Your Church Needs Two Side Doors

The front doors of many churches today are closing. “Front doors” is a term that describes how most newcomers first come in contact with a church—as visitors to worship or to some other special event.  It is out of this visitor pool that churches have traditionally identified prospective new members.  However, in the past 20 years both the total numberof church visitors has been declining, as well as the percentage of visitors to total attendance in most churches.

If you want to see your church survive, let alone thrive, I suggest that you build some new “side-doors” that will create new ways to connect with people in your community.

What is a “side-door”?  Here is a definition:

Side-door: A church-sponsored program, group, or activity in which a non-member/non-Christian can become comfortably involved and develop meaningful relationships with people in the church.

A side-door provides a place where church members and non-members develop friendships around something important they share in common. And such friendships are an important key that describes the most important means by which people come to Christ and the church.

Continue Reading

Multigenerational Worship

What is “multi-generational worship,” you ask? Well, let’s start with some very basic definitions for the sake of this article: The word “multi” is often used as a prefix and means many or much. The word “generational” refers to the concept of a generation. A generation (especially in the Biblical sense) is basically the time that spans between parents and their offspring. In a more general sense, it means the grouping of those in your family or peer group who are roughly the same age as you are. So, with that in mind, we can generally approach the phrase “multi-generational” to mean something ( a group, a focus, a ministry, etc.) that includes more than one age group. Let’s also recognize at the start of this discussion that our modern church tends to approach ministry programs in a mostly uni-generational manner. That is, we segment our worship services into age appropriate groupings with each respective group receiving teaching, ministry, musical worship and such in a very compartmentalized environment. I’m not here to debate whether that approach is right or wrong, but to just stir the pot and hopefully the discussion towards the importance of multi-generational environments.

– See more at:

Survival Tips for Pastor’s Kids

This is dedicated in honor of my children who went from being lay-persons kids to pastor’s kids.
Sunday Morning Survival Pointers for Pastors’ Kids

For some pastors’ kids (PKs), Sunday morning is like walking the green mile, step by agonizing step closer to imminent doom. For others it’s mostly great with a side of frustration and annoyance. For most of my upbringing, I was in the second camp and occasionally slid into the first. What follows are seven suggestions for any PK that (as I learned, some at great expense) can help make Sunday mornings better.

  • Tuck your shirt in when mom tells you to. No, it doesn’t make you holier, but it does avoid a stupid fight. And you can just untuck it when you get to Sunday school anyhow.
  • If you haven’t already, take up coffee drinking. Start at home and keep it going all through church. There is no grief like the grief a PK takes for falling asleep in church.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night ThoughtsJust like most of the country, we are dealing with some strange mid-spring weather.  Yesterday during the half-marathon, we had sleet.  This was with an air temperature in the lower 40’s.  It was really strange, partly because the grass is growing fast with all the rain we have had lately.

While this is not new news – I do want to mention for those who read our blog that back in February we resigned our position at Parkway Wesleyan Church.  At first, we really didn’t know where God was leading and actually it was quite confusing.  Right now I am thankful for God’s sustaining grace.  I spoke a little about that during our last service at Waynesboro Wesleyan.  Pam and I have been helping our sister church across the valley for about a year and a half with a coffee-house style service.  I led the worship and there was a rotating mix of preachers.  Over the last few meetings, Pam and I have shared the load of the preaching duties.  I might try to get some of the notes up sometime this week.

So where are we going?  We don’t quite know yet.  We have been busy sending out resumes and making contacts throughout.  We would appreciate your prayers because this week we are heading up to the Central New York District to interview with a church.  We are excited about the possibilities of being the lead pastors there.  As we know more, I’ll let you know more about it and at some point, I may rename the blog again to reflect our new role.  But for the moment, we will leave it “Worshiping…in Spirit and in Truth.” I like that anyway – because even as the lead pastor, one of our jobs is to lead in worship.  In fact we are the lead worshiper.

This week has been a busy one – preping for the race – The Park-to-Part 1/2 Marathon.  Yesterday was a marathon day – racing in the morning – helping out at Chick-fil-A for the afternoon because we had several who were attending prom and then leading the music and preaching at Waynesboro Wesleyan last night.  Even today has been a full day and as I write I am waiting to pick up Anna from Cracker Barrel.

Tomorrow we pack – I hope to get in a little short run tomorrow and perhaps one while we are away.  Again we would appreciate your prayers as we seek God’s direction.

Carp Diem!

Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List Main

April 26, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Easter

Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Psalm 23
Songs of Worship
All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises
Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
Worship Through Prayer
Songs of Worship
O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
Because He Lives (Amen)
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
Song of Commitment
Higher Ground

Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Park to Park 1/2 Marathon

P10700262015 Edition of the Park to Park Half Marathon

This is my usual race wrap-up post.  This was my fourth and at least at the moment, my final Park to Park 1/2 Marathon.  That is contingent on where we might move and where God is leading us.  This race was best described as 12 miles of torture with 1.1 mile (the last 1.1 miles) of pure running joy.  This was not run under optimal conditions except for the no wind, cloudy, 40 + degree day.  Great conditions for running a race fast.  The odd thing during this race is that we encountered sleet – in Virginia — on the last Saturday of April – that was really weird.

For those of you not familiar with the Park to Park, it is a race organized by the Waynesboro Parks and Recreation Department.  They have a whole racing series that begins in February and ends in October and it is called Run the Valley.  They do a great job of organizing these races.  The Park to Park is their longest offering.  It is a 13 mile race – that seems mostly uphill, but run in the beautiful rolling countryside and pastureland of southern Augusta County.

Last year the unique event was the strong headwind on the last three miles of the course.  Thankfully we had none of that this year.  I will admit that I have struggled in my training this year and struggled quite a bit keeping the winter pounds off.  As I entered this race I had some hip issues and my chronic ankle issues.  If you’ve been following my posts, you know that most of my training runs have been between 9:05/mile and 9:45/mile paces.  Most of the race put me squarely in the 9:25/mile pace.  I’ll split it out at the bottom.  Like I’ve already mentioned the first 12 miles were tough.  But as I neared the 12 mile marker, I felt something – here – late in the race – I could feel my legs getting stronger and faster – it was hard to believe that I had struggled through an hour and 45 minutes and now things were coming into place.  I pushed hard and in that last 1.1 miles I was able to run an 8:47 pace – I will take that.  I don’t have any idea as to what caused that last push or second wind – perhaps the GU gel that I took at mile 9 that was generously provided by the race sponsors.

The real key to this race was perseverance – in the training and in the running – I just put myself into a place that when my body was ready to respond it did.  Here are the splits for this race:

Mile Time Split Pace
1 9:04 0:09:04 9:04
2 9:17 0:18:21 9:10
3 9:04 0:27:26 9:09
4 9:20 0:36:46 9:12
5 9:43 0:46:29 9:18
6 9:06 0:55:36 9:16
7 9:06 1:04:42 9:14
8 9:42 1:14:25 9:17
9 9:35 1:24:00 9:20
10 9:24 1:33:25 9:21
11 9:42 1:43:11 9:23
12 9:28 1:52:36 9:23
13 9:40 2:02:16 9:20

Pressing on!

The Lord Is My Shepherd

psalm-23-1-the-lord-is-my-shepherdFourth Sunday of Easter (April 26, 2015)

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

A Faithful Worship Leader

A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory.

Bob Kauflin

A Future Not My Own

“It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.’

*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener