Yesterday was the official launch for Uncommon Church. WOOHOO!!!! It was the day that we had worked hard for this entire last year. We advertised and promo'd for our very first, full-blown, public service.
It reality it is hard to believe that my family and I have now been in Austin a year. We moved here last year knowing virtually no one at all. During the last year, God's favor has been GREAT! We have built a community of great people, assembled a great team and even found our way into portion of our city we never dreamed possible.
In all honesty I came to Austin last year with an arrogant confidence in what I felt called to do. If you know me, you know that is no surprise! Over the last year God has really worked to press that out of me. But, it has been hard to let the self-built idea that I could just blow into town and start a church with hundreds in the first year die in me! After all, they say that Austin is in the top 3 hardest cities in the US to plant a church. I had a notion I could prove that wrong. I reality, it was Austin that proved me wrong. It really is much tougher than I imagined. And yet, because of that very thing, my passion and love for this city has grown even more. My desire to reach this city has multiplied in ways I never imagined!
I came with an audacious plan to launch Uncommon in a semi-permanent location. I planned all sorts of fancy details. And, in the process, I swore off portable church....especially in a school. But God, in His infinite humor, saw fit to put me in the very place were I said "never"! We launched this week in The Baker School in Hyde Park near downtown Austin. And, as far as locations go, I could not be more happy. We love The Baker School. (Maybe later this week I will share more about our unique semi-protable church setup!) We love our neighborhood, we love our community and we love our location. The best part, I didn't have any of this in the plans when we came to Austin, it's all God's plan.
Just over a week ago we began our marketing blitz for launch. It followed months of outreach, community involvement and doing life in our neighborhood. (Not to mention a year of building a solid team!) We mailed out 10's of thousands of postcards. We sent out hundreds of handwritten invitation to the local neighborhood too. We used social media marketing to boot. In addition we spent a day in the neighborhood park cooking out and meeting our neighbors, something we love to do at Uncommon!
On Saturday we gained early access to the school to put in the extra time and effort to set up. Have I mentioned how great my team truly is?!?!? They are AMAZING! Then yesterday morning our team gathered early. We set up, put on the final touches and gave our best effort to be ready. We even kept our schedule with ease, and gathered for a time of prayer, cheering and encouragement. We have the stage set for something great. The anticipation was phenomenal.
The room was ready. The band was ready. The sermon was ready. The coffee was ready. The greeters were ready. The kidmin team was ready. The kid's checkin was ready. The signs were out. The music was playing. (dub step, cause that's how we roll!) And, the team was STOKED.
So what happened? Who showed up? Good questions! We had 52 people at our launch service yesterday. We had a great cross section of folks. Single, married, young, old, professional, wealthy, struggling and homeless. It was a great group! We had an awesome worship service. We had a great first day. We even got to baptize on our first Sunday! The kids had a blast, because the kidmin team is AWESOME! It was a great day!
I've been asked these questions: Do you wish the crowd was bigger? Are you disappointed in the turn-out? My answers are: I will always wish the crowd was bigger! I want more people to have the chance to hear about Jesus and find hope. There is a world of HURTING and broken people who need to discover Jesus. But, I was not disappointed with the turn-out. We gave our greatest effort to our launch. We did everything we knew to do, and what we learned from the wise counsel of so many great leaders. The people who were at Uncommon yesterday were exactly the people God wanted there. And, the best part....the Uncommon team had a blast. After all, if it's not fun, then why are we doing it? We love what we are doing.
We all want that story of the HUGE launch and explosive launch. But, since God is the author and the results are His.....We cannot control what He chooses for us. What we can do is work hard and celebrate no matter the outcome! If we aren't celebrating what God is doing in our ministries, why do we think He will ever give us more? Some stories are about explosive numbers and others are about humble beginnings. But, either way, the story is about the Gospel.
God is up to something here in Austin! I am simply grateful and thankful that I get the chance to be part of that. This is just the beginning. I am more excited about week 2 for Uncommon than week 1. Why? Because week 1 is behind us. I will not focus on what we have done, but I will be excited about what we still get to do. God called us to this city to reach 20,000 people before 2020. My eyes are set on today, and how I get to carry out that vision today.
Thank you so much to everyone who is supporting Uncommon Church. Thank you so much to everyone who has been and still is praying for us. Thank you to everyone who has poured time and energy into a guy like me. Thank you to everyone who has loved my family, our team and this vision. We would not be standing today were it not for you! I can't wait to share more stories of life change, growth and fun from Uncommon Church in the days, weeks, months and years ahead!