Archives For church

Brand Loyalty

Eric Baumann  —  December 16, 2011 — 4 Comments

When I hear the names of certain brands there are always vivid images, emotions and stereo-types that flood my mind. Some of them negative and some positive. Why is that? What is it that makes us loyal to a brand, and what makes us throw a brand name aside to save money on a “generic brand”…which ironically is actually a brand in and of itself?

One of my “hobbies” is marketing, advertising and teaching people and churches about how to protect their personal brand. Yes, I said personal brand…because whether you want to admit it or not…all of us have a brand. When people hear your name or see your church/ministry, there are certain emotions, images and stereo-types that come to mind when they think about you and what you represent.

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I believe leadership is influence and here’s a twist – time is influence. Time spent is money in the bank. As a parent, I am learning this lesson with my kids. The longer you are with someone, the more impact you have in shaping who they are…especially if you start when they are young.

Now, the type of impact you have will vary based on your on-going interactions with that individual and the motives you have for creating influence in their lives. It can breed loyalty, followers, fans or even disciples. The outcome is based on strategy. So what can we learn from Jersey Shore (MTV) and Mickey Mouse (Disney)? They have a strategy for impacting those around them…and knowing that time is influence…they are more successful at getting the outcomes they desire if they begin influencing those individuals when they are young.

So who is “they”? What are “their” motives? How can we learn from “them”?…

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Too Chicken To Say Thanks

Eric Baumann  —  November 21, 2011 — 5 Comments

Okay, I admit it. Yesterday during church, the speaker gave a great message to start off the Thanksgiving holiday right, and I “chickened out” during the response time. Maybe it’s because we are new and I am still getting my feet wet, but I decided I would share my response to this message with you guys instead. We read a great passage out of Psalm, which I am sad to say I forgot what exact passage it was…BUT the message stuck, and I memorized half of the whole chapter…it is simply, “His [God’s] love endures forever” no matter what.

At the end, we were asked to fill in the blank to these 3 statements…

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Church Shopping Sucks

Eric Baumann  —  November 15, 2011 — 1 Comment

How do you shop for a church anyway? My family and I have recently relocated to the Indianapolis area and we have been looking for a new church. The fact that my wife and I have been in full-time ministry for more than 15 years and that I have been on staff at some great churches…I have dreaded this part of our transition since we made our decision to move. It’s hard when your job has been “doing” church and evaluating ministries and churches for years, not to be overly critical when you walk into a “new church.” From the signage, logo, communication pieces, visual elements of worship and the kid/student areas…my mind naturally goes into evaluation mode and “what is wrong” rather than what is good.

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Well it’s Sunday morning and I just finished “breaking bread”, or eating bagels on the floor of my new house, with some new neighbors in Indy and I realized that there was something missing…it was the hundreds of people each week that I used to worship with at a YMCA in West Toledo. There is something special about gathering with lots of other Christ followers with hands lifted high and a great band playing in the background.

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“They” say that if a new individual or family in the church is not able to develop at least three significant friendships within the first year of their attendance, they WILL leave the church. Why do you think that is? God has deposited in each of us a desire and craving for authentic relationships and community. If this “hunger” is not satisfied both with God and others, we will constantly be “searching for more.” I’m not talking about a casual friendship. When that is the depth of our connection with God and/or with others, we have nothing more than a shallow, “christian” experience.

We were made to “do life” with other followers of Christ and “to pursue Him” together. In the past couple of years, my family and I have had the joy of doing just that with some great friends and families in our weekly Life Group (or small group as some call it) and at Northpoint.

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The measurement of successful leadership is complicated. There are so many definitions, styles, opinions, types, world-views, etc…you get the point. BUT, the one statement that I think can sum it all up is that “Leadership Is Influence”…period! Whether you are a parent leading your kids and family, a teacher molding and shaping the minds of your students, a CEO, pastor or even a cashier at a fast food restaurant…each of us has a sphere of influence. As a leader, any of us can influence anyone in any direction. All of us are leaders in some way, and in turn, all of us are followers too. It’s pretty powerful if you think about it, because who you end up following greatly influences the kind of leader you are and will become. I am proud to have followed and help lead many great “influencers” in the past 4 years at Northpoint.

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In many church circles the word “service” refers to the time during the week when the people come together to worship, listen to a message and try to connect with people that they only see once a week. This ritual is performed methodically week after week, year after year for many Christians that GO TO CHURCH. The “service” if often more about consuming than actually serving. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is a good thing for Christ followers to gather and I echo the Bible’s teaching to meet regularly, BUT the church is not meant to be someplace we GO TO for a service. We are called to BE THE church and serve. We are called to do life together, outside of a Sunday gathering, and BE THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST and serve those in our sphere of influence…just like Jesus did.

That is why I love my church, Northpoint, because they “get it.” Northpoint exists to be the presence of Christ to those who don’t know Him while pursuing Him with those that do.

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Are you a Mac or a PC? Some say (usually PC users) that Mac enthusiasts are a like a cult…if so, I am a proud member. It is true though, most Mac users are loyal, outside of the box thinkers, culturally savvy, dedicated to Apple’s mission (to change the world) and seem to have a deep connection with others that have a Mac product. Call it “cult-ish” if ya want, but there is something inspiring and special about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s kinda of like being a part of the staff at Northpoint…except for the “cult thing”.

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Why I Love Toledo, Ohio

Eric Baumann  —  October 17, 2011 — 1 Comment

Yesterday marked the countdown until my family and I pack-up all our stuff and leave the great city of Toledo, OH for a new adventure in Indianapolis, IN. For the past four years, we have had the privilege of serving at a great church, Northpoint, in the northwest corner of Ohio. It was here that I found my passion for ministering to kids/teens and their parents, as the Family Ministries Pastor, and a renewed love for the church. My time at Northpoint has taught me that it is more important to build and invest in people and God’s Kingdom than in platforms and building the church…that is God’s job. We will miss the friends and ministries that we have poured our lives into, and the community of Christ followers that have become like a family to my three boys, wife and myself.

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