Prepared and Authentic
We’re celebrating our first ever Guest Blogger Week here on the blog. Today’s post comes courtesy of Clayton Greene, my former team member and current Executive Pastor of The Bridge Church in Wilmington, NC. Clayton is a connoisseur of snazzy sunglasses and v-neck tshirts, and is husband to Kristen and daddy to Cara and Susan.
A little over a year ago, I was Danny’s First Impressions right-hand man at The Summit. My role was specifically running the First Impressions Team at the Summit’s Brier Creek Campus. As you may guess, this role meant thinking on a large-scale about how to effectively serve guests each weekend. At my core, I now have a passion for seeing systems and structures put into place to help people assimilate into the best place for them in the entire world: the church.
Much to Danny’s sadness, despair, and gloom, my family moved to Wilmington about a year ago to serve at a Summit church plant, The Bridge Church.
Now imagine with me: I have gone from a Sunday team of 100 volunteers and thousands of guests to a church plant of 200 people and a team of 30 volunteers. The result is that the systems and structures I learned at The Summit are deployed in significantly different ways at The Bridge Church.
God has used what I learned at The Summit to design what our teams look like here in Wilmington. While trying to determine what these things look like in a smaller church, I have come up with a few plumblines myself. We say around The Bridge that we want to be both prepared and authentic.
I teach our volunteers that we want to always be prepared for our guests. They need to know we were expecting them to be here. Just because we don’t have as many people on a Sunday as you would at a church the size of The Summit doesn’t mean we can be any less prepared. This means thinking about and planning what the experience is like on a Sunday morning at The Bridge Church. We are prepared to help people take next steps to get connected at the church, prepared to answer all of their questions, and prepared to follow up with them. I believe that the systems and structures we have in place work well to help people have the easiest “onramps” possible to being meaningfully involved at The Bridge. To do anything less would not be “making the most of every opportunity.”
Additionally, we have to make sure we are authentic. We shouldn’t try to be The Summit when we are a different church, in a different city, functioning at a wholly different size. I stumbled on this when I noticed the most common comment from guests I spoke with during follow-up the week after their first time with us was, “I could tell that the people loved each other.” It seemed to be that at The Bridge, with our size, the thing that was most notable and attractive to our guests was that our people cared about each other. Out of this realization we have increased our efforts to allowing people to serve in units. In our context it is more important for two people to be standing together than it is for one person to cover every corner.
As we continue to grow I know the dynamics of what we do and how we do it will change. Danny and I talk about once a week to discuss systems, process, and how these things display the gospel and encourage people to connect with the church. Even though we’re no longer at the same church, we still have the same goal. We both have a passion for seeing systems and structures put into place to help people assimilate into the best place for them in the entire world: the church.