—-this is a reminder—-
everyone you know is broken.
everyone you work with has deep wounds.
every person who annoys you is broken.
you are broken.
love others in their brokenness.
grow a big heart towards those who are limping.
So last night marked the 100th unique face that has come through the doors of the student ministry at sawmill covenant church. pretty cool.
if anyone told me that we’d had that many faces through the doors, i would have though they were lieing or inflating the numbers. It sure feels small. It sure feels like a family of friends.
anyways, number don’t matter. faces do. hearts do. people do. I could care less if it was 100 or 10 or 50 or 500.
numbers are for accountants, not youth pastors……
(in all reality, it is actually probably higher since we just started keeping super accurate records about 4 months ago…)
J.R. Briggs was recently inspired by his trip to an Apple store in New York. One thing he remarked about was his interaction with an employee. Here was his thought (read the whole article here):
The question his boss asks him at the end of the day isn’t “How much product did you sell today?” but instead, “Who did you talk to today and what were their stories?” The question his boss asks him at the end of the day isn’t “How much product did you sell today?” but instead, “Who did you talk to today and what were their stories?”
There is a lot of talk about church metrics and how big our churches are or how many butts fill our seats on Sunday mornings. What if there were more talks about the stories we hear each week?
I’d bet a couple of things would happen:
- We’d stop being concerned if attendance went up or down, and we’d start being concerned with whether or not we learned anything new about those in our faith community.
- Church staff would have an INCREDIBLY clearer picture of what programs/ministries/sermons/studies/etc. were needed in the life of those in the faith community.
- Our ministries would be exponentially better, more effective, more impactful, more meaningful, longer lasting, more fulfilling, etc…..
- We’d become the only place in a person’s life that they could show up and feel like someone was trying to get to know them better.
- “Being known” would be a tremendous feeling. Probably addicting (if you don’t think so, read anyone’s twitter or facebook page).
- They’d tell others about it and probably start to mirror that kind of behavior.
- More people would want to be a apart of that faith community.
- Attendance would go up as a by-product of all that. But if it didn’t, no one would be too concerned as long as we were learning more and more about the lives of others.
All that WOULD happen merely as a result of changing our metrics.
Last week I sat down with some of my volunteers at Starbucks to chat. I’d been serving at Sawmill Covenant Church for almost a year.
I asked them this question: “As we look back at the first year, where have we seen God show up?”
For the next hour, we told stories. Stories of meeting new students. Stories of working with pain. Stories of trying really hard to make small groups work and failing. Lots of stories.
The one thing in common with all those stories. They didn’t involve me teaching. They didn’t involve a game. Almost every single story of God’s hand moving in our ministry was tied directly to a time where we opted for less structure over more.
My goal for the second year: carve out more time to listen to God. I want to carve out more space on Sunday nights for students to meet with God. I want to carve out more time in our volunteer meetings to pray. I want to carve out more time in my own life to slow down, shut up, and listen to God.
Sometimes I think we miss the point. I think we show up to church because we like it. I think we get together in a building we like to sing songs we like and listen to a sermon we like.
We act like church revolves around us. I act like church revolves around me
It revolves around God.
Act like it.
I have a personal trainer. He puts me through grueling workouts and – by the end – I pretty much dispise him. He makes me do more when I think I can’t. He pushes me to finish the workout even though my heart near failure and my vision is blurry (i’m not exagerating). At the end of yesterday’s workout I asked him, “Do people ever just get pissed off at you?” He replied, “Yeah, all the time. I have one women who I train who always calls me ‘a&%hole’.”
He went on: “I mean, I know I’m making people work hard. They’re paying me – voluntarily – for results. So that’s what I’m pushing them towards. They can quit whenever they want.”
They he said something that struck me so deeply: “I come in here everyday and see people jogging or doing the eliptical and you know what…they never change. You know why they never change? Because it’s easy.”
How many times, do those of us who are part of a church body – slink back from really challenging people?
Think about this you paid church staff: People are vountarily paying you. Just like my personal trainer, they’re paying you (and me) for results. They want a pastor. They want to be lead like sheep. Yes, sometimes they’ll complain. Heck, they’ll even refuse to do the workout you’re giving them. But ultimately, no one is forcing them to be a part of your church.
So the challege is to push. Push harder. Push deeper. Push them to the extrememes. Ask them to do hard things. They may complain, but that’s what they really want.
I was given Mike Yaconelli’s Getting Fired for the Glory of God by a pastor who used to work in youth ministry. I’m reading it. Blowing me away. You should read it to. Or maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe it is just awesome because God is using it to speak to me right now. Either way, I’ll recommend it.