Several weeks ago I was asked a great question from a very smart guy. “One year from now, what are your goals?” he said. Then the followup question: “What would you like to see in the lives of the people you are shepherding?”
See, I told you he is smart. What a great way to think about what we’re doing, because what we hope to see in a year should determine the decisions we make now.
I could simply copy and paste the table of metrics we have developed and used when applying for grants, which would show you our goals for the number of people in worship, small groups, and in service to the community. But I chose to take his questions a little differently and perhaps a little deeper. I interpreted this guy’s questions as, “What are you trying to prove?”
What are we trying to prove through this whole 801South initiative? There are several different ways to approach this question and a lot of the answer can be summed up by our five key values. But rather than pointing people to a spreadsheet with numbers or going through the story of how we arrived at our key values, I decided to give this question more thought.
What am I personally trying to prove? Am I trying to prove that I am cool and capable as a leader? I hope not. I’ve never been particularly cool in the past so I’m not going to try now. As far as being a capable leader, the only thing I try to do is surround myself with the smartest and most passionate people I can find. And then I give them permission to dream. So far this strategy is working well. If it comes across as capable leadership, that’s another win.
So I’m not really trying to prove that I can be cool or a capable leader. Instead, I think about the people whose lives will be transformed through the environments of 801South. I suppose I’m trying to prove two things. First of all, I want to be a part of an environment that is created around (unapologetically) introducing people to a life in Jesus Christ. The settings for worship and small groups are designed around easily inviting people to enter into this relationship, which provides more peace and purpose than any other relationship in life.
Secondly, I would love to see people who have already chosen to follow Jesus to also reflect their created-ness in being more intentional and thoughtful about their rhythms.
I continue to see people in our society today, myself included, who can too easily float, exist, and even thrive according to the world’s standards without making much space for thoughtfulness. Too much is left to the notion of fate or chance. I would love to see families make decisions based on what is best for them and their relationships, rather than just filling schedules with all that is available and affordable. What if families said “no” to more of the stuff in this world—even the really good stuff—so that they can say “yes” to one another. This has a lot to do with the simplicity of 801South: worship, small group, and service. That’s it.
Is it all a utopia? Maybe. But it’s what continues to fuel our vision and ultimately it is what I’m trying to prove.