I am a product of the philosophy of “creating places to play.” I remember the first Monday after I had attended RLM in Post Falls, Idaho. I received a phone call from Jim Putman, the Senior Pastor. I was sitting on my couch watching Monday night football and my phone rang. He asked if I had any questions and said he was glad I was there. I felt seen, one of the coaches noticed me. To have a chance to play, you have to be seen. I was seen.
The next week, I made the team. I was invited with my wife to be in a Home Group. The leaders seemed pretty excited about it and thought it would be something we would enjoy. I was invited to “play.” There was a spot available, made especially for me, and it made sense. Pretty much everyone I met was in a Home Group and it felt like a place to belong. “This must be how this community thing works”, I thought. Now the “intentional leader” in my Home Group was my coach. He was able to recognize that I had a desire to be more involved. He introduced me to another coach who invited me to play on Sunday as a “greeter.”
My job as a greeter was to walk around and greet people who were already sitting in the auditorium. I was coached on how to introduce myself and make others feel welcome. Not only was I invited to play, but I was equipped to play well.
Through my experience I have learned the importance of evaluating your players and helping them find a place to play. And not just anywhere, but where they feel like they are crucial for winning.
Looking back, I was F.A.T. – Faithful, Available, and Teachable. I made it a priority, I was willing to learn, and I grew through the process.
After my leaders saw that I was growing, I was promoted to a starter. Yeah, that’s right, a starter. I was given the chance to lead a Home Group. Again I was equipped, trained, and released to be an intentional leader myself. Now I was the coach, finding players and helping them find places to play.
This is what I have been doing since it all began in 2004. Finding places for people to play, coming alongside them, equipping and training them, and releasing them to help the team win. And this is not just winning a game, but is helping people find Christ, be changed by him, and get on mission with him. I know it has forever changed my life. I don’t go to church, I am the church. My mission and purpose is to get people out of the stands, off the sidelines, and into the game. It is in these “places to play” that Jesus does his work, through relationships and living life together.
Don’t let people do life alone, help them find their team and get on the field.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV
“11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”
It is one of my roles as a Pastor of a relational disciple making church to ensure that we have places for people to play and then let them play.
by Josh Gray – Lead Pastor