Blog Title

Don’t Visit My Church

Every Sunday, many churches have guests visit their church. Either we are ready for the guest when they arrive, or we are not. We never get a second chance to make a first impression. I want to share some ways to ensure guests have a horrible experience at our churches.

1. Don’t have anyone in the parking lot to greet them or to assist them.

2. Have greeters at the front door who never smile and never brush their teeth. Be sure they give guests the impression that they wish they would have never shown up.

3. Don’t have large, easy-to-read and understandable signs in high traffic areas of your building.

4. Make sure your bathrooms stink, the trash cans are full and you are out of soap and paper towels. It’s very important that you don’t tidy up the restrooms in between services.

5. Make sure your ushers sit all of the first time guests in the front row of the church. Every guest loves to parade down the aisle in front of the entire church.

Weekend Highlights

1. It was a relaxing weekend at the Cooper house.

2. My wife made fried pork chops and mashed potatoes & gravy for dinner on Saturday, and we had leftovers on Sunday. We don’t eat a lot of fried foods at the Cooper house, so this was a special treat. Boy was it good!

3. Yesterday, I preached a message titled IMAGINE A Changing Church. My goal was to prepare our church for all of the changes that will occur in our new building. I wanted our church to know the heartbeat behind why we are always changing things at PC.

4. If you missed church yesterday, please listen to the message online. I think it will be very helpful to you.

5. Daylight Savings is one of the lowest attended Sundays every year at PC. Memorial Day is usually the worst and Daylight Savings is normally the second. Our attendance was about what I thought it would be.

6. Even on Daylight Savings Sunday, people gave their hearts to Christ. GO GOD!

7. We took communion in all four experiences. It is always amazing to remember the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our salvation!

8. I used a lot of visuals in my message. I love to illustrate points with videos or visuals. It helps to drive home the point, and it helps people to remember what was said.

9. This coming up Sunday, I am preaching a message titled IMAGINE A Dangerous Church. I’m really excited to study for this message. There are a lot of things that God is speaking to me about regarding this subject.

10. I walked through our new building Sunday after church. It is coming together quickly. Our contractors are working with great energy and fervor to get us in by Easter. Keep praying that everything falls right into place. So far so good!

11. I can’t believe the Dallas Cowboys released Terrell Owens. He is a pain, but the dude can play football. My Cowboys need another good receiver.

12. My Oklahoma City Thunder are going to be a good team next year. They are finishing the season strong.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TOMORROW

Move your clocks forward one hour tonight so that you are not late for church tomorrow!

Friday’s Download

1. Tiffany and I are more than halfway through season 2 of 24. We really like watching this show.

2. I’m thinking about writing a book.

3. We are cutting it close but are on target for our move in date. The move in date for our new facility is Easter Sunday, April 12. Everything won’t be done by Easter, but we should be close enough to have our first experience. Be praying that everything goes great with our subcontractors between now and then.

4. Tiffany and I went on a date last night. It was great food and great to hang out with my bride. I love her to pieces.

5. Tiffany and I spent a lot of our date talking about ministry.

6. I started texting a couple of months ago. I can’t believe I’m so in to technology, NOT! :)

7. We are kicking off a new series at PC on Sunday called IMAGINE! I can’t wait for Sunday.

8. Remember to set your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night. It’s Daylight Savings.

9. Don’t be late for church on Sunday because we are taking communion together as a church. So, set your clocks an hour ahead on Friday night if you have to!

10. We have some really cool and creative things that we are putting into our new kids’ area. It’s going to take our kids ministry to a new level of excellence.

11. God is doing an awesome work in our teenagers through EPIC! Teenagers, stay hungry for God.

12. See you on Sunday!

Some More Lessons From Building Two Buildings

7. Do not make the building the vision. The building is not the vision; the building is a tool to see the vision come to pass. It is very important to keep the church and yourself focused on the ministry that will take place because of the new building and not on the new building itself.

8. Make sure you have enough parking. For the first Sunday in our first facility, we only had 166 parking spaces. I listened to my architect, and he did not offer me good advice. We added a gravel parking lot on the Monday following our first service in the new building.

9. Make sure you have functional kids’ space. The design of the kids’ space in our phase one building is horrible. The traffic flow bottlenecks, so there is major congestion that could have been avoided if we would have designed it better. Be sure to think about traffic flow when you are in the design phase of a building.

10. Schedule a vacation after you preach your stewardship campaign and shortly after you move into a new building. The most exhausting and draining time of ministry for me was following our two stewardship campaigns. The second most exhausting season of ministry was after we moved into our first phase.

11. Be sure you realize how taxing it is on your staff to pull off an effective campaign and to build and move into a new facility. It can be a draining process, and you need to make sure your team is in a healthy place following those grueling seasons of ministry.

More Lessons From Building Two Buildings

4. Do not let the architect drive the entire process. I am not a big fan of the traditional model for building a facility. We let the architect drive the process on our first building, and it was a mess. I am not knocking architects because they are great when they are in their element. I have learned that architects draw buildings; they don’t build buildings. I always want the general contractor to drive the process. I would never build again with the architect driving the process.

5. Bring in an outside capital stewardship company who can help you raise the necessary money to see the vision come to pass. Before we built our first facility, I had never been a part of a capital stewardship program, so I knew I needed outside help. It was worth the dollars we spent to partner with a company who could help us navigate through having a successful Spirit-led campaign.

