Now We are in the Spin Zone

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the story this morning. I won’t comment on most of it, you can read the article yourself, but let me quote a portion:

Church spokesman Scott Link told the Orlando Sentinel that the Anthonys sanctioned the service after attending the church at Christmastime.

The questions asked to me: Why would the Anthony’s choose your church?

My answer: “I don’t know. I do know that they attended one of our Christmas programs, so they are familiar with the facility.”

While both are technically accurate, they are not exactly the same.

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Caylee Marie Anthony Memorial Service Tentatively Scheduled at Our Church

The local Fox station just announced that my church will host the Caylee Marie Anthony memorial service. An official time and date for the service will be announced later after more information is available.

We released a statement to the news media after getting calls about the service, and excerpt follows:

Dr. David Uth, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Orlando, offered the following statement:

“I believe God placed First Baptist Church of Orlando here in Central Florida to make a difference in this community, and to love this community. We believe our purpose is to be a lighthouse, especially in difficult and dark times. One of those times is now as we have all been saddened by the death of Caylee Anthony.

As a church, we want to provide hope, healing and the opportunity to experience God’s love. We believe that hosting the service will give us the opportunity to minister to a family in need and to a community that is hurting because of the loss of this precious child. “

Specific details about the service will be released as soon as additional information is available.

You can imagine the attention this service will get. The coverage running up to the service and the event itself will likely garner national attention.

If the Bucket has Holes, Should You Pour it Out?

Have you ever tried to keep a secret? Ever known something that couldn’t/shouldn’t be made public, but then watched as people started to leak the information out. Not on purpose, but in casual conversation they let something slip. Or maybe they call up a close friend to gossip… er, I mean share a prayer request.

Pretty much when 10 people know something, it’s getting out. It may leak out slowly, but it’s leaking. Anything in the bucket is getting out. From a public relations standpoint, with a piece of newsworthy information, how long do you let the water leak before you just dump the bucket? It is better to control the flow of information, but you have to take circumstances into consideration.

I know of a situation where someone was interviewing for another job. This person wanted to be the one to break the news of his impending departure to the close-knit team that worked with him. Sadly, because a couple people knew the guy was interviewing, and some other folks were just plain nosy, within a few days he found out that almost a dozen people at his job knew he was probably leaving. Amazingly, none of the people on his team knew. So, he told his boss he was going to break the news to them, so they would not hear it second hand. Once it got to 12 people, he knew it was a matter of time before someone got hurt because they found out from someone else. He chose to act then because he knew how the information was traveling, and knew what was at stake. He took a risk and told them even though he had not yet accepted another position.

With our PR question, you have to keep monitoring the situation until you know it’s about to break, or it’s the right time to release the information. Do not get panicked into letting the cat out of the bag, but if someone could get hurt, don’t wait too long.

Philosophy of Media Ministry

Media Ministry is an evolving aspect of the modern church. Every place I have ever served there were differences, but I find that my fundamental approach to media ministry applied: Media Ministry exists to facilitate, enhance, and extend the ministry of the church.

Let me quote an exceprt form the church’s communication page:

Without the mission and work of the New Testament church, media would have no ministry aspect. On its most basic level, media is simply a communication tool.

But, media is also a language of communication. People understand and expect messages to be encoded in media. Communication, both inside and outside with church, is more effective if media is used. In many ways, we are leveraging technology to help build the kingdom of God.

The media ministry of First Baptist Church of Orlando exists to facilitate, enhance, and extend the ministry of the church. Our goal is to use media to communicate truth as effectively as possible, to help people develop a passion for God, people, and service.

In our media driven culture, the use of technical media in church has taken on new importance. When people see large “TV” screens in the worship center, they expect the quality and content of a television show. The same can be applied to lighting and audio.

Where audio, video, and lighting were once simply to facilitate the services and activities of the church, we are now striving to enhance the worship of those attending, and to extend the ministry of the church through various broadcasts. Our broadcasts help us extend the ministry of this local body beyond our doors, and into people’s homes. 

