Have You Experienced Our OnDemand Worship Services?
If Netflix, Comcast, and Apple TV can offer programs, why can’t the church do likewise?
Our journey to live streaming began with the aforementioned question. Offering OnDemand Worship Experiences allows busy adults to come together to worship and learn God’s word. We think of it as a strategy for busy adults to grow spiritually. You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW.
I Had These Friends
What’s your story when it comes to relationships? Who are your friends? Whether you’re 2 or 72, it’s all about who is influencing your life.
So often, when someone’s life heads down the wrong path, they can look back to where it started to go wrong and say, “I had these friends…” God wants us all to move from “I had these friends…” to “I have these friends…”
The right friends in life take us to the right places. And they help our lives down the right path. Where do you find “I have these friends…” kind of friends?
To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. A light is meant to shine and give direction. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (a clay container for measuring grain) would be useless.
We are called to light up the world! Light, by nature, penetrates darkness.
I have a confession: I’m a certified geek pastor and make no apologies.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy when Facebook made live streaming available to celebrities and those with verified pages (pages with those little round, blue checkmarks right next to their names). Immediately, I Googled every possible phrase to find an alternative and found nothing except Periscope.
Recently, Facebook added the ability to live stream on Facebook Profiles, in Groups, and on Pages. So what does all this mean for churches, pastors, and church leaders who rely on Facebook to communicate with their Facebook communities? A lot!
It’s even tougher during our brutal winters. So what does a pastor to do when the temperature dips below zero, and the wind chill factor dips to double digits? Cancel service? Oh no! We’re the City of Broad Shoulders, and we don’t dare cancel services due to inclement weather.
Imagine making your sermons stick past Sunday? Imagine a proven strategy to get members and guests engaging with your messages long after Sunday. Are you interested? If so, read on.
My generation experienced the election of the first African-American President, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Desert Storm, Iraq War, historic government bailouts, the passing of healthcare reform, and the greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. However, in my opinion, the greatest shifts are happening now!
In a relatively short amount of time, the Internet has moved from an occasional tool to one of the principal ways we communicate, entertain ourselves, and do work. Staying up-to-date on emails, social media and other means of online communication is a bigger time requirement than people may realize.
New research has found that the average user spends 23 hours a week emailing, texting, and using social media and other forms of online communication. Since people are already online, we decided to launch an online campus and guess what – it’s biblical.
We had our largest attendance this year. Every seat, including two overflows were filled to capacity. I believe God gave us a glimpse of how Easter 2015 will be. Therefore, we’re adding a Saturday service for our members so we can free up space for our guests attending Easter Sunday.
At Mars Hill, our theme for 2015 is People Reaching People #PRP. That means we’re encouraged to stretch ourselves and do different things to reach people. We have to be open to new ideas, take some risks as we prepare for the overflow that God is sending us.
As pastor, I am asking our members to attend our Saturday Easter service (April 4th) at 5PM. It will be very similar to our Sunday services and CHILDCARE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ALL. It’s casual so come as you are.
If you attend Saturday’s service and will attend Easter Sunday, we ask three things of you:
Wear your Mars Hill T-shirt,
Sit in the section for Mars Hill members, and if necessary,
Be ready to give up your seat and go to the overflow or our cafe.
It’s all about reaching people this year so we have to be willing to make sacrifices.
If you are bringing guests on Easter Sunday and you need to sit with them, don’t wear a t-shirt because it is more important that our guests feel comfortable.
Easter Weekend Schedule:
Saturday, April 4, 2015
5PM – Live Worship Experience – Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago
5PM – **NEW Online Worship Experience** (Yep, it’s almost here)
Honestly, I do not understand why most pastors and church leaders do not leverage technology for the Glory of God. Pastors, church leaders, and faithful church attendees who see social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn as evil are missing a great opportunity to reach people far from God.
Are you sitting?
Here’s something that’ll blow your mind…
Christianity was, in a very real sense, the first technologically driven religion.
Not even the name of the product spoken in the ad.
One word to describe this entire ad campaign: Classy. Such a big contrast from ads with robotic space ships or trash talking the competition or the “hey mom, look what I can do” type of ads that we see from the competition.
The Lesson: Focus on the experience & tell a compelling story.
Paint a picture of what could be and what should be!
I’m trying to figure out how the church can show how life “could be” and “should be” with Jesus (John 10:10).
Goodness…they really know what they’re doing don’t they.
I finished last week’s post mentioning how how I used my iPhone, Cloud Storage, and a few Apps to prepare messages in 10 minutes or less. Let’s face it – there’s no way we can escape technology. It’s here to stay and we may as well leverage it for the glory of God. Furthermore, given the consumerist mindset of most church goers, presenting a real and relevant word (grounded in biblical truth) remains challenging. Communicators must learn to quickly “size” up their audience and adjust their message for maximum impact. I had to do this this earlier this year while preaching at another church.
As a pastor, I’m invited to preach at other churches during their pastoral or church anniversaries. While worshiping, God begin to impress upon my heart that the message I prepared wasn’t quite right for the occasion. I quickly discerned the room was filled with broken people who had looks of despair in their eyes. I came to encourage the pastor, but discerned that the people needed a Word from the Lord. I prayed and God revealed they need encouragement, healing, and empowerment. I opened my Bible, pulled out my iPhone 4, placed it in my Bible (to hide it), and began crafting a “NEW” message.
Quick! How do you keep the attention of a generation of church goers eternally distracted by the internet, cellphones, and technology. You make technology your friend – you leverage it for the Glory of God.
Mars Hill – TWO Churches in ONE Location
As much as I hate to admit it, in reality, I pastor TWO distinct congregations. Since we began offering additional worship experiences, I’ve noticed they’ve morphed into two very distinct, different, and unique congregations. We’re still Mars Hill – now we’re TWO churches in ONE location. How did that happen?
8AM Classic Worship Experience
Older church goers, business-types, and families with older/adult children mainly attend our Our 8AM Worship Experience. It’s early, convenient, and 60-90 minutes long. They enjoy softer music and love to reflect on the music and message. It fits their lifestyle and they primarily want worship and the Word! Period! However, it’s quite different during our 10:30AM experience.
Two weeks ago I beta tested Digging Deeper ONLINE featuring The Book of Nehemiah for over 150 people from six different states – what an exciting time! I conducted a survey to see how we could make the experience more engaging and life-changing. If you’d like to review the survey, you can click HERE.
Judging from the result of the surveys, many desire a more interactive Bible study experience. In other words, be able to engage in active participation, discussion, and ask questions (I don’t blame you one bit). In order to do this and make Digging Deeper ONLINE more meaningful, we decided to reduce the class sizes (25 or less), offer multiple sessions, and focus on quality teaching and personal interaction.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been praying about how to make our online learning experiences more meaningful. Although online learning, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites cannot and will not replace actual face-to-face gatherings, technology is a tool to support, strengthen, and enhance live gatherings.
Therefore, I’d like to introduce our proposed schedule…