We have a great collection of reading for you this week. Enjoy and be blessed!
Nothing excites me more than the week in and week out ministry of preaching. The preparation is a joyous burden that shapes my character, challenges my skills, and encourages my personal relationship with God. And sermon delivery is a sacred honor. I’m awed by the fact that God and his people allow me to do this public work that has such personal, and yes, eternal, implications.
This wonderful work, however, has a few pitfalls that keep those of us who do it in a vulnerable position. We are but human, and language is the medium of influence. We preach with words, yet even Solomon said, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19, CSB).
Both written and oral words are opportunities for the Holy Spirit to communicate with power. Written words, however, are subject to the editor’s judgment before going public. The extemporaneous nature of preaching, on the other hand, while engaging, can also produce unhelpful words that distract from the message of God.
Anyone who preaches feels the weight of this, and we have all replayed unforced errors in our mind on Sunday afternoon only to hold out hope for a forgiving, or at least a forgetful, congregation. So prayer, sound exegesis, and common sense help us to preach better sermons. Avoiding these four phrases falls into the latter category.
Nearly 6 years ago Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the honor of serving at) adopted a multisite strategy to deliver growth to new areas and reach new people with the Gospel. That one decision changed everything.
Since that time, we’ve grown from one campus to five (with more to come) and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. Some of those lessons, as you would expect, we’ve learned the hard way. Here’s a few that stand out.
1. Starting is the Easy Part
Starting new multisite campuses is actually the easy part. Starting something new is usually exciting, attracts new people, and typically has some kind of momentum associated with it. Those are all things that make church leaders salivate. However, managing all of the complexities of inter-campus relationships, communication, decision making, reporting, influence, and building an effective central service team that serves the campuses is the more difficult part. It’s one thing to start a new multisite campus, it’s another thing all together to adopt a multisite mindset.
2. Communication is Complicated
The lines of communication can get really complicated in a multisite setting. Who needs to know what when and in what sequence are things communicated to which audience? Creating feedback loops from the campuses back to central services is key to help the central service team understand what’s working and what’s not and what the campus teams need from them to be successful. It’s also just as important to cascade communication through campus pastors to the campus teams. Add to that now you’ve got to figure out how all of the campus staff relate not only to central services but also to other campuses. As you can imagine it can get a little complicated.
Justin is known online as That Christian Vlogger, and brands himself as an online missionary. In 18 months he has amassed 40K YouTube subscribers. He shares his story and strategies when it comes to YouTube.
3 Instant Takeaways
1. Millennials disproportionately trust individuals over institutions. Logging gave Justin a great platform from which to share his faith because it was him, an individual, talking about it and living it out. This helps millennials connect more willingly with his message.
2. Be relevant to your target audience. This doesn’t mean avoiding truth or “watering down” the gospel. It means making the truth of who Jesus is applicable to the situations people find themselves in every single day. Some of Justin’s most viewed videos were on dating, and the reason for this is that dating is something millennials spend a lot of time thinking about because it is a part of their day to day life.
3. Ask yourself why someone would want to watch a video. Is it because they’re asking a specific question? Are they looking for a different perspective on an issue? It might be different for different videos, but by being aware of this you can give your videos focus. Remember to promise the value you will be offering up front at the beginning of the video.
Sometimes we all feel anxious. Sometimes lonely or disconnected. Sometimes unhappy, and maybe even a little crazy. You know what might fix all of this?
Would you believe me if I said… a war?
From Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging:
The positive effects of war on mental health were first noticed by the great sociologist Emile Durkheim, who found that when European countries went to war, suicide rates dropped. Psychiatric wards in Paris were strangely empty during both world wars, and that remained true even as the German army rolled into the city in 1940. Researchers documented a similar phenomenon during civil wars in Spain, Algeria, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland. An Irish psychologist named H. A. Lyons found that suicide rates in Belfast dropped 50 percent during the riots of 1969 and 1970, and homicide and other violent crimes also went down. Depression rates for both men and women declined abruptly during that period, with men experiencing the most extreme drop in the most violent districts. County Derry, on the other hand—which suffered almost no violence at all—saw male depression rates rise rather than fall.
Hold on a second before you send me that angry email. I’m not really suggesting war as a solution to any of our emotional ills. God forbid.
But, that said: what the heck is going on here? Wars are supposed to be bad, right?
Why are people feeling less depressed, less crazy, less violent and less suicidal when something we can all agree is horrible and life threatening is happening around them?
Because war and natural disasters force people to unite together. To help others. To act as a community.
Thank you to our sources for this week’s blog posts:
LifeWay – 4 Phrases for Preachers to Avoid
Paul Alexander – 6 Lessons I’ve Learned from 6 Years of Multisite Church Leadership
Pro Church Tools – How A Christian Vlogger Gained 40K YouTube Subscribers In 18 Months
Barking Up The Wrong Tree – This Is The Fun Way To A Meaningful Life: 3 Secrets Backed By Research