categories: communication, vision
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June 17th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

Swerve Favorites: Think Ahead

[Repost from July 29, 2008]

Successful people are often great at anticipating.

  • If you want to be promoted as an assistant, anticipate how you can better serve your boss.
  • If you want to be successful in business, anticipate what the market will do.
  • If you want to be successful in church, prayerfully anticipate. What new thing is God going to bless?

I try to think ahead by asking questions like these:

  • How are people relating differently? What will relationships and community look like in two years?
  • How are people going to communicate in the future?
  • What future technology/innovation can help spread the gospel?
  • What trends (business, entertainment, philanthropy, etc.) will affect the church?

Think ahead.

I’d love to hear your theories or ideas about what is coming in the church.

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categories: church, creativity, leadership, vision
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June 15th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

Swerve Favorites: The Summer Slump

[Repost from May 27, 2008]

Most churches experience a “summer slump.”

  • Attendance drops
  • Giving slows
  • Volunteers miss
  • Interest fades

What should a leader do during down times? Although I can’t answer the question for you specifically, I would say, “DO SOMETHING INTENTIONAL!”

You might:

  • Challenge the church to host summer neighborhood block parties
  • Ask your small groups to take the summer off and challenge them to devote one weekend a month to an inner city mission project.
  • Write devotionals for people traveling on vacation.
  • Do a summer long overview of the Old Testament
  • Experiment with a different style of worship
  • Participate in “One Prayer” (Couldn’t resist)
  • Take some extended time off
  • Challenge people to devote a week of their vacation to minister on an international mission trip

Whatever you do, don’t miss this great opportunity to pray, seek God, and do something intentional! Even though many are distracted, God still wants to do something powerful through your ministry this summer.

Please share any summer ideas or ministries you are excited about.


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April 16th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Code: Keeping it Brief

As we started to write out our values, we had more material than we could include. We wanted to keep The Code short enough that people could take it all in and remember relevant points during the course of ministry. Who says 13 is an unlucky number?

10)    We always bring our best. Excellence honors God and inspires people.

11)    The only constant in our ministry is change. God is always doing a new thing. Why we do what we do never changes. How we do it must change.

12)    We don’t recruit volunteers; we release leaders. Volunteers do good things but leaders change the world.

13)    We’re living in the “good old days.” We’re thankful for God’s blessings today and expect even more tomorrow.


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April 15th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Code: Writing the Unwritten

Instead of relying on unwritten rules to communicate our culture, we took the time to document them. None of these values are new. Bit by bit, they were woven into our conversations, meetings, and events. But having them written down allows us to communicate them effectively to new leaders and serves as a reminder and inspiration to our current leaders.

Here are a few more, and I’ll share the remaining ones tomorrow.

6)    We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing.

7)    We will lead the way with irrational generosity. We truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive.

8)    We will laugh hard, loud and often. Nothing is more fun than serving God with people you love!

9)    We will be known for what we are for, not what we’re against. There are already enough jerks in the world.

How do you communicate your church’s values?


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April 14th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

The Code: Reworking our Values

Pastor Steven Furtick sent me an interesting book called The Orange Code, How ING Direct Succeeded by Being a Rebel with a Cause.

The book shows clearly how to connect emotion and passion to your values. After visiting Elevation Church, I saw Pastor Steven’s version of the Code (or the values) for Elevation Church. He inspired me to rework our values and connect them more directly with our cause.

I’ll share with you a few of them a day throughout this week.

1)    We are faith-filled, big thinking, bet-the-farm risk takers. We’ll never insult God with small thinking and safe living.

2)    We are all about the “capital C” Church! The local church is the hope of the world and we know we can accomplish infinitely more together than apart.

3)    We are spiritual contributors not spiritual consumers. The church does not exist for us. We are the church and we exist for the world.

4)    We give up things we love for things we love even more. It’s an honor to sacrifice for Christ and His church.

5)    We wholeheartedly reject the label mega-church. We are a micro-church with a mega-vision.

How often do you revisit the values for your church?


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categories: culture, global culture, technology, vision
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March 17th, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

India: Technology in a Thatch Hut

During our recent travels, we spent some time in India learning more about the cultural landscape and the great work some ministries are doing there. techinthatchhutWhile we were visiting different areas, I took this picture. Located in a poor village, this thatch hut has no running water or sewer, yet it does have satellite TV.

The government has created some initiatives that help make televisions more widely available, but the contrast is still surprising. It makes me wonder how having access to information might change poverty over the course of generations.

It also got me thinking…someone living in these conditions could be exposed to the Gospel while watching their satellite television. From a thatch hut in India, the poorest of the poor could hear a message of hope from somewhere across the globe.

If that’s possible, then what could that mean for the future possibility of using technology to share Christ with the world? This experience only increases my resolve to use these tools to reach the world, whether it’s satellite TV in a thatch hut in India or a mobile phone in the middle of Africa.


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January 21st, 2010

by Bobby Gruenewald

What I’m Learning through our Fast

We’re nearing the end of a 21-day fast at, and this morning I’ll be talking with our staff about some of the ways God is speaking to me during this time. I thought I’d take a few minutes and share with you as well.

I’m reading through the Bible in 90 days, and something in the Old Testament has stood out to me. God kept doing these crazy huge miracles, and after each one the Israelites would soon start complaining “What’s God done for us lately?” Parting the water, manna from the sky, water out of a rock, and next thing you know they’re whining, “Now what are we going to do?!”

It didn’t take long for them to forget. The same goes for us.

In the 14-year history of (which is a very short span of time from an Old Testament perspective), God has done some remarkable things. Yet, even for those of us who experienced it firsthand, it’s been easy to lose sight of just how much He’s done. We focus so intently on moving forward that we can feel it isn’t worthwhile to look back.

We need to do something to remember all God has done and all God is doing.

Not because the past demands our attention, but because the future demands that our focus is on Him. We have to keep God’s work present in our minds, or we’ll be tempted to rely on our own abilities and forget the role He’s played.

To move forward, we have to look to the past.

How do you remember God’s work in your church and in your life?


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November 24th, 2009

by Bobby Gruenewald

Following the Recipe

It’s not unusual for ministries to take a close look at other churches. Often, they’re in search of the recipe for success.

It’s great that churches can learn from each other. Our church has certainly been helped by it, and we hope other churches have found value in what we’ve been able to offer.

But there’s something important to keep in mind as we study others. We have to realize we have different ingredients.

When you do the same things as Ministry X, you can’t assume you’ll get the same results. God has given you and your team unique talents, resources, and vision to reach your community.

We’re better off building a recipe that takes into account the ingredients we have.

What are some key ingredients for your church?


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