What Shamu taught me about ministry

25 May

DSC_0740Carol, Jonathan, Amanda, and I enjoyed the day at Sea World on Saturday. Prior to the killer whale show at Shamu Stadium, I observed two things that Sea World was doing that could be transferred to the local church. The first was their strategic use of preshow infotainment. The second was the importance of single minded focus.

When we pulled into the parking lot of Sea World this morning, there were a handful of protesters outside the park shouting about being kind to animals. One sign said that Sea World was an orca prison. Before the killer whale show, Sea World spent 10 minutes giving an infomercial about how they rescue animals, care for their physical and medical needs, and release back into the wild those who can survive. They were intentional about educating the public about their philosophy and values.

The church could learn much from Sea World about communicating philosophy and values. Our church uses PowerPoint slides prior to the worship service to communicate upcoming events. We should consider producing videos that highlight and explain what we are doing in our various ministries. We should think creatively how to better communicate not only what we are doing, but why we are doing it.

The second principle I learned from Sea World was the importance of single minded focus. Part of the infotainment included Bindi Irwin and Jack Hanna encouraging people to give to a project to help clean and maintain our oceans. They repeated the theme of one–one planet, one ocean, and that one person working with others could make a difference.

Again, the church could learn from this principle. Far too often, we allow people to set and follow their own agendas. We allow them to operate independently rather than encouraging them to fully engage with the rest of the body. The church needs a clear sense of vision and direction. We need to rally people so that the entire body is moving in the same direction and pursuing the same goal. We need a strong sense of one-minded devotion towards fulfilling our purpose and direction. Tying this with the first lesson, the leadership of the church needs to cast a clear vision and then continue to communicate it over and over until we move forward in unity to reach the goal.

It’s amazing what you can learn when you pay attention and learn from others, even from a killer whale.


Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Church, Family & Friends, Photos, Sea World


3 responses to “What Shamu taught me about ministry

  1. Bob Kasper

    May 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Wishing you a “restful” and enjoyable time. Chris shared the Lord and His challenges effectively today. You are in our daily prayers and thoughts. Our Lord is gracious and awesome. Jeanne is doing better each after her surgery on Thursday. She did get home Friday.

    Jeanne and Bob

    • wheelsms

      May 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. We will pray for a full recovery for Jeanne.

      Mark Wheeler

      “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot

  2. Caitlin

    May 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Um, theres a lot of validity to the protesters. Its not just hippy dippy nonesense. In captivity, whales live on average 4.5 years and most die before their 20. In the wild, they live on average 60-80 years. Recently there was a 103 year old whale spotted off the coast of canada. Not to mention wild whales swim 100s of miles a day and captive whales are stuck in a small tank.

    Isn’t the essence of Genisis 1:28, take care of the earth and all God’s created.

    You have to remember that Sea World is a business out to make a buck and stay in business.


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