I am always keeping notes of the things God is teaching me. This is true whether I am in my office or on vacation. Here are a few of the notes I took the last week.
1. America is a Global Country. On our trip it seemed that everywhere we stopped we were surrounded by people of different races, cultures and beliefs. At our stop in the Wisconsin Dells I heard at least 4 different languages at the pool. One family we met would alternate between English and Spanish with every other sentence. The Church is told to “go into all the world” and we still have a huge need for overseas missionaries. We also need to understand that the world has come into our backyard and we can either ignore it or engage it.
2. The Value of Family. It didn’t matter who we met or where we went, almost everyone was on vacation with their children. Obviously that is connected to the places we visited too. If you go to a place for children then mostly children will be there. But I was interested in how most people, including my family, were out to give their children a good time. Children drive our country in many ways, how are Christians supposed to respond in our own lives and in our Churches?
3. The Packers Dream and the Future Church. We took a tour at Lambeau field and one of the stories caught my attention. Several years ago the Packers were about to fold when a new executive director had a dream. He realized they were only using their facility about 10-12 weeks a year. They held a couple preseason games, 8 regular season games and a playoff game or two. Most of the time the buildings were empty. They decided to change plans and make the facility a 363 day a year facility (closed on Christmas and Easter). They started hosting weddings and banquets, added a Hall of Fame and a Pro Shop, and they are currently building an adjoining park with a lake and trails. The team went from the last in revenue in the 1980’s to the 9th in revenue last year. While I heard this story I kept thinking about the Church. We get a little more use in our building, maybe 110 times a year. What if the Church became a 353 day facility? I am not interested in the revenue, but what about the impact for eternity?
4. The Value of Updating. Two nights in a row my family stayed in different hotels. One night it was a hotel that must have been built in the late 70’s or early 80’s. They had done nothing to the hotel since it was built. It was run down, dirty and empty. The next hotel looked to have been built near the same time and it had recently been completely remodeled. The place had nice new carpet, a great bathroom, a clean look and it was full. I was reminded that in the Church we can either grow old and lose people or grow old and connect with people. The difference might be in how much we are willing to change.
These were some of the big things I noticed while out on the road. What are you noticing this year?