r a m p i n g u p
My load here at IHOP just got a whole lot bigger...and more fun.
Being a growing mission base has it's challenges...such as how to take care of the people who come from literally around the world to join the staff and community. One of the terms we've been using here to describe ourselves is an apostolic community - not apostolic in the sense that we claim any sort of apostolic leadership, but rather in the sense of being book-of-Acts in our orientation and goals. While we don't have a great deal of understanding on what that will look like, we're all pretty sure we haven't seen it yet, so we continue to experiement.
Admitting that we were a free standing community was a stretch for some. Having started out with all sorts of disclaimers about 'not being a church', we have began to need to operate certain church-like functions - caring for people, assimilating them, etc. Since we moved here, Kelsey and I have been moved with the need for community life here.
In December, IHOP started holding it's Sunday Night all-staff service on Sunday mornings. While structuraly nothing changed, it sent a signal to people that they were welcome, and we started gaining people from the city who were not staffers. It has always been an open meeting, but the psychological difference for it being on Sunday mornings was just what some people needed. Around 1200 people worship here
We're still sorting out how it's run and what it looks like, but effective now, we're forming the pastoral infrastructure. We will be responsible primarily for assimilation and mobilization, leaving training to the School of Ministry and crisis care to the ACTS Center, two other wings of our missions base.
So here we go...feels like church planting again. :) Of course, this time, I have a building. And a crowd. Funny, I wish I had all the people I at did on the first go-round. Mosleys. Demos'. Ramos'. Audes. Kevin, the "I'll do anything" guy. And a lot of others. Somehow this all feels planted out of that and them.