Big Weekend Coming

27 08 2010

Months ago we began planning at Hope.  The idea was a type of “Friendship Sunday” – where the congregation is encouraged to bring a friend to church with them.  That name sounded very 1970’s so we landed on the in-house name of “The Big Weekend”.  (I got the idea from Nelson Sersey’s book, “Ignite” where he calls it the “Big Day”.  And finally we made it our own by calling it, “Extending Hope Weekend”.   We wanted to take this to a new level. 

1.  We set a goal of doubling the attendance.  We are a church for the unchurched and are always looking for ways to reach out to as many folks as possible in the community who might have given up on church.   This would mean 14,000 total for the weekend and if that happens we are in deep trouble with parking — that is unless people come at our less traditional times of 5:30 on Saturday and 8:00 AM on Sunday.  We are praying for 10,000 and if God blesses us with more, He will have to help us out.

2.  We wanted to have a special guest who would be a part of our regular worship.  A mistake some churches make is to bring in all the bells and whistles — with dancing dogs and pyrotechnics — and blow the doors off.  But the problem is that people will come back the following week and it will be a huge letdown.  Therefore, we wanted to have something very special but presented in such a way that people will experience what we do EVERY week at Hope.  Okay, the cool thing is that we got Amy Grant to come and join us.  She is a long-time friend of our worship leader, Bruce Carroll so he extended the invitation and she accepted.  We are pumped.

3.  We prepared the people of Hope through a 3 week series entitled, “Dare to Invest in Others”.  The first week we focused on prayer.  We encouraged folks to start praying for the friends and family members they would invite for the weekend.  We also put the teaser out there that we would be having a special guest joining us for the weekend.  The second week focused on making the move to share with others pointing to Christ as he called his disciples and how God called us.  The third week focused on making the invite to others as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:18-20).   And this Monday we announced via email and Web that Amy was coming. 

4.  In wanting our people to invite and pick up their friends (to add a personal touch and to address the parking crunch issue), we came up with the idea of asking local restaurants to offer a discount for our people that weekend.  We are listing about 25 local restaurants in a bulletin insert that can be taken to one of the restaurants for a deal on their meal. 

5.  Another cool element is Amy’s involvement with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and especially Target House.  We will be highlighting Target House in our foyer during the weekend. 

We are praying like crazy for a great weekend — that God will bring together who He wants to be here and that it will be a life-changing encounter with Christ.


Family Movie Night

30 04 2009

sde_freemovniteWe  hosted one of the locations for the Dave Ramsey “Town Hall for Hope” last week.  It was a great evening with some good encouragment.  One other thing that we are doing to try to help families out at this time is to offer free movie nights at Hope.  We already have over 2000 hot dogs ordered for the evening.  I do not know how many bodies will be here to eat those hot dogs but it looks like we are meeting a need.  Should be a blast!!!

A Shining Example

2 04 2009


We are having a funeral today for a wonderful man — Frank Braden.  Frank passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 82.  What makes his death significate in the life of Hope Church is that he was the first adult batism here at Hope.  This was way back in 1988.  Frank is a shining example of why we do what we do as a church.

My brother told this story at our staff meeting today about how Frank came to church —- Frank was your classic unchurched person.  He had not been to church in years and had absolutely no desire to waste his time on a Sunday morning sitting around with strangers being bored out of his mind.

He had a woman who worked for him who kept asking him to come to Hope and he kept saying no.  In desperation she said, “Just do one thing for me and I will never ask you to do anything.”  He said, “What’s that?”  “Just come to church with me once, and I will not bug you again.”  Frank reluctantly came, and it completely changed his life.  He found a group of real people how loved him and accepted him right where he was.  Ultimately, he found Christ.  Today at the funeral there were no family members present — he had outlived them all.  But family was there — his family of faith here at Hope.

Frank, we will miss you, but know for sure that we continue to reach out to people who are just like you were some twenty years ago.

Community or Die — Your Choice!!

13 10 2008

I listened to this great message by John Ortberg; well, I think most of them are pretty great, but this one was exceptional.  It was on the importance of community and entitled, “Every Life Needs a Cheering Section”.  I loved the following quote:

“Robert Putnam, (from his book Bowling Alone) …. wrote,

‘As a rough rule of thumb, if you belong to no groups but you decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.’

Isn’t that remarkable? Anybody here not interested in cutting your risk of dying in half?  That’s why the new model for our small groups ministry is, ‘JOIN A GROUP OR DIE!!’ Just something kind of uplifting about that one.”

That is great!!!  We are looking to have a marked increase in our groups as we try this new strategy.

Check out the whole message in written form (what other top shelf communicator posts his sermons in transcript form?) or listen here.