What a Great Day

As you may have read from the previous post, we loaded up the car and headed to Granger Community Church to see what we could learn from them. We really like to visit other churches and see what’s working for them and what we can learn from them. So many times, we don’t come away wanting to steal lots of great ideas; it’s often the opposite – we come away feeling affirmed in what we’re already doing.

Today was no exception!

The folks at Granger really made today’s visit incredible. We got to take a tour of the whole worship center – from production department to the catwalks! We got to see the whole setup and the impressive array of equipment that they use. But what really impressed me was the hospitality of every person we met. It was so great to be able to just talk and learn from all they had learned over the years.

What was so encouraging was to hear how they got to be where they are – both as a church and the level of sophistication in their approach – and to see that Journey isn’t necessarily trying to catch up to them, but to go right along with where they are now. Granger is 20 years old and Journey is 5 months old. We may be 19 years younger, but we’re only a few years behind technology wise. The biggest difference comes down to overall size and the fact that they have a permanent building. For where we are in our journey (pun intended), I think we’re right on track.

Here are some of the things that I came away with from today’s experience:

  1. It’s not about replicating another church’s way of doing things. It’s something I’ve heard over and over and even said a number of times. It’s not about specific things (songs, dramas, elements, etc.) that we should be doing or not doing, but principles that guide them that we should be doing. The specifics should always match the DNA of the church you’re in. Something we’ve probably all heard before, but it bears repeating.
  2. Things don’t just happen overnight. Granger didn’t get to where they are in 6 months – or even 3 years. It’s been 20 years in the making. Often we “discover” another ministry that’s making great strides or having a serious impact on their community and because we never heard of them before, something in our brain forgets that they existed before we found out about them. It’s easy to forget that we all have to start somewhere and build from there.
  3. Failure is OK if you can learn from it. Time and time again, we heard about what didn’t work at Granger. We learned about equipment or software that didn’t perform as they had hoped, aspects of the worship facility that looked good on paper but in real life didn’t work, and just things that plain went haywire. The fact is, if you’re truly dreaming and striving to push the envelope, things will occasionally backfire. That’s OK – as long as you take the time to learn from it and don’t get discouraged.
  4. Being a young church is no excuse for lack of excellence. At Journey, we feel so strongly about excellence in all that we do, we made it one of our core values. Our society is obsessed with excellence and we serve a God who deserves nothing less than the best we have to offer. It might be hard, but make the investment however you can to be the best you can be. Get the best stuff you can afford (not the best there is, but the best you can afford – there’s a huge difference) and learn to use it well.
  5. Never underestimate the power of volunteers. And not just adult volunteers – kids too! We were introduced to a myriad of volunteers from the technical realm and a great many of them were teenagers. In fact, aside from the producer of the service, everyone running the equipment from lights to screens to front of house was under 19 years old. So many times we think that adults are the only ones responsible enough to operate this stuff, but given the chance they shine just as bright.

Along with the technical and worship side of things, we did get to meet Butch Whitmire and Tim Stevens (check out his blog – lots of good stuff!), two of the guys on the Senior Management Team at GCC and Jason Miller, one of the worship leaders.

Many thanks to the staff at GCC for their hospitality and encouragement! I hope we have the opportunity to do this again sometime!

The stage at GCC during rehearsal.

About Matthew Starner

Matthew Starner is pastor of Journey of Faith Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they help people take their next step on their journey with Jesus.

One Comment

  1. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you guys … it was one of “those days” 🙂

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