General Ranting

Ten Big Reasons Easter Giveaways Are Unwise(via @JaredCWilson) I guess this blows our Keurig giveaway out of the water.


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Every year some churches seek to outdo themselves — and their local competition — by luring unbelievers (and I suppose interested believers) to their Easter service(s) with the promise of big shows and in some cases big giveaways. One guy in Texas made national news for giving away new cars. Another church has dropped prize-filled Easter eggs out of helicopters to gathered crowds below. Local churches with more modest budgets sometimes promise door prizes like iPods or iPads or gift certificates to local restaurants.


This NY Restaurant Takes Facebook Stalking to a New Level(via @GrubStreet, HT @jwickersham) What say you? Amazingly personalized service or creepy over the top in-your-faceness?

At 3:30 p.m., in the back office of Eleven Madison Park, maître d’ Justin Roller is Googling the names of every guest who will come in that night. “I’m looking for chef’s whites and wine glasses,”  he says. A shot of a guest wearing whites means a chef is probably coming to dinner. Wine glasses signify a potential sommelier (or at least a wine geek). This is just the beginning. If, for example, Roller discovers it’s a couple’s anniversary, he’ll then try to figure outwhich anniversary. If it’s a birthday, he’ll welcome a guest, as they walk in the door, with a “Happy Birthday.” (Or, if it seems to Roller that a guest prefers to keep a low profile, “I’ll let them introduce themselves to me,” he says.) Even small details are useful: “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together.”


Mousetrap Chain Reaction in Slow Motion(via @GavinFree) My wife would pay good money to have these guys bring those traps to our house.


“Spy” Considerations for Easter Sunday(via @ThomRainer) Easter’s coming. You ready?

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As we approach the season of Resurrection Sunday—when guests are more abundant at our churches—perhaps these questions will help you consider what guests experience at your church. You might want to evaluate over the next two weeks so you are more prepared for Easter Sunday.


Why UPS Trucks Don’t Turn Left(via @Priceonomics) Remember: two wrongs don’t make a right. But three rights will make a left.

UPS engineers found that left-hand turns were a major drag on efficiency. Turning against traffic resulted in long waits in left-hand turn lanes that wasted time and fuel, and it also led to a disproportionate number of accidents. By mapping out routes that involved “a series of right-hand loops,” UPS improved profits and safety while touting their catchy, environmentally friendly policy.


Street Painter is a Master Craftsman(via @22Words) I dare you to stop watching this video before it’s over. You can’t. It’s too awesome.

I mentioned yesterday that April 1st (April Fool’s Day, here in these United States) is my favorite day on the Internet. That’s why I’m presenting you with top three pranks I saw out there. No foolin’.

MEGroups(via @MidtownColumbia) My friends down at Midtown Fellowship took a strikingly similar path as our socialMEdia™ Small Groups. No, we didn’t collaborate. We didn’t swap notes. But we should have. Oh, we should have. Their video is epic.

MeGroups from Midtown Fellowship on Vimeo.


Canada’s WestJet Airlines Converts to Metric Time(via @PremiumFunny) WestJet is still my favorite-airline-I’ve-never-flown-on, and this is part of the reason why.


Tom’s ShuberX(via @TIME) From the people who spread shoes around the world comes a car service that will take you around the corner.

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It’s a sad day for the online community.

Yesterday I announced the launch of the Summit’s brand new initiative called socialMEdia™ Small Groups: the groups that let you grow in grace without getting off the couch; that let you build community without any commitment. It was a genius idea, really: use your already-existing web presence to “do life together” while being very much alone.

The only problem was that we made that announcement on April 1.

April Fool’s Day.

Oh, many of you got it. You told me that you knew something was coming (maybe because I. do. this. every. year.), that you could tell two sentences in that it was a prank, or at least that you clicked the link at the bottom of the post and figured out the big reveal. (I was especially proud of four commenters: Josh, Jon, Chris, and Lori, who got the joke and played along. Well done, y’all. Well done indeed.)

But more than a few of you didn’t get it. I fielded phone calls and text messages and emails and personal conversations in the hallway, expressing concern about this new direction our discipleship strategy was going. That list included everyone from out of town relatives to pastors on our small group teams (those guys were really upset that they were just finding out about it).

And to all of you, I offer this:


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I know, it’s not nice to laugh. But it was April 1, after all. My friends, that is my favorite day on the internet. And you should not believe anything you read on the interwebs on that day, especially on this blog. (Oh, and while we’re at it, Sonic is not unveiling a Kale Cream Pie milkshake, Cheetos is not launching a perfume line, and Southwest is not offering non-stop flights to Mars.)

So to clear things up:

  • The Summit still believes in face-to-face discipleship.
  • We’re not abandoning our current small group model.
  • And we’d really rather not start a sanctification selfie trend anytime soon.

Did you bite? We’d all like to hear about it in the comments below. And after you comment, please feel free to go ahead and mark your calendars for March 31, 2015.

Thanks for playing.

If you’re so inclined, here’s a list of posts from April Fool’s Days gone by:

You Can Never Know It All(via @TheJimmyCollins) This is a great post on when to gather more information and when to act.

There will never be a situation when we will know everything before we act. We must realize that all decisions are based on partial information. That means there will always be some degree of risk. A decision may be good or bad; an action may work, or it may not.

