use me how He saw fit - not how I planned it. I have given up a lot of pride since April 2004. It's no longer about what I can do to grow this church. I know now that I've got nothin'.

That's why it's kind of amusing to me now that suddenly - I get phone calls returned. In fact, I am now the one returning a lot of the calls. If they only knew! I do know one thing - I will always return those calls. I know that as quickly as God can bless, He can also lift His hand of blessing. I have seen it happen. We've all got nothin' without the power His Holy Spirit behind us.

I don't know where you are at as you read this. Maybe you need to let God break you. He needs to break you before He can use you. I wanted to give up several times (and still do on the occasional Monday :)), but I am so glad that I did not. God had a plan and it was so much greater than anything that I could ever dream or imagine. And He's not done yet...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Too Early To Fly

It's 5:30 in the morning and I am sitting in the Greenville airport waiting on my plane to Dallas. I am off to do one of my favorite things this week - hang out with a group of multi-site churches that are getting it done! These guys are doing things for the Kingdom that would blow your mind. The only downside is - it's 5:30 in the morning! Oh well, I could be on a treadmill or something. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cool Sunday

Last week, we had the most people ever on a Sunday. That was to be expected - it was Easter. Normally, the Sunday after Easter is one of the lowest of the year. Everyone gets their church in on Easter and need to rest up until Christmas. :)

That is why I was blown away today when we had more people than last Sunday! I've never seen that happen before. It felt a little like when we first launched the church. Tons of visitors - tons of visitor cards to follow up on. :) We ran out of chairs and bulletins in the second service. Sarah was running off more notes between services and we still didn't have enough! We also signed up a ton of new people for small groups. Great job Chris and Joey!

Our First Touch guy, Scott Derrick, is my hero for the past 2 weeks. For the second week in a row, the parking team had to park people out on the front lawn to handle the crowds between the services. Scott told me today that he wouldn't mind if it calmed down a bit next week!

The interview with Chris was a lot of fun. You never really know what Chris is going to say... which adds to the excitement. The Greenville News came out and took pictures of the first service. You can check those out here.

I can't wait for next week!

Friday, April 13, 2007

A.D.D. Generation

When I was in college, I would literally read 3 newspapers from front to back every day. The fact that I did most of that during my geology classes was not a good thing...but none the less...

Since I started reading blogs a couple of years ago, I have noticed my reading attention span has gone WAY down. If your post causes me to have to scroll more than once - I'm gone. My daily newspaper reading consists of hitting and our local paper's site, scanning quickly for the best stories, and moving on.

I suspect that I am not the only one who has this problem now. The internet is a wonderful thing, but I wonder if we are creating a generation of news clips and sound bytes? Maybe that's ok.

Sorry, I just lost interest...gotta go...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Marketing Jesus

We made a paradigm shifting decision this year that I think will shape how we market our church to the community in the future. We decided that the best way to invite people to our Easter services was to do an event that did not benefit us at all. Our Baskets Of Hope outreach was 100% designed to help homeless families in our community get back on their feet. We did not receive a single penny. Our fliers about the event did not mention our Easter services or even our normal service times. We had a chance to do a big flashy event that would have gotten a lot of attention, but I am very happy that we did not do it.

I am NOT saying that churches that go that route are wrong. We have done plenty of that in the history of Seacoast. My brother Geoff has a great post about how we need all kinds of strategies in the church world. I just think, for me personally, it's time to go a different direction.

We did get tools into the hands of our people to help them invite their friends and neighbors - personal invites, t-shirts, car decals...but our event was geared to simply love people like Jesus in our community. The one piece of marketing that we did do this year was a direct mailer. I think this will probably the last time we will ever do that. We received 5 mailers from churches this year! I have a hard time imagining anyone looking at those anymore.

Next year, we will do it again. We will love our community like Jesus. I think that is the reason to have a church. Don't you?

