Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Info, Even Better Presentation

I've seen this video at other sites but I finally broke down to watch it on (great website). Anyway, even though I was not going to buy a car anytime soon, I decided to check it out. The info that was presented is great but the presentation is even better. If you are going to do any PowerPoint Presentations, check this one out! He has the presentation set up on a timer, so it forces the speaker to remember the points and to move along. NO SIDETRACKS! And he doles out a host of information in only a little over 5 minutes. Along with using only pictures until the recap slide, the information conveyed is pretty nice.
Check it out:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advent Video

Here's a fantastic video on advent and Christmas. It most certainly is something we all should think about. At the same time, this video shows the wonderful use of proper church marketing. It's crisp, fresh and fast moving. It captures your attention. Oh, how I wish more churches understood video production/media and the useful ways to market the church other than an ad in the phone book. Enjoy.

HT: Thoughts from the life of Joe

Monday, November 17, 2008

Planting Churches or Making Satellites Part 2

At the end of the post I asked several questions. I'll attempt to answer them.
They are: Why is there a disagreement between the two? What are the benefits of the church plant? What are the benefits of the satellite church? What are each churches disadvantages? What would you prefer: plant or satellite?

Before I answer these questions, I want to address Colleen's statement that whatever gets people to Christ should be used. While I do agree that each of these churches bring people to Christ is most worthy of praise, there are certainly some concerns we should have on how some people 'do' church. Also, I know that she did not mean this but there are some things that we should NOT do to get people to Christ. The image of the early Jesuit Christians converting Native Americans (South America) by way of putting a gun to their head comes to my mind. How we bring people to Christ is an important question to ask. But for now let's talk about church plants and church satellites.

First let's address Church Plants and their benefits/disadvantages. The benefits of church plants are their focus to the community. Most church plants fully embrace that they are part of a unique community and desire to bring the gospel to that community in a way which will be heard. Most church plants ask how can I bring the gospel and care for these people in a way that would fit their community. You will experience a variety of church plants, they are not the same. How one does ministry on a college campus will be vastly different to a church plant in a newly growing suburban area or even a church plant in a downtown ubran area. The message is the same but how it is communicated adapts to the community.

Certainly there are some disadvantages. Most church plants are not well funded. They are smaller and take some time to grow. They may not have all the resources as other churches. They are different. If you went to a new church plant, that is outside of your community, you will fully experience a shift. Imagine a suburbanite going to an urban church, there will be a cultural shift that may make the visitor uncomfortable.

Now what about the satellite church? The majority of satellite church look very similar to the other church they are associated with. This can be an advantage. Most satellite churches take what I like to call the Starbucks model. In all reality every Starbucks is the same. Sure the floor plans may be a little different but they are pretty much the same. This is an advantage in the aspect that if you go to a satellite church, you know what to expect. They may have the same programs, worship style, and bible studies. Another advantage of the satellite church, is the funding. Most satellite churches are funded directly by a larger church which can feed the satellite church with members.

The disadvantages of the satellite church are very similar to its advantages. Since most satellites are a 'copy' of another church, they fail to recognize the differences of the communities. Everything is the same and that can lead to placing a church in a location that is trying to reach the gospel in a way that is foreign to the community. Also this tends to create a corporation like church. The idea is about 'branding'. This allows the same branded churches to create their own denomination.

The church plant is better at effectively communicating the gospel to the community that it has been called to dwell. While the satellite often is a molded copy of another church that may or may not effectively communicate the gospel to the community. It just depends if the community is the same as the other church.

Now I know that it sounds as if church plants are good and satellites are bad. Not necessarily. I can come across several satellites that take into consideration the differences of the community. They adapt to the community. In this sense I would say that they are a hybrid between a philosophy of plants and satellites. The key is the community. Which one does the best job at proclaiming the gospel to the community. If you would like more discussion on this topic see jwinters blog on the subject.

Is there anything that I have missed? Do you agree with my conclusions?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

Even though most people will be celebrating Halloween tonight, I'm going to pay homage to the original: Reformation Day. Here's a video of some people at Yale created. They do a great job but get some things confused. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Planting Churches or Making Satellites

Often I come across other pastors that encourage the development of new churches. Now, I'm all for new churches but it seems that some fall into either of 2 categories: the church plant or the satellite church. Allow me to clarify and define each. Each start out with the premise that the current church is growing. Each discover a new site of potential grow. But they go about it in different ways.
(Image: Rows of Salad by majorie lipan)
The church plant (let's call it St. John's Church) addresses the issue by stating that they are going to send a core group to a new location, maybe 10 miles away from the current church location and start a new church. This church would have its own pastor and be separate from the first church (St. Johns'). They would have a new name like (St. Paul's Church). This church would at first be supported by the previous church (St. John's) until it could be supported on it's own. In time people may not realize that St. Paul's Church was planted by people from St. John's because they have grown to be 2 different churches giving the gospel to 2 communities.

