4 year Anniversary weekend recap

This weekend, CrossPointe celebrated four years in ministry. We kicked things off with a big cookout we called Community Day. We had free food, cotton candy, snow cones, 5 inflatables, and a 27 team cornhole tournament. On Tuesday, we sent out 10,000 postcards advertising the event and our service Sunday. The cookout was a blast. Tons of people came out. Many of them had never been to our church. We could barely keep the hamburgers coming fast enough for all our hungry guests. We went through almost 300 hamburgers in just 3 hours (they were so good I ate two, I saw a few people grab even more, thanks Jeremy for the hamburger hookup!). Here are some pictures of the event.

the corn hole tournament was packed!

time to eat!

Our Sunday services went really well too. We had a ton of visitors from the cookout come to church. We had 154 people in service. Our elements class had 6 first time kids in it. It was incredible to see so many visitors. Many commented how friendly our church had been at the cookout on Saturday. Here are some pictures of the service, as well as the video of the entire service. Enjoy!

God has been good to us in th last four years!

We love seeing people praise Jesus’ name!

Advertisements

Church Planting Models: Multi-housing communities

We love reading about church planting. We are always researching to find out what people are doing to start new churches in places people might often overlook. CrossPointe has met in a house, a hotel, an elk’s lodge, and finally a funeral home. However, there are numerous models for starting a church in a school, rec center, or even outdoors. Over the next few posts I want to look at a few of the models for starting a church. Today I want to focus on the multi-housing model.

What is a multi-housing community church model? Until a few days ago I had never heard it called this. It is simply when a group of people start a church inside a Multi-housing community (Private Apartment Communities, Condominium Communities/Community Associations, Manufactured Housing Communities, Public Housing Communities Senior Housing Communities). In this model, a church planter moves into one of these communities with the intentions of renting the cummunity center/party room/conference center/clubhouse that many of these communities have. Many of these community centers have parking for outside visitors as well. The goal is to plant a church within walking distance of 1,000+ people.

Why use the multi-housing community church model? Here are some stats from NAMB (SBC Mission Board): An estimated 57 percent of all people in North America reside in multi-housing – apartments, expensive high-rises, mobile home parks, condominiums and townhouses.  An estimated 95 percent of them are lost without Christ. That works out to over 150 million people living in High rise, apartment, mobile home, and public housing communities. Most of these communities are closed. You can’t solicit, invite, or even direct mail most of them. Many are gated, walled, and closed off as a community within a community. This church planting model places the church community within a smaller community inside the bigger community. 1 out of every 2 new housing projects in America is using a community based model. It is quickly becoming the wave of the future, and people are starting to prefer living in a smaller community within a big city. The good news is: people want community- something the church has.

Another reason to use this model is the cost. If a community is looking to rent their clubhouse, it is usually very affordable. Most of them are large enough for 50+ people. The management is key. If you can form a relationship with the office staff this will help immensely.

Who is using this model? Many denominations have started using this model for new church plants, as well as a mother church models (a church adopts an apartment community in the area, and begins mid week Bible studies in the apartment community). In our denomination I have known of a few missionary teams using this model lately. One team in particular is Jeff Goodman and Josh Bennett. Recently, I asked Jeff a few question about their church plant in Marana AZ. Marana is 15 miles north of Tuscon, where 90% of the population is unchurched. They started holding Bible studies in an apartment community that both Jeff and Josh moved their families into. They are not even a year into the plant and are seeing God move in a mighty way.

Here are Jeff’s answers to some questions I had about the church model.

When you guys moved your families into the apartment community, did you know you were going to start using their facilities to meet in? Was that your goal? Yes, we moved in here planning to use their facilities. It is a community within a community. We see people getting their mail, walking their dogs, playing outside, etc. We were upfront with the office staff when we moved here about our plans, none of them went to church but they were very helpful. Building community even through a church plant helps them retain leasers.

 Is it hard to rent the facility in the community? Are there times when it is over-booked?  Nobody ever rents the facilities here but us. We have had superbowl parties, christmas parties etc.

Does the apartment community model have some drawbacks?
 

 

 Can people from outside the apartment community join the Bible study (are there places for them to park)? We have plenty of parking in the main lot and overflow if we need it inside the complex. People are allowed to come from outside the complex.

How many people at your Bible studies live in the apartment community? We are around 70% apartment people to 30% outside people. 90% of our group are unsaved and far from God, but that is the type of people we are looking for, the lost! They love each other are thrilled to have met friends and work super hard. They are all very excited about helping us launch our church about a mile away. We will still have several things at our apt. complex rven after our launch.

Is it expensive? We pay $50 per use to rent the community building it is normally 75$ but our apt. Manager got us a 25$ break and we did not even ask them to do that. We have a large open area with a kitchen, a conference room and a movie room, which we use for a nursery along with 2 nice bathrooms.

What’s been the hardest part when it comes to planting a church in Marana? Hardest part-meeting new people is always a challenge, but living here at the apt. complex has truly helped. The city of Marana told us we could not post a sign about our bible study on or near the sidewalk it is their property. The office manager at our apt. complex told us to put it next to their sign by the road. She said Marana doesn’t own that property. No other problems from the city of Marana.

