At Lakepointe, we believe CLARITY produces UNITY. So, in seasons of rapid advance we want to over-communicate the invisible WHY behind the visible WHAT. And because we’re simultaneously in a season of growth and adapting to a COVID-affected year, we wanted to answer some FAQ’s to keep our beloved Lakepointe (LP) family aligned as we adapt.
A quick snapshot of what’s happening at LP right now. In the last 6 months while we were unable to gather in-person…
- Lakepointe Church Online attendance exploded, reaching as many as 42,000 people in a weekend, and maintaining a weekly attendance higher than our physical + digital attendance combined pre-COVID
- 1,282 people took a step to get into a Life Group for the first time, and as a result during the month of April (for example), Life Group attendance was up over 1,000 people compared to the same month last year.
- Nearly 500 people responded for salvation or baptism via Church Online
- Lakepointe mobilized to donate ~2 MILLION meals to DFW-area children and elderly people affected by food shortages and disrupted distribution as a result of COVID lockdowns
- Over the last 18 months, weekend service attendance has grown by ~2,000 people and Lakepointe was identified as the 8th fastest growing church in America by Outreach Magazine
- Last weekend we baptized 257 people in services in a single (tear-jerking!) weekend
Simply put, we feel like a kite caught in a hurricane of God’s grace right now, and stand in awe of all God is doing in our midst. Because we’re doing whatever necessary to disciple the many people God is bringing us and to adapt to this COVID-affected year, Lakepointers may notice a few tweaks in the coming months and have some questions. As CLARITY produces UNITY, let me (Josh) rapid-fire responses to a few FAQ’s about our church and the coming year…
“Where are we in the schedule of the transition from Pastor Steve to Pastor Josh?”
In case you missed it, we honored Pastor Steve for his FORTY YEARS of faithful leadership at Lakepointe in February, and he officially passed the baton of Senior leadership to me that weekend. I’m still a little bitter he did this three weeks before COVID 😉 Because of both his organizational knowledge and immense leadership gifts Pastor Steve remains in Executive Leadership at Lakepointe, overseeing our Finances and Financial Strategy, leading LP’s church planting organization (Strategic Launch Network), and advising me in my role as Senior Pastor of Lakepointe. We like him and will take as much of him as we can get around here!
How are things going as the church resumes in-person services?
In a word: INCREDIBLE. Most churches our size are seeing 45-50% of the church return in-person as they re-gather. Through our first five weeks we’re averaging over 65% of the church worshiping in-person and that number goes up every week as people see it’s going well and come back. Additionally, another ~12,000 people are worshiping with us online every week. I’m very proud to report that our team’s months of hard work benchmarking with churches around the country on re-gathering in a safe way have paid off and there have been ZERO cases of COVID spread we’re aware of as a result of a LP gathering. We know it’s annoying and I promise it won’t last forever, but THANK YOU for wearing your masks and holding off on handshakes for a time, guys!
If you’re in a high-risk category or are unable to meet in-person for other reasons, we support you staying home and joining us for Church Online! However, if you’re healthy and have just been on the fence, come join us again in-person both to keep yourself from getting into a bad habit of “neglecting to meet together” and to have the life-changing experience of in-person worship.
Will this year’s changes to LP’s event calendar continue next year?
Yes, you’ll see a more streamlined event calendar next year for two reasons…
- As we benchmarked with churches across the country about re-gathering, some wisdom we received was to “protect the weekend.” Obviously, the thing Lakepointe does that ministers to the greatest number of people is our weekend services, and we were encouraged (by some churches that learned the hard way) to minimize the risk of facilitating a virus problem that could compromise weekend services by limiting what other events take place. In other words, “Don’t put weekend services at risk by having 15 other smaller events that month where a problem could be facilitated.” Protect the weekend.
- As we continue to launch more campuses (North Dallas Campus coming 2021!), there’s been a growing need to align LP’s events calendar across all our campuses. Historically, every LP campus has had a different events’ calendar. For example, the Rockwall Campus may have 6 Women’s Events, Richland may have 2, Forney may have 4, White Rock may have none, and they would all happen at different times with different leadership, speakers, budgets, and schedules. This creates four primary problems…
- An unsustainable number of events church-wide. Over the last 3 years LP’s number of events has increased an average of 30% per year, resulting in 2,346 events in 2019. For obvious reasons, that’s an unsustainable trajectory.
- Inability to resource quality control. As the number of events increases, both resources and leadership are spread thin, resulting in a below-Lakepointe-standard quality of execution (and therefore, effectiveness) at some campuses.
- An unsustainable financial model. As you’ll see below, by the grace of God, the generosity of people, and to the glory of Christ Lakepointe is doing well financially. However, at a strategic level our past events’ model is one contributing factor to some of our campuses operating at a financial deficit. Without adjustments to our current model, we forecast we could plant 2 more campuses before reaching a ceiling and unable to continue planting new campuses, which is the most effective way we reach new people for Christ. To repurpose a statement from Pastor Steve, “We can either add campuses or tell everybody else they can go to hell. I like the first one better.” 🙂
- Difficulty in communication. When something happens church-wide at all our campuses, it’s easy to communicate clearly from the pulpit, in LP News, and in our weekly E-news. When everything is happening at 6 different places on 6 different dates at 6 different times, it is frankly a nightmare to communicate.
