Easter Series

April 25, 2011

Some random thoughts on our recent Easter series. Hope it helps or inspires someone out there. 🙂

– Some churches launch a new series on Easter. We’ve been launching a new series 3 or 4 weeks before Easter, hoping to grab some momentum on our way in. I like both appraoches. If you launch a brand new series on Easter, it gives you something to promote and invite people back. I get it.

– Our series this year was ‘The Walking Dead’. We intentionally turned up the intensity and did our best to help people cross over from death to life.

– We really didn’t do a lot of marketing or gimmeckry. We had a basic look for the series, screens, etc. No special videos, no printed pieces, invites, etc.

– We had a few really good times around the altar during the series. People were eager to get on their knees and clear some stuff up with God.

– There was a sense of anticipation towards Easter. That’s probably the big take away from this one. It built as we went on each week. By the time Easter Sunday rolled around the energy was through the roof.

– God keeps teaching me to not be afraid to be bold or to go for the ‘big ask’. Inviting people to accept Jesus or asking them to be baptized, when they weren’t prepared for it, should be normal. Jesus asked people to take up their cross and follow him.

– A big honking Easter series doesn’t have to be expensive. We borrowed some extra lights and other than that is was good ‘ol fashioned hard work. A couple of our guys (Mark and AJ) put in ridiculous hours creating a new stage set and look for the series.

– Good series take a lot of planning. The themes, the messages, the songs, transitions, announcements, segues, etc. There are probably things we missed or things we would do differently, but all in all it was a well planned series. We probably worked 2 months on the series with a conference thrown right in the middle of it.

– Many changed lives, 18 baptisms, spontaneous baptisms, largest crowd ever, tells us that it was all well worth the effort. Giving God all the praise for amazing things He has done!

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iPad Preaching

February 21, 2011

So, I’ve been preaching off my iPad for several weeks in a row now and I’m loving it. Here are a few thoughts:

– No paper! Uh, yeah, that’s a bit of a no brainer. But seriously, I just like the clean uncluttered feel of just my bible and my iPad.

– It’s brighter. I’m only 41, but I find the iPad screen a whole lot easier to focus on than my paper notes.

– I can transition from one page to the next with the slide of my finger. No more fumbling with sticky pages or getting on the wrong page.

– I have a paper back up. I’ve never had an iPad freeze or crash, but I do print off a copy of my notes just in case the worst happens.

– It’s modern. Say what you want, go ahead and throw stones, but I think some people appreciate that we’re embracing technology and using it for the Kingdom.

Other tips:

– I lock the screen so it doesn’t accidentally change orientation on me.

– I should turn the ‘auto-off’ off but I haven’t yet. If I get away from it for a few minutes it will go black. No biggie. I don’t think people even nootice me hitting the power button. As soon as I power on, it is there.

– I’m using an iPad app called ‘Good Reader’. When I synch I just go to apps, scroll down to Good Reader, get the file I want, and voila. Very nice.

 


Top 5 Reasons to come to OUTLANDISH 2011

November 18, 2010

5. You don’t know everything! None of us do. We all need times when we allow someone else to pour into us from the things they have experienced and learned.

4. To get a double shot of innovation! It takes new ideas to reach new people. Go where everyone is going (Outlandish) to hear what everyone is saying (speakers) so you can do what no one else is doing (in your community) to reach people no one else is reaching!! OK, that’s a mouthful. But you get the idea. We need to get out of our norm and get into environments where God can speak new ideas to us.

3. For community! We don’t get together enough. This conference will give you an opportunity to network and reconnect with people from all over the Maritimes.

2. For all the extras! The music will be smokin’, the coffee will be hot and plentiful and welcome in the sanctuary, the volunteers will be pumped and helpful, the breakouts will be useful, and the energy will be off the charts.

1. Jesus! Hey, what did you expect me to say??!! Seriously. We believe that the local church is the hope of the world, that Jesus is the real deal and that local churches need to be doing all they can to share Jesus with their communities. This conference isn’t about the latest programs, books, or studies. It’s about Jesus!


Branding a Series – Guest post by Mark Brewer

April 12, 2010

How We Brand a Series:

We make a very deliberate effort to brand each series so that it’s clean and cohesive. It’s done in subtle ways (it looks a lot like ‘overload’ when you see it all on one page!) but we try to tie it all together so each series flows well.

Here’s an example of what goes into each series (this is our latest one on the life of Joseph, simply called “Joe”):

  1. Logo variations. We use multiple variations of the main logo for usage on side screens and for a variety of other big screen media moments.
  2. Staff Introductions. When a staff member goes onstage to give announcements, do the welcome, etc. we play a quick video animation of their name on the mainscreen.
  3. Twitter. We update all of our social media– facebook, twitter, etc. — every series.
  4. Video Announcements. We make a quick ‘bumper’ video for each of our weekly announcements that plays in between video clips.
  5. Web. The main logo is front and center on our website, along with the dates of the series.
  6. Countdown. We play a 5-minute countdown before every service begins.
  7. Bulletin. Our online bulletin is also series-themed.
  8. Scripture. We create our own Scriptures graphics every week to fit the series.

