May your heart be guided to these 2 places
I woke up yesterday to this Verse of the Day on my YouVersion Bible:
It was perfect because my days and weeks don't always go as I envision them:
- My wife tells me I can be unrealistic about how much time it takes to accomplish a certain task.
- If tasks require many team members to accomplish it and have multiple moving parts, its easy for one "ball drop" do cause the whole project to miss its completion date for optimum results.
- The needs of other staff and guests at my church come to my desk with unpredictable flow.
Leading people on the climb toward full assimilation is not easy. That's why this Sherpa smiled when he read the verse about his heart being directed to 2 places: God's love and Christ's perseverance. I believe that when I am full of God's love, I outlast my challenges and see results that come from pressing forward with an energy outside my own.
That's what I experienced just last week in 2 different settings:
1. Northside Christian Church in Fresno
I did a 2 day Base Camp for 24 staff at this awesome church last week. I fell in love with this team and with this church. Fresno is a blessed place to have a faith community like this one with Sherpas in it like these men and women. We challenged each other, laughed big, and identified new and robust strategies to help guests connect in small groups and volunteer teams at new levels.
I also also came down with some serious campus envy. Check out this outdoor baptistry and coffee house:
When we do outside baptisms, we set up a doughboy. This one would be my office and personal jacuzzi. Just sayin'.
Northside runs about 3000 on weekends. With a steady flow of guests coming in, the discussion about more intentional processes and environments to increase the number of guests who stick, find community, and a personal ministry was electric. In the words of Brent Deffenbacher, Northside's Pastor of Teaching and Discipleship: "As a Ministry Team Leader, this provided a great learning environment for our Discipleship Team which has now given us a common language for discussion and evaluation". I was pretty excited to be a part of that.
"This Base Camp will make us more intentional about creating pathways as opposed to cul de sacs; experiences rather than classes". -Mike Osborn, Pastor to Life Groups/Couples at Northside.
All this makes me excited for my next Base Camp which I should be able to announce by the beginning of next week.
2. Next Steps at Eastside
Now that we have transitioned from a quarterly 7-week "First Step Experience" to an ongoing revolving 4-week experience called "Next Steps", I have wanted to see a greater number of guests coming into that connection environment than ever before. This has been a greater challenge than I anticipated.
Last weekend there was a breakthrough: we did 3 things different that resulted in exponential attendance at our other 2 campuses and a 40% increase in our attendance at our broadcast campus in Anaheim. I'll share these 3 things soon on a future post after I share them in my Sherpa's Forum (a group for Base Camp Alumni where ideas get better and sharper before sharing!).
Michael is one of our new young adults at Eastside. He just graduated last month after attending all 4 steps of Next Steps. We give graduation certificates that Gene and I sign to all those like Michael who graduate and I am blown away at how much they love them. Check out Naomi's reaction...
Back to Michael. He showed up last weekend 15 minutes before Next Steps was to begin at our 10:30am service. He asked if I needed a table host for this month's sessions. Everything looked fine to me but then a shiver went up my spine: was God providing me something I was going to need? I told him to stick around. He had no job description or training other than having attended last month's Next Step Experience. When I went up to kick off the session we were all good....until a second flood of guests arrived. We were scrambling to find chairs, tables, another table host, backpacks, Bibles, and sat them 10 to a table. Michael was literally a God send and is now a member of our team.
We are fortunate to serve a God who cares even more about guests and what we do with them then we do. I love that.
Because the environments we create for guests are one of THE most important factors in seeing them connect, I'll be kicking off a 3 part "Assimilation Environments Blast" next week, one post everyday for 3 days. including discussion questions for your team to explore.
Looking forward to it.