Earlier this week I met with a family who is considering a move to Kansas City to be a part of IHOP-KC. They’re amazing people with a viable ministry right where they are, a vibrant family, and plenty of promise.
I have this meeting – or a meeting very close to this – about five to ten times a year with different people. I do my best to give these sorts of folks the most time I can because it seems like yesterday that I was clamoring for a meeting like it.
Nine years ago, I talked myself into a coffee appointment with Allen Hood, Ed Hackett and Stuart Greaves. We were pondering a move to Kansas City. We ultimately didn’t make the move for another 18 months, but I had questions that needed to be answered – not by brochures or even 20 year olds, but by people with families and life experience.
I wanted to know what I was getting into and what it looked like.
In that meeting, I didn’t get the answers that I hoped for. In fact, I got answers to questions I wasn’t asking. It was frustrating at the time, but in retrospect, it was helpful. My guess is I’ve frustrated my share of people now that I’m on the other side of the table.
Here are a few things I always tell people to consider before they rent the truck.
Come without clarity on your role.
Usually you would never consider a family move without knowing exactly what you’re going to do when you get somewhere. You’d want a job description, expectations, goals, measurables, etc. to make a decision and to drive you when things got hard. A role at IHOP is a horrible reason to move to IHOP because a) roles change and b) they’re all secondary. Move here for the prayer room. If you would be happy – not just satisfied, but happy – to be here and only do the prayer room, then you might be a great fit. If you will only be happy in a specific work role outside the prayer room, I can almost guarantee you’ll be unhappy in six months.
Raise funds before you come.
I believe in miracles. I also believe in avoiding the necessity of a miracle if it is within my power. In other words, work hard and then trust God. I have seen a lot of people, full of faith but short on foresight, hear the word of the Lord and move, then not have enough money to so much as rent a house when they get here.
If God has been leading you here all your life, He will probably have the patience to allow you a few weeks or months to do some hard core fund raising. Almost no one believes it but it is easier to raise at home than it is once you get here. Kelsey and I actually recruited a team – good friends who loved us, believed in us, and honestly were a little scared for us – to help us raise a six month cushion and some monthly support. Eight years later, only one of those supporters continues to regularly contribute. We’ve had to continually cultivate new ones – but we would never have made it without the advance work and are very grateful for those people who sowed into us in those early days.
Come and do an internship.
Many people feel too old or too experienced to do an internship but I have seen a marked difference in those who go through one and those who do not. Those who do not often fall through the cracks, become discouraged or just disconnected from the whole.
The Intro to IHOP program is 2 three month tracks. You can do one or both. Doing the first track goes far to orient you to life on a missions base like ours.
Additionally, Intro prepares you for being on staff at IHOP-KC. Back in the day, if there was a specific need, they would occasionally allow someone to enter staff without Intro. I was asked to step into a management role immediately based on my experience and found myself at the leadership table asking all sorts of “why” questions….things that were answered daily in Intro. Hindsight is 20/20 and we no longer allow people to circumvent Intro. I was probably the straw that broke that camel’s back.
Come for your kids.
Hey you there. In your 40’s, a little disappointed in your ministry exposure and wondering if this is the platform where you will finally find your place. Wake up and smell the Sanka. This isn’t about you.
This is about your kids. This is about changing their normal. IHOP-KC is a great place to see your kids immersed in a culture of prayer, surrounded by 20 year olds who love God. It’s a great place for them to learn to pray, prophesy, study and minister.
Looking at my older sons – now 18 and 14 – they think it’s normal to serve the hundreds and thousands who visit this place every year. They usher, hang signs, flip burgers, carry luggage, and generally bust their hind end all summer so that other teens can encounter God….and then join those kids at the altar to encounter God for themselves.
I can’t wait to see what this place does to my younger ones who have never known anything any different.
The door is open.
Do your homework, do it right, and join us in maintaining a 24/7 watch before the Lord, impacting the world from a little refurbed grocery store in south Kansas City.
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