I Beg Your Indulgence

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The longer I live, the more I serve Christ, the more I am compelled to take a long view of history and an eternal perspective toward the few small years comprising our life on earth. I love the emphasis I often hear calling for increasing the Church’s role in societal restoration. These are big issues and range in areas diverse as long-standing nationalistic enmity, to racism and racial disagreement and distrust, to environmental awareness and care, and the list goes on. This adjustment seems to me to be the right track. After allowing the pendulum to swing too far to individual evangelism, it is appropriate to look at the church’s role in the world that goes beyond just trying to get people to say the sinner’s prayer.

I also recognize that this is perhaps uniquely an evangelical problem. And an American Evangelical problem at that. Mainline churches, for all of the flack they catch from others in the evangelical community, are now being seen as a source of some stabilizing and “successful” practices: liturgy, comprehensive catechism, and this stance of social restoration that I am talking about. It’s almost as if the younger brother is just now waking up to the family business that has been going on for hundreds of years. At least that’s what it feels like in the church circles I move in.

With that caveat in mind, I must confess, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about indulgences. You know, those things we were taught to protest against as Protestants. You know, those things that caused Martin Luther to nail 95 Theses to a door.

Yeah, those.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

I’m Dreaming Of a Church…

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FreeImages.com/gef Brown

I’m dreaming of a church that is:

1. Open to others. Not a fort against the world, but a thanksgiving table with an open seat for anyone.

2. Expanding the government of heaven. Not trapped in politics — not preaching the values of the religious right or the left, but contending for Christlikeness that is both a higher demand and a lighter burden.

3. An active part and participant in the community extending neighborly generosity and working for the common good and human flourishing.

4. A place of community and conversation. The Sunday service is less school and more family gathering.

5. A place of diversity. Not a church that is primarily led by and for one race, one generation, or one class; but empowers all, because the Spirit empowers all. A church that reflects the demographics of the entire community but also gives special place and care to the downtrodden and disenfranchised.

6. A church that values the arts and is artistic and creative in worship and in creating a worship space and environment.

7. A church that contends for the presence of God in passionate worship and prayer.

8. An ancient / future faith. A church that values the traditions of the past—that actively incorporates liturgical practices and weekly eucharist—while implementing the opportunities of new media to make mature disciples (people who can hear God’s voice for themselves, and obey it).

What’s your dream?

I’d be interested to know what you think. Do any of these resonate with you?
Even if you choose not to share it here, I encourage you to dream away. And then pray about the things that God is speaking to your heart.

Have fun!

Easter Promotions—Adopt a Seat Campaign

8 out of 10 are pretty good odds.

And knowing that 8 out of 10 people will say yes to an Easter invitation to church is a great statistic to build promotions around.*

One area of promotion is inviting the community to your Easter services. But the other one, a very important one, is mobilizing the congregation to invite their friends and family to church on Easter. For the last few years we have attempted to leverage this through a targeted campaign. Here is a campaign we did a few years ago. Afterward, if you’re interested,  I’ll talk about the video and how it was made.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

4 Ideas to Improve Your Online Video

Of all the things I get to do as a church technical leader, directing live video is one of my favorites. I love the opportunity I have to connect people to what God is doing  on Sunday morning at the church. And I like the pressure and pace of working in live video.

The thought that this may be our first connection with someone looking for a church, or a traveller needing to feel connected to his church family, or a shut-in wanting to join in worship, or a family who just needs a break from the busyness of life; all these, to me, are reasons that drive me towards creating the best online experience I can. I am sure you can come up with additional great reasons.

Here are 4 ideas to improve your live video to make it the best that it can be:

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

My Christmas Quote (uhm… prayer)

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‘Tis the season for a steady diet of well-wishing, nostalgia, prayers and pleadings for sanity all wrapped up in Christmas cheer.

In tech circles it is the dreaded “busy season” where we say good-bye to our families and friends after Thanksgiving and return to them on January 3. For that reason, we tend to focus on how to not lose Jesus in the middle of Christmas or something of that sort. I actually like those articles, but I want to share something different—a meditative reflection, of sorts, in the form of one of my favorite quotes.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.