Churches across the country are gearing up for Easter Sunday, the church’s most-attended day after Christmas. This year, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, many church leaders are scrambling to celebrate in new ways. According to data from Barna Group’s Church Pulse Weekly poll reported in the Church Pulse Weekly Podcast with David Kinnaman and Carey Nieuhof on April 6, 2020, 57% of churches say they’ll livestream Easter services, 25% say they’ll pre-record and then broadcast services, and 9% say they’ll host an outdoor service with social distancing. Though leaders may feel ill-prepared to celebrate Easter in new ways, people may be riper than ever to hear the message of hope. In a Wall Street Journal article titled, “A Coronavirus Great Awakening?” author Robert Nicholson, writes, “Could a plague of biblical proportions be America’s best hope for religious revival? As the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, there is reason to think so.” More so than ever in our lifetimes, the Church may have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people with the gospel message of salvation and hope. In this article, we’ll explore who typically attends church on Easter, and how we can prepare for them in the context of a digital experience.
What will it take for the church to regain its place in the center of our culture? I posed this question in a panel discussion with three visionary leaders: Tom Elenbaas, Harbor Churches; Mark Jobe, New Life Community Church; and Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church. (You can see the full conversation here.)
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Healthy churches are led by leaders who are intentional about coaching up and leading others on their team. But how do pastors do this well? In Tom Verducci’s classic book, The Cubs Way, he chronicles the team’s owner Tom Ricketts’s acquisition of Theo Epstein to head all baseball operations, the subsequent construction of the team, and manager Joe Maddon’s leadership style, which he calls his “13 Core Principles Of Managing.”
When Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategy for Generis, guides leaders on how to inspire true, transformational giving in their church, she uses a “ham or eggs” model to illustrate the difference between transactional and transformational giving. Bullock discusses the high cost of output-focused giving. You can read about this in Part 1 of this two-part blog series on inspiring total generosity in your church. Instead of focusing solely on outputs (amounts and/or percentages of giving) when it comes to giving in your church, leaders should focus their people on the heart condition and place of all givers who are exploring and growing in their own discipleship journey. In this post, Bullock identifies five types of givers and how to celebrate generosity as part of their overall discipleship journey.
Julie Bullock, Senior Generosity Strategist for Generis, likes to talk about giving in terms of ham and eggs. “It’s the notion that when the pig produces the ham, there is a total transformation that happens,” she explains. “The pig is never the same. You can't get the pig back to its original form. For the pig, it was a total commitment.
What is context in your community? What surrounds your church? Are you in the inner city? Are you in an affluent suburb? Do you have major employers that have moved to town or have moved from town? Is there a big plant closing? What are your demographics? Are you in Jerusalem or Judea or Samaria, or are you the end of the earth? Your context is what surrounds you. It is your culture.
In my article, “A Formula for Navigating Change at Church,” I share a tried and true pattern to help leaders discern if their church has the right components to effectively guide their congregation through change. Once church leaders have processed how the Change Formula applies in their environment, leaders often ask, “What can I do to take my church through change? What are the needed skills and competencies I should be focused on?”
When President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law in December of 2017, church leaders wondered about the new law’s implications for ministry in 2018 and beyond. In particular, would the substantial increase in the standard deduction affect pledges for capital campaigns and overall giving?
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). At Aspen Group, we have much to be thankful this year. We’re grateful to be fulfilling our mission—creating space for ministry impact—with a variety of churches in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and beyond.
Whether you're considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process. The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well. For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive's new site in Westfield, Indiana. In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including: How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made? On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you'll be well prepared for this year's event.