Last night my parents took us out to a nice steak dinner at my favorite restaurants (Stonewood Grill & Tavern). When we walked in, my parents were greeted by the manager of this establishment with a big hug and hello. On the way to our table there were a couple servers that said “Hi” to my parents by name. Then as we sat down to eat there were still a couple more servers that stopped by to say “Hi” to my parents. Meanwhile the head chef walked by to say a quick “hello” (they were incredibly busy). I lost count at how many times the manager stopped by to talk to us (while she kissed our daughter repeatedly).
So… why did I just share all of that information with you? Because it’s all about the intentionality. My parents frequent the same restaurants and get to know the stories of the people who work there. They treat these people with incredible respect by tipping them good (HINT… HINT…). In the same way that my parents are doing this, we want to do this as well. Part of the Bridgeway Teams strategy is to intentionally frequent the same establishments, getting to know the names and stories of the people there. We want to do life with all of our community, not just the people in our neighborhood. Doing life this way will give us more opportunities to share the gospel, or just invite somebody to church. I would urge all of you out there reading this to live your life with intentionality.
A few days ago, I mentioned that a very close friend of mine was praying about joining the Bridgeway Launch Team (the “potential additions” post).
Well… God continues to amaze me, because somebody else is interested in joining the Launch Team as well. This is a new friend that I have met, that is already living in Miami. Just like my other friend, he is in the ministry, but not currently on staff at a church. We are still praying about whether or not this is the right fit (aka what God would have him to do). It was cool to hear him share that about 2 months before he had even met me or knew about Bridgeway he felt God putting Homestead on his heart.
I believe that there are many more people out there like this. Join with us in praying that more and more people will join the Bridgeway Launch Team.
Tonight my wife and I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend. His wife (the one planning the party) had gone to extreme lengths to make things special. She spent a lot of time and effort into pulling this thing off, without giving it away. She even tried things she had never tried before, when it came to the meal. All of us (friends and family) came together to help make this night special. All of this was so that one person could feel loved and appreciated.
Why am I telling you all this?
We need to evaluate the way that we prepare for people in our small groups, or during the Sunday morning worship experience. Are we going to great lengths to surprise people? Because most people expect church to be too long, boring, and unfriendly. I know this because I have talked to people who don’t go to church. I got that vibe tonight, as I hung out with about 20 other people at this party, none of whom go to church.
The church as a whole needs to do a much better job at surprising the unchurched. That means that the church is going to have to go to great lengths to make things happen. We need to come together as a church body, willing to try things we’ve never tried before, working as a team and making that extra effort.
So today I had a conversation with a very close friend. In the midst of that conversation I said (somewhat jokingly) that he should pray about joining our team at Bridgeway Church. He thought I was kidding. I really wasn’t. Anyways… it ended up that he and I are both excited about this potentially happening and we are both going to be praying about this. I would like to ask anyone reading this to also pray about this. I am not going to share his name unless it were to actually happen.
If you are reading this and are interested in hearing more about our mission and vision, and you might be willing to make a move from where ever you are to South Florida… let me know. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also share your interest by posting it in the comment forrum if that is easier.
If you are reading this and know that you are not supposed to move to South Florida to join the Bridgeway team, but you have taken an interest in our church… PLEASE pray that God will surround us with a strong passionate team of individuals that want to see lives changed in Homestead! Thanks!
One of the toughest things to do as a pastor, is to learn the proper contrast between reaching the unchurched (outsiders) vs investing in the believers (insiders). Both are positive things and neither should be avoided in the church. There does come a point however where one has to determine the difference between investing and coddling. Where is this line? I am not going to attempt to draw that line in this short blog post, but I would encourage those seeking out this answer to consider the words of Christ.
In Matthew 9 we come to a dinner setting where Jesus is sitting and eating and having a good time with many tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees see this and as usual they begin to judge Jesus for who it is he is hanging out with. I like how “The Message” version translates this text.
12 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? 13 Go figure out what this scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion. ‘I’m here to INVITE OUTSIDERS, not CODDLE INSIDERS.”
Jesus is pretty clear here about what his mission is and I want to live my life that same way. Give me the messy people. Give me the people who don’t know how to pronounce the word tithe. Give me the people that nobody else wants, and we will turn Homestead upside down for Jesus. PLEASE here me on this though… we still want to have a strong core of believers; we STRONGLY believe in discipleship; we want to do our best to equip the saints; etc. BUT we refuse to coddle believers at Bridgway. We have way too big a vision to just focus inwardly on ourselves. We have a city to reach!
This is a picture I took of one of our possible meeting locations for our church plant. A good friend of mine, who is also a church planter, shared a story with me today about the school that their church plant meets in. He told me that they pay substancially more than they have to each week to meet in their school. My first reaction was “Why?” He said that they wanted above and beyond what the school was asking for to be a blessing. He also said that even with the extra that they give the school each month, it’s still better than any other options out there. He told me how the principal recently came up to him thanking the church for all they do. He said that the money the church gives each week has greatly benefited the kids of this school. They have been able to do things for the kids that they normally couldn’t do before.
This is the same way we want to treat our future meeting location. We don’t want to abuse what is really a privilage. So many church plants give schools a bad taste in their mouth because they don’t treat the school with respect. At Bridgeway, we want to treat our future meeting location with mucho respect. We want to pick up after ourselves, and give beyond what we are asked to give. We want to do special things like sponsor classrooms and serve/feed the teachers. It’s little things like these that lead to major appreciation later. After all… we don’t want people to have a bad taste in theri mouth when they think about the church. Right…
Today was another encouraging day on the long journey to the planting of Bridgeway Church. I had an AWESOME meeting with Brandon Park, Lead Pastor of Wayside in Miami. It is official that they will be our mother church/sending church, or whatever terminology you would like to use. I am excited about what this partnership is going to look like and I love working with other kingdom minded people like Brandon. We still have a LONG ways to go when it comes to fundraising, but what was accomplished today was HUGE! It is very encouraging to know that I have guys like Brandon in my corner down here in Miami.