Friday, April 3, 2009

Best Email I Ever Read

Below I have copied the best email I have ever read. It is from our Director of Worship Arts, Bill Gates as he explains to key leaders what is happening at Charter Oak Church this Easter. It's long, but it's good. Way to go, Bill!

I want to make sure we're all on the same page when it comes to the Easter sermon series that Chris will be preaching. It's called "You Don't Have What It Takes". The sermon titles for this series are:

April 11/12 (Easter): "You Aren't Good Enough" Satan tells us we're worthless. God shows us our worth to Him through His sacrifice and triumph over sin and death. This is a great Easter message, but also deals with letting Satan beat us down and distort a true Scriptural view of ourselves through God's eyes.

April 18/19: "You Can't Handle It All" This is about stress, and how life tends to pile more and more stuff onto us, mainly because we believe our worth is found in more and more productivity, accomplishing more and more, and in the process, losing sight of what's truly important for us.

April 25/26: "You Can't Please Everyone" Don't we spend so much time trying to live up to others' expectations of us, and usually falling short? Instead, we should find out what God's plan for us is, and get busy doing that.

May 2/3: "You Can't Control the Future" Fear and uncertainty can mire us, and keep us from moving forward. We need to trust God for all that we cannot know, and in faith, do the next right thing as God leads.

Folks, this promises to be a GREAT series. It has a great Easter message, but at the same time, delivers a message that even unchurched folks can dig into. Who doesn't feel inadequate, or fearful about the future? Who doesn't wrestle with stress and the pressure to succeed? Who hasn't tried, unsuccessfully, to please those people in our lives who are important to us?

For that reason, this series is an "invest and invite" series - that is, we're targeting this series to be one that the people of Charter Oak Church invite their unchurched friends and family members to. I can't stress this enough! How often have you heard Chris talk about the 33,000 unchurched folks within a 5-mile radius? Well, this series is one of 2 or 3 series/year that we're targeting for invitation, so we can make a serious dent in that number.

The goal of the series is to give EVERYBODY who attends something to take home with them that will be of applicable use. The goal is to not overwhelm visitors with deeply theological concepts, while at the same time not "watering down" the Gospel message of Easter, and of God's desires and plans for us. You promise to invite people. We, as the staff of Charter Oak Church, promise not to overwhelm them or make them sorry they came.

To that end, this series has a "circus" theme to it. The CLC will be decorated to suggest that we're in a big circus tent. There will be a clown meandering through the lobby (not doing any tricks, just being there and greeting people). There will be balloon animals for the kids, between services. There will be a stilt/unicycle/juggler fellow outside between services. The schedule for these 'acts' is:

Easter: No acts at all
April 18/19: Balloon animals
April 25/26: Helium balloons
May 2/3: juggler/stilt/unicycle guy

All acts are between services, and will not distract in any way from what goes on in the CLC.

The snacks in common ground will be the usual fare, but with the addition of peanuts, or popcorn, or cotton candy, etc. Circus food.

First impressions people (greeters, information center folks, parking team) will all be wearing a SINGLE item of clown-wear - stuff like a big nose, or big sunglasses, or bigneckties or bowties, a bowler hat, etc.

And here's where you come in! You're part of the first impressions ministry, so we'd like each of you to wear ONE clown element as described above. Whatever you're comfortable with. Of course, if you're opposed to that, you needn't wear one. But if possible, we'd like the ushers to carry through the circus theme like the rest of the first impressions folks are. We have big neckties coming... Those might be good for you folks. :-)

Lastly, some of you might be wrestling with the idea of church with a circus theme. I hope to be able to explain our philosophy here. It's two-fold. First, we will preach the Gospel, and the truth of the Scriptures, this Easter, as well as every other weekend in the year. Second, we WILL reach the unchurched around us, and we will WOW them with how we do church at Charter Oak Church. They'll come and hear God's Word for them. All of us, churched and unchurched alike, will take home principles we can apply to our lives, no matter what station of life we're in. But additionally, those who aren't attending church will be greeted in a friendly manner, and impressed and challenged and even surprised by how we do church. Church can both honor the God of the Universe, AND be fun. That's what we're striving for. There are many reasons people don't attend church, but I doubt one of them is that it's just too exciting.

I truly hope you all are on-board with this. It's an all-out attack against the gates of the enemy. Take part and make this series unforgettable for all who pass through the doors. Invite people. It could very well be life-changing for them.

God is blessing Charter Oak Church. We're growing. I've never been so excited about a church in my life. I love my work here. I love the people here. In spite of the economy, giving is strong. God is calling us to new areas of ministry that will reach people like never before in this region. It's THRILLING! I hope you feel it too!


Jeffrey said...

Ok, that is the best email I have ever read as well. I love how you guys have the "think outside of the box" mentality when it comes to the environment around worship. But, all that other stuff doesn't interfere with the actual message. This is great stuff!

Jeffrey Fearer