Category Archives: Uncategorized

When what you see isn’t real

My alarm went off at 6:00 am on Saturday morning, as it does almost every day. But Saturday was different. As I rolled over to turn off the alarm everything began spinning violently. It took several seconds to figure which of the phones blurring in front of my eyes was the real one. I laid back and watched the room spin around me, thinking it would stop as soon as my eyes adjusted. When I got up to use the bathroom, however, the floor lurched violently to the left, then to the right. I stumbled wildly to the bathroom and then back to bed. I lay on my back, eyes closed tightly to block out the jumping, spinning world around me. Waves of nausea and panic swept over me as I realized something had gone horribly wrong in the night. Either the earth had been knocked off its axis, or I was having my first encounter with vertigo. Three days flat on my back, several medical tests and a cocktail of meds later I have concluded the earth is ok and I’m slowly recovering from vertigo. I imagine hell will be vertigo for eternity, with a side of flames.
Here’s the thing about vertigo, it’s not real. The world appears to be jumping and spinning out of control, but it’s not. It’s all in my head. Something in my inner ear is messed up, and it’s changing my perception of the world. The earth is fine, I’m the one with the problem. The disconcerting thing, however, is that all my previous experience tells me I’m ok, it’s the world that’s messed up. The knowledge that the ground is not actually moving, and my arm around my incredible wife’s steady shoulder are what gets me through the tough parts of the day.

There’s a saying that perception is reality, but vertigo has convinced me that it is not. Perception is just the tiny window I have on the world, and I wonder how many times my perception of that world is completely wrong? My perception of God, of relationships, of the “real” world. The Apostle Paul said,  

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT

To paraphrase, we all suffer from vertigo. The things we think we know are only our flawed perceptions of the world around us. That is why we have to stand on the solid ground of biblical truth, and rely on the steadying hand of unconditional love. We cannot trust what we perceive to be true, and we cannot find balance without friends we love and who love us in return. Because of the vertigo brought on by living in a world warped by sin, daily grounding in God’s word and regular time spent with a small group of Christ followers is our only hope of making sense out of this tilt-a-whirl life.

 
That sounds so religiously trite, doesn’t it? “All you need is the Bible and a good Christian friend”‘ sounds like something a TV evangelist would say right before selling you a timeshare in Jesusland. And it is trite until you realize how completely tainted your worldview really is. Last Friday I never gave walking down a set of stairs a second thought; today every step is a triumph. When we realize just how out of whack our worldview really is we’ll grab the Bible and hold onto friends like I grip the handrail and Sherry’s shoulder. We all have vertigo, the question is how we will deal with it.
As for me every day brings a little improvement. Today I can walk without falling down. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll leave the house. Or maybe the day after…

10 Commandments for Great Discussions

One of the things I love to do is facilitate discussions. This is WAY different than teaching or running a meeting, but many people miss it. Team meetings, board meetings and small group meetings are often less effective or helpful because the leader isn’t effective at facilitating the exchange of ideas. Over the past 30 years of ministry I have had the chance to facilitate hundreds of discussions in dozens of environments, and along the way I’ve picked up some principles for what works and what doesn’t; here are my top 10:

10 Commandments for Facilitating Discussions

  1. Don’t teach

    If the goal is the transfer of information, then the need is a teacher. If the goal is the free exchange of ideas, then the need is a facilitator. Most pastors make lousy facilitators because wherever two or three are gathered together they see a chance to teach. Don’t do it, it kills real discussion.

  2. Warm up the crowd

    Always start with some kind of ice breaker. It can be corny, serious or somewhere in between, but it can’t be too personal and it needs to be something anyone can answer. And there isn’t a right or wrong answer. (See #4 below) The first question is like warming up before you exercise, it makes things go better later.

  3. Stick to essay questions

    A quick poll of the group is fine, but good discussion questions should lead to, well, discussion. No simple one or two word answers.

  4. Avoid wrong answers

    Asking factual questions makes it feel more like a quiz than a discussion, and introverts will disappear for fear of getting the wrong answer.

  5. Focus on opinions, feelings and actions; in that order

    Not everyone (anyone?) knows the correct definition of apostle, but everyone has opinions and feelings; and anyone can take an action. Use questions like
    -What do you think about…?
    -How do you feel about…?
    -What will you do about…?

