GroupLife: Mark Batterson and Heather Zempel

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Batterson’s story is really engaging.  The beginning of National Community Church in Washington D.C. is a really good story.  Don’t know it?  You can check out Mark’s blog right here. It was one of the first blogs I ran across a little over 3 years ago.  Great way to eavesdrop on a really cool story.

Heather Zempel, Wineskins for Discipleship, is the Discipleship pastor at National.  She’s talking about the relationship between systems and outcomes and doing a cool demonstration (with assistant) with dirty pennies dipped in lemon juice, water with salt and vinegar, or ketchup.  While she talks about the catalysts that push forward the growth of community this experiment is going on.  A wild looking guy with a twist of Einstein is doing the experiment.  It’s a very good performance art way of engaging the crowd.  Turns out that any of the solutions/ingredients will make the penny shiny.  Good way of showing that if the penny getting shiny is the goal…there’s more than one way to do it.

First core value is “everything is an experiement.”

“Sometime a long the way we stop doing ministry out of right brain creativity and start doing it out of left brain memory.”  “We believe that there are ways of doing church that no one’s thought of yet.”  We try to approach everything we do in an experimental fashion.  No matter how God ordained your vision is there will always be people who don’t want to do it that way.  When it’s only an experiment…

Group Life experiments:

  1. Semester system.  They stopped trying to fight against the rhythms of Washington D.C.  Because their population is transient they’ve used semester to promote group life at three times.  They didn’t disband existing groups.  They simply went to a system that works for their environment.
  2. Digital discipleship.  Started a blog that provides discipleship tools for their leaders.  (In fact, you can check it out and see a good recap Group Life 2008).
  3. Bad experiment.  Used Guitar Hero tournament as a cool fundraiser but didn’t prescreen the lyrics.

Second core value: The modulus of elasticity.  Everything has a unique stress capacity, a yield point, where once it’s stretched to there it never will go back to its previous size or shape.  If you want to influence people, help them become like Christ, it can’t be one-size-fits-all.  A free-market system allows all kinds of groups for all kinds of people.

“Let God be as original with others as He was with you.”  Oswald Chambers

Third core value: Expect the unexpected.  Spiritual growth is a conundrum.  When a routine becomes a routine you have to change the routine to keep it from becoming routine.  Change of pace plus change of place equals change of perspective.  From a physical exercise standpoint you have to change the routine if you want to continue to take shape.

Bought a bunch of Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Fourth core value: Love people when they least expect it.  John 1:14 Jesus was full of grace and truth.  Honest no matter what.  Loving no matter what.  People need the truth.  It’s not what they need to be politically correct.  Doing a series called The Elephant in the Church.  Love them when they least expect it and least deserve it.

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1 Comment

  1. Robin on October 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Sure appreciate the updates from Willow, Mark!