Drive Conference – Final Thoughts

Tina and I are finally happily back in NYC.  It’s so refreshing to be home.

After three days with the wonderful folks at Northpoint at their Drive Conference, here are some of my concluding thoughts.

1) Northpoint fosters a Creative, Innovative Culture – In some ways, they remind me of Apple.  I know, this sounds a bit strange, but in terms of their bent towards excellence, coolness, fun-factor, and business acumen, they know what they do well, and boy, do they do it well.  Their Sunday event, media production, use of technology, volunteer mobilization, family stuff, and small group stuff is stellar.  They used a term “creativity with constraints”, and they demonstrated as much over the past couple of days.  They don’t have sports ministries, or women’s conferences, or church-wide theological seminars, but there’s a reason behind it, and I respect and admire that there is clarity within the organization about what it’s goal is, and they work tirelessly toward that goal.

Meanwhile, I can’t think of a church that does the above list (Sunday, media, etc) more excellently than Northpoint.

We felt like we were at a high-tech concert and at Disneyland.  But, it was a church run mostly by volunteers and highly motivated/talented staff. Crazy.

2) At the same time, NP’s Excellence doesn’t seem Overstated – There are some things that NP has that is state-of-the-art.  But for the most part, it’s kind of a plain old campus, movable chairs in the auditorium that aren’t super comfortable, and really down to earth staff members and volunteers who are approachable and friendly.

Normally I have an allergy to mega-church culture because of the perceived extravagance, and I’m sure many others share the same cautious attitude.

For some reason though, NP doesn’t strike me as opulent.  Sure, they have resources that most of us can only dream of, but again, they seem to pool their resources to effectively fulfill their mission, which the numbers (at least) indicate they are doing very well.  I talked to some of their admin folks for a long time, and it was so encouraging to hear about their budget strategies, etc.

At the end of the day, they’re still a non-profit who is trying to allocate their resources to the best of their ability and call.

3)  NP has a really Cool Vibe – It seems like there’s a lot of young 20-30 something staff members who love working there and have lots of fun.  I can see why people would want to be part of their team.

4)  We have a Lot to Learn from NP about Clarity and Strategy – Again, they do this so well, and organizationally it seemed like the entire staff used the same terminology and could clearly articulate their mission and where they each stood in relation to that mission.

5)  Andy Stanley is a Tremendous Leader/Communicator – This kind of goes without saying, but NP is full of incredible leaders.  Andy Stanley is the leader of these leaders, and his talks on leadership reveal that he has a particular ilk toward training others well.  It probably helps that he’s also a gifted speaker.

His talks that began and finished the conference were clear, convincing, and insightful.

6)  NP is Generous in Wanting to Give Away their Methods – Please check out this website – www.insidenorthpoint.org.  Wow.  Even by hosting a conference that is essentially an invitation to come and see what’s made them successful in fulfilling their mission, they are wanting to give themselves away.  That’s so cool and helpful.  I was particularly blessed by the experience because NP thrives in areas where I have a lot to learn (organization, strategy, leadership, etc).  I can think of many other churches I’d want to learn from, but I don’t know if they are as accessible with conferences like Drive and web resources like insidenorthpoint.org.

7)  All in all, I LOVED the conference – The pace, the laughter, the snacks, the accessibility of staff, the worship, bumping into old friends, making new friends, the welcoming environment, the inside look into how things are done in another setting – I can go on and on.

Granted, I loved the experience more because I got to share it with my wife, which was a treat for us.

She’s actually more energized than I was, this being her first church conference.

Thanks, Northpoint, for a super encouraging three days.

And thanks to all the staff, especially my boy Chris who we got to hang out with and share some great conversation.

One of the videos shown at the conference with a special cameo by Chris. Hilarious.

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12 responses to “Drive Conference – Final Thoughts

  1. Glad to hear you and Tina had such an inspiring time. There’s no harm in drinking the Kool-Aid, especially if you’re thirsty.

  2. Great post. I was at Drive and it really opened my eyes to things I can do to help our church. I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the staff and the overall commitment to excellence.

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  6. I was looking for “reviews” on the Drive Conference and found this post.
    I was thinking of going to next year’s conference in March. I’m way out in Tampa FL. Do you think it would be wise to take some church members along?
    Thanks!

    • Hi JS-

      Yes, I’d highly recommend taking a team! I wish more folks from our team could have come along… this is a great conference to bring others to because different ministries of an entire church is highlighted. We can’t attend this year because we’re hosting our own conference the same week.

      NP is obviously a megachurch with lots of resources so it can easily be a bit overwhelming, but I think the systems and strategies they employ are easily translatable to different contexts. I’m a huge fan, and I wouldn’t mind going to this conference every year as long as it didn’t conflict with ours!

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  8. I am glad I came. What a wonderful experience.

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