by Director of Music and Worship Trace Rorie

If you’ve spent any length of time on a worship team, at some point you have probably heard someone discuss the tension between worship and performance. For those of you who are unsure what I’m talking about, here’s a brief synopsis:

As artists on a platform we have a responsibility to lead others in worship—therefore we should be genuinely worshiping as well. We point others toward God, not ourselves. Therefore any conduct on stage that draws attention toward ourselves and away from God is a bad thing. Typically this is labeled as performance. It’s not the easiest of debates to find a resolution to, because how can one argue against the above logic? But I think we’re labeling performance as a negative too quickly.

How many sermons, lectures or presentations have we all sat through in which the content was good, but the presentation was boring, disengaging and lifeless? If you’re able to look past a horrible delivery and focus on the content, you’re a better person than I am! In the church, we tend to focus on the content we’re delivering without giving equal attention to the way that we’re presenting it.

At Granger, what we want from our artists is for the presentation to reflect the content. For example, if we’re singing about the grandeur of the glory of God, our visual presentation should be consistent with the magnitude of that idea. Why is this? Well, it’s primarily because the vast majority of people who are experiencing our services aren’t musical and therefore don’t understand musical things. Sure, they might sense that something is awry when the keyboard player misses some notes, but they likely can’t pinpoint the issue.

But every single person in our services is an expert on human behavior. They can tell if that vocalist is on autopilot or the guitarist is unsure of where he’s at in the song. So delivering an engaging presentation is just as vital as the words we’re singing or the notes we’re playing, because oftentimes it speaks louder than anything else.

At Granger, we have come up with some guidelines that help us accomplish this goal. We’re a volunteer-driven arts ministry, so we can’t expect our team to be experts in this sort of thing. It’s our responsibility to help equip them so they can fulfill any expectations we have of them. We call it STEP. This is how we want our volunteers to prepare for, execute, and evaluate what they do in our worship experiences.

Continue reading on the GCC Creative Team’s Blog...

If you would like to learn more about Granger’s process for planning, promoting and executing weekend series, come to our Creative & Communication Arts Workshop, next Wednesday, October 19. In the morning, we’ll talk timelines, brainstorming, programming and decision-making. In the afternoon, we’ll have small-group Q&A with your Granger staff/volunteer counterpart (like the Web Director, Production Director, Lighting Director, Worship Director, etc.), where you can ask any burning questions you have.

At Granger, we believe kids and students aren’t just the church of the future—they are the Church today. Watch a recent video from Granger’s summer camp, where middle school students get to experience the love of Jesus in an incredible environment each summer.

How do you keep students engaged and growing week after week? We’re hosting Kids and Students workshops to address that very question. We’ll talk through planning and executing weekly programs and more! Come with questions and be ready to collaborate and share ideas about:

  • How to build and train volunteer leaders
  • Creative ways to get your message across
  • How to get students out of their seats and into serving the community
  • Planning life-changing mission trips, camps, retreats and events

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

Maybe you’ve watched this happen with someone else. Or maybe it’s actually happened with you. You’re on your game. You’re serving well. You’re engaged. You’re making a great first impression with a new guest at your church (or place of business). And then you cross a line. You went—just too far.

  • You got new guests where they should be...
    • but you yelled their arrival to everyone
  • You did your homework and had the right and helpful info...
    • but you made your guest feel like an idiot for not knowing
      • what to do next
      • what lingo to use 
  • You’re all about guest training...
    • but the guest feels like a naked experiment as you and your team all huddle around the monitor (bookstore, kids check-in, the register)
  • You’re laid back, not invasive, playing it casual...
    • but you missed the opportunity to engage when the guest showed her hand, “Yeah, I’m new.”
  • You were paying attention to your guest...
    • but then crossed the line into assumptions
      • that was his boyfriend not his brother
      • she wasn’t pregnant
      • that was his girlfriend not his mom

Sometimes a great first impression can go south with a word, a gesture, or an assumption. Keep it great! Stay fully engaged, always thinking about the experience you’re providing from the other side of your experience.

To hear more from Mark, come to workshops in October at Granger. Select a workshop below to get more details and register. Bring your whole team!

Early Bird Rate: $99 per person | After September 18: $119 per person
Early Bird Group Discounts: $89/person for groups of 2–5, $79/person for groups of 6+

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WEEKEND ARTS 012310 Dustin Brown 2 blogby Lead Pastor Mark Beeson

Dustin is a volunteer. He runs a very successful business, enjoys a great marriage and inspires a lot of people. He’s über-talented. He’s a great man. Why do people like Dustin—great people with full and busy lives—volunteer?

Let me offer a few reasons why good people volunteer. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it summarizes a few key points for team-building and might be worth considering.

