Archive for May, 2010

Thoughts on the AMAZING Newspring and Elevation Churches Through My Filter

If I lived “there” (Matthews, NC or Anderson, SC), I’d probably go there.

Perry can preach up a storm like no other and his message was laced with scripture. Loved it. It made me want to listen to every one of his messages he’s ever preached and read God’s Word once again cover to cover. However, I also realized that I am becoming acclimated to and enjoy some of my AG tendencies (or maybe it’s just southern). In our church we talk back to the preacher…not like, scream and shout stuff. For example, if they say something is good, we say “that’s good”. Perry was hitting on all cylinders and there was nothing, not a word. I’m sure it was 100 percent out of respect, but man I missed it.

It was vision casting day at Elevation, so it was a different kind of message … nevertheless, crazy inspiring. It “felt” like it took Steven about 10-15 to get into the flow. He didn’t “feel” fully present in the whole live and taping for the next day’s audience at the same time attempt. But, when he figured it out, he figured it out well and you wouldn’t have had a clue he was taping. Afterwards, to prevent the students from judging, it was fun to point it out first and tell them “He had a church blow up (in a good way), I’m sure he’s still trying to figure out some things. Oh how easy it would be to slice and dice people, but always remember we are ‘for each other.’” Learning how to evaluate churches when going places is huge. If there is something I’ve done right with the interns, I think it’s that.

Elevation church tore it up when it comes to First Impresssions. Everyone got a free t-shirt and was consistently met by encouraging, helpful people. We also all got a follow-up letter. A couple of us even got a hand written postcard and phone call. I am assuming newcomer names got split into volunteer teams, that’s why some of us got the “extra” touch and others didn’t. Regardless, they killed it. This particularly hit home because I was in the midst of editing Jeanne’s “How to make great first impressions” Youth Leader’s Coach.

Newspring’s First Impressions were great as well. If you were new, you turned on your flashers and got VIP parking. Everyone got a cup of coffee, which I heard was better than Starbucks from some. Where they really knocked it out of the park was with the tour we were given afterwards. A guy named Chris Dunagan gave us a million dollar tour, when I only expected a nickel one. While I am sure he would rather have been somewhere else, you would have never known it. In the tour, the only thing I didn’t understand was why the ages of the kids rooms were not marked at all. Maybe the goal was to “make” me stop by and meet someone before service, not sure. I asked Chris what kind of database they use. He said they just switched from Fellowship One to Arena, can’t wait to do the research on Arena to see what it’s got going for it. I laughed when Chris said they bought the system then hired the sales person to manage it. Thought that sounded like a great idea.

Found out NewSpring uses live internet feed (as opposed to Satellite, which Chris said was much more expensive) and Elevation tapes for their other campuses. Interesting thoughts on the “feel” it would give me. Psychologically I think I would like the idea of knowing that while I am watching a screen, someone is preaching it live to me somewhere at that exact moment.

Newspring’s student ministry area was to die for, part of which is open every day (volunteered staff) for students to hang out in and do pickup games, homework, etc. in. In the tour, we briefly met Brad Cooper, the youth pastor, in the hallway. Even though he was with some people, he stopped and asked each of my students’ names…very impressed.

In both instances, you can’t go back into the auditorium if you go out. Maybe it’s for taping purposes, maybe it because the dark room gets flooded with light by the door. Not sure what I thought about it. Part of me thought, “good for them, people can figure out if they have to ‘go’ beforehand and need to put on their ‘big boy’ pants” and the other part was “that’s just weird and would feel rude if I really were a newcomer to church.” My final thought is that it’s great either way, but if I can’t come back in, would love to know the “why” behind the “what.”

I loved Elevation’s worship, the floor was pounding and the people truly super engaged. I wished I would have looked around at the men in the audience. I forgot to do it there, but didn’t forget at Newspring. Newspring’s worship wasn’t my style, but a particular style isn’t for everyone so that’s all good. What has me pondering though is that when I looked at men in the room, probably 60% were standing with their arms folded not singing a word. I’m trying to figure out what to think about it. Because of it, do you sing less or instruct in worship more …. no clue. It made me grateful for Corey Leak, our worship pastor, who is perhaps the best “teacher” of worship I’ve ever encountered.

The woman’s bathroom (yep, checked it) at Elevation was amazing, at Newspring less amazing. Made me laugh and remember the talks Mark used to have regarding why it is so important to have an amazing woman’s bathroom. Definitely not a make it or break it deal at either campus, but appreciated and definitely noticed the nice one.

It is obvious both churches want to be a teaching church to other churches, I so appreciated that and, as a result, my students learned a ton and were fired up like never before.