    A sub-rule is “All opinions and feelings are valid”. This makes the legalist in me shudder, but its true. My opinions and feelings are mine, so  you don’t get to decide if they are valid or not. As a facilitator you need to let the Holy Spirit do the work of convicting and judging. You don’t have to agree with an opinion or feeling to validated it.

  6. Admit when you don’t know

    Sometimes questions will come up you don’t know the answer to; admit it. Promise to find an answer if you can. Making crap up ruins a discussion. (You can tweet that.)

  7. Get comfortable with silence

    Silence in a discussion is seldom comfortable, but often necessary. Processors need silence to gather their thoughts before jumping in. Resist the urge to rescue the group and break the silence. Too much silence, however, can be a bad thing. If the lame duck question has been laying there for a couple of minutes put it out of its misery and move on.

  8. Include as many in the discussion as possible

    This is more art than science. Some people need permission to express their thoughts to the group, others would rather be forced to dance the Macarena naked than talk out loud. You have to watch for visual cues to separate the reluctant from the terrified. Call on the reluctant, make the terrified dance. Not really, just leave them alone.

  9. Help talkers move on

    Letting a talker dominate the discussion makes everyone (except the talker) miserable and kills any meaningful exchange. Learn to interject phrases like “Let me jump in…” and “Great stuff, thanks for sharing. Let’s move on to another question.” Don’t just sit there and take it, that’s why you’re the facilitator. Be careful though, if you embarrass the talker the rest of the group will turn on you. Gently, gently.

  10. Always encourage

    Every comment should be acknowledged with an encouragement. Encouragement isn’t agreement, it is being thankful for the contribution. Everyone who contributes should feel appreciation for their gift.

Facilitation is a blast when done right, and is a way to help people and teams become better. So don’t suck at it. 🙂

 

 

Lunch with a Heretic

heretic-nametagI recently attended a heresy luncheon. That wasn’t the official title, but I’m pretty sure the speaker would have been burned at the stake in another age. Doctrines such as original sin, substitutionary atonement and election were tossed aside along with inerrancy of scripture. This was the Super Bowl of revisionism. One of the wrappers for the belief system espoused was “alternative orthodoxy”, which is a little like “modified monogamy”; I’m fairly sure the alternative to orthodoxy is apostasy. By the end of the meeting my conservative nerves were frayed from not shouting “The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it”. (Which is a phrase I hope to never utter out loud.)

Since the luncheon I have been debating the speaker in my head. I’ve read every Wikipedia article about him and his core philosophies (because I’m just that deep), and I’ve Googled everyone who has written an article calling him a heretic. The reality is he’s way smarter than I am, so I’m looking for intelligent people to affirm my shock and dismay. I fall asleep debating him, I wake up having triumphed in my pretend theology match. I didn’t argue with him face-to-face, but I’m 10-0 in my imagination.

At the same time I am digging deep into his theological arguments. I am reading and re-reading scripture depicting Christ as the sacrificial lamb. I’m examining the difference between what I know and what I think I know about original sin. I am revisiting the tension between

2 Cor 5:15 (NIV) And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Acts 13:48 (NIV) When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

I haven’t been this engaged in theology since my freshman year of Bible college when I found out the KJV Bible wasn’t handed directly from God to Paul. (Council of Carthage? What???) Nothing brings doctrine to life like someone who completely disagrees.

What I’m realizing is that when I shelter myself from people with a different understanding of God, and label them heretics, my thinking becomes very shallow. From a distance it is easy to put others in boxes without wresting with my own understanding of the universe and how it works. When, however, I sit across a lunch table and listen to understand, rather than refute, I can learn and grow.

The bottom line is I need more heretics in my life.

Thank God for Donald Trump

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runnersOne of the most frustrating things about American politics is the connection between conservative evangelicalism and the Republican party. What began with the fight against legalized abortion expanded to gay rights, gun control, immigration reform and eventually fiscal policy. To be considered an upstanding Christian you needed to toe the party line on these and a host of ever emerging issues. Nuanced discussions with room for dissenting opinions were smothered by the bullhorn of Republican politicians who loved God and hated abortion, taxes, limits on automatic weapons and citizenship for “illegal aliens”.

