I've been at Granger for 17 years. And I don't know a time when we've been through more significant change than has happened over the past three years...
- We took a full year gathering input from the entire congregation about their dreams for the future of the church--which resulted in the 2016 Vision.
- We began shifting the church from a focused come to us model to an intentional focus on the AND -- both come to us and go to them.
- We asked the congregation to own the vision--and they bought in big-time. In fact, we received our first-ever $1 million gift...more than tripling any previous single gift.
- The New Normal Project was a stewardship campaign unlike any we had ever attempted before.
- We decided to invest about $400,000 over the next two years as seed money toward starting 2,000 missional communities and essential churches.
- We decided to shift the purpose of our 55-acre campus from a church facility for the congregation...to a center for the entire community. We will develop the property and facilities so the community can benefit throughout the week--not just for church services. This launches next month when construction begins on a 10,000 sf "Commons" area, and next year when we open a high-quality preschool.
- We made it through a recession (20% unemployment locally) that included layoffs, 6 budget cuts, while finding creative solutions for continuing the ministry priorities.
- We launched our first multisite location in a movie theater, then moved it to the RV Hall of Fame. Then, just last month, we received a donation of a $1.2 million building on 4-acres of land which will become the new home of the Elkhart campus.
In summary, the past three years have been revolutionary. We are not the same church we were in 2008. We are living in the New Normal.
And that is what the AND Conference next month is all about. We call it a "conference" - but it's really a conversation. It's an opportunity to lean in and get answers to your questions. And it's not a typical conference...
- A typical conference has 6 or more keynote sessions. The AND Conference will have only 2.
- A typical conference has just a few breakouts. The AND Conference will have more than 70.
- A typical conference has sessions lasting 90-minutes or longer. The AND Conference will limit every session to 60 minutes.
- A typical conference has a speakers' lounge where all the VIP's hang-out, sip coffee, and avoid the crowds. The AND Conference will have a lounge where speakers' hang-out...but so can you. Anyone is allowed to come in and chat with a speaker, or just hang out.
- A typical conference has a moderator, lots of worship, drama, performance songs and more. I like all that stuff, but you can get that at your own church on Sunday or watch it online. The AND Conference will have more content and less fluff.
- A typical conference has breakout sessions that are only offered once. The AND Conference will offer most of the workshops more than once so you can shuffle your schedule to attend the ones you want.
- A typical conference allows you to only access the host church staff during sessions when they are speaking. At the AND Conference, our entire staff will be accessible all day every day. No hiding in offices. No skipping the sessions. We will be experiencing it with you. We will be available for you.
I'm looking forward to it. I hope you will think about coming to the AND Conference. You can still get the early bird pricing if you hurry.