Plenary Session 2
More Dave Matthews music before the sessions- good start.
Played video about COR’s 20 years featuring COR staff members dancing to DC Talk’s “Jesus is Still Alright”.:) It’s a fun, but I would be okay with never hearing that song again, even in jest.:)
Adam Hamilton opened the session picking up on what was missed in the notes from first session (see “Leadership Institute“).
5. Weekend Worship
The goal is to create such a satisfying experience for guests that they can’t help but tell their friends: word-of-mouth.
Hosts and hostesses, ushers and greeters doing a great job. Welcoming and helping guests find a seat.
Like a restaurant, we want to serve a new, great tasting meal, not microwaveable leftovers from last week.
Preaching is planned to provide sermons that speak to the life issues people feel. Regulars can tell their friends. Adam sends an email to the congregation asking for their feedback because he plans the sermons for the next two years (see Leading Beyond the Walls)
He asks the congregation questions like:
What are strugling with in your spiritual life?
What are some things you see your friends struggling with?
What are the theological questions you’re struggling with?
Are you stuck in your spiritual life?
What are things you wish your pastor would address?
All preaching is influenced by the COR purpose statement.
Adam used a telestrator to draw a diagram of preaching starting with the human condition (see “Sermon Delivery Tips“), Exegete, then Bible, Illustrate that. Adam also wrote an article in Preaching Magazine about this. Rick Warren uses something like this method of preaching, starting with a felt-need and applying the Bible to it.
Adam played the promo for the When Christians Get It Wrong series, a January post-Christmas series. Over the series, 500 new younger people started worshipping @ COR.
When you preach sermons like that, you will find non-religious people getting interested.
During Lent last year, Adam preach on 24 Hours that Changed the World, inspired by the TV show 24. It was the second time in 5 years that Adam had preached on this topic under a different title.
Talk about Jesus in a relevant way. and non-religious people will be attracted- novel concept:) It’s unfortunate that pastors sometimes need this reminder.
Adam played the 24 Hours… video promo.
Email video clips to congregation members, and ask them to email it to their friends.
Adam then referenced a letter he wrote to the congregation in August about a sermon series about the will of God (the problem of evil) with a small sermon series postcard. Adam then emailed the video promo to them.
All of these videos promos are available on the website.
The church grew by 1700 people from August 2009 to 2010. (See “Some Big Day Sermon Series Ideas“)
Adam referenced a card we received when we arrived. Most people are reluctant to tell others about their faith. They have seen it done in clunky or even harmful ways.
This card asks members how their lives have changed since they came to COR, and they were invited to briefly write their answers. 2000 cards were turned in. During the annual stewardship campaign, Adam read some of these cards every week. Adam then stacked all of them on a table and said that every one of these cards represents someone who has been changed, and they have had an impact on other people. He picked up the stack and said, “This is why we do what we do”.
Where is the Church in the U.S.?
“I’m Christian” dropped from 86% to 76% in last 20 years. UMC declined by 55,000 per weekend. Average age of UMC members is almost 60 years old.
Adam thinks we will decline for another 10 years and, if we act now, we will see a turnaround. It will require that we change. None of us like change. You might think you like change until someone else suggests it.:)
Adam pulled out COR’s first computer, a Mac Classic. It could boot Word in under 5 minutes.
Adam then showed his new Macbook. What if Apple hadn’t changed. Then, he showed his iPad, which has now outsold the DVD player. 20 years from now, we’ll see an iPad and it will look hopelessly out of date. Is your church more like an old Mac or a Macbook. Adam used to pull out a typewriter from the 1960’s and say that many churches are like that.
Adam is now redefining what “traditional” worship is. They’re calling it “new traditional”. Traditional choir with rhythm section, etc. (By the way, symphonies play Metallica now).
Adam showed his glasses from 1990. Someone behind me said, “Elton John”.
Adam spoke with the former president of GM’s North American operations, who used to be a member of COR. He said GM was the dominant player and stopped paying attention to the needs of consumers. “We thought they would buy whatever we made.” The UMC did the same thing in the 1960’s.
Hallmark is changing with the times.
GM has to be willing to risk, build a great product, change. Then they MIGHT survive.
Figure out how to be the church of young adults, and maybe they will stick with it.