And then came Donald Trump. Trump, love him or hate him, he has changed the political conversation in America. It is impossible to label Trump a conservative evangelical. He brags of multiple sexual conquests, belittles anyone he considers an enemy, says that he’s never asked for forgiveness and eschews any hint of humility. Trumps eternal destiny is between he and God; his non-adherence to traditional conservative religious values is obvious to anyone who looks.

Trump also strays from the norms of mainstream Republicanism. He praises the work of Planned Parenthood, he derides free trade and he has only been a registered Republican for four years. He has even supported Democrats, including Hilary Clinton, in previous elections. Republican leaders embrace him only as the presumptive nominee, very few see him as embodying traditional Republican values. Trump is many things, but he is not your momma’s Republican.

What Donald Trump provides is a chance for Evangelicals to finally distance themselves from both parties. Rather than riding along on whatever bandwagon Republican leaders put together, we can think hard about how our understanding of scripture informs our beliefs on caring for the poor, protecting the innocent and welcoming the marginalized. We can choose to compromise some values and vote Democratic, compromise other values and vote Republican or opt for  another course based on our deeply felt beliefs. This year there is no obvious choice for conservative Christians.

Hopefully, freed from the yoke of right wing politics, we can return to proclaiming the Gospel and sincerely voting our conscience. While we may disagree vehemently what that vote should be, I think we can agree neither party is a perfect fit for a conservative Christian. For that, Mr Trump, I am thankful.

User, beggar or friend?

hand-outThere are three kinds of friends. First there is the friend who you can call at 2:00 a.m. because you are taking your son to the hospital and you need someone sane to talk you through the next few minutes. You know each other’s stories and you have each other’s back. This is the kind of friend you’d lay your life on the line for. You only find this kind of friend a few times in a lifetime. Never let that friend go.

The second kind friend likes the same football team as you, and is fun to chat with over lunch. They’ll give you a ride to the airport if you need it, and you enjoy reading about their family on Facebook. You share a similar sense of humor and you’re always glad to help each other out. You have had many friends like this through the years.

The third kind of friend isn’t a friend at all. Their motivation is always what they can get from you. They only call when they have a question or a need. When you get together over coffee the conversation is about their job, their family, their life. If they think you have influence, resources or connections that will help them do what they want to do they are around. When you no longer are useful they disappear. It is always painful when you discover someone is this type of friend.

My goal in life is to avoid being, or being around, the third type of friend. Life is too short to waste on such shallow people. When I was at Saddleback I had “friends” who thought I could get them access to Rick Warren. When I was at Exponential I had “friends” who thought I could get them a platform for their book. Now I discover “friends” who think I can get them money for their ministry. I received another invitation to connect with someone recently who wants me to “partner” with their ministry. They aren’t interested in my life, my ministry or my wisdom; they just want to know how much cash I can bring to the table. When they find out my budget is already committed for the year I’m pretty sure our newly formed friendship will end.

What if we stopped using people to get ahead? What if we stopped seeing relationships as a way to advance our agenda? Let’s grab coffee. Let’s swap war stories. Let’s get to know each other’s hurts and worries. Let’s laugh together, plan together and pray together. In other words let’s be friends. And you know what? If you are my friend there’s very little I won’t do to help you.

Three keys to a healthy volunteer culture

iStock_000017831326Large-1024x768As I shared yesterday, the number one question my wife and I hear from  church leaders all over the world is, “How can we find enough volunteers?” The primary reason most church struggle attracting enough volunteers is they recruit to need. A good appeal to need will impact 20% of the people, a great appeal will impact 25%. The key to having an abundance of volunteers isn’t better appeals, the key is creating a healthy volunteer culture.

Today we’ll look at the three elements present in any healthy volunteer culture.