Considering the Effect That the Internet Has on Memory(HT @LaughingSquid) I was going to make a comment right here, but I can’t remember what it was.

It’s that feeling of short-term overload that’s really letting the internet affect us. When you’re writing a paper, checking Facebook, looking at Twitter, getting an email ding, well that’s your four thing limit. You’re always putting yourself into a place where you’re overloading and swapping stuff in your short term memory…There’s some concern that because of the internet, we are re-wiring our brains to constantly scan for information rather than taking it in, losing our ability for long-term memorization.

Stupid Things People Say to Adopted Kids and Their Parents(via @22Words) I’ll add our own: shortly after Haven came into our home, a well-meaning individual asked, “So are you going to tell her she’s adopted?” (Um…have you seen us? I hope she ain’t so dumb that we have to spell it out.)

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Five Facts About Multisite Churches That Should Impact All Churches(via @RichBirch) None of these findings are particularly surprising, but they’re all a good reminder for all of us. How do our churches measure up on the metrics?

68% of multisite churches stated they have a formal leadership development process.

At it’s core it would appear that thriving multisite churches are leadership development machines … they are able to find more volunteers and staff to lead their ever expanding ministries. Critical to this process is the ability to develop leaders. How is your church tackling the leadership development process? Is it written down? Does it have a leader and a budget? It’s going to be need to formal to meet the need of reaching your community.

Five Quick Tips For Lasting Customer Service(via @FastCompany) Whether you’re a CEO or a shepherd, this’ll help you in the quest to connect.

First, I don’t call people clients, or even customers. At my companies we refer to them as “guests,” and we are their host. We are always happy to see them and strive to make their time with each of us a great experience.

You Haven’t Seen A Big Brother Like This, Ever(via @Cheezburger) If you can watch this without weeping, you have no soul.

At Chick-fil-A, HATCH comes first – even before the chicken or the egg(via @robertvadams) My friend Bob Adams gives us a behind the scenes tour of Chick-fil-A’s new innovation center. How are you thinking ahead in the guest service experience?


If you’re going to innovate in ministry, you will have to find ways to identify the fledgling innovators in your church and then find ways to support some of their seemingly crazy ideas.

Five things we expect (and rarely get) from conference sessions(via @360connext) Good stuff here. If you are a part of organizing, leading, or speaking at conferences, these are great things to keep in mind.

Ensure content isn’t completely redundant. If speakers keep saying “well I guess Joe already covered this,” that’s not the presenter’s fault. Planners and organizers should know who is presenting what and how it can benefit the audience.

Things I’ve said to my children(via @NathanRipperger) Yep. Guilty.


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Neighbors accuse church of too much joyful noise(via @latimes) What’s the balance between being a blessing to your community and risking annoyance? Discuss.

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“Is this a church?” Sidonie Smith said as she stood outside Grant Elementary in Santa Monica. “I’m so excited about the impact it will have on our community. I’ve been praying for a church to come here for 40 years.”

Not all residents share Smith’s enthusiasm. Since late January, some neighbors have expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement between City of God church and its landlord, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Might as well burn that bridge all the way down to the pilings(via @ThisIsSethsBlog) Work with guests? The public? People who are breathing? Might wanna read this today.

When someone gives you gentle feedback, it’s because they want to connect, not because they want to help you finish burning down the bridge you ignited in the first place. They don’t want an excuse, a clever comeback or a recitation that you’re just doing your job.

Snake fights crocodile in five hour battle to the death…then eats it(via @22Words) Australia: one of the 1,001 Places You Need To See Before You Die If You Want To Die.

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Once the 5-hour reptilian brawl ended, the snake dragged the crocodile to shore. It then began at the crocodile’s head and over the course of just 15 minutes, completely swallowed the entire thing.

Are we putting too much emphasis on the moment of conversion? (via @_MichaelKelley) Sobering stuff to think about.

You, like me, probably know someone in your life who at one time or another had what seemed to be a really genuine encounter with the gospel. They heard the word of truth, accepted they are a sinner, and asked Jesus to forgive them and be the Lord of their lives. And though the decision seemed genuine at the time, over the years you’ve seen them slowly but surely drift from that original moment until now they are just another story of someone who prayed a simple prayer, maybe got baptized, but now seem to have no real affection for Jesus.


Should you teach the world a new word? (via @ThisIsSethsBlog) Before you ask, yes: Connections Pastor is a real thing.

Choose a new name when it helps you achieve your goals, not because you’re worried about some truth-in-taxonomy commission giving you a hassle. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, it matters if you are understood.


Sweet little old lady smiles and waves at passing kids every day(via @22Words) Every high school student in America needs a Tinney Davidson.

Raleigh Boy Scout battling cancer receives high honor (via @WRAL) If you’re not a part of the Summit, you may not have had the opportunity to get to know the incredible Noah Spivey. Noah’s fierce faith in Jesus has been inspiring all of us from the early days of his cancer fight. Watch the video to see why.


“I wouldn’t say I’m the best Scout, but I try to be,” Spivey said. “My journey’s been rough. I got a lot of crap on my plate, but that doesn’t stop me. The Lord is greater than all the crap on my plate,” he said.

32 photos that will make you fall in love with Durham (via @movoto) I do love my adopted hometown.

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Netflix introduces new “Browse Endlessly” plan(HT @LaughingSquid) It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

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