COR puts worship services online- webcast. Andrew Conard is the pastor of the online community. The online service has 1300 in worship every weekend. It’s the second or third largest UMC congregation in Kansas.
19,000 people came to candlelight service in a horrible snow storm last year. many watched the service online and lit candles at home.:)
How do we use facebook? (Adam uses it masterfully) he asks for illustrations and questions about upcoming sermons.
Publishers will soon put commentaries online, and you will pay a small fee to access them.
Think about college and seminary online classes.
COR is using technology to start satellite congregations. Adam then demonstrated COR online. (I watch regularly).
(Lifechurch.tv is leading the way in online church technology)
Many people start by worshipping online and come to physical worship services later. Some stay online.
Small groups online (a young woman at Stonybrook, stonybrookumc.org, leads a military spouse support group through Skype).
Adam drew parallels between this and early Methodism. Circuit writers gave copies of John Wesley’s sermons to lay preachers (1788)
Adam spoke about supercircuits as he did in the Q & A Session. Maybe 10 churches share resources together. Small churches may benefit from this instead of closing (or maybe they will close anyway).
These are the smart mobs Bob spoke about early today in Day 2, Part 1.
How to raise up leaders for the next generation?
In the 60’s, the compelling inner sense of spirituality was lost to the social Gospel only, so people who could have been pastors decided to make double the money doing something else. From 1880- 1900, the UMc started 14,000 churches, 2 churches a day. From 1970-1990, the UMC started 1 church per week.
Adam showed a short video meant to cause young people to consider going into ministry. COR paid a $1000 prize to the best video. “How will the world be your parish?”
(I’m thinking of how difficult my journey to be a pastor has been. I we more in school loans than I make in a year. I pay for 100% of my schooling.)
Adam then interviewed two kids, a girl and a boy who believe they are called to ministry. Madison (13) felt called to ministry in conformation class. Matt (14) had an aneurysm in 5th grade and had to have surgery in another city. The one thing he wanted to take with him was his third grade Bible. He serves in Matthews Ministry.
Both of these kids are in MAC Track, Ministry As A Career Track. Staff in the church meet monthly with middle and high school students who feel called to ministry and talk with them about what ministry is. Matt stated that if young people are not called to ministry, then, like a story, the Church will be forgotten.
Adam stated that COR places a high value on this. In kindergarten, third grade, etc. teachers ask students how they might be called to serve in ministry. COR raises scholarships for seminary students (that would be nice!). COR has 72 students currently in MAC track.
It will not be us who reaches today’s kindergarten students. It will be pastors who are kids now. It’s hard to be a UMC pastor, so we need to support young people and help them want to stay Methodist.
Adam encouraged churches to have an annual offering for scholarships.
Adam wrapped up in a way he said is totally out of left field. He introduced his assistant, Sue Thompson. Adam is able to accomplish everything he does because Sue helps him manage his time. If you work with an assistant well, the ministries multiply.
Sue shared that its important to get to know the other person, strengths and weakness. Find an assistant that compliments your gifts. The assistant takes over what he or she can in order to free up the senior pastor for other tasks. Sue handles Adam’s schedule. Let the assistant handle it, not both of you.
Sue makes sure she knows what Adam’s priorities are- strategic goals, priorities, voicemail and email, guarding pastor’s time to free time to write sermons and lead. Sue refers people to who they need to talk with. The last thing Adam gave over is email, and facebook is coming.:)
After preaching on controversial issues, Adam received 400 emails in one week. Somewhere buried in the emails, was a boy who said he was contemplating suicide, and Adam didn’t see it for 5 days. Sue drafts letters, and now, she knows how to write in Adam’s style. Adam signs them and writes a personal note on the bottom of the page. He prays over the letters. This helps us fight against the tyranny of the urgent, so our time is not frittered away. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance.
An assistant could be a volunteer. Sue has written a book entitled The Ministry of the Assistant.
Adam has cast vision every week for the last 4 weeks using post-it notes. Members are invited to write what they will do to lead COR into the future. This is inviting members to be part of visioning.
Adam showed a video about these post-it notes. During the video, a backdrop lowered behind Adam covered with these post-it notes. This helped the people realize that they are the church. People serve and give to pursue the dreams God has given us.