Aug 312007

I just read a great blog from Mark Batterson related to a book written that reflects on church attendance experiences.  Mark is a pastor of a multi-site church in Washington, D.C. and offers great insight in his writing. 

Check out the Mark Batterson Blog post here.

Here is what Batterson surmises:

Here’s the bottom line: if we want to reach people who are outside our churches then we need to view our churches through the eyes of outsiders!

Here are some personal observations:

1) You can be Too Excellent.

I’m all for excellence, but you can be “too contrived, too slick, too professional.” There is a difference between soul-full and soul-less excellence. People perceive the spirit behind our preaching and singing and greeting! And anything that doesn’t come from pure motives is seen as hypocritical. Excellence isn’t enough! It’s got to be excellence coupled with authenticity!

2) Actions are the Best Apologetic.

I really think justice issues present the church with an amazing opportunity to show what we’re about. Yes, people need to know what we believe. But they would be more likely to believe if they saw what we do. We have a team of NCCers in Uganda right now building an orphanage. That may be the clearest expression of what we believe! That is a true apologetic! We need to silence our critics with our good deeds that are purely motivated by our love for Christ and His love for us!

We need to incorporate not just a call to worship but a call to action in our services. I think we assume people will know what to do with what we say. Bad assumption. We need to answer the question: what do you want me to do? Our preaching needs to be less theoretical and more practical. We need to be action-oriented and application-oriented.

3) Just Say Hi.

It’s amazing, but one of the reminders from the book is that an entire church experience can be defined by one hello or the lack thereof! And it can’t just be the greeters. It’s got to be the unscripted, unplanned moments. There is no replacement for genuine hospitality. Just say hi.

4) Keep it Positive.

Tone is just as important as topic when it comes to preaching. God speaks through our unique personalities, but there has to be an underlying humility. A negative tone is a huge turn off. We need to be more straight-up about what we believe to be right and wrong. But we also need to speak the truth in love!

5) People won’t listen to us if they don’t like us.

Lots of people have what I would call church scars. They have hurtful or irrelevant church experiences in their past and we can ignore that or acknowledge that. One of my favorite statements in the book was this: “When people like each other the rules change.” That’s a simple yet profound insight! People won’t listen to us if they don’t like us! I’m afraid the church’s likability factor isn’t super high because many people see us as judgmental and angry. We’ve got to get back to what should define us: love!

 Posted by at 10:29 pm
Aug 302007

I had the privilege and joy to join two classes at Loganville High School yesterday to talk church planting!  The community has established a Christian Learning Center that allows students to take elective classes on the Bible and Christian issues. 

Their wonderful teacher, Katelyn Acuff led them to do a project on church planting.  As a result, she asked me to come and share about our journey in starting CATGrove.  We had a blast and the students were awesome!

I can’t wait to see the church planters that come out of this experiment.  Check out the pics below.




 Posted by at 8:48 am
Aug 282007

I want thank Amy Story for her hard work that has gone in making our community groups a reality.  It seems that if she and Tonya Calhoun have really put their heads together to make it happen.  I understand that both have had some issues that they needed to overcome, but God’s faithfulness has been evident. 

We have several groups available to you for the week after Labor Day weekend.  Feel free to call the office and check with us personally or wait until this Sunday and you will have an opportunity to sign up. 

Community Groups are vital for the continuing mission of developing people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples!  This is the mission of CATGrove!

Because Life is a journey to hard to be made alone.

Please join us for a sweet service this Sunday morning where we will serve communion.  You don’t want to miss it. 

I would love to hear your thoughts about the need for Community Groups and have time in your schedule to make them a priority.  What do you think?

 Posted by at 11:06 pm
Aug 272007

I want you to check out this video and enjoy a good laugh with me and please know this video proves why:

Miss South Carolina Answers Important Question!

  • Even with Steve Spurrier, South Carolina will never win either a National Championship or an SEC championship.
  • The South lost the Civil War.
  • Lindsey, Brittney, Paris, Nicole and others have gazillions of dollars but can’t get their life TOGETHER!
  • That some people simply aren’t “smarter than a fifth grader”!
  • Blondes might have more fun, but they still might not be able to intelligently answer a simple question.
  • “My greatest desire is to truly see World Peace a reality in my lifetime” may be the safest answer!
  • You need to stop what you are doing and go get your kids a United States Map.
  • When you pick up a map for your child, you should go ahead and get one for a South African and Iraqi child.
  • When you don’t know what to say, simply add, “Such As”.
  • And………….for goodness sakes………….the future of the U.S. depends on getting maps of the United States to people in South Africa and Iraq!

Another perspective of the Miss South Carolina Question 

Disclaimer:  I know, I know……some of you might think I am a little hard on Miss South Carolina.  First of all, she came in 3rd runner up.  Second of all, she will be even more famous and end up on talk shows across the country for her answer to this question.  She is going to be ok.

Here’s the deal.  If you are going to invest the time, money and effort to be on the national stage in a beauty pageant of this magnitude, you need to be willing to either answer a question clearly or take the heat for not being up to it. 

Just relax and LOL!

 Posted by at 3:21 pm