(This post is nugget #5 in a lesson I shared about the 7 things I have learned at Grace in 20 years)
At Grace Family Church, people are more important than events.
Recently, I asked our video department to prepare a video of the “2014 Year to Date.” Our tremendously gifted Video Director asked, “What do you want to include in it?” I said, “Well, this year we have done our Vision series, a 1,600 person marriage seminar with the Dungys, Daddy Daughter Dance on two campuses, our 20 Year Anniversary at the Forum, the biggest Easter in GFC history, the Family series, five missions trips, a whole semester of adult small groups, Summer Camp with 700 people, Summer Showcase with guest speakers and Summer Explosion will be in the books before we show it in August.” After that whole statement, we both just let it hang there for a few seconds. Bryan broke the silence with a very slow, deliberate, “O…K…, we can do that.”
I can remember very early in my time at GFC having a discussion with Pastor Craig. I was discussing with him some of the numbers of the week – adult attendance, children’s attendance, financials and growth percentages. He stopped me as I was ramping up and he made it a very strong point. He said, “This is good and I know how you like numbers but I want to hear more stories about people. In the end, people are more important than numbers.” That was the seed the germinated into so many areas – numbers, events, procedures and policies are all tremendously important. In the end, people will always be more important.
Craig has always had a passion for our campuses to impact lives each day of the week. Not busy work – intentional things that reach people for Christ. This can be done through small groups, classes, services, recreation, outreach, and a myriad of creative ways. Then, you add to the mix the fact that we do large events that impact lives on a larger scale. We evaluate each of these events to ensure we are not just doing it but it still has “value” to the overall vision of GFC. These require a tremendous amount of strategic planning, administrative work, creative resourcing and man hours. In the end, I am always amazed at the excellence our staff and volunteers achieve in the events.
Having said all that, all of excellence and joy of reaching some tremendous results in an event doesn’t compare to what it means to see God move in the lives of the people. Many times, these events impact people individually or their families. We have seen life trajectories move closer to Christ. This is the true gold of anything that happens at GFC. It has to be a catalyst in seeing someone know God more and grow in Him. Ironically, the big events are great but the day to day life of doing church is even more effective. I love to hear when we help someone with a kind word, a hug, a visit or a timely call. In fact, we set aside time each week in our 15 minute Value Meeting and our monthly Staff meeting to give our staff time to share “God Stories.” It is so cool to hear how God is working through so many people to bring a tangible expression of God’s love. When we started doing this, you felt like your story had to be a big and bold move of God. But we helped our staff see the power in all steps taken – big and small. It is like “rocket fuel” for our staff – to see their daily efforts impact lives.
Do you have a God story? Even if you don’t go to GFC, find someone and share it today. Your story could be the catalyst they need today to grow in their relationship with God!