About three times each year, we gather folks from our church at an event we call "The Core". Increasingly, folks 'come' via UStream and our internet feed and are able to participate fully. People also come in person, though, because it's hard to eat the great food from your living room! Either way, what we hope is that:
1) People who want to know what's going on are better informed
2) Excitement builds for cool new things that are coming for our church
3) There is a growing understanding that PCC is an open book
4) Questions are answered.
So, this past Sunday, we celebrated what God was doing through worship and some great stories and we shared info and data about our campuses, growth, finances, our upcoming Project Freedom initiative, and staff changes.
But the best part of these gatherings, to me, are always in the questions that people ask. PCC leaders are sharp, and when they ask questions, they ask GOOD questions. Sometimes I scratch my head and say, "I never thought of that!" or "I'll have to get back to you." Often, I defer to another member of our staff or another leader because they know better than I do.
And there are a few questions that, after I process in the hours and days following, I think, "I needed to say more about that." So I wanted to clarify a couple of things here.
Our Teaching Team. This past summer, I was away for an extended break (which I normally take every summer). In preparation for this year, I spent a few weeks working with a few gifted communicators,helping them refine their gift and preparing with them for a series they would do entirely on their own. (called Improv) I would coach them, and we would hear the messages ahead of time so that we could critique each other. Many, many people responded very positively and let me know they felt like this was a successful venture.
So, I've gotten a good bit of questions (both before and at the CORE meeting) about how and when I would use this team. There are a few parts to the answer.
1) I am in the process of planning my schedule through next September. That should be done in the next 4 weeks. Then I'll know when we need someone to be the teaching pastor for our weekend services. When I'm not on the stage, one of those folks will usually be the go-to person.
2) I'm hoping, over time, to use them not just when I'm away, but to train them and equip them to teach at times even when I'm 'here'. This is good baton-passing and helps the church be more healthy.
3) While they ALL did a great job, two folks have said that they essentially don't feel a strong sense of calling to that ministry. So the exact makeup of the Teaching Team is still being formed.
4) There are other opportunities for a teaching team to be used, including video and live teaching for discipleship-type classes that we will be offering (and offer today, like Bible Basics, SHAPE, etc.)
Saturday Night Service. On question that we took had to do with the style and teaching for our Saturday night service. Specifically, had I considered a different teaching pastor and musical style for that. The short answer is, "yes." and that's how I answered it that night. But there is more to it.
If we change the service and make it different, it becomes very complicated. A DUPLICATED service means that people will come to that one OR a Sunday morning service. But if we change the service and make it different, we'll have folks come on Saturday for that service and then come back on Sunday for the other one. That doesn't free seats. It actually hurts us instead of helping us.
We started our Saturday night service for 2 reasons: 1) to free some seats on Sunday morning by folks shifting to it, 2) to reach people who will not or cannot come on Sunday morning but who will or can come on Saturday evening. The duplication of our service, done as close to the same with the same teaching and the same music, etc, does that to the best of our ability.
Our strategy has been to offer the same service experience (to the best of our ability) at all of our venues. This is a strategy that has worked for us and other churches, will keep us united and operating as one church, and is the simplest to execute.
By the way, we've had two very reliable people come to us and make HUGE offers to help with Saturday nights. Please keep praying for us on that.
Care. I took a really good question about caring for folks by possibly publishing a list of deaths and births each week. Logistically, this will not be easy to pull off and I'm not sure it's feasible for our church. But we are talking about it.
If YOU have questions, please don't hesitate to email or FB or comment here or call. And while I'm at it, there are numerous ways you can stay informed through our text platform, weekly eblast, website, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, and UStream, not to mention what we hand out on weekends if you come to church.
Hope this helps!