Weekly e-News Friday, December 9, 2016

Looking Ahead

            Worship and Youth Sunday School at 10:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. Adult Sunday School and Fellowship time; 1:00 p.m. Worship in Nepali.

            Bible Studies: Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. will meet at the home of Cheryl Melby; and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.

Xtreme Faith youth group Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.


            Hymn Sing and Children’s Christmas Program next Sunday, December 18. If you have a Christmas song you would like to sing that is not in our hymnal, you will need to submit your suggestion before the worship (ASAP) so Toni can prepare and we can project the words to sing along with.

Also, if you have a reading you might like to share, please let me know.

Would you like to sponsor a tree for $20? The cost of the electrical connections for the year is 9 X $20 with three yet available.

Christmas Caroling Monday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m. Please meet here at the church.

The Sermon Sunday is “Impatient for Jesus” from Isaiah 35:1-10- The ransomed of the Lord shall return to Israel; and James 5:7-11 – Be patient in waiting for the Lord

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” James 5:9.


Around Church this Week:

            Sunday was a busy day with the Nepali service moved up to start at noon so that we could be invaded by girl scouts in the afternoon – coming and making advent creations.

            Monday Lanny Auringer came and I helped him set out the lighted trees across the north side of the lawn. Lanny was wondering if any “retired guys” might get a vision and construct more lighted creations to add on the lawn? We have some strings of lights from Byron Lambert.

I mulched the multitude of seed pods under our locust tree on the north side of the church, scooped up 6 heavy garbage bags full to dospose of, and scattered the rest around.

            Mary Lambert is trying to be sensitive to people’s Christmas day schedules and is asking for volunteers for ushering and hosting for that day. Please let her know if you might be able to participate Sunday the 25th.. Her number is 332-2788.

            Deacons met on Monday and the fellowship event for the second Sunday will be showing the movie God’s Not Dead 2. On Sunday, January 8, at 3:15 p.m.

The Deacon’s Angel Tree has only two unclaimed ornaments: a t-shirt style shirt, and 2T size blue jeans; gifts of cash are also greatly appreciated for this family that is struggling with a financial burden caused by several serious health issues (like the baby, Raelynn, having surgery on Tuesday) – we will give HyVee gift cards for food.

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I sent a note to Joy Rotich asking how things were going for them near Dallas, Texas and received the following response: Hi Pastor. I must apologize for not communicating for so long. First and foremost, send my regards to your family and entire Church. David’s business failed to kick off as planned because the Bank demanded that David must drive the truck himself and being a diabetic with a lot of medication we decided to leave the business as we map out another venture and is currently working at Cowboys Dallas.as as security officer. The girls decided to attend College Nursing full time and will graduate next August and Davis will graduate next summer. I am nursing school too.

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            I also spoke with Wendel and Carol Pribyl and they send their greetings from warm and toasty Texas.

Calendars are available on the table in the sanctuary for $7.00 to support our Youth ministries.

Chuckle:  “The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing. . . .” (Psalms 2:4)

My five-year-old daughter, Barbara, had disobeyed me and had been sent to her room. After a few minutes, I went in to talk with her about what she had done. Teary-eyed, she asked, “Why do we do wrong things, Mommy?”

“Sometimes the devil tells us to do something wrong,” I replied, “and we listen to him. We need to listen to God instead.”

To which she sobbed, “But God doesn’t talk loud enough!”

~Jo M. Guerrero, Christian Reader


Birthdays this Week:

12 Jeanne Marsh
16 Gary Van Regenmorter

Prayer Thought:   “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon.

The more you get in the habit of praying, the more you will accomplish through prayer and the happier you’ll be, because you will have learned the secret of staying in constant, close communication with your loving Savior and friend.

Please keep in prayer: Elvena Hyronimus, Jayden Ausland, Betty Peters, Jeanne Marsh, Jeff Lewis, Rose Thuringer, Esther Bakker; Ardella Kjergaard; Don Crichton, prostate cancer and will have surgery on January 6th and two spots on his lungs; Cami Kuchta- Cancer and radiation treatment. Candace Roelfsema-Stansbury- peace and strength dealing with long term illness.


Last week I started sharing this insightful article and continue it here with a 4th reason for declining attendance:


5 Things the Decline Of Radio And TV Can Tell Us About The Future Of The Church

By Carey Nieuhoff | November 28, 2016


  1. Blended and Single Parent Families

Fortunately, more and more blended families and single parent families are finding a home in church.

