Monday, February 9, 2009

Worth Celebrating

Yesterday, we held our Annual Church Meeting & Celebration. A lot of what I had to say about being a church that wins was actually a reiteration of the retreat we held for our leaders in the fall. You can find a summary of the fall leadership retreat here.

But in celebrating, we focused on the wins that we've experienced and are experiencing as a congregation:
  • Individuals like Lon Hayes and Julie Klavon who a year ago were unconnected with any church family, and who have now found a family and a growing relationship with God at our church;
  • Leaders who have set clear goals for 2009 of what they believe God wants to accomplish through their ministries, and a path to see those goals realized;
  • The Outreach Support Groups, which will serve as a training tool, a fellowship, a motivational system, a support team, and a re-focusing agent to help us as PCC people to reach out to the unchurched people within our sphere of influence.
  • The birth of our new Immediate Vision to trigger a dramatic reaction between our neighbors and Christ in a fusion of real needs and real love, and what that is going to look like as we move forward.

In my mind, those are things worth celebrating. It was so much fun being able to talk about those things, to share those things, to celebrate those things that God is doing among us. These are the great things that are happening, but we can experience much, much more of God's blessing and power. I believe that a major part of us being able to become a more dynamically successful congregation has to do with our expectations.

I relayed the story of Sean McHugh. McHugh was part of the 2009 Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, but he didn't start out the year at Pittsburgh. In training camp, McHugh was a Detroit Lion, serving as a backup fullback. Before the first snap of the season, however, he got called into the General Manager's office and was told that his services were no longer required. A few days later he signed with Pittsburgh. But as the season went on, Detroit eventually amassed the worst record that any team had ever produced--the first 0-16 season in NFL history. McHugh went on with the Steelers to win the Super Bowl. You can read the whole article if you wish. But I thought the most important line was this one related to the Steelers' "culture of success" that the organization has established within itself:

“There is an expectation when you become a Pittsburgh Steeler that you’re going to win. And anything less than that is not acceptable. In Detroit it was like you were hoping to win.”

I think that as a church we've been hoping to win. But that's not good enough anymore. The only reason we exist is to succeed at our mission. The stakes are too high, the price is too steep, the consequences are too great for us to fail. This is God's church--we don't own it, we just manage it for him--and we represent him. He's a winner, and it's our job to win too.

So we're not just doing one thing that's going to be the magic bullet. We’re working with leaders, we’re working with ministries, we’re working with individual people, we’re talking about it church-wide in forums. We’re launching a full frontal assault on losing in this church. And I’m anticipating 2009 as the year that we look back and say, “We were here. We got to see this.” I believe this is the year that God does big stuff at PCC.

And that is worth celebrating!

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