Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Time to Take Summer Stock

School's out, or at least it will be soon as summer vacation begins for teachers and students across the nation. Churches often see some sort of vacation schedule in the summer as well and the worship service takes on a different look and feel. Perhaps the choir takes the summer off, the number of services is decreased, the service switches to outside location or guest speakers and artists fill the pulpit while the pastor is on vacation.
A period of rest is good, but use the down time to do summer stock, that is, to take stock of what you're doing and why. When looking at any programming, whether it's a full scale production or the regular Sunday services, the question that has to be answered over and over is "why." Why are we doing this event? Why is this particular song or dramatic element included. Any of the following answers is unacceptable:
• Because that’s what we’ve always done
• Because we ran out of time to plan something else
• Because the same people always are involved
• Because we want to be cool and hip
• Because that’s what all the other churches we want to be like are doing
• Because I like that song
• Because our soloist sounds good singing that song
• Because the musicians didn’t have time to rehearse a new song
Those answers are unacceptable because the only answers that are acceptable are
•Because the Spirit’s leading has chosen this
•Because this will further God’s message
•Because this will allow us to express our love and worship of God
Take some stock this summer and give yourself a report card on the programming you're involved with at church. Ask yourself some questions:
• What are we measuring ourselves against? -- other churches or scripture?
• Are our goals realistic? -- Does video broadcasting to a second "campus" really make sense if you could just hold a second service at the same location?
• Are we learning from our mistakes? -- Are you holding post-event/ post-service evaluations and including input from your congregation?
• Are we actively pursuing knowledge? -- Is your team attending conferences? Are you bringing in people for workshops and retreats to stretch your people to the best of their potential?
• Are we spending time praying and planning according to His purpose? -- Or do you do what’s easiest regardless of relevance or quality?
When you prayerfully take stock, even if your "grade" isn't what you'd like it to be, you'll come away determined and excited for what God has in store for the new season that will begin in September. And remember, the grade you're striving for isn't an A or some other letter to reflect how you're doing. It's a "W" which gives all the glory and honor to Him. Worship.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Summer Stock - I have always thougtht of summer as a time for both spiritual and physical growth. Indeed we all have summer seasons in our lives, both physically and spiritually. I use a fabulous daily devotional that is captivating, and totally draws you to the holy spirit. Inspiration for the summer's journey in Trail Thoughts . You don't want to miss this fabulous book. Guaranteed to become a favorite!

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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