A few months ago, I called a guy at Elevation Church to get some ideas on how we can make THIRST better. (THIRST is our Monday night worship encounter for 20 somethings.) Elevation is a church that has grown from about 12-16 people to over 6,000 in four years. I’ve been really impressed with what they are doing, and how they are impacting the uprising generation. So the conversation goes like this.
“Hey, what can I help you with today?”-Elevation guy
“I’ve got a Monday night worship experience for 20 somethings, and I’m wondering how to make it better than what it is.” -me
“Do you have a Sunday morning service?” E-guy.
“Then I suggest you cancel Monday nights and start honoring what God is trying to do through your leader there.” -E-guy
“Ok, what do you mean,” -me.
“Well, you are spreading yourselves out thin trying to make a bunch of things great instead of working on making one thing great. You don’t really have time to make an incredible Monday night, and an amazing Sunday morning. So you need to pick. And frankly, you probably need to just stop doing your thing on Monday and support your leader on Sunday,” -E guy.
“Ok, well how do you do things to make Sundays great? Like, greeters, volunteers, golf-kart drivers.” -me.
“Man, it’s not about that stuff. It’s a conversation of the heart,” -E guy.
“What do you mean?” -me.
“Who are your Sunday mornings for? The guest or for your people? Think about it. From how you do things, to the signs, to the volunteers, who is Sunday morning for at your church?” -E guy.
“Probably our church,” -me.
“Then this is a much bigger conversation than golf-karts and greeters. This is about who is your church going to be for. Is it for the world, or is it for you? Who does your church exist for?” -E guy.
“I think we should exist for the world, and in that we also encourage one another.” -me.
“If you’re going to exist for the world, then it has to be a heart change among everyone. Because greeters and people in the parking lot don’t matter if the heart isn’t there.” -E guy.
“Ok, thanks.” -me.
“Oh and personally, I think you need to cancel that Monday night thing because it is taking away from the energy you could be putting into Sunday mornings,” -E guy.
“Alright, thanks man. I appreciate your time.” -me.
So, I hung up the phone, and I was a little frustrated. Get rid of THIRST? Yeah, right. THIRST was my baby. Not a chance. This E guy clearly didn’t know what he was talking about.
A couple days later, I was thinking about what he was saying. I can’t really disagree with him. I believe that yes, God gave the church to the church to build each other up. However, the main purpose of the church is that it exists for the world to know Jesus Christ. The church is the embodiment of Jesus, and the Lord uses the local church for his purposes.
I heard a guy from Hillsong Church talking about one of the main focuses that they have. They really believe in having a heart for the house. Most churches have ministries that are centered upon…well, the ministries. It is kind of like a three-bedroom house. People are protective of what is theirs. Often, ministries are so focused on what happens in their room that they forget that they are a part of a house. They belong to a house. They are not outside the house, or bigger than the house. Therefore, we should have a heart for the house.
This makes sense after talking to the E-guy. If you’re focused on your little room to the exclusion of the house, then you will throw more energy into that, than into the whole. Now, I understand the principle of spending 80 percent of your time on your area, and 20 percent on the other. I just found that I was spread out to thin between all the teaching, meeting, and THIRST.
So we changed some stuff. We stopped doing THIRST this summer, and started honoring the house. We have a long way to go. There is so much more to improve in, but I am very proud of my group for showing their heart for the house. One girl, Amber, is there every Sunday morning at 7:45 am with bulletins in hand. Our first service doesn’t start until 8:30. THAT’S having a heart for the house. Why? Because when someone walks in the doors early in the morning, she is engaging them, giving to them, and treating them with the love of Christ in a small way that makes a huge impact.
I believe in honor. I think we should honor each other more. To go our of our way and be sacrificial. That’s what honoring is. Welcoming is easy. Honor takes sacrifice. Welcoming comes naturally to us. Honor makes us go out of our way, and take on the image of Jesus.
That’s a bit of what’s going on here this summer. We will have a heart for the house, because we want to honor the house. The best is yet to come!