I’m heading home from an overnight trip to Seattle and my head is spinning from an awesome 24 hours of stimulation and information…and now I am singing the beatle’s song that I used to title this blog…but I digress.
Pastor Coy and I shot out here after Skull Church to attend a one day leadership conference put on by Catalyst featuring Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. From 9am to 5pm we were (literally) bombarded by an exorbitant amount of practical advice on leading with vision and energetically executing your God-given mission. Andy pastors North Point in Atlanta, Georgia and Craig pastors Lifechurch.tv (the church that produced the killer Youversion Bible app for mobile devices.) Their sessions were salient, sage, and strategically aimed at cranking up momentum in ministry. Phenomenal.
Straight after the conference we headed downtown and met Pastor Mark Driscoll and his executive Pastor Jamie Munson for dinner. They were gracious to spend almost three hours with us as we picked their brains on ministry, church, leadership, and what they have learned in the almost 14 years that Mars Hill Church has been turning Seattle and beyond upside down for Jesus. They opened up the floodgates and, in what I have realized is quintessential Mark Driscoll style, were like machine-guns of advice/encouragement/challenge/inspiration/sarcasm. It was kind of like drinking from a fire hose but it was awesome. There is much I can learn from Mark and I was honored to spend time with him.
Over the course of the day we took in a lot on subjects ranging from: effectively using video teaching, conserving energy in the midst of a full preaching schedule, building systems and structure to keep up with the growth with out smothering the creative chaos that God used to bring the freshness and growth in the first place, etc; One topic of particular interest to me was the ins and outs of having multiple sites. All three men we were listening to do this VERY well. If you take North Point Church, Mars Hill Church, and Lifechurch.tv together there are over 25 campuses! We meet at two locations currently but are praying about more in the future.
Coy and I spent some time, later that evening, ambling around downtown Seattle ruminating on the different things that we had heard, like glutted cows. I’m sure for several days to come we will continue to be processing and sifting through the wealth of knowledge that has been imparted to us.
I try and learn what I can from a broad spectrum of leaders, not just any one source exclusively. (Except Jesus!) An important part of that is having the wisdom to chew the meat and spit out the bones. I think you should have a full “bull-pen” of influencers and coaches, who are each strong in different ways, without ever trying to be a carbon copy of any one person exclusively and you will be much better for it. This means being quick to learn from anyone but slow to implement with thought and prayer. And this coaching doesn’t have to be face-to-face or even at a conference. I learn from pastors, leaders, authors, and people that I have never met on a weekly basis through podcasts, books and websites. I definitely have found that leadership is something that is caught better than it is taught.
This morning (since it was my first time in Seattle) we made the obligatory tourist trip to the Pike Place Market and had a coffee from the very first Starbucks. The Mermaid Mecca. It was surprisingly humble and yet they have a map on the wall showing all the Starbucks in the world, all birthed from that nondescript location. I6,082 was their number of locations at the time the map was printed. Staggering. As I drank my Americano and thought of the evangelistic manner in which Starbucks spread their wings from their “Jerusalem,” (Seattle) to their state, the country and literally to the ends of the earth I was inspired to continue to make Jesus famous, with every breath, ’til He returns.
You can check out music from some of the other artists that have played at skull church here.
Ou team just released the newly designed skull church site and it is slick! It now includes a page where you can watch performances from many of the artists that have visited and it is much easier to navigate through the different series. Check it out!
Learn more about Rock this City here.
This past weekend I was in Orange County hosting the Friday and Saturday nights of the Harvest Crusade at Angels Stadium, but through the wonders of technology I was also in Montana teaching at our 4 weekend services.
Though we have heard from many wonderful guest speakers, and it is wonderful to hear from fresh voices and outside perspectives, there is something to be said for maintaining the energy and momentum by not putting a series on hold. In order to do that (until science nails the whole cloning thing) for the past few years we have been using video teachings that I record prior to leaving town.
The hardest part about this, surprisingly, isn’t teaching to an empty room, it’s having to prepare three messages in a week instead of two, with the additional pressure of preparing for the trip. For some reason preaching with no audience isn’t really that different from a normal Sunday, I just think and pray for those who will be listening just like I am also thinking of the web/radio audience that I can’t see every other week.
A definite benefit is that the media team has time to post-produce the video, dialing it in. I especially love the unique Nehemiah themed lower thirds that the team generated for this particular message.
Here is the most recent “virtual levi” (as my staff affectionately refers to this teaching style) rock this city teaching from this past weekend. In it, Sanballat and co. try to assassinate Nehemiah as the wall nears completion.
Here’s a little video that I shot on my phone in between emcee segments and then threw together on the mobile iMovie software. It amazes me how far technology has come! It also amazes me to watch the gospel proclaimed with power and people come to Christ by the thousands, and that has been happening at the SoCal harvest for 21 years!
You can help support the Harvest Crusades–just text the letters, HC to 20222 to make a donation of $10. (you will receive a confirmation text and you need to respond “yes” to confirm you want to) And pray that God moves in power tonight!
Tonight was killer. 30,000 people at Angels Stadium, 2,604 people made decisions for Christ and over 59,000 different people logged in to watch the webcast. That doesn’t include all the people who listened on the radio either!
Here is a little glimpse of the behind the scenes action from this awesome night.
(My favorite thing about the movie is the fact that David Crowder looks intensely frightened by me in the thumbnail below. My second favorite thing is David Crowder’s beard. It is a force to be reckoned with.)
This past Wednesday The Almost played at Skull Church. I knew they would put on a killer show. Aaron is a super talented guy and in my opinion The Almost is one of the best rock bands out there. As expected, their music was epic but what really stood out was how they went out of their way to serve the night however they could. You could tell they weren’t just there to put on a concert, it wasn’t just another gig–they wanted to be apart of what God was doing. And it showed.
It was an absolute thrill to partner with them. And we saw God move. People responded to the invitation, making decisions for Christ, both in the building and some who were watching online out of state. And then after the service they put on one heck of a show at the after-party, helping us break in some upgrades we recently made to our sound system!
Check out some photos from the night here.
Check out The Almost’s website here.