As most of you know, North Coast Church offers a ton of worship options and styles each weekend. Currently members of our congregation can choose from 23 different local worship venues (with 16 unique styles and settings).

The names of the venues speak for themselves: Traditions, Country Gospel, The Edge, Last Call, Early Bird, Encore, Video Café, Live @ 12:35 and many more.

Each one is an attempt to follow the example of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 20-23 where he speaks of his willingness to become all things to all people in order to save as many as possible.

Fact is, we are open to trying just about anything as long as it doesn’t compromise the message. We will adjust times, location, worship style, ambiance, and whatever else will remove the cultural barriers that keep people from hearing and responding to God’s Word.

But I have to admit; occasionally some people don’t get it.

I’m not talking about those who object to our creativity and options. We’re way past trying to convince or please them. I think most of those folks would vote against the second coming. No, I’m talking about the people who love our options and come up with new ideas that are (how should I put it kindly?) way out there.

One such proposal came across my desk recently. It wasn’t actually sent to me. It was forwarded from one of our other pastor’s inbox. It said something like this (with a few changes made to protect the innocent).


Dear Pastor _____________

Since we’ve been so crowded at church recently, I have done more than just think about a new venue and ministry idea. I actually tried it out on my San Diego wine group this weekend. I promised the guys I would host some over-the-top wines if they would give a listen to this week’s sermon while we were tasting.

The group agreed even though none are churchgoers.

It worked for a while, partly due to their enthusiasm over the wines I opened. But it started to dwindle as we got further into the sermon. Some of the guys were clearly bored by the teaching and eventually started talking about the wine. One of the older guys actually started to nod off. I think that if I have the courage to try this again, I might have a better chance of holding their attention if I were to use one of Chris Brown’s sermons instead.

Oh well, it was an Interesting idea, but I think mixing alcohol with religion is best left to Mission San Juan. Based on my experience attending some of their fund raisers, they have it down to a science.

But I have another novel venue idea to run by you guys, how about a ‘Sport of the Kings’ venue at the Del Mar racetrack? They have year-round off-track betting and we could slip the sermon in between races. Just a thought, you guys know best.

Anyway, back to the wine venue attempt. I am hoping that you have a budget for this stuff. I opened 6 bottles ranging in value from $80 to $175 for a total value of $720. I am OK covering the cost of the cheese and munchies, but I would appreciate if the church would cover me on the wine. Please don’t consider this a waste, the wine was unbelievable!

Let me know if I can help with anything else. Always willing.


Name withheld

PS. Please don’t share this with Larry. I wouldn’t want him to hear that his sermon was boring and even put one guy to sleep. But you’ve got to admit, I think he mailed that one in. I should have pre-listened.


Oh the joys of multi-sites, video venues and a permission granting ministry.

So what do you think?

Should we go for it?

Should I have Chris preach more often?