Do churches have anniversaries or birthdays? I’m not sure. Let me know if you find out. 

Either way, today is that thing for Resonate Church. We were born on August 19th, 2007. We are seven. Just entering the sensitive social space of 1st grade. The time when they let you play at recess without supervision. Or teach you to count by two’s. Or quit kissing your knee when you scrape it. They just give band-aids now. And blow the whistle when it’s time to come in. 

It’s fun and frustrating being seven. You don’t know much, but you know some stuff. 

As a church, we’ve certainly learned some stuff in our seven short years. We’ve had some fun and been frustrated. We’ve lived and grown and tried and failed in what has felt like dog years.  In other words, most of us feel forty-nine instead of seven. Our backs hurt. Our hair is falling out, and we’ve gained some weight and wisdom.

Whether dog years or regular years, getting wisdom in church planting is costly. Especially when you’re a church like ours. Being a regular church is hard enough, but being a collegiate church is like living in a blue ocean. You look around and don’t see anyone for miles. It’s uncharted, unorganized, and unlikely that you would find someone else doing what you do. Therefore, the few of us that are doing campus plants have to stick together, learn from each other, and use the few years of experience we have to share best practices and fight off pirates. 

In light of that, the North American Mission Board hosted an event in the Palouse called Hitchhiker’s Guide to Resonate. On March 28th, eighty-five collegiate ministry leaders from across America and Canada came to hear our story, look at our practices, and brainstorm and strategize with us. Some would even say learn from us. 

For three days we emptied our cups. We gave them the good, bad, and ugly of our church planting process. From general session inspiration to breakout session details, the information flew a mile a minute, with the hope of giving these leaders something to take home. On Saturday morning our Executive Staff gave 8-minute TED talks about the specifics of our ministries. These talks then turned into coaching calls given to people over the next six months.  

We covered everything from, ‘How to Discover, Develop, and Deploy Leaders’ to ‘How to Create an Attractional Worship Gathering’ to ‘How to Break Through Growth and Multiplication Barriers’ to ‘Practical Ways to Resource the Mission.’

Behind all the scheming and strategizing was the feeling of a movement. Seven years ago when we started Resonate, there was no one to talk to about collegiate church planting. So, to host eighty-five collegiate-minded ministers in our church was a dream come true and a prayer answered. 

We pray all the time that the third Great Awakening would happen through planting churches on college campuses. Win the campus, win the world, right? But you don’t win the campus without leaders. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Resonate accelerated campus ministry leadership in a powerful way. We hope that it continued to push the pace of campus church planting and gave people courage to go to the next place God is leading them. 

You guys reading this have helped make this happen. Thank you for helping us push the ball forward. Thanks for helping us take the gospel to 21 million college students. I’ve never been more encouraged and hopeful about the future. Hitchhiker’s woke me up to the potential we have, and it was beautiful. 

May the Lord receive the glory, and may the church keep pushing forward.