As our church continues to grow, I try to work very hard at still being personal with the hundreds and hundreds of people God is bringing to us each and every week. That is why I do all of the following things:
I send out a Pastor’s E-mail Update twice a week via e-mail (if you do not receive that and would like to, just go to our church website, www.lgbc.org, and sign up for it…it’s free!)! The purpose of these updates is to share with you many of the wonderful stories we hear on a daily basis as to how God is using Grace Church. I also use this to highlight upcoming events and ministries and to share relevant and updated ministry information.
I write and post a blog entry each and every weekday (by the way, thanks for reading)! I have now made over 1,100 posting on my blog. Though my blog receives quite a bit of traffic (over 110,000 unique visitors from over 140 different countries so far) the main purpose of the blog is for me to communicate with our church family. This allows me to share a more transparent look at me and the thoughts that rattle around my mind. It also allows me to share more in-depth on specific ways we see God working in our ministry.
I stand in the lobby after all three of our Sunday morning worship services! My goal in doing so is to greet as many people as possible, shake as many hands as possible, and see as many faces as possible. This allows me to share a few words with many people and to meet many of the guests that we get at Grace Church each and every Sunday.
I personally answer all e-mails that are sent to me by those who are part of Grace Church! Some pastors of larger churches have their assistant respond to their e-mails for them. Believe me, I completely understand why they do this and I am not knocking that. However, this is still a way that I can stay personally in touch with those who attend Grace. Seriously, if you are connected to Grace, I want you to feel free to e-mail me (email@example.com). I check my e-mail multiple times a day and it is my priority to always attempt to give a brief response within 24 hours.
I make myself available for officiating weddings and funerals! Weddings seem to be the most popular way for me to still be part of a major event in the lives of people who attend Grace. In the 5 years since I came to Grace Church, I have officiated 38 weddings ( for an average of about 8 a year) while only officiating 13 funerals (for an average of 2.5 a year). But I try to make myself available to do both whenever I am asked.
It used to be that all weddings were done a certain way. That is not the case today. Couples today are far more unique and creative in how they do weddings. I love it when couples are creative. We do a lot of outdoor weddings. We even did one outdoor wedding in December in the snow, wind and cold. We’ve seen doves released; bagpipes played; garden stones used; unity sand in lieu of a unity candle and many other elements. Tomorrow I’ll explain the process I take a couple through in preparation for their big day.