Eight Reasons Good People Volunteer to Help You:
  1. They want to see done the thing you’re trying to get done. What you're doing is clear to them, and clearly important to them. Because they value what you value, what you’re doing is clearly worth their sacrificial effort.
  2. They see the need and want to help meet the need. Whether they jump in to help for a moment (helping with one step of the process) or stay with you for the entire mission (laying down their life for ultimate mission success), they see how they can assist you and they do.
  3. They want to be involved. After considering their other options (how they could otherwise be using their time, energy, knowledge and skills), they prioritize your mission above other competing values. The success of your work—for one reason or another—is important to them. They believe the work is worthy.

Continue reading on Mark Beeson’s blog...

by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

I’ve been asked about some bottom-line musts to establish and/or take guest services excellence to the next level. This isn’t an exhaustive list (that’s why I wrote a few books on the topic), but these core essentials will provide a foundation to make your serve to guests excellent and personable.

  • Leadership:
    • Are the right leaders in place?
    • Do they carry the DNA, mission, vision and values of the church?
    • Do they hold the experience of the guest as a top priority over personal convenience?
    • Are they gifted leaders—not merely doers (although they may do fantastic work)?
    • Do these leaders have chemistry, trust and love for each other?
    • Do they model the level of personable service you want every team member to practice?
  • Values:
    • Are values defined and communicated (whatever those are: Team, Engagement, Next Steps, People Matter, etc.)?
    • Are teams using those values as lenses to serve guests? That is, are they operating from a motivation of values rather than mere technical training or a task list?
  • Systems:
    • Are systems defined and functioning so guests are served well?
    • Are systems facilitated and owned by team members who utilize those systems to serve people?
    • Do systems help team members understand their schedule, expectations, and feedback loop?

Of course if you’re providing guest services in the local church, it’s assumed, but should be stated—the love of God in Jesus motivates everything you do. It is the number one driving value. Helping people experience the grace of God is the point—or there is none.

Have you heard about our Workshops? They are one-day intense and focused, interactive learning events on Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 19 with lunch provided. So come with your team on either or both days ($20 discount if you attend both days). Learn more about First Impressions, Kids’ Ministry, Students and Creative & Communication Arts. Register today!

Leadership is about influence. And each of us has a responsibility to steward our influence well. Whether at church, school, business or home, you are leading people and projects every day. Leadership takes perseverance, dedication and a commitment to stretch your mind, expand your heart and use your God-given gifts to impact your world in real and powerful ways.

You are invited to gather with thousands of leaders across North America for The Global Leadership Summit. We’ll hear from leaders including Melinda Gates, John Maxwell, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Horst Schulze, Patrick Lencioni, Bill Hybels and more.

We are pleased to host The Global Leadership Summit 2016 at Granger. If you are in the area and would like to join us, register to save your spot. If you aren’t close to Granger but would like to be part of this fantastic leadership training, find a host site near you—and bring your whole team!

by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

As in, when people make comments that are less than complimentary. Even disparaging. Listen.

  • If one person is making the observation, ten more may be thinking the same thing. They just didn’t have the courage to say so.
  • The person may not understand your values, methods or language. But if you’ll listen, you may learn what people are actually hearing—even if you don’t intend to communicate it.
  • There is usually at least a grain of truth—even if the complaint is riddled with emotion and misinformed statements.
  • A primary concern (in addition to your faithfulness to the message of Jesus) should be how people are hearing and experiencing your message: from the parking lot to the message, to the care expressed in your systems and connection points.
  • Often people who share legitimate concerns are people who can help bring solutions to your systems and organization.

One more thought—if you’re the one making a complaint, have the courage to use your name. When you do, conversation can be constructive and helpful. To both parties.

Excerpt taken from Mark’s Blog.

by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).”

When I am generous with my time, my treasure and my talent, my focus becomes “other” centered. It opens the eyes of my heart and I find myself looking for Jesus around every corner, under every rock, in the eyes of the face in front of me. Perhaps I’ll find him there, perhaps I won’t.

But in the graveled mixture of life’s pebbles and rocks and the boulders that I can’t move, The Everlasting encourages me to breathe in, breathe out. To live with open hands and an open heart trusting that:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies, You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23, NLT).”

And then this quote from Dr. Jon Morrissette in reference to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:

“Just as faith is never about what we say, so love is never about what we say. The substance of faith, the substance of love, the substance of mercy, is generosity! Love is tangible. It’s the bandages, the oil and wine, the donkey, the inn, the caregiving, the two silver coins, the instructions to the innkeeper, and the extra expense. Words are cheap. Generosity is costly.”

Generosity acts, it risks, it involves itself, it gives of itself, and it follows through. The good Samaritan was good because he was generous—financially, personally, and sacrificially generous. This is what Jesus commended—not love in the abstract, but the Samaritan’s hard-core, tangible, costly acts of generosity.