Big Sunday

This Sunday at Seacoast, Chris Sligh will be performing one his songs off of his band Half Past Forever's latest release: "Take A Chance On Something Beautiful." This will be the first time since leaving the show that he will be performing his own music. Sunday will also be the first chance to purchase the CD in Greenville.

We will be back to our normal service schedule of two services at 9:30 & 11:00. You will probably want to show up a little early this week to get a good seat!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chris Sligh Interview Help

I am going to interview Chris during the services this Sunday about his experience on American Idol. Any suggestions on questions I should ask him?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Warning - Rant Ahead

One quick rant before I close the books for today. If you are a pastor, please do not ever say that your church is doing something, or about to attempt to do something, that no other church has ever done. One thing that I have learned after a year of working with Leadership Network, is that there are churches that you have never heard of, doing things that you had no idea were possible. I am continually going, "Why has no one heard of you guys?" I also don't see the point of pointing out how much cooler or more clever your church is than everyone else's. Who are we trying to impress?

End rant. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Thoughts

I am so tired right now that about all I can say about today is - wow. God blew our doors off in a big way this morning. We had the most people ever...a LOT more people...but that is only part of an amazing Easter Sunday:
  • It was unbelievable to watch Chris Sligh use his enormous talent to lead people in worshiping a risen Savior. God is going to use him to do HUGE things in His Kingdom.
  • Several people gave their lives to Christ today and symbolized it by lighting a candle. That is what it is all about.
  • I was blown away again by our volunteers and staff at Seacoast. They went way above the call of duty today. Especially Scott Derrick, who kept everything running smoothly through all of the chaos. I still have no idea where they parked all of those cars!
  • 3 services in one morning is a lot of work!
  • The worship was awesome. You could feel the energy building during the entire morning. Every service was the same. Chris, Kim & Lee had the Spirit all over them!
  • Mitch & Rebecca did it again with the set. I am not sure when Mitch sleeps...:)
  • Sarah was at the church at 1:00am this morning getting rooms ready for the kids. That was after being there all day with us getting everything else ready! I only found out about this because Mitch was still working on the set at 1 this morning. You guys need some sleep!
  • I am now hiding with my family in an undisclosed hotel somewhere in America. It's time to unplug until Tuesday!
There are so many people that stepped up in a big way these past 2 weeks. I am so stinkin' proud of our church right now. Seacoasters - you are making a difference...let's charge hell with water pistols!!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

We had an awesome Good Friday service tonight. We opened it up a little more this year and added a labyrinth walk through the last moments of Jesus' life. One of our artists painted paintings for each station. At each stop there was a painting, a physical reminder (thorns, spikes, a stone...), and a scripture with an instruction to help initiate a prayer. We lit the path to each station with candles on the floor. It looked really, really cool.

We also hung 25 miniature lanterns with tea lights in them over the audience. They looked really great with the lighting kept very low.

Mitch painted a painting of Christ being crucified during the service. I think it's one of his best, and it was very moving to watch as we listened to the story retold straight from John 18 & 19. Lee did a great job leading worship as well.

We had two crosses set-up for people to go and meditate on scripture, and then nail their prayers of forgiveness or thankfulness to. It is always chilling to listen to the hammers hit the nails.

This is definitely the most moving service that we do all year. I think that we need to spend some time every year remembering why we are able to celebrate on Easter Sunday. Without the cross, there would not be a resurrection.

I took a cruise through's newest campus this morning. I was able to just walk in, look around at the different rooms. Watched a little bit of a previous message on a flat screen in the lobby. I even sat with a group of guys in the lobby and talked about the church and our recent experience with American Idol. Two of the guys that work at were nice enough to chat for awhile about the campus and what they are looking at doing.

Oh yeah...I did all of this sitting on my bed with my laptop. Their newest campus is in Second Life, and it is launching this Sunday with 3 experiences. It is one of the coolest, out-of-the-box things that I have ever seen a church attempt to do! If you have a chance, teleport to Experience Island and check it out. Yes Don, it will all soon be robots! :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

This Sunday Is Easter!

