so i've been reading this book: Off-Road Disciplines and we've also been going through somewhat of a forming/focusing of who we are, what our purpose is, and most importantly how we're to accomplish it all.

ok, stage thoroughly set. so i had this thought the other day and thought perhaps it was something others were feeling too*. specifically i was asking, "why do i feel like i'm rushing, through church?" i do the announcement time in our service and i constantly feel like i'm rushing through all of them. partly because sometimes there's so many things to announce, partly because i feel that the whole service is 'rushing', and partly because i feel everyone else that has a 'part' in the service is enduring my 'verbal church bulletin' in order to get to "their" part (which is the part that is important to them). rushing, rushing, rushing. the opening songs are rushing to get to the welcome/announcement time, the rest of worship rushes to dismiss the kids, which is rushed to get to the message time, and then (at least when i'm speaking) the message is rushed because i've got so much to say before church is 'supposed' to be over.

but mostly it's the announcement time, since that's what i'm doing and in charge of consistantly. when i was going to Northwest University one of my 'guest professors' once told us that when doing announcement time they should be done with purpose. that there should usually be very few announcements and not simply state "event 'x' is happening on 'x' date". but that there should be a why is "event 'x'" is happening, why is it important for our church, and why is it important for the people to be there.

so this is 'sorta' how i've tried to give the announcements. the problem is that people are constantly telling me 'other' things just before the servies begins that i need to announce. either because they're not in the bulletin or they don't feel they're getting much response from a bulletin 'blurb'. oh, i forgot to mention, i'm also the person that does the church bulletin. so personally i kinda know that no one really responds to a bulletin announcement. i don't even think that people respond that much more to a 'verbal' announcement from the mic.

and so i feel rushed to mention all these 'things' because otherwise someone will be upset that i forgot to mention their event. i think, and other leaders i've talked to agree, that the most effective means of 'advertising' (oh, deb and i are also the ones in charge of making 'video commercials' for various themes/events in our church) your event is face-to-face**.

so this got me to thinking . . . maybe the reason i'm feeling rushed is because I don't find the announcement time all that important to church life anymore. i mean in our world where we're overloaded with ads everywhere we go: tv, magazines, billboards, newspaper, internet, emails, junk mail, etc. do we really need anymore at church??

this in turn got me to thinking, what else at church do we do simply because it's what we've always known? how much else should we get rid of or rethink? what should we add to our services?

for the last few months of me being 'in charge' of the youth services we had more of a small group format that looked like this: met at my house, informal discussion about life, watched some random videos, or played a quick 'game' or icebreaker, no worship, no offering, no formal 'three point' message, no alter call. and yet more people came to that format than our 'traditional' service with a youthy-contemporary feel.

anyways that's about all for now, it's dinner time

* it turns out at least in our church leadership they didn't feel rushed at all. i almost felt like they thought i was really weird for feeling this way in church. (they didn't say this out loud of course, but there's certain things you can 'tell' just by the facial expressions, tone of voice, and/or lack of feedback offered)

** and it also has to be something people actually need/want. otherwise no matter how much hype you throw at it, it's not going to make it great. can you say "Zune"! now compare that to the iPod which could stop advertising people would still talk about it and want it. see this video: CNN ridicules Micosoft Zune

// today i'm thankful for:
1. laptops (that i can move around the house)
2. a clean house
3. unexpected company
4. video cameras
5. beef!
AuthorAbraham Lara