Vivalaverve, Take One

So our first “weekend” of Verve gatherings is complete. I know a lot of people around the country who have been supporting us in all kinds of ways are wondering what happened, so here’s a review:

1. Overall, I thought things went awesome.
2. Our building barely got done on time, which was stressful, but it looks great.
3. All of our creative elements came together and, I thought, were very cool.
4. Our band rocked. In fact, last night we went over (at the invitation of a manager) to the Hard Rock because they are showing interest in booking our band. (I’m not kidding. Sunday was only, I think, the sixth time they had played together, but after hearing them the Hard Rock is talking about maybe having them play. Wild.)
5. I thought the message was clear: No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, God loves you with a perfect love.
6. For people new to church, there was probably a whole lot of Jesus in the message – I just counted, I said “Jesus” at least 41 times. Hard not to talk about someone who loves you that much, and who has changed my life so dramatically.
7. We didn’t count people from out-of-town (and there were a lot). We also didn’t count the adult volunteers in our Children’s Ministry (figuring they would obviously all come to one of the adult services, and we didn’t want to count anyone twice). We tried not to count anyone twice – so, for instance, people like me who were at all the services were only counted once . So our attendance number should be a pretty accurate count not of how many people were there, but of how many people were there who might actually come back next week.
8. The total number was 277.
9. A cool thing is that we designed it to be a “Grand Opening Month” rather than a “Grand Opening Day.” So instead of doing all our advertising before the first Sunday, we have spread it out from March 8 to April 3. So we’re assuming we may get almost as many new people the next few weeks as we did this week.
10. I was surprised that we received 67 Connection Cards on Sunday morning. (Still haven’t heard about Monday night.) Those 67 cards probably represented about 140 people. I assume that someone who fills out a Connection Card at the end of the service enjoyed the service, and is planning on coming back.
11. A bigger surprise is that a bunch of new people left not only telling us they’d be back, but saying they’d bring their friends with them, and even asking for invite cards to give out.
12. Maybe the best thing were the comments we received. TONS of people were raving about their experience. “I didn’t know church could be like this.” “I’ve been waiting for this my entire life.” “Is it really gonna be like this every Sunday?” Several people left in tears. (Good, not bad, tears!) And I’ve received some amazing e-mails from people who felt like their one experience has already begun to change their lives.

So … one weekend down, couple thousand to go. Thanks, so much, to everyone for all the support you’ve given us and helping to make this dream a reality. Vivalaverve.