Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fielding a few questions about the upgrades for our Sunday morning experience and the most common question that I get asked is “Why?”
“Why do we need all this stuff”
“Why are we doing this?”
“Why do we need a cafe?”
“Why do we need a store?”
I think that our message from this morning summed it all up. A Journey, we are about one thing: People. God is in the people business and so are we. We have been called to reach out to those around us and to share the saving news of Jesus with the PEOPLE around us. Everything that we do on Sunday morning is about bringing people back to God.
We didn’t add a cafe because it would be trendy or because it was the cool thing to do. We added a cafe because it creates an atmosphere for people to connect. (Hence the name Connections Cafe) While there’s lots of ways to help people to connect with each other, we notice a lot of people who come in on Sunday’s have stopped at a coffee shop and bring in their own coffee. It was a logical next step for us to say, let’s add the coffee here and give them a chance to connect with people. It’s so easy for you to bring a friend and get them hooked up with a free cappuccino or latte made right before their eyes (yes, first time guests get a free gift and part of that gift is a coupon for a free drink at the cafe – how cool is that!!). It’s comfortable and inviting and makes them feel valued. It’s about connecting with people.
We added a resource center to equip people. It’s certainly not to raise money for the church (we’re not going to bring in that much). It’s not even to be cool. It’s to equip them. Here’s a ‘for instance’: Say we’re in a series. Say it’s a relationship series (which starts this coming Sunday – September 23rd) and the topic of the day really gets me thinking, and it would be really great if I could find something that would help me to go even deeper on my own or with a friend or two. Those are the kinds of resources that we’ll carry. Things that you can use today. Maybe the worship team has done this song a few times and I wish I could hear it through the week – then stop out and pick up the CD! Again – the point is not to open a christian bookstore right in the theater (there’s one across the parking lot from the theater, by the way, and we’re not going to be any competition for them!). It’s about equipping people.
The guest services center is probably the most obvious. Located just inside the doors to the theater, it’s the first thing that people see when they enter. It’s a place for folks to stop and get information about any area of ministry, to sign up for events or teams, or just to see what’s happening. We scroll the announcements on a monitor so they can catch them even before they enter the auditorium. While there’s lots of ways for them to get information, we also make sure there’s plenty of ways for them to get information to us – whether it’s a prayer request or just a comment about their experience. It’s about engaging people.
The new things in the kids ministry are all about people (well, little people). When parents look at the kids rooms and see the flooring, decorations and sound system, we want them to know without a doubt that children matter here at Journey. And just as important, we want the kids to know that they matter. It’s about developing people.
We added a new volunteer position for Sunday mornings: the volunteer coordinator. This person is responsible for getting the volunteers checked in, providing them with their own refreshments, and just taking care of the people that take care of Journey. It’s all about encouraging people.
The final area that got a bit of a face lift is our auditorium. With some enhancements to sound and lighting, a much better projector (that’s not here yet…), and a stage (also not here yet – big bummer) – all of these things help to remove a distraction from the previous setup. New lights helped us to move the center light array out of the middle of the auditorium where it blocked a ton of seats while giving us more control over the spread of the lights (keeping them off the screen). The projector replaces the one that we were previously using which was woefully underpowered for the venue we are in. (As an added bonus, the current one is going to the kids ministry, to an environment where it will be much better suited. The stage does 2 things: it raises the worship team up from behind the front row of chairs and brings them “closer” in the since that you can now see them from more than the stomach up and it give Pastor Bob another place to speak from besides the front aisle where he presently speaks. Each of these things removes something that could get in the way of someone connecting with God – maybe for the first time. All of these things are about focusing people.
So you see, everything that we do is, in one way, shape or form, is about people – either connecting, equipping, engaging, developing, encouraging, or focusing them for their next step towards Christ. It’s what God was about. It’s what Jesus’ ministry was about. It’s what we’re about.