Saturday, 11:15 AM. We snuck to Mellow Mushroom to wolf down some pizza before the set up team arrived.

These are my people.

This is the team that I get to do shoulder-to-shoulder ministry with on a regular basis. There are more people beyond this team: more that I love, more that I respect, more that I’m honored to serve alongside, but this is the core, in-the-trenches, alpha team that I depend on and trust in and want to give a public thank you to today.

Events like Church At The Ballpark can bring out the best or worst in teams. We learn more about each other’s work styles, personality traits, character flaws, and heroic efforts than we’d have the opportunity to do in any other forum. If one gear in the machine fails, we all feel it. If one team member goes above and beyond, we all benefit from it.

Several times over the last few weeks, people asked me if I was stressed over the Ballpark event. After all, it’s a one-shot, make-or-break, win-or-lose deal. There were no do-overs or take-backs.

And my honest answer? “I’m a little panicked that I have nothing to panic about.”

That answer was possible because of five people that were the unsung heroes of the guest services / baptism element of Church At The Ballpark. Will you indulge me in a little gratitude fest? From left to right in the photo above:

Josh LawrenceJosh is my special events volunteer coordinator. He managed to oversee a sign up list of 1300+ volunteers for the overall event. He fielded questions that had already been answered, special requests that were almost impossible to fulfill, and last minute cancellations that made him scramble to shuffle the decks. He owned that Google spreadsheet like a boss, and made every volunteer feel like their request or email was the first and only one he’d ever received.

Clayton GreeneIn my first impressions cranium, Clayton is the frontal lobe. Or the hypothalamus. Or another part that I don’t actually know what it means, but it’s probably important. (And he’s cringing right now because he’s actually a medical person and knows I’m outside my element.) Clayton knows what I’m thinking before I say it. He’s got a plan before I ask for it. He takes all of my random chaotic options and tell me which one is the best and why. He gets guest services at a heart level, and makes our team 400% better.

Kristy BurgessKristy is the glue that holds our group together. An administrative assistant extraordinaire, she could single handedly lay out a plan to invade three small countries before noon. She’s never met a budget, spreadsheet, or system that she couldn’t tame into color-coordinated submission. Over the last six months she’s had to juggle the changes and reboots that come with an event of this magnitude. She keeps every last one of us focused on the big win and helps us remember how all the pieces fit.

David TalbertI don’t know a more humble, gracious pastor than David. He carried the burden of planning for hundreds of baptisms, and ensuring that every one of them would feel like a personalized experience. David prays by name for every name that comes through our processes, whether it’s on-the-spot baptisms or the monthly Starting Point event. He is a logistical genius, and knew down to the minute how long to plan for “x” amount of baptisms. Every towel, baptism t-shirt, and tank appeared on that field because of David’s leadership.

Bradley NorrisUtility man. Numbers cruncher. Overboard OCD. Those are just a few things that describe the guy who took a stadium map and figured out how to place over 11,500 people in seats as quickly as possible, how many offering buckets were needed per section, and how many volunteers it would take to manage such a crowd. Bradley kept detailed stats down to the level of excruciating pain for a non-numbers guy like me. But once I turned over the seating team to Bradley, I knew that I could keep my hands off of it. He owned it all.

Oh, and I should mention that with the exception of Kristy and David, none of these guys are full time. Even David just transitioned to a full time role two weeks before Ballpark went down. That’s right – they all made the event happen over the course of evenings and weekends on top of their full time jobs that actually pay a few bills…oh, and on top of already overseeing their respective ministry areas on a weekly basis, and on top of being husbands to Janessa, Kristen, Katie, and daddy to Cara (you’ll have to figure out who goes with whom). I find that remarkable.

So Summit Church, would you join me in thanking them? Most of your “wow” moments this weekend came as a result of their tireless labor over the last few months. You can do that by commenting below or tossing some love their way on their Twitter accounts (linked above).