Monday, March 23, 2009


I’m taking a break now from entering the many Partnership Applications that were turned in after yesterday’s class. It might be easier to understand if I called it a Membership Class, but the first thing we did was change the name. The reality is, to truly launch Great Lakes Church they way we hope to, we will need active Partners, rather than “members” which conjures up images of paying their dues, having their say, and getting their benefits.

Yesterday’s class was inspirational. I mean, Tony and I feel pretty confident that we know the vision, that’s why we moved out here. But, I have to say, it does not get old for me to hear it again and watch others hear it fresh for the first time.

I’ll share with you some of my favorite nuggets from yesterday’s amazing class.
• How we approach beliefs:
In essential beliefs, we have unity.
In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty.
In all beliefs, we show love.

• It’s not about you. (Thanks uncle Rick!)
This church is not about you.
Your relationship with Jesus, is not primarily about you.
It’s not about YOU!

• Story shared from Acts 15, where James finally makes the assessment that the early church had too many barriers put up, getting in the way of new believers. He says, “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19)

• While there are many great churches in Kenosha, we came with a focus on making a safe place for the 70% of people in the area who don't go to church at all.
At Great Lakes Church, we will strive to make Jesus EASY and ACCESSIBLE for everyone.

• We move people from the “Community” to the “Core” by setting up strategic systems and strategic attitudes to: INVITE, INCLLUDE, & ENTRUST. In this way, everyone, at any stage, can get involved and grow.

Dave was rock solid, expressed his passion, and made it easy for people to jump on board. I was so proud and felt so excited to be a part of this. In the end, those who chose to partner with us, signed a covenant which said:

I am excited to Partner with Great Lakes Church and I commit to helping people find and follow Jesus by:
• Participating in Sunday Services and Growth Groups
• Inviting others to Great Lakes Church
• Serving on a volunteer team
• Giving generously
• Protecting the unity of Great Lakes Church

In the end, 126 people made this decision, and a handful more are thinking about it and have asked us to follow up. I can’t wait to do this and to help people discover whether or not God is calling them to be a part of what we’re doing. I love having these conversations with people, knowing that if they decide this is not the place for them, God will bless us and them by helping them to move on in a healthy way.

Another great thing about this Partnership Class is that people had an opportunity to hear in more detail about our upcoming Growth Group system. Those of you who know me well know that hardly anything makes me more excited than Growth Groups! Here’s the vid Tony “re-made” to relate to those who have hesitations about getting involved in a group…

Great Lakes Church: Growth Group Excuses from Tony Peterson on Vimeo.

Tony and I are so excited to meet the new potential leaders. We hope to give them every opportunity to succeed so we are running a 6 week workshop to prepare leaders & hosts. It is kind of like a Pre-Growth Groups … er… Growth Group! Our hope is to give leaders and hosts an authentic opportunity to get to know each other and build relationships with one another. I am aware that one thing that can happen and add to leader/host burnout is the difficulty in building “horizontal” relationships. As leaders, it can be hard to be real with others about the challenges of facilitating a group. Now, since they will meet each other in advance, we hope they will utilize these relationships to be praying for one another, supporting each other, and even championing one another’s groups! During the 6 weeks, we will model several different group types as well as go through the basics of leading and hosting. One week we’ll do a DVD group, the next we’ll do a book study, the next a Game Night, and so on. By the 4th week, we’ll ask them all to come prepared with their ideas for their groups, ask questions and get ready. We can’t wait to meet everyone and then watch their Summer and Fall Growth Groups take off!

In other news… Tony and I have been observing Lent. We’ve given up meat, sweets, & alcohol and are praying more regularly with each other for better space opportunities and better connections for those at Great Lakes Church. It has been quite a challenge to eat mostly vegetarian, but it’s kept us creative. I have to say, after all the hard work of getting ready for yesterdays Partnership Class, all I wanted was a nice glass of wine. I didn’t do it, but I CANNOT wait for Easter.

We hope you all are well and are always grateful for your prayers and support.


Mrs. Butler said...

There is no doubt in my mind that you and Tony were meant for this ministry. You are amazing and I almost want to move to Kenosha myself to see all of this unfolding!! I am so excited about what God is doing there.

Mrs. Butler said...

I also really enjoy that my comment reads, "Mrs. Butler said"...where is Tony when I need him????? I don't know how to change that!!!!!

Deanna Arnold said...

Fantastic news! So cool!!!

natalie said...

That sounds amazing! And I'm so excited for you guys to start your growth group... group.

Jessica said...

I was so excited to sign the partnership app :) And I am even more excited for the growth groups later this year!! It's actually difficult for me to remain patient and wait for them :) If you ever need any extra help with anything, please let me know! (Zach too!)If my schedule permits it and I can find transportation, I'll be there in a heartbeat :) *hugs*