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Laugh, Think & Cry… Jimmy V + Church

Jimmy V’s speech is my favorite speech of all time (behind Martin Luther King) and has been challenging over the last year for me. And and it came up again the other week as I was sitting through one our services at PC3. I was taking notes on my phone and evaluating during our 9:00am service when Jimmy V’s three points during the beginning of his speech at the ESPY’s came to mind…

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

So as I was sitting there I thought about our service flow and vision for each weekend. And I noticed we have a similar vision weekend services, but not as simple and clear. Then I started to think that most people don’t get a chance to experience all three of those emotions for even one day, much less seven consecutive days. Each Sunday people walk in broken, worried, sad, angry, confused, tired, lost. Someone was given news by the doctor that they have cancer. Someone has lost their father or mother or their best friend to an accident. Someone missed another mortgage payment or came home that week no longer having their job. But they they show up to church looking for help and I think a place to smile.

So what if each week churches all around world had three key emotions they tried to foster engagement with?

Laugh

Give people a chance to laugh. Give them an opportunity to smile. I don’t believe this has to happen during the service. I think if you can create a moment to laugh and smile at the beginning of a service that’s a big win, but most churches don’t do this well. I suggest not going for church funny, but knock it out of the park if you plan to make people laugh during the service. Video elements are way safer during the service due to being able to preview the product and make changes. Playing games on stage is the hardest we have learned at PC3, but more on that soon.

So if you don’t feel comfortable in the service then start that junk in the parking lot. Create funny signs in the park lot. Put games in the lobby areas. Create photo booths for families. Find ways to give people the opportunity (not make… they may not be ready just yet. And that’s ok because we are a church and not an entertainment show) to laugh and smile.

Think

This is where churches I believe spend a lot of their time and thinking. We block out roughly 40 minutes a week for the sermon/message part of the service. But don’t stop there. How can we encourage (not push) people to think for theme selves after hearing the sermon and/or singing songs to Jesus. Think how we can help them take what they experience/hear and engage through the week. This is a key element we are working on at PC3. We are asking how can we continue the message/service/conversation throughout the week. How can we help encourage people to think Monday – Thursday.

Cry

And the last may not be to physically cry for everyone, but like Jimmy V says we “should have your emotions moved to tears. I believe the way the Church does this is by sharing stories. We must get better at capturing and telling stories of life change and redemeption through the people within our church. Everyone has a story and many need to be told. At PC3 we have a few different ways we have told stories over the years and we are hopefully looking at new ways to begin sharing stories in 2015.

But I will end with a personal thought that has been on my mind lately. I love sermon series in church. I believe it helps me think around a specific topic and can spend time reading scripture about a specific study/topic. I also love branding and find it helpful for inviting friends and using it to help trigger old memories and teachings. And up to this point I have loved the execution of bumps/title packages to help set up the topics. But my thoughts lately has been is it time to move on from the way/system and explore something new. Over the past few years I believe our culture has began to shift from wanting churches/organization being relevant to more thought on authenticity and openness. Not that we can’t be relevant, because honestly if we aren’t relevant then we won’t connect. And that’s just simply the definition talking:

Relevant |ˈreləvənt| adjective: closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.

So what if we shifted our attention and resources from the title package prior to the message and moved it to the story that needs to be told following the message?

So I digress. Once again what was supposed to be a quick post turned into a 12:30am finish time.

What about you guys? If you work/volunteer for a church do you see these three emotions needed on a Sunday? If you attend church do you feel like this is needed?

2 replies
  1. John Griffith
    John Griffith says:

    Well written Mike.

    As we enjoy our time here in Walt Disney World for Christmas, I dwell on your words and see that Disney, considered to be a great model for success, uses many of these principles. As you wait in line, your mind is kept active with many forms of stimulation.

    Many see our church as merely some form of entertainment. These are the folks that feel church should be a stuffy, painful experience rather than the celebration that church should be.

    We must always remember that church is a community thing, A large church can seem intimidating and many feel they will never be able to grow in that endless sea of humanity. It is ESSENTIAL that churches, especially churches the size of ours, do everything they can to bring unity.

    I agree that the emotions and such you mention are very important, as long as EVERYTHING that is done glorifies the creator and draws people to the foot of the cross. That is where completeness takes place.

    Our music is not a rock show, we are not a comedy house, we are not the wailing wall, we are not the final say and we are not here to entertain. We must exist to blend ALL of the intricate workings that are on the surface as well as in the background in order to glorify the savior.

    In that, we see Christ. Christ laughed, he cried, he caused deep thought and he caused people to see God for what God is..LOVE. Love, pure unadulterated love will cause laughter, thought and tears! This is GOD! Christ, the God/Man who died for all mankind is ALL this and so much more.

    At this time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we need to humble ourselves as Christians and do that which we were designed to do. Glorify the savior.

    Laugh – because we know that no matter how difficult life is, through Christ we can laugh with joy knowing that we are his and he is ours. There is NO BETTER GIFT.

    Think – Think daily about who we are and who Christ is. BE IN GOD”S WORD every day. It will cause you to think, study and want to know more. DO NOT let a day go by without being in His word.

    Cry – Do not cry for your past or mistakes made. Cry because we have a God who loves us so much, that He encased himself in human flesh in order to experience what we experience, joy, anger, pain, etc…then, allowed himself to be humiliated, tortured and sentenced to die for NO REASON so that we ALL have the hope and opportunity to receive the most precious gift ever to be offered. Eternal Life through his living sacrifice. AMEN!!!

    Reply

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