Vision

My wife tells a story Sue Miller shared several years ago that continues to impact her view of working with volunteers. Sue told of attending a mandatory meeting for parents of players on a youth baseball team. When the coach began talking about this year’s fund raising drive you could feel the air go out of the room. The coach, however, surprised the parents. He didn’t talk about the amount of money they needed to raise, nor did he show them samples of wrapping paper or candy catalogues and explain the fundraiser. He talked instead about baseball changing the trajectory of his life as a young man, and what an impact he believed this team would have on their son’s lives. By the time he finished painting a picture of the potential future Sue said she, along with most of the families in the room, we’re eager to participate in the fundraiser. The coach began with vision rather than need.

Its interesting when Jesus looked for volunteers at the beginning of his ministry he issued a challenge rather than an appeal. One day while he was on a walk beside the Sea of Galilee Jesus came across Peter and Andrew casting a fishing net. After watching them work for a few minutes he walked over and said, “Come, follow me, and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” He didn’t mention the needs of the ministry, describe the tasks that had to be accomplished or assure them the volunteer position wouldn’t take up too much time. Jesus invited them into something that would change their lives.

What would happen if, rather than focusing on how many volunteers you need, you focused instead on the potential life change that will happen through the ministry you lead? Ministry leaders who lead healthy volunteer cultures effectively connect the dots between the task at hand and a transformed future. 

Tribe

As part of a small group campaign at our church in South Carolina every group was challenged to take an outreach project in our community. After much discussion our group decided to adopt a nursing home in the poorest part of the city. We began visiting the nursing home regular doing things like yard maintenance, giving Christmas presents and repeatedly cleaning urine off an outside wall (Don’t ask). This was not my idea of a good time. I prefer spending my Saturday mornings, well, doing anything but visiting a nursing home in the ‘hood. I went, however, because my tribe was going. Relationship, much more than need, was the driving factor.

We consistently miss the power of tribe in church. We focus on the ministry that needs to be accomplished rather than the relationships on the team. Volunteers who feel like a part of a tribe that is changing the world rather than an unpaid employee accomplishing a task will do almost anything the team needs done. Rather than recruiting to need we need to recruit to relationship, and then follow through on that promise.

Purpose

If people never find a place of selfless service they will never find their true purpose in life. Every reputable mental health expert understands this fundamental law of the universe; the only path to wholeness is through serving. As long as we focus on ourselves and our needs we will never truly be happy; materialism, greed and selfishness rot the soul. We were created with a deep seated need to serve each other.

As ministry leaders we  have to remind people often that Jesus’ example of service is the path to peace and wholeness we are all looking for. We demonstrate it in our own lives and share stories of others who find purpose through serving.

What about your church?

A ministry that connects the dots to a preferred future, connects team members in deep relationships and helps people find their true purpose through serving will discover an abundance of volunteers. As you evaluate the ministry you lead how are you doing at casting vision? Are you creating an environment for healthy team relationships? Are you demonstrating a life of purpose through service?

Another fallen pastor

faceI hate to admit that when I see a headline like the one above I always want to click through to find out who failed. Is it someone I know? Is it someone I dislike? Is it someone I feel in competition with? Every time I click on a headline about a fallen pastor I’m the one that falls. Why do we secretly rejoice when someone else fails?

The other day our oldest granddaughter slipped and fell, busting her lip on our kitchen floor. Thankfully, though there was a little blood and a lot of tears, she wasn’t seriously hurt. By the time I got home she was snuggled up with her mom holding a bag of ice against her swollen lip. Her younger sister, three year old Mollie, was sitting on the kitchen floor blowing soap bubbles with my wife, Sherry. As Sherry told me about Maggie’s accident Mollie’s smile disappeared, she looked up, tears brimming in her eyes, and said, “Me too”. She felt so much empathy for what her sister experienced it was as though she had fallen as well.

I want to have that kind of empathy for other pastors. I hope my heart to break when I hear of a pastor failing morally. I hope I can be excited when a new church succeeds and crushed when a church plant fails. I want to pray every day for other pastor’s kids, and I want to be more interested in the health of their marriage than the size of their budget.

The next time I see a story outlining the details of a pastor who’s fallen I pray my response isn’t self-righteous smugness, I pray my response will simply be, “Me too, I’m another fallen pastor”.

Do we REALLY need to plant more churches?

