thoughts on church

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The Apple Store Experience

Posted by on 05 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: thoughts on church

This past weekend, Emily and I spent two days in Indianapolis enjoying the city and the malls. We did the vast majority of our purchases at Target, but spent some time at four area malls.
We went to the Keystone Fashion Mall, which has many high-end stores you can’t find in Fort Wayne, including Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware and The Apple Store. (And for the record, we like to look but very rarely actually purchase anything from a high-end store).
This was my first time to actually enter a brick-and-mortar Apple Store. I have walked by it before, but always thought Apple computers were for non-normal people. But I have since actually tried one, and know the full benefit of a well-built computer and operating system. This time, The Apple Store would not be overlooked!
As I approached the entrance, I saw my old pal Russ from my freshman year of college at Taylor University. We spent a few minutes chatting and catching up, and it was nice to finally see the guy again.

But here is what I want to communicate about the actual experience. No one ever prodded us to purchase something. I never felt any pressure to buy anything (my work computer and home computer are both mac, so I don’t need anything Apple, except maybe an iPhone). The Apple Store was just a really neat, safe place to be. I would go back and chill there any day.
As we were looking around and I was admiring the construction of the new Macbook and Macbook Pro models, a salesman came up and talked to us for about two minutes. But the conversation went something like this:
‘Is there anything I can help you guys with today?’
‘No, we’re just looking today.’
‘Well, cool. Look around all you want. My name is George. By the way, what are you guy’s names?
‘Nathan and Emily.’
‘Emily! Sweet, that’s my fiance’s name. You gotta watch out for Emily’s! (pause) Naa, I’m just joking.’
(we laugh)
He continues, ‘My Emily always gets mad at me when I say that, but she’s not here right now, so that’s okay.’
‘Yeah.’
‘Well, hey, you guys have a great day and let me know if there is anything we can help you with today.’
‘Thanks.’

That was unlike any salesman I’ve ever encountered ever before. That was craziness. George made me feel that I belonged there. Made me feel comfortable.

Then I got to thinking, what if the church was friendly like this, instead of all cliquey? Wouldn’t the church look completely different?

What do you think? Could the church learn anything from Apple? If so, what?
(And is my dad’s recent blog post related to this at all?)

Deceitful Marketing

Posted by on 16 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: thoughts on church, thoughts on life.

This week, I got an Email coupon for 10% off anything storewide from a company I use often for printing pieces.
I needed to place an order anyway, so I thought, ‘Sweet!’
So I went through the steps to get my item, and the pre-coupon cost was $99.95. (Free shipping with any order over $75, too!)

So then I went to apply my 10% off to save my $9.99.
Sure enough, the price adjusted to $89.96, plus some $17 in shipping, bringing my total cost, with coupon, to around $107. Yes, the coupon actually cost me an extra $7.

This is deceitful marketing, and you shouldn’t do it. Bad company.
This is especially true in with church marketing. Don’t bait and switch. Bad church.

Needless to say, I didn’t use the anti-coupon, and didn’t make any additional purchases. I only purchased what I was going to purchase anyway.

Personal Preferences

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: thoughts on church, thoughts on life.

I was listening to a session from Perry Noble, where he was talking about our personal preferences–the things we prefer and the things we do not prefer.
Personally, I don’t like opera and I don’t like country music. If you do, that’s okay with me, just as long as you don’t make me listen to it with you.
But here’s what Perry said:

The problem is when we allow our personal preference to get in the way of God’s preference when it comes to what He wants to do in our church.

May we always remember: It isn’t about me, it’s about God.

India Persecution Update

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: my life., New Hope stuff., thoughts on church, thoughts on god., thoughts on life.

This Email was received from our missionary in India.
The missionary is currently stateside, while his wife and children are still in India.

Have you spent time considering what it would be like to be a Christian which persecution like this? Please keep our Christian brothers and sisters in India in your prayers and thoughts.

MY WIFE WAS ABLE TO CALL ME THAT THE HINDUS DESTROY A POLICE STATION AT RAIKIA 20 KM FROM G.UDAYAGIRI AND 4000 HINDU MILITANTS ARE ATTACKING THE G.UDAYAGIRI REFUGEE CAMP.THEY HAVE CUT THE POWER AND TELEPHONE CELL PHONE AND HAVE SENT THE LETTERS TO THE CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO KILL WITHIN 5 DAYS OF TIME. NEED MUCH PRAYERS FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHRISTIANS AND THE CHURCHES. THEY HAVE BLOCKED THE [Removed for Confidentiality's sake].THINGS ARE NOT AT ALL GOOD. IAM CONCERN OF OUR STAF,CHILDREN AND BELIEVERS WHO ARE AT [Confidential] RIHGT NOW.

How would you fare if you were thrust into such a life?
How would the church fare?
How would your faith fare?
How would Jesus fare?

Perry Noble on ‘Hit between the eyes’

Posted by on 18 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: churches on the ball., thoughts on church, thoughts on god.

This morning my favorite blogger Perry Noble wrote this as advice to church planters (no, I have no intention to plant a church):

If someone isn’t angry at you then pray for God to set you on fire and lead you to preach a message that will hit the majority of your church between the eyes…and then HANG ON!

(Read the whole post in context here.)

What do you think? Is this wise advice to church planters?
Do you want to be ‘hit between the eyes’ by your pastor more often?

Vision Leaks, Part IV

Posted by on 22 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Communications, thoughts on church, thoughts on life.

This reminds me of what I previously blogged about here, here, here and here.

2 Peter 1:12-13 (NIV):

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body.

What Does a Mature Local Church Look Like?

Posted by on 25 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: churches on the ball., thoughts on church

This is an interesting question, isn’t it? What does a mature local church look like?

Is a mature church full of senior citizens?

Is a mature church full of mature Christians?

My first thought was, just that–a mature church was full of all mature Christians, but then I thought about that, and if the local church is all mature Christians, they’ve turned into self-seeking Christians (“It’s all about ME“), which hardly qualifies as a mature Christian, right?

So the question remains, what does a mature local church look like?

Mark Beeson offered this answer to the question:

The ‘mature church’ is the church filled with immaturity.

Maturity desires reproduction.
Maturity tolerates juvenile behavior (from juveniles) while training its progeny for success in life.
Maturity means “little poults running all over the place.”
If you attend a mature church, be prepared for immaturity.

What do you think about Beeson’s answer?
How would you define what a mature local church looks like? Kinda a tough question, isn’t it? What are your thoughts?

Mark Batterson to Church Staff

Posted by on 05 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: thoughts on church

This morning I was reading Mark Batterson’s Evotional blog, and he gave a few rules for church staff in dealing with volunteers. A couple of these really jumped out at me:
Make mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
Don’t just point out problems. Be the solution.
Over communicate. When in doubt, CC.
Who you are is more important than what you do.

Made me think about how I’m doing in these ares. It solidified in me it’s okay for me to make mistakes. It also reinforced and reminded me I need to do better in some others, too!

Church: What’s Wrong with Five Hours in One Day?

Posted by on 29 Oct 2007 | Tagged as: my life., thoughts on church

This weekend, Emily and I drove by a given church just after 1 p.m. in the afternoon. Cars were just then leaving from their 10:30 a.m. service. We drove back by the church at 5:50, and there were cars already in the parking lot again.

‘No thanks!’ I said aloud as we drove past. If I sat through a 2 1/2 hour service in the morning through the afternoon, you had best believe I wouldn’t be going back that night!

Would you?

Is this a classic example of church expecting people to live their lives revolved around church? Or is this Biblical church? What gives? Why would this turn me off so much? Would it you?