15 Innovations in 15 years
One of my favorite things has been to think up new ways to solve problems or to reach out. As I look back we've done some innovative things to further the ministry. Some of them originated here, others we borrowed from other people. Some of them worked well, some fizzled. Some we're still doing, some only lasted a week or two. Here are some of my favorites:
- Coffee Cart: The kids who prompted us to start Coffee Cart by smoking behind the church and defacing our bus are now in their mid-30's. We still want young people to know the church is FOR them and wants them around.
- Music Camp: This was a great mix of our personnel and opportunity for ministry.
- New U: Who can forget Bud the Butterfly? Of all the things we tried that didn't really take-off, this may have been the best.
- Elders: This is certainly not new to us, but the transition to elder leadership was very, very smooth. The church voted unanimously to change. Over the past several years we have been well led by this group of men.
- Middle School Auction for Dalit Children: It is great enough our middle schoolers support India's unwanted children. But it's even better that the Middle School leadership found a way to continue the support even after our Middle Schoolers graduate.
- The Stewardship Project -- $50 Challenge: The church gave several people $50 to see what damage they could do for God's kingdom with one Grant. You will be amazed as you read about their creativity here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
- Multi-site Church: We weren't the first, but we found a model that allowed us to plant churches and remain one church, to maximize the advantages of size and smallness.
- Shuttle to Parking: This is another solution that should have worked better than it did. We have all kinds of parking near the church and a shuttle should have helped us park there without taxing our 23 existing spots.
- Preaching without a pulpit: This grew out of a couple Easter messages where I was so over-prepared I preached for over 45 minutes. So, I decided to be myself more when I preach and script less. I, for one, have enjoyed the freedom.
- All-Church Retreats: Some of my best memories with the church were at our Memorial Day Retreats. We were priced out of even the least-expensive camps. Nothing warmed our church up like this extended time together.
- 65th Anniversary Celebration: We are the only church I know of to ever celebrate a 65th Anniversary! Part of our reason was a desire to digitize the church archives. Ken & Joanne Weiss made a fabulous video for us that is still available in the resource room.
- Blog: We've had almost 50,000 visitors (remind me to have a contest about this) and almost 1,000 posts to our blog.
- Kid's Klub: We did this two different summers. We have made-for-YouTube videos before there was YouTube of Brian and Judy singing "Money" or Gilligan being danced around by natives. Too bad.
- H2O: H2O remains one of the most creative solutions to one of our society's most perplexing problems. This ministry has been featured in the Oregonian and in a new book for teens called Do Hard Things.
- Christmas Dessert Theater: Thousands of people found this to be a fun, meaningful, and even worshipful start to the Christmas season.