I was overwhelmed yesterday at church. I am not saying that in a figurative sense…I was literally overwhelmed with emotion during our second service. I stood at the window and watched the cars and people flood in and thought, “I never imagined things being like this—thank you Jesus.”
We began our relationships series yesterday…you can download the message here if you would like. For those who do not attend NewSpring church…we have two Sunday morning services and one Sunday evening service—HOWEVER—our Sunday evening service is identical to our Sunday morning service. (I guess I could have just said we have three identical services on Sunday…but I just woke up—so bear with me!)
Anyway, after our first two services I came home and Lucretia had gone to Taco Bell for me (yummy). She asked me, “How did it go this morning?” (She comes to our evening service. Someone once asked me why she doesn’t attend all three services…I responded by asking them why they didn’t attend all three services!!!)
When she asked me I told her, “It went…WONDERFUL!” I could not get over how well things came off yesterday. Usually there are several things we deal with that make life a little crazy; however, God’s favor was on us yesterday…it was one of the best days we have ever had in my opinion.
I told ‘Cretia yesterday afternoon that I was so proud of our staff. Everyone…not just one or two people, but everyone. People were knocking the ball out of the park all week long…and we saw it all come to the forefront yesterday. Who would have thought we would have had 7,295 people at church in October?!?!?!
Three things I want to say about our staff that I think make them the most awesome staff in the world.
#1 - They Each Have The “Whatever, Whenever” Attitude - If a church is going to be successful in reaching people for Christ then it cannot afford one single staff member who says, “That’s not my job, find someone else” when asked to do something.
I can say this about our staff—we have “get it done” people. Yes, we have a large church, which means that we have a large staff—BUT—we have NOT allowed our staff to become departmentalized, thus competing with other “staffs” within the church.
On Sunday’s people show up and it is game time. Each staff member is willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it needs to be done…and all to make the name of Jesus famous.
#2 - Excellence Is Not Just A Saying With Them—It Is A Consuming Passion - The staff I am privileged to serve with is PASSIONATE about excellence. None of the people on our staff are content with half way doing ministry and then praying and asking God to make up the difference for their laziness and lack of planning.
In order for a service like yesterday to come off like it did—literally hundreds of hours are invested in making it right. And it takes lots of people willing to work together and unwilling to compromise the passion of excellence.
I have always said that the church is the only place in the world where non-excellent work can be done, and then when it all falls apart someone says, “Well—at least they tried.” In most cases that is simply not true…or either the person did try—but with little or no effort. The church has things such as God’s presence—God’s power—the Holy Spirit—you know, awesome stuff…and because of that we should work harder—not be lazier.
I think one of the reasons the world has surpassed the church in the “ministry” it provides is because the world packages its message in excellence—while too many churches are content with half baked, watered down presentations of the Gospel. Our staff is more passionate about our product (Jesus) than MTV or Disney is about their product—and we are seeing the results.
#3 - Our Staff Knows How To Relate To People Who Don’t Know Christ - As I said earlier—we have a large staff…and only have one seminary degree among us all. (And it’s not me!)
God has put together a unique bunch of people here at NewSpring…people who know how to relate to people who are far from Christ.
I believe for far too long Christians have practiced the idea of isolation…that in order to be godly we need to withdraw from the world…thus withdrawing from the people in the world and telling them to either “get right or go to hell.”
I heard someone say once that is it possible for someone to be born into a Christian home, attend a Christian school…and then a Christian college…go to a seminary—get a masters and then eventually a PHD…begin teaching at a Christian college or seminary…and all this time NEVER have to encounter someone who is far from God.
I am not against Christian education…all I am saying is this…10 years ago I will bet you that less than five people on staff at NewSpring EVER thought they would be working at a church. We have people from so many backgrounds…the insurance industry…a convenience store owner…a Michelin employee…school teachers…two former flight attendants (which is awesome if we ever want to pass out peanuts!)...people who worked in banking…someone who worked at Target…a couple of engineers (nerds!)...college students…and a lot more.
The thing I see in common with all of these people is that they KNOW how to connect with people who are unconnected with Christ…they have friends and family members that are far from God…and they CARE about people and want to see them meet Jesus. They do not isolate themselves from people who don’t know Christ…they have friendships with them…and are continually investing in their lives and inviting them to church.
I have always heard John Maxwell say that the teamwork makes the dream work…and so…let me just say to the staff that I work with…guys & gals…the dream is working!!! God’s dream…the dream to reach an entire community through a church…the dream of seeing people who were far from God meet Jesus…the dream to see marriages restored…the dream of seeing the poor served…the dream of seeing kids love coming to church…the dream of seeing teenagers on FIRE for God…the dream of seeing those who had been shunned by the religious community now included into fellowship. It’s working!!!
And yes—it is God…yes, He is at work…yes, He is blessing.
BUT…it’s God working through you!!! I love you guys…and I love serving with you. This is NOT a Perry thing…it’s a God thing…and each one of you are necessary to make this happen. It is the greatest privilege in the world to serve with you guy and gals…we have seen God do so much…and the best is yet to come!!!