You’ll find both flip-flops and cowboy boots at Highlands Church in Paso Robles, CA where the bagpipe playing pastor preaches a well-choreographed message to a targeted demographic.
Graham says he’s not shy about crediting Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and anyone else with a good idea to borrow, for the growth Highlands has experienced. In this interview what’s most impressive is Graham’s desire to reach a community in which 90+% are not in church on Sundays.
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Graham Baird had to fail to succeed. A church plant collapse in Texas nearly kept the fourth generation Presbyterian minister from taking on the Highlands project. But, along with brother Jaime, Graham learned from his mistakes and now has much to show for it. Here are my notes from the interview.
Use Free Media
When vandals hit church property (more than once) Graham used these opportunities, offered by broadcast and print media, to forgive the offenders and invite the community to church. Graham says the good will created was invaluable.
The Darkened Corner
Graham does not lecture his congregation on being friendly because he says most newcomers prize their anonymity. He recommends a dark corner in the back where bashful seekers can come late and leave early without getting hassled.
‘Who Me?’ Leaders vs. ‘Choose Me!’ Leaders
Graham knows he’s identified the right person for the job when they say, ‘Who Me?’ It’s this kind of person, who has exhibited great talent in a given area, who Graham generally favors over volunteers who scream, ‘Choose Me!’
About Graham Baird
Graham graduated from Princeton Seminary in 2000 with an M.Div. and has since been a sought after speaker and teacher around the country. He won the National Oratory Championship in 1990. Graham is currently studying for his Doctor of Ministries at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Graham’s dissertation will be on “Re-visioning Mainline Denominationalism for the 21st Century.” Graham’s favorite phrase is, “no perfect people allowed” in church. Graham, his wife Star, and baby Haley like to drive to the ocean on days off. Graham also plays the bagpipes and fly fishes.
Sponsors I Mentioned
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