I can almost smell the burgers if I close my eyes and think about it. And you ask, “Think about what?” The day In-N-Out launched their first restaurant in Baldwin Park, California on October 22, 1948. It was the first hamburger stand of its kind in the state of California and would lead the way to change the landscape of how people would view take out. They are credited with being pioneers on some of the first drive-thru experiences the public had in the United States. Up to that time, carhops were the latest rage. But founders Harry and Esther Snyder saw a new concept. Not only was food fast, but their goal was to give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy while providing them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment. Yes, I can nearly smell the fresh fries that are made from scratch every single day at each restaurant. The Snyder’s dreamed of something unique that had a sense of excellence. Today, this simple hamburger stand has over 300 locations that are all within a day’s drive of their corporate offices so quality always stays number one. They have over 18,000 employees and are growing faster than they can keep up with. If I could time travel, I would take a ride back to that opening day and sit in wonder knowing what was to come.
Although we aren’t selling hamburgers, one thing we do have in common with his famous food chain is that we can say we have officially launched in the history book of time. On Saturday, February 28th, we opened our doors to the city of Tempe and the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Like that day for the Snyder’s in 1948, it was an awesome day to celebrate. The journey has been a long one. From stepping out from where we were comfortable to stepping into the unknown, we were doing something we hadn’t before. From Chandler, Arizona to the hills of Northern California to the streets of Tempe we knew God had been with us every step of the way. Some things felt like we anticipated and some were completely different than what we had pictured in our minds. One thing remained though and that was the heart of the mission – to bring the plan of salvation and the hope of Christ to a broken world.
We asked God to provide a place for us to land in that could be available for twenty-four hour ministry. Together, as a united team, 29:11church opened its doors at Tempe Plaza off Baseline and the 101 in Tempe, Arizona. With the help of an army of people led by true heroes of our day and age, we re-built the inside of a former Walgreens/Safeway and most recently charter high school. We painted close to a hundred gallons of paint on the walls, re-tiled the floors, took out a toilet and cleaned up the rest, scraped paint off walls, refreshed ceilings and installed lights. We created an art hallway to showcase God’s amazing creations, remodeled a place for our kids to run free and installed a streaming camera so all of our new moms could stay with us even if their babies didn’t want to. Created a coffee shop called Jeremiah’s Coffee Co. where we roast our own beans and share an atmosphere where anyone could feel comfortable. It’s perfect for us, for this time in our history, this place. And, someday, like the Snyder’s, we will look back at that first place with wonder and in awe that God was with us every step of the way. With gratitude, we say thank you to everyone that helped us get here. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes ten more villages to plant a church. From finances to critical mass, every person that has supported from a distance, prayed on their knees, showed up in our living room and celebrated with us at our current location…we don’t take any of you for granted. And so it begins, a little different from building a hamburger, we endeavor to help build up people’s lives… Through the love of Christ… Through innovation… Through the arts… Through songwriters… Through dreamers and through doers. We are haven’t arrived but have just been able to get a glimpse of what the future holds. Like In-N-Out, we hope God can use us to change the landscape of what church looks like to someone that might not normally come. That’s always been our heart. It’s the church we see.
We see a church -
That is full of relentless love, grace and power.
Not full of people with personal motives. Filled with people who love to serve.
Where this is no fear to be who you were created to be.
That celebrates the human heart.That leads with humility and confidence rather than insecurity and pride.
We see a church that is ALIVE - with laughter.
With tears.With joy.With kindness and Galations 5:22 functioning through it.
We see a church where - WORSHIP is at the center.
Where the power of the Holy Spirit isn't held back by – Time. Schedules.Boring routines or service orders.
Where creativity is used to see the power of God not the power of man.
This is the church I see.
The Church I See...
Where every Color and diversity...are welcome.Where differences are celebrated rather than diminished.
I see a church where the next generationis WELCOMED, CELEBRATED and put into places of LEADERSHIP.
This is the church I see.
Large.Bountiful.Moving beyond borders and limitations.
Moving...forward.This is the church I see.I see a church of... COMMUNITY.CREATIVITY.FIGHTING SOCIAL INJUSTICE – ACTIVITY.
We see a 29:11 church.
Mark Rempel/Pastor of 29:11church/ Disciple/ Husband/Father/Church Planter
*See below some pictures from our launch experience in February.