Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christian Theme Park

Last week I visited the Holy Land Experience in Orlando. It's a Christian theme park that's been lampooned in the media - it even made an appearance of sorts on the Simpsons.

Actually it isn't bad at all. It's educational and I learned quite a bit. It's more like a glorified museum than a theme park. $35 gets you in. I saw what interested me in 3 hours:

1. Wilderness Tabernacle. You sit in a dark room and learn about the Old Testament Tabernacle, watching an actor dressed like a priest explain the details and rituals in a huge replica.

2. The Scriptorium. I love old stuff [I have a page from a 1618 KJV Bible framed on the wall] so I really liked this. It's an hour long guided tour through an elaborately decorated museum filled with actual old Bibles, as well as the history of how the Bible was preserved through the years. Most interesting was the "Martyr's Bible" with blood stains on it - some guy was killed for owning an English Bible translation. I didn't realize what a big, dangerous deal it was for Tyndale to translate the Bible into English [as explained by a quite realistic Disneyesque audio-animatronic version of Tyndale.]

3. Jerusalem Model. My favorite part of the Holy Land Experience was the miniature model of Jerusalem, based on the time when Jesus was crucified. It fills a large room. A tour guide stands near the side of the model and explains it... historical events, the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, etc. I can't believe what a small town Jerusalem was in those days - only a mile by 2/3's of a mile! I now have a mental picture of where everything happened and I'm looking forward to making my way through the Gospels again this year.

If you want an afternoon break from roller coasters and mouse ears while you're in Orlando [and don't have easily bored kids or teenagers] try the Holy Land Experience.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What's Up With Leadership?

Lately I've been hearing the worst stories about moronic elders/deacons completely screwing up churches. The underpaid, unappreciated staff who actually does the work of the church gets burned out under the nutty "leadership." Meanwhile, the congregation is left scratching their heads, wondering why the staff has quit and people stop coming to the church.

Yoo hoo, congregations and pastors: here's a wake up call. Lawyers, doctors and other people with money are not necessarily the best candidates for church leadership. Spirit-led people are the best candidates for church leadership!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Walmart Effect 2

Last week continued the thought of my article. Join in the discussion and read my additional comments.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The WalMart Effect

A quick update...

Back in June I wrote a blog called "The Next Big Thing" which described the new multi-site video church concept.

As of right now [late October 2006], only 4 months later, Andy Stanley's church network now has a partner church in Greenville that shows videos of his preaching.

The 7,000+ NewSpring Church in nearby Anderson is looking for property to build their first video venue here in Greenville.

A Greenville megachurch of over 5,000 is planning their first video venue.

Another Greenville megachurch of over 2,000 is in the exploratory stages of creating their first video venue.

Like I said in the first article, what will happen if [or when] Rick Warren plants a church in your town? Suddenly, I'll bet the battles over the color of your carpet, or whether you do enough hymns will matter that much in the face of fierce competition by a megachurch on the move.

Which church do you think your average visitor would rather go to: a church that allows off-pitch Aunt Sally to sing solos, or a mega church with standards? [By the way, you don't have to be a megachurch to have standards.]

In other words, churches, get over your dumb, ingrown habits and start getting serious about your mission. Or you're going to go out of business.

If all this is happening in little old Greenville, your town is next.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Time Capsule

I took a trip to the past last Sunday. Remember when Brooklyn Tab was all the rage? I think every choir in America had a copy of "He's Been Faithful" in the early 90's.

Funny, when something was "it," that something tends to stay "it," thinking that it's still "it." Brooklyn Tab is still doing what it did back then. Same lush orchestrations. Same quasi-jazz chords. Same template of quiet opening, with soloist, then a great big choir ending. It was wonderful and all, very touching, just like it was back in 1991. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Lots of suits and ties, so I felt kinda weird in my jeans. I would imagine a visitor off the street would feel weird, too. Now I remember why I like the fact that contemporary churches typically don't dress up.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My American Idol Experience

I just got back tonight from the American Idol tryouts in Birmingham. No, I'm too old to audition - I went with Seacoast worship leader Chris Sligh [he wrote the Communion Song you can download.]

What an experience! Chris had to be at the BJCC Coliseum by 5am, along with thousands of other contestants and friends. Crowds were estimated to be 8,000 to 12,000. After waiting in line for a few hours he finally entered the building and took his assigned seat. He didn't audition for over four more hours!

The entire bottom half of the Coliseum was filled with people. Section by section, contestants were lined up to take their turn. There were 14 booths, each with 2 judges who judged 4 contestants at a time. Each vocalist was asked to sing about 30 seconds of a song.

