by Lead Pastor Mark Beeson

Back in the day, when visitors came to the Houmas Plantation, they sometimes stayed for weeks. They often stayed for months. It was a big place (300,000 acres) and it was a busy place (producing 20,000,000 pounds of sugar each year).

To get to the plantation, travelers braved brutal people and brutal challenges: the turbulent Mississippi, swamps filled with gators, outlaws, poisonous snakes, impenetrable undergrowth and mosquitos carrying a deadly Yellow Fever virus. Some died trying to make the trip. There were settlers, pioneers and merchants among them. They were slaves, refugees, wholesalers and traders.

Most visitors expected something upon arrival.

Some hoped for a little food, shelter and rest. Others expected to stay with the family in the main house. They assumed they would dine at their table, drink their rum, smoke their cigars and be treated as part of the owner’s family.

It’s easy to see why expectations developed. You can imagine the expectations you would have if you were arriving at this incredible plantation after a long, grueling journey.

It’s almost Christmas. People are on their way and they’re bringing their expectations with them.

The question isn’t whether travelers will arrive at our place with expectations. The question is what we expect when they get here.

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

by Lead Pastor Mark Beeson

When I braced my camera against this old fence, I noticed it didn’t move. Upon inspection I surmised the fence didn’t wobble because new screws were holding the weathered rails against its well-worn pickets.

An old fence like this one will stand as long as its connections hold fast. And its connections are more likely to hold when they’re maintained. The integrity of the whole structure depends on what holds it together.

What holds you and yours together?

Who secures your life when life gets difficult? How do you and yours stay together when it feels like everything is falling apart? What keeps you connected in a loose and shaky world?

It’s time to ask the One who holds absolutely everything together to hold us together too. Our Savior has come and He is far more powerful than any of the trials threatening to wear us down, shake us up or tear us apart. It’s not time to give up and let go. It’s time to get a grip. Jesus is leading His Church into very difficult fields of ministry, and in a world where folks will publicly behead young children because they refuse to renounce Jesus as their Lord and Savior, this is not the time to get wobbly.

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

Looking to up your game or freshen things up a bit? Or is your task list turning into an epic novel? We hear you. We all could use a little help once in a while. No matter which camp you’re in, we want to help you get back on track and revitalize your ministry. Check out these top five resources, which have already helped dozens of people in churches just like yours, and get back on top of things:

  1. Guest Services | Creating “WOW” Experiences Training Videos. These videos will help your staff and volunteer teams deliver great experiences for your guests, from the parking lot to the auditorium.
  2. Communications Playbook. This “playbook” helps Granger Community Church have consistent, professional and effective communications. It includes a review of branding, Granger’s vision, how staff should work together with communication vehicles and the filters Granger uses to decide what gets promoted when and where.
  3. A Christmas Carol Total Resource Package. This package includes the resources Granger Community Church used to promote the weekend message series A Christmas Carol, including: Audio MP3s, Message Transcripts, Sample Bulletins, Granger Notes, Graphics, Service Orders, Message Intro Videos and the script for the musical element Christmas Carol (of the Bells) and the script for the production Granger did on Christmas Eve of A Christmas Carol.
  4. The Feed Video Announcement Bumper. Take your weekly announcements to a new level. This product includes the opener video, the ending video, the videos you see in the background and a few little videos of the Feed logo that you can use to create your own video announcements called The Feed.
  5. Guest Services Manual. This manual helps develop first impressions teams through forms such as: roles and responsibilities, scheduling, volunteer training, emergency response, usher assignments and more. It includes summaries of all volunteer team roles at Granger, as well as a copy of the Emergency Response Manual for Guest Services teams.

by Director of Story Kristin Baker

Yes, believe it or not, it’s time to talk about Christmas. After many years of having Christmas “surprise” us, we’ve started the discussions and planning earlier and earlier each year. We’ve come to realize the crucial timing of the season to bring in new people who would never step foot in a church for most of the year. To the Average Joe or Jane, taking your kids to see a Christmas show as a part of the natural rhythm of the season makes much more sense than dragging your family out of bed every Sunday morning and piling up an extra commitment to the rhythm of your week. So—we put a lot of thought, energy, creativity, and resources into our Christmas plans every year with Joe and Jane and their family in mind.

Here are a few samples of some of the Christmas productions we’ve done in past years:

2013 Scrooge: A Modern Musical

Our own spin on A Christmas Carol with recent hits on the billboard charts.

