Early this morning I finished final edits and uploaded the final version of my latest project: Good News in the Neighborhood, a curriculum for groups. (Check out the trailer in the sidebar to the right)
I’m very proud of how it turned out. As I think back to the original brainstorms and ideas for this product I don’t think I could have imagined it’d turn out this cool. Jon and I worked our brains off pushing through this content, finalizing edits and writing content as late as yesterday! The leaders PDF turned out to be 52 pages and about 18,000 words. This thing is beefy!
Here’s the description:
This 6-week series will deep dive your students into the practical realities of a radical life with Jesus. Built around six themes of community life, students will gain an understanding of their role in their community and be challenged by a series of simple experiments they can try. More than a series that teaches your students about being Good News in their community, Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
Who is it for? It’s for groups. It’ll most naturally fit with high school and young adult groups (college). But I would totally do this with my adult small group. In all honesty, I’d preach this as a sermon series!
Now the really exciting part… people actually using it!
So that’s my excitement this Monday morning. As Marko just pointed out, my first book!
Do me a huge favor and buy this sucker for your group, your youth pastor, your pastor, or even yourself.
Yesterday, Jon and I spent the vast majority of our day shooting the 6 fictional stories that go along with each lesson in our forthcoming Good News in the Neighborhood curriculum.
Seeing some of the big picture pieces come together in this project has been amazing. Doing the video segments actually brought new life into the project. With the deadline looming and the reality that there’s almost no chance we’ll be done by our self-assigned deadline of Monday, this project needed some fresh air breathed into it.
It’s funny how an idea takes a life of its own. In this case, a series of jotted in my notebook over time became several popular blog posts. And in those posts there were several comments saying, “Yeah, but how do I teach that to high school students?” It was the association of the blog posts and the comments of readers which spurred the idea to turn it into a curriculum.
Truth be told, I’d never have attempted this project without Jon. He brings a depth and breadth of experience to it which takes it from my blog posts to something anyone can try with their group. I’m thankful for his friendship and collaboration.
And now back to work. Acting as co-author, editor, art director, marketing director, video editor, and every other task on this project is insanity!
Yesterday Walt Mueller posted this video on his blog, it’s a lot to chew on. I hadn’t seen it but I’m glad I have. As youth workers, it’s both heart-breaking and knowledge we share that too many teenagers feel this way.
- It looked like a mature town… so lots and lots of churches. The church wasn’t part of the question of the video nor the answer.
- What would be Good News to the characters in the video?
- What if students in my neighborhood saw me as someone who could help in that situation?
What are your thoughts?
Jon Huckins and I have been working on this curriculum for youth groups and young adults for several months. I’m excited to tell you that it’ll be out on April 2nd, 2012. Woohoo!
If you buy it before it comes out… you’ll get it on April 2nd AND you’ll save $15. Here’s the link to buy it now.
Here’s the description:
This 6-week series will deep dive your students into the practical realities of a radical life with Jesus. Built around six core postures of community life, students will examine Scripture, gain an understanding of their role in their community, and be challenged by a series of simple experiments they can try. More than a series which teaches your students about being Good News in their community– Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
Week 1: Listening (Experiment: Ethnography/Observation)
Week 2: Submerge (Experiment: Participating)
Week 3: Inviting (Experiment: Two-fold inviting)
Week 4: Contending (Experiment: Standing up for our neighbors)
Week 5: Imagine (Experiment: New eyes)
Week 6: Entrusting (Experiment: Commissioning)
What do you think? Like it? Hate it? Gonna try it?
I sit in a funny place sometimes. Meeting with a church leader or talking to a passive Christian, they will tell me that they are too busy or too engrained to change.
As if reaching 10% or less of their community isn’t an emergency? Like, I don’t care what your theological position is on hell. But we, as Christians, believe to the core of our being that a life with Jesus is better than a life without him, right?
It’s an emergency! You need to stop what you are doing today and re-evaluate. [Insert red, flashing lights!]
The crux of their pushback is always the same: I don’t have time to do the things you are saying I need to do. (Be Good News in the neighborhood, on my block, at my school, or at my job.)
That’s what you don’t understand: Good News spreads fast. Good News spreads faster than your program. It grows faster than your church. It outgrows your budgets. The reason you aren’t growing has nothing to do with your words and everything to do with what you do with your day.
3 examples from yesterday…
- I wrote a blog post praising my experience of Good News from Southwest Airlines. They blessed me and I publicly thanked them. A short post I wrote over breakfast was picked up on their corporate blog and then shared on their Twitter feed to 1.2 million followers. Bam! That’s fast.
- I wrote a post a few weeks ago about gifts for geeks at Christmas. Last week I got an email from a producer of a BBC show in Ecuador asking me to be on their show. Yesterday, I got to appear on this show… in Ecuador… to talk about Christmas gifts for geeks and invite their listeners to my blog. That’s fast!
- Last year, Kristen and I watched our neighbors dogs so they could visit family on the East Coast at Christmas. This year we get to do it again. Now we are getting known on our block as the neighbors who are happy to do favors. That’s Good News spreading fast!
Is it that we’re doing something special or that God is blessing us in a way no one else can be blessed? Absolutely not. It’s just one simple thing lived out in three different ways.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
Have you ever wondered how you could grow your church?
What if I could tell you a way to grow your church and your churches impact in the community?
Here’s how. It’s mostly free. And it’s totally doable. Guaranteed to not backfire.
Be Good News to your neighbors. Not start a Good News program. Not preach about Good News.
That’s putting it on someone else. It’s a way of saying your role as a leader is to move people without you yourself moving.
Here’s how you grow your impact in your community– starting right now. Be Good News to your neighbor. Yeah, the person next door to you. Yeah, the family across the street.
Ask yourself this question– What would be Good News for them? And do it.
Why will this grow your church? Because we, as humans made in the image of God, are hard wired to love Good News. It’s like crack to our soul. We can’t get enough. We are searching for Good News in an instinctual way we can’t explain. And when Good News happens to us or we even partner with a neighbor to bring Good News to someone else, something deep in our soul reasonates with that.
Each person is hard wired for God. And the catalyst, universal connecting point? Good News.
In a post-Christian society, the best way to grow your ministry is to deeply reasonate with the part of people’s soul that defies logics last stand. Good News supersedes all. It’s the Gospels secret weapon.
A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the ‘assets are water’ metaphor. As water is poured out of a bottle, the rate of outflow is limited by the width of the conduit of exit—that is, bottleneck. By increasing the width of the bottleneck one can increase the rate at which the water flows out of the neck at different frequencies. Such limiting components of a system are sometimes referred to as bottleneck points.
Bottlenecks are one reason the church can’t grow to full capacity in the current model. It’s not that the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t appealing to more people. It’s that the mode with which the American church choses to operate is driven to a single bottleneck: The worship service.
With a clearly defined bottleneck and the low trust, high control primary management style of most in church leadership– we are seeing other negative non-monetary economic principles come into play.
3 non-prescriptive solutions to finding church growth
- Embrace a high trust, low control management-style.
- Create additional entry points to biblical community. (Non-worship service endpoint)
- Capitalize on Americans culturally hard-coded draw to good news.