Can't Do It All, Part 2
Babysitting is different than parenting. Renting is different than paying a mortgage. If you call your church a plant, a launch, or a campus you know that there are a different set of obstacles your community faces than the challenges of being an established church.
Great Lakes Church first met at Mahone Middle School in October of 2008 utilizing their auditorium, gym and hallways for our adults & kids programs. Knowing that situation was temporary, we moved to Nash Elementary school where we grew to over 300 in attendance by the end of January 2009. This is not normal, and an elementary school is not equipped to handle that amount of traffic. Because of a mailer, we lost our lease at Nash on a Thursday and by Sunday we were setting up church on the back side of the Brat Stop – which is exactly what it sounds like, a bar that serves bratwurst & cheese! That Brat Stop service was out of control, and by the following week we’d secured a lease at Tinseltown, a local movie theater. At that service, the second week of February 2009, there were over 600 who joined us at Great Lakes Church. How exciting and problematic all at the same time. Where were we going to put all of these people?
Remember when you were a kid and your mom would take you school shopping for fall clothes? The main thing was to get some jeans that actually went past your ankles, since the jeans you got last year were making you look like Steve Urkel. Now, when you bought those jeans last year, they were just right. But, you’ve grown since then and they haven’t yet invented jeans that grow at the same rate as elementary school kids, so you go shopping again.
I guess you could say that we are at that awkward “growing-out-of-our-jeans-stage” at Great Lakes Church. This last Sunday, we had over 1,000 in attendance again, filling up our auditoriums, lobby, & kids rooms. But it’s just not as easy as going out and getting into a building that fits, so we are making it work with what we have right now.
I have to tell you about John and Gordon. When GLC decided our only option to continue opening our doors to the community was to open another auditorium, these two guys stepped up and committed to help out in a big way. John leads our band every Sunday in our biggest auditorium that seats about 300. Gordon leads our band every Sunday our band in our second largest auditorium which seats 240. Both of them lead for 2 services each. I have stepped over to the new Acoustic Auditorium where I lead a musical worship set alone… so yeah… that’s THREE auditoriums that GLC has live music in every Sunday, and a fourth “Family Auditorium” for parents who choose to keep their kids with them. THANK GOD for Gordon and John! THANK GOD for the whole team… the truth is, we don’t actually have enough musicians to fill three bands and give everyone a weekend off… we have to compromise with that right now until the team grows a little bigger.
Aside from not physically being able to lead in three different places at once, it’s a monster of a job trying to manage schedules, set lists, transitions, arrangements, and practices for that many musicians. The truth is, it was getting difficult months and months ago (atop my other expectations and responsibilities)…
So I sat down with my friend John Gustin and mentioned this to him. My hope was that he might be able to spare enough time to help schedule people. But this guy… he basically took over… and I can’t tell you how much help that’s been. I’ll finally get a small enough break in the dailies to tackle a small Music Team task, so I open up our scheduling tool called Planning Center… DONE! It’s already done! John has already scheduled people out a couple of months in advance… oh, and the setlists are all taken care of… oh, and he’s rehearsing with the team which I had no hand in assisting. I seriously cannot thank John enough for the support he’s given, and the care he’s shown for the GLC Music Team.
Our situation being what it is, we know we are not the coolest church in town. Would we rather be in one large venue with one live band and a live speaking pastor? Of course! Would that probably be a better experience for everyone? No doubt! We could have actually had that option, but we would have been telling people not to invite their friends and family because there just wasn’t any place to put them. But we didn’t start Great Lakes Church so that it would become a “Members Only Club” – we started this church, and hundreds have given their time and energy to this church, all for people who have yet to walk through the doors. People have given financially, people have prayed, people have stood outside in the bitter cold Wisconsin winters to wave at people coming in the doors in hopes that we might actually reach the people God has called us to reach.
We were hoping we might reach someone like Anthony…
And people are still getting on board, because we know we absolutely cannot do this alone! ... even if we don't look very cool doing it...