I have a Q Place that used to meet on Sunday afternoons in space that our church plant rented from a teen center in our city. One Sunday, an hour before our start time, two of the three ladies I was scheduled to pick up canceled. So I altered my departure time in order to make that last pick up and still arrive at the building in plenty of time. When we arrived, my co-initiator, Jenny, who is also our worship pastor’s wife, was already there with the key to the building, but she couldn’t remember the passcode for the building’s security alarm. We tossed numbers back and forth, but our memories were not serving us well that hot afternoon. We tried to call and text our husbands, who, after a busy Sunday morning, were both taking a nap.
After two other ladies arrived (one who had never attended our group before), Jenny drove the few blocks to her home to wake up her husband. I encouraged the ladies to join me on the cement steps in the heat while I tried to keep my composure and chat with them (no small feat for a natural-born introvert).
Five minutes later, Jenny returned with the passcode and handed me the key so I could do the “honors.” I quickly walked around to the back of the building, unlocked the door, and entered the passcode. Then I walked through the building to the front door, unlocked it, and let the ladies in. We were barely all inside the building when we were jolted by the alarm. Realizing I must have made a mistake in entering the passcode, I darted back to the security panel. With every step the alarm grew louder, until I needed to cover my ears. I pressed buttons wildly, to no avail. Jenny joined me, and we both pushed buttons while simultaneously calling our spouses for help—neither answered. Finally, miraculously, something we did stopped the alarm.
We returned to the front of the building and let in all the ladies who had now gathered outside. We were all laughing when we finally sat down. My ears were ringing as I tried to regain my composure and start the meeting. We had just managed a round of ice-breaker questions from The Complete Book of Questions when one of the ladies within eyesight of the front door said, “The cops are here!”
Sure enough, the alarm had alerted the police. We explained that we were a women’s Bible study group—and then we offered donuts. The officer took down all of MY information—because I was the one who set off the alarm.
After the officer left, we joked about police blotters and mug shots, and then resumed our discussion. At the end of the meeting, I tried to joke about the whole thing and said I hoped they all would return next week and not let the incident with the police stop them. The new person to our group said, “I thought it was all very exciting!”
Are you feeling ill-equipped to start a Q Place? At our first meeting, Jenny made snacks that no one ate due either to dinnertime or diet restrictions. At our second meeting, we had the police there as well, to escort one of our participants to her son, who was in custody because he was threatening suicide. This was our third meeting, and I am truly amazed that people keep coming back, but they do. At our fourth meeting, there were seven of us —the largest group yet! We continue to meet weekly, with an average of 6-8 people a week. And the woman whose first time was when the alarm went off and the cops came? She attends almost every week, and attends our services almost every week as well, AND she and her husband volunteer for almost every service project we do! You don’t have to plan the perfect Q Place to get started—you just have to step out and start it, and God will take care of the rest.
Q Place Office Manager