In my quest to come to grips with me…I also had to accept some hard realities about Compass Point. For those that read this blog…the following may come as a surprise. For the folks at Compass Point…this is us.
1. We are missional…and that’s all. Too many times we’ve tried to be more attractional or more emerging depending on what book I’ve been reading at the time or whatever denominational “expert” is in the audience. In the end…we are just plain Compass Point and we do missional pretty well. What does that mean? It means that we’ll do whatever it takes to reach the disconnected of Lakeland, Florida for Christ. Some days that means servant outreaches, other days it means high tech rocks shows and still other days it means marketing. At times Compass Point looks like a modern church and other times it looks like a post-modern church. At all times it looks like a church that is reaching folks nobody else wants.
2. We screw up a bunch. If you’re looking for a church that has Ken & Barbie looking leaders dressed in the latest fashions and perfectly executed high tech worship services…then go to Without Walls. If you are looking for a church where the band occasionally hits a bad note, the video clips only work half of the time and the pastor has bad teeth…then Compass Point is your place. We take pride in running headlong into walls and celebrate our screw ups. We are also the only church in America that has a pirate flag flying over the service from time to time.
3. Compass Point is small…at the moment…and I make no apologies for that. We are seeing steady growth, but church planters who read my blog always say, “I thought that you guys would be bigger”. Yeah…I thought so too. But the truth is we are reaching unchurched people almost exclusively. I can count on two hands the number of people that attend Compass Point that had a church home before us. We are leading people to Christ that have never been impacted by a church before. Not only that, but we are effectively discipling them. I’d rather be small and actually reaching lost people for Christ…than a church led by 20-something Starbucks drinking pretty boys jacking 5,000 people from other area churches through high-tech horsecrap and calling it “church planting”. If you ain’t reaching lost people for Christ…you ain’t a church…you’re a fad.
4. We don’t chase church people. It’s all about reaching, baptizing and discipling the disconnected at Compass Point. If people from other churches are led by God to leave their church and find their way to Compass Point…then so be it. I’m not crazy about it and almost fear it. However, when they get here…they need to fit into the “Compass Point way” of doing things…or leave…there is no other options. We don’t change what God has called us to do in order to appeal…or keep…people that are only in church for their own needs. Also, when church people leave Compass Point in a huff or because they are not satisfied with our programming…I don’t chase after them with calls, emails or visits…I consider it a blessing that their immaturity is no longer hindering us!
5. We talk about money. The Bible is clear about money and so are we. We can’t do what God has called us to do without money…so I preach on it several times a year. We also discourage credit…so you won’t find some kind of online credit card form for tithing at our website.
6. Our services are PG-13. We certainly want to encourage families to come to Compass Point. That is why we have worked so hard on our children’s ministry…so parents can feel comfortable bringing their children. We also do a thing called “Fam Jam” several Sundays a year so families can worship together. However, on most Sundays our services are not appropriate for children. First of all, we talk about serious things in messages that are on a level for teens and adults only. Secondly, on Sunday we are talking about the greatest message ever brought into this world…eternal salvation through Christ. Compass Point never wants people distracted from that message by kids running around with crayons and Hot Wheels. Finally, I’m ADD…crying kids throw me off.
7. We tick people off. It’s one of our greatest attributes. We make people mad…mostly people from more “refined” churches in the area. I once had a church pastor in town tell me that, “Compass Point is the church that other churches love to hate.” I took it as a compliment.
8. We’ve passed on some opportunities in order to not “rock the boat” with some local churches. That has been a huge, stupid mistake. It has taken me three years to see that my only calling is to the mission of Compass Point. There are over 250,000 unchurched people in Polk County. Compass Point won’t reach them all…but we’re gong to give it a better shot through whatever means necessary. If we ruffle the feathers of other area churches…then so be it.
9. We are multi-generational. We are doing a good job of reaching the young 20-something discnnected musicians of Lakeland…but we are also reaching families, retired people and senior adults. Consequently our band features a guitarist in his twenties and a bassist that is in her…well…not so twenties. One of the coolest people we have at Compass Point is 96 years old woman who was at the homecoming ticker-tape parade in New York City for Charles Lindbergh when he made his trans-Atlantic flight.
10. I wasted our whole first year and part of our second. Compass Point is three years old…but I tell most folks we are only two. We started out as a apartment complex Bible study when I had another church job. When I left the other church to start Compass Point I also left the salary. The first official year of Compass Point I spent more time on the road trying to make a buck than in the pulpit leading our people. Basically, we just struggled through that year with no real growth. About mid-way through our second year I came off the road for good and made Compass Point a priority.
11. We’re simple. We don’t have a ministry for every interest. In fact, we are finally starting a youth ministry for the first time this Fall. We don’t feel compelled to be the WalMart of churches…something for everyone…we just try to do a few things well. We love God, build community and take action…that’s it. At Compass Point you have Sunday mornings, Connexxion groups and some relationship building outreaches to the community…nothing more.
12. We are making big changes. The leadership structure that got Compass Point here won’t take us to the next level. My availabliity to anyone in crisis…or thinks that they are in crisis…will hinder us in the next steps. The word-of-mouth marketing is still awesome…but we have to do more to let people know that we are out here. The “comfort in the chaos” mentallity that served us so well in the first years…will hold us back in the days to come. We’re in the process of change…and I love it!!!