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Friday, February 29, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. I'm excited about our new series beginning this Sunday called "You're Invited". Invite a friend to join you this Sunday for one of our four services! It's going to be a blast!

2. This Sunday in all four services we will be breaking ground on our new facility! We are not letting any grass grow under our feet. Last week was Celebration and Commitment Sunday, and this week we are getting to work to build this new facility. Don't miss this special ground breaking event!

3. I spoke at a pastor's conference yesterday. It was held in Oklahoma City, so I didn't have to travel. I enjoy inspiring and equipping leaders.

4. I love the staff God has placed around me. It's great having a talented, anointed and loyal team around me. Team, thanks for your hard work.

5. Yesterday, my oldest son Cale asked me if tomorrow (which is today) was the day that daddy would be home all day. I said, yes tomorrow is daddy's off day. Cale said YEA YEA! Our family really looks forward to our family day every Friday. It's going to be a great day hanging out with my family.

6. I can't remember his name, but the 17 year old guy is my favorite so far on American Idol! The dude can SANG!

7. This Sunday, I will be announcing how much our church family committed to the CRAZY Campaign! It's going to be a FABULOUS SUNDAY! SEE YOU THERE!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Growing By Subtraction pt. 3

Here are some things you need to do when people leave your church.

1. Don't talk people into staying at your church when they want to leave. You rarely talk an unhappy person into being happy.

2. Love people, Love people, Love people, Love people!

3. Don't take it personal even though it hurts. No matter who you are or where you pastor, people will leave your church. Don't take it personal (this can be hard).

4. Always take the high road. Even if people talk bad about you or say things that aren't true, take the high road and let God fight your battles for you.

5. Understand that there are times when people need to leave so that the church can go forward. A church really can grow by subtraction.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Growing By Subtraction pt. 2

D. Some Christians can't handle reaching un-churched people. They are used to being in a church that is focused on ministering to Christians and neglecting a lost and dying world. So, if you start a church that is focused on reaching and not just keeping, you will lose some Christians. Frankly, it's a lot easier to be a part of a church that is only focused on ministering to the already saved, but it's also not a very biblical church.

E. Some people leave because they don't line up with your vision. There are people who come to a new church with their own vision and have no intention of catching the vision of the church. It's very important that the pastor cast the vision often so that everybody understands the direction of the church. Casting the vision often rallies and inspires the troops and also lets some people know that this is not the church for them.

F. Some people leave because the role of the pastor changes as the church grows. When a church is smaller the pastor can shake everybody's hand, know everybody's name, counsel everybody, perform all the weddings and funerals, make all the hospital visits and the list goes on and on. As a church grows, there is no way one pastor can do it all. More importantly, the pastor doing all the ministry is not biblical because the Bible says the pastor is called to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Read Ephesians 4). Some people leave a new church when it begins to grow because they won't adjust as the role of the pastor changes. They literally want one pastor to be Superman.

MORE TOMORROW

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Growing By Subtraction

Growing By Subtraction

Over the past 5 1/2 years of being the Senior Pastor of People's Church, I have learned that a church often times grows by subtraction. I want to spend a few days talking to you about subtraction in the local church. Of course, I love lists, so here we go!

1. In a church plant, a lot of the people who start with you won't stay with you. They will be a blessing to the church in the very beginning stages, but they end up leaving the church for various reasons. Here are some reasons that some of the people who start with you won't stay.

A. As the church grows, they can't adjust from being a big fish in a LITTLE pond to being a little fish in a BIG pond. These people like a small church. They feel more important because they know everybody and everybody knows them. These people don't want to handle being a part of a growing church, so they leave.

B. Some people want control, and when they don't get it, they leave. There are people who will show up to your church because it's new and they think they can control the pastor and the vision. Sometimes, there will be several people who come together and try to push their agenda on the pastor. They think the more numbers they have the greater chance they'll have of controlling the church. If the pastor doesn't allow these people to control him and the church, they will eventually leave.

C. There are some people who leave your church because they are a disgruntled church person. Some people are just negative, mean and just down right difficult people to pastor. They left their last church disgruntled and unless God does something HUGE in their hearts, they will eventually leave your church disgruntled.

