FACING SACRED COWS

This is a great post by Todd Rhoades with some questions worth asking. = Steve

Poking the Sacred Cow in your church… what should you be asking?
Posted by Todd Rhoades in Leadership on Nov 26th, 2012 | 4 comments

I read an interesting article over at FastCompany this morning about an Australian hotel company that is changing the 11AM checkout rule.You can check out their unbelievably annoying promo for what they are calling the “Overstay Checkout” here:

According to the article, the hotel company started first by looking at their guests biggest gripes: having to check out early (by 11AM).

The truth is… when the hotel was asked why someone HAD to absolutely check out at 11AM if no one else had booked the room the next night, the hotel did not have a good answer.

It appeared to be a sacred cow — something you do but don’t know why.

That got me thinking.

What ‘sacred cow’ questions are we afraid to ask in the church.

Let’s take Sunday’s for example:

1. Why do we HAVE meet on Sundays?

2. Why do we HAVE to meet on Sunday MORNINGS?

3. Why are our services 60 minutes long?

4. Why do we do 30 minutes of music/announcements and 30 minutes of preaching?

5. Why do we use an offering PLATE?

6. Why do we do everything the way we do it?

What is YOUR church’s sacred cow question?

What should you think about changing that would really shake things up?

What groaning/griping to you hear the most from your people? Is this tied in any way, shape, or form to some type of sacred cow question you should be re-asking and re-answering?

Something to think about…

// Read more here…

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THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MOVED INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Advent has begun. It is season of the church year that is often lost in the rush to Christmas. The season when the church focuses on the expectation of the Messiah.  When in the midst of a people living in deep darkness, a voice begins crying “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

A lot of churches use this season to draw attention to themselves, to their presence in the community.  Christmas carolers and acts of kindness in the malls. Food drives for the poor and the needy.  Festive decorations adorning their facilities and musical extravaganzas in their sanctuaries and auditoriums.  Christmas mailers to everyone in their zip code and block parties for the children of the neighborhood.

All very good things.

But here’s an important question.  What are you planning to do as a church that will continue to bless and transform your neighborhood after the Advent and Christmas season have passed into memory?  You may add to the festive spirit of the season.  You may even pontificate that Jesus is the reason for the season so people won’t let that truth get lost. But what is your plan for ministering amidst the hopes and fears of the New Year?

Because you’re going to be around after Christmas, aren’t you? Will your neighbors? Will they be blessed by it?

BEACH PARTYAND BAPTISMS

Sharing a testimony

In the past year the student ministry at my church has exploded. Called BURN it seeks to help kids develop a deep desire for God. A Wednesday night youth worship gathering is the front door and chief engine used by the Spirit for this ministry. It is led by a passionate and grounded young man named Jeremy Moyer. Instead of the typical youth group that is, to quote Ed Stetzer, “a holding tank with pizza,” Burn seeks to help kids become leaders and influencers of their generation. When this began our “youth group” had 12 kids. By the second semester of the school year, the numbers had swollen to 100. Many of these kids are unchurched.

In March Jeremy preached a series on commitment called “Real vs Fake.”

Do you affirm your faith in Jesus Christ?

One evening 16 of these kids decided to become Christians. The next week there were four more.

That’s when Jeremy came to ask me about baptism. These kids needed to baptized and he already knew that it would be a powerful opportunity for those kids to witness to their newfound faith.

My church has a beautiful 150 year old marble baptistery in the sanctuary. We began to plan to secure it on a Wednesday (that’s when the Burn worship gathering occurs) to conduct the service.

The next day Jeremy came to see me again. “Do the baptisms have to be in the church?” “no,” was my response.

“Well these kids want to use the occasion to tell their stories to their friends, many of whom are not yet Christians. Those kids won’t come to the church.”

One of our original kids

What was then created was a Saturday Night Beach Party the night before Palm Sunday at the nearby rec center and its pool. And that night with 75 kids in attendance and about a dozen of our elders and youth leaders (and a few unchurched parents), 12 kids shared their personal testimonies and Jeremy and I baptized them. It was one of the most moving worship experiences in the history of our 177 year old congregation. (It was also the first time I ever had a baptism with a life guard on duty.)

Easter morning we showed the pictures as our call to worship with the simple announcement “This is what we are all about as a church.”

An encouragement hug for a new believer

One of the new kids already in our church family

A new disciple of Jesus Christ