Previous month:
May 2009
Next month:
July 2009

Posts from June 2009

Insights from "Killing Cockroaches"

I'm reading Tony Morgan's new book Killing Cockroaches.  I've never met Tony, but have read his blog and love this new book.  Seems his spiritual gift of sarcasm is the same as mine.  I, like most pastors, get caught up in the trap of always trying to do the next program or creative thing as a church.  Tony says it like it is.

Now, I'm not through with the book yet, but so far, here are some of my favorite quotes.

  • But we learned long ago that to try to make everyone happy, you have to be comfortable with mediocrity.  It's a place where there are few critics.  It's also a place where few people become really passionate about ministry and their relationships with Christ.
  • Under the heading "10 Easy Ways to Keep Me from Visiting Your Church Because I Visited Your Web Site"
    • Avoid telling me what's going to happen at your church this weekend.
    • List every single ministry you have at your church.
    • Put a picture of your pastor with his wife on the main page.
    • Try to sell your church rather than telling me how I will benefit from the experience.
  • If your church shut its doors today, would your community know it?
  • Under the heading "10 Easy Ways To Make Church Services More Boring"
    • Don't worry about when you finish.
    • Straight Scriptures, no stories.
    • No television, no movies.  It's just a phase.  People don't really need visual stimulation.  They prefer talking heads.
    • Use the same service order every week.
    • Make more announcements.
    • Encourage elementary school kids to sit through your services.  They love lively 45 minute sermons.  It's good for them.  It builds character.
    • Talk more about the past and less about the future.
    • Use the same song every week (we have just shelved "Come Just as You Are")
    • Use lots of big words.
    • Forget relevant topics and life application.
  • Real faith is dynamic.  It's controversial.  It's dangerous.  It's constantly growing.  It asks challenging questions.  It involves mystery.  You can't put it in a box.  You can't keep it quiet.  You can't outgrow it.  You can't out-dream it.  It's more focused on others than it is on itself.  Real faith gives me peace but makes me discontent to let things stay the same.
  • If you have to manufacture excitement, it's probably something you should stop doing.
  • Your attitude is your decision.
  • Your competition isn't other churches.  Instead it's everything that's competing for someone's time and attention.  It's the Sunday newspaper, a shopping trip, a tee time, the pillow after a night out with friends. 
  • Great speaking comes from the overflow of preparation.
  • People will give their time and money to a big vision.  If you're finding it a challenge to attract either in your ministry, you may have to revisit your vision for the future.
  • Church can learn a lot from Disney.  Here's Tony's list of "10 Things I'll Remember After Visiting Disney"
    • The experience begins in the parking lot.
    • We will invest a lot of money to make dreams come true.
    • It helps to have someone with you who's been there before.
    • The value and excellence transcends socioeconomic and cultural barriers.
    • It's hard to communicate with people who wear masks.
    • The journey is more fun when you're on it with friends.
    • The world is small.
    • Lots of people fulfilling the same mission can achieve great results.
    • It's possible to leave behind a lasting legacy for future generations.
    • We remember the fireworks at the end.

There's much more, but you get the idea.  Tony's book is nailing me on some things and encouraging with others.  The title Killing Cockroaches is great.  Buy the book and read page 5.  He explains it there.

Who is Tony Morgan?  He's one of the pastors at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC.  You can read more from him at