I am so pumped about this Sunday! I have this funny, little feeling that it is going to be HUGE. We are doing 3 services - 8:30, 10:00 & 11:30.
  • Our mailers dropped today and we are already getting phone calls about them.
  • It will be AWESOME to have this guy back with us. We missed him and you can read his thoughts about it here. (FYI - Chris is on almost every entertainment show this week - check your local listings:))
  • There are lime green shirts that say "Plans For Easter?" all over Greenville this week.
  • People took a ton of personal invites to invite their friends, family and neighbors.
I can not wait to feel the excitement of God doing something big on Sunday morning! That's better than the buzz from coffee in the morning any day... :)

For Seacoasters - we are pretty sure that it is going to be slammed for our 2 later services. If you could possibly attend the 8:30 service, that would help a lot. If you are bringing someone with you, please come to the best service for you. Here we go!!!

Baskets Of Hope Pictures

Here are a few pictures from our outreach event.

Baskets Of Hope

What an amazing weekend!!! I am still trying to recover this morning from the whirlwind of the last few days. I may have to turn to, it will NEVER be that bad! :)

We decided this year that the best advertisement that we could do for Easter, would be to do something completely for our community. We didn't want it to turn into a big publicity stunt for Seacoast. Honestly, we have had enough publicity lately! :) We decided to partner with a local organization, The Human Relations Commission of Greenville County, that helps families in our area who are homeless or about to be homeless. They collect basic needs items for the families to help them get back on their feet.

I first challenged the church to donate basic items for baskets to go to the families. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our people! You guys came through in a BIG way! They are busy at the office this morning putting the baskets together to deliver later today.

We then did some art outreach in downtown Greenville the last couple of weekends. Mitch Lehde set up at a store front in the middle of Main St. to paint 3 paintings to be sold at our event on Saturday. While he was painting, we handed out water bottles and fliers about the event to anyone who was interested. I love that fact that Mitch is able to use his amazing artistic gifts for true ministry! People have called our church artsy - I LOVE IT!!!

This all led up to the huge Baskets Of Hope event this past Saturday. We crammed everything we could possibly think of into 3 hours of fun in front of the church. Here is a list of what we did:
  • Blood Drive (Around 30 people gave during the event!)
  • Silent Auctions
  • 2 Live Auctions (Scott and Deborah rock!)
  • Cakewalk
  • Sucker pull for the kids
  • Face Painting
  • A live concert (thanks Lee!)
  • Easter Egg hunt
  • Car Wash
  • Food
  • Mitch did a live painting for a raffle
  • Jump castles
  • Craft table
And...we're officially exhausted! The best part - we raised over $3000 at event!!! Every penny of that will go to the families that we are helping.

I am so proud of our church right now! This is what being a Christ follower is about. If we do not love our community like Jesus, than why should we exist?

(I will post some pictures tomorrow.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's Not Over

A few people, ok - a few hundred people :), have asked me today what I thought about the results last night on AI. Unless you've sworn off any kind of technology, you know that Chris Sligh was not voted to stay on the show (that's really what happens - they're not voted off...).

Here are my thoughts: I am actually quite relieved. I do feel that Chris definitely deserved to stay on longer than he did. However, it is hard to watch your friend get thrashed on national tv. I do not think that he deserved the harshness that he got Tuesday night. I have watched it back a few times, and he was only off slightly on one section. They kind of set him up with Gwen's comments and it was downhill from there. He didn't have a chance. I am very proud of what Chris was able to accomplish - 10th out of over 100,000, and how he handled himself in the public eye. And yes, Gary, it will be good to have our guy back in G'ville for a few weeks!

The best part...Chris can now speak for himself! :) Check out his blog here, and catch him on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight. You can also order his band's cd here.

