Growing up, my neighbor lived on a gradual hill (with very sparse grass). We loved digging a small depression (a bowl, so-to-speak) in the soil at the top of the hill, bringing over the garden hose, and filling the bowl with water. After filling the bowl, we would slow the flow of water to a trickle. As the bowl overflowed we would watch in wonder and amazement as the water would create a small stream that rolled down the hill. It always seemed exciting to watch what kind of path the water would take as it meandered to it’s destination at the bottom of the hill.
As obstacles would appear, the water would always find a way around, over, or through…always continuing to move towards its destination, building momentum as it went. It was always exciting to see how the stream would so deftly maneuver its way down the hill avoiding or overwhelming the obstacles in its path. Although we knew where it was ultimately heading, we never knew exactly how it would get there.
In a sense, that is how I feel after a great trip to Indianapolis. Perhaps I should ask Randy more directly, but I imagine that back in 1996 along that 210-Freeway morning commute to Pasadena, California (when God planted the seed that would develop into VantagePoint3), Randy didn’t know the exact path that vision would take. Now, 18 years later, we have our “Big Rocks” that help direct the “flow” of our impact for God’s kingdom, but I also know that even Randy looks with some sense of wonder and amazement at the path VP3 has taken. My trip to Indianapolis has given me an even better understanding of the path we have taken up to this point, how we have had the privilege of helping nourish lives along the way, and a better “understanding” of the mystery of how God works in and through his people (can one really “understand” a mystery?). Our God is amazing and he does wonderful things in and through his people.
Along with being able to meet with new pastors and church leaders interested in learning more about who we are and how we “walk alongside” churches, I also learned a lot about how some very different churches have utilized VP3 processes in their unique contexts and how valuable the processes have been in the development and maturation of their church family. I was inspired by the fact that every pastor I talked with, each in a very different context from one another, found that their relationship with VP3 and our processes were critical elements in the development of their church family. The relationships we develop and the partnership we provide can be implemented in any number of different church contexts…that is the difference between simply providing curriculum material and our relational “walking alongside” approach.
In my many conversations, pastors shared their personal testimonies of how VP3 processes have helped transform their personal faith as well as the lives and faith of their church family. I heard stories of deepened and empowered people helping begin new ministries in their church, strengthening established ministries, and stepping into leadership roles helping cast and carry out the vision for the whole church. Just as many of our partner churches are being challenged in new ways by a growing number of deeper, inspired, maturing believers, I was also asked some challenging questions…challenging me to think about our role as an organization (as well as my own church context and how we are investing in the growth and maturity of our adult believers).
What a blessing this trip was. I’ve always heard Randy and Rob talk about how we get to work with “the greatest people.” More and more, I am realizing how true that really is. Great people. Great conversations. Great questions and challenges for me, VP3, and the churches we are walking alongside. We, as an organization are being challenged as we continue to learn how best to walk alongside churches. Although our foundation is solid, we are not stagnant. We are constantly moving: finding the best way over, around, or through the obstacles and challenges before us and before those we are walking alongside.