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Larry Brey visit Recap

It's Wednesday and I'm on a plane to Knoxville, TN via ATL to see one of our great partner churches. This past week has been a whirlwind week! God has been more than gracious to us.

On Friday and Saturday we were beyond blessed to have with us Mr. Larry Brey of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. I've been around the church world for over 10 years since time as a volunteer at TRBC. There are very few churches like Elevation. There are very few leaders like Pastor Steven Furtick and there are next to no church cultures like the team assembled at Elevation. God is doing a very unique work in Charlotte through this group of men and women.

Last year I had the honor of visiting Elevation's office during my south east road trip with TheBaltimoreProject.com. My time with Elevation was of the highlights of my year. Pastor Furtick was generous enough to take a few minutes with me, Chunks Corbett, their Executive Pastor took a few hours over lunch and Mr. Larry Brey, their Connections Pastor spent several hours pouring into me. Prior to my visit this team knew next to nothing about me. I understand they made a call or two to some friends to verify who I was but I was not given nearly a day of their attention because of anything about me. I was given time because they are a gracious church who wants to share what God did through them.

During the visit with all of the leaders I was able to spend time with I did not ask about pipe and drape or where they buy their projectors or how they make their stage look cool. I spent my time trying to understand the "why" behind the "how". My philosophy is that anyone can make a stage 'cool' but not everyone can see a move of God on their watch. I wanted the wisdom that comes with a move of God. Not man's wisdom, but that piece of knowledge that spurs everything else.

That day I observed a team like I hadn't seen before. There was a cultural difference about the place. That cultural difference in my opinion comes from a culture of honor. Elevation has a few spices that make the flavor of what they do very unique among the church planting culture of today. One of those spices is honor.

Honor at Elevation is honor up/down/left/right... they bleed honor.

Bringing Larry Brey in was huge for our team. He doesn't do this every weekend. Again, he did not join us because we gave him a ton of cash (we didn't) or because we are so special (we're not), Mr. Brey came because Pastor Steven Furtick has encouraged his team to share freely with others. They remember when they were just getting started. Again, I am humbled and honored that Elevation has open hands with the blessing God is pouring out and it is such a privilege to have them invest in us.

I'm not going to get into the details of what Larry shared with us. Many of these principles can be learned by attending an Elevation event such as IMPART. I had the privilege of attending THR3E in April and it was like drinking from a fire hose. As an aside: To be honest I'm not a fan of guys whining about the cost of training events like this. Sell your TV if you believe God has called you and you believe what they have to say is a great investment. Too many people want a steak dinner for the price of a happy meal. Okay, that's off my chest.

What I will say about Mr. Brey's visit is that he is an encourager beyond belief. He teaches to the heart and he digs deep to make certain our team - all of us - are counting and have counted the cost. He asked challenging questions and he affirmed often. During our time with him we literally laughed, some cried and all of us hurt our hands trying to scribble enough down to keep up with the powerful lessons he shared.

I'd imagine we could catch more of the Niagra Falls with our open mouth than what could be crammed into our brains over the two days from the wisdom Larry shared.
Another aspect of Larry's visit that was unique is the speed and repetition with which he reminded us that he was not the author of the wisdom. He gave so much credit to Pastor Furtick and said "I have the easy job, I just hit 'record' when I'm with Pastor and I hit 'play' when I'm with you."

Pastor Furtick thank you again for blessing us by affirming your team as they share with others. Thank you for believing in us and thank you for imparting wisdom to people like Larry Brey so they can bring it to the far reaches of the nation. Baltimore will be blessed because of your investment.

Mr. Larry Brey, thank you. Thank you for believing in our team and for teaching us the many valuable lessons we will need in moments, days and weeks to come. For our opening service our team implemented several of your suggestions immediately and we saw a big payoff. One example is that Drew gathered more parking team members and gave a speech to our parking guys that Vince Lombardi would be proud of. Our team was on fire for our opening day because of the investment you made. We are carrying those lessons forward as we prepare for week 2.

Again, thank you!

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, October 07, 2009

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