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May '05

Kick Off

Who would have thought that a “systems guy” like me would ever go and do something like this?  A while back I decided that the start of our new church Etumos Community would be entirely “Viral.”  Viral is a marketing concept that translates well into the church world but it is very counter-intuitive to the whole church growth movement.

park.jpg  There was no childcare; we didn’t send out post cards to everyone in 3 zip codes; we didn’t have “the beginning of a six part series on what our church’s purposes are,”  heck we didn’t even have any preaching; and to be completely honest I never even counted how many people were there!  Was it a success?  Will Etumos Community grow and thrive?  I am convinced now, more than ever, that it will.

Success is a funny thing because in church circles we have come to define success as “butts in seats.”  The more butts in seats, the more successful you are.  Some of the really spiritual churches have at least seen that it is about more than butts in seats…for them it is more about “butts in programs.”  Sunday morning attendance is not as important as how many people they are feeding, discipling, training, or getting to make a “decision” for Christ.  When starting a church I have come to believe that we must really come to a very different definition of what success is.  I think since a church is supposed to be a community of believers the true measure of success is how well did you establish community?  Community can only be established by a group of people that have some common goals.  Real genuine community needs some binding force in order to really thrive.  I think that yesterday we established some of the foundations of real community.

I was amazed as person after person I had never met before began to arrive.  It started when I got a phone call from a young man who said, “Uh, yeah, Fernando told me to call this number to get info on the BBQ.”  I had never met this young man in my entire lifetime. There were a number of people there from all kinds of different backgrounds.  Some were middle-aged “church people.”  Others were young college students bent on “saving the world one tree at a time.”  The really miraculous thing to me was that there was a connection for anyone that would have showed up.  The Neo-Hippie, the computer geek, the young professional, the single mom, the artist, the activist, the average joe that loves sports, the corporate ladder climber; you could have picked almost any individual out of society, dropped them off at our BBQ and they would have found someone there that they could connect with.  It was quite amazing.

There was no planned agenda just fellowship, eating, and sharing what we had brought.  Was our kick off a success?  I believe it was.  It will only be in the annals of heaven that we will be able to really know how much of a success it was, but if nothing else it was VERY organic and VERY viral!  Yesterday some real relationships were started, some were strengthened, and some enriched.

Yesterday was the birth of an unconventional church that desires to love Seattle into the Kingdom of Heaven!

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