Alexis Madrigal onstage at the 99% Conference. Photo: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM

In an article on recapping their conference this year I was excited to see a quote from Alexis Madrigal, “Don’t found “the next big thing,” found “the next big culture.”  It encouraged me because it was like a pat on the back that we at Open Life deserve by accident!

When we set out to launch Open Life we began in our home, then set our sites on launching a service in the Regal Theater in Bonney Lake on Jan. 10, 2010.  One of the things we wanted to do was not launch a service but launch a movement, not a church but a “culture.”  (Much harder said than done!) To project this to the community in the venue we were launching in we placed a video in the Regal that would play before movies began.  Expensive, but cool to see!

Using smart marketing strategy our opening video on January 10, 2010 was a variation of the original marketing piece that aired in the theater.  Knowing words matter we thought long and hard about our future and who we would be, what people we would connect with and how we would fulfill our vision for Open Life within the community, region and Northwest.  Here are the words we labored long and hard over:  Open Life, church for the rest of us, what if church was not a place, but a culture. Where people belong by being who they are. It’s about life, all of life, real life. Doing life together, living life open. (and with a crescendo in the music and cool graphics we hit the point) THIS CULTURE BEGINS NOW.  We are the culture, regular people in Bonney Lake.  We are that church. Welcome to the open culture.

Looking back…honestly speaking in faith.  How could we claim to be culture shaping and creatives before even pushing start on our mission within the world?  Every word in that video made me nervous because it was a audacious claim.  That we would be more than a church, but a culture.

Now, two years later, I hear the same cutting edge encouragement being taught to the worlds most creative people in New York at the 99% conference and it makes me leap with joy that God gave us this instinct two years ago…ahead of the culture and not catching up.  That is not something said of churches very often.

Although it has been hard charting new territory and discovering the pains of a fresh approach to leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus we have seen a culture impacting result.  We are not just shaping the future pattern for churches starting in new communities, but we are shaping the culture in the business communities within our area.  I believe our impact is just barely beginning and the difference we will make right in the center of culture will continue to be absolutely mind blowing to those who have the opportunity to jump in and experience the open culture!