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John Ortberg Interview: “The State Of The Church”

Perspectives: John Ortberg and Scott Williams from Monvee Video on Vimeo.

It was great to sit down with one of the great authors and ministry leaders John Ortberg.  John asked me some candid questions about the state of the church and the state of Church Diversity.  I have always appreciated his wisdom, leadership, writing & influence from afar…  It was an honor to sit down and hear his heart and field a few questions.

Share your thoughts about anything we discussed in the interview, or feel free to share ask any additional questions that you may have.

Uniting The City “The Sing OKC”

I have always had a passion to unite people across racial, socio-economic, political, denominational and whatever other lines seem to divide us.  I am blessed that God has given me a platform to help unite the body of Christ and the local church across racial lines, for the sake of the Gospel.

At ChurchDiversity.com we have over churches represented from over 23 states in the U.S. alone.  If your church is not a part of the ChurchDiversity movement, get them added to the list here.

As I have been traveling around the country, the response has been amazing. I have been humbled by the response; however my heart really beats for the local community that God has allowed me to be a part of.  I want to see Oklahoma City united.  Fortunately, there are like minded individuals that have the same passion.

A few months ago “The Bearded One,” not OKC Thunder’s James Harden, the other one – christian music leader Charlie Hall had a vision to connect the city through worship and prayer.  The only agenda, was to pray for and connect the city of Oklahoma City.  From that vision, “The Sing” was birthed.  The Sing is a night of worship and prayer that happens in the heart of downtown OKC.  The event is free, no hidden agendas and the initial event was only promoted through word of mouth.  The first event had 1,500 people and ran out of room for people to get in.  The Spero Project, a local ministry that serves refugees was blessed by an offering at the end of the event.

The Sing” is happening again, this Sunday June 5th from 6:00-8:00 pm at First Church in downtown OKC.  I am honored to be a part of “The Sing” this time around, as we pray for and unite the city of Oklahoma City.  The Sing is not about singing worship tunes, it’s about singing God’s praises for what He has done and what He will do through a united city.  There will be worship, prayer, spoken word, community and opportunity for action. Invite a friend and share information about “The Sing” with your friends. I’ll see you at “The Sing.”

For more information, you can check out TheSingOKC.com.

What efforts are happening in your local community to unite the Body of Christ and to unite your city?   Will you be at “The Sing?”

I Am Not A Racist Anymore!

Whenever I first began to wrestle with thought and calling to be a part of seeing the church more unified, I really wrestled with the idea of how the idea of Church Diversity can be a felt need for a broad affinity group.  In other words I didn’t want this message to simply be for ministry leaders, but rather congregants, Christians and non Christians at-large.

As I’ve began traveling around the country and sharing the message of unity in the church and the idea of embracing church diversity, it’s been great to see the genuine care and concern for change.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to share the message of loving all people and diversity at my good friend Shawn Lovejoy’s church, Mountain Lake Church. Mountain Lake is located just outside of Atlanta in Cumming Georgia (Forsyth County).  It was the first location that my new book Church Diversity : Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week has been sold.  It was great to hear all of the stories of baggage, awkwardness and people genuinely wanting to be a part of changing the face and heart of the church.

My prayer has always been for God to let this message penetrate the hearts of His people.  My prayers have been answered over and over.  I was answered again this morning when I received an e-mail from someone who attended yesterdays service and bought a copy of my book.  I think this story is a powerful illustration of how quickly you can break down racial challenges with truth, openness, confrontation, biblical correction and love.

Here was the note that I received:

Scott WOW man! You were awesome yesterday at church. I just wanted to write you and tell you thanks for coming to MLC yesterday. Our church and me needed to hear that. Our community is a prominently white area, it has been for a while and with that comes alot of racism.

I am not going to lie you opened my eyes yesterday. I have grown up in forsyth county so I have been put in that “black people are bad” crap all my life. And I believed it. I have used some words that I don’t want to write but hearing you speak yesterday was intense!

God knew I needed to hear that. I was going to lay out of church yesterday but something told me I needed to go, and I did not know we were going to have a guest speaker. I will not look at race the same way after yesterday. My family went to northpoint mall after church and I found myself saying hey and holding the door for black people. Usually I don’t do that. I guess you can say I am not racist anymore. And I am not going to allow myself to get to that point again.

The people I hang out with that are, well lets just say they will see your book in my car and they will be invited to church. If they come or not is not up to me but I am inviting them.

Dude you changed my outlook on alot of things yesterday man, and I thank you for that. You are an awesome man of god and I pray that other people left MLC yesterday looking at their life and saying wow why am I this way? I need to change that about me. Again THANKS scott. Love you brother! God bless.

This was encouraging & inspiring to me…  Share Your Thoughts?