I have some very cool stuff about Easter coming up. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

In The Press

I had the privilege of being interviewed for a couple of articles outside of Greenville about Chris.

  • The Sacramento Bee ran this story this week. (FYI - Chris does not consult me for advice on songs for Idol! :))
  • Meg Kinnard with the Associated Press wrote this story that is starting to get some controversy.

I think Chris is a great guy, and I consider him a really good friend. I hope that I am able to convey his heart a little bit when I give interviews. I did not, however, plan to be his spokesman to the press. I just pray every day that I don't say something stupid!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quick Thought

I am about to get on a plane to Dallas, but I just had this revelation while cruising my Bloglines: I am finding myself drawn in by only the blogs that allow comments. Maybe it's the whole "web 2.0" idea. recently changed their entire website to be totally interactive. I think good blogging and websites spark conversation and doesn't have to be just a one sided information dump.

Just my opinion - any comments?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fake Blog

I am getting a lot of questions about this, so I'll clear it up here. There is a blog out there that claims to be Chris' secret blog - it's fake. I read through the posts and it seems fairly harmless, but it cracks me up that people are commenting to Chris on it! The only real Sligh blog is here. Comment away!

And check out the forums at

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Terry's Back!

I am very excited that the best blogger in the bid'ness, Terry Storch, is back in the game! Terry's blog was the first blog I ever read and the cyber world was not the same without it. He's also a really nice guy. I left his link up on my blog for months hoping he would come back, and finally gave up a few weeks ago. I am adding it back - but only in pencil for awhile. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Back From LaLa Land now you've probably figured out that the "nameless show" that we attended in L.A. was American Idol. I don't know if I've had much more fun in my life! I just hope that I looked ok on tv, and it didn't cost Chris votes. :) I won't go into all of the details about how the show works. My buddy Don does a great job of that here. The only difference was - we got to stay in the "red room" for the entire Thursday show. It was hard seeing the parents and friends of the ones who got kicked off. We got to talk to Sundance's wife for a bit, and she was really nice. Jarod's parents were great as well. We were on the couch that faces away from the studio, so when Chris was told that he made it through, we couldn't actually see it. The rest of the night we had to lean over the couch or go to the side rails to see the show. Carrie Underwood was AWESOME. She was up with us before she came out and wished everyone the best. Very nice. Here are a few pictures from our Hollywood adventure:

This was us hanging with Chris after the Tuesday show at his hotel. People were stopping him everywhere we went and telling him what songs he should sing!
After the Thursday show, I got to go with Chris and hang out at the "American Idol Top 12 Party". This is a picture of the red carpet madness. It took 2 hours for them to get through it!
Here are a couple pics of Chris and Gina getting interviewed
Me and Chris on the Red Carpet
This pic is a bit fuzzy, but this is me hangin' with former idols: Justin Guarini, Kimberly Caldwell (center) and Paris Bennet. Aren't you really jealous now?!? :)

That was an unbelievable experience. Thanks Chris for letting us be a small part of your craziness!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I Love L.A.

Jenny and I are currently in L.A. for the taping of a t.v. show tonight that will remain nameless. However, it is on live tonight on a major network - more details tomorrow! :)

Highlights from the trip yesterday:

1. I walked out of my office without my computer, PSP, iPod, and all of the books that I was going to read on the plane. I am typing this on my dad's laptop, circa 1989. Yeah, that was a lovely discovery in Charlotte!

2. Because of #1, I picked up a book at the airport called "Manhunt". It's about the 12 day manhunt for John Wilkes Boothe after he killed Abraham Lincoln. Really good book about how my relatives helped him along the way.

3. Our pilot decided to take a practice run at the landing at Orange County Airport. We were almost on the ground when he suddenly pulled back up for another go at it. Something about almost hitting the plane in front of us. Yeah...

4. Finally got to my dad's house around 1am eastern. There is not a quick way to get from Greenville, SC to Los Angelas, California. Up at 7 for a conference call this morning. Now I'm ready for some fun!!!

