Faith • Leadership • Life

Celebrating Easter at COTES and Moving Forward

move-forward

Alabama football coach Nick Saban uses a “24 hour” rule for his team and staff that helps them stay focused on the future and keeps them from getting caught being stuck on the past. If they win, they can celebrate for a day. If they lose, they can stew on it for 24 hours. Then, itʼs time to move on to the work and focus on the next game. As a leader, I admire Sabanʼs approach and see great value in it.

At the church I have the honor of leading. COTES, we had an amazing Easter weekend. Our team worked very hard to adequately plan for all the issues surrounding what promised to be a heavily attended weekend. We strategically added service times and designed unique worship experiences at important points during the weekend. This enabled us to spread the crowds throughout the weekend so that everyone would have a great experience and be able to hear the Gospel with the least amount of distraction. The plan worked amazingly well, and we were ecstatic.

We also spent a few months preparing the music, teaching, and creative elements for the weekend. COTES had 6 different services from Friday through Sunday. Within those 6, there were 3 completely unique environments. This was tremendously taxing on the teams, but God blessed it and we saw incredible fruit from the weekend. Over 3,300 people attended our Easter weekend. Close to 30 people were baptized, and over 60 people indicated they gave their lives to Jesus. We were humbled, amazed, and incredibly grateful that God would bless our church this way.

While Easter was great, every weekend is not Easter weekend, and Easter 2013 is now a memory. Itʼs time that we at COTES move forward to what God has next. We are kicking off a new sermon series, “The Family Series”, this weekend. We will spend 4 weeks teaching people what the Bible says about the family. It will be powerful and incredibly relevant. We have 1000 new people that were introduced to our church this past weekend. My hope is that many of them will return for this important series.

If youʼre a part of COTES, join me in moving forward. Invite your friends to this series and join us in making our church a magnet that pulls people all over our area to Jesus and His message, the Gospel. Families in our culture are under intense attack. Letʼs join together to make a difference. If you are a church leader or attender at another church, I encourage you remember and celebrate Easter, but look and move forward to what God wants to do next in and through your church. God is always doing a new thing!!

Posted in: Blog, Church, Community, Invite, Learning

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Why Should I Invite?

EasterInvite

This week, the church that I have the honor of pastoring, COTES, will collectively invite thousands of people to come and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with us.  I, along with our staff, have been urging our people to invite their coworkers, family, and friends to one of our many weekend services.  It has been one of the main points of focus for our church over the past month.  One may wonder why this is so important?  Shouldn’t we just clean the buildings, prepare the service, open the Bible and preach to whoever decides to come on their own?  Should we be making all this effort to get people to the church this weekend, or any weekend for that matter?  I believe the Bible gives us a strong foundation for inviting everyone we can to our churches, especially on Easter.

In Luke chapter 14, Jesus tells us the parable of the great banquet.  In this brilliantly vivid story, told in a way only Jesus could tell it, a master prepares an amazing and large banquet and feast.  He instructs his servant to go and invite people to it, but everyone he invites turns him down with weak excuses.  He then angrily instructs the servant to go everywhere possible and invite everyone he can find to the banquet.  The language is strong, as the servant is told in Luke 14:23 to “urge” people to come.  Why does the master say to so passionately make this invite?  In the same verse he says to invite “so that my house will be full.”  God wants His house to be FULL!!!

If you attend my church or another, either way you should be passionately and actively inviting everyone you can in any way you can to come to the house of God with you this weekend.  We know that people are more willing to attend a church during Easter than any other time of the year.  Why would we not invite?  Why would we be so lazy to simply hope people will show up to our churches without actually doing the work of inviting?  The “build it and they’ll come” mentality has taken the modern church down a road of decline and stagnation.  Our buildings become nothing but museums and monuments if the Gospel isn’t being proclaimed to both saved and unsaved people within their walls.  I hope COTES is jam packed this weekend with people.  Hurting people, saved people, lost people, rich people, poor people, sick people….lot’s of people!!!  Why? Because God wants His house full, and so should we.

So, in closing, I challenge you to spend the next few days making invites.  Use your cell phone, your computer, and most of all you influence to make the “ask.”  Will it be hard? Yes!  Will it be uncomforable? You better believe it!  Will you regret it? Never.  So, invite my friends.  There’s no feast like the one Jesus serves.  There’s no banquet that comes close to the one that has the Gospel as the centerpiece.  May our tables be set and His houses be full!!

Posted in: Blog, Church, Community, Invite, perspective

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