Creating a Culture of Sacrifice
How do you explain the sacrificial culture of Elevation Church that has been a part of our DNA ever since those first 7 families uprooted their lives and went all in? How do you explain the effects of the radical generosity of those first few families that gave 20% of their income to the work of the Lord from day one?
(BACKSTORY: We didn’t want to hurt the church that was sending us by taking our tithe away from them in the months before we planted Elevation, so we gave 10% of our income to our sending church, and an additional 10% to the new work.)
Some of those original families worked 2 full time jobs in the first 8 months: their main job as an Elevation staff member (for free) and their other 40 hour a week job that put food on the table. How do you communicate the significance of that? Where does that show up on the spreadsheet? Or the launch plan?
We offer an experience called Backstage: Elevation that allows church plant teams to come observe a Sunday at Elevation, beginning at 5am, when the first set up team at our Central campus arrives.
They always want to know: How do you get these volunteers to show up at 5am, so happy and willingly… almost giddy? Why do they work so hard?
It’s in the culture. You are seeing the extrapolation of an expectation that was embedded from day one. Every original staff member started as a volunteer. It’s in our blood! And it’s not just the staff members…
During our launch team phase, we had a couple that would drive an hour and a half one way to our meetings to provide nursery for the 6 kids that were there. At their own expense. Thanks Trever and Caley.
(I could tell you 20 more stories and thank 20 more people just like this, but it would get redundant, and you all know who you are.)
Our original core team understood that we were a part of the most critical enterprise on the planet, and that when it came time to sacrifice, anything less than excess was unacceptable.
When you model that kind of obsession with excellence, not just in theory, but compounded with the sacrificial commitment to make it happen, it is duplicated and imparted into the next wave of people who join your church.
And the next.
And the next.
The culture of sacrifice is highly contagious.
The effect is an undeniable and intangible spiritual dynamic that can’t be compensated for by layers and layers of church growth veneer.
Looking back, I’m so thankful that no organization provided major funding for the launch of Elevation Church.
It made us hungry, scrappy, and sacrificial.
And those three cultural elements have been much more beneficial than hundreds of thousands of dollars in start up money could ever be.