So how does this translate into attendance patterns?

Church leaders need to remember that when custody is shared in a family situation, ‘perfect’ attendance for a kid or teen might be 26 Sundays a year.

Similarly, while the affluent might not be in church because of access to reliable transportation, single parents (who, not always, but often, struggle more financially) might not be in church because they lack access to reliable transportation.

So here’s the strange twist. People who have a car are often not in church because they have a car. People who want to be in church are often not in church because they don’t have a car or because it’s not their ‘weekend’ for church.

Sadly, people who want to get to church simply can’t.

By the way, I lead a church that virtually requires a vehicle to get there. I love how we often see people with reliable transportation helping out those who don’t have a vehicle. That’s at least a partial remedy to this problem.


  1. Online Options

Many churches have created a social media presence and many podcast their messages. Churches are also launching online campuses that bring the entire service to you on your phone, tablet or TV.

There are pros and cons to online church and there’s no doubt that churches with a strong online presence have seen it impact physical attendance.

But whether or not your church has online options doesn’t make the issue go away. Anyone who attends your church has free access to any online ministry of any church.

Online church is here to stay, whether you participate or not.


  1. The Cultural Disappearance Of Guilt

When I grew up, I felt guilty about not being in church on a Sunday.

The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.

I regularly meet people all the time who haven’t been in months but LOVE our church.

If you’re relying on guilt as a motivator, you need a new strategy. (Well, honestly, you’ve always needed a new strategy…)


  1. Self-Directed Spirituality

People are looking less to churches and leaders to help them grow spiritually, and more to other options.

We live in a era in which no parent makes a visit to a doctor’s office without having first googled the symptoms of a child’s illness and a recommended course  of treatment. Just ask any family physician. It drives them nuts. (Google, doctors will tell you, is not a complete replacement for medical school.)

Similarly, when was the last time you bought a car without completely researching it online?

In an age where we have access to everything, more and more people are self-directing their spirituality… for better or for worse.

Similarly, another characteristics of the post-modern mind is a declining trust of and reliance on institutions. The church in many people’s minds is seen as an institution.

I don’t actually believe that’s what a church is. I think it’s a movement…not an institution. But many churches behave like an institution, and the post-modern mind instinctively moves away from it as a result.


  1. Failure To See A Direct Benefit

People always make time for the things they value most.  If they’re not making time for church, that tells you something.

Even among people who say their love the church and who say they love your church, if declining attendance is an issue, chances are it’s because they don’t see a direct benefit. They don’t see the value in being there week after week.

That could be because there isn’t much value (gut check). Or it could be because there is value that they simply don’t see.

Either way, failure to see a direct benefit always results in declining engagement.

So what are you doing or not doing that leaves people feeling like there’s not that much value?


  1. Valuing Attendance Over Engagement

When someone merely attends church, the likelihood of showing up regularly or even engaging their faith decreases over time.

At our church, I find our most engaged people—people who serve, give, invite and who are in a community group—are our most frequent attenders.

More and more as a leader, I value engagement over attendance.

Ironically, if you value attendance over engagement, you will see declining attendance.


  1. A Massive Culture Shift

All of these trends witness to something deeper. Our culture is shifting. Seismically.          Church leaders who fail to recognize this will not be able to change rapidly enough to respond to the shifts that are happening.

Change is unkind to the unprepared, so prepare.

[the article picks up here from the trend of declining attendance]

So how do you counter that trend? Or should you even try?

Well… let’s think this through. What makes a live event worth attending is that something is at stake in the moment, or if you miss it, you miss it. This is why you watch it live on TV or try to find it on the radio.

Consequently, if your church service consists of interchangeable content with no sense of urgency, immediacy or transcendency, attendance will always feel more optional.

On the contrary, churches that facilitate an experience or encounter with God, or that drive an urgent sense of mission will always be events that people will not want to miss.

Fortunately for church leaders, the activity and movement of God in the lives of his people is something that, when accurately and faithfully facilitated, drives engagement.

The more your church feels like a live event with God moving, the more people will be drawn to attending at a fixed time and place. And in that context, even watching live online won’t feel like being in the room.