For a handful of series, we’ve also made t-shirts and done some other creative elements — postcards, etc.

Needless to say, it takes a lot of work to brand every series but the result is that every graphic helps us to communicate our main idea — and people remember our series’. They remember what the service was about. They can recall what a series was about from last year, or from two years ago. They can remember specific moments from a series’ years ago. And if you can help people remember God’s word in such a clear and vivid way, that’s a win.


Series

March 18, 2010

Almost all of our services each year are done in series. They vary from 2 weeks to 5 weeks or even the entire Summer like we’ve done the last two years. There are a lot of benefits to series. Keeps you focused. Tells people what’s coming. Gives you something to promote. Etc.

I asked the gang at one of our recent Creative Team meetings, “What are the keys to a good series for Crosspoint?” Here’s the short list:

– Messages fit the theme well

– State the theme and explain it well on week one. Nail it down.

– Invite-able, come check this out. It resonates.

– Create anticipation, trailers, announcements, media.

– Home grown. Created by us, for us.


Consistency

March 8, 2010

If you want to reach more people for Jesus, start by asking the right people “Why aren’t new people, lost people, coming to our services and crossing the line of faith in Jesus?” You’ll probably realize that you need a fresh infusion of creativity. Creativity in the right areas can generate enthusiasm and anticipation. When those two things elevate, people will bring people to church. Boom!

Be careful. Before you tear everything apart and run it through your new machine, “The Creativitor 5000”, make sure that whatever you are going to do is sustainable. As someone wisely told me, “Don’t build a rocket. They go up with a flash but come down shorty thereafter. Build a satellite. It’ll last.” You don’t want to make a whole bunch of noise and shake everything up if you can’t sustain it for the long haul. That’s inconsistency.

Consistency creates trust. People need to know:

– That the services have been well planned, long in advance.

– That the musicians have carefully selected every tune.

– That every song has a purpose.

– That every element is pointing towards the one main theme of that day.

– That the speaker has worked very hard on the core of the message and the delivery.

– That every video, announcement, and piece of media has been carefully selected.

– That the entire ‘first impressions’ areas of the church, and their volunteers, are ready.

Decide what needs to be done. Do the things you can do well. Don’t do things you don’t do well. Give Jesus 100% every week. That’s consistency.

When you create this (takes at least 6 weeks for people to buy into this) people will invite others because now they know what to expect!

One more caution. Don’t sacrifice consistency to creativity. You might come up with a great idea but time, budget, people, etc, tell you that you can’t do it as well as you should. It’s better to not do a good idea than to do a good idea badly. Consistency is a better friend over the long haul than creativity.


Conferences

January 23, 2010

Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s the snow and cold in this part of the world and I’m looking to go South? Whatever it is, I’ve got conferences on the brain and thought I’d share a few thoughts.

I’ve always been a conference junkie. Some stink. Some are excellent. Even if the conference tanks, I always find some value in getting out of town, getting into a creative environment and networking with others.

Back when I was on staff at Moncton something started to stir in me for doing church entirely different – doing church in a way that unchurched people would want to come. So, I hit the conference trail.

– The C3 Conference at Fellowship Church Dallas was one of the first ones I hit on my quest to learn how to do church differently/creatively. It is a mind-blowing deal. Seriously. There were times when I felt like a loser because of all I wasn’t doing, and times when I was ready to charter a plane, fly home immediately, and tear everything apart to reach the lost! Everything they do is quality. Quality is one of the first lessons I think we need to learn in this part of the world. Just sayin.

Daybreak is a very creative Wesleyan Church in Michigan. Their ‘Creative Infusion’ conference was another energy drink to my system. I sat 5 feet from the stage and listened to Rob Bell speak of our Creative God. Life changing stuff.

Willow Creek. Like ’em or not, they know how to do conferences. One of the things that I enjoy the most and get the most help from is just hearing Bill Hybels, live, and hearing the tenacious, contagious intensity of his passion for the church and the lost. I’ve hardly ever missed a ‘Leadership Summit’. I’ve been to Willow a few times for various conferences. It makes you feel very small but after the initial ‘wow’ wears off you will get inspired to go home and extend your reach.

UNLEASH – Newspring Church, SC. Mark and I decided last year that we would take a cannonball run to Newspring’s ‘UNLEASH’ conference. It’s a pretty simple concept: one day, 2 main sessions with Lead Pastor, Perry Noble, breakouts, lunch, etc. UNLEASH did more for Crosspoint in one day than I can begin to describe in this post. The benefit to me and to this church is exponential. It might have cost us $1000 to do the whole trip. I’m sure the church got a 25X return on that investment. At least. Ruth Woodworth, another crazy Crosspoint staffer, met us in SC, took in the conference with us and then drove back to NB with Mark and I. This year we’re taking twice as many. Can’t wait!!

– I haven’t been to Catalyst. Not sure why. Maybe because it’s in the fall and the fall is a nutso time of ministry.

– Haven’t been to ‘Drive’ at Northpoint, Atlanta, but it is seriously on my short list of ones to get to next.

I’ve also hit Saddleback and a bunch of stuff on the West Coast. If you want to see what the church will look like 10 years from now, go to the West Coast.

Anyone have anything to add?