Even though Chris is a really great vocalist he's flunked the past two seasons of Idol auditions. He decided he needed some sort of quirky gimmick to get himself through so he grew out his naturally curly hair into an afro. Hilariously, that's what seems to have won this round for him - people told him all day that they "loved his hair." The judge complemented him on his "great look" [as well as his vocal talent] and predicted he'll make it all the way to Hollywood. The music biz is all about the image, folks!

Chris was handed the coveted yellow paper [signifying his triumph] and walked out as the crowd applauded. Judges are picky this year and few were chosen - guesses are not even 300 people were chosen for the next round, so it's quite an honor that Chris made it.

Here's how it works: anyone who makes it past the first round is either really great or really terrible. This round is basically meant to weed out the mediocre middle [although I watched the judges pass on a terrific young singer a la Paris Bennet... people in the crowd actually yelled out in protest "you should have kept her!!"]

In the next round Chris will have to audition before the show's executive producers [the big wig$ who own the show.] If he makes it through he'll then go before Simon, Paula and Randy. Then, hopefully, on to Hollywood where fame and fortune await.

Check out Chris's official website:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Journey Church

>This week's WorshipIdeas is by Chris Surratt, campus pastor of Seacoast Greenville. He and I both love to visit other churches when we can - here's his account of Journey Church in Manhattan. Read his blog at:

My family and I recently took a week of vacation and headed up to New York to do some major sight-seeing. Since we were going to be there over a weekend, we decided to do my favorite tourist activity - check out another church! Being a pastor for a living, I don't get the opportunity to see other churches very often, so it’s always a treat when I can. We decided to attend the Journey Church in the middle of Manhattan. I had been able to connect with their Executive Pastor, Kerrick Thomas, at our Multi-Site Conference in Charleston, and I really wanted to see what they were doing.

The Journey Church was launched in 2002 by Nelson Searcy, who had been on staff at Saddleback Church in CA. In 4 years, they have grown to over 2000 people and are launching their second site in Jersey City next month! All of this while meeting in a 7th floor ballroom on 31st street in Manhattan. It was the first church that I have been to that had a greeter on the elevator! We first stopped off on the 6th floor to drop our kids off for their kid’s church. The children’s volunteers were extremely friendly and walked us through the process of signing our kids in and finding their class. However, this was our first indication that their congregation is extremely young - there weren’t enough kids in my oldest daughter’s class, so they put her in with the little tots. She wasn't thrilled about that!

Our next stop was the auditorium on the next floor up. It was a very large, ornate ballroom that occasionally hosts boxing matches on Friday nights. The majority of the chairs were taped off, forcing us to find a seat towards the front. As more people entered the room, they would "un-tape" another row. This really helped the crowd dynamics, and filled up the normally empty front rows first.

The service started off with a very well done baptism highlights video that promo'd their upcoming beach baptism in a couple of weeks. The band then kicked into a cover of Tom Petty’s "Free Falling" that served the purpose of bringing the people in and getting them to their seats. When we first sat down, the seats were mostly empty. By the time the first song was over, the room was almost full. They then went into a few songs of rocking’ worship led by their worship arts pastor, Jason Hatley. I thought it was interesting that Jason led the entire set with an electric guitar.

Kerrick then came out and announced that because the message that morning was on getting out debt, they were going to give $1000 dollars to someone in that service to go towards their debt! Being that they are in the middle of the most expensive place to live in America, this announcement was well received. Nelson then came on stage and gave a good message on the basics of getting out of debt. He was able to use a personal example of how his family was able to crawl out of debt - after moving to Manhattan five years ago! At the end of the message, they brought out a guy who had just become a member and talked about the next opportunity for membership. This was a great idea for putting a face on a normally boring announcement. At the very end of the hour long service, they had a drawing on stage for the $1000 debt winner.

Over all, we really enjoyed our experience. They are obviously making a large dent in one of the highest un- churched areas in the country!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Postmodern Stations

A few weeks ago I talked about how Seacoast Church is doing the new postmodern stations thing [read "Postmodern Path" below.]

What's so new about Communion and prayer? Here's what: Seacoast's version is optional and interactive.

The modern service order is linear - announcements, music, offertory, sermon - insert whatever - all in a straight chronological line. Everyone is experiencing the same thing, together, simultaneously.