(Image: Satellite by wjarrettc)
The church (let's call it Mt. Hope Church) that wants to start the satellite church goes about it differently. They, too, would find a new location, 10 miles away from the current church location and start a 'satellite' church with a core of people from the original Mt. Hope Church. This church may have its own pastor but is not separate from the first church. Often they will have the same name. Mt. Hope Church of Big Town, USA and Mt. Hope Church of Littler Town, USA. The first church would support the new one but there would be no true distinction between the two. The programs offered would be similar and possibly even the style of worship would be exactly the same. There would be no intention of growing each church into separate entities, they would always be connected. This model is often seen by many mega-churches.

So those are the 2 models. Why is there a disagreement between the two? What are the benefits of the church plant? What are the benefits of the satellite church? What are each churches disadvantages? What would you prefer: plant or satellite?

Next week I'll come up with my own assessment but I'd love to hear from you first!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One last PowerPoint help

This will probably be my last Power Point help. I know the video describes how to pitch a presentation for money but I do believe the principles exemplified work in both sermons and teaching. I think that's all I can really do to help others with their power point presentations. The only other suggestion I have is watch good presenters. (Many found on are excellent) Good luck with those presentations and send me and suggestions or comments on this power point series.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh, NPR why do I love and hate you at the same time?

Image: From Flickr; logo_npr_125 by MontageMan

So, I love NPR. I use to listen to it all the time when I was in St. Louis. It was great to quickly get my news while driving to Seminary and back. And of course there were the in depth interview with people that I would have never thought to be so interesting and fascinating. Yes, even Ugandan 'flute' players! NPR really broadened my perspective on things in the world. Sure many people accuse it of being a 'liberal' perspective, but I really did think that was honest.

But I will admit that towards the end of the 4th year of the Seminary I stopped listening to NPR. It wasn't a gradual phase but a complete halt. Why? There was a show about a lady who was talking about the Bible. And she was using every single fallacy known to man to disprove that the Bible was completely full of errors and is quite unintelligent. This really infuriated me because I could not really respond to the woman. I knew not just that she was wrong Biblically but that she was using logic fallacies. I guess I was just so mad that I stopped.

Well, I have now begun to listen to NPR again. It was a good news source during both the DNC and RNC. But it happened again today. This time a guy was explaining why he doesn't believe in Scripture, God and the like solely because he found out that a 'medium' was lying about channeling spirits. He took this experience and began to question his whole faith. This time I wasn't as mad but saddened. Saddened not only to listen to this man but saddened that I have never heard Christianity, the Bible, or Jesus ever truly represented in a positive light on NPR. Maybe it's my listening times? But I have yet to hear it. This time I won't be tuning out NPR...I still love...but I kinda hate it at the same time for presenting stories and people of one perspective without covering the whole story.

So am I just too sensitive? Does NPR do this? Do they have shows that give a positive light on Christianity?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DNC is here

Right now we are in the midst of the DNC (that's Democratic National Convention). That's at Denver if you live under a rock. Although if you live under a rock you might not know where Denver is anyway. I think it's great to have the Convention here. It give a good opportunity to talk about citizenship. After all, as Christians we live in a particular time and place. We live in a country and God has not just called us to be His family but to participate in the civil realm (that includes politics). We should all be aware of the 'political' realm. It is an excellent way that we can serve our neighbor.

How are you involved in the political realm?
Do you see serving/doing politics as something that is good?

The Return of .....

I know it's been a while. Life has really sped up. The good news: after much frustration we have a house! It's been a crazy process and as our Realtor said "Everything that could go wrong, went wrong with you guys." But we have a house and things are getting unpacked and put into place. I have many different projects to complete. And as many of you have notice this blog has suffered the greatest hit. But I have returned and let's see if I can give this blog the life it needs. It just might have as many lives as my office plant.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To sermon or not to sermon?

Ok...I know that's a bad and horrible title. But I'm kinda struggling here for this Sunday's sermon. Out of the 3 readings for this Sunday (LCMS lectionary readings) I am really pulled towards Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (I hate that they cut out 10-17, it's so important!). It's rather unusual because I typically prefer the Old Testament readings. My predicament is this: I preached on Matthew 13:1-23 a Women's Retreat in April to 50 women at RSLC. So...would it be ok if I pull out that sermon again? Now, if I'm going to use that sermon, all I'm going to do is update and clarify. After all I will be speaking to a different audience, yet the core of the message will probably be the same. So, I'd revise some illustrations, expand more on the text and give different applications. Is this ethical? Or should I just go for it? What do you think?