Here is a question that has been bothering me a lot lately; there seems to be a new church plant in every theater and school in many towns, so do we really need more new churches? As I was reading the second chapter of Mark yesterday about Jesus’ calling Levi to be his disciple a couple of things jumped out at me that I think apply to this question. Read the paragraphs below and then I’ll share my thoughts:

As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him. Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.)

But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

The first thing that jumped out is that Jesus’ followers included many “disreputable sinners”. Jesus didn’t just hang out with sinners; he hung out with disreputable sinners. And he didn’t just hang out with them; they followed him. Jesus’ church (gathering) was made up for the most part of people we don’t normally associate with elders and deacons.If we want a church that looks like Jesus’ church then we need to focus on gathering scum.I know this isn’t new or revolutionary, but it does seem to fly in the face of the “fly with the eagles” mindset.

So how do we gather scum when we are growing a church? This is the second thing that stood out to me in this passage, Jesus said; “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus focused on those who already knew they needed a Savior.

This points to a couple of mistakes we often make in the church. First we focus on meeting the needs of the already convinced. We create programs and ministries that soften the cocoon of faith so that everyone is as comfortable as possible. Eventually the cocoon can become all that matters and we lose contact with scum like the sinners that followed Jesus. When talking to the already convinced Jesus said things like; “let the dead bury the dead”, “go and sell everything you have” and “take up your cross”. Imagine trying to recruit leaders for those ministries.

A second and less obvious mistake we make is spending a lot of energy trying to convince people that they are sinners. While Jesus never shied away from pointing out sin in the lives of the self-righteous, he didn’t waste time hammering the point until they agreed with him. He focused on those who knew they were headed down a dead end street. Jesus didn’t have to point out to the woman caught in adultery that sleeping around wasn’t God’s will for her life. He didn’t give Zacheus a lecture on Christian business ethics. The Holy Spirit was already at work in these people’s lives and they responded readily to Jesus’ message of forgivness and healing.

According to this passage in Mark the key to growing a church like Jesus’ church is to ignore the self-righteous and to offer forgiveness and healing to the disreputable sinners. The good news is that while there are already plenty of churches who cater to those who think they are righteous the market is wide open for churches who cater to the scum.

Do we need another cocoon for the already convinced? No. Do we need hundreds and hundreds more rescue missions for the lost and dying? Absolutely.

Five Simple Ways to Make Your Church Stickier (Part 3 Connection)

Here is something that I’ve realized in my recent church shopping experience: most of us who are visiting your church aren’t coming because your pastor is a stunning communicator, we’re not coming because your worship leader looks like Keith Urban and leads like Matt Redman, we’re not even here because Disney takes cues from your children’s ministry. Most of us are here because we want relationships. We want to know and be known. We are walking through a lonely, difficult time in life and we “want to go where everyone knows your name.” And churches (not yours of course) can make that really hard.

After visiting several churches and not really cracking the code on how to connect (other than attending the pancake breakfast), my wife decided she was going to solve the riddle. After service on a recent weekend she waited in line at the table designated  “Connect” to ask how we could get into a small group. When she reached the front of the line the volunteer explained that we were at the wrong table and walked her over to the correct line. When her turn finally came she asked again how we might join a small group. The very sweet volunteer was very well versed in the process:

“Our small groups don’t start until the middle of next month, so if you come back in two or three weeks you can fill out an interest form. The form will go to the Small Groups Coordinator, who will give it to several group leaders based on your interests. Those group leaders will then contact you and you will then be invited to attend their small group.”

This was a well thought out system, which was explained by well-trained volunteers who were warm, friendly and helpful. The challenge is that we left knowing that we were at least a month from actually connecting with someone. In the meantime if something comes up in our lives where we really need a friend to lean into we can always drop by the pancake breakfast.

Churches should be more like car lots. I could never walk away from a car lot wondering how to buy a car, or be told to come back in a few days, or have to give my phone number so someone can call later and talk about car ownership. I’m not suggesting churches should be pushy or over-bearing, but we should adopt the motto of car salesmen, “How can I put you in this car today?” If the main reason people are showing up at church is to find relationships there has to be a way to help them connect today. Not next month, not at the pancake breakfast on Saturday, but today.

