the trips calculated total cost had been set by the core leadership team which was allyster and steven parra. this was set at $120 per person. this price would include all expenditures acquired whilst on the road. well, we were blessed to have the johnson's (brian & wendy) open their home to us. this dropped the price tremendously. we then had the issue of vehicle. none of the members had really wanted to take their own car because of many reasons. thankfully, hannah baker willingly allowed us to take her car cutting our expenditures for a rental car. thank you hannah and austin for not allowing her to talk you out of it.
the trip began on friday morning. allyster was originally supposed to travel with us but had a family engagement, that was priority, so he was out for the ride to kc, but was able to endure it back. steven parra was originally supposed to ride with us to kc but had to work so he opted to fly later on friday and meet us there.
apparently dallas to kc is an 8 hr drive...no one really told us that, and if they had we still wouldn't have cared. it took us a stunning 10 hours...no let me rephrase that we wanted to go at whatever rate we wanted so it lasted 10 hours. stops were limited, i think. i really don't know how many times we stopped but it honestly wasn't that many and we drove nearly 80 the whole way.
we planned on attending and observing some of the activity of the kc ihop and of course the city. all of which was phenomenal and i really think i could live in kansas city...on the missouri side of course. the whole scene of the ihop is pretty interesting to say the least. there are nearly 500 people on staff and the 24/7 prayer room is a blog on its own. but some of my observations from the weekend are what i will post in this blog.
i am a guy who loves seclusion when i study. just ask my wife who ends up watching our kid for the day when i need to do some studying. i also get distracted easily and this technological society that permeates ever state in our union is not making it any easier on me to accomplish deep thought. the ihop is not a contributing factor to my ability to be intimate with jesus. now, i bet if i were in that environment for months on end eventually i would adjust. however, to accomplish this feat over a weekend is insurmountable. there is movement constantly in the facilities. people are constantly moving to and fro and it is very noticeable. the lights are on all the time because i assume many are reading and writing. in addition to movement, there are musicians who are singing songs all the time. this means words that i want to hear and pay attention to. when i am reading a deep passage or am contemplating a deep though it is very hard to process what i am thinking along with what i am hearing. so for me, the house of prayer model in kansas city would not be very conducive to receiving a word from the lord in the manner i find to be effective. the corporate settings are great and wonderful, but are also prone to have many people moving and walking aimlessly around. but i love the people, they are all nice and warm. that, i guess, is the feeling of a community that is constantly and genuinely seeking a god who is passionate for his people.
i truly believe there is a place and time to spend privately with god and receive and be refreshed by him. i also think that part of the mandate is to go out, or reach the community on some level that reveals a god who is just as passionate for those who are NOT apart of a community. others might call this missions. i didn't spend enough time dialoguing with the young man, but an individual named adam joined us momentarily on our travels. he is a guy who has served directly under mike bickle for some time. we had enjoyed a delicious bbq meal and he indulged me in some of the vision of ihop. one of the things i wasn't convinced of was the pressing mission of the gospel to pagans. i didn't get the idea that ihop had a mandate to minister to the local poor. again, however, i spent one weekend in kc so my immediate perception is that they don't have a strategic reach to those whom jesus had talked about in luke 4:18-19 when he was quoting isaiah. this has been the critique on most house of prayer models. what i did like about how adam put it was that the body has different functioning parts. i guess for me, i long to be arms AND legs AND mouth AND ears. maybe that is more of a deficit in my life than anything else. to me it is one thing to speak, preach, and sing about it, and another to actually administer it. i guess the issue is what have you made number one in your life over christ.
i hate to view the stats on young adults ages 18-29 activity in the local church. it saddens me to hear of so many who are serving strongly in their teens to fall off the face of the earth in their post high school years. the ihop does not lack a healthy young adult population. they are certainly grabbing a hold of individuals and instilling in them something i couldn't explain. i am jealous for this, and i wish my own church had this capability. not that i am thinking ihop is better. i think the statistic adam gave me on demographics revealed that nearly 25% of the ihop population was 65 years or older. this is still a big number considering the activity that goes on in the services. another individual i talked to, rebecca, told me that there are certain programs and teachings they have for said generation. i, personally enjoy an older generations involvement in the church community and feel there is a need for them. i do also think that older individuals have a legitimate fear that they will not be valued if a younger generation happens to grow in number. i am still trying to process which is the lesser of two evils. let me explain. on one hand you need the older generation because of their wisdom and experience. a great deal of understanding comes from the grey hair ; ). but on the other hand i foresee a stronger role of dominance. i believe to some extent there will be less of a release of expression for a vibrant younger generation to pursue vision. naturally, when one approaches later stages in life there is a normal reflection of the past and whether or not things were done right or wrong. this is not limited to a biblical worldview. it will, in turn, most definitely influence leadership style, which means a less risky and more conservative way of finding answers and getting things done. the ihop seems to be a little freer and not as direct. they seem to throw out agenda's and worship leaders are then leaders of the congregation and not limited to talented individuals with an instrument who only sing songs. i don't think this approach is very attractive to the older generation. structure, order, an idea of where things are going is the preferred approach i have picked up on when observing the older generation service styles. are either of them wrong? i don't know. i do know what i like and dislike. i can definitely see how young people would really thrive in the environment and temperature that mike bickle and other leadership has set for that church. i do think some of the individuals are escaping something that is unhealthy and retards their spiritual growth or maturation.
overall the city was magnificent. i had the best company and the best experience i could of had for the amount of time to get it.