Time to "Shoot 'em Up"

"The best way to describe it is as if you sat a thirteen-year-old down with a bowl of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream covered in Nestle Quik and pixie sticks, then let him wash it down with Jolt Cola and had him watch about a half-dozen John Woo movies. Then you asked him to write his own screenplay afterwards. THIS is the movie that kid would try to explain to his mother afterwards."

- a reviewer on Ain't It Cool after watching the upcoming movie "Shoot 'Em Up" (Sept 7)


Four Corners Church :: Sunday, August 26th

Series Message: God is...listening
In this series we chat about the characteristics of God and how they relate to us in our practical life.

Music Set:

Strong Tower - Kutless
Here is our King - David Crowder
Thank You for hearing me - David Crowder
Let the Praises ring - Lincoln Brewster

Special Elements:
"Note to my girlfriend" (rap) by Adam "MC Till" Hayden
Clip from "Nacho Libre"

Click how you feel

I just added a fun new widget by Post Reach for the Blog as a beta test. At the end of every blog is a "quick comment" bar...just click it to let me know what you think. Try it and let me know what you think.

If church were a coffee shop?

There are currently over 2,200 church plants in the United States.

Imagine this: Take all the churches in America and make them coffee shops. Now think about this...if you are thinking about opening a new coffee shop on a street already occupied by four others, would you? Sure, your coffee is a little different blend than the other guys but it's still coffee.

Imagine this: People in your neighborhood are fish in your "local pond". If you are thinking about fishing at this pond already occupied by six other fishermen, would you? I went to a local parade on Saturday morning and was hit up by more than 6 churches with everything from tracts to free water. I couldn't help but ask, is this "pond" is being overfished?

I know people need Jesus...that's why I do what I do. But is there a threshold? Is there a point of "market" saturation?

I wonder if the current (and most likely future) trend of church planting is a sustainable practice for us as Christians to engage. Sure...current churches don't meet the needs of many areas and that's why plants move in.
My church is a church plant and there were plenty of other churches in the area.

BUT does it take what could be a "centralized" place for community impact and dilute the it? Could I have people in my neighborhood that could be united to impact our streets for Christ separated only by the fact that we aren't "together" on Sundays? Does the minutia of theological difference between me and the Methodist, Baptist and Nazarene down the street cause us to forfeit potential tidal waves of spiritual impact for the ripples currently lapping our shores?

Four Corners is a church plant and there were plenty of other churches in the area...and therein lies the rub. How does this current revelation about churches and my experience line up? Not sure...but it's making me think.


Death by mediocrity

"Not innovating is more dangerous than innovating. The opposite of innovation is not death; it's mediocrity. In fact, death--or a near-death experience--might be a better outcome than mediocrity because people are forced to rebuild or move on. By contrast, people can cling to mediocrity indefinitely."

- Guy Kawasaki


Perry Noble's "5 Gut Check Questions"

I have enjoyed reading NewSpring Church's pastor's blog for quite some time. Perry Noble has a great post about the "5 Gut Check Questions" he asks himself as a leader and I thought they were worth posting:

1. Am I Listening To The Voice of God?

Am I Taking Risks?

Am I Understanding How Big God Is?

Am I Surrounding Myself With The Right People?

Am I Giving It My Best?

Read more about the details of each on his blog.


Killing the Overhead Projector Mentality

For years I grew up reading lyrics for our youth service on an overhead projector. It was pleasant enough unless the "overhead assistant" sneezed or bumped the projector and then, collectively, the room suffered motion sickness. There was also the strange boredom of the medium...it was often anti-climatic such as "Hey, look at this picture..." and then a slightly out-of-focus photo would jerk on the screen and we would stare...waiting for something to happen.

Times have changed...kind of. Many churches now have projectors yet still have the overhead projector mentality. They simply project the same static images with new technology, and though if may be bigger and brighter, the mentality has not changed.

In an article in "Christianity Today", Jay Delp talks about this in great detail. Why should we evolve and engage moving beyond the overhead?

"The effective creation and seamless projection of music, imagery, and full-motion video can move the human spirit."

