Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday in Kansas City

We're having a great time in Kansas City!

Yesterday we spent some time with Nicole & Andrew Conard, our new friends who are both on the pastoral team at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. After lunch, they showed us around some cool parts of the city, then gave us the inside tour at COR before the 5:00 worship celebration. It was great to have this time to spend with them, and to learn more about the ministries through which thousands and thousands of members of this church grow and serve.

Some of the things that impressed us about COR:
  • amazing facilities... from the beautiful Wesley Covenant Chapel , which was the first sanctuary (with seating for about 350) to the current sanctuary (with seating for over 3,000); from the exciting, colorful children's wing with bright and engaging paintings on all the walls to the clean, open, spacious, and inviting gathering areas... everything was designed with attention to detail and intention to fulfill the church's mission
  • carefully designed childcare facilities and procedures: friendly volunteers helped us register Rachel, pointed us to the room for her age group, and gave us a brief orientation; by the time we arrived at the room, they had already received, electronically, a two-part sticker with Rachel's name (and a place to record allergies) -- one part to go on Rachel's back and the other part for us to keep as our "receipt" necessary to reclaim her at the end of worship
  • spaces for gathering, a coffee shop, a bookstore, prayer space, and a large "Connection Point" information center with flyers for dozens and dozens of ministrites and opportunities to sign up for study or service
  • excellent music and preaching
  • a culture of friendliness and welcoming
  • more than 200 staff members!
  • a commitment to the church's mission and vision that is both implicit in the church's ministries and explicit: clearly posted in huge letters across the top of the main lobby area as a constantly visible reminder of the church's reason to be
After worship at COR, we got together for dinner with a bunch of members of Jacob's Well at the home of Brian & Carol, members at Jacob's Well. This proved to be a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with several people, and to hear their stories. It definitely seems like relationships in the small-group context are the heartbeat of this community of faith. Over and over we heard people share that it was easy to get connected, and once connected with a small group, to find opportunities to serve. I suspect this is an intentional focus for Jacob's Well, such that it's become a deeply rooted part of the church's culture. One person told us Jacob's Well spends the least amount of its time and resources on its worship ministry, since worship is only an expression of everything else. We're looking forward to attending the 5:3o worship gathering tonight, and then to attending a leadership dinner on Tuesday night.

Our first full day in Kansas City was full... and informative and inspiring!

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