I'll have some good stuff for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Viewing Party

We moved our viewing party to the church last night and over 100 people showed up! It was a pretty cool night rooting our boy Chris Sligh on. Everyone there thought he killed on his version of "Trouble". It was very nice that he got to dedicate it to his lovely wife Sarah, and she was there to experience it with him. Fox Greenville and Fox Atlanta were both in the house to cover the mania. You can check out the stories here and here. They also did a nice story on HPF and Seacoast guitarist, Adam Fisher. Here are some pictures of the fun after the show. Enjoy!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fox Morning Show

I will be on the Fox Tennessee (Nashville) morning show tomorrow, so if you live in Titan's country, make sure you tune in and let me know what you think. By the way - I'm a HUGE Titan's/Jeff Fisher fan! :)

I had a blast on the show this morning! Charlie Chase and Kellie Sutton at Fox 17 were very nice and asked great questions. I checked their website for the video to link to, but it looks like they do not post them. Sorry - you'll just have to imagine how great it is to talk to me. :)

Imagine no longer, kids - Curt Miller from Tennessee Mornings was kind enough to post it on YouTube. Click here to see it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Big Idea

I am almost finished reading The Big Idea by my friends at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. I will post a full review in the next couple of days, but I wouldn't wait for that - go buy it TODAY. It is that good. These guys are setting the bar for multiplying churches, ministries and systems. If you are a church planter, stop reading this blog and click this link right now.

What are you doing?!? Do you think that I can't see you're still here? GO!!!


Oh my, will I have some fun stuff to write about the next few days! I have this feeling that it is just beginning...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pics From This Week

TV truck in front of our house

Me being interviewed

Sarah getting interviewed

Idol night 1

Idol night 2

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Here We Go...

What can I say - another night, another Idol party, another tv news truck in front of our house. I can't imagine what our neighbors are thinking about us. We'll see how many "For Sale" sign pop up tomorrow... :)

This time, they did a live remote from our living room for the 10:00 news. They interviewed Sarah, Chris' wife (and my assistant!), to lead off the story. She did an awesome job. For some reason, they put my face on there again. That can't help ratings. I will post the link to the video here tomorrow - along with some pics of the chaos that has become the Surratt house.

Oh yeah...Chris Sligh is in the top 24!!! How unbelievably cool is that?!? My friend, Chris, who two weeks ago was hanging out in our office every day because he didn't have internet at his house, is going to be famous now. I always knew that it was just a matter of time before he was "discovered", but this is freakin' ridiculous! I'm just giddy to be watching it all happen. On to the semifinals!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the news story. Click on the video "Local singer advances to Idol's top 24".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Top 40!

Well, our boy, Chris Sligh, is through to the top 40 on American Idol. I have to say that I think his group song was the best group performance of any season. I never thought that the BeeGee's could rock!

We watched it tonight at our house with most of the worship team from Seacoast, and a few other friends. The local Fox affiliate came out to film us and interviewed me about Chris for the 10:00 news tonight. I tried to not sound too stupid - it was really hard! :) We had a blast, and I will post the pics tomorrow.

I talked to Chris on the phone after the show, and it was fun to get his perspective on what they showed. I can not WAIT for tomorrow night!!!

To see the Fox news story about the party - click here and choose the video "Chris Sligh fans throw Idol party"

Monday, February 12, 2007

What A Week

Wow - the last 8 days are just kind of a blur right now. It has been amazing and exhausting at the same time!

Last Sunday - I promised a big surprise for Seacoast Greenville, and I think I delivered! We hid Greg in the green room until it was time for the message - and when he stepped on the stage -the place went nuts! It was very cool to have him come up and be with us. He even tagged team with me for our Newcomer's Reception. Kinda cool to have the guy who started it all - tell the story of Seacoast. Oh yeah - we also had the most people ever on a Sunday!

