Vince Antonucci on Principles for Church Services that Reach Lost People

  1. Uncross Arms – There are always people, who show up at church with their arms crossed as if to say, “You’ve got five minutes to prove me wrong.”  You need to have a plan on how to uncross their arms.  Non-Christian Music is only played at the Verve upfront.  They have announcement slides running, but some are just for fun.  They don’t have greeters, just floaters, and definitely no one at the door – Walmart is the only one who greets at the door.  Their creative elements always happen upfront (not before the sermon).  Your plan to uncross arms has to take effect in the opening minutes.
  2. Wear Their Shoes – If you were to visit a Mosque today, what’s the firestorm of questions you’d go through?  That’s what people are asking when they walk through your doors.
  3. Treat Like Dinner Guests – Despite the fact that you have your home and your household routines, you change your practices to go out of your way to welcome guests.  There’s things you wouldn’t do or say.  There are some other things you’d still do, but explain well.  There’s a third set of things that you’d do someday with your guests… but not until you get to know them better.
  4. Joe DiMaggio Principle – besides being good, he was famous for hustling at all times and odd times.  “I know that every game I play, some kid is watching baseball for the first time, and watching me, and I want to show him how to play the game right.”
  5. Check Your Influences – Willow Creek and other churches have reached a lot of lost people.  Jimmy Fallon, Chuck-e-Cheese, and Starbucks have reached more.  Write messages like a Scrubs episode – how do you get people to laugh for 25 minutes of the topic, and then get convicted or brought to tears for the last 5.
  6. Use Their Culture – Jesus and Paul always looked for stuff in their culture that they understand and parallels that can be drawn from.  Use their stuff, their history, their happenings.  Vince uses secular music before and after service, movie clips, top 10 lists.  Ask your local book store about what topics are selling.
  7. Don’t Use Your Culture – Be careful about your assumptions.  Your assumptions create your crowd.  Listen to every word that is used on a Sunday, figure out what assumptions those words indirectly communicate, and then you’ll understand why you have the crowd you have.  Don’t assume they know Bible Books, or have spiritual disciplines, or want to do the “Christian thing.”
  8. Authenticity – Everyone is asking when the preacher gets up there, “Who is this guy?  Do I like him?  Would I want to hang out with him?”  You need to show them you’re a real person with a past and present; you have real dreams for your future.  They need to see something about who you are.  Share everything.
  9. Love – It’s most important.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  People show up and find Jesus, because of other people.
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