A Kinetic Kickoff: A Look at Vision Weekend

Greg Robson

"For the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God."
– St. Irenaeus of Lyons

The weekend of August 11 through 13 was a significant turning point for the Northland congregation. Ostensibly the launch of the new sermon series, “Fully Alive,” the weekend also served as an introduction to how best the congregation can begin engaging people to be fully alive in Jesus. This sermon series marks the kickoff of this new season and story for Northland.

The tenor of the weekend pointed toward something large, important and celebratory. As seen from the parking lot, lawn billboards scattered all over the campus announced that the congregation was “engaging people to be fully alive in Jesus.” As congregants walked toward the Worship Center, worship music was booming loudly, like a clarion call ushering them into this new chapter.

Inside the foyer, there were trappings aplenty. An array of staff members donned black “Fully Alive” shirts, and the foyer was decked out as well. Whether it was the wall of Northland magnets by the Connect Team, the constantly busy coffee and donut stand, the floor decals, the “Fully Alive” photo booth, or the massive art installation above the Welcome Desk, there was a presence and an energy inside the Worship Center that made this weekend feel a bit more magnanimous than any other weekend in August.

That nod toward the celebratory was no accident.

“There has been so much excitement about the new season we are in and the story God is writing here at Northland,” says Rebecca Lang, groups director, Adult Equipping project manager and special events project manager. “We did not want to miss the opportunity to capitalize on collaborating across all our ministries to ensure we were creating a complete experience for every congregant that worshiped with us for launch weekend.”

Making sure the congregation understood the magnitude of the weekend was of utmost importance. To that point, Lang adds, “We wanted that to begin as they were driving in, walking up to the sanctuary, in worship and as they left. We wanted to put some tangible things in place that spoke to the passion, enthusiasm and energy that have been rumbling in all of us on staff.”

That notable difference complemented an energetic and inspired worship team as well as a thought-provoking and impacting sermon from Pastor Matt. Buttressed by each of those catalytic trappings, the weekend was buzzing with energy, enthusiasm and an abundance of smiles.

In the sermon, Pastor Matt taught us that God invites us into a story that reclaims us, into a wholeness that restores us, and into a battle that refines us.

“This is an exciting time at Northland as we enter into a new season and explore what it means to live out our new vision,” Connections coordinator Michelle Rattigan says. “I love that everyone gets to be involved and plays a role in this next season, from the staff to the volunteers to the congregants. Every part of the church body has an important role in living out this new vision. We are all in this together, and that is what we wanted everyone to feel this weekend.”

Looking back on the weekend, Lang and Rattigan each have their own meaningful takeaways.

“My favorite moment was looking around the foyer and seeing everyone engaging with each other, whether it was taking pictures at the photo booths, enjoying coffee [and] donuts together, talking to first-time guests at the New to Northland corner, or passing out magnets,” Rattigan says. “It was a total team effort, and it was so fun to see everyone involved and engaging together as a church family.”

Lang, however, points toward the sermon. “If I really had to think about what gave me goose bumps, it would be when Pastor Matt said in his sermon, ‘Do you know how many people we have to help Northland in this turnaround? Enough.’ Man, I was floored! It was a powerful moment and a reminder to me that God is enough, no matter how many of us there are. After all, 2 Corinthians tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. We simply can’t do it without Him.”

Acknowledging that we cannot do it without Him is something the congregation will need to do as it carries forward the vision statement to this congregation, our own neighborhoods and Central Florida as a whole.

If we, as a congregation, can hold on to the kinetic and dynamic impact of Vision Weekend, we can make this autumn season and 2019 a transformative and impacting time for Northland and His Kingdom. As a congregation, we need to commit to doing His good, acceptable and perfect will day by day.

As Pastor Matt reminded us, we were all created to be fully alive in Jesus. When we embrace that commitment, we are embracing a life filled with beauty, wonder and power. May we, as a congregation, never lose sight of the fact that the scope of the gospel is more than just the forgiveness of our sins and a ticket to Heaven. May each of us live every day being fully alive in Him!