After Newcomers, Greg and I got on plane and flew out to San Diego for the 3rd Coast-to-Coast Multi-Site Conference. Yes, I missed the Super Bowl. :( The things you do for ministry... There were over 700 leaders from 200+ churches exploring this new thing called multi-site. I was lucky enough to teach at 2 breakouts with Jason and Shawn. The coolest part, however, was seeing Mark Driscoll in person. The guy is a gifted communicator. A lot shorter than I imagined though. :)

Tuesday night - I caught the red-eye back to Greenville so I could be back in time for our First Wednesday service. There's nothing like getting up to teach on 2 hours of sleep! I hope it made sense to somebody... The biggest reason I wanted to be back though, was the chance to baptize 4 people during the service. That is definitely worth anything else I have to do!

Sunday - Had an awesome day all day yesterday. Worship was amazing at all 3 services, and there were as many people there as last Sunday! God is definitely doing something in our church right now. I'm just holding on loosely!

Tonight - had a great small group at our house, and 24 was 2 hours - woo hoo!!!

Now you can see why it's been blur. Also, this week could be more interesting than last. Keep your eyes on the paper and the tv. That's all I'm going to say about that!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's Too Good

I heard a new one this week:

"The music at Seacoast is so good that it distracts me from being able to worship. I just listen to the music."

Ok...we'll start hitting some bad notes so you can worship...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Idol Night

A few of us from Seacoast got together last night with Chris and his wife Sarah to watch him on American Idol. We had a blast watching his life change in a span of a few minutes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Idol Recap

For those of you who are dropping in on this blog because of a google search for Chris Sligh, feel free to stick around and check things out! :)

Chris was indeed featured tonight on the Birmingham edition of American Idol. What you saw on the show is who Chris is - a very funny guy with an amazing voice. I am so proud of him and I am very excited to see what God has for his future. The world is finding out what we've known at Seacoast Greenville for the past 2 years. :)

Rock on Chris!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

American Idol

If you are a Seacoaster, and you watched American Idol tonight to the very end, then you caught a glimpse of someone very familiar in the preview for next week's show. He was referred to as "found new talent in Birmingham". That's right, our worship leader Chris Sligh will be on American Idol next Tuesday night. I have not talked about it very much because there are confidentiality concerns with something this big, but I think it is safe to say that you will want to watch Idol next week.

If you want to catch a preview, then come to Seacoast Greenville this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00! :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

3rd Service

This Sunday will be the official kickoff for our 3rd service in downtown Greenville at The Carpenter's Cellar. If you would have told me a year ago that we would have 3 services and 1 of them was going to be off-site, I would have signed you up for a urine test. This is going to be a crazy year that only God could dream up! If you want to have some fun and be a part of dangerous church, join us at 12:00 this Sunday at 123 S. Main St.

The guys at - Craig Groeschel & Bobby Gruenewald - have started a blog. This will be a must-read blog. NOBODY is getting it done for the Kingdom like these guys.

Read it here!

Rent A Worship Band

Gary had a good post about their decision to not pay musicians for their worship band. You can read it here. I am torn on the issue and have gone back and forth for the past several years at Seacoast. I think ultimately, it comes down to each Pastor's preference and what God tells him to do.

There is, however, one trend in church plants that kind of bothers me right now . It seems to be the thing to hire an entire band to come in and do your music until hopefully, you can raise up your own people. I understand this from the excellence stand point, but I have a couple of problems with it:

1. I feel that worship music should be something that comes out of the life of your church. It's always pretty obvious if the guys on stage are not sold out on the vision. Worship should be an overflow of what God is doing in that community.

2. Transitioning to your own people will be rough - at best. A tight touring band is going to be hard to follow for awhile. I would much prefer to have guys that are sold out to the church - grow together as a team from the start. That doesn't mean that the music won't be excellent from the beginning, but there is a chemistry that has to mature with a worship team. Leading people into worship is not your typical gig.

Just my thoughts.