This past year we have embarked on a new VITAL journey. Rather than planning and carrying out a new 3-day event once a year in the Chicago area, we are now holding regional 1-day VITAL events all over the country. The purpose of the event is more focused: to find and inspire people who would like to start Q Places and church leaders who would like to start Q Place Ministries. We found a ministry friend in Hugh Halter, who shared his experience and challenged the attendees at each VITAL event—to rethink what it could look like to live out their faith in ways that truly touch the lives of people around them. This past year we held the flagship event in the Chicago area, and then we took it to Detroit, to the San Francisco Bay Area, and to Seattle.
For the past several years, a group of Navigators from the Detroit area has attended VITAL events in Chicago. On February 21, VITAL finally went to them! Around 150 people were there, fully engaged, taking it all in, wanting to do this. The ground had been well tilled by Roger Van Noord and his local Navigators team; they had prayed greatly for the event and by the day’s end, the Holy Spirit led 67 people to sign a card to take the next step toward starting a Q Place!
The night before, Highland Park Baptist Church hosted VITAL Work as the kick-off to launch their new workplace ministry called “9 to 5.” Most of the eighty who came were younger adults. Four presenters gave short talks on different aspects of faith at work, and a video showed the impact of a Bible reading group that Roger Van Noord started in his workplace. Table discussion times throughout the evening were lively with shared insights.
In “9 to 5,” Christians in workplaces will form triads, study The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations, and then start Q Places with people where they work. Many who attended VITAL Work were already prepared to form their triads! Please continue to pray for all the Q Places that will begin as a result of VITAL Work and VITAL!
VITAL: San Francisco Bay Area
On Thursday March 12, WestGate Church hosted VITAL: San Francisco Bay Area. Mary Schaller, John Crilly, Jeff Klein, and the entire Western Regional Team did a great job showing church leaders how to reach out to people far from God. As in all of the regional VITAL events so far, Hugh Halter came alongside us with talks that showed the impact of living relationally with people in community so that they are drawn to Jesus.
We had 121+ attendees, and at the end 33 people signed cards to express their interest in starting Q Places or pray about starting Q Places. Several churches brought entire teams. Church of the Chimes brought 27 people, Fremont Community Church brought seven, and First Presbyterian Church of San Mateo came with ten!
And there is already fruit: Twenty-eight people are currently going through phone and live training to start Q Places in the West region. One of them is a physical trainer who has formed a triad with two other believers. She has already thought of 14 people in her network that she could invite to the Q Place that they plan to start in the fall of 2015. Another attendee is forming a triad at the Gap Store where he works, in San Francisco.
The night before VITAL, 75+ people attended VITAL Work. Five speakers from the Silicon Valley shared 8-minute messages on faith in the marketplace. Speakers included Sanjay Poonen of VMware, Deborah Liu of Facebook, Skip Vaccarello of Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast, Tom Sweet of Keysight Technologies, and Hugh Halter.
The impact of these events was so great that we immediately received a request from two pastors to bring VITAL to the East San Francisco Bay Area this fall! The date is set for October 22, 2015 at Community Presbyterian Church of Danville.
We’re praising God for His work!
Putting on a VITAL event takes many people and months of planning. When Q Place brought VITAL to Seattle, Susan Burbank, NW regional leader, was delighted to see how God raised up the volunteers that were needed.
Susan was having lunch with Laura Carlson, a Q Place initiator, when Laura asked Susan how she could be a promoter for Q Place and help build the ministry in the Northwest. Another friend of Susan’s, Becky Henchman, writes a blog about the importance of building relationships with our neighbors. She was having coffee with Susan when she mentioned that along with her passion for writing, she also thrives on putting on large events! Then, a member of Susan’s Q Place offered to help with the food. It was amazing! In this way, God provided a triad of volunteers to promote VITAL in the Northwest, coordinate logistics, and manage the food for the event.
Over the next several months of meeting and planning, this team invited others to help and to come to VITAL. On March 26, there were 166 folks registered for the event! Among them were chaplains from the local YMCA and a Christian College as well as church staff and lay leaders who were interested in how to equip their folks to engage people in our culture today. In the end, 65 people signed up to take the next step toward starting a Q Place!
Those individuals are participating in weekly coaching sessions, and Susan has also kept the conversation going with leaders who came to VITAL, so that they can envision plans to help their churches and organizations practice The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations and start Q Places.
Through VITAL: Seattle, God raised up a team of team of volunteers who are now even more supportive of this ministry; the event spread the vision of Q Place to 166 people; and now many of them are being equipped with training and resources to engage people around them in ongoing discussions about God.