Conversely, the more static or interchangeable your services feel, the less people will feel the need to come at a set time and place.

There’s no doubt that a growing number of younger adults seem to be drawn to a more passionate, engaged, almost charismatic form of worship and church. Witness the rise of HillsongElevation Church or the Passion movement.  While that’s not the only template for how to do church, the passion and engagement in those services and experiences helps explain why people are willing to line up for them.

The attenders are immersed and consumed. They are anticipating that something is going to happen.

As a result, they’re engaged. And as we’ve already seen, in the future church, engagement will be the key to attendance.


  1. Fixed-Formatting Limits Your Options

One of the things traditional radio and television struggle with is what you might call ‘fixed formatting.”

Essentially, radio and TV have to function through paid advertising, so content is interrupted every 2-10 minutes for commercial breaks.

Podcasting creates options that commercial radio can’t match.

I love the fact that on my leadership podcast, I get to have 40-90 minute conversations with leaders that are uninterrupted. I promise you conversations unfold very differently when over an hour than they do if the host is always interrupting the guest with “we only have a few minutes left” or “we have to throw to a commercial and we’ll be right back”.

People interview differently over an hour than they do in five-minute segments. They’re more relaxed. They tell you things they otherwise might not mention and you have a far more authentic conversation than you would if you were constantly interrupted.

With over 100 long-form interviews under my belt on my leadership podcast, I’m sold on the benefits of open-ended formatting. And with podcasting, there’s no limit.

It makes me wonder whether church leaders have far more options available to us than we realize.

What kind of long-form content or alt-format content can your church produce now that more channels are open to it?

At Connexus Church where I serve, we’re starting to experiment with online bonus messages for our series that we don’t run on Sundays.

Our most downloaded bonus episode so far is an indepth interview I did with a spiritual warfare expert that we ran in conjunction with a series on the supernatural. People loved it, and it accomplished something that would have been far more difficult to do during a service on a Sunday.

There are far more options for churches to explore than we’ve explored.

The greatest limits you face as a leader or organization are those you impose on yourself. What limits have you constructed for you and your mission?


  1. You No Longer Go To Content… Content Comes To You

Some churches have decided not to do online ministries for a variety of reasons, one of which includes not wanting to compete with live services.

And while I don’t think online church will ever replace church (it can’t…God designed us to gather), it can serve as a great supplement to it.

News networks now have apps and a tremendous social media presence. And can you think of a radio station that doesn’t have a Facebook page?

In the old paradigm, you got the news by going to a station. Now the station sends the news to you. Think about it… you probably first heard most of your news this year via social media.

The church can learn from this. To box content up for consumption only on a Sunday morning, or to simply place it on a website or podcast alone in 40-minute blocks completely under-utilizes content.

Taking snippets or a message to post on social media, insert into blog posts and repackage in various ways so it reaches more people is a much better use of the time, energy and resources that goes into a great message. Not to mention the redemptive potential of exposing more people life-changing messages.

It’s also an incredible outreach strategy. Andy Stanley puts his messages on a separate app and on NBC after Saturday Night Live, reaching an entirely different audience than he does through North Point channels or than most do through traditional Christian channels.

If you’re not repurposing your content, why not? Think about it.

Everybody who was not in your church on Sunday was online. Why aren’t you?

You can expect people to come to you. Or you can go simply go to people.

  1. The Explosion of Information Has Created A Crisis of Meaning

Our culture has never had access to more information than we do now. Three networks on TV has exploded into hundreds of channels. Radio went from AM to FM to satellite and beyond. And then there’s this thing called the internet.

In all of human history, people have never had access to more information than they do today. But somewhere in the midst of it, meaning has been lost.

The crisis our culture is facing is not a crisis of information. It’s a crisis of meaning.

This is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for the church in history. No one should be better at providing meaning, hope and perspective.

I don’t mean jumping on Facebook and offering your half-formed opinion on politics, Supreme Court decisions and anything else you want to rant about. That just adds to the noise and detracts from the Gospel.

I mean sharing intelligent, honest, transparent, soul-nourishing, grace and truth that springs from and points to the source of all wisdom—Jesus Christ.

The Gospel satisfies the deepest needs of the human heart and mind for meaning. And no one should be better at proffering meaning into a culture so desperately in need of it than the church.


Eternally Blessed,    

Pastor Dave Ullom <*}}}<  

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