Stadia Values: Relationships
Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em all over everything you do.
That’s a quote attributed to the King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley. When my son was younger, you could track his movement through the house by following the sticky and/or Cheetos-orange fingerprints on the walls, counters, doorknobs, and at times, the dog. You could tell what was important to him because they inevitably led to a mobile device, the Nintendo Switch, the thousands of Legos in his room, or at times, the dog. Everyone and every organization has values, stated or not, and those values are reflected in their behaviors, interactions, and aspirations. Like my son’s fingerprints illuminating his past actions and pointed toward his future hopes, your values will highlight the decisions you’ve made and point toward the future you hope for.
Over the next few weeks, a series of blogs highlighting Stadia’s values will seek to put some dust on the fingerprints those values have left and where they are pointing us in the future. Relationships, Urgency, Impact, Children, and Celebration mark the path for Stadia.
Today, we kick off with the value of Relationships.
When we were launching Revolution Church in 2010, it was a whirlwind. Days of excitement and enthusiasm were followed by nights of trepidation and imposter syndrome. Days of getting energized meeting and serving people throughout the city were often interrupted by the need to fill out government paperwork or open brokerage accounts. Neither my past corporate experience, nor our lead planter’s Bible college education and campus minister experience prepared us for this roller coaster.
Enter relationships. Stadia connected us to a bookkeeper and provided us with a Project Manager. Through Stadia and other church planting groups, we made friends working through the same things we were working through as well as people a few steps ahead and a few steps behind. I wore out the keyboard on my first Mac sending emails to our Bookkeeper and Project Manager. I made the decision to get rid of my Blackberry and get an iPhone because texting was simpler, and I was texting other church planters with a frequency my teenage daughter has yet to achieve with her friends. I was pretty sure Josh and I were doing what God called us to, but man, I was really worried about screwing it up.
The relationship I had with Stadia through our Project Manager and Bookkeeper was more than just pragmatic step-by-step accountability (though it was that). It was a reassuring arm around the shoulder. It was a voice dispelling imposter syndrome. The relationships I had with other church planters and church planting teams, which were facilitated in many cases by Stadia, have blossomed into my closest friendships. Nearly every day, still, we check in on one another and help one another to overcome obstacles and listen more carefully for the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
There is no way Revolution Church would have opened its doors to the public on October 24, 2010 without Relationships.
So how is the value of Relationships driving us into the future? Stadia has a vision to see a world where every child has a church (more on that in another post), and there are about a billion kids on this planet who are not being exposed to the Gospel and its amazing grace. That’s 9 zeroes. Churches are where the extreme majority of people encounter Jesus. We need a lot more churches on this planet. We need relationships to flourish because they are the fuel of the fire of church planting we hope to see consume the globe. How did you hear about church planting? A relationship.
Stadia is working on strategies and plans to multiply healthy, inspirational, life-giving relationships by utilizing the rapidly changing technology that surrounds us. For nearly 19 years, Stadia has been a fully virtual organization utilizing technology to build relationships internally. My colleague Kristin is one of my favorite people, and I’ve only met her in person a couple times. As an organization, we’re learning more about church planting from planters in Southern Asia than you can imagine.
What if relationships like that were being facilitated all over the world? What if I could develop a relationship with an executive pastor type person at a church in Nepal or Japan or Finland? What if a pastor in South Africa’s story spawned a relationship with someone in New Zealand and inspired them to explore church planting? What if the spread of the Gospel accelerated through relationships moving at the speed of light through a global network of wires and screens in addition to the speed of handshakes and hugs?
Because we certainly don’t want to lose handshakes and hugs.
When Revolution Church started, it felt like Josh and I along with our wives were invited to everything. All the birthday parties, trivia nights, prayer gatherings, poker games, etc. One Monday after a staff meeting, Josh told me a group of guys were planning to hit up a trivia night at a local bar that night. Neither of us were invited, and Josh had only heard about it through the grapevine. As extroverts, both of us shared a moment of sadness at not being invited, but very quickly, a great joy blossomed in each of us. Every person going to trivia attended Revolution, but we no longer needed to be the keystone of relationships at the church. In a similar way, Stadia may not always be the keystone of relationships modeled after or facilitated by relationships we have anchored, and that would be joyous.
What if Stadia helped establish a propagating web of relationships all across the globe where hugs and handshakes were happening and comfort and knowledge was being exchanged? I think the flame of church planting would become a white hot fire, and many of those billion children without a church home would encounter the Gospel in a new church near them and for them. If those are the fingerprints God allows us to leave behind, that would be something worthy of celebration (another value for another post).
VP of Mission Support
Matt lives in North Beach, MD and is married to Becky Murphy with two kids, Ariella & Rex, and one dog: Ravenclaw. Matt has been a part of four church plants in the DC/Baltimore metro area. Matt was previously the Executive Pastor for Revolution Church in Annapolis, MD, and before that, was the Project Manager for the Siemens Center for Applied Medical Imaging MRI R&D group at Johns Hopkins University.