Ok, let me start by saying I'm a fan. I have several of Pastor Adam's books in my office. I've been to COR three times for the leadership institute. Today, actually just a few minutes ago, Pastor Adam messed me up. I mean shook me to my core. No, no...it's a good thing.
My Myers/Briggs starts out putting me at 90% introverted. I don't think I used to be as bad as I am now. Actually, I think it's gotten worse just in the last couple years. I don't know if it's my career, the way the church is growing, or if I'm just getting older.
I knew, coming to COR this week, that there was going to be a huge crowd, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm guessing a couple thousand folks are here this week. Traffic has been insane. Lunch is crowded...but I expected all of that, so it's ok. I was prepared.
We broke just a little while ago for lunch and the folks at COR had set up several huge tents in between the buildings to feed everybody. The lines were fairly long. The tables were all set up under the tents. Folks were crowding around the box lunch tables. It was a hungry introvert's nightmare. I grabbed my box and looked for a spot in the grass...in the sun...by myself so that I could eat without having a panic attack.
Here's where I got messed up...
I'm sitting there in the sun, enjoying this beautiful first day of October (It really is gorgeous outside), eating my lunch, and just people watching. I'm watching the crowd and think, "Oh hey, there's Adam Hamilton." He was walking around talking to folks, shaking hands, posing for selfies, and smiling. I knew that folks called him an introvert, but here he was, shaking hands with folks (and not even using hand sanitizer). He leads a church that worships 11,000 a weekend. He travels all over the world teaching and preaching. I had heard he was introverted, but he looked like he was actually enjoying what he was doing.
So I watch. Then I watch some more. Then I find some of our group and tell them what I had been watching, and I pointed to Adam and told them, "Look at him. He is just walking around, shaking hands, talking to folks, and posing for selfies!" One of them said, "You should email him. I did and he responded within 15 mins." To which I replied, "Nope, I'm going to go talk to him."
So I did.
I walked up to him and said, "Adam, I'm Jamie. I have one question...How do you do it? I heard you were an introvert. How do you do it? 11,000 a weekend and I've been watching you while I sat by myself and ate my lunch. You're shaking hands, taking pictures with folks, and smiling. How do you pull it off?"
Then he messed me up. He said, "I'm not really an introvert. I used to be. But I pushed through it and now I actually enjoy it." We talked for a few minutes and as he walked away I said, "If he can do it, so can I."
I was perfectly comfortable the way I was. Perfectly comfortable by myself. But...God didn't call me to be by myself. I'm a church leader, for crying out loud. I was kicked back against the wall, in the sun, watching all of those people crowd into those tents and thinking, "Thank God I'm not in there." But...if being in a crowd shuts me down, how can I lead a church? I was not expecting this as I drove to KC.
It won't be an overnight change, but 5 minutes with Pastor Adam today messed up everything that I thought kept me comfortable. Funny how that works, huh?
So...today, actually in the last hour, I guess I begin a new journey. Honestly, it scares the hell out of me. But if he can do it, so can I.