Worship Etiquette or Impacting Guests

Now that we have brought into the picture an administrative assistant one of the first items on the agenda is to gear up some marketing for New Venture. We really haven’t done any since we moved into TCMS. And the school isn’t exactly on the “beaten path.” So it is imperative that we take steps to get the word out to the community in a number of ways about our existence and our location.

Meredith, our administrative assistant will be overseeing a process for increasing the return and retention rate of guests and visitors. What good is marketing if we can’t get people to return once they visit. Of course, the end objective is to get as many as possible connected with a growing adventure with God that leads them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.

With that in mind I want to discuss a hand full (minus one) of things everyone of us can engage in to leave a high impact on guests to NV as well as maximize our worship experience each week. Hang with me now until you have process all four.

1. ENTER THE AUDITORIUM WHEN THE MUSIC BEGINS. By entering when the service begins, rather than one or two songs in, you get the full benefit of the worship experience. Those leading in worship have devoted a lot of time and energy to developing the service and it is kind of a downer when they begin with about 25% of the people in the auditorium. This also says to guests that you are serious about worship. And it avoids all kinds of distractions as a result of people lingering in throughout the first ten minutes of the service.

Now I know that one of the strong points of the NV Sunday is the time to hang out and visit with people you might not have seen all week. So continue to do that by coming a little earlier or lingering a little longer after the service.

2. SIT IN THE DESIGNATED AREAS. Let me word that from the opposite direction. Don’t sit in the areas that are roped off. They are roped off for a purpose. The purpose is that we don’t need those seats with our size crowd at the current time. In the future we will, but we don’t right now. If you have to climb over a rope to get to a seat-DON’T.

This is not just to prevent you from being a loner. The reason is that there is power and energy in closeness and togetherness. There is an enhanced worship experience when we are together verses spread out to the far corners of the auditorium. Not to mention the negative influence it has on guests when they see people all over the room who have stepped over the ropes to take a seat in a corded off area.

3. PARTICIPATE IN WORSHIP. After all that is the reason for being present, isn’t it? When the band leads in song-sing. And feel free to express yourself in any way you desire as you sing. Get in your zone and connect with God. As the message is spoken, follow along in the message notes. If you shouldn’t be talking, refrain from doing so, especially during the solitude of the communion time. As you leave drop your connect card in the basket with your offering for the day.

All of this says to the guests in our presence, these people love God and are fully engaged in connecting with Him through the worship experience.

4. GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO GREET AND TALK TO PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW. We want to attract everyone we can to NV and to Jesus. Often it begins with a visit to our Sunday services. But a one time visit accomplishes nothing if they don’t return again and again. Surveys reveal that one of the most influential elements of their visit and decision to return or not is the friendliness of the people at the church. You are a major player in the continuation of their worship experience with NV. I know, it is a stretch for an introvert to talk to people they don’t know. But, if you will let God lead you past the fear you will be used by Him in exciting ways.

There is a double benefit to these four practices. The first is that they will elevate your worship experience higher than it has ever been before. And the second is that it will highly impact the guests and visitors in our presence to give NV a second and third try and eventually make NV their church home.

Are you game?


Welcome our new Administrative Assistant

It has been about five and a half years since New Venture launched and we have just hired our first Administrative Assistant. I would say it is long overdue and no one is more excited about the hiring than I am. I have been saying for a long time that the church is paying me far too much money to do some of the things I have been doing. Not only does an Administrative Assistant correct that problem but it also bumps up the quality of production in many of the areas I had my finger in. Not to mention the fact that several things have just been put on hold or neglected altogether due to not having the time or energy to address them. So can you see how excited I am about our new AA?

Her name is Meredith Eades. She lives right here on the south side within ten minutes of the Ministry Center. She is a PK. For those of you who need an explanation, that means “Preacher’s Kid.” Her dad is the Pastor of Exaltation Church of Richmond and Meredith leads worship there. She also does a little administrative work for her dad. Meredith is in her early 30’s and is married to a Pharmacist. They have been married for seven years.

Meredith comes with a broad understanding of how churches operate and what it takes to run a healthy and productive church office environment. She has nine years of AA experience, five of which have been in the church office. And she has a sense of humor, using the gift as a Christian Comedian. That’s right, we hired a comedian.
Meredith began her AA responsibilities with NV on Monday, February 22. She will be working twenty hours a week at the current time, fifteen of which will be at the Ministry Center.  Her office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-5 PM.

If you get a chance, drop by and meet Meredith and introduce yourself to her, but don’t plan on spending the day, since we only have about five and a half years of work to catch up on.

Beyond All Previous Achievements

I made the bold step this past Sunday and went public. I announced that I have registered to run in the March 27 Ukrops 10K. Yes I said 10K, not 5K. To translate, a 10K is equivalent of 6.2 miles.

