Let Your Light Shine!

Randy Neufeld – Worship Ministries

Bible Reading Plan – YouVersion.com

One of my focus areas for 2010 is to intentionally spend more time with God and His Word. 

As with anything, it is always best to have a plan.  I have begun a reading plan called Project 345 Plus Plus which is provided at a great website, http://www.youversion.com. They have quite a few various reading plans for different needs. I picked 345 Plus which provides a structured read through the New Testament in one year as well as the Proverbs and Psalms.

I’d like to encourage you to join me in making an intentional journey through God’s word this year!

…Randy

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January 2, 2010 Posted by | Thoughts & other ramblings | Leave a comment

For 2010, I desire to …

I’m not into setting resolutions, but I do feel that the beginning of a new year is a great time to re-focus.  I’m in the process of refining my personal goals and wanted to share some of my high level thoughts with you!  So here’s where I am starting this year!

Spiritual – I need to intentionally spend more time with God and His Word.  A fellow worship leader introduced me to a great tool at www.youversion.com.

Relational – I want to be the very best husband, father and grandfather that I can be.  This means quality time with those that are the most important to me, my family.

Physical – ’nuff said!

Ministry – I want to take renewed focus on serving God and the people that he has entrusted to my care.

Happy New Year!
…Randy

January 1, 2010 Posted by | Thoughts & other ramblings | Leave a comment

The Week Ahead … No Practice / Call for Volunteers

Kinda strange to have a week ahead with no special programming!

Our Thursday practice is once again canceled due to the January 1 holiday, so we’ll be going with just the Sunday morning rehearsal. We’re back to our regular two service format this week, so rehearsal will begin at 8:27 sharp!

I haven’t formally scheduled a team for this week, so please let me know if you are available. I’ll be sticking to familiar songs and relatively simple arrangements!

Happy New Year gang!

…Randy

The Team so Far:

Worship Leader: Randy

Band:
Drums – Dave
Bass – Keith
Electric – Darren
Acoustic – Amanda
Piano – Kari

Vocals
– Nancy
– Tera
– Carol (11:00)
– Doug
– Lori K.

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Thoughts & other ramblings | 2 Comments

Supper at St. Timothy’s

I have had many meals, meetings and just breaks from busy days at local Tim Hortons (a.k.a Tim’s) locations. On this evening Crystal and I had one of our semi-regular journeys to St. Timothy’s for a bowl of chili, donut and coffee. But this time was different. Tonight we went with a purpose beyond a time out together at a familiar place. It was an opportunity to look beyond the comfortable and familiar environment, predictable and affordable food and beverage, and to observe and learn how Tim Hortons, has grown from a small coffee and donut shop that had it’s beginnings in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964 to Canada’s largest quick-food service chain with over 2,700 outlets as of July 1, 2007. Tim Hortons commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%). So why is it, that the Tim Horton’s on Rochdale in Regina, is always busy, regardless of the day of the week or the time of day?

Meeting Needs Globally

The Tim Hortons sign has become one of the most recognized landmarks as one travels across the city, province or country. Whether in the large city or a large town, this is a sign of familiarity. When you pull into a Tims, you know what to expect. As you arrive you are presented with options. You can opt to pick up a coffee in drive through as you continue to fire off those urgent messages on your Blackberry or make a quick call on your cell phone.

For those that need a stretch after a long drive, Tims generally offers clean restrooms and a take out option inside the store. And for those who need a place to meet a friend or enjoy a meal with a spouse or friend, there is usually an open table.

Reflection: The cross is a universal sign of the Christian Church. In large cities or smaller centres, there are always churches that display the cross. Unfortunately the church as symbolized by the cross doesn’t represent the same level of familiarity as Tims. Too often the church doesn’t provide options to meet the needs of today’s people. What message does our sign send to the consumer?

Consumer Orientation

As you enter Tims, whether it be in Regina, Saskatchewan or Brooks, Alberta you know exactly where to go and what to do. The stores are brightly lit, although not harshly. Colour schemes are relaxing. The product selections are clearly presented to you. In fact, through advertising and media, the consumer generally knows what is available long before they arrive at the store. Featured products (do-nuts) are on display to aid the decision making process. The staff are friendly and efficient (usually) and guide you through the options. You are also provided with options to complete the monetary component of the transaction; cash, debit card, credit card, or the Tims Card. If you are ordering a meal, they courteously direct you down the counter where your meal is being prepared.

