Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fifteen hour days away from changed lives

15 Hour Days Posted by Picasa

Twice a year, I have the extreme priviledge to volunteer for Promise Keepers, a Christian men's ministry. Even though I was on staff from 1996 through 2000, the value of seeing men radically impacted by this ministry is so compelling that I always make time to participate as an unpaid volunteer. This ministry, now in its fifteenth year has reached nearly 5.6 million men. Rest assured, it is not because Promise Keepers is great, but because God is. For those critics out there who bash this ministry, unless you've been to a Promise Keepers event or born of the Spirit, you won't be able to comprehend what I'm talking about...

It takes about 850 volunteers and 6 months worth of preparation to execute with excellence an arena based Promise Keepers event. I remember when I came on staff, I was tasked with the 1996 Memphis Promise Keepers conference "Break Down The Walls" at the Liberty Bowl. Wasn't much of a manual around to refer to - but I remember in my prayer time, the Lord was dialoging in my heart - "Kerry, you like doing Super Bowl parties right?" "When you have 100 guys over, what are some of the things you do to prepare for it?" After thinking about all the preparations that guests would need to enjoy a fun filled day, I remember God just speaking to my heart and His response was - "Just do the math!"

Simple enough - 100 guys to 53,000 guys - do the math!

Supposedly Albert Einstein said, "Whenever you get a simple answer to a very complex problem, you know that God just spoke to you."

And needless to say, building great teams of leaders who replicate themselves down the line is one of the greatest joys of volunteering for Promise Keepers. I am so grateful for the Howards, Bobs, Daves, Freds, Tims, Ricks, Jeffs and many other pastors, business leaders, ministry leaders, men and women that I met through this ministry from coast to coast - to this day, my deepest friendships have been born out of co-laboring together for 15 hours stretches - because in the end, when a man's heart is touched, his family (wife, sons and daughters) are positively impacted as well.

photo by Wayne Armstrong/PK

This weekend, we are assembling at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center to witness a sold out gathering of 14,000 ordinary men, poised and ready to be transformed by God into extraordinary men. Considering that across the river, the Tennessee Titans play the Green Bay Packers for the preseason opener; across town, there is a NASCAR race and yet, Nashville is sold out with a waiting list of 700 tickets. Volunteers are giving of their time, driving in from Florida to Michigan to serve with excellence.

So what is involved? It's very simple - take willing hearts, helping hands and assemble great teams with great leaders and establish some boundaries, bathe the effort with lots of prayer, encouragement, affirmation and more prayer and the rest is up to Almighty God.

The Lord doesn't ask about your ability, only your availability; and, if you prove your dependability, the Lord will increase your capability.

Just a FEW THINGS to consider for SET UP -
Mass Transit Plan / Parking Assignments / VIP / Staff / Handicapped / Bus / RV / Volunteer Recruitment / Production / Clean Up Plan / Parking Passes Ordered - Received / Move-In Schedule / FM Transmission / Equipment List / Golf Carts / Radios / Fork Lifts / Crane / Office Equipment / Tables and Chairs / Pipe and Drape /Phone System / Offering Buckets / Map of Rooms and Assignments / Generators / Signage and Placements / Plywood / Dumpsters / Vehicles / Waste Management Plan / Stage / Sound / Lighting / Verify Breakout Sessions / Contracts: Arena, Carts, Tents, Waste, Etc / Insurance / Permits (Fire Marshall, Traffic, Tents, City Use, Sales Tax, etc) / Concessions to be Open-Where and When / Hospitality Plan / # of Phone Lines Needed / Budget Approval / Offering Plan / Maintain Complete Notebook / Volunteer Teams in Place / Know Their Assignments / Prayer Time / Accountability for Work Completed / Discuss Needs / Talk Through the Problems / Celebrate God's Faithfulness

Just a FEW THINGS to consider before GATES OPEN
Radio-Distribution & Instruction / Signs Hung / Sound System Check / Gate Opening Plan / Tarp and Chairs Set / Production / Satellite Tents / Ministry Tents / Registration Help / Volunteer Check-In / Credentials Set-UP / Host Housing Set-Up / Lost and Found Set-UP / Daily Staff Meetings / Travel Team Arrival / Stage Set-Up / Food (Meals and Snacks) / Volunteer and Staff Accommodations / Hotel Liaison / Close Captioning Equip Check / Clean-Up From 14,000 Meals Served / Pick Up Shuttle Vehicles / Assign Vehicle Drivers / Check Each Room on Floor Plan / TV Monitors Installed / Equipment Storage Checked / Ask for God's Favor and Kindness for all Men Attending

Just a FEW THINGS to consider on EVENT DAY
Gate Security / Packet Distribution / Product Stores Open / Ministry Exhibits Open / Concessions Open / Waste Pick-Up Times / Hotel Shuttles / Meal Distribution (feed 14,000 men in 30 minutes or less with no trash) / Production and Stage / Clean-Up Plan (leave the venue cleaner than move in day) / TEAR DOWN / Carts, Tents, Chairs, Copier Returned / Signs, Pipe, Drapes, Packed / Admin. Room Tear Down / Stage Dismantled / Venue Mgr. Check Out and Thank the Lord for His goodness.

"It takes a lot of people working together really hard but, we're in it for an eternal reward. We're in it for the families, the generations that are affected because of these guys," says Steve Chavis of Promise Keepers.

Read the Nashville Promise Keepers Blog here

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