MORE TOMORROW

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Update

1. I'm tired today. My kids woke up last night crying at 2:15AM, 4:30AM and 6:15AM. Not good after a long Sunday of preaching. Oh well, they are precious, but they better not do that tonight :).

2. There was an incredible presence of God and excitement at our CRAZY Celebration and Commitment Sunday. If you missed yesterday, you missed a historic day at PC. IT WAS GREAT.

3. Today, our Administrative Staff is tallying up how much was pledged in yesterday's services. I should know the total some time today. I will post the total, NOT! I will announce the total this coming Sunday.

4. We are breaking ground on our new facility this Sunday. Don't you dare miss it!

5. I'm beginning a new series this coming up Sunday called You're Invited. I am excited to teach this new series.

6. I'm brain dead this morning, so I am not writing anything else. Have a super Monday!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Are you ready to get CRAZY? This SUNDAY we will be getting CRAZY! I am pumped up to watch God move in an incredible way!

2. Don't you dare miss Sunday for anything! It will be an unforgettable and historic day!

3. I am very excited to spend the day with my family. We are going to chill out together. Later on we are going to go out and grab a bite to eat. Then, we will come back home and play hard with the kids. Tonight, after we put the kids to bed, Tiffany and I are going to watch a movie and eat POPCORN. This is the perfect day for me. I LOVE MY FAMILY and so, so, so, so look forward to days like this. It is going to be great!

4. Let's get CRAZY on Sunday!!

5. Our new Student Ministries Director moved to OKC this week and is ready to roll. Chris and Jamie are an awesome couple. They have a passion to reach students who are far from God and to see students grow in their faith. OUR STUDENT MINISTRIES ARE GOING TO ANOTHER LEVEL! Students, get ready for God to ROCK your world big time!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CRAZY Tips pt. 3

6. Remember, this isn't about brick and mortar; it's about changed lives. It's about more changed lives. As you invest in the CRAZY Campaign, literally, thousands of people are going to find Christ in our new facility. I AM PUMPED!

7. You are storing treasure in heaven. Our earthly rewards can't compare to our HEAVENLY rewards.

8. As you invest in God's Kingdom, you are exemplifying a heart for God. The scripture says, “where your treasure is that's where your heart will be also.” It's an amazing feeling to know that you have a heart for God.

9. CRAZY miracles happen when everybody does their part and does their best. Let it be said of each one of us that we did our part and did our best for the glory of God!

10. God is going to abundantly bless you as you step out in CRAZY faith. You can't out give God!

11. I can't wait for Sunday! It's going to be the most exciting services ever at People's Church! It will be an HISTORIC DAY filled with God's presence!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CRAZY Tips pt. 2

4. Reason versus Revelation: Reason means I look at my budget and figure out what I can afford to give. Revelation means I spend time in prayer and find out what God wants to do through me. Reason means I do what pleases me, and revelation means I do what pleases God.

5. Get Creative: Every person and family has their own unique situation. Since the beginning of our marriage, Tiffany and I have always saved a portion of our pay check. I have been afforded the opportunity to speak at conferences and churches around the nation. These are a couple of the unique situations that the Cooper family has been blessed with. So, we are getting creative in how we can sacrificially give to the CRAZY campaign. We are giving two thirds of our savings to the CRAZY Campaign, all of the money we receive from speaking out for the next 3 years and an extra 10 percent of our income over and above the Lord's tithe and our regular offerings. What does creative look like for you? Stocks, selling land, car, home or possessions, savings, second job, percentage of your check, giving from your business, you are retired so you take a part time job, you're about to retire but you work an extra 3 years or giving up a vacation. It's amazing the CRAZY things God can do through us when we get creative!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

CRAZY Tips

This week our church family is preparing for our Celebration & Commitment Sunday. On February 24, in all four services, we are making 3 year pledges and bringing our best offering towards our pledge to build a 42,000 square foot addition, which includes an 1800 seat auditorium. We will be breaking ground on our new facility in March 2008. THIS IS AN EXCITING SEASON FOR OUR CHURCH! I want to give you some tips as you prepare to make your commitment.

1. Pray. If you haven't had a serious time of prayer, set time aside and let God speak to your heart.

2. Fast. Your flesh controls your life more than you think. Fast and deny your flesh so that you can get in tune with the Holy Spirit.

