Peoples is Peoples

Muppets Take Manhattan
Is music! Is dancing! Is potatoes! (click for video)

The Muppets were a large part of my childhood, but I never noticed this scene until I watched Muppets Take Manhattan as an adult. As confusing as Pete’s pep-talk is, people are even more confusing.

Understanding people is a big part of being in church communications. This past Sunday I was reminded how much people can amaze you despite how much you think you know them.

As our pastor began his sermon I stepped away from the soundboard (leaving my wife in charge) to check on things around the church. I like to do this to make sure everything in my ministry is working properly and that none of my volunteers need any help. Before I took two steps into the hall outside the sanctuary I was stunned by what I saw. Someone (a child) had drawn signs with construction paper, crayons and colored pencils and taped them to the walls. The signs simply said “Braids for missions. $1 or more. This way. <—-“.

I was shocked!

Who put these here?

Why didn’t I, as the director of communications, know about this?

Does any of the staff know about this?

It’s a good thing our OCD Executive Pastor is on vacation because he would absolutely lose it if he saw scotch tape on the newly painted walls!

But most importantly, WHO IS THIS? I’m glad they’re specifying that the money goes to missions, but even that is extremely vague!

As I did some investigating I discovered it was two girls from our GAs who were making bracelets to sell after the service. After finding the adults in charge and asking them to relocate the signs that were taped directly on the walls, my mind started wandering (some more).

How do they expect to sell any?

They didn’t say who they were.

They didn’t say what they were selling. (I assumed bracelets, but they didn’t really say)

People won’t know about it until they’re out of the service and ready to leave.

The signs are difficult to read and taped in very random places throughout the halls.

This is going to be a disaster.

Later that night, in the evening service, our pastor announced that the girls made $70 from their bracelets.

SEVENTY. DOLLARS.

SEVEN. ZERO.

I spent a month advertising for a Youth Fundraiser Lunch. It was advertised everywhere and even offered online registration. In the end, it was one of the lowest attended youth fundraisers we’ve ever had.

Am I going to change how I advertise? Not necessarily. But I’m not going to be so quick to assume that someone else’s “bad” decisions or “bad” marketing will lead to failure. I won’t assume that just because they didn’t do it “by the book” it’s a waste of time.

Alternate title for this post: I will never understand people. They’re the worst.

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Peoples is Peoples

Why Do We (churches) Create?

Image

The simple answer to this question is, “Because God created.”

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what I meant by this question.

Why do we do anything in the church? What is the main purpose for everything that we do?

It all goes back to the vision of the church, and for the vast majority of churches that is derived from two simple things.

  1. Reach the lost.
  2. Disciple the saved.

When new ideas, techniques or resources are added to a church many question the reasoning. Usually this is because those who don’t understand aren’t in the demographic this new thing is intended for. For them, the church was fine without it and doesn’t need it.

But let’s be honest, we don’t need anything for the church body to worship, reach the lost or make disciples. No chairs, no lights, no air conditioning, not even a building. The Holy Spirit can work without these “fancy” things. The Bible even says the rocks will cry out, so why do we bother doing anything?

SIDE NOTE: If I ever have someone say to me, “They didn’t have that in the Bible so we don’t need it in the church now!” I have a great come back.

“By your rules we have to get rid of the toilets too.”

Here’s the point.

We create because there are people who will appreciate the creativity. We create because lack of creativity could be a stumbling block to someone. Just like bad worship or no air conditioning could keep someone from encountering God.

Why Do We (churches) Create?

Being Productive Isn’t Enough

I geek out on a lot of things. The Office, App updates, Coldplay and Minecraft, just to name a few. But the topic that pulls on my heart and fills me with joy the most is productivity.

I would bet my most common Google search is “TOP TEN PRODUCTIVITY APPS FOR iOS“. I love studying and implementing new ways of being productive. Whether it’s apps like Mailbox and Any.DO, or techniques like Pomodoro, I have to take it all in.

Lately though, I’ve realized that even after the most productive day I feel like I forgot to do something. In fact, it’s on these days that I feel this way the most. These days usually consist of printing, cutting, folding, setting up and tearing down. So what am I missing?

Creativity.

I realized today that my day doesn’t feel complete if I haven’t honestly* spent time designing something new.

*By “honestly” I mean something that I take the time to passionately research and skillfully design. Like the bellow logo, which is my latest favorite.

Sadly I have a lot of things I could be spending this “honestly” time with, but I don’t have enough hours in the day, and that depresses me even more. The only thing worse than not doing anything creative in a day is doing something halfheartedly because you don’t have enough time to fully invest in it. I feel like a large part of my job is deciding what ministries or events get shafted.

So I’ll continue my productivity search until I find those extra hours in the day.

Being Productive Isn’t Enough

Water Color Gospel

LifeWay recently made some huge (amazing!) changes to their Sunday School curriculum. With that change came a lot of opinions. Most of the opinions I heard were very favorable… and by “most” I mean all but one.

I was speaking with someone specifically about the children’s curriculum. She was very upset that the old style of Bible story drawings were gone and replaced with “cartoon” coloring pages. The “old style” she was referring to were realistically drawn images that have been around for decades. I remember being a kid and thinking “Wow, these pictures look old!”. If I thought that back in the 90’s, what do you think the kids of today are thinking?

This is the "old style" I'm referring to.
This is the “old style” I’m referring to.

Her reason for not liking the coloring pages was because they were cartoon-like and would make the children think the Bible is filled with neat stories that didn’t really happen. She thinks the children will relate the stories to the cartoons they see on TV and not the Bible  they are being taught is God’s word. She is worried that we are trying to be more relevant to the kids at the cost of watering down the message of the Gospel.

Sound familiar?

Why are we so afraid to present the Gospel in a way that works for people? The old style isn’t wrong, it’s just not right anymore. If they are coloring a picture of Jesus with the woman at the well they are investing time and effort in looking at the image and thinking about it. How often do kids take home the old style pictures and look at them? How often do parents put the picture on the refrigerator? Seldom, if ever.

The contemporary vs. traditional debate is about more than just how we worship with music, and I’m learning that more and more every day.

Water Color Gospel