Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and the progressive development of the Church

In 1993, with a straight forward title, the Food Network was launched.  An entire network dedicated to cooking shows and entertainment.  Makes sense.

And people enjoyed it.  And the chefs and cooks with their “BAM” and their butter and Southern drawl transformed into celebrity personalities.

And then came the competition shows featuring massive cakes, and Iron Chefs, and the whatnot.

But somewhere along the way, the Food Network became more about the personalities and the lifestyles of food than the food itself. It became decreasingly “how to” and increasingly spectator driven.

The Food Network even developed shows like “The Next Food Network Star” and “The Next Iron Chef” that were all about who would be appearing on their other shows on the network.

Somewhere along the path to critical mass and insulation, the network became about so much more than what it was when it started.  As it grew and expanded, the fringe programming became more and more central demanding more time and pushing the tried and true cooking format shows to the edges.

Last year, the network created a second network.  An entire network dedicated to cooking shows and entertainment.  The programming that the Food Network was originally created to provide no longer had a place in the line up.  But the Cooking Channel was created in its place to provide a home for all of those shows.

We’ve seen this happen before.  In 1981, it would’ve been hard to believe that you would ever need more than one cable channel dedicated to music.  I mean, the radio plays the same songs for free.  But inevitably, the popularity of the additional programming kept requiring more space from the music.  The answer – MTV2!

And we’ve seen the same happen within the walls of the church.

I’ve never met a pastor who wasn’t committed to sharing the truth of the Gospel and the love of God with people who need it most.   But, it happens.  In the course of the church growing, so many things become a regular part of the life of that church and they must be attended to.  The fellowships, and support groups, and events, and classes, and outreaches, and services.  The kids, the newly marrieds, the singles, the divorced, the seniors, the youth.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with any of those things.  Just the opposite.  There is great benefit in being able to minister specifically to a wide range of people.

We’re taught to want that very thing.  But we have to make sure we aren’t sacrificing our original design and purpose.

And we can’t be surprised when God suddenly decides that He wants a Cooking Channel to your Food Network.

Whaddayaknow?

Sometimes it seems that no matter how much you may try to prepare, research, and study there are just some things you won’t know until you do it.

Riding a bike.

Changing a diaper.

Parenting, in general.

You just don’t know what you don’t know. And worse, you don’t know that you don’t know what you don’t know.

It’s in that frame of mind that I am asking for thoughts.

My bride and I will be launching a church in early 2009. We both have a fairly extensive experience in ministry both as volunteers and on staff. I’ve led worship teams and youth ministries, outreaches and Sunday School classes. We’ve been the youngest folks in a small country church and are a part of a culturally diverse mega-church.

But this next step is uncharted for us.

So, my question is, “What don’t I know?”

What are the things that are different from a Lead Pastor perspective than a long time member/volunteer/staff member? What did you wish you knew? What would you tell yourself if you were starting over?

Please leave your comments, warnings, advice!

The cat’s out of the bag…

So,  my bride and I had come to an interesting place in our journey with God.  We found ourselves in a position of watching the world around us change dramatically.  Things and places I thought were definite suddenly became question marks.  

And all the while God has held our hand and continued to walk us through.

It’s important to understand that the sudden changes were not an indicator of things being wrong or people being in compromise.  Actually, the exact opposite.   It was simply the ending of a season and the transitioning into a new one.

And God has shown Himself faithful the entire time.  

All of that is said to simply say.  My bride and I are stepping into our new season.

We believe that God has spoken to our hearts to launch a church in Jacksonville, FL.  Preparations have begun and we continue to believe God for all of the people, the personnel, the resources, the wisdom, and the favor to execute this vision.  

You can find out more about Vivid Church at www.vividchurch.tv.  Updates are also available via Twitter.

I will continue to share my thoughts and ideas on this blog while providing information about the vision and ministry launch on the VC blog.

If you think about us, please pray for us!  The best is yet to come!