The postmodern mind is different. Think of a teenager listening to his iPod, doing homework and watching TRL [MTV's Total Request Live] all at the same time. This mindset can multitask, and in fact, would prefer to multitask. We live in an overstimulated age and a one-track mind can be boring.

While the Seacoast service is mainly linear, there is a portion that isn't. During this portion of the service, a person can choose to do one, none, some or all of the following:

1. Participate in congregational singing.
2. Move to a station to receive Communion.
3. Move to a station to make an offering.
4. Move to a station and pray with leadership.
5. Move to a station, say a prayer and light a candle as a symbol of that prayer.
6. Move to a station, write a prayer concern [sin, healing, etc.] on a piece of paper and nail it to a cross.

Here's how the current service order looks:

>5 minute countdown video.
>2 upbeat worship songs.
>welcome, announcements.
>3-4 songs or hymns, during which you may participate in any or all of the 6 options above.

Church. It's not just for sitting anymore.

See pics of the Seacoast Greenville stations at my new Flickr page:

Postmodern Path blog entry:

Blended worship on a budget. is the best sheet music value on the Internet. Download a free contemporary hymn arrangement.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Want to visit a cutting edge church to recharge your creative batteries? How about Saddleback? Status quo. Mosaic? Overrated. Willow Creek? They had their heyday in the late 90's.

Surprisingly, I found the most innovative church I've *ever* visited not in a major metropolitan area like LA or Chicago, but in Oklahoma City, of all places. is simply the most amazing church I've ever experienced.

With 9 campuses (one is virtual!) has a combined weekly attendance of 17,000 people. It's one of these video church networks I've been talking about lately.

Greg Atkinson and I visited the South OKC campus first, then caught the second service at the main campus north of town. Each location has 6 service options.

Unlike other video churches that operate on a delay (perhaps playing the sermon on video or DVD,) LifeChurch simulcasts the services live to all their campuses. Each campus has its own band, worship leader and campus pastor. The music may vary, but when the sermon begins, what you see is what's happening at each campus.

LifeChurch really puts effort and $$ into their plants - I actually liked the auditorium of the south satellite better than the main location. The children's facilities are top-notch... Disneyesque, actually [see pics, link below.] The signage, decor, coffee and bookshop are all first rate.

What sets apart, though, is the overwhelming sense that these people know what they're doing, and it's not in the typical 2nd rate church way.

Like most seeker churches, the emphasis here seems to be on the sermon. The music was wonderful and more participatory than similar seeker churches, but not really long enough to satisfy those with a worship bent. I heard some Starfield songs as well as a rocked-up version of Lakewood's "You Are Good."

The sermon [although I wonder if that word really can describe what's happening here] is where I connected. It was the most meaningful God experience I've had in a long, long time.

What made it so meaningful was a skillful, artful blend of a movie clip and pastor Craig Groeschel's talk. This week's theme was "At the Movies" and featured clips from the recent Johnny Cash flick that highlighted his tough childhood and his eventual turn to Christ [quite a solid testimony.]

Most pastors integrate a video by preaching a sermon point then announcing "watch this clip!" Here's what was genius about LifeChurch: I sometimes couldn't tell when the movie clip stopped and the preaching started - it was that seamless and professional.

Craig's sermon points were previously filmed at different locations... a cemetery... an old house... it wasn't just a talking head at a pulpit. He usually preaches live and is broadcast live, although this particular week the entire sermon was recorded.

One of my favorite moments of the service was a clip of Johnny and June making their way to an old country church and a choir could be heard in the background singing a hymn. The clip transitioned to Craig wrapping up his sermon, but you could still hear the audio of the choir, which slowly faded into silence. It was almost like watching a documentary. And unlike many seeker churches, I heard solid stuff - talk of sin, repentance and a need for Christ. The south location reported over 200 professions of faith last month.

Check out my pics from the trip, link below. But before I sign off, a few quick impressions:

1. Coordinating graphics are a subtle clue that a ministry has it together. Their fonts aren't cheesy. Colors match and are used throughout the ministry, everywhere from coffee shop signage to seat colors and decor. Notice the cool font used for lyrics [see pics, link below.]

2. I saw some very unique signage - words projected on the hallway walls [see pics, link below.]

3. The guy running the song lyrics was singing along.

4. The stage lighting was exciting and appropriate. I counted at least 10 robot lights.

5. A brilliant use of the Internet. The .tv Internet domain suffix is rarely used, so they probably have it all to themselves! An upcoming sermon series is at, and is a takeoff of similar, popular website. I'll bet they register a new domain for every new sermon series!

