My father died when I was 9. My dad was a musician. He was the creative type, an extrovert, an otter / lion (if you’re the type who enjoys those personality tests that equate you with random animals).
When I was 21, my mom began thinking about dating again. Through the power of the internet, she met a fantastic man named Johnny. Johnny is pretty well the opposite of my dad, which isn’t all bad. He is an engineer. He’s a brilliant person who is the beaver / golden retriever type.
Johnny was a NASA engineer in Colorado Springs for the majority of his career. I don’t really understand everything he did. He’s much smarter than me. But, I do understand that his main job was to find anything that could go wrong and make sure it didn’t. He was in the control room at each launch of the space shuttles and knew the stress of making sure that everything went well. He understands the importance of making sure that something launches right the first time. That it launches well.
“Launch Date” is a big date for church plants. It’s the day that we mark on the calendar as our grand opening. It’s an important date to set before us as a goal to get things ready. It’s also an easy day to invite people to the church for the first time.
Our original launch date had been set for October 2nd. But, now we’ve been rethinking that date, for some of the best reasons ever.
The space we are in is limited, especially for children. The rooms are simply not large enough to accommodate the number of children we already have let alone those who may attend something like a grand opening day.
Stadia (stadia.cc) is a church planting organization with whom we’ve partnered. Their track record and experience is fantastic. It was Stadia who conducted the initial assessment of Marie and me to see if we were the right fit for church planting (we did pass). Each week, I meet online with cohorts of other church planters, a personal project manager, and monthly coaching calls.
Two weeks ago I was on one of those coaching calls. I was updating my coach as to where we currently stand and was asking for advice as to when to publicly launch Restoration. As we talked, he could sense my anxiety with when we launch. It was really weighing on me to hit this October date.
The coach stopped me and told me, “Kevin, what I told you you’ve already launched? You are already a church. You are already doing the things you’ve set out to do as a church.” Those words gave me so much relief because I agree with them. We are doing so well, and doing so many things.
We are making so many meaningful connections in our community. Right now, our database (which didn’t even exist five months ago) has nearly 500 profiles in it. In five months, we have connected with nearly 500 people to the point where we have their contact information in our database right now. Our Sunday service has grown significantly and since we began meeting in May, we have only had two weeks where we have not had a first-time guest in our midst. Marketing hasn’t been a part of making that happen. A fancy facility hasn’t been part of making that happen. God has been a part of making that happen.
With that many people in our database and so many people we’re coming in contact with, the reality is that our space will not be able to hold us once we officially launch. The kids’ space will simply not hold the number of kids we’d expect. So, we need to find another space to accommodate what we will see toward launch.
If your family is like my family you spend way too much time (and money) at Target.
I mean they’ve got everything from Starbucks to WiFi to furniture to dog food. It is the best of the one-stop-shops.
When Target builds a new store, they will open it quietly. Customers are welcome to come in, everything is in place and operational, however, they have not yet announced their opening. Often, this goes on for about three months. Then, when they’re ready, you get a coupon book in your mailbox about the grand opening. Those three months are where they work out kinks of equipment and train their staff. That way, when grand opening day happens, they know what aisle the dog food is on and how to scan their digital coupons. (Seriously, I love the Cartwheel). This is their soft launch.
In October, we’ll begin our soft launch. Our goal is now to publicly launch in February of 2017 at which time we will do a full month of grand opening and in the meantime continue the organic growth we are already seeing while continuing to build our teams and small groups in the meantime.
This is a really exciting time. We are experiencing an amazing time at Restoration with or without a launch date. Launch dates are synthetic. A grand opening is really nothing more than a marketing push and a one-time invite. While we don’t want to squander this opportunity, we also don’t want to put all of our eggs in that basket. We are more than a date on a calendar and that launch date is not an end goal, it’s a starting point.
In the meantime, as we prepare for a new launch date we could certainly use financial help as we move forward. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have partners who are some of the best people in the area for marketing. However, if you are in a place to help us financially to continue to make community connections and do some marketing, we would very much appreciate it. More than that, once we find a larger space there will certainly be a larger financial burden on the church.
If you can give on a monthly basis to help us offset our rental expense, it would be an enormous blessing. In fact, I don’t know that I could put into words how much that would mean. Personally, it is so humbling and so meaningful to have people literally buy in by giving toward the mission of Restoration. If you can join us by giving, please, please do. Just head over to RestoreTrinity.com and click the link on the top right to Give Online. You can give once or set up recurring giving there.
Please, keep praying for Restoration as we continue to make connections in our community and as we continue to look forward to our “official” launch date.
We believe that God has huge things in store based on the enormous things He’s already doing.
KEVIN STAMPER | LEAD PASTOR | @KEVINSTAMPER