Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"Managing Expectations" - This is a phrase Dave has been using with myself and the launch team... and I think it's wise to prepare people for what is to become of their efforts, but MAN have we been off!
It was expected that our attendance at our first preview was to be between 50 - 80... and we were hopeful... so we shot high and shared the hopeful number of 100 with the launch team... that's managing expectations. This isn't just a made up number either (the 50 - 80), it comes from numerous church planters and books written by church planters, and also based on the population of this area. We thought we'd shoot a little higher than that. Well, if you've been reading ours or Dave's blog, you know that our expectation of 100 was a shy guesstimate of God's plan of 174 in attendance. We were shocked!
But that was a one time thing. The truth is, Dave had been here for a month pumping this church up and getting people to invite their friends and family. The launch team was also very pumped to be involved, but now that the first service is over, we can release our held breath, and sigh. Now, the natural response is that the energy has come down... right?
Again, prepped by our planter friends and their books, we managed expectations with the team. We advised them that "typically, after the hype of the first service has passed, the attendance of the second service is about half of the first" so we told them that we should probably see about 80 - 100 in attendance at Preview Service #2... in essence, 100 would not be shrinking, it would be growing. All this, so that when we DO have 100 in attendance, we don't feel like we've failed in bringing back the 174, but we've succeeded in growing beyond the norm.
182! I'll just say it... no more suspense... just let that sit in you for a sec. 182 adults and children. We didn't lose half... we didn't lose even 1%... we grew! According to the Connection Cards, over 30 adults came for their first time!
So much for "Managing Expectations".
And let me tell you right now, it's not about numbers. It's about touched lives... and those numbers signify potentially touched lives. And here is the shocker... it's not even potential... it's fact. At our second preview service, without talking about salvation, and without having an alter call (which we'll never do anyway), we had two people come to Christ for the first time (one of which came just from our Facebook ad). I hesitate saying it for privacy purposes, but if Heaven is having a party over it, shouldn't we?
Let me tell you a little about my experience.
It was a busy month. I personally was busy with all kinds of media projects... working on the website, and the videos needed for it... creating advertisements for the local papers... designing and printing invite cards for the upcoming services... creating and editing the videos for Sunday morning... shopping... rehearsing with the band... and all the time dealing with a computer that's been mocking me with the dreaded "blue screen of death" near the 95% complete render portion of my projects.
Michelle is working at Starbucks now (AH YEAH HOOKUP!)
She's meeting new people and really loves her job, but with all the distance between services right now, she's not feeling busy enough with Great Lakes (very typical Michelle... busy all the time). But fear not, the second service came just in time, and she was (no joke) dancing almost all morning long. All her energy came back to her as if it never left.
We were short a worship leader for the band, so I had to step out of my comfort zone with my electric guitar, and strap on my acoustic (thanks Matt) and stand behind the mic. Day of, I was less nervous than I thought I'd be, but that calm could not have been my own doing. All month long I was practicing the setlist...
Turn Your Eyes
Here I am to Worship
... and it truly is my wish to find a great lead singer for the band, as I feel great to do Gods work, but know that my gift is in accompanying, not leading.
Julia, thank you. God has brought Great Lakes an amazing musician. Before I came out here, I had a picture in my head of what the Great Lakes Music Team would look like. A loud drummer with great timing... a hyper bassist with big hands... a bald good-looking electric guitarist with charm and big holes in his ears... an acoustic playing lead vocalist with golden vocal chords... and a naturally gifted alto/vocal harmonizer with an enviting stage presence. That was it. I knew what I knew of rock bands, and I knew what people were expecting to see at church, so I was adamant about not having a keyboardist... simply to break the mold and for shock value... but I was wrong.
I remember praying "God, I need a Ceci or a Leah or a Cathy. Someone that I don't have to teach all the parts to, but can just naturally pick up the harmony parts." and He answered my prayer. Julia is not only amazingly gifted at EXACTLY THAT, but she plays keyboard masterfully. She could BE the band if needed. Our vocal rehearsals look like this...
I pick up the acoustic guitar... I sing a song she's never heard before... by the end of playing it one time through, she's done writing all the harmonies... one more time through for lyric memorization and we're ready to perform. No joke.
But everyone is amazing. Aaron, our drummer whose limbs seem to care not that they are attached to the same nervous system. Kevin, our guitarist who played last Sundays songs WAY better than I could have. Gordy, our World of Warcraft loving bassist who doesn't play bass... he IS bass. All of whom are so giving of their time and talent, you'd think they're on payroll.
Also I'd like to thank the behind the scenes guys like Jesse, our parking lead, who is more MacGyver than Pat McJunkin (sorry Pat)... and Jon, our producer, who is our Jenn Aaro times ten... and Jeff, our media guru, whom I need not say a word to and all computer issues are non-existant... and Mark, our sound engineer, who has way too much pre-knowledge of sound energy and way too much fascination with our soundboard, I'm a little intimidated by him.
Outside of that little team are 40+ more names who make this happen. You're all amazing for what you do and for where your heart is.
We're changing lives you guys. Some people are impressed, some are moved, some are invested, some are checking this all out, some are right now anticipating our next service, many have yet to come, but we're all in Gods sight and He's proving it to us directly to our faces.