this week’s roundup (april 16)

Been a crazy week and a half, so I’m playing a little catch up.

During Lent and Easter I really tried to make the point this year that you can’t just jump from the celebration of Palm Sunday to the glory of Easter (actually I try to make that point every year but I hit it even harder this year). It was comforting to know that I’m not alone in that struggle and I appreciated the words of Steve Stockman, via Mike Todd on how we have failed to communicate the life changing message. As he says:

How could we have left the majority of our population missing the subversive revolutionary who entered Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday with a mission in his soul to uproot the way things were to make them the way they should, could and will be, who freed the world from its chains but did so in the most humble of ways before smashing the tombstone and crashing into a post Resurrection world where now by the power of the Spirit weeks away from being unleashed could begin to bring God’s Kingdom on earth the way it is in heaven!….
Forgive us Lord! Forgive us public! Let us start repenting and putting it right!

Seth Godin looked at some of the lessons from the iPad launch that could be applied industries/movement/etc. There is a lot that could be relevant to the church as well:

  • Don’t try to please everyone
  • Make a product worth talking about
  • Create a culture of wonder
  • Be willing to fail
  • Give the tribe a badge
  • Don’t give up so easily
  • Don’t worry so much about conventional wisdom

Steve Frost at The Work of the People offers some thoughts on the “big-little church” (a church that overbuilt, yielding a small congregation in a large space). In his concluding thought he writes:

This big little church seems interested in people and one thing is for sure, God is interested in people. To be interested in people is to be open to the wideness of being God-shaped, whatever that surprising wonderful mysterious shape may be. To be God-shaped is to step into a future of infinite possibility. Enjoy the view big little church.

In a similar vein, one of the many gems to cross Mike Slaughter’s twitter feed this week was this:

One key choice church leaders make: will u focus on building disciples for Christ or tallying decisions for Christ?

Of course playing the numbers game is always controversial, and many times we can justify small numbers by saying our focus is to go “deep” instead of “wide” when the reality is nothing is happening in either direction.

Tim Schraeder at Church Marketing Sucks reminds us how everything the church does is, in one way or another marketing — from how the phone is answered, to how the ushers welcome people, to e-mails being sent out they all leave impressions. Unless the image the church tries to project accounts for all those subtle ways the message is actually communicated, it will be curtailed. Seth Godin resonates with that same idea in a blog post from today. Sometimes first impression are all you’ve got, so you’ve got to try to make every interaction the best it can possibly be. (Of course the danger, for me at least, is that sometimes you can be so concerned about how something might be received that it no longer reflects authentically who you are. Even with this blog, I sometimes find myself second-guessing (and third- and fourth-…) how someone might interpret something I’ve posted. I often have to go back to Godin’s thoughts on the iPad – be willing to fail, and don’t try to please everyone.

And without seeing the connection until right now, that resonates with a blog post by Donald Miller this week on how he learned to like exercising. Once he figured out that 20 minutes was good enough and everything after that was above and beyond, he began to like exercise and found himself exercising for longer periods. There is freedom in naming what you are able to accomplish and finding satisfaction in that, instead of holding ourselves to often unrealistic standards of excellence.

The taste of a few days of beautiful spring weather has put me in the mood for the pure alterna-pop bliss of the Lightning Seeds.