What are some highlights so far for you guys?  All 3 of the office staff now attend our bible study and Jessica (ast. Manager) was our 1st baptism. We love that 90% of our people are unchurched, those are the people we want to reach!

To find out more about Jeff and Josh and the Marana church visit their website http://www.themaranaproject.com/

 

25 ways to reach new people

These are just some ways to meet new people and invite them to church. Our church has tried alot of them, but not all of them. If they are expensive ways I have marked them with $, $$, $$$ accordingly. There is no silver bullet. All of these ideas take time to catch on. However, if you and your church people consistently try to reach people and invite them to church, you will see results.

1. send out postcard invitations to every home within 5 miles of your church $$$

2. host a community cookout at your church on a Saturday

3. sponsor a little league baseball/basketball/football team

4. organize and advertise a city wide scavenger hunt and partner people in your church with new people

5. rent a booth at local festivals and sponsor a give away while passing out your church information

6. get a group to do city clean up projects while wearing your church t shirts

7. host an outdoor movie nite in the summer using projectors and a huge outdoor screen

8. pass out free water bottles and church info at the local little league games on a hot summer day

9. advertise on the radio $$

10. advertise on tv $$$

11. advertise in your local paper $

12. challenge your people to invite friends to church

13. have your staff coach a city little league team

14. advertise on billboards $$$$

15. start a tv ministry $$$$$$$$$$$$$

16. make brochures available to your people to invite others

17. send out an email invitation to your church and ask your people to forward it to their friends

18. host national night out events at your church

19. hang door hangers on every door in your city inviting people to your church

20. invite local firemen and police offcers to a special service honoring our community heros, invite the mayor, chief, or city council member to speak

21. take a random office free lunch or breakfast along with your church brochures and business cards

22. pay for the meal of people behind you in the drive thru and leave them an invitation to church

23. sign up for a service that sends new families just moving into your city invitations to your church

24. take cupcakes to the fire/police station and thank them for their hard work

25. have a free car wash on Saturday and give every one invitations to your church on Sunday

How the internet has enabled churches

Our church is just getting started. We are still a small community of believers who are trying to reach a city. We have never averaged over 100 in attendence. We are one of the newest churches in Suffolk. However, online, none of that matters. I have worked hard getting our church online credibility. When you search “church suffolk” in google in our area (google knows your location) our website is number 2 on the first page. This is a direct result from our site being linked heavily, optimized for search engines and thoroughly prepared for google’s spyders. I encourage you to search church in you area and see where you rank in the page results. I say all of that to show you that online your church isn’t limited by location, number of pews, age of the building, etc. People looking for a church in Suffolk don’t know we aren’t the biggest, best, etc. They just know we are one of the first sites recommended by google to visit. I’d love to tell you we have thousands of people visiting, but we don’t. We have had over 600 visitors in just over 2 years. Many come from invites or postcards we send, but I guarantee many check us out online before coming the first time. Here are 3 benefits the internet affords the modern church today.

It enables churches to have a 24/7 billboard for little to no cost. We started our website before our church launched in 2008. Every month our website gets between 300 and 700 clicks. Sadly only aout half of those cicks are unique visitors. But that’s still 150 people checking out our church. The website allows them to see where we are located, what our services are like, what we have for children, etc. People want to know as much as possible before they visit a church.

It gives people who can’t make it to church anymore a way to still watch/listen as if they were there. Undoubtedly your church has people who are nearing retirement. Many people love their church, but as their bodies age they can’t come as frequently as they’d like. Our sermons are online for anyone to watch, but older church people especially love to feel like they still have a way to be connected. Of course many older poeple have a hard time with computers, but as time goes on the population (even retired peopl) will have more experience with computers.

It gives churches a global reach unlike anything else in history. The other day I was looking at the stats for our videos online. We host at vimeo.com. Their site allows me to see how many times a video was loaded, played, and finished. A video is loaded any time a webpage with our sermon video on it is visited. Our sermons are embedded in my personal blog here, on our church website, and on a few smaller sites. It is played any time someone presses play, and it is finished when someone actually watches all of the video. Since we started uploading sermons, they have been loaded 26,715 times, they have only been played 1,485 times, and the saddest number= only 107 finishes. Now those are pretty sobering numbers when I consider how much time I invest in our website and it’s video content. However, there is a silver lining. Our videos have been played in South Korea, Germany, France, Japan, India, Canada, Romania, Great Britain, Philippines, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Taiwan, Indonesia, Barbados, Moldova, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Costa Rica. Now, we are a small church, and our website isn’t even a blip on the map compared to many large churches in the world and online, but just think, if our little church can have any impact in that many countries (however small it may be) how much impact is the church as a global community having online!

So I guess my conclusion is: the internet is allowing us to expand the impact of the church far beyond our walls, our community, our state, and even beyond our borders. If our small church can have a little impact, how big an impact can a church of 200, 500, 1,500 have? What if everyone in your church posted a link to your church on facebook? Technology has allowed us a unique opportunity like never before. May we embrace every opportunity to make much of Christ.