Reflection: When guests (customers sounds just a bit too secular, although that is possibly a perspective that we should consider) enter our church, are they immediately comfortable? Do we ensure that they know what options are available to them, where they can go for “service”? Do we provide options that meet their needs?

Welcoming to All

Tim Hortons provides for the needs of a very broad demographic. This evening, Tims served couples of all ages, families with young children, teens wearing hoodies and ball caps, workers in torn jeans, police officers (if you ever want great service, go to a Tim Hortons with a police officer!), SaskTel employees on a break, a trio of twenty-somethings having a business meeting, people representing various ethnic backgrounds, and singles of various ages. For each of these demographic groups, Tims is open. There is no dress code, and it doesn’t matter if it is your first visit or if you are a regular customer. (It was interesting to note that there were a number of customers this evening wearing green clothing that appeared to represent a popular local sports team. I’m quite sure that this wasn’t a Tim Hortons dress code requirement, though)

Reflection: Unlike Tims, the church is too often overly concerned with the socio-economic status of those that come through the doors. Although we don’t post a dress code on our doors, if someone were to show up in torn jeans, or wearing baggy pants, hoodies or a ball cap, shorts and a t-shirt, would we welcome them equally? Do we treat first-time customers with the same courtesy and interest that we do our regular customers? Too often, our guests are left to fend for themselves, while the regular “customers” mingle.

A Consistent Product

I have become quite fond of Tim Horton’s chili and coffee. It doesn’t matter whether I’m having supper with Crystal at the Rochdale location, in Swift Current en route to visit our granddaughter in Alberta, or lunch with my daughter in downtown Regina, Tims provides a consistent high quality product. I am consistently pleased with the value, service and overall Tims experience. As a result, I keep returning with anticipation of having my needs met. A Tim Hortons cup of coffee is a good cup of coffee, no matter where you are.

Reflection: The Christian church has the best product that the world has to offer. Our role is to present that product in a consistent, high quality way to the consumer. It is absolutely critical that the way we present the gospel message doesn’t detract from the message itself. If people don’t know what to expect from one visit to the next, it is likely that they will not return.

Always Fresh, Always Open

Although recent labour issues in Western Canada have provided a challenge for Tims, the consumer can generally go to Tims any day of the week and any time of the day. This is in direct response to society’s needs. The number of people who work regular Monday through Friday day shifts is decreasing. Customers want to and expect to have access to products and services 24×7. At Tims, the menu is available 24×7.

Reflection: The church has not adapted to the changing realities of our society. Generally speaking the church is open Sundays from 11:00 to noon (unless the pastor has a lot to say!) In our case we have provided an early service on Sundays at 9:30. How many shift workers are we excluding by only being open on Sunday mornings? Although we have attempted to address this issue through podcasts, and Internet Campuses, it is not a full replacement for the need to worship God together. In today’s high stress, high paced environment, it is critical that the church provide our product when it is needed. This will be a challenge that will likely require innovative ideas and a willingness to “do church” in new and unique ways.

Location, Location, Location!

One of the reasons that we go to Tim Hortons is that it is at a convenient locations. I’ve noticed that there is generally a conveniently located Tims. The Rochdale location is close to home. The downtown location is a five minute walk from my office. There are three Tim Horton’s between Regina and Brooks to meet our needs during our treks to visit our family. And there is a Tims in Brooks that provide us with the “fuel” to begin our journeys back home. As mentioned earlier, there are over 2,700 Tim Hortons in Canada.

Reflection: When it comes to location, this should be a category where the church should have a distinct advantage over Tim Hortons. Canadian Baptist Ministries alone serves over 1,000 Baptist Congregations in Canada and represents in excess of 250,000 people. So why is there gridlock in the Tims parking lots on Sunday mornings and not in our church parking lots? I wonder what the average “membership” of a Tim Hortons would be?

Final Thoughts

Although the church often tends to shun consumerism and marketing, there is a great deal that we can learn from organizations such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Both organizations provide a consistent product. But it is more than just the product that keeps people returning. It is the experience and the environment. It is about location and being available when the consumer has a need. It is about being open to all.

Our product as the Christian Church is the best product available! It is hard to imagine what could be accomplished, if the church could be more like Tim Hortons. I pray for the day that we have lineups at our doors and grid lock in our parking lots. And I also welcome that day that we can offer a good cup of church coffee!


I am pleased to report that following a one month trial, we have contracted with Ambassador Coffee for the equipment andsupplies, to provide high quality, drip brewed coffee on Sunday mornings!

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Thoughts & other ramblings | Leave a comment