Monday, March 31, 2008

Passionate Worship

It seems like we have have gotten this idea that if you are passionate worshiper in church that you are automatically labeled a "charismatic" or "pentecostal". In my scripture reading lately, I have noticed that almost every time someone is worshiping they are doing it passionately. They are falling to their knees, falling on their faces, tearing their clothes (not necessarily recommended for public worship now), raising their arms, shouting, dancing...and the list goes on.

If worship here is practice for when we see Him face to face, you can label me whatever you want - I will be even more undignified than this.

Let's be passionate worshipers this week.

Pics From Easter

Here are a few pictures of the band from Easter Sunday. These guys rocked the house!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Back From Disney

We managed to survive Disney World during spring break week...barely. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life! We had a blast though. If you get there early enough and work the fast-pass system, it can be done.

Most pastors that go to Disney come back and write a post on lessons they learned from Disney. I am not going to do that, but we did notice one thing: we saw several Disney "executive types" walking around the park and they all had one thing in common - they were holding claws for picking up trash. Apparently, no one at Disney is above picking up trash around the parks.

That's a culture of excellence.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Weekend Thoughts

I'm exhausted. I am also on vacation. That is a very good thing. I need a week to recover from the past month. We had a great weekend starting with our Good Friday service.

I will have to post some pics later. We do it very different from anything else that we do, and I think it's the most moving service that I have ever been too. It is a lot of work to set-up and tear down, but well worth it.

Sunday was a lot of fun. We set an attendance record, but I think if we are growing, we should set an attendance record at Easter every year? The services had a lot of creative elements that could have gone wrong, but nothing did. Everything was really smooth and the volunteers did an awesome job all morning. The band rocked straight from 7am until 1pm! That's not easy for musicians.

Our staff was amazing. Tons of extra hours over that last couple of weeks and everyone still had a smile by the end of Sunday. The auditorium looked unbelievable for Good Friday, and then completely different for Easter Sunday. I am not sure that anyone went home from Friday to Sunday!

Thank you so much Seacoasters for celebrating our Savior's resurrection loudly! I am now officially on vacation...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Deep Thoughts On Special Music

I read this quote on special music by Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist in DC, on Ben Arment's blog:

"I think special music smacks too much of a variety show. I assume the choir is the congregation. I'd rather not spend the short time we have together listening to someone else sing."

I thought that was very interesting and kind of sums up my feelings about special music in our worship service. It's funny, because back in the day, I programmed special music for almost every service at Seacoast. I prided myself in being able to put together the hippest, latest song that would set-up the message perfectly - or at least close enough. We once went to a conference at Fellowship Church and they did 3 different Creed songs! We had to have us some of that!!

Here is what I began to see when I really took a look at it:
  1. As good as we could do the songs, they always came off as bar/karaoke versions of the originals. Every time I hear a church (no matter how good they are) doing a "cover" song, I end up wishing it was the original artist doing it.
  2. When it was done, it always ended up being 4 minutes of people just staring at us on stage. We typically have around 70 minutes for a service. 45-50 of those minutes are the message. That leaves 20 minutes to connect people's hearts to God through worship. Why would we want to waste 4 of those staring at someone singing someone else's song?
  3. It's much more fun to have the audience participate with you! It's like a great concert where everyone sings along with the band.
We do still occasionally do a special song - mostly for holiday type services, or if it sums up the message perfectly at the end. That also doesn't mean that we throw together some worship songs every week. Each song is very thought out, and we try to come up with creative ways to use them in the service. Lately, I have been using a lot of video for the lyrics. There are some great resources out there right now for doing this well.

In the end, it just has to be authentic to who are you are and the mission that God has called your church to. Doing Creed songs was definitely not who we were. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Helicopter Drops

Since it seems like we somehow missed the memo about churches doing egg drops from a helicopter, we have decided to drop turkeys from a helicopter for Thanksgiving. We're pretty sure they can fly.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Giving Hope, Giving Life

I know that I have not posted a lot about the church lately. I am not a big fan of the 'hype' style of blogging that seams to dominate these days. It probably has it's place, but that's not really who I am.

However...I do get very excited about life change and serving the community. We had a 2 hour outreach meeting this morning and there are some really cool things planned for this year. Our community may be sick of us by December! It starts this Saturday with our Giving Hope, Giving Life outreach from 12-3pm at the church. Here are just a few of the things that we are doing:
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Lots o' food
  • Jump castles for kids (and me)
  • Free oil changes for single moms
  • Free car wash and detailing
  • Free massages
  • Free dental screenings
  • Free medical screenings
  • Free financial seminars
  • Free job interviewing seminars
  • Free business clothes for job interviews
Did you notice the theme there? Everything is FREE! And this is not some scheme to get you to sign up for the real stuff that costs later. We have people in our church that are doctors, nurses, dentists and business leaders and are giving their time and expertise to just be Jesus in the community.

I think that's worth the hype.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Radio Call

I was asked this morning if I would make a "surprise" call to the morning show at The Joy FM in Sarasota, FL, who had Chris Sligh in the studio for an interview. Against my better judgment, I called in. You can listen to the damage here. :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


We got a dog. I am not sure how it happened, but we went out for lunch on Saturday and came home with a dog (We adopted a rescue - we didn't steal one). We couldn't just start with a little cute puppy - we got us a DOG. It's a 3 year old, 60 pound Australian Shepherd. If you need something herded, give us a call. We put a gate on a doorway to keep the dog out of a room, and it jumped over it with no run up. Somebody told us that they will jump on the back of sheep to get to the other side of a herd.

Yeah...we got a DOG.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Would You Be My Neighbor?

I have noticed a few pastor-type blogs lately talking about similar churches that are basically locating right next to each other. Tim has a post about a church that is planting a campus very near Granger. Michael talks about a church that is relocating to the same area that they are in. Greg pointed out that his church is directly across from Prestonwood Baptist, another mega-church in Dallas. I was visiting my friend Rich Butler's church a few weeks ago and was shocked at how close they are to Brookwood Church here in Greenville. They could almost share a parking lot! We are experiencing this at Seacoast Greenville with Newspring Church planting their first campus less than a mile from where we are.

I am not sure what to think about this phenomena yet. I know that this is quite common in the retail world. There is usually a Home Depot directly across the street from a Lowe's. Grocery stores that sell the exact same products are almost always clumped together. I am just not sure if this is the best strategy for life-giving churches that have the same mission and strategy.

Then again, maybe it's a good thing and each church feeds off of the spiritual momentum of the other.

Just something that I am pondering right now. I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this.