Thursday, February 10, 2005

EPIC Stuff

Leonard Sweet came to our church this week for a seminar that was put on by the was called Summoned to Lead and the focus was evangelism in the culture in which we find ourselves...there was so much good stuff, that I may have to make a couple of posts to summarize it all...and then again, I may not...we'll just have to wait and thing that I wanted to make sure I got out there for others to appreciate was the idea that the way we need to reach people is of my good friends, Trey Carey, once told me that the most important thing to know about doing youth ministry is the effective use of acronyms...EPIC, of course, is an acronym that Sweet used to discuss our evangelism...and to spell it out, he exegeted a Starbucks coffee cup (brilliant!)...our evangelism needs to be:
  • Experiential
    • Going to Starbucks is not about the coffee; it's about the experience
    • Starbucks wants to handle the experience, so they give you a cup holder to protect your hands...they don't apologize for the experience - the temperature of the coffee - as some other establishments might
    • Every experience needs to be as positive as possible
    • His point: Church and a relationship with God should not be about putting on a good show, giving people a good should be about finding ways to allow the individual to experience God in His fullest sense
  • Participatory
    • You can't just order a cup of coffee at Starbucks; you participate in the ordering process (I'll have a double-shot of espresso in my skinny venti latte - totally made that up)
    • You should have to learn the language that goes into the experience (venti, latte, black eye, etc.)
    • Culture is increasingly interactive and participatory
    • His point: Church has gotten really good at providing a show for people, but does not give the individual the opportunity to participate...we have gotten away from making the individual learn the language (Doxology, sanctification, etc.)...this culture needs to way Sweet allows the people to participate is to almost have an open-ended discussion with them as he preaches, while a "dancing partner" is on Google putting images on the screen that relate to whatever they are talking about at the present time - ultra-cool!
  • Image rich
    • Consistent image in all Starbucks...if you go to one in Ohio or one overseas, you will recognize it as a Starbucks
    • Starbucks communicates more in their images and less than in words
    • His point: He led a discussion of Paul, focusing on his back...he had us describe Paul: was he short? what color hair did he have? intense or carefree? etc....then he looked at the way Paul describes himself in 2 Corinthians 11 (five times he received 40 lashes minus one, three times beaten with rods, once he was stoned, etc.)...then he had us imagine what his back must have looked like after all of that put our image of Paul in a much different light
  • Connection
    • There has been a migration in our society from rural (with huge wraparound porches) to urban (small front porch) to suburban (no front porch and gaping garage to swallow you up)...Starbucks created a front porch for us to visit and connect in
    • Society has given us relationship ministers (Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Oprah)...shows that we are hungry for relationships
    • The first commandment in the Bible is to eat freely from any tree in the Garden; the last is to drink freely; everything in between is the table at which we sit and dine with Jesus
    • His point: The church needs to be a place where people can connect with one another...also, it is not enough to make the church that kind of place...the Great Commission says to go, so we need to be creating that kind of community wherever we find ourselves
This is a very cursory summary of what Sweet had to say in the first part of the seminar...and not nearly as profound as what he actually presented...needless to say, he gave me plenty to chew on as far as what the youth ministry at La Croix looks much to think about, so little time...

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