3. Communicate. If you are married and/or have kids, have a family conference in the next day or two. During the family conference read God's Word, pray together and discuss what God is speaking to your family about your involvement in the CRAZY Campaign. Communication is key!

More Tomorrow

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend Update

Today is going to be a different weekend update. Some of our church family asked me to put the 1 min intro video our media team put together for the CRAZY campaign on the website. They did a great job capturing my dream and putting it into a powerful video. I hope it inspires you!



video

Friday, February 15, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. I've been fighting a cold this week. Thanks for saying a prayer for me. I am doing better than I was earlier in the week.

2. Are you ready to get CRAZY? Don't you dare miss this Sunday. I have a very special announcement that nobody knows about. This announcement is going to pump you up! All I'm telling you is, if you miss this Sunday, you are missing out on something that is HUGE for our church. I can't wait for Sunday to get here!

3. American Idol has narrowed down to the top 24. This is where America votes. I don't ever vote, but I sure love the show.

4. I wish football season would hurry up and get here :). I'm a football junkie!

5. We had a special Valentine's dinner at the Cooper house. Everybody got a gift. The kids loved it.

6. Today, I'm hanging with the family, and tonight, we have a special, once in a lifetime leadership dinner. It's going to be great!

7. SEE YOU SUNDAY!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Preaching Lessons pt. 3

Below is a list of tips to improve your preaching.

1. Preach the Bible. Don't preach your opinion. Make sure your messages are full of God's Word.

2. Preach for life change. Your messages have to be applicable. Always think, what are the one or two things I want people to do with this message? How does your message help people follow God in their everyday lives?

3. Preach Jesus. Your messages should always point people to Jesus. JESUS (not you, a denomination or a political party) should ALWAYS be the focus of your preaching.

4. Preach sound biblical doctrine. Don't take the scripture out of context. Don't get caught up in fads and hype. Preach the Word.

5. Preach simple messages. People should not leave your messages confused. People should not leave saying, “that was deep, but what in the world was he talking about?”

6. Prepare before you preach. Inspiration without perspiration (study) is dangerous. I'm not going to tell you how many hours you should spend on a sermon, but I will say that it should be hours and not minutes! I spend anywhere from 7 to 15 hours on each message. This includes research (sometimes weeks before I actually put together the message), study, meditation and prayer on the message throughout the day, creative elements and memorization.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Preaching Lessons pt. 2

When I first started preaching, I thought that I wasn't very spiritual if I used somebody else's outline or material. I used to think I had to have a FRESH word from God that I came up with all by myself. That kind of thinking is called arrogance and is borderline stupid :)! There is nothing new under the sun. Even preachers who say they don't use other people's material when they preach are fooling themselves. They use somebody else's commentary notes, Bible software programs, different versions of the Bible that they didn't write, internet resources or some other tool to help them put their messages together.

I will use somebody else's sermon, illustrations or outline in a HEARTBEAT. Of course, I make it my own. Sometimes, I hear a speaker say one sentence, and it triggers an entire message in my heart, but the original idea came from somebody else. Get over your arrogance and pride and use all of the resources that are available to you in the 21st century. It will take your preaching to another level!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Preaching Lessons

I can't believe how time has flown by. I have been preaching God's Word for 15 years. I have learned a lot of lessons about preaching. I am far from where I need to be, but I have sure come a long way from that first sermon to my youth group in Wewoka, Oklahoma. For the next few days, I want to share with you some invaluable lessons that I've learned from preaching God's Word over the last 15 years.

Preaching Mistakes I've Made

1. In my early years of preaching (I know some of you are thinking, "SONNY, you are in your early years"), I imitated several preachers. I tried to talk like them and put my sermons together like them. I was never comfortable in my own skin. It took me a few years to really develop my own style and rhythm. It is OK to learn from other communicators and even use techniques that they use as long as you are being true to how God has wired you. If you are just getting started with preaching God's Word, don't beat yourself up because you imitate your favorite preachers. You just need to realize that you have to develop into the communicator that GOD wants you to be. You are most effective being you!

More tomorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Update

1. Are you ready to get CRAZY? Our church is in the middle of a CRAZY Campaign, and there is great momentum. People's Church is excited to add on an additional 42,000 square foot to our existing building to reach more people who are far from God. God is doing something special in our hearts during this spiritual journey.

