Monthly Archives: November 2012


Whew – a quick break in Christmas preparations! We’ve had a few discussions in the past about latecomers and how to encourage, shall we say, “timely arrival…”

My personal leaning is to do some big “wow-you-should-have-seen-that” type things at the beginning of services every so often, so that the word will get out that there may be cool things up front. It also is critical that the congregation understand the importance of thanking God through sung worship. etc…

For some more ideas (click here)…


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Idea Of The Week: Christmas Photo Op

People really do want ways to share about their church. One way that we provide each year is a place for family photo ops. We set up several beautiful displays, and bring in some park benches. The result is a ton of family pictures happening each weekend, and photos that they can share with friends and family (as well as on Facebook). It’s an easy way for them to extend an invitation – and that invitation may be the one that changes a life forever!

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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Christmas, Idea Of The Week


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A One-Track Mind

Creative worship service planning is a difficult and imperfect process. It takes trust. It takes a balance between the comfortable and the unexpected. It takes the understanding that the (very) different people that God has created react to to service elements in (very) different ways…

I make no claim to have worship service planning figured out. I fairly regularly include elements in our services that are found to be less than stellar in our service review process. I have found that what works best (again, as best as I can tell) for our services is to change things up every week. Not in radical ways – we have our liturgy, of sorts – but in look, feel, and – most of all – creative elements.

This takes a lot of brainstorming. The best brainstorming comes in a team setting. The variety of ideas matches the variety within the congregation. The the mindset of those involved in the brainstorming sessions is of critical importance. You see, the problem comes when people get locked in to a certain idea early on in the process – it blocks any further idea generation. In all honesty, I believe that this is usually because of ego – each person wants his or her idea used, so, once an idea comes to mind, the focus shifts to getting that idea used, rather than coming up with more (and often better) ideas.

The solution? There is no easy one! But here’s a couple of ideas:

1. Instead of asking each person for an idea, ask them for five. That forces the mind into considering alternate points of view.

2. Ask the team member to come up with an idea that is in some ways the opposite of their current idea, but which might still work.

3. Have each person write down their idea on a sheet of paper, and then pass it to the next person, who will amend or adjust it in some way. Than pass it on to the next person, etc… Each person has at least somewhat ownership in every idea through this process.



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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Creative Planning


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Reminder Of The Week: Creative Teams

Reminder Of The Week:
DON’T build a creative planning team of people that think just like you – the whole “I want to hang with people that I feel comfortable ‘doing life’ with” attitude is self-centered. It’s a pretty sure bet that there’s a good amount of diversity (at least in personality types) in your congregation – there should be on your team, as well. Core values needs to be shared, but God hasn’t created each person uniquely for no reason…
Sorry for the negative vibe, let me change it – DO build a diverse team, and challenge each other to grow and excel for the sake of the people that God has entrusted you to serve.

Here’s some other good stuff to do! (click here)

BTW, this isn’t our actual planning team. Our team is actually much more diverse (especially age-wise). It’s a college-age life group. However, it was the only picture that I could quickly find on my desktop that represented a group meeting, so it’s pinch hitting for a real picture of our creative team.  :  )

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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Creative Planning


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It’s All Talk

Announcements… (sigh)
They’ve always been a thorn in my side. They’re necessary, I understand, don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, it’s HOW they’re done, rather than what’s announced that’s the problem (although it’s better to stick to things that affect large groups within the congregation, or that require some sort of vision-cast, like an overseas mission trip). Getting the announcement people ready to roll is a key thing.
These Three Things Will Help Them To Do A Better Job (notice that I used extra caps here for emphasis):
PREP – The person (or persons) doing announcements should have a VERY good understanding of what they are going to say ahead of time. They should understand each of the things that they are asking people to be a part of. They should NOT simply be handed a card with a few notes on it a couple of minutes before the service. They should REALLY, REALLY not simply read the announcements straight from the bulletin!!!
PRACTICE – The announcement person should actually practice doing the announcements. We don’t allow any other element of our services to be “winged” – both preachers and musicians put in hours of practice time, if they’re serious about what they do, so why should the announcements be a weak link? We do service runthroughs before our Sat. service, and the announcement people get up and do them exactly how they’re going to do them in the service (and we offer critique, if necessary).
PHILOSOPHY – Don’t let announcements become the only means of communication that your church uses. Don’t let it get overwhelmed in minutia. Don’t let it be only about the pet projects of a couple of people. DO let it be a concise, clear way to get important info to your people. Keep them very short, and give clear action points and contact info.

(BTW – 5 minutes should be an absolute max…)

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Creative Planning


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Sacred Vs Secular

We will do secular music in our services. That’s been the case everywhere I have served (although it’s not that many places, and they’ve all been on the “big” side). Every so often, though, I go through a period of self-questioning on this. The question, of course, is “why?”
If it’s purely to be cool, I don’t think that’s reason enough to use the song. I do agree that using secular songs is a good “front door” for unchurched people. However, we have a limited amount of time in our services, and I’m not interested in wasting a moment of it, if the moment can be used to help bring people closer to God. That doesn’t mean that every moment has to be serious, or that every song has to be dripping with deep theological meaning. It just means that the song is there to help move people from where they are towards where they could be.

“Things are sacred or secular based on their use in the light of God’s design.” – Rick Muchow


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Idea Of The Week: Matching Gobos To Video

A comparatively easy way to come up with a cool unified lighting solution for a song is to match up a background video to a similar moving light fixture gobo pattern. Combining similar feels can often simulate the feel of environmental projection.


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