On September 14, 2014, theMOVEMENT church celebrated it’s 1-Year Anniversary. Which means, one year has gone by since the day a group of 20 committed individuals (Our Core Team) and a group of 50 sacrificial volunteers (Our Launch Team) planted a church in the city of Oakland with the mission to Overwhelm Oakland with Love.
A few of my favorite memories of our very first year include:
1. Serving a carne asada taco lunch after our launch service to our over 200 attendees. (Experiencing the excitement, energy and enthusiasm following our first service was a huge encouragement!)
2. Raising over $12,000 during our very first “Be Generous” giving campaign to provide for individuals and families with financial needs in our church community! (Delivering the checks with my wife to the various families was an experience I will never forget.)
3. Holding our service in a venue with no heat during a couple of very frigid weeks in December. (Preaching to a group of people bundled up in scarves and big coats is pretty funny!)
4. Baptizing 13 people! (Waching Un-Churched, De-Churched and Over-Churched individuals tell their story and go public with their faith in Jesus Christ is one of my greatest joys.)
5. Seeing the 2-Pac version of myself during one of Josh’s messages! (Being able to laugh at myself and enjoy a message that I wasn’t preaching is always a treat!)
There are so many more memories that I could share, but for the sake of brevity, I want to take a moment to reflect upon a few things that I hope to never forget.
My Major Mistake — Hiring too fast. Firing too slow.
The lesson is pretty self-explanatory. I brought someone onto our team with not enough thought, prayer and consideration and allowed that person to stay on our team with too much thought, prayer and consideration. Moving forward I must take the totally opposite approach. Hire slow. Fire fast.
My Major Surprise — The Gospel is Powerful.
Not that I didn’t think that the gospel was powerful, but through this last year I was pleasantly surprised to witness how powerful it actually is. If I’m being honest, seeing people surrender their lives to Christ in response to the message that “Christ saves sinners” without having to use tactics or force…surprising. Seeing long-time “Christians,” by the power of the gospel, mature their motivations for their good deeds…surprising. Seeing “atheists” confess Jesus is Lord, without all of their questions being answered…surprising. Seeing myself love people where they are, in light of the fact that the gospel says that “While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me”…surprising.
I must remember, our marketing has no power, our musicians have no power, our methods have no power, and I definitely have no power. The gospel is the power unto salvation! The only question is, “Will I trust it?”
My Lasting Lesson — Jesus builds His Church.
I may be shepherding. The congregation may be serving. Guests may be attending. But Jesus is the one who is actually building the church. I may be preaching, but Jesus is saving. The congregation may be participating, but Jesus is transforming. Our guests may be checking us out, but Jesus is softening their hearts. We do the work that is natural. Jesus does the work that is supernatural. We do the work that is physical. Jesus does the work that is spiritual. We do the work that is temporary. Jesus does the work that is eternal.
Does this devalue the work that we do? Absolutely not! By God’s grace, Jesus is doing his supernatural work, through our natural efforts! Jesus is doing his spiritual work through our physical contribution. Jesus is doing his eternal work through our temporary gifts.
At the end of the day, what I must remember is this: Jesus is the one doing all the heavy lifting, we’re just the ones handing him the boxes.