Posts Tagged preaching

Initial Leadership Team

Founding Pastor: Rev. Glenn “Mac” Frazier – experienced entrepreneur and preacher. (See bio elsewhere.) Provides vision, leadership, and executive management. Duties:

  • Congregational leadership.
  • Preaching.
  • Teaching.
  • Executive management of staff.
  • Board chair.
  • Volunteer recruiting and management.
  • Program development.
  • Outreach and marketing.

Worship/Music Leader:

Ethan Daum – talented musician and dedicated church member, currently working in Stuart Hall. Current studies show that successful church plants are started by two full-time staff, assisted by one or two volunteers in leadership positions. The failure rate of church planters is significantly reduced when they have a full time partner to rely on. In addition, the culture of Austin is deeply rooted in music—the city’s claim of being “Live Music Capital of the World” is not hard to justify. One of the early challenges for New Way Church will be to build and maintain excellence in its worship services as quickly as possible. In this town, sub-par music is unacceptable.

Ethan is not only a talented musician and budding composer with a successful history of collaborating on worship services with Mac Frazier (e.g. the 2009 Academy Charter Day Sunday service at the Asplundh Field House), but he has a proven track reccord of successfully recruiting and leading a wide variety of young adult musicians in worship settings.

Duties will include:

  • Leading worship music.
  • Leading and managing musicians.
  • Directing technical aspects of worship gatherings.
  • Co-developing worship programs with founding pastor.
  • Writing original worship music.
  • Recruiting volunteers.
  • Outreach.
  • Assisting founding pastor as appropriate.

Teen Program Leader: Ethan Daum (see above). Ethan will be doing double-duty as both Worship & Music Leader and Teen Leader. Ethan is a half generation younger than Mac, and so extends the demographic outreach of the leadership team. He has worked with teens at both the ANC Secondary School and at the Laurel church camps.

Duties as Teen Program Leader include:

  • Developing teen programs.
  • Directing the overall teen ministry.
  • Recruiting volunteers.
  • Co-developing and sometimes leading service projects.
  • Outreach.
  • Advising the founding pastor.

Volunteer Children’s Program Leader: Heather McQueen Jackson, experienced educator, life-time New Church member, and Austin resident. Duties:

  • Develop children’s programs, including Sunday morning.
  • Liason with General Church Office of Education.
  • Recruit and manage volunteers.
  • Advise founding pastor.

Volunteer Community Leader: Still under consideration.Duties:

  • Direct worship service environment systems (signage, greeters, welcome table, communication cards, etc.).
  • Direct assimilation and followup systems (followup emails, newcomer gifts).
  • Co-manage small group programs with founding pastor.
  • Recruit and manage volunteers.
  • Outreach.
  • Advise founding pastor.

Part-time paid administrative assistant: Duties:

  • Office management tasks.
  • Administrative assistance to founding pastor.
  • Support for Worship/Teen/Children/Community program leaders.
  • Miscellaneous outreach and marketing tasks.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday: Target Demographics. Next: Advisory Board.]


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Hopping Half

Another magic effect for your viewing pleasure:

As some of you know, I have formally studied stand up comedy writing and presenting as an art, as part of my pursuit of excellence in preaching (or whatever we call it). My brother Pearse tells me that (I think) Malcolm Gladwell says an expert is someone who has put 10,000 hours into their particular skill/craft/art/etc. I will never hit 10,000 hours as a public speaker if I only do it once a week. Even without any weeks off, that’ll take over 190 years. So I practice.

But I also study. And I’m a big believer in multi-disciplinary cross-training. You’ve already heard my initial thoughts on what stage magic can teach the preacher. I think the most valuable lessons stand up comedy has taught me have to do with structure and with timing. I originally started stand up because I realized that public speaking no longer made me nervous, which I took as a sign that I was no longer growing in that art. When your weight training workout no longer leaves your muscles sore, it’s past time to add on some weights, right?

So I took up comedy because, frankly, it terrified me. In stand up you get almost instantaneous feedback, moment by moment, of exactly how badly you are failing. And comedy writing is one of the most demanding and unforgiving forms of verbal communication ever attempted by man. A comedian can go from killing the crowd to drowning in his own flop sweat with the addition of just an extra syllable to his punch line.

Anyway, (and yes, I know I’m rambling, today), it very recently occurred to me that comedy and magic have so many structural/architectural parallels to one another that they are almost topologically identical! For instance, both are totally dependent upon misdirection: in magic, misdirection (either temporal, spatial or kinetic) causes the spectator to think one thing is happening, and when it has been revealed that something else has happened, the surprise causes delight; in comedy, the setup creates a “first story” in the spectator’s mind that is shattered when the punch line reveals that a “second story” was the truth all along, thus leading to surprise and delight.

Another example (that I suspect is also shared by musicians, by the way): in creating a comedian’s set list (magicians call it “routining”), a comedian will “hammock” their bits, usually putting the best material at the beginning and end, starting with something fast, finishing with something dramatic, hiding new stuff they’re still working out somewhere in the middle, and trying to overall build toward a climax. Magicians use the exact same “best trick at the end, second best at the beginning, sag a little in the middle” approach, with an emphasis on being quick hitting and visual with their opener.

It’s that first structural similarity that really gets me, though. Are there any other arts or crafts that depend so heavily on misdirection followed by surprise the way comedy and magic do?

Actually, I just remembered one: mystery writing!

Can anyone think of any others? What do you think about all this? Anyone else out there just love thinking about the “bones” of an art form like this?

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Need a New Word

I study the Word, pray, think, talk to people, then try to deliver messages that instruct and inspire. But do I have to call it “preaching”?

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Forgiveness Update

Really enjoyed sharing the third message of our 3 part series on forgiveness last Sun. Next Sun I will do an excerpt at the BA Cathedral.

Because people asked, here’s a very brief synopsis of part 3:

Truth, BY ITSELF, is a hard stone that hurts and kills. The Lord never “stones” anyone for their mistakes, because he is Mercy itself, and is present in Good, and ONLY in Truth so far as it is wed to Good. If the Lord doesn’t stone people, we shouldn’t, either. Now, when we feel resentment, or feel owed apologies or reparations, or feel anything negative toward someone who has truly wronged us, it is really hard to let go, because we have no direct control over our feelings or our affections. They are too deep. What we CAN at least partially control are our thoughts. So while it’s hard to let go of a feeling, we can instead focus on letting go of an idea that is attached to that feeling, in this case letting go of the truth we are carrying around like a stone: that truth that the person really did hurt us. And forgiving is all about letting go. The Latin “remittere” means both to forgive and to let go.


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Cross Training

I’m regularly amazed by how often advice for stage magicians turns out to also make a lot of sense for preachers.

What am I talking about? Well, consider these principles of good magic I have come across:

  • Don’t explain, show.
  • NEVER present until you have rehearsed; rehearse until you can present naturally and without hesitation.
  • Know what you look like to your audience; rehearse in front of a mirror, or better yet, on video.
  • Always respect your audience; don’t “fool” them, delight them!
  • Try as much as possible to think “participants”, not “spectators”.
  • Have a reason and a rationale for what you are doing; don’t just “do tricks”.
  • Don’t do the same trick twice.
  • Magic is more about the effect in the other person’s mind than about the “trick” you are doing on stage.
  • Knowing how to do a sleight is meaningless without a really good presentation.
  • Look where you want them to look, but mostly, look them in the eyes so they will look you in the eyes.
  • Be aware that other magicians will evaluate your work differently than normal people.

With just a little thought, one can see how these rules might apply to the art of preaching, too.

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