During a Sunday worship service, a gunman walked unnoticed into a church in a small town in the Midwest. Inside the sanctuary, he shot and killed the pastor. For weeks, TV crews, photographers and reporters camped out in the small town as the church leaders and congregation struggled to deal with their loss and personal trauma of the tragedy.
Faulty wiring ignited a fire that burned down a 100-year-old church in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area. No one was injured, but the congregation was left without a permanent facility where they could worship and carry out their ministry.
The respected pastor of an urban megachurch confessed to an extramarital affair and stepped down from his leadership role, leaving the congregation and church leaders to face the consequences of his moral failure.
It was the middle of a Sunday service. The music was done, and I got up to pray.
Suddenly, from my right a woman rushed at the pulpit, ran up the stairs, screamed something, threw a book at me and started back down the aisle. I paused for a moment in mid-prayer, taking in the situation.
Almost every church faces it from time to time. How do you handle those individuals that aren’t quite right?
God is the ultimate filter for every part of our lives—including technology
Technology is powerful—drawing you in, altering your world and expectations, even defining who you are. If you’re not careful, what you start out controlling has a way of controlling you.
There’s nothing quite like the power of saying yes. The ability to say yes is heady, immediate and satisfying. It’s the feeling of having the world at your fingertips. No matter what the latest “it” app is, with the slide of that finger, the press of a button or the click of a mouse, your options magically unfold in nearly geometric progression.
But with every yes comes a consequence: when you say yes to all this technology, you attach yourself to a digital umbilical cord that can be difficult to remove—even temporarily.
If you’re not careful, what you start out controlling has a way of controlling you.
To be effective, communication must be approached as a broad, multi-faceted spectrum
The church vision is clear; the church leadership and staff is in place; ministerial and operational systems are developed and running. The church is functional and taking shape. With all the given tasks to check off, it can be easy for anyone within a moving organization to get tunnel-vision, and not think about creating a meaningful brand experience.
When it comes to the mission that God has placed on the heart of the senior pastor and the community, are churches being mindful of their “brand experience” and intentionally living it out? To implement a meaningful brand experience requires the entire team to embody the heart, mission, values, personality and culture of the church. Staff must be given the liberty to take leadership-covered risks in which they can creatively think and become a spot-on expression of the church’s heart.
The brand experience is every touchpoint an individual would encounter related to the church. Each touchpoint should effectively bridge the church’s vision, goals, theology and community demographics (left-brain stuff) with the heart, personality, creativity and culture of the church (right-brain stuff). When done strategically and consistently, the outcome is a living, breathing, dynamic relationship that every person develops with the church.
How a multi-site church creates more opportunities for community impact
Christ Fellowship is a multi-site church. That means we are one church family meeting in multiple locations across our region. We currently average around 30,000 people in all of our combined campuses. Before you begin to revel in our fruit, I want you to understand why we worked so hard to pioneer a new way of doing church.
One of the major roles of the American church must be the reformation of our great nation. We started down the arduous path of multi-site development knowing that would help us mobilize a vast army of compassion, which could impact on our region.
No one cares about our politics or moral issues until they know we love them. The
multi-site model creates more outreach opportunities and makes us more aware of the broader needs of our community, allowing us to serve in a more strategic and thoughtful way.
As our people step out to serve others in loving compassion, more doors are opening for us to have greater influence. For example, when we saw that the foster care system in our area needed help, we established the Place of Hope children’s home. Because of the widespread impact of this faith-based program to care for abused and abandoned children, we are now able to speak into the entire foster care system and offer positive contributions on the local, state and national levels.
We should use technology to help glorify God, not put on a show
Technology in a church setting can be a difficult issue. When referring to the sound, video and lighting aspects of a church sanctuary, we all have our own varying experiences.
On the positive side, a well-lit room may inspire us to forget what is going on around us and create an environment that draws us closer to God. But isn’t it strange how the same tools can be
distracting by demanding our attention and causing us to take our eyes off God?
The fact is that many churches commonly use equipment that was initially developed for use in concert tours and theater productions. In theater settings, technical equipment is used to bring scenes alive. It directs our focus and makes us believe we are somewhere else. In concert tours, it builds excitement and stimulates our senses.