We held auditions for this and then wrote the show to the people we had, which provided a fun new spin and some interesting new characters. It was kind of an Annie meets Scrooge, since we had an army of talented kids audition. We figured God always makes the best of what we offer Him, so we’d better make the best of what He offered us. This fun, new take on a classic story was the result.

2012: Granger Commons Christmas Spectacular (Variety Show)

With the rising popularity of Christmas specials on TV, we thought we’d take a stab at a variety show, featuring our volunteers in their sweet spots. This was a fun show to put together, but we found the attendance wasn’t quite what we’d hoped. We found that, no matter how excellent the arts we were offering, story sells. People just weren’t sure what a “Christmas Spectacular” was. However, we had a blast!

2011: Let it Be Christmas

A full-length production telling the Christmas Story with Beatles music. We had originally produced a shorter version of this show in 2007, which sold out. We thought we’d try it again and expand it a bit. It sold out once again. Guess people like the Beatles, but we ended up showing them Jesus is even cooler. (Sorry, John Lennon.)

2010: Once Upon a Midnight Clear

A completely original full-length musical inspired by the movie Big Fish. What would the Christmas story look like if it took place in a vintage Circus? This was risky. Some loved it. Some, especially those who are afraid of clowns, didn’t like it so much. But I was incredibly proud of our team for trying something completely original. We grew and learned a lot from this show. At the end of Big Fish people told the author, “That’s my dad! I just didn’t know how to tell his story!” The manger scene gets lost in the clutter of Christmas, so we hoped a new setting for the manger might shed some new light. We hoped people would see our show and say “That’s my God! I just didn’t know how to tell His story!”

This summer we hope you’ll take some time to ask God what He wants to say to your community through you this Christmas. After all, it is His birthday!

To learn more about Granger’s process for planning, promoting and executing weekend series, come to the Creative & Communication Arts Workshop—one of many workshops happening October 13 & 14. Get your tickets now and save money with early bird discounts.

Winter is coming. And so is Christmas. We always strive to work ahead of schedule when it comes to series planning, but this year at Granger, we were planning Christmas pretty close to our printing deadlines. Hey, life happens.

Our Communications Team’s challenge? We knew that this year music would feature heavily in the series and that we were going to have a big band for some of the weekends. We wanted something that evoked the class and elegance of the big band era, and the smooth, art-deco feel of a classic like The Great Gatsby. As with every series, our graphic designers brainstormed together and then worked on several concepts to submit to the Lead Team. Since getting the green light on the one they chose, we’ve been hard at work plugging that look and feel into every media outlet and print vehicle—and at Christmas, there are a lot!

Here’s a sneak peek at a few samples of pieces we’re producing for Christmas 2014:

We hope you enjoyed a peek behind the scenes from the Communications Team here at Granger. We know all you busy elves are hard at work preparing for Christmas too, getting ready to tell a Story that gives us all reason to celebrate!

Christmas is coming!

Granted, today is the first day of August, and we technically have five months left. But we all know that in church-world, five months is like 20 weekends. And 20 weekends is like 4 or 5 series away. Suffice it to say, we're going to be a-wassailing and bringing tidings of joy soon enough.

We thought we'd bring you some good cheer a bit early this year. To help get your wheels turning on some yuletide-themed ideas for your church, here are a few of our favorite things from Christmases gone by:

  • A Christmas Carol Message Intro Videos - These three videos were used during Granger's A Christmas Carol series as an intro to the message for the first three weeks.
  • Let it Be Christmas Total Resource Package - This package includes the graphic elements Granger Community Church used to promote the weekend message series Let It Be Christmas, as well as audio MP3s, transcripts, the drama script for the skit 'Cafe de Solo', series Big Idea Sheet, sample bulletins and Granger Notes.
  • It's a Wonderful Life Drama - The Christmas season can be just as hard as it is special. Help meet people where they're at with this series at a key time of the year. In this package you'll find the drama "No Baby" used in the popular It's a Wonderful Life series.
  • When Love Comes to Town Graphics - This download package includes the graphic elements Granger Community Church used to promote the When Love Comes to Town weekend message series.
  • Upside Down Christmas Message Audio Bundle - If we take a look around, we can see that something isn't quite right with the world. Political unrest, poverty, unemployment, and the list goes on. But here's the amazing mystery of Christmas: God saw the trouble, confusion and strife and He did something. He turned everything Upside Down.

Feel free to buy and use these at your church, or just browse the Christmas section for ideas for your upcoming brainstorm. We just want to help in any way we can.

Merry Christmas and a Happy August, from your friends at