Friday, November 20, 2009

what is success...

The average church size in the United States is 90 people.

-The Barna Group

Think about that for a minute. 90 people. The Edge is 5 times that. MBC as a whole is more than 100 times that.

I think we sometimes have a tendancy to take for granted what God is doing at The Edge and McLean Bible Church. We forget that most churches would be blown away to have 400 people come one week, let alone every week.

The temptation when you start getting big can be to measure success in terms of numbers. An event wasn’t a success because it only had 200 people instead of 400. Or it was a success because there were 1000 people there.

But success is more than numbers. Success is more personal than that. God isn’t impressed just because we had 500 people at an Edge service or 2000 people at a 9:00 Tysons campus service. He’s impressed by life change and devotion to Him. Success is about individual people. God is more impressed by a church of 90 people totally devoted to Him than He is by 10,000 who are just meeting together for fun on a Sunday morning.

(As a disclaimer, that’s not a slam on “big church”. I know there are many totally devoted people there).

So how do you measure success of The Edge? Is it measured in good music and fun lights? Or is it in the hearts of the people there?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

thoughts on a Christmas sketch...

This comes for a conversation with someone who is designing a "Blue Christmas" service to honor and give voice to grief during the holiday. Just my initial thoughts...
I definitely like the votive candle idea. Linking the remembrance of the loved one-then linking it to the true Light (message of Christmas). We tend to get wrapped up in all the busy-ness of the season and forget what it is really all about.
I envision someone sitting and starting to tearfully unwrap all the Christmas ornaments, and being unable to deal with the Santa's, elves and shiny stuff for the tree. Then opening the box with the Nativity crèche and a single candle, while reflecting on the meaning of Christmas and talking about how (grandpa) loved the story of the birth of Christ and all it's true meaning, as they set up the crèche on a small table.
As they talk through their emotions, they link the remembrance of their loved one to the candle and to the meaning of Christmas. They light the candle saying something like..."this is all I really need this year. Happy birthday, Jesus. Merry Christmas grandpa."
Then close one of the other boxes and walk off stage
Then have people come and light a votive candle and leave taking the (takeaway gift).
For the remaining Sundays until Christmas, simply have a single lit votive candle on the alter or stage, along with whatever else you are decorating with. Those people will know.