House of Praise webTV

Well it’s finally here.  The House of Praise will begin broadcasting our service LIVE tomorrow at 10:00am.  (Feb. 14, 2010) Why are we doing this?  So we can feel important?  No.

We use any means we can to get the teachings of Jesus Christ to people.  We use creative means to portray illustrated sermons, everything from cars on stage to the pastor dressing up like Mr. Rogers and singing the theme song.  We hand out notes each service to allow people to review the teaching later at home or share it with a friend.  We record the sermons and make them available on CD or in a podcast.  Now we’re actually broadcasting the service free on the web. (www.houseofpraise.cc)  Web broadcast is just a natural step in sharing God’s word anyway we can.

While there is something special about the dynamic that happens when we gather together (Hebrews 10:24-25), it is our hope that when someone is home sick, or snowed in they will still be able to participate in worship and hear the teaching on the webcast.  One of the great things about this is we can all tell our friends that might be a little apprehensive about coming to church, “Check the service out on-line before you come in person.  Then you’ll know what to expect.” Wow ain’t technology grand? lol

Oh, by the way, if you miss the live broadcast or 10am is just too early.  The last 10 services will be archived, watch them when you have time.

It is our prayer that many people who aren’t ready to attend a church or who simply miss a service for whatever reason will be blessed by this new resource.

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Presenting the Gospel in a Visual Society

We opened with a 10 minutes drama of people’s different fears, death, public speaking, heights, snakes, drowning etc. I’m so proud of our creative and drama teams! It was awesome. I think the sermon was very well received also.  Were the drama and message effective?  Well, 2 people gave their lives to the Lord for the 1st time!

I loved the drama opening for the sermon but that sort of thing always brings questions into some observers mind. “Why do we need all those lights?” or “Is this just a show?”

Why do we use drama, video, decorations, give aways etc. to present the gospel?  It’s because we live in a visual society.  We are trying to reach a generation raised on television, movies, graphic design and the web.  Most of their classes in school will suppliment the teacher’s lecture with videos and Internet information.  Does this water down the gospel? No.

Presenting the gospel with more than words isn’t something new.  Jesus used imagery such as a “camel passing through the eye of a needle” and “a sower who planted seed.”  No, presenting the truths of the Kingdom of God in a visually stimulating medium isn’t a new idea or even’s man’s idea.  Jesus was doing it thousands of years ago.

The key is using the visual presentation to reinforce the message or present the message in a different way but the message never changes!!  It’s still that we are all depraved sinners worthy of judgment and damnation but God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to horribly suffer taking our punishment, then die, rising again to bring us the impossible reward of eternal bliss in heaven.

We will use the methods that will reach the audience but always remember to keep the message the same, we need Christ and thankfully He wants us.

Creative Church Conference – Part 2

The church should be the most creative entity on the planet!  Not Hollywood, not Silicon Valley, not the Times Best Sellers but the church of Jesus Christ.  After all we serve the one who invented creativity!  He is the only one who can create something from nothing.  He is the only one who ever had a new idea. Today Ed Young Jr. told us that children score off the charts on the creativity aptitude tests when they are under 5 but as soon as they start school it quickly drops.  Creativity is replaced with rules for how to play, when to sit, techniques for math and writing.  It’s not that education is bad; it’s that learning best works through repetition.  Repetition stifles creativity.

Romans 12 teaches us not to be squeezed into the world’s mold.  There is no right or wrong way to “do church”.  Jesus communicated in creative, illustrated ways.  He held up a little child and taught us how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  This upset the religious people of their day.  Why because they had forgotten about making the truths of God simple to understand and easy to apply to one’s life.  It is the same today.  If you use creative communication techniques people will accuse you of being a “performance church” instead of seeing that more people understand the word of God that is being taught than before.

One of the main themes of the Creative Church Conference (C3) was that mature people reproduce.  Think of it, people are born, grow up, get married and then have babies.  The immature or babies don’t reproduce.  If you’re church isn’t birthing new babies in the kingdom then maybe it isn’t as mature as you think.

Spiritual babies say, “I’m just not being fed.”  A person can be a Christian for 20 years but if all they care about is hearing a new twist on a scripture they haven’t heard before, they are self-centered babies when they should be healthy, reproducing adult believers.  Ed talked further about church’s that were meant to hospitals where babies are born of hurting people are helped have been turned into discriminating restaurants where food critics sample morsels and critique the good food being served.

As communicators of God’s all powerful word we must never bend to the pressure to cater to those who are hearers only and not doers of the word.  We will continue to use every creative method we can to help people grasp and apply the word of God to their life.

Creative Church Conference

I am excited to be going to the Creative Church Conference (C3) regional at Northway Church in Clifton Park.  I’ve been to the C3 in Dallas for the last three years and always feel it’s so impacting for our ministry.  I’ve heard Ed Young, T.D. Jakes, Erwin McManus, and Perry Noble to name a few.  I can honestly say that these conferences have changed the way I “do” church. 

I’ve always believed that church should be fun.  That was our theme as the Children’s Pastors at Mt. Zion Ministries and now as the Lead Pastors at House of Praise we think adults should enjoy church also.  It’s much deeper than that though.  By using creative ways to illustrate sermons, we give people greater retention of the word of God that is being preached.

We use art, dance, music, video, costumes, decorations, give-aways, drama, costumes and games to help people visualize and remember what is taught.  For example:  When I taught on Small Groups a couple years ago, we called it “Honey I Shrunk the Church” and decorated the sanctuary with giant pencils, crayons, and a laundry line that had enormous t-shirts and socks on it.  Years later when I ask people about it they still remember “we grow larger by getting smaller” and that it was about small groups.  If remembering the word of God is your goal, Creative Sermons work!

Back to the C3 regional…Ed Young is taking his show on the road to Capital District, specifically the Northway Church.  Think about it 500 leaders from churches around the Northeast meeting to learn how the church can be more creative in presenting the message of Jesus Christ.  I can’t wait!