6. Keep an ear out for new worship leader Stephen Cole - I'm sure you'll be hearing more about him in the future. He's the freshest, most engaging worship leader I've seen in some time - a great vocalist and guitar player. Stephen is the worship pastor at the main campus in Oklahoma City.

7. Instead of a keyboard pounding "Just As I Am," a movie score orchestration faded in as a backdrop to Craig's sermon wrap up (invitation.) The orchestration was probably taken from a commercial stock music library, but the effect was absolutely beautiful and added weight to what Craig was saying. Props to a church that can rock, but isn't afraid to use some classy music.

Visit their extraordinary website:

See pics from my visit at my new Flickr page:

Ever dream of a praise set that flows seamlessly from one song to another? Music is the glue that ties your praise songs together, but some classically trained keyboardists have trouble improvising. can help, with simple keychanges and underscores. Download a free sample.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Postmodern Path

A few weeks ago I talked about a new phase of my life - I'm now working with the music team of Seacoast Church here in Greenville. You can read more about it at this blog.

At my first staff meeting, campus pastor Chris Surratt announced that the Seacoast campuses were going to make a big change - head pastor
Greg Surratt wanted to implement prayer, Communion and offering stations into the worship.

I was so excited I nearly jumped out of my chair. After reading Dan Kimball's "
The Emerging Church" a few years ago I became interested in this new wave of worship and thought it would meet a need in the Greenville area. A big rule in marketing is to find a need and meet it - and since no church that I know of in Greenville is doing the stations thing, why shouldn't we be the first?

Greg takes a few weeks off each summer, and last year he visited many of the leading postmodern ministries in the country. He felt that God was nudging him to help the people of Seacoast experience a richer, more involved time of worship.

It's rare that a pastor of a megachurch would be willing to rock the boat and try something so radically new, but I suspect that's why Seacoast is as successful as it is - they're not afraid of new things.

The first Sunday, Greg reported that the new format was a hit - he witnessed a shift from a few people participating to hundreds. Since the main campus is a week ahead of the rest of us, we saw the results the following Sunday. The beauty of the stations concept is that people can choose to actively participate (or not) by moving forward to take Communion, give their offering or have prayer, all options during the praise set. I'll describe these stations in more detail in the future.

Now that we're having Communion every week we're keeping an ear out for more Communion-ish worship songs. Chris Sligh, one of the talented worship leaders here in Greenville has written a fantastic Communion song. I don't know why this guy doesn't have a record deal yet - he wrote the music and lyrics, sings on the demo like a Nashville session singer and played the guitars on my track. It's my first collaboration with a Seacoast artist, and you can download a free mp3 and lead sheet here:

Worship leader, visit and learn how your Internet connection can make your life easier. It's a paid website with over 100 practical articles about contemporary worship as well as weekly resource links and downloads.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Preparation Makes Perfect

This week's WorshipIdea original appeared in the 08.12.03 issue. Read the entire archive of past issues at the paid website

As I've said before, it seems everyone and their brother is starting a contemporary worship service. Unfortunately, I've heard that many of these new services are failing. Often the reason is poor planning and execution.

Here are two key points to consider if you're involved with praise and worship:

1. Plan ahead. I can't believe it when I hear of churches that meet thirty minutes before the service and throw together a song set.

A well known worship leader states that he never plans his worship song set. Rather, he has a list of all the songs his congregation knows, and he keeps this list on his music stand during worship to jog his memory. Then he lets the Spirit move.

While there's nothing wrong with this free-flowing method, I'm sure a worship leader of his stature can attract the finest musicians in town. Frankly, you'd need top musicians to pull off a service like this - musicians who know the songs by heart or can sight-read a chart perfectly. Pretty unrealistic for you and me, unless you want to lead worship all by yourself - strumming your guitar or accompanying yourself on the keyboard.

Remember, the more you plan, the more people can be involved. Flying by the seat of your pants (or skirt) can often result in a musical train wreck. Multiple train wrecks tend to make people in the congregation think you don't know what you're doing. If the service isn't worth planning, maybe it isn't worth attending.

Planning ahead gives you time to work out your praise set like a puzzle, fitting songs together in a perfect flow. It also makes your rehearsals more efficient, which leads me to my next point:

2. Rehearse. I'm also surprised at the number of churches that don't have a rehearsal! Rehearsals give you time to prepare both musically and spiritually for the coming Sunday.

