Monday through Wednesday this week the senior staff of Resurrection took a bus trip to visit Willow Creek and Granger. Andrew Conard, one of our pastors, blogged the trip well. He began with a post about the Willow Creek visit, then a post about the Granger visit, and finally a post explaining the purpose of the trip and some questions we considered after visiting Willow Creek and Granger. Adam Hamilton, our senior pastor, also talked about the trip in his weekly e-mail to the congregation.
It was great to see Jason Powell on Tuesday, even though we only had 90 minutes together. He seemed a bit stressed and was last seen mumbling to himself about budgets! At Resurrection our first draft budget for 2008 is due next Friday, November 2, so I can relate. Later we had a tour of Granger’s facilities. Jason and Ed were no where to be found, but I did meet Kyle Sagarsee, their new desktop guy. He was prepping a bunch of Optiplex 745 boxes loaded with Vista. I think it’s a bit brave to run Vista at this point, but Kyle seemed happy with it in spite of the fact that he has no way to image the drives so he has to build them one-by-one. Eeek!
The highlight of the whole trip for me was the Q&A with Bill Hybels. I’m always intrigued, challenged, and inspired by Bill’s ideas. This time was no exception even though he had nothing prepared and just responded to our questions.
I appreciated the extensive time on the bus to talk with fellow senior staff people in groups of 2-3. Normally on our retreats we have a lot of agenda to cover. This time we had a total of 23 hours on the bus and only 3-4 hours of it were scheduled activities. That was nice.
I have had more extensive and in-depth tours of Willow Creek and Granger in the past, so I didn’t learn much of anything new, but discussing a church site visit with all of the senior staff was a special experience that sparked a lot of strategic conversation. I hope we do it again and I would recommend it to other churches. It would be great to return the generous hospitality we received at Willow Creek and Granger to other churches on a similar trip.