- Today was exactly what we had hoped it would be.
- We wanted to capture the momentum of Easter and have the week after be just as big or bigger.
- So to kick-off our iLife series we gave away 4 FREE iPads.
- It worked great…we by far had our highest attended day ever other than launch day.
- Best of all, 3 more people prayed to begin a relationship with Jesus!
- That makes 83 now in the 6 months we’ve been meeting!
- So proud of my team and all they do from parking lot to seat to help prepare people’s hearts for the preaching of God’s Word each week.
- Set-up and everything was a bit different today because Bill (our worship pastor) was away for the weekend.
- This meant everyone pitching in to do the things he normally does which of course meant longer time and a couple of “where the heck does this plug in” moments.
- Bill did though create the new stage set that has all the iLife icons…pretty cool.
- Huge thanks to Aaron Hoke for stepping up and leading the band this weekend…he did a tremendous job.
- It was also great to see JD Ridenour who came up to check out our tech stuff for help with his new job he’s taken with LifeHouse Church East in Hagerstown, MD.
- JD’s pastor (Patrick Grach) and I were both in Orlando this week and had lunch together this past Thursday. Grateful to Patrick for his encouragement and the team LifeHouse sent to us when we did our Preview Experiences back before launch.
- Speaking of Orlando…being gone all week with Chad at the Exponential Church Conference meant my normal routine was disturbed this week.
- Even though I wrote today’s message long ago, my normal routine has me working with it throughout the week so that by the time Sunday rolls around its completely a part of me.
- This week was different though and I thought it came through in my delivery…not my best effort but I think the point was still made…
- …we live on the edge so often emotionally, financially, relationally, in our schedules and we’re in danger of disaster.
- You can listen here to see what God has to say about that.
- It was weird that during my illustration where I stood up on the arms of the theater seats I actually felt really comfortable…sort of ruined my point…although I think everyone got what I was saying.
- Congrats to those who won iPads…and thanks to all those who invited so many people come out and be a part of today’s Experience.
- This week I’m away again…this time at our denomination’s annual conference.
- I’ll be speaking briefly Monday and then I’m teaching two workshops on Tuesday…please keep me in prayer.
- Also, our band has been asked to provide the music for Monday night’s activities, so keep them in prayer as well as they get off early from work, travel to the site, set-up, play, tear down then return home.
- Next Sunday we’ll continue the iLife series by looking at how to build margin into your schedule so you do and become all that God has for you!
Yesterday Lisa and I visited the Life House Church which meets in Hagerstown, MD. I had first visited them about 4 years ago and got to know them and their pastor, Patrick Grach, when they used to meet in a local elementary school. Since then they have moved to the Leitersburg Pike Cinema’s. It was interesting being back in that building because I once consulted for a church that met there when the place was a real dump. Patrick and his team have done a great job working with the new owners to fix the place up and it is now a very nice building to walk into.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit is it is looking almost 100% positive that we’ll be meeting in a movie theater as we launch ExponentialChurch.tv this fall. I met with Patrick for breakfast on Friday morning and he gave me saw great tips for not only meeting in a theater but also for starting the church in general. One thing Patrick had mentioned about meeting at the theaters was that you need to work harder than normal to get people connected since they’re not used to going into a theater to connect with others in a deep, meaningful way. So one of the first things we noticed when we went in was that they pull out tons of tables and serve breakfast. Unlike most churches which simply have a Cafe type area, Life House’s entire lobby is filled with people talking and eating for extended periods of time.
Once the worship time started, the band played some oldies but goodies. I don’t know why but almost everywhere we’ve visited this summer (including huge mega-churches) have been playing old songs. Maybe it’s because it’s summer and a lot of the normal band members are on vacation so it’s easier to pull out the old stuff. In any case, the band did a good job, although something else Patrick mentioned to me was very evident…lack of audience participation. Since people aren’t used to being in a movie theater; singing, shouting, clapping, etc., you need to encourage participation even more than normal. This was probably the worst part of the Life House experience…the room was dead…hardly anyone participated. Definitely something I’ll keep an eye on as we launch.
Having preached in that theater a number of times, I know how difficult it is when you can only see people’s eyeballs because of the high-backed seats. Patrick did a good job though as he shared how we are all called to be missionaries, even if it just to our neighbors and co-workers. Altogether the service lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes and then everyone scattered quickly to get to various 4th of July picnics that Life House was sponsoring throughout the area.
I’m glad we visited Life House, I certainly learned some stuff for how we are to proceed with our launch. Patrick and his team are very creative when it comes to getting out into the community and reaching people that way. The theaters were pretty full for both of their services (on a holiday weekend nonetheless) which is a testament to the awesome things they are together accomplishing to reach the Hagerstown area.