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Why Las Vegas?

We made the trip to Vegas to launch our website at the largest adult expo in the country, fully expecting to be kicked out once they realized what we were about. We hadn’t even considered coming back the following year. After all, no one was talking about leaving jobs and pursuing XXXchurch full time. Spend a few days in Vegas, come back home, and the website will just run itself.

Within a few days everything changed. Understated, outsmarted, and underfinanced, we knew we could never compete with the 70 billion dollar a year sex industry. But then we realized, we didn’t have to compete, we just needed to show up.
whylasvegas
The question I hear often is, “Why Las Vegas?” Here is my answer.

I can remember driving to Las Vegas on January 8th, 2002. An idea birthed over Chinese food several months earlier now had us headed to Sin City in a rented van packed with displays, equipment, and my wife in the front seat. We would only have to come once, and that would put XXXchurch.com on the map. We made the trip to Vegas to launch our website at the largest adult expo in the country, fully expecting to be kicked out once they realized what we were about. We hadn’t even considered coming back the following year. After all, no one was talking about leaving jobs and pursuing XXXchurch full time. Spend a few days in Vegas, come back home, and the website will just run itself.

Within a few days everything changed. Understated, outsmarted, and underfinanced, we knew we could never compete with the 70 billion dollar a year sex industry. But then we realized, we didn’t have to compete, we just needed to show up.

Just show up. Jesus said to, “Go.” He never called us to play it safe. Where He goes, we’re to follow. And the thing is, He goes to the least expected places. So why isn’t the church in the darkest places? Perhaps we’ll send a group into those places for a weekend, but why don’t we show up more often? Why don’t we show up and stay?

We  headed back to the place where it all started. Every year we head back to Vegas for the porn show in January.  This year we stayed. We’ve been asking the question: What could this ministry look like if it were on the ground in Las Vegas? What if the over 189,000-plus hotel rooms of the Strip were XXXchurch’s backyard? What if the Church showed up in Sin City? Not in the burbs… but on the Strip?

Have we lost our minds? Possibly. Will this work? Well, we realize we could fail miserably but often the biggest reward comes when we put everything on the line and attempt something so great, it will take God to make it succeed. To show up. To bring a church with three XXX’s to a place where XXX is expected and encouraged.

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Our tag line, slogan, motto, phrase is SHOW UP. Sixteen of us including kids are now in Las Vegas with a few more to come still. We don’t have a church building. We don’t have a worship leader. We do have the support of several churches. We have the support of a great local church in Vegas called South Hills. We have a team of people that will show up.

I know a lot of guys who have planted churches. Some only want to go where they are comfortable. Some only look where their wife is okay with. Some use planting as a way to get out of a bad current ministry job. Some want to just run away. How did we land on Vegas?

I felt God tell me to stay last year at the porn show. I prayed about it. I talked to my wife about it. I shared the vision with the team about Vegas. Months later 3 houses sold in Grand Rapids, Michigan and we were off with all of our stuff in a semi and a caravan to Vegas. I think God can use you wherever. Big or a small city. I don’t think planting should be too comfortable. It has to come with risks. It is going to be uncomfortable. The best is when it does not make a whole lot of sense on paper. I think the doors are open. I don’t wait for God to open doors. I think they are always open. I would  rather start heading down a path instead of waiting until I think a door is open, I will stop when I visibly see a shut door. What about you?

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