I think we're missing a huge window of opportunity to not only share the greatest story ever told but also tell it in such a way that it's unforgettable and deeply moving. Let's take it to the next level.


Our prayers for the Reider Family

I just found out this morning that Gaile Reider, the mother of our worship leader, Andy Reider, passed away from a long battle with cancer. This woman radiated with the love of God...every time I saw her I could not help but smile. Our prayers are with their family as they go through this difficult time.


10 Movies Hollywood should but won't make

Cracked.com has a fascinating list about the movies Hollywood should but will never make.

Personally I would love to see the 3 novels written as sequels to the original Star Wars movies. As long as George Lucas surrendered his writer's scribe and director's lens for a producers credit like he did in Empire Strikes Back...the best of the three. If you haven't read the novels by Hugo Award winning sci-fi author Timothy Zahn, check them out... Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command.

The Powell Principles of Leadership

General Collin Powell spoke at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit this year. His words and his wisdom are profound. (Thanks Dave Ferguson and Ben Hodges)

1. Great Leadership will be hard
• Prepare to be lonely
• Prepare to disappoint people
• Check your ego at the door
• Reward your best performers, get rid of the worst performers

2. Great Leadership is about followers
• Only people get things done
• Leaders promote a clash of ideas
• Maintain an open door
• Probe the organization

3. Great Leadership always has a great motivation
• Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier
• Things always look better in the morning
• Fit no stereotypes

Dave Ferguson's blog goes into much greater details on each principle.

Utilizing the Web to communicate

Everyone knows the Web is the place more and more people go to get their information. At Four Corners we may not be on the cutting edge but we definitely utilize the Web as much as possible.

We currently offer our messages for download, on our official podcast through iTunes and via our media player. We also offer our messages via videocast through Google Video. It's good to offer our materials but it's better to see them being actually downloaded, watched and listened to.

Here are our latest stats:
Total Message downloads :: 17,000
Total Videocasts watched (since Easter 2007) :: 1,400
Total Podcast hits :: 27,000
Total Website visits :: 50,000


MUSIC :: Steve Fee Rocks!

I'm always on the prowl for new music and lately I've not found much in the way of decent worship music I would love to see us perform at Four Corners...but then I stumbled on Steve Fee and his band.

Lee McDermott
, the worship leader of NewSpring Church, blogs all the time on his Virb account. He also posts the set lists from every Sunday (very helpful for us newbies). I kept seeing Steve Fee's name show up in the set list and checked him out. He's the real deal...literally a whole album that's worth listening to. I love "All Because of Jesus", "Broadcast" and "Burn for You".


What do you do with a sex offender?

Today we found out that a convicted sex offender moved only about 2 blocks from our house. As a father of two young kids and many more children on my street it troubles me. I'm left perplexed at my options...

Review :: Little Children

RATING :: a fillet mignon with a shot of tequila as a chaser.

How many people say with bated breath, "I wish I could be a kid again" ? How many of us want to throw off the so-called fetters of being an adult and return to the innocence of childhood? Todd Field's latest film "Little Children" explores what happens when adults act like little children.

Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson star as two suburban dwellers longing for something more. With their marriages are on life support and boredom overwhelming them, decisions are made out of desire rather than wisdom. Small indiscretions become a lifestyle of secret lust...waiting for the next encounter.

Jackie Earle Haley, in an Oscar nominated role, plays a pedophile living back in the neighborhood following a stint in jail. His past haunts him like an albatross around his neck with the neighbors watching his every step. Eerily like a situation I find myself in now (I'll write more about that in another posting). We get to see the true consequences of someone who has no boundaries on their sexual temptations.

Overall this film sticks with you...finding yourself relating and then repulsed. Watching seemingly harmless actions become destructive. It reminded me of "American Beauty" without the over-the-top storyline. I highly recommend this film.

Elevation Church

There's a little church in Charlotte, NC. It started a little over 18 months ago and now it's running almost 2000 a weekend! I have been watching these guys carefully trying to cull from them what they do that has created such magnetism and what can we, Four Corners, learn from them.

