I growing up, I was the youngest of three siblings (and still am). We went to small schools, mostly private ones, where everyone knew everyone else. We shared teachers, classrooms and hand-me-downs (including some from my sister). But, many times, we shared a reputation. Many times, on the first day of school I would be greeted with a warm welcome and a brief synopsis of how this teacher had taught my brother or my sister and how similar I must be. Our Stamper family name and reputation preceded me. For better or worse. No matter how different I really was from my siblings (and still am).

Reputations are fragile, fickle things. As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.” It can take so long to create an accurate reputation and reputations that aren’t a true reflection of us can be just as detrimental as reputations that are negative.

At Restoration, our reputation is super important. It’s really about all we have. It comes from doing the right thing over and over and over again.

This week, I had two interactions that showed our reputation preceding us in the best way possible …

The first interaction was on this newfangled invention called Facebook. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “social network” primarily for pictures of food and political rants.) We get notifications wherever Restoration Church is tagged in posts and the other night we were alerted to a mention of Restoration and I completely stalked the post like an online creeper and this was the interaction:

This took place between a person we’ll call Sally (not her actual name) and her friend, we’ll call Friend of Sally (because she’s a friend of Sally’s). Friend of Sally attended the Free Family Photo event. It went like this:

SALLY: Hey FB family and friends, looking for a good family church. Any recommendations?

FRIEND OF SALLY: Do you prefer a large or intimate congregation? (Friend of Sally found a nice way to say that a church is small.)

FRIEND OF SALLY: There is a new, small church called Restoration Church in Trinity that I was interested in checking out…

SALLY: I just want a church that’s non-judgmental, really works to help the community, and delivers positive messages. (Us too, Sally. Us too.)

FRIEND OF SALLY: That is good 🙂 The one above has a website you can check out for a little more info. It is new and still very small. I like that they meet people where they are and focus on community as you said.

Did you catch that last line that Friend of Sally wrote? Friend of Sally gets it! A church who “meets people where they are”. We are that church! That’s exactly what we want to be known for!

Another conversation showed the reputation that we’re developing and that our reputation is the one we want was with the Verizon Event Center in New Port Richey. The Verizon Event Center is where we attended a vendor expo called Summer Fest. We met lots of other folks and made lots of connections.

Jeff (his actual name), the manager of the Event Center called and asked to meet with us. I went in, pretty unsure of what we were meeting about. Then Jeff comes out with it. He said, “We saw you guys at Summer Fest and you just seem like a church we’d like to partner with. We’ve worked with churches before, but it seems like you guys want to go to the community rather than waiting for people to come to you.”


Then he proceeded to ask if we would partner with the Event Center. He said, “We’ll put on the events, then you guys can come wear your orange shirts and we’ll direct people your way to ask any questions about the event. You just be the people who we send people to talk to.”

I asked, “So you guys put on an even that draws in a thousand people and we just get to meet all the people, but we don’t have to plan the event?”

“Yes.” Said Jeff.

“Yes.” Said Kevin (his actual name).

Then came a moment that nearly knocked Jeff over. Jeff said, “And, we can help you fundraise for your church. Maybe you could sell raffle tickets or something to raise money.”

To which I replied, “We’re not interested in raising money. I mean, we’re not like established financially, but our goal is not to raise money for us. But, if you need people to run a booth to raise money for another local non-profit, we’d love to help with that.”

Jeff loved that.

It’s a rare combination when you can be:

1. Who you aspire to be.

2. Who you actually are.

3. Who people think you are

      and all three are true.

That’s when you have a reputation that’s more valuable than money.

Guys, we’re doing it.