As the world moves more and more toward media convergence, and the internet becomes a more critical component for future communication. Social networking, push technology, and dynamic content will be basic requirements for any website that wants return visitors.

The weekly bulletin is still a cornerstone of communication. It’s often the first thing a new person will read. As the world becomes more cluttered, and religion is pushed toward the margins of life, marketing and advertising, both in the church and out, has become a necessity

In the post-literate, post-modern world we find ourselves in, communications becomes an integral part in helping spread the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and making disciples.

Selfishness

I am not a fan of selfish people. 

I recently had a day where I had to either give input to or write messages to people that were just being selfish. Something at church had changed, and they didn’t like it. Forget about whether the change was for the better, or that God had led leadership to make it, something different made them unhappy. Maybe we stopped doing something they liked. Or we added something they didn’t.

purpose

I wanted to simply tell them to grow up, or go re-read the first sentence in Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” But I didn’t. I patiently explained why we did what we did. I explained how we came to the decision, and what it accomplished in the overall vision of ministry. I hope that the message got through.

Sadly, it’s these selfish complainers, who cannot get past their own comfort and familiarity, that can drain the life out of ministry. Instead of focusing on the call God has placed on your life, you must placate people that should know better. They should know that their comfort matters little when faced with work of eternal significance. 

We spent too many hours trying to craft the best way to communicate with people that have too much trouble seeing around their blinders. I don’t want to say it was time wasted, because some might come around. But it felt like time wasted.

I have to trust that the effort we put in were not in vain.

Because we Can, or Because we Should?

[ported from ripechurch.com]

I think this question should be in every minister’s vocabulary. I will speak to it regarding use of media, but every area of ministry should ask it of every new idea.

How many times does a new idea come up, and get implemented simply because we have the resources to do it? The conversation normally starts like this, “Hey, I just visited this other church and they did something so cool…” Then, because it’s new and cool, we move forward and do it, without first ever examining whether it is a good idea or our own congregation, for our own culture, for our own community.

So, what’s the big deal, If we have the resources to do it anyway? When we devote resources, time, money, or energy to work that is unnecessary and ineffective we rob those resources from work that is better suited for our mission and ministry.

I know churches that have thrown money and time away in order to do a TV ministry simply because they thought big churches should do it. No one had a vision for extending the ministry of the church through TV, they just wanted to make it happen. How many infrequently updated podcasts are out there, with poor production and content, simply because hip churches do web streaming? With no passion for the work and no calling from God to pursue it, is it any wonder the work fails?

Doing things because we can is a bad thing. Are we doing what we should be doing in our ministry to fulfill our mission? Stop wasting time on the rest.

Bare Wire Ministry

[ported from ripechurch.com]

How insulated are you?

A relationship with Christ is like an electric current, but if we keep it insulated, no one else can feel it. It’s time to strip the insulation away. Get out of our protective covering and take a chance.

As Christians, we can easily become insulated from the world we are trying to reach, especially if we work at a church. Before we know it we have surrounded ourselves with only Christian stuff and people. There’s nothing wrong with Christian people and stuff, unless they get in the way of reaching the people who don’t know Christ.

When was the last time you got out of the office, got past the barriers between yourself and the world, and met someone that wouldn’t come to your office? When is the last time you made a friend that didn’t go to your church?

How? How do you break free from the sheath that covers?

The answer is not another church program. The answer is a church with a mind to reach the world. Don’t be “of” the world, but be in it! Get out of the nightly event schedule, and go interact with people.

One way is to seek out people who share the same interests as you do. What are your hobbies? Don’t have any? Get some! Join a book club. Build models. Bake. Play video games. Get a bike. Join a gym. Put yourself into clubs and organizations that are not Christian based, and meet people.

Find a way to electrify the world. Try bare wire ministry.

By the way…

I am going to bring over a few posts from another blog I wrote for, mainly because I want to jumpstart some content on this one. Those posts will bear the disclaimer: ported from ripechurch.com.