How can you create an obvious and easy opportunity for people who want to meet people every weekend at your church? If it’s a reception with the pastor then make sure you have friendly connectors there as well. If it’s a box lunch in the basement make sure it isn’t awkward for people who don’t know where the basement is, when it starts or what they are supposed to do when they first get there. And for the love of all that is good don’t let the members clump up in little circles laughing and talking to one another at your connection opportunity. Newcomers don’t need yet another chance to feel left out.

This isn’t about consumer Christianity or church growth; this is about people going through life alone desperate for a friend. This is the central theme of discipleship, that we love one another. People want to connect, you want people to connect, let’s put significant time and energy into making this happen.

 

Five Simple Ways to Make Your Church Stickier (Pt 2 Navigating the Maze)

This week we are talking about simple ways to make your church stickier. The idea for this series came from attending nine different churches recently and running into the same challenges (except at your church). Yesterday we covered one of the biggies which is helping your people be friendly and hospitable to new attenders. Today we’ll look at an area that is so obvious that many churches overlook it.

Make your church easier to navigate

 One way to solve the personal debt crisis in America is to make stores as difficult to navigate as many churches. Just figuring how to park is often an irritating early morning brainteaser. At a church we recently attended the main entrance to the parking lot was blocked by orange cones. There was no sign, no parking attendant, just orange cones screaming, “No room in the inn”.  Because we were determined to attend we found a secondary entrance and parked in the lot with the blocked entrance.  We often see signs at large churches that say “Lot full” with no indication of where we might be allowed to park. At one church we kept following signs and lot full signs until we were eventually dumped back out on the main street. Again, we eventually found ample parking on site, but we had to be determined. I have seen Do Not Enter signs on auditorium doors with no explanation or alternative. Can you imagine a sign on the entrance to Target “Store full, do not enter”?

Once we park it is often difficult to figure out where we should go. Which building is the auditorium? Where are the children’s rooms? Should I bring a pee cup, or does this church have onsite restrooms? These are the questions that many churches do not provide obvious answers to. On more than one occasion I have stood in the lobby and waited to see where the majority of the people seemed to moving toward to find the auditorium. Imagine standing with the fam at the front gate of Disney World with no indication how to enter the Magic Kingdom. That’s how new attenders feel when they arrive at your church.

Once inside church the challenges continue. Can I bring my soda (or coffee if you are one of THOSE people) into the auditorium? Do I find my own seat (like a movie) or will someone find a seat for me (like a play)? When do I stand, sit, hand over my wallet? Will I be forced to sing a solo? Approximately how long will this service last? Am I supposed to wash down the stale bread with a big swig from the cup of wine? These are the kinds of questions that normally I have to figure out on my own. Printed program guides are helpful, but I’m not sure if I should really sit and read while everyone else is standing and singing.

The challenge is what the Heath brothers in Made to Stick call The Curse of Knowledge. All of the regular attenders know how to navigate the church experience and they’ve forgotten what its like not to know. So how do you make your church easier to navigate? Here are a couple of ideas:

Get fresh eyes

As often as possible ask new attenders what obstacles they faced when they first attended. Get someone who doesn’t attend to try to navigate a weekend and give you feedback. Hire one of those “Secret shopper” services and see what they say. You can’t know what its like because you have the curse of knowledge, you need an outside opinion.

Retrain your host team

Make sure your host team is thinking constantly about the new attender. What message does this sign send? If we have to close an entrance how can we best explain the alternatives? Are we always scanning for that bewildered look and are we proactive about helping? What can we do each weekend to make the experience for the first time attender easire to navigate?

Start Here

StartHereA very simple but powerful idea of I’ve seen is a Start Here sign for new attenders. Most churches have welcome centers, connect tables, get acquainted tables, but a very prominent place that clearly instructs new attenders to Start Here would be awesome. (Even awesomer would be a cookie crumb trail from the parking lot to the Start Here center) The center needs to always be manned with friendly volunteers who can help navigate the experience. A simple one-page guide would be great. Not every small group and upcoming event, but a Disney type map and explanation of everything you need to know to expertly navigate the weekend experience. And a clearly defined Next Step. But we’ll get more into that tomorrow.

The bottom line is we should do everything we can to make our church at least as easy to navigate as the local Target. How has your church tackled this challenge?