Steve Furtick, the lead pastor of Elevation, keeps a diligent blog that offers tremendous insight into their staff and church. He recently posted their "Best Practices" and I love his analogies. It's great to see a young church having such tremendous impact and influence.


How to plan a series?

We are working through revamping our process of planning for programming a series at Four Corners. As with a business, we have a keen eye out for who we are aiming for...our key demographic. Creating an experience that not only is "entertaining" to draw people in but also meaningful to invite them to follow Jesus.

The other night, sitting around at TGI Friday's over appetizers and beer, we planned from now until Easter some awesome stuff. We're going to be talking about the character of God, hard questions, what we are about as a church, God's promises, Marriage, our egos, and a whole lot more.

Granger Church offered an inside look at their programming meetings and preparations. Some insightful and useful stuff including videos and actual planning sheets downloads.


Top 50 Marketing + Media Blogs

AdAge published its list of the Top 50 blogs for Marketing and Media. Sadly, I'm not on the list. I think my rank is around 1,257,301...there's always next year.

Church Dropouts

"People are looking for a faith that can change them and to be a part of changing the world."

But is the church the place people go to change the world? It's no secret the church at large is losing people left and right...but the question is why. USA Today has an interesting article about that very subject today.

A place to converse...

I just got back from a lunch with a friend who just wanted to chat about his questions of faith. I felt privileged he asked...

That's why I love this church. It's a place to explore God at your own pace, truly. Churches so often act as if you should be on board 100% with your beliefs and behavior before you can really belong, but it's flipping that very "equation" on it's head that has proven to be a magnet for many at Four Corners. It's a place they can converse about following Christ...doubts and all.


The 4 Focus Points of Four Corners Church

Over the past three years since we planted Four Corners, we have learned volumes. One of the main lessons we learned was simplify what you are about and communicate it clearly so people can, in turn, tell others what differentiates you from the "church" experience or notion they have.

We studied lots of influential churches around the country...North Point, Granger, New Spring, Mars Hill, Willow Creek, Fellowship, Mosaic, NCC, Rock Harbor, etc. What was their focus? How did they express their DNA? Here's what we distilled for our 4 Focus Areas:

Focus 1 :: Live Generously
I will give of my time, energy and money to help others every month.

Focus 2 :: Have a friend, be a friend
I will meet with friends who encourage my relationship with Jesus.

Focus 3 :: Take your next bold step
I will boldly take steps to develop my relationship with Jesus.

Focus 4 :: Invest and invite
I will invest in others and successfully invite someone to a weekend service or event.

Living Generously :: Backpacks

Living Generously is one of the main focuses of Four Corners. This past Sunday over 125 backpacks were loaded with school supplies for local elementary school kids and their families. It was a sight to see...people living generously because that's what Christ followers do.


Top 10 film directors working today

I love movies. I watch them all the time...over 2300 are rated by me on my Netflix account. So I thought I would compile a little list of my favorite directors working today:

1. David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Game)
2. Terrance Malick (Thin Red Line, New World, Badlands)
3. Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Princess and the Warrior, Perfume)
4. Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blackhawk Down, Bladerunner)
5. Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, United 93, Bourne Ultimatum)
6. Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws)
7. Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige)
8. Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, Heavenly Creatures, Bad Taste)
9. Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Good Fellas, The Departed)
10. Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Pi)

Honorable Mention (or ones I forgot) :: Wes Anderson, Michael Mann, PT Anderson, Coen Bros, Bryan Singer, Steven Soderburg, Francis Ford Coppola


Greatest Gadget of All Time

What do you think is the greatest gadget of all time? Vote on WIRED's tournament to put them head-to-head. It is amazing...we voted the sextant as the best gadget of all time, beating out the television by a hare.

Tumblr...a hub for your web presence

My buddy Paul pointed me to this little web site well worth a visit if you post on multiple places such as Flickr, a blog, Twitter, and Last.fm. Tumblr helps have a one-stop shop for all those sources so people can visit one spot to see your web presence. Four Corners is in the process of launching its own Tumblr.