2. Even in the middle of our CRAZY Campaign, God is doing HIS thing. 30 people received Christ as their Lord and Savior yesterday. PC, way to invite your friends and family to church to experience God's life-changing power. No matter what series we are in, we will always point people to Christ!

3. Saturday was a gorgeous day. Tiffany and I took the kids outside to play. The boys and I stayed out about an hour, and we had a blast.

4. PC turn up the prayer burners. This CRAZY season should be filled with prayer and more prayer. Be sure to wear your CRAZY bracelet and put your CRAZY magnet in a place where you will see it and remember to pray. PRAYER IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!

5. Yesterday evening the Cooper family went to BRAUM'S and got some Ice cream. I ate pizza after church and then Ice cream for dinner. I'm scared to go to the gym today and step on the scales. Oh well, I will hit the gym extra hard this week.

6. Shoot for the stars and, if you miss, grab ahold of the moon! Have a super Monday!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Are you ready to get CRAZY? Don't you dare miss this weekend. The videos are going to be awesome, and I have a powerful message that God has laid on my heart. God is going to do some phenomenal things in our hearts this Sunday! SEE YOU THERE!

2. Turn up the prayer burners! This is a CRAZY season, and all of us must be praying for all the wonderful things that God has in store for People's Church. THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

3. I'm glad American Idol is headed to Hollywood next week. I love to laugh at the people who think they can sing, but can't but I'm ready to get the show on the road.

4. I went on a date with my wife last night. We really had a great time. We did a lot of talking about how amazed we are at how God has blessed us. Tiffany and I are both living our dream. We both love God and are in love with each other. We have 3 healthy and wonderful kids, and one on the way. We have a great church family and great friends. God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. THANKS, GOD!

5. I love Fridays because I love to hang out with my family and have some time to rest. My kids also love Fridays. They look forward to our Friday family dates.

6. If you haven't attended one of our Class Of…Events, don't miss the last one this Sunday. If you want to learn more about the new 42,000 square foot facility we will be breaking ground on in March 2008, don't miss the last meeting this Sunday immediately following the 12:15PM service. We will be eating pizza and also answering your questions about our awesome future.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hiring Lessons pt. 3

One of my favorite books that has helped me a ton in ministry is Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels. In the book Bill talks about hiring staff members based on three qualities: character, chemistry and competency. Before we hire someone at People's Church, we look for the 3 C's. Here's how the 3 C's play out at People's Church.

1. Character: We want to know that they are a person of their word during the interview process. When they say that they will send their resume on a certain day, do they? When they say they will call us at a certain time, do they? We want to know if the little things matter to them. We want to find out if they have good references from their previous employers, co-workers and friends. We find out about their character by listening to them talk about their walk with Christ, family, mistakes, job and their daily life. We try our best to use discernment and intuition.

2. Chemistry: We hire people we like. If we don't like a person, we will not hire them. We put the person and their family in multiple environments to see if there is chemistry with our team. Our team is very fun loving and likes to laugh a lot, so we make sure we don't get a “stuck in the mud” person on our staff.

We also make sure the person shares our DNA as a church. If a person doesn't embrace our vision, core values and philosophy of ministry, we will not hire them. We prefer to hire from within our church because they normally already embrace the direction our church is headed in.

3. Competency: We hire people who are hard workers. Lazy people will not make it on our staff. We hire people who are self-starters. We hire people who are hungry to learn, grow and change with the organization. Where we are today as a church, we have to hire leaders not doers. We try our best to hire a person who can manage leaders and large groups of people and not a person who wants to do everything themselves.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hiring Lessons pt. 2

Creating a hiring system has helped our team make better hires. Life Church in Edmond, OK, really helped us create a hiring system that has taken our hiring process to the next level. We don't just shoot from the hip when we are interviewing, we actually have a system. Here are the things we do when we are interviewing someone.

1. We first determine what the job description is.

2. We determine the qualities an individual must possess to accomplish the job.

3. If they live out of the Oklahoma City metro area, we do one or two initial phone interviews to see if we want to proceed.

4. If they live in the Oklahoma City metro area, one of our team members may or may not do an initial phone or lunch interview.

5. We get a resume.

6. We have several tests that each person has to take. Implementing this step has really helped us. For some of the tests we use go to swerve.lifechurch.tv and find where Jerry Hurley did several posts on hiring in 2007.

