The launch team of 801South experienced a great event this week as we gathered to eat, pray, talk, and laugh (a lot!). The food was awesome and the energy was high. Special thanks to Beth Marshall and the Williamson family for their hard work to make the night such a big success!
We played games and focused on the importance of hospitality and evangelical urgency through role playing a few potential “critical moments” that may occur in the ministry of 801South. Members of the launch team gave their best effort at winning the coveted Turkey (rather than Oscar) from the named Academy (made up of other launch team members who judged each role play for the most impressive actor or actress). We laughed hard and everyone gave a great effort to convey the importance of understanding the vision for 801South.
Brian Zehr, my personal coach and consultant to Matthews United Methodist Church, was in town and able to attend the launch team party. He shared the importance of the three I’s on which every launch team member must focus in order to see 801South be at its best: Invitational, Inclusive, and Intense.
Every person on the launch team must be intentionally Invitational. We all know people who are disconnected from God and from church. We work, we live, and we even participate in recreational activities with these people who are not at peace. Those of us who make up the launch team must model what it looks like to extend the invitation to these neighbors, coworkers, and other acquaintances. We have to make a shift in the way we think from floating through life to always having the question, “Who can I invite?” in the front of our minds. It is a transition from an internal focus to external focus.
We are Inclusive with exactly those people with whom we want to be inclusive. The shift we must make is to be inclusive with those who are not already a part of our clique. Ridiculous hospitality is one of the most important aspects to creating the culture of inclusion necessary to reach those who are currently disconnected.
Finally, the notion of Intensity centers around our ability to focus. As Brian said, we can only focus on a limited number of aspirations at one time. We can intensely focus on even fewer. The launch of 801South will require intense focus, therefore, how can we shift our limited focus onto this new initiative? Perhaps we will have to make some changes to our current commitments, schedule, and priorities.
In my opinion, the coolest concept that Brian shared with us is the idea that we will never grow more spiritually than in this season when we focus entirely on the growth of others. How counterintuitive is that?? We would assume that to grow, we have to focus on our own growth. But the truth is that when we focus on meeting the spiritual needs of others, serving people who are disconnected, and leading ministry in new ways, we actually grow exponentially more so than if we were focused on ourselves.