This Sunday, I got the chance to do something I don’t often get to do – attend another church! Jeremy and I along with a parent and child from Bethel headed up to Renton, WA to see how others do things. I kind of felt like a spy, undercover… Okay, it wasn’t that covert, but it was super interesting to explore another ministry and see how they operate. For example, this church uses a check-in program for students that were looking into trying at Bethel. This was a great opportunity to play with the system and see how they utilize it. Also, we are able to take notes on how this children’s ministry makes large group and small group spaces within their gym. I took lots of pictures and notes.
As pastors, it’s really had for Jeremy and me to get away on a Sunday. I get a little nervous about leaving for a whole day and being off site. We have a great team and things went just fine without us. It’s nice to know that our leaders are top-notch and our students were in good hands.
Jeremy and I usually make a point to visit new churches when we’re out of town. We’ve seen church in Georgia, Washington DC, California, etc. It’s very rare that we get to explore in our own area. I think the biggest thing I can take away from the experience is just how important it is to have a wide sphere of influence. It’s easy to just keep doing what we’ve always done and not make time to explore the options. Our goal isn’t to become mini-versions of whatever we see, but wrestle with what really worked and what wouldn’t work for us.
Just as important as it is for us to keep our influences wide, it was great to take a long a family with us. We sort of used them as our guinea pigs. However, by including them we got honest feedback from a family perspective, not just a pastoral perspective. Sharing this experience really added another layer of depth to our research!
Overall, it was a wonderful trip. We had a good conversation about ministry on the way up and back. We got to see ministry from another perspective. It was neat to see what God is doing outside our own church. Sometimes I get so focused on my little corner of the world. There is truly something uplifting about seeing how God is moving in our cities, counties, states and nation. It’s not all about us! It’s important to learn from each other and keep growing.