6. It will take longer than you think and cost you more than you planned. Pastor, be prepared for this! Don’t get stressed out because you missed your projected move in date. On both of our buildings, we missed our projected move in date. On our second phase, we were planning on moving into the facility by the end of 2008. Of course, we didn’t make the date because things happened outside of our control. It took longer to get the final building permit than we had anticipated. If you talk to any pastor, the story is almost always the same, the building took longer to build than we thought and cost us more than we planned on spending.

Lessons From Building Two Buildings

Over the last four years, our church has built two buildings. Our first phase included buying 50 acres and building a 17,500 square foot facility. Our second phase is a 44,000 square foot facility. Our target date to move into our second phase is Easter Sunday, April 12. Here are some lessons I have learned from building two facilities:

1. If you have a builder or contractor in your church, listen to their wisdom. On our first phase, a builder in our church told me what to do to save money. I didn’t follow his advice, and it cost us money. He had the experience, and I didn’t heed his advice. Goofy me!

2. It’s hard to get a loan when you are a new church. Your church’s finances need to be in order, and the church needs to be cash strong to secure a good loan with a good rate. Advice on getting your church’s finances in order:

A. If you are a new church, start saving a percentage of the church’s income from day one.

B. Give a percentage of your church’s income away to missions, church plants, the poor and other ministries that are making a difference. At People’s Church, we give away 10 percent of our income, and the Lord has blessed us because of it. You can’t out give God!!

C. Have an outside accounting firm involved in your church’s finances. I would strongly encourage every church to be audited or have an audit review of your church’s finances every year. We do, and it’s worth every penny we spend.

3. Buy as much land as possible. God isn’t making any more land. Your vision for 3, 5 or 10 years from now could be stifled because you didn’t buy enough land.

Weekend Highlights

1. Friday night, we had a phenomenal CRAZY praise, worship & prayer experience. God’s presence was thick in the place. If you missed this experience, you missed a real treat! It was great.

2. Friday afternoon, I took my kids on a daddy date to lunch. We went to Mazzio’s Pizza and then to Starbucks for hot chocolate.

3. One of my favorite things on Sundays is when my wife brings back the kids to see me in between worship experiences. It always brings a smile to my face to see my sexy wife and precious kids.

4. We had great worship experiences on Sunday. It was a special CRAZY celebration. It was a very moving time. In the last experience, I started to cry. The vision of PC moves me and consumes me! I’m passionate about reaching people for Christ!

5. I read some testimonies to the church from some of our students who attend PC’s Epic Student Ministries. God is doing a great work amongst our students.

6. The chair video we showed on Sunday was powerful. If you missed Sunday, you missed a very moving experience.

7. Our 8:45AM experience has had off-the-hook attendance. Thank you PC for packing out the 8:45AM experience! KEEP IT UP!

8. Every Sunday, people give their lives to Christ at PC! That pumps me up like nothing else!

9. My wife made a great stuffed chicken dish on Saturday. She also made peanut butter cookies. We had leftovers on Sunday.

10. We are kicking off a new series on Sunday called IMAGINE! It’s going to be a fun series. I’m looking forward to it!

Friday’s Download

1. Tonight at 7 PM at People’s Church, we are having a CRAZY Live Praise, Worship & Prayer experience. We are going to encounter God in a powerful way. SEE YOU THERE!

2. This weekend, we are having our Celebration and Commitment Sunday in all four experiences. One of the videos our media team put together will have you in tears. It’s going to be one of the most exciting Sundays in the history of PC!

3. Church family; be praying about what the Lord wants you to give to the CRAZY Campaign over the next 2 years. Because of our faithfulness, many MORE lives are going to be changed!

4. The target date for us to move into our new facility is Easter Sunday, April 12. Be praying that everything goes smoothly with the final stages of building our new 44,000 square foot facility.

5. Allergies are crazy around Oklahoma!

6. My wife and I went on a date last night. It’s been a hectic season of ministry, and my wife helps to bring balance and also refreshes my life. She told me on our date that she can tell that I am more tired in the evenings. It was good to talk about the season we are in. It’s exciting, but super busy! I’m grateful to have a wonderful wife!

7. Today is my off day. I’m going to surprise my three oldest kids by taking them for a daddy lunch date.

8. God has been giving me a lot of clarity and direction regarding the immediate and future vision of PC! I love when God’s plan becomes crystal clear!9. Have a great weekend!

Structure In The Church

I am a big believer in having structure in the church. Just because our staff works for a church, doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be structure. In the business world, there is structure, and I believe the local church should be ran more efficiently than the business world. What the local church does affects people for all of eternity. Here are some examples of structure:

1. Employees have personal & sick leave days. You can’t miss work whenever you want.

2. Employees have offices hours. Office hours for some employees don’t mean they have to be at the church, but they do know the time frames they should be working on ministry and not at home watching movies with their family. We ought to be accountable for our time.

3. Every ministry in our church operates from a system and not by shooting from the hip. We have a weekend system, follow-up system, kids system, youth system, care system, wedding & funeral system, media system, hiring system, etc. Everything we do at PC is from a system. We are in the most important business in the world, and that’s seeing lives changed, so we can’t afford to fly by the seat of our pants.

4. We have a policy handbook for all employees. Every employee knows what is expected of them. When we hire an employee, we take them through the policies.