What The Church Can Learn From "Welcome To Moes!"

Many restaurants and businesses incorporate a standardized greeting. For me, the most recognizable is the "Welcome to Moes!" cry the moment you swing the door open and walk in. Chick-fil-A also has a standardized greeting. When they close a purchase, and the customer says "thank you" the cashier will always respond with the words "my pleasure."

Kris Dunn wrote a great article comparing the two strategies, where he points out that one is often received as forced and obnoxious while the other is often received as genuine. Why? The reason is simple.  It's harder to appear authentic when you have to put enthusiasm into a loud greeting that the entire place can hear - than it is to say thank you to one person (at a normal voice level in a standardized way). The burden is much lower.

Every weekend, our churches do the very best we can to greet one another, and make newcomers feel welcome. Yet, are we being perceived as producing a forced standardized greeting, or are we instead remembered as genuine and personal? What could we do better? What changes need to be made?

Pastor Milo

How the Church Does More by Doing Less

I am a person who fills every moment of every day with activity if left to my own devices. When I was responsible for planning youth retreats, I often disbursed the itinerary for a ski weekend and it was nothing to have a full 36 hours programmed without a moment to spare. Often, after twisting parent's arms to allow me to take their teenagers out of school a day early over a holiday weekend, the same parents would keep their kids home the day after the trip to recover and regroup from the trip. Over time, I'm learning that in ministry and in life, less is more, and more is better.  

A few years back I read a great book by Dave Browning called Deliberate Simplicity. I picked it up again this week, and was challenged once again to think about what is most important, and make deliberate efforts to laser focus there. On the book jacket it quotes Einstein who noted once that any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex, but that it takes a touch of genius... to move in the opposite direction. I often feel like an intelligent fool.

In true minimalistic form, the following statements encapsulate how less is more in regards to the local church. How is your church doing?

Keep it simple. Keep it missional. Keep it real.

Keep it simple.
Are we doing things as a church that are hard to explain to a guest in a few sentences? Or, are things done in a simple DNA that can be reproduced rapidly, and expand quickly? Are we built for growth? Notice I did not say simplistic, or robotic. Our human bodies are built around simple building blocks we call cells, yet the result is anything bland and ordinary.

Keep it missional.
Are we doing things as a church that are directionless and purposeless in regards to reaching people for Jesus Christ? Or, are we asking ourselves regularly to live out their faith in the "ordinary" ways of life? Our hope is to see "ordinary" people engaging in evangelistic missional efforts locally and globally.

Keep it real.
Are we doing things as a church that could be describes as impression management? Are we wearing clothes, listening to music, and using a vernacular that we wouldn't use with the rest of the week? Or, are willing to be a people of authenticity. Is what you see what you get? Our desire should be for genuine people and real relationships full of imperfections, colorations, and textures where we invite anyone to "come as your are."

What about you? 
How could you do more by doing less? Maybe your specific group or ministry area should spend some time to think along these lines? What would it look like if you chose to be deliberately simple?

Pastor Milo

What Is The Role Of Your Pastor?

What is it you have to do when you're not preaching?

Must be nice to only work one day a week.

I'd like to come see you this afternoon. It's not Sunday, I'm assuming you're free.

So what is it that a pastor actually does? The answer for any pastors is — lots of things. Lots. A day is seldom the same. The pastor wears many hats, and for many, the roles are ever changing. Sometimes things can get a bit overwhelming.

This unease however, isn't unique to the pastorate. I had lunch today with a friend whose company is undergoing an organizational overhaul, leaving thousands of employees wondering what their role will be in the new structure as it comes into focus. On a national level, as I watch the re-shaping of the presidential cabinet, I see many high level leaders wondering what their role in the new administration. 

Many people are aware of the role a pastor plays as a counselor, a coach, or a volunteer coordinator, but what about the role of community ambassador? Our nation sends ambassadors to posts around the world to represent us and our ideals in a concise and positive manner. The role of the pastor in the community is similar.

The pastor represents the church in the community in many ways. First and foremost he is to represents the name of Christ to the neighborhood, as is the mandate of every follower of Jesus, but he also represents the name of the local church when he moves about the neighborhood. This is also a high calling.

In our context, I meet regularly with our Forest Elementary School Principal and look for opportunities for our church to meet practical needs of the under-served and under-fed children in his care. I speak often at the Christian Central Academy chapel services, as well as meet with the Fire Chief in the Village of Williamsville for coffee from time to time.

We are active in our church networks as well, where I have the honor of representing Randall in a more formal sense. While we remain an autonomous church, grounded in Baptist roots, these partnerships give us tremendous impact in WNY and around the world. 

We are interacting on a weekly basis with the Frontier Baptist Association whose goals are to empower people for missions, encourage pastors for leadership, equip planters for disciple-making, and energize partner churches for kingdom thinking. I serve as a volunteer church planting catalyst, where I have the opportunity to survey new areas in our city where churches are needed and connect them with planters that have a burning in their heart to see people come to Christ, and establish a new gathering of believers.

We also engage on a quarterly basis with the Church of Western New York, an initiative piloted by the Chapel at Crosspoint for the purpose of seeing our region completely saturated with the Gospel. This is not a denomination or a building, but rather a collaborative of churches, church leaders, and pastors who long to see the Gospel proclaimed throughout our communities. I am grateful to be in network with these fine men and women of God.

It is my honor to represent Randall church in these spheres in our community. I am reminded regularly of the weight and responsibility of the role I have to play, and I pray that I would "exemplify a disciplined life doing what is right and just and fair" (Prov 1:3). If you are a part of our church, I hope you would pray for me often, and for the places I go throughout the week. In addition, if you know another pastor that serves in a bi-vocational, or volunteer manner please say an extra prayer for him. The number of hats in his closet are even greater.

I love my job! Thank you for serving Christ with me!

Pastor Milo