Sundays at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ, are always busy and hectic days. At 4:30am a team of roadies begins loading in the equipment that later becomes the stage for three church services in one of the main ballrooms. At 7:00am another team of roadies starts converting the hotel conference rooms into children’s playrooms and classrooms. Simultaneously, a rock band shows up to rehearse their set for the three church services that day. Around 8:00am service administrators and team leaders start showing up to get ready for the first service. They put files together, set up registration desks, and prepare their teams for the coming services. At 8:30am, volunteer teams arrive to do their jobs. Some of them are teachers. Others are sound technicians. Some are mentors. Others are videographers.
And at 9:00am every Sunday, the first service at Liquid Church begins.
But somewhere in the middle of all this seemingly frenetic activity, real life change is taking place.
During the longer break between services I was wandering around the Hyatt peeking in on some of the volunteers who were finally getting their first break of the day. Some of the band members were napping behind the stage. A roadie was lying on some chairs in the back of the main ballroom. A few mentors were enjoying some snacks by the hotel bar.
I stopped at a small group of high schoolers sitting in a circle of chairs in the hotel lobby. They all had matching notebooks out and looked like they were having a good time; the sight intrigued me, so I decided to have a look. One of them showed me a chart from their notebooks. Across the top in bold letters was the phrase “Systematic Theology.” This revelation to me couldn’t have come at a better time. It reinforced in my mind that there’s a generation coming after mine that is doing everything possible to get to know God better.
I almost cried when I saw it.
Because sometimes it’s easy, especially at a church like mine, to get caught up in a Christianity that gives you that immediate spiritual high. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Hearing a song set that moves you from dancing in the aisles celebrating our freedom in Christ to raising our arms in complete surrender to his love to breaking down in tears of humility knowing we have nothing apart from him—that’s a fantastic place to be. Sitting under powerful teaching that points your heart and mind to the intensity of Christ’s love and grace—it’s phenomenal to get that.
Seeing the looks on people’s faces when you’re giving them free coats with no strings attached—it’s no wonder Christ told us that giving is more blessed than receiving.
And I see it in our high schoolers when they open their Bibles and really search for who Christ is. I see it in our middles schoolers when they’re riveted to our youth pastor as he unveils to them a Jesus that doesn’t their their preconceived notions of who Jesus is.
They want to know God.
And when the middle and high schoolers get excited about knowing God, the ripple effects of their excitement spread to all other parts of the Church. A church filled with kids who want more of Jesus is an insanely powerful church. The strength of Liquid Church isn’t going to be measured by how loud the music is or how eloquently Pastor Tim speaks. It won’t be measured by how many new volunteers start serving each week or how many first-time guests show up.
No, the strength of Liquid Church will be measured by how many kids in our Student Ministries program discover who Jesus is and study the Bible to encounter him.