People friendly chruch

Katie shared this link with me yesterday morning and i thought that it was a wonderful article and I have been looking through the site to see what other goodness I can find.  At MUMC we are in the incubation stages of developing a new worship service that is targeted at drawing in those who don’t have a church home.  I am trying to get my head around the ways that we could (cheaply and cleanly) make our facilities more attractive and welcoming to those who have no faith community.  Take a read:
“iChurch” | | Culture, Leadership, Church Facilities

No one has redefined the way technology is used like Steve Jobs. He put the word “personal” in the personal computer. His subsequent breakthroughs with music players and phones have shown his uncanny ability to understand the market and create products that, in some cases, people didn’t even know they needed.

So, if Steve Jobs were to design your next church building, I think he would offer three guiding principles.

1: Make It User-Centric
When Jobs approached telephone service carriers for the yet-unseen iPhone, it was a world the carriers ruled. Phones were just a way to get people locked into two years of service. Jobs successfully negotiated a new set of rules with AT&T. He also developed the most advanced (and beautiful) cell phone yet—all because of a relentless focus on the customer.

Translation: Church buildings should be designed based on who will use the building and how they will use it—including ways they haven’t even considered yet. How do people interact with each other—virtually and in real life? Where do people find their sacred space? Where do the people in our ministry focus like to hang out? Answers to these questions have huge implications for building design.

If your mission is to bring to your building people who don’t go to church (yours is an attractional church), then see your facility through the eyes of those people. A recent research project by Cornerstone Knowledge Network revealed that unchurched people prefer lots of signage, a beautiful worship space, and plenty of room for connecting with others.

If you are called primarily to disciple and equip others to influence their world (yours is an incarnational church), you might want to include areas for large-group and small-group teaching and interaction. Traditional religious icons and appointments may also be incorporated.

Faith Lab: Momentum

There is such a benefit in having momentum.  This allows us to keep rolling even if there is a bump in the road.  I am sure that you have seen this if you have watched a sporting event.  The team with the momentum seems to have an extra player on the field/court because they are in the zone.  If you are at the live event you can almost feel the momentum, especially when the tide swings and the other team gets in the zone.  When my dad and I went to the Redskins game the other week the crowd was the first indicator about who’s side the momentum was on.

There is also an unmistakable momentum that happens in ministry too.  The the Spirit begins to work in exciting ways and there are people who are buying in to the ministry of the church.  I am always excited when there is a buzz about our ministry.  As youth leaders we need to recognize the buzz, capture it and then let it go in a way that gets the students excited.  This can come out through testimony and sharing the way that you have seen God working within the ministry, or by the commitments of time that you make to be around the “life giving” ministry, or just by being excited with the students and asking them what is going on.

Fun at small group

This year in both youth group and in small group we are seeing a bunch of new faces.  There is an excitement about the things that are coming up and what we are doing.  This momentum come in the form of powerful times of bible study, worship, silly games and times to become a true community.  There is an awesome  vibe and this momentum is even felt by parents who have expressed that their students really enjoy a number of our ministries from Sunday School to Fuel worship and all things in between.  Lets continue to fan the flames of the Spirit at work at MUMC and dream big.

Though the past couple of weeks I have had some powerful conversations about seeds of faith being planted, hearts growing and faith deepening.  Thank you for the way that you have captured the momentum already and keep it up.

Faith Lab: Spiritual Complacency

This week the primary scripture for worship is Luke 18:9-14.  As I have been preparing for the message and outlining worship I have been thinking.

Take a look at the scripture for yourself:

Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. 11 The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: `I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, `O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.”

The question that I have been asking for the past week or so to myself as a result of this scripture is where is my motivation.  I feel like the Pharisee was bending to the standards set by us and not God.  And in his complacency he was then blind to his brokenness and sin.  Where as the tax collector knew exactly where he stood with God and sought forgiveness.

As I have been studying this I feel like complacency leads us to loose our spiritual luster.  In Matthew the scripture speaks of it in terms of loosing our saltiness or our light for God is dimming.  Take a look at the video from a little while back.

As we work with young people and go throughout life there will be times where we will forget where we stand and perhaps rationalize that we are in a better situation that we really are.  When this happened then our growth begins to stop.  We need to know where we are going and growing so that we can share this with our students and also so we may help them discern where they are growing too.

The Word Comes Alive

There are moments in ministry there are clear reminders of why I love being a pastor. Recently I have had a couple of “God Moments” revolving around people discovering their Bible again for the first time. One has been some of our small group students beginning to read their Bibles and getting into it. I had a conversation with a parent who was telling me that her daughter was so excited because she read the creation account from one of the Live Bibles that we use in our student ministry and the scripture came alive in a new way. I noticed that her (the daughter) excitement then got the family excited and there was a feeling of what is God going to do next.

So it got me thinking about the way a new perspective, or a more accessible translation of scripture can totally open our eyes to what God has in store for us. So I have a question:

What Bible do you tend to use the most?

Are their any commentary or Bible study tools that you really love?

Let me know.

Smell Like a Monster

We had a great time as a family this weekends going trick or treating at sesame Street Place.  There were all kinds of wonderful things to see and do and tons of kids dressed up like the fav little characters from mainly TV shows.

Eden went as Bell from Beauty and the Beast after about 2 days of debate.

In light of the trip I thought it would be  nice to share a little Muppet spoof of the old spice commercial staring Grover.  I thought it was great. Sit back and enjoy.

A not so spooky Halloween trip

chris shirtIn just a few short hours the Bishop clan is going to be making another trip to Sesame St. Place. This time they are having their Halloween party and we are all supposed to wear costumes.  Eden is having a little trouble committing.  Within a 10 min. span she said that she wanted to be a dinosaur, Tinkerbelle, a blue banana, a princess, and pinkalicious. 

katieHowever Katie and I have our outfits ready to go.  I screened a couple of shirts that will leave me going as Spiderman and she is going to be going as bat girl.  I am sure I will let you all know how it goes.  Smile

I have been off of work this week and it has been a blast to spend some much needed time with Eden, Kronk and the Misses. 

Faith Lab: Beyond the Surface

mcnuggetsThe other week I came across an article from the Huffington Post about the way that they make McNuggets and other processed meats.  The goal is to get EVERY piece of meat from the chicken as possible and I mean EVERY.  In order to do this the meat is mechanically separated, and made into a paste.  Then it is washed and cleaned in peroxide and then artificially colored (because the paste is pink) before it is made into the final product. 

After reading the article I was struck by the way that the finished product doesn’t look so bad on the outside, but when you scratch the surface you realize how yucky it is. 

As people who are in ministry with students and one another we have have to be more than surface deep.  Lets be honest, there are time where we only have enough to give the surface amount.  And there are other times that we only go surface deep with lessons and conversation.  These are usually the times where we want to be in conversation on a deeper level and our student’s my not want to for a variety of reasons. 

But we have to be ready for conversations with others that go deeper.  We must be willing to share our story and share the Good News “in and out of season.”  We are called to be people that feast on God’s Word and connect with our whole selves.  But if we are trying to get a consistent diet from mechanically separated and sterilized faith we are only ever going to be surface deep Christians. 

We need to dig into the goodness of God’s word and find our spiritual plates overflowing with the best, not the scrapes, that God has to offer. 


If you want to read about the meat story you can find it here: