29 January 2010 ~ 5 Comments

And The Assessment Center Outcome Is…

First, some reflections.

Wow.  It really was a long week.
One thing that was told to us by someone who had been before was how stressful it was, yet they had never felt so loved and cared for.
I can understand why they said that.  We were talking to one of the assessors who was there for the first time, and even he was amazed at how much time they spent as a team truly praying over every single candidate and going through everything they had.

This past week was a huge one for us.
As we listened to so many ideas and models of ministry and strategies for church planting, 2 things happened.
First, as we saw some very different models from what we want to do, it just confirmed our conviction and passion for what God has put on our hearts.  Many times we would hear people talk about what they wanted church to look like, and we knew that wasn’t at all what we wanted to do.  All great stuff and needed for the Kingdom…just not where we’re at.
Second, we were surprised and encouraged that several people had very similar ideas and vision for what God had called them too.  We really aren’t totally crazy and these ideas we have of what church can look like is something god is doing in places all across the country.

We made some relationships that I trust will last, on some level, for a long time to come.  Especially with the help of Facebook.
I sat in the room this morning, and I looked at Rachel and said, “Wow.  I just realized, I’m actually going to really miss these people.  Even the ones that may have bugged me a bit at times.”
Not that anyone bugged me at all, of course. ;)
There is something about going through a week of that intensity with like-minded people that really makes you feel bonded and close to people who you may never have connected with if it weren’t for this sort of experience.
It was so encouraging and inspiring to be in a room full of people who in some way or another were like minded.  Who understood each other.  Who “get” church planting.
Often times when we share that we will be starting a new church, we get the blank stare in return.  You’re doing what?  Why would you wanna do that?  Fun to be with people who have been around it, to hear stories from those who have done and are doing it, and dream with those who will be doing it.

So, the update…

The Lead Up

Last night we went out to Elephant Bar with a bunch of the candidates.
Pretty much all the people who went were from the other team, whcih ended up being one of our favorite parts about it.  We hardly knew they existed from the way things were set up during the assessment, so it was so great to connect with some other people and get to know them a little better.
After returning to the hotel, I had the worst night of sleep I had all week.
I woke up a good 4 or 5 times during the night, and every time I had a new dream about how the next morning would go.  Some really weird ones too.  And I’m pretty sure I got all four outcomes at some point in my sleep last night!

We talked about it when we woke up.  Here’s what I came to realize.  An assessment like this is something that many church planters experience, and we’ve known about it for years.  For the past 6 years we’ve felt called to church planting and everything we’ve done has been to help us grow in that direction.  This was a major milestone on that path.  This was like the culmination of the past six years of our life for us.
But it was good to remember that this truly was about another piece in discovering what God has for us.
It was an opportunity to humble ourselves and ask 12 other individuals, as a group, to tell us what they see.
And this is one of the few times that we would be told the truth in love in order that we could really grow from it.

So we got to the church, and after a short devotion/message time, it was time for exit interviews.
We were told to just hang out and assessors would come grab us for interviews.
Paul, who we’ve known for the past 7 or 8 months and is the one who sent us, let us know that he was gonna do 2 others then ours.
Those 2 took a while, and we were the very last people to finally do our exit interview.
It kinda felt like American Idol, with people coming out and disappearing and us just waiting for our turn as the room emptied.
I though about singing “Pants On The Ground” when I got taken out for my interview.
It was also kinda awkward, cause you kinda wanna know how it went for people, but you sure don’t wanna ask cause you don’t know if their happy with it or not.

The Exit Interview

So finally it was time for us to hang with Paul and talk about the outcome.
We sat down and he started by asking us how the week was for us, and then talking about their process.
He reminded us that there were 12 of them involved, so he couldn’t make it come out the way he wanted.  He couldn’t sway it by himself.  All these people had observed us for 3 full days.  And this outcome was the culmination of our application, references, an assessor interview, a counselor interview, our presentations, and multiple small group experiences.
With that he invited us to open the report to see what it said.
I don’t have it right in front of me, but it looked like something along these lines…

Assessment disposition:   Recommended

So there you have it.
It said underneath that they think we are able to plant a church and ready to do it now.  And that they believe we would be successful in ministry and encourage us to get coaching to help the process go well.
You would think we’d be all stoked and full of excitement.
I mean yes, inside we were.  But more than that, we were just relieved to know the outcome and have it all behind us now.

That definitely wasn’t the end.
From there we went through the report, and they let us know where there are growth areas that I need to work on and some suggestions on how to do that.
It’s amazing how well they are able to pin you down in a matter of 3 days.
Just about every area in need of growth was so true and totally made sense to me an Rachel.
It also outlined the strengths they saw in both me and Rachel and encouraged us to foster those.

Finally, we talked with Paul about some next steps and where things go from here.
There’s a church multiplication meeting next week, but for the most part, our partnership with Converge is now a done deal.
The green light has lit and this journey is really beginning in a crazy way.
Next stop…fund raising.

Thanks again to all of you who prayed for us this past week.
It was an amazing week that God has and will use in amazing ways.
Please continue to pray for us as we continue on this path.
For that matter, if you don’t mind, say a quick prayer for all 20 candidates who were at the assessment center this past week.  God is guiding each of them in unique ways, regardless of the outcome of the week for each of us.
And keep with us on the journey.
You’ll hear plenty about it here.

And now there’s a little something at my blog to give the next guy an idea what he’s about to walk into!

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