During my junior year of high school my basketball coach told me that although I would never be a starter on the team, if I worked really hard over the summer, I could be a good 6th man (first person off the bench for those who don’t follow basketball).  Well our little chat inspired, me and I set out to prove him wrong.  So over the summer, I went to basketball camp, played in every pick up game I could find.  Once the summer was over, I didn’t play football, but I would stay after school and work out…I came in early to play two on two games, with another guy on the team, one of my teacher, and the coach.

And when the pre-season write-up came out in the paper, my coach announced that “Bob Wilson would be our starting center.”  Of course with in a week or two, I sprained my ankle, went on to sprain it 6 more times and ended up with bone chips, torn ligaments, and an ankle my orthopedist said looked like the ankle of a 75 year old man who had abused his legs his whole life.

So in other words, my coach was right, I would not be a starter on that team.  And sadly, that isn’t the most inspirational of messages either!

All that to say this; as I looked back on that year of moving from, you’ll never start to winning the starting center position (& yes, I am only 6’1″) the number one thing that I did that year was running stairs.  If you’re not familiar with running stairs, it is exactly what it sounds like…running up stairs, and running down stairs (although without the parent telling you to stop running on the stair:-)

By running stairs a lot, I went from someone who got pretty tired after running just a brief amount to someone who could run a lot.  I wasn’t only starting games in the preseason, the coach was rarely sending in a substitute, because I wasn’t really getting tired.  I also added a few inches to my vertical leap.  (although I still had no hope of ever dunking a basketball-for those of you who followed college basketball in the early 80’s you might remember the Houston Cougars team being called Phi Slamma Jamma…we called our team, Phi-Toucha-Neta).

For those of you here at the Vineyard we talk about stairs a lot…in fact every Sunday message ends with, Next Steps.  All that is based around this idea that no matter where you are in your walk with God, everyone of us has a next step.

Last weekend during our leadership team retreat, we got talking about steps.  In fact I think one of the ideas that excited our leaders the most was imagining what would happen if each person in our church took a next step in there involvement with the Vineyard over the next year.

Think about this:

  • What if each person, that comes regularly on Sunday, and then goes home joined a service team, or a kinship?
  • What if each person serving once in a while began serving 1 hour a week?
  • What if each person who has been part of a service team for a year or two, began taking on some leadership responsibility?
  • What if each person who has been attending a kinship for the past year or more began hosting, leading worship, serving as a kinship coordinator, or perhaps even a kinship leader?
  • What if each person who has never given began giving regularly?
  • What if each person who gave regularly began tithing?
  • What if each person who has never invited someone to church, invited someone?

Imagine if each person who was part of the Ithaca Vineyard, in the next 3 months picked one of those steps and committed to it?  Do you think it would have an impact?  I know our leadership team sure thinks it would!

What would your next step be?