Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Letterman Learnings…

As I mentioned, my friend Tony from Indy and I were blessed with tickets to Letterman last Thursday and we both agreed that an experience like that had to be blogged about.  In keeping with the spirit of the Late Show, we each decided to roll out our “Top Ten” list.  Here we go:

Top Ten Things I Learned From Letterman:

10. If we’re ever going to be taken seriously, Iron City is going to have to invest in letter jackets.  Lots of them.  All of Dave’s flunkies wear ’em.

9. Instead of just inviting people to church at 10 AM, we need to have them get in line around 7 or so and get their tickets, then return by 9:30 for #8.

8. Coaching.  And lots of it.  There’s nothing like a team of 18-25 year olds explaining how you can respond (nothing high pitched) and when you can laugh (ALL THE TIME).  We need this if anyone is ever going to start “getting” my jokes.

7. We need to replace the ushers at ICC with “smile monitors” to walk around before and during the service to make sure everyone looks like they’re having a good time.

6. I need a mug girl (to bring out a drink during every commercial break).  Paul has one.  Dave has one.  Tommy needs one.

5. Speaking of commercial breaks, we need those too.  What pastor couldn’t use a couple of minutes mid-sermon for a re-write or two?

4. We need to scratch the welcome time and announcements.  We’re hiring a stand-up comedian to come in and warm up the crowd.

3. Tape at 5, air at 11:30.  And none of the goofs make it through.  Hmmm.  We definitely need to look into tape delay.

2. Wanna put butts in the seats?  Two words: Howard Stern

(drumroll please….)

1. It doesn’t have to be all that good if you can just get people to respond like it is!

It was actually a great experience (thanks Tony) and I had a really good time.  And with Howard Stern as the only guest that night, it was just a bonus (please note the tiny bit of sarcasm).  Anyhoo.  Another item checked off of my “wonder what that’s like” list.  I have a new found respect for the folks that put on a show like that night after night after night . . . .


I had a great time Thursday and Friday in New York City.  I am privileged to be a part of a coaching network with about 15 other pastors from all over the country that meets once a month.  This month’s meeting was last Friday and I was able to break away Thursday and spend some time in the Big Apple. 

I got to spend some time hanging out with my friend Tony Portell and he scored and shared some tickets to the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night (more on this in my next post).  I don’t know if it was just being out of town or what, but I had the best night’s sleep Thursday night that I have had in a long time.  The only downer of the entire trip was that my flight back home got cancelled Friday and thankfully Jeff was able to get me on another one.  Different airline, different airport, but thankfully they knew where Pittsburgh was.

The network meeting was great on Friday.  I have often said that the journey of planting a church for me has been often marked by great periods of self-discovery: learning and observing who God made me to be.  One thing I know about myself is that I am a passionate learner.  Another thing that I’m fast discovering is that I learn very well in a “learning community” like this network. 

I am a consummate brain-picker (if that’s a word) and this group is just that kind of an opportunity. There are a lot of guys who have been where we are as a church and led their churches much further down the road.  And the guy that leads the group – Nelson Searcy – may be on the list of people I am obligated to name a child after because of all the help he has been to me and ICC, but don’t hold me to that (and don’t tell Amber).

All in all, if you are a pastor or church leader I would highly recommend being involved in a coaching network.  If nothing else, find a group of people who are like-minded and all have similar aims and begin sharing information.  Why should you be willing to share the stuff that God has been teaching you?  One word: KINGDOM!

The Sunday Report

Yesterday was a great one at ICC.  Setup was a little hectic, but we finally made some upgrades we’ve been wanting to make for months now.  I was out of town for a couple of days this week and Jeff went into turbo mode getting things done (maybe I should leave town more often).  One of our partner churches loaned us a sound system, which was right on time, and we upgraded some things in the Iron City Kids area.  We had another solid crowd (45) and about 6 first time guests.

I’m loving this series we’re in right now.  It’s called “Together” and we’re looking at what our church is called to be and to do together.  At ICC, we say we’re “Charged, Challenging, and Life-Changing.”  We looked yesterday at “Together We’re CHARGED,” and discussed why we do what we do on Sunday mornings.  I thought it was well received and hopefully will help people get involved in reaching out and inviting people to church.

The band was rocking and finished out the day with a hair raising version of “Born to be Wild.”  I really enjoyed the message yesterday because it is something I feel extremely passionate about — making sure our weekend services serve as an opportunity for corporate worship, a challenge to apply the Bible, and especially as an open door to people who are far from God.  I really feel like we’re poised to see some even more amazing things in the coming weeks and months at ICC.

Here’s the link for the message downloads:

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