I cannot believe that I am going to run a 10K. I have never run in any race before. Well, almost never. When I was in high school, long before most of you were born, I ran a little track and field. But even then I was the short distance guy. I ran the mile relay which meant I ran a total of a quarter of a mile for my part of the race.

So here I am, turning 60 this year, yes I said 60 this year, and I am going to run a 10K race. Am I crazy? Has something come loose up there? Is all this cold snowy weather causing me to lose my grip on reality? Am I inhaling something that causes me to hallucinate? I must be out of my mind.

But I am going to do it and I have begun my training program. For the last few months I have been jogging shorter distances. So, about three weeks ago, when I decided to go for it, I decided to step it up. In fact, I decided to see if I could, in any stretch of the imagination, run for 6.2 miles. And to my surprise, I did it.

Now you have to understand what a run or a jog is for me. My jogging is at the very slow end of the jogging spectrum. In fact, I have a jogging mode that is just barely above speed walking. I used that stride several times over the 6.2 mile course. My objective was to see if I could in any conceivable way finish the distance, and I did.

So last week I decided to see if it could happen two weeks in a row. On Tuesday, (I do my long distances on Tuesdays), I did the 6.2 miles for a second time, two minutes faster than the first time. I was on a roll. This week I went for the distance a third time and completed the course a minute and a half quicker that the previous outing.

I am shocked and excited to see myself doing something I have never conceived of doing before. But it is not coming easy. In fact, it is grueling, to say the least. It takes determination and a tremendous amount of discipline. It takes a willingness to pay the price even when you don’t feel like it. Did I leave the impression that it is hard. Well, it is.

So who of you is facing a challenge and feeling like it is impossible. Come on now, are you going to let an “old man” show  you up? Go for it. Give it your best shot and then some. Don’t permit yourself to think, “I can’t” in the least bit. Defy the odds. Stretch yourself beyond all previous achievements. You can, without a doubt.  And besides, here’s a little extra help. “Nothing is impossible with God .” Luke 1:37

How do you keep from going crazy?

How do you keep from going crazy in the midst of challenging conditions? We are seeing some weather conditions, the likes of which this part of the country hasn’t seen in years, many, many years. And it has always slammed us on the weekend. It is an understatement to say these are challenging times. These are crisis conditions for many.
So what do you do in times like these to keep from losing it all? What do you do to maintain your sanity? What do you do to feel like you are doing more than just spinning your wheels? What do you do to have a sense of progress and well being?

It will never come easy under these circumstances but here are my few suggestions, then I would love to hear from you. What do you do to keep from going crazy?

I see the key to be found in two different directions.

1. Keep doing the right things.

  • Keep praying. In fact, step it up a notch. Adverse conditions demand it.
  • Keep listening to God, through reading THE WORD and well as in your prayer time.
  • Keep serving others. Conditions like these provide extra opportunities for service. Quit whining and do some unselfish stuff for others
  • d. Keep connecting with people. Make it in person whenever possible otherwise use the phone to call some people you have been neglecting or just need to talk to. And there is always the alternative of email and facebook. But resist the temptation to cocoon and isolate yourself.
  • e. Keep exercising. This might require some creativity but you will feel much better if you maintain your exercise discipline.
  • f. Give generously. People face unusual needs during extreme conditions. Try to find a way to help meet those needs, personally or connect them with someone else who might be able to. And don’t forget the church. Even thought the church can’t meet doesn’t mean the expenses don’t go on. In fact, almost every financial need in the church continues regardless of whether or not the church is able to meet on Sundays.

So, if you want to keep from going crazy I believe it begins with, to the best of our ability, doing the right things regardless of the conditions that are beyond our control.

2. Look for new things. Look for some things to do that come as a result of the conditions or you wouldn’t be able to do if the adverse conditions didn’t exist. Here are a few examples that come to my mind.

  • Do some crazy and fun things with your kids that they will remember forever. Act like a kid for a little while. Give some extended time to your kids.
  • Give some undivided attention to your husband or wife. If you can’t find undivided time go for divided, but make it more than the normal. Reconnect, communicate, cuddle.
  • Devote some time to something you have been neglecting or have wanted to do for some time but just couldn’t find the time. Call some people you haven’t connected with for awhile. Do a project you have been putting off. Catch up on some of the to-do list items. Start that exercise program.

Last weekend I got rid of my ancient laptop computer and desktop and spent the time setting up and transferring over all the programs and files from the old to the new. This week and weekend I am doing some long needed work on identifying the right person for a part time Administrative Assistant for the church. This week I also pushed myself to an exercise level that I don’t remember reaching before. It hurt but it was also good.

I am fighting the urge to just bemoan and whine about the conditions and instead use them to make the most of a challenging situation-AGAIN.

So, how do you keep from going crazy during challenging conditions like we are currently enduring? I would love to hear your ideas and so would lots of other “crazy” people who are reading this.