7. If they test well, we proceed with MULTIPLE interviews. We use to do just one interview and make a hire, but not anymore. We do multiple interviews, in different settings, with different staff people interviewing or taking them to lunch or dinner. I'm rarely a part of the first interviews and lunches. I'm also normally only a part of hiring people on our leadership team. Implementing multiple interviews has been huge in helping us determine if the person or couple is a fit with our church and team.

MORE TOMORROW


New Book

I just received Vince Antonucci's new book in the mail today titled, I Became A Christian And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt. I'm excited to read it. You can order it at www.lousytshirtbook.com.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hiring Lessons

Putting the right team around you is one of the most important jobs of a leader. As I've stated before, your team will either make you or break you. Over the last 5 and a half years of being the Senior Pastor of People's Church, I have learned invaluable lessons about hiring. To be totally transparent, I have learned the most from all of the mistakes I've made. That's right, I have made some huge mistakes when it comes to hiring the right person, but one of the things I think I have done well is learn from my mistakes. I try my best not to make the same mistake twice. Over the next several days, I want to share with you some of the lessons I have discovered on my journey to building a great team. Today, I want to list some of the huge mistakes I've made.

1. I have hired people without calling their most recent employer.

2. I have rushed to hire someone because I felt like the position had to be filled.

3. I have hired people, and I really didn't know what I was looking for until after they were hired.

4. I have hired people when I had a gut check that there could be possible issues.

5. I have hired people without having any kind of hiring system besides shoot from the hip.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend Update

1. It was a beautiful weekend in Oklahoma City. I love great weather.

2. Besides grabbing a cup of coffee and working out at the gym, I hung out with my family all day on Saturday. Our Saturdays have been busy the past couple of weeks, so it was fun to spend time with my family.

3. The videos in all 4 services were amazing. Cameron, you do a great job with our videos every week. This Sunday was over the top. WAY TO GO!

4. 26 people gave their hearts to Christ yesterday. I am absolutely thrilled at how God continues to change lives at People's Church. THANK YOU, GOD!

5. We are in a CRAZY and exciting season at People's Church. Church family, don't you dare miss one Sunday service over the next 3 weeks. We are going to see God do the miraculous in us and through us! If you missed yesterday’s message, be sure to listen to it on our website at www.peopleschurch.tv. It should be online today or tomorrow.

6. I want to encourage you to be in prayer for this CRAZY season. This is a wonderful spiritual journey that we are all on. Tiffany and I are praying like CRAZY, and you should be too!

7. You won't believe me when I say this but it's true. I predicted the New York Giants to beat the Patriots by 3, and they did! I REALLY DID! GO GIANTS, even though I'm a Cowboys fan!

8. Have a super Monday!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Our CRAZY 40 Days Of Prayer is going strong. A ton of people signed up to pray during the 40 days. There is nothing more powerful than when God's people pray. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER!

2. Tonight at 7PM is the Class Of ‘06-‘08 CRAZY Can't Miss Event. If you started attending People's Church in 2006 through 2008, this event is for you. I will be sharing the vision with you about our new 42,000 square foot facility that will allow us to reach many more people who are far from God. Also, we will be able to answer any questions that you have about our exciting future. I can't wait to see you tonight at the People's Church auditorium.

3. If you missed your 2002-2005 Can't Miss Event last week, be sure to be there tonight for the class of ‘06-‘08 event. I look forward to seeing you there!

4. We have some special and exciting things planned for this Sunday's services. Bring your friends and family, and I know they will leave inspired. God is going to pour out His Spirit and change lives.

5. I'm excited to spend the day with my family. I'm always refreshed after hanging out with my wife and kids.

6. Our new Student Ministries Director begins on February 20. Junior high and high school students get ready for God to rock your world. God has brought us a dynamic couple who have an extreme passion to reach and equip teenagers to live sold out lives for Christ. I am so excited to have them be a part of the People's Church team.

7. Youth sponsors/leaders, you have done an incredible job ministering to our students. PC is so blessed to have such quality people who truly love and want to invest in the lives of teens. THANKS, YOUTH LEADERS, for your dedication to reach and equip students.

8. ARE YOU READY TO GET CRAZY? Don't miss this Sunday!