Lessons from a Launch Party

((photo credit))

Last night, my department at Pine Cove had a party to celebrate three things:  Christmas, Amy Waters, and Lance Sisco. Amy and Lance are both prominent leaders here, and both are heading out to new ventures. Amy to full-time counseling, and Lance to Watermark Church in Dallas.

Our Executive Director of Ministries, Kevin East, wrote a blog post over a year ago titled Our Staff Rarely Leave. I still remember reading it, and being impressed by our philosophy of “launching people.”

“We don’t want our staff to leave. We want them to be launched. There is a difference.  When staff leave, they have fulfilled their time with the organization.  They have done their job.  Their time is up.  They pack up, and move on.”

Last night I got to see this in action. As much as I hate change, I just could not help seeing the joy in these movements. Here is what I learned:


1. Launch parties are fun.

When you get a bunch of camp program people together, it is bound to be entertaining. I have not laughed that hard in a while! We had a guys vs. girls battle of original Christmas games invented by Kevin East himself! I work with fun people. There were tears later, but we enjoyed getting to celebrate.

2. Launching is cool.

We know these people that are leaving well, and we believe in them. We are confident that their new roles are perfect for them. It is encouraging to see them continue to follow the Lord in the way He has wired them. I love the emphasis we truly do place on the launching vs. the leaving.

3. Investment is worth celebrating.

Lance Sisco, leaving his role as the Ranch camp director, is leaving a legacy. It was almost overwhelming to listen to person after person share about how Lance has specifically invested in him or her. My favorite comment explained the type of shepherd he is.

“You have shepherded us well. And now our shepherd is leaving. But I don’t feel lost. I don’t feel lost because you weren’t leading us to yourself. You led us to know and follow Christ. I am not lost.”

Wow. Isn’t that the goal? What an example he set!

4. A solid marriage is crucial.

While staffers were sharing how Lance has impacted them, there was not a single comment that did not include his wife, Mandy. I can speak from experience that Mandy has invested at least as much into girls in her time here. More than that though, these comments were proof that they are a strong ministry team. We emphasize who to marry, qualities to look for, how to serve your spouse, etc, but I love the team aspect Lance and Mandy have shown us. This is something I have begun to pray for personally. I know each of them is more effective in their ministry because of the other, and I want a marriage like that. (You can follow them at the Sisco family blog)

5. Faith requires mobility.

This is something Kevin mentioned last night, and I love this simple truth. Change is hard. Leaving and moving is hard. Yet faith is active, and as we follow Christ, we trust Him. We know that He has us. We move, and we trust Him.

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