The BIGGEST Book Blog Tour On The Planet

I’m not sure it’s the BIGGEST Book Blog Tour on the Planet, however it does make for a good blog title.  I’m happy to announce, the release of my book Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week is rapidly approaching.  The scheduled release date is April 19th.  We already have a list of some amazing bloggers lined up for the blog tour, but I decided to open it up to other bloggers, readers and friends of BigIsTheNewSmall.com.

The blog tour is scheduled for only be 2 days April 19th & 20th.  For those of you who would like to participate in the blog tour, receive a sample chapter to review and ultimately a copy of the book, you can sign up right here. It’s a simple name and email address form that you need to complete.  Once you complete the form, my publicist will be getting touch with you and provide the details.  There will be many, many, many bloggers participating and I’d love for you to be a part.  To be eligible, I also need you to leave a comment below stating that “you’re in” along with your name and blog information.

If you have not had a chance to check out ChurchDiversity.com, please do so here.

dream BIG. think BIGGER.

“Sunday Morning”

Church Diversity Book Trailer #2. Sunday The Most Segregated Day of The Week.

The BIG Announcement #2

#3. Top 11 Posts Of 2011 (From March 2011)

Nearly 8 months ago I made “The BIG Announcement” which was a little play off of LeBron James making the decision to leave Cleveland and head out to South Florida and Join the Miami Heat. My “BIG Announcement” wasn’t that I signed with the Miami Heat, it was that I had signed an awesome book publishing deal with New Leaf Publishing Group, to publish my book Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week. It releases in April, you can check out the trailer for the book here.

It was about nine years ago that my wife and I walked through the doors of this new church that some friends had invited us to.  This church was much different than the churches that we had grown up in and the one that we were currently attending.  This new church had rock n’ roll type of music, no choir, no gospel music and for the most part we were one of only a few minority families.  We began to like everything about this church and God was speaking to our family in an new and fresh way.  That church was LifeChurch.tv, I think it was actually Life Covenant Church at that time.  We are much cooler now. 🙂

Although we loved our new church, we had this nagging question.  What is the heart and passion of this church as it relates to diversity?  As we didn’t see many other minorities.  I remember having lunch with Pastor Craig 9 years ago and I asked him that exact question, “Where is your heart as it relates to diversity?”  His response was, “I have a heart for diversity, will you help me.”  Fast forward 4 years of my family serving, connecting and loving LifeChurch.tv.  Fast forward another 5 years and I had the opportunity to lead and be a part of a team that launched, grew and developed a campus that truly embraced diversity.  Our staff was diverse, our worship team/platform was diverse, our congregation was diverse, we served a diverse community and a diverse group of people were surrendering their lives to Christ.  Diversity matters to God, the local church is the hope of the world, We Are Church Diversity!

Today I’m making another “BIG Announcement” to the BigIsTheNewSmall.com community. After nearly 9 years of being a part of LifeChurch.tv and five years of serving as the NW Oklahoma City Campus Pastor, my family and I have decided to move to a new season of ministry.  This new season was prompted by God’s calling on my life to share His message of Church Diversity with the global church.  With the full blessing of LifeChurch.tv leadership, we have openly and bitter-sweetly accepted this new season.

  • I absolutely love what God is doing at LifeChurch.tv.
  • My family is better because of Pastor Craig’s leadership.
  • The 5 years I served at the NW Oklahoma City Campus have been some of the best years of my life and I truly love, like and would go on vacation with every person that’s ever been a part of the n-dub staff.  I can’t even express how great it has been to be a part of such an amazing team, campus and community.  Thousands of lives have been changed at the n-dub since the doors first opened.
  • I have already made this announcement to the congregation, but my last official weekend will be this weekend.
  • I truly believe that the best years for my family and the n-dub have yet to some.

What will I be doing?  Where will I be going?

  • My family and I will stay right here. (Edmond, OK)
  • I have launched a consulting company and will be providing consulting to churches, non-profits, businesses and governmental agencies. We will focus on organizational growth both internally and externally. (Strategy, Leadership Development, New Media & Diversity)
  • I will be traveling, speaking and promoting God’s message of diversity in the church.
  • I will be doing some work for Outreach Magazine over at ChurchLeaders.com.
  • I will be scheduling a select number of weekend preaching dates.
  • I will be spending some QT with my family.
  • We will be making plans that will allow my wife to be a (SAHM) Stay At Home Mom.

I am really looking forward to this new season of dreaming BIG and thinking BIGGER. All of the doors that are being opened, could only be opened by God, He is definitely doing the orchestrating and we are being obedient!

The best days have yet to come…  dream BIG. think BIGGER.

“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” ~African Proverb

Be A Part Of #ChurchDiversity The Book

As some of you may know, I have a book scheduled to release in April.  My prayer is that it will help initiate the long overdue conversations about the lack of ethnic diversity in the church.  The Title is “Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week.” The premise is based on a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from over 40 years ago when he said, “We must face the sad fact that at the eleven o’ clock hour on Sunday morning when we stand to sing, we stand in the most segregated hour in America.”

