“… and guess how many people signed up? Zero!” proclaimed Pastor Chris.
I looked to my wife and said, “the next opportunity we have, we’re signing up.”
As I am reflecting on my service, I realized it was an unforgettable experience that I enjoyed with my wife. Gabrielle and I met new people, visited a new area, and (most importantly) proclaimed service work for Jesus Christ. My wife, and owners of Hingepoint Church, put in a lot of overtime throughout the weekend of November 11th. We paced approximately 21,500 steps on Saturday; Sunday reflected the stairs, miles, and commitment of the day prior by indistinctly changing our walking patters and causing uncontrollable bursts of agony through pain. The joints of a 30 year old versus a 19 year old are comparable to a race between a bicycle and an automobile.
The automobile may be faster than the bicycle, but which is better for you?
What is better for you is normally the road less traveled. The Friday, before our weekend-missionary trip to San Jose, was a personal test of character and commitment. I experienced the gruesome week of inexplicable problems, unforeseen occurrences, and bizarre failures that prohibited me from doing my job proficiently. I would never be so bold without providing an example: the USB cord for my work camera, which is an integral part of my file consistently and personal product, literally stopped working. No explanation. No cause of failure. No reason what-so-ever other than to force myself to desire my “weekend”.
…And my weekends do not consist of 21,500 steps, unfamiliar land, or 8.5+ hours of driving; but it was one of the most memorable and inspiring weekends of my life.
One memory I would like to share with you, is titled by a common term: “Second Wind”. I was beat at 1300hrs on November 12th, 2016. My wife, John, Pastor Daniel, and I started running between our downtime to reach our goal of 6,000 door hangers placed by the end of day. We had approximately 15 people total (the running idea was Gabrielle’s, so we can all thank her later. Go Hingepoint prayer team!!) and started around 9am. The first break was lunch at 1130am, but each team arrived at different times. After the break, we moved into different types of ministry work other than door hangers; but Team 3 (my wife, John, and Pastor Daniel) continued with the hanger mission operation.
We were FOCUSED; We were INVESTED; We were ANEW.
After lunch, John gracefully drove to the destinations provided by his Navigator. The Navigator responsibilities are known as “shotgun”, which indistinctly, was me. We replaced Pastor Daniel with a Hingepoint local, Pam. While driving, I asked for the location we needed to go (not verbally, but honestly). We were all looking for the area with the most doors in the least amount of time. Ironically, we parked outside a multiple-building apartment complex that ranged from a single story to a three story building in a two block radius.
Personally, Regretfully, and dishearteningly, we marched on.
I felt overwhelmed with exhaustion. I saw too many stairs in one day and it was like asking someone to climb the Eiffel tower twice after hiking Mt. Everest; but something struck me…
To be struck is different than being “hit” because it symbolizes consistency, current, or flow like electricity; and this feeling shook me to my core. The impact was a challenge and this location was meant for us. The entire day, 21,500 steps, idolized this very moment: the moment of the road less traveled.
The tingle throughout my body resurgent my cause… our cause.
Within 20 minutes of stairs and heights, we had reinforcements from the other service groups. We covered that entire area with Jesus’ name. While I kept pressing on, stairs after stairs, the opposition crept it and asked me one simple question. He said:
All of these door hangers today; your wife’s tired. You’re tired. You want to sit down and relax and just have your day. At this point, you hung enough door hangers. In fact, you’ve hung over 3,000 of them! Will finishing this area impact or change the results?
To which I said, “if only one person shows up to Eden Church tomorrow, then all of what we have done, is exponentially worth it.”
That single confirmation caused those 3 story buildings to be nothing more than what they really are: overcomeable. We not only placed the invitations on their doors, but on their cars too. We covered that entire area in triumphant vigor. That physical exertion by strangers resulted in an unforgettable and unique opportunity to know one another. We arrived there as strangers, but left as family. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have toward the learning, friendship, and ownership I experienced over that weekend.
Hingepoint Church, my Home, you have Men and Women there that I cannot even start to compare to… “We” cannot compare to. We are all broken and the only reason why I have not felt alone in the congregation is because I am not alone. Thank you… for everything (To be clear, I am giving my sincere and overwhelmingly gratitude to the men and women in ministry and the congregation; including my undeniable and earnest trust in the Pastors led by Jesus Christ. I could do names, but to be honest, read Genesis/hierarchy and you would get the idea).
The owners of Hingepoint Church are Formidable. They are Welcoming. They are what we need; and they are you and me.
Thank you, Eden Church. Thank you for… it. “It” is really Gods’ unknowing and purposeful promise. All I can do is confirm and contribute is that nothing we earn, and work for, to purposefully achieve, ever comes easy. If we all knew his plan, then it wouldn’t be much of a secret or original idea.
Lastly, I’d like to encourage and challenge anyone who has made it this far: please, know your wife is the real Hero. Know that she is under the guidance and love of Him; that she is the encouragement, the fan, and coach that you will always need. She may sometimes be not the person you want to hear; but her words are Gold in substitute of paper. Her words are worth more than Rubies (i’d know because I actually found a ruby once while Gold panning and they are not all that special). If you question me that is fine; but do not questions Proverbs 31 (my favorite). My wife, Gabrielle, exuberantly follows the 25th verse. There is nothing more warming than her smile. Gabrielle’s smile might as well be deemed a plague because it’s contagious
Comfort does not breed strong, Comfort does not inspire leadership or approval. Comfort does not bear fruit, or follow a worthy cause.
Uncomfortable ways remove the leaves from the road for others to follow. And by that I can Promise you that it will be the road less traveled. It will be the contact without signatures.
The spirit led those owners of Hingepoint Church to sign their names on the uncomfortable line; when the option was given; and I am forever grateful for the memories I can share with those courageous men an women. They travel the road less traveled.
I cannot call the family of Hingepoint Church “members”; because they are “Owners”. If you’re a member, you are entitled; but if you are a owner, you are responsible. I will let you decide which one you are, and which one you are not.
Once resounding thing I heard is: “Love your wife as Jesus loved the church”.
there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my best friend.
Thank you, God… For this. Thank you for my Marriage to Gabrielle, thank you for my family (including church), and thank you for being so Present in our lives,
– Michael Barton