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Building Bridges with Food

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There are times when coffee and a pastry are more than a light breakfast, and bacon is more than just a tasty treat. The food at Central's summer brunches is always delicious – "Julie & Co." does an amazing job preparing the menu each week, but the purpose behind the brunches is much sweeter than even the aromas emanating from the kitchen.

Food has always been an easy and convenient ice-breaker. Whether it's getting to know someone, having a business meeting, or catching up with long-lost friends, sharing a meal is a great way to get to know people. There are two ways the summer brunches can help with this.

Central is blessed to have a large and vibrant community. But, even in a church the size of Central, it can be easy to fall into schedules and habits which leave us feeling isolated. Summer brunches give us a chance to enjoy a new routine. Reconnect with old friends or meet new ones over a great meal. Sunday mornings can be hectic for many families, and the brunches also give families a chance to slow down a little and enjoy a meal together.

Summer brunches are also an easy way to invite friends and family to Central. We all have people in our lives who don't attend any church. Maybe you've invited them before or perhaps you've felt uncomfortable doing so. It can often be scary or awkward inviting someone if you are unsure of how they'll respond. It's hard to say "no" to bacon and French toast, though. We encourage you to prayerfully think of someone God has placed in your life that you could invite to Central this month. 

Summer brunches are from 9:30 until 11am Sunday mornings, beginning this week and continuing throughout the month of July. There is no cost for the meals, although donations are welcome.

Posted by Jeff Brown

The Power of Video in a Pastoral Search

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One of the primary tools developed by JobfitMatters, the executive search firm Central engaged to assist with our search for a new Senior Pastor, is an introductory video. The piece provides a brief history of Central, as well as reflections from a number of members, elders, and staff. Why was a video important? Did you know that in 2015:

  • Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic?1
  • 65% of video viewers watch more than 3/4 of a video?2
  • 78% of people watch video online every week. 55% of people watch online videos every day.3
  • In 2015, experts  believe video will take up 57% of consumer internet traffic. That's nearly 4x as much as web browsing and email. By 2017, video is projected to consume 69% of internet traffic, and by 2018, it's projected to rise to 79%.3
  • 80% of senior executives watch more online video today than they did a year ago.4
  • Simply using the word "video" in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and increase click-through rates by 65%.5

We invite you to check out our new video below. We hope you enjoy it!

1. www.merchantmarketinggroup.com/blog/merchants-2015-digital-marketing-predictions/
2. www.reelnreel.com/10-video-marketing-predictions-2015/
3. https://www.grouponworks.co.uk/blog/marketing/why-video-should-be-a-part-of-your-2014-marketing-strategy/
4. images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Video_in_the_CSuite.pdf
5. syndacast.com/video-marketing-statistics-trends-2015/


Posted by Jeff Brown

4 Things We Can Learn from Apple

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I have a confession to make. I am writing this on my MacBook Pro, while my iPhone rests next to me. At home, my wife is probably working on her Mac. Maybe I’ll dial her iPhone when I’m finished. All told, our family has several iPods, an iTouch, five iPhones (six if you count the broken one that’s in a drawer), three MacBooks, 2 iPads, and a partridge in a pear tree. Or something like that. So far, our dog Joy is Apple-free, but give me time.

So, yes, I am biased. It didn’t used to be this way. In fact, as a Cisco and Microsoft guy, I was openly derisive of the “cult of Apple.” But I was won over and now I readily drink the Kool-Aid and find my thirst well-satisfied. But this isn’t about the merits of OS X vs. Windows, or Android vs. iOS. Whether you are pro- or anti-Apple, there’s little disputing they are good at what they do. Very good.  A few recent interactions with Apple made me realize there is much that we as Christians can learn from the folks who work at Apple.

Be Accessible

Apple stores are brilliantly designed, transparent both literally and figuratively. The prominent use of glass creates a very open atmosphere. The products are front and center, and readily available to try out, and they don’t limit you to a prescribed “demo” either. Want to check your email or perform some other on-line task? Go right ahead. They make no apologies for who they are (or are not), don’t try to hide in a carefully-controlled environment, and don’t make you enter their own specialized “world.” Rather, they basically say, “We’re Apple. Come check us out for yourself."

How refreshing would it be if the church was like this? Are we making the gospel as easily accessible as possible for our guests, or are we putting up barriers? Are we using unecessary insider jargon (narthex), when simple words everyone understands would suffice (lobby)? Do we spend more time on guests conforming to our needs (“You need to check your child in over at that kiosk"), rather than meeting theirs (“Welcome. How can I help you this morning?)?

Be Authentic

I have heard a few people say they are put off by the casual appearance of Apple employees in their stores. It can be very difficult to distinguish a worker from a shopper. Still, almost without exception they are knowldegeable, generous with their time, and patient. It is immediately apparent they enjoy talking about Apple. They believe in the product, and trust in its ability to perform. They share their experiences using Apple devices, and you get the impression they would still use them even if it wasn’t how they earned a living.

Seems like a pretty good example for us. When we share the gospel, we do more damage than good if we pretend to know all the answers, or pretend to be anything other than who God has made us to be. Be yourself and just share with them how you have experienced the love of Christ in your own life.

Be Relational

Next time you have the opportunity, look through the window of an Apple store. You will see people of all descriptions: Teens who have literally grown up with technology all around them, and retirees buying their first smart phones. You will see I.T. pros and people unsure of how to turn a computer on. It doesn’t matter. With the I.T. person, Apple is happy to talk “speeds and feeds,” while with grandma, they will keep things really simple. In short, they relate to the individual they are working with, and meet them at their level.

The next time you have the opportunity to speak with a non-believer, try the Apple model. Listen to the other person to learn what is going on in their life and where they might be spiritually. Then meet them where they are. You shouldn't try to recite everything you have ever learned in Sunday school. Save the canned spiel and just have a conversation.

Be Passionate

I was recently in one of their stores to upgrade my phone. While one salesperson helped me, another approached my daughter, who was at the next table over. She was exploring the new camera features. When he asked if she had seen the new slo-mo option, she replied “oh, I’m just playing with it. I’m not buying anything.” His reply was awesome. “So what, it’s really cool! I’m going to run in place and you film me!” Which he did, right in the middle of the very busy store.  No sale resulted, but he definitely got her attention and created a ton of interest.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to share the greatest story. Ever. Are we passionate about telling others about it? Are we ready to share it at every opportunity, even when a “sale” doesn’t seem likely? How much do we really trust our story, or more importantly, the Author? We should be thrilled to share even a part of Christ’s love for us. After all, it's a whole lot cooler than slo-mo.

Posted by Jeff Brown