While the readership of this blog is a diverse group, I’ve chosen to use this platform to share messages with the community I’ve had the privilege of leading (or help lead) over the last six years – Crash/Sunday Nights at North Phoenix. If you’re not connected with that community, please indulge this post.
As many of you heard last night or through a friend, around 6pm on Sunday, September 30, I announced the conclusion of Crash/Sunday Night services at North Phoenix.
As a community, we’ve been in transition for some time with this service. We’ve been talking a lot about what’s next and what we wanted to become. A steering team has been meeting with me for nearly two months and we’ve been meeting at 5pm in the Lower Chapel for some time. As a steering team, we’ve had some hard conversations and were working towards plans to re-launch a service in the Chapel at North Phoenix this fall.
As I began preparation for the series we’ve been in recently, Hearing God, I began to ask the question, “God what are you trying to say to me right now?” That question began as a personal one, but it expanded to include the season we were in with the Sunday night service.
A couple weeks ago, I came to a clear conviction that I felt God was saying that this season was coming to a close. I felt God say that he had been trying to communicate that to us through some of the frustrations and struggles we had experienced during the transition. Frustration and struggle is not a guarantee of this kind of message, but in our case, I believe God was persistently attempting to get through to me.
I shared this conviction with Rob Payne, Kelly Young and John Shillington (the staff team that provide leadership with me to the Sunday evening service). They affirmed the sense I had. I went to share this with Pastor Dan Yeary and his leadership team. I met with that steering team I mentioned earlier and I shared this with them as well. As I shared above, I made this announcement at the end of the service on Sunday night, September 30.
Last night was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I believe this is the right thing to do, but it was tough to share with people I love. I love you deeply and the experiences we’ve shared have profoundly changed who I am. It’s been an unbelievable privilege to watch God transform you and for you to affirm what God has done to transform me.
So, what does this mean?
I think it is easier to start with what it doesn’t mean.
First, It doesn’t mean that the time, money, effort, energy and prayer we invested in Crash/Sunday Nights was a failure. When it comes to the hundreds of people who walked through the doors of the chapel since 2004, God changed lives. We saw people make professions of faith, be baptized, gather across denominational lines, renew their faith in what church looks like and open up to others for the first time. Thousands more people were impacted by this ministry when we consider the reach of our podcast on iTunes, our website, a blog, our local/global mission and service efforts, and the impact we’ve had on North Phoenix Baptist Church as a whole. The conclusion of this does not equate with failure. We can celebrate together the movement of God we’ve witnessed and experienced.
Second, you’re not abandoned. North Phoenix is still here. There are still many small groups that meet on Sunday mornings where you can find community and people to do life with. North Phoenix’s 10:30am service is still here. The three small groups that emerged out of Crash/Sunday Night are all still committed to continuing. The leaders of these groups would love to help you connect with their community if you haven’t yet found that place of belonging. They want to be there for you amidst this transition. If you haven’t found community through this service, there are still opportunities to do so.
Monday Nights – everyone is welcome – 630pm
Tuesday Nights – ladies only – 7pm
Thursday Mornings – guys only – 7am
(If you are interested in connecting with one of these groups, please reply to this email.)
Third, our relationships are not done. The people you’ve come to know and love through this service still need you in their life and vice versa. Look for ways to connect over coffee or meals. Set up a time to get together soon. Make sure you have contact information or connect over social media. While our relationships may look different, we still have the opportunity to continue what began on Sunday nights with friends who became family.
Fourth, I’m continuing to serve North Phoenix as the Minister to Young Adults. I’ve been working with the leadership of our young adult groups that meet on Sunday mornings for 18 months now and will continue that work, along with other responsibilities as a member of our staff.
Ultimately, each of us is going to have to figure out what a transition of this magnitude means for us. And that is something that you shouldn’t do by yourself. If you don’t have someone(s) to process through this with, then please reach out to me, Rob Payne or Kelly Young. You can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We’d love to chat on the phone or meet up for coffee and talk more about what you’re thinking or feeling.
Thanks so much for sharing this journey of following Jesus with me over these years. I am excited to hear about what God does through you in the days ahead. I urge you to commit to continue loving, thinking, and serving like Jesus everywhere you go. Our world needs more Jesus-followers who choose to break the status-quo and redefine our world’s expectations of what we should be like. Take all that we’ve learned and experienced together – live it and share it with others everyday.
I love you all. See you soon!
(I have elected to not activate the comments on this post. If you’ve got something to share with me or our staff or a question we can help answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Update: My friend and teammate at Crash (and North Phoenix), Robert Payne, shared about this transition from his perspective in this post on his blog. Robert is a great friend and I appreciated his insight, support and participation as we wrestled through this decision. His new album releases later this fall. Learn more about it here.