If you're doing the praise team thing with 3-6 vocalists, I recommend having a separate vocal and band rehearsal. Each group has their own problems, and I'd rather concentrate on one group at a time. Then, put the whole thing together during your pre-service run-through. If you have just a worship leader and a background vocalist or two, let them rehearse with the band.

Your musicians might balk at rehearsing. Rehearsals are a must if you want to succeed with a quality worship service, so don't back down. However, people need to know your reasoning if you expect them to give you their valuable time.

Try making a deal with your musicians. First tell them your strategy: that you believe rehearsing will only improve the music and bring about a better worship experience for the congregation. Careless goof-ups distract people from connecting with God, whereas smooth transitions help usher them into His presence. Ask them if they'll try rehearsing for a month. When they see the positive results - better blend and a tighter band - they'll be more apt to become committed team members.

Blended worship on a budget. is the best sheet music value on the Internet. Download a free contemporary hymn arrangement.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


This week's WorshipIdea is by Tom Lane, and was an article in the excellent Christian mag "Worship Musician Magazine." I recommend this practical magazine and subscribe to it myself: subscribers receive a 20% discount off the subscription:

Two things I remember from very early in my life, one is I loved my music and two, my identity was heavily attached to it. It was a challenge any time someone else got promoted or was praised besides me. I felt less than for some reason, funny how it starts early on.

Later I learned there's so much talent in this big world and how sad if my worth is based on a comparison to any other. A friend who's a legendary guitar player in his own right helped change that for me. He would stop in mid performance as if he was amazed at something I played or look at me across the stage with such affirmation and praise in his expression. It floored me because I knew in truth he was the amazing talent. What I realized is that it didn't cost him anything to acknowledge and build me up. It made him stand out all the more and freed me to do the same with other players, feeling good about just being the best me I can.

We each can take steps to move over and make room for those around us. It's a good practice and helps us to see who we are more honestly. It may be hard to prefer someone or pass an opportunity along that will lift another's spirit but it will always come back to you! Give these a try if you haven't already:

1. Adopt a younger Muso you know that needs encouraging in their gifts and talents.

2. Schedule regular time with them, to befriend and teach them anything you know and that has helped you. Pass it on!

3. Affirm their strengths and praise them any time you can. Gently encourage their weaknesses!

4. Bring them with you to do what you do, let them learn from you in a professional or ministry situation.

5. Develop your own internship program where they can begin to assist you on a regular basis for a specified time with any and everything from small to big.

6. Model and teach responsibility in all areas of life. Be available!

7. Give them the platform and opportunity occasionally with the grace to learn and fail in the process, fade into the background and let them shine!

8. Train your own replacement or sub.

9. When you've done all you can, help find another mentor or opportunity to usher them onto.

10. Commission and bless them as they go and let them go!

Mentoring sounds like and old man's job really, that's at least how I always thought of it. Sadly it took me too long in life to wake up to the truth that it's a part of discipleship we're all commissioned to do by Christ Himself. In fact the youngest of you can impact someone in your own world.

Hopefully you don't feel threatened or guilted into anything but excited that what you have as an individual musician and as a band in any setting can be given away! Make it a part of who you are and what you do-you're Vision!

Our positions and titles only entitle us to serve. Move over and make room!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Next Big Thing Part 2

Last week we talked about the new multi-site church movement that's happening all over the country, and specifically about Seacoast Church in the southeastern part of the USA.

The brand new book "The Multi-Site Church Revolution" by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird talks in depth about this phenomenon, and I recommend it to anyone who's interested.

Most churches are familiar with the multiple services format (i.e. 9am & 11am.) Multi-site can be thought of as an extension of this idea.

There are two points I'd like to make that might help churches to prepare and participate in this new wave.

1. You don't have to be a mega-church to be multi-site. You can replicate yourself and reach the community in other, less costly and time-intensive ways. Imagine small home churches that are in cahoots with a larger church, sharing resources and maybe even the pastor's video sermon or podcast. Or how about an office Bible study that's supported by a larger ministry.

The Biblical idea of "church" does not mean a physical building with sanctuary, pulpit and organ, but the Body of Christ. I like how Hillsong London leadership addressed the congregation as "church" when I recently visited (as in "church, we need to reach out to others..." etc.) When you stop thinking buildings and start thinking outside the box, the possibilities are endless.

The multi-site book I mentioned talks about a fire station church! "North Little Rock fireman Jeff West attended an equipping class about taking his faith to his community and workplace. The class was taught at his church, Fellowship Bible Church of Little Rock, Arkansas.

