Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grace Goes to Vegas (sort of)

What a success! We had 400 less people come through our walk-thru this year than last year. That's right...400 LESS (2,000 last year, 1,600 this year). Why is this a success? Wouldn't MORE people be a success? Not necessarily. Allow me to explain. Let's say you have a bus taking passengers on a special trip. Some say bus trips are a success if all the seats are filled up. Not necessarily!

What if this bus was heading to a hospital in Vegas? The bus has limited seating. If we have a mob of people waiting for the bus trip, not all of them will fit into the bus. Some will be left out. Some of the mob are physically sick and desperately need to get to a hospital in Vegas. But the rest of the mob simply wants to go to Vegas to be entertained. So...if a bus is at max capacity but there's sick people left at the curb, is it a success? Of course not! The name of the game is to make room for the maximum amount of sick people as possible onto the bus to make it to the hospital. Even if you have empty seats on the long as the max number of sick people are on - that's success.

[Disclaimer and Note to Self: Next time use 'Branson' instead of 'Vegas' when talking to the Christian community.] Am I saying that going to Vegas to be entertained is wrong. No. Well, depending on what you DO when you are in Vegas. Next time we'll talk about association, but that's for another time...

I have to admit I was slightly disappointed when I saw 400 less people at our walk-thru. I shared this with Scott Distler, our Senior Pastor. He immediately said, "You know, I thought it was a huge success because we had 70% first-time guests the first night and 50% first-time guests the second night. Last year we turned people away because we didn't have enough room. I'm guessing it's probably because our own church family wanted to come out to see the walk-thru." I swallowed hard and made a mental 'shame on you' note to myself.

I have to remember that it's all about the sick people. It's OK if the bus isn't completely full - just as long as there's enough seats for the max number of sick people to all make it to the hospital.

I'm so thankful for the team God has brought together to create an opportunity for those who desperately need the know the hope He offers to hear the gospel. Getting people on the bus isn't my job, it's OUR job. There's no way I could pull the walk-thru off. There's no way YOU could pull the walk-thru off. Together we can make an attempt, but will fail. But together (you and me) with God, the bus gets filled with gas.

Thank you, each of you, who filled the bus with gas. Musicians, animal handlers, actors, actresses, parking attendants, cookie bakers, cookie buyers, tour guides, room monitors, dancers, audio tech, video techs, light techs, staging, setup crew, strike crew, chair setter-uppers, chair taker-downers, childcare workers, photo takers, promo distributors, greeter contributors, medical professionals, tour-greeter recessional, dump-truck drivers, choreography writers, hospitality rangler, baby Jesus scheduler, tour announcers, wheelchair pouncers, office supporters, costume sowers, photo taker, runner maker, gaff-tape gaffer, parking-lot trafficker, phone answerers, computer programmers, registration takers, reservation holders, nativity shavers, Sunday turn-around musicians/technicians, and the regional police who searched for the calf that fell out of the back of Carl Myer's truck on the way to the church...

God bless you all, each one...for getting the right people on the right bus and then taking them to the right place!