What are we doing here?
This is a question that continue to pops up in my mind as we try to make the best decisions for 801South—a new worship venue and way of being the church—into which we have launched over the past year. Why would a very large, well-established, and traditional church want to create a new venue on the same campus, particularly when the current venue is not at capacity? This concept continues to fascinate other church leaders I meet. “Tell me more about that” is the common response when I share our story for the first time.
The answer—to which all of our decisions hopefully point—is to reach people who are not currently interested in God so that they may live a life of purpose through Jesus. This is what we are doing here. This is the great why behind the 801South worship venue, Small Groups, and Service Teams.
The 801South initiative is somewhat unique and as with any new endeavor, there are challenges and benefits. We face the challenge every week of setting up a mobile worship experience in a permanent space that we own. This creates a lot of work for a lot of people. This work, or service, creates great opportunity for ownership. The people who are serving on our Service Teams own this ministry. This not a space where people can simply come, sit, and receive from a group of paid professionals. These days, when you enter the doors to 801South, you will find hundreds of people—dozens of whom are serving—and only two who receive a paycheck for their efforts. These numbers will continue to grow, but we want the ratios to remain the same.
I recently came across an article about a new trend in established churches—creating a different venue with a different style of worship in established churches. The point of the article is that creating a new venue creates more issues and problems than it creates opportunity to provide variety. I completely agree. But this is true only if the objective is to provide more choices for people. The motivation behind 801South, however, is to create a new method of being being the church in our world today. It is not simply to create another option for church people to attend. This is why the 801South brand is necessary, rather than simply “the new service in the gym” at Matthews United Methodist Church.
So what are we doing here? When I ponder this question—and even start to wonder why—I remind myself of the objective. Then I look at the people whose lives have been changed by God through the people serving in this new venue. It is not simply another option for people. It is a new way.
The fact that 801South is a new way—rather than another option—determines whose opinions we listen to as we discern short-term tweaks and the long-term change. So who do we listen to most? More to come on this concept in next week’s post.
In the meantime, what are you doing here?
What’s the primary objective that motivates your decisions and encourages you to push forward as a leader?