"Jeff's mind went immediately to the community he knew best: firefighters. 'What about fire stations?' he thought, aware that a lot of firefighters are stuck at their firehouses on Sundays. Jeff also knew that his church would soon be opening a video venue on campus. 'Why couldn't we do the same thing in our firehouses?' he asked himself." The book goes on to tell of how Jeff's vision became reality - in 2005 the church was supporting up to 20 local fire station churches!"

2. The multi-site revolution will be a call for churches to get their act together. You hear much whining in the press about how Walmart is destroying mom and pop stores all over the country (my, how we Americans love to whine!) In nearly every issue of a Christian retailing magazine I read letters from mom and pop Christian bookstores who bemoan the fact that big-box stores are putting them out of business.

Walmart isn't exactly guiltless, but what you might not realize is that many of these little stores don't have the business sense to stay open past 5 o'clock, or don't sell some contemporary Christian music because it's "too worldly." By the time these stores realize we're living in the 21st century it's often too late - as a customer, I just might want to shop at 9pm and pick up the latest Kutlass CD.

Likewise, churches, if you insist on operating like it's 1963, you might not be too long for this world. If you're just now considering using contemporary music in your worship, you're 20 years behind. If your church is full of politics that strangle your ministry, you just might be put "out of business" by churches who are more concerned with seeing people reached for Christ.

As a blogger put it on the WorshipIdeas blogsite last week, "I have to wonder when we will start supporting each other and leave all the tearing down aside. It might be a good idea to go visit a multisite video church, sit through an entire service or two and even speak to some of the members before deciding that these newfangled churches are superficial and kind of like a social club."

Love it or hate it, we're living in a new world.

Ever dream of a praise set that flows seamlessly from one song to another? Music is the glue that ties your praise songs together, but some classically trained keyboardists have trouble improvising. can help, with simple keychanges and underscores. Download a free sample.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Next Big Thing

What would happen if Rick Warren started a church in your town?

Would it suck the life out of other churches, much like Walmart sucks the life out of mom and pop stores when it builds a local supercenter?

Get ready, because this just might be The Next Big Thing: multisite video churches. Back in September 05 I wrote about Seacoast Church and how they're taking over the South. When Seacoast plants a church, they do it right - supplying the new plant with graphics, signage and ministries to make it appear like it's an established church of five years, not to mention a tried and true methodology that works.

While some churches are sitting around, twiddling thumbs, debating whether they should or should not be relevant, reach out, have contemporary music or [fill in the blank], churches like Seacoast have a successful strategy of meeting needs and people are flocking - they had 11,000 people at Easter between 10 campuses!

What's interesting, and how a Seacoast church differs from a typical church plant, is how the churches are structured. The plant considers itself part of one congregation and watches a sermon video from senior pastor Greg Surratt. They call it "one church, many locations."

The video thing might seem weird at first, but after 30 seconds of watching you're engaged. I had visited a local megachurch recently that televises on screen the pastor as he preaches. I found myself watching the video instead of the live guy, simply because I sat so far back I could see the video image better!

Each plant has live worship and a campus pastor who doesn't have to preach [although he may from time to time] but is more like a shepherd.

The video venue movement appears to be a God-thing - it's happening all over the country..., Northpoint and Willow Creek to name a few. Saddleback started their first video church at Easter with 1800 attending the first Sunday! Not simply a growth strategy, the multisite church movement is about fulfilling the Great Commission.

What I find interesting is the concept of "the genius of the and," a term coined by Jim Collins in his book "Built to Last." With a multisite church you have the resources of a megachurch with the feel of a smaller church (grow larger AND grow smaller), a brand new AND a trusted brand, a staff with generalists AND specialists.

In his article ""The Multi Site Church," Greg Ferguson says "new churches usually begin with one church planter, a generalist who has to oversee everything. If there is a team, it might include those over broad areas: a worship leader or perhaps a children's pastor.

"The multi-site church, however, allows you to start a new location with the existing staff in place. Instead of hiring more generalists, you add specialists such as technical arts, administrator, or director of creative arts for children. The big win is that now all locations have the benefit of the generalists, and the added specialists."

Most impressive are the results - these churches have a high percentage of converts. 1/3 of the congregation at Seacoast Greenville are new believers.

Next week: what the multisite movement means to you - how to adapt and how to participate.

For more info, check out the new book "The Multi-Site Church Revolution" by Seacoast's Geoff Surratt at

Worship leader, visit and learn how your Internet connection can make your life easier. It's a paid website with over 100 practical articles about contemporary worship as well as weekly resource links and downloads.