SO, WHAT ARE WE DOING TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS?
To simultaneously 1) increase the quality and effectiveness of our events, 2) create a reproducible model to reach people for Christ into the future, and 3) move as many of the new people at Lakepointe into the best place for relationships, discipleship, and care (Life Groups), we’ll be streamlining our events calendar and leveraging events to move people into Groups. For instance, instead of spreading our resources thin among 12 Women’s Events happening at different times at every campus, we may channel the resources of the 12 into 2 very large, church-wide events or conferences happening at the same time across all of our campuses and leverage those church-wide Women’s Conferences to move hundreds of new women into Groups.
While we haven’t finalized our plans, a 2021 church-wide events calendar (not including Kids’ and Students’ events) could look like this:
As a result, there would be fewer events, but with higher quality and increased effectiveness.
Why did some weeknight ministries shift what nights they were meeting?
In the same way that every campus having a different events schedule created quality and communication problems (see response to previous question), every campus having a different mid-week ministry schedule created the same problems, limiting both the ministries’ effectiveness and our ability to communicate well with a growing number of campuses.
As a result, we’ve aligned our midweek ministries across all campuses to increase quality and communication. Tuesday nights focus on Recovery Ministry and Groups. Wednesday nights have ReEngage (marriage groups), AWANA for kids, United (mid-week student worship service) and Life Groups. Starting AWANA on Wednesday nights offers an amazing opportunity for our Kids to learn more about Jesus and increase their scripture memory while parents are involved in a mid-week Group.
How is Lakepointe doing financially?
While an inability to meet in-person for 5 months obviously affected giving, a few remarkable things happened…
- We’ve reached an ENORMOUS number of new people, some of whom have begun giving
- Over 70% of our people have moved to giving online / recurring giving, which is the best way to give because it gives us the ability to confidently plan for the future, knowing what’s coming in. Genuinely, you guys don’t know how much it helps us when you do this, and THANK YOU to all who are.
- Many LP-ers increased their giving, knowing that Lakepointe was stepping forward to meet more needs in the city than ever during a hard time
As a result –– and this pulls worship out of my heart just typing it –– we are on pace to meet budget this year, despite not gathering in-person for 5 months. Lakepointe family, I am so proud of you, and it’s because of your generosity that we’re able to facilitate all the growth and meet needs around our nation and the world. If you’d like to help us continue to reach people for Christ and meet these needs by setting up online recurring giving CLICK HERE.
Has Lakepointe changed its position on Women in Ministry?
This is an easy one, because it’s a one-word answer: No. After Priscilla Shirer (!!!) spoke at Lakepointe services on Mother’s Day and we elevated some gifted female leaders into new roles at a couple campuses, some wondered if I was changing Lakepointe’s beliefs about Women in Ministry. We continue to operate under the Lakepointe elders’ statement on Women in Ministry (available HERE) that was created in the 1990’s and formalized in 2013, which says that the elders and Senior Pastor of LP should be Biblically-qualified men and that women are both empowered and encouraged to serve in all other roles in the church under our elders’ leadership.
Rockwall Campus: Where’s Danny Davis?
Although this question is specific to the Rockwall Campus, I get it so often I wanted to answer it! Danny Davis, Lakepointe’s longtime and BELOVED worship leader, is in doctor-ordered quarantine for the time being because of hereditary factors that put him in a high-risk category. He remains a vital leader in LP Worship, and a couple years before I arrived Pastor Steve asked Danny to begin to do what Steve has done in the last 2 years with me – gradually begin transitioning from primarily leading on stage to training the next generation of worship leaders at our church. Danny has been and continues to do just that, which is why you’ll see him on stage at times at the Rockwall Campus and other weeks he’ll be offstage investing in the worship leaders at our many campuses.
With all the great things happening, what can I do to help?
This is probably the most common question I get, because LP’ers are “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). A few things…
- With the many new people at LP + some volunteers waiting to return in-person, your willingness to volunteer makes a BIG difference right now. If you’d be willing to volunteer in a ministry at your campus for the next few weeks CLICK HERE.
- In order to boldly step into the opportunities in front of us and to be resourced to minister to the great number of people coming our way, consider setting up online giving HERE. This gives us the ability to plan intelligently for the future, because we know what’s coming in.
- If you’re new to Lakepointe, attend the Next Step Class at your campus coming up in October. Whether you’re just curious and want to learn about our vision, beliefs, where we’re headed in the next 5 years, etc, or if you’re interested in getting plugged in at LP, the Next Step Class will help you do that. CLICK HERE to sign up for your campuses’ Next Step Class.
- If you’re healthy and haven’t returned in-person, come on home and help us spread word that Lakepointe is worshiping again in-person every week! A month into re-gathering, I still run into multiple people every week that didn’t know in-person services are happening again.
- Pray. Prayer is not a last resort, it’s our first line of defense. We can get efficiency from planning, but a church can only get power from prayer. Pray that God would pour out his Spirit to empower us to share Christ and build believers in an unprecedented way with boldness.