This Sunday marks the 2 year anniversary since I came to United. Only 2 Sundays before they had a grand total of 37 people in attendance. I was nervous not only because it was my first day, but also because I knew that in order to make a decision whether to stay or not (I was on a 3 month consulting agreement) I would have to make the vision clear and push really hard in a short period of time.
That morning 85 people showed up to hear me talk about no longer having a service on Sunday mornings, but creating an Experience where people who were far from God could come and hear the good news of Jesus Christ in a clear, creative, compelling, and relevant way. I challenged people to realize lost people matter to God and to invite them into our Experiences each and every Sunday morning. I made it clear that no perfect people were allowed and that we would do anything short of sin to help people know that God loves them, wants to forgive them and wants to help them grow to be more like Him.
Little did we realize that in less than 2 years we would grow to nearly 400 people, meeting in 2 seperate Sunday morning Experiences and that over 150 people would make first-time commitments to Christ and many more people who had given up on church would re-dedicate their lives to Him and His mission.
Last night God gave me an anniversary present. Sitting in my office 3 men who are relatively new to the church, without prompting from myself or Terry Betz who was also there, took about 20 minutes sharing their stories of how the Sunday morning Expereinces had radically changed their lives forever.
Each had limited church experience in the past, but they all hated it and had given up on God and the church. That is until a friend invited them to come check out this wild thing called the United Worship Experience. Each talked of how they immediately felt comfortable because of the casual atmosphere, the acceptance of the people, the rock’in music and the creative and practical ways I share God’s Word. Each one talked about how excited they are to come to church on Sunday’s. how they’ve altered schedules to make sure they can be there and how they are not ashamed to invite people to join them.
I looked over at Terry and he had tears in his eyes…I did as well. These were just 3 of now hundreds of stories of lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. What an honor it is for all of us to be able to be a part of that. However let’s not get content…there are still approximately 70,000 people in our county who have also given up on God and the church. These people; our friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives will spend eternity seperated from God in hell if we don’t do something about it.
Each of these men were influenced to come to United because someone cared enough to take a risk and invite them to come. Who do you need to take a risk on this weekend? Don’t delay…call them right now…who knows maybe in a few years when we have thousands of people attending, I’ll hear a story of life transformation from someone YOU invited…from someone whom YOU helped to make an eternal difference!
Happy anniversary everyone…buckle your seatbelts…the ride has just begun!