I pray this will be more than a book; but rather a movement. I would love for you to be a part of this movement that will literally change the face and heart of the church.  We are allowing people just like you to upload a simple profile pic. (head-shot) to be included in the book.  It’s an opportunity for readers to take a snapshot reminder of all of the unique faces that make up God’s Church.  We all represent Church Diversity.

  • Diversity Matters To God
  • The Local Church Is The Hope Of The World
  • We Are Church Diversity

Hundreds of people have already uploaded their pic., please take 2 minutes to jump over to this site and upload your pic.  I hope to see your face in the book.  Together, we will ensure that Dr. King’s quote won’t ring true 40 years from now.

Would you like to maybe have your words in the book, maybe in the introduction.  Leave a comment below and fill in this sentence:  Church Diversity is [__fill_in_the_blank__].  Example: Church Diversity is a reflection of what Heaven will look like. Try to keep your thoughts between 1 and 5 sentences long.  Be creative and heartfelt.  Who knows, you may see your words in a bookstore near you.

I want to thank to Tim and the crew at New Leaf Publishing Group for believing in this project.  I also want to thank you for your willingness to be a part of this “We Are Church Diversity movement.  Share the pic. site and this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Diversity In Design

GUEST BLOGGER: Today’s guest post comes from @ErikaGordon.  Erika is the print and web designer for Manna Church in Fayetteville, NC www.mannachurch.org.  Her website is www.ErikaGordon.com. If you would like to be a guest blogger for BigIsTheNewSmall.com, click here.

Have you ever looked at a movie poster and immediately knew what type of movie it was without reading one line of text?  The design instantly revealed whether that movie was a horror flick, comedy or sappy love story.  Well believe it or not, the same holds true when reflecting diversity in church design.  Design is a language and just one look can speak of what type of church you are – a predominately white church, black church or one that is truly seeking a multi-cultural experience.

Diversity in design goes much deeper than just including stock images of a happy white woman, black family, or Latino couple.  It’s about incorporating the individual styles and feelings one gets when looking at something that is designed and created specifically for them.  The twist is to include these different styles while maintaining your church’s identity and culture.  So the million dollar question is: “How do I speak to other cultures through my design while remaining true to my church’s identity?”

I really wish there were a formula for this question but unfortunately there isn’t.  The good news is that this means the sky is the limit!  I mean, isn’t that why we were hired in the first place, to be creative and figure it out?  There were, however, a few things that helped me to balance my urban design background with the multi-cultural identity of Manna Church (www.mannachurch.org):

  • 1. Study design styles that are popular in other cultures. I make it a point to grab print materials, watch videos and browse websites that target a specific culture and study the differences in each of them.
  • 2. Push yourself to design outside of your comfort zone. This is one of the hardest things to do because as designers, we have our own style and often there’s a measure of pride that doesn’t want to compromise that.  However, we must remember what sets us apart from the mainstream industry is that we are called to use our gifts to reach people.  It’s not about us and “our style.”
  • 3. Remember the big picture and don’t give up. I constantly remind myself of this because it’s very easy to slip back into our comfort zone or fool ourselves into thinking that intentional diversity in design is not effective or worth the effort.
  • 4. Utilize the people around you.  Ideally, a multi-cultural church has a multi-cultural staff, so ask your co-workers from different backgrounds their opinion of the design and if it speaks to them.
  • 5. Know that you’re not going to please everybody. It’s impossible to create designs that speak to everyone and quite frankly, there will be times when you must target a specific demographic and that’s okay.

Hopefully this helps you to embrace the fact that we designers play an important role in church diversity and even though we are often behind-the-scenes, our work is always on the frontlines.

What do you think about Diversity In Design?

I Have A Dream Speech ~Martin Luther King Jr. #MLK

This is the full version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” Speech.  This is worth 17 minutes of your day, in order to reflect and look ahead at the same time.  I tear up every time I watch this.  I’m watching it with my sons right now.

Dr. King was introduced as “The Moral Leader Of Our Nation.”  Wow, what a great introduction.

Done!

Last night I completed my book… Done!  Done is a great feeling.

Thanks for the prayers, encouragement and commitment to pick up a copy when it lands in a bookstore or digital device near you.  Of course done with writing, equates to the beginning of all of the fun stuff with publishing, marketing and getting the word out.

My prayer is that this book will be a tool to help foster the necessary conversations and begin changing the fact that Sunday is The Most Segregated Day Of The Week.

The only feeling that’s as good as being done, is the feeling of just getting started.  Today, I’m experiencing both.

What are you in the process of completing or just getting started?

dream BIG. think BIGGER.

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