Category Archives: Culture

Marketing What God Is Up To

How do you feel when I use this combination of words: Church Marketing.

I almost lost my dinner the first time I tried to stomach it, but then I was swayed to the other side.

In planting Lakepoint Church, a mentor asked me, “How many people are in Muskego, the city you are trying to reach?”

“26,000.” I had done my homework.

“How many have joined your ‘Launch Team,’ to start the church?”

“About 60.”

“If those 60 were to do a really great job telling their friends about Jesus, and the church, and everything else, how many do you think they’d each reach? Maybe 10?”

“That would be awesome!” I thought. But I should have seen myself getting backed into a corner.

“That’s 660 people. What are you going to do to let the other 25,340 people know that there’s a church for them where they can find God?”

I didn’t have an answer. Continue reading

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.

Vince on Evangelism

“Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them.  Pray that the Lord will raise up workers for the harvest.”

– It’s kind of like a father’s anxiety after losing a child in a waterpark.

Compassion – greek (splogna) – it’s a word that refers to intestines.  Combined with a verb form, it means that your intestines are being twisted.  You can’t stand it.  You can’t hold it in.

Raise-Up – in greek again, talks about ripping off and pushing out.  It’s almost violent – just a bit less than violently thrusting out.

The best way to develop a passion for lost people, is to be around lost people.   Continue reading

Good, but Not Good Enough

No one actually claims to be good!  We just comfort ourselves with the idea that we’re “good enough.”   

We have some reference point in mind; a comparison to people that are below where we are.  And as long as we stay above the base population of the “bad” people, that we can say we’re “good enough.”

Of course the irony is that bar that separates the “bad” people from the “good enough” people is always defined by where we’re standing!

Still though, there’s a nagging feeling that being “less worse” than everyone else, or “good enough,” doesn’t actually give us the confidence that we’re “good.”

An honest conscience always looks for a Redeemer.

Leading in Times of Flux

Read an interesting article in Fast Company on leadership… keeping up with change and trends that are happening faster than ever.

One of the more interesting themes amongst those interviewed was there comments leadership structure.  Pretty much unanimously, the leaders that have been successful with our ever changing context have been the ones to involve the voice of those from the “bottom.”  In other words, executives aren’t an untouchable class protected by a receptionist and corner office, they listen and invite innovative ideas from a wide range of people.
As much as innovation is welcomed from all, leadership is not.  Top leaders aren’t necessarily making a flat org-chart… there are people at the top; and very few of them.  Change happens with greatest agility with smaller boards and fewer people with decision making capabilities.  Some of the giant corporations have failed to keep up because they can’t pull the trigger fast enough.  The tiny start-ups with less than 50 employees and 1-5 leaders have had a field day in this context and market.
Pair of things I believe non-profit leaders such as myself can take away from this: 1) Listening is a valued practice that never gets old, and 2) Don’t apologize for being leader – someone has to make the call if stuff is going to get done.

The Simplest Way to Share the Gospel

I get tired of people getting nervous about evangelism.  In most churches, evangelism is a dirty word.  Maybe rightfully so.  The average person inside or outside the church thinks of it as a pushy thing.

But that’s just it.  Do you have to be pushy to share Jesus with people?

don’t think so.

I’ve really been talking it out with God about evangelism… what’s the simplest and most natural approach?  Here’s how I’ve been trying to explain it to my church.   Continue reading

Book Review: Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City

Richard Florida did a book called Who’s Your City.  It builds on his prior work Rise of the Creative Class in which he places a city’s potential and future upon the body of creative people in creative fields contained in that city.  Who’s Your City is then about how do you get creative people to your city… and how to get them to stay there.

The book’s primary goal is to dispel the myth that job opportunities are the only thing moving creative people from one city to another.  Yes, this makes a difference, particularly if your city has a track record in their industry of choice.  There are many other aspects to a city’s culture that draws and keeps people.

  1. Aesthetics – was there intentional effort to beautify with architecture, public parks, arts, and urban development?
  2. Services – what’s the quality of schools, health care, rest activities, and religion?
  3. Leadership – is there alignment with the liberal or conservative climate the city’s leaders are known for?
  4. Economic Security – will the jobs there be staying there?
  5. Relationships – is there ample opportunity to meet others from your same walk of life.

Sometimes people have to switch cities to chase a job,  but if they’re going to stay for the long run a list such as this is considered.