Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's all beginning to make sense (part I)

This blog is definetely random. I am still trying to piece it all together as, what I'm about to share with you is packed with "nuggets" of truth that are incredibly powerful. I am still reeling from an amazing two days at a conference I'm attending in Austin, TX at Celebration Church. It's a church planters conference sponsored by the ARC (Association of Related Churches), a group of relational, visionary, and forward-thinking guys, who pastor some of the most innovative, dynamic and successful churches in America.

I should tell you that I am not one who is easily wowed by other pastors messages, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I consider myself somewhat of a decent thinker, communicator, and leader. At least I did until I met and heard Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv speak. To say Craig is a brilliant mind and an incredible communicator, is to truly understate the truth. I was blown away by the ideas he had to share. I came away fully convinced that the success of his church is no accident of circumstance. He is focused and intentional about building the Kingdom of God, and consequently has built a successful church along the way.

As I continue discovering the esoteric truths along this journey of pastoring a church, many things are finally beginning to make sense because I get the chance to hear people like Craig tell their story. Craig talked about something which he titled, "It." He explained that "It" is that thing you find in a successful church that creates a spiritual buzz that is almost perceptible to the human ear. In actual fact it is a sense you get when you walk into a church, that something is about to happen.

He further opined that, when a church has "It" most things that you try, work.

When you have "It," creativity flows. When you don't, you are at a loss for what to do.
When you have "It," you are part of a divine mission. When you don't, you are simply drawing a paycheck.
When you have "It," the room is a buzz. When you don't, the room is dead.
When you have "It," lives are changed. When you don't life is static and you just go through the motions of doing church.

When you have "It," it is obvious to everyone.

Having so skillfully whet our appetites and prepared us for the big insight, Craig crushingly informed us that he really can't explain what "It" is. He didn't leave us hanging however, as he graciously explained what "It" is not!

"It" is not the music, lights and videos. "It" is not the 4-color mailouts or the fact that we keep up with the current dress styles. "It" is not even the fact that we are so "cool" and contemporary. "It" is not something that you can copy. In fact, he emphatically encouraged us not to insult the heart of God by trying to be the next (fill in the blank), because he has "It" and so we think if we are like him we will have "It" too.

He gave us his working, in-progress idea of the nebulous "It" by stating, "It is a rare combination of the anointing of God, passion, creativity, teamwork, focus, faith, intensity, drive, hunger, desperation, and divine expectation." He emphasized that all of these in combination would be manifest through each person that has "It" in its own unique way.

To my mind, these are incredible insights into successfully accomplishing God's calling and purpose in the lives of those who are privileged to be called to serve Him by serving others through pastoring churches.

(watch this space for the concluding instalment of what is present in a church when "It" is present).