Walls Down – launch party #2

Last night we had our second and final “launch party.” We had one in August as well (read about it here).

The purpose of these parties was to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and share a little bit about Walls Down in an informal setting.

Here’s what happened last night:

  • We met from 5-7 in a local park
  • played some bocce ball
  • had a ton of great food
  • gave away a $25 Visa gift card to the person whose birthday was closest to our launch date (January 4th)
  • shared a little about Walls Down
  • 16 people showed up (including Rindy’s and our family which equals nine people): 10 adults and 6 children.

Some “behind the scenes” reflections:

  • We worked harder and smarter on this party than we did on the last one and had two less people!
  • We invited people like crazy! Rindy was handing out personal invites and I even called a lady I had talked to about insurance, that I felt sure God prompted me to call back, and invited her to this party… no shows. We were planning on between 30 and 40 and 16 showed. (BTW, I’m still sure that I did the right thing by calling the insurance lady. Time will tell.)
  • We were all disappointed, again, by the number of no-shows! If everyone who was “definitely coming” would have definitely come there would have been 30+ people.
  • We had our sign up sheets ready, our speeches prepared, and I even had some bricks I was going to use as props in my speech! I was going to build a wall, demonstrating how people often build walls in their lives and then pull it down, demonstrating what Walls Down wants to do – help people tear down the walls in their life so that they can find the life Christ promised!
  • The wind blew the fire out on the grill, and no one noticed it, so our food was thirty minutes late!
  • Because we were so late on the food and the smaller group dynamic wasn’t right for what we had planned: I didn’t give my speech, we didn’t have people fill out forms, we didn’t have overflow attendance… but we did have one guy ask, “Where’s everybody at?”


After we tore everything down and left the park, we met at my house to debrief the evening. We agreed that we couldn’t have worked harder and wouldn’t have done anything different.

We also agreed that if we would have had the number of people we hoped for, the interactions that occurred wouldn’t have occurred because we would have been busy doing crowd management.

Last night there were some very interested people and some very spiritually hungry people who would not have received the fullness of our attention had things gone as we had planned. Because of the shortage of numbers we were free to give maximum time and attention to each individual.

This almost sounds like a release from the spin room after a presidential debate. It almost sounds like the leader of a failed program trying to spin it so it sounds like a win. It’s not. It’s us realizing that what has happened in these last two parties is that we have met with nine brand new adults and made a TON of other contacts. The cool thing is that with each of these adults we were able to spend some quality time laughing, eating, playing, and sharing our lives… things we wouldn’t have been able to do had things gone as planned!

There is coming a time where we certainly hope that we will have more than 10-12 people showing up for Walls Down gatherings, but for right now I’m confident that the right thing has happened.

(Check out Rindy’s take on this party.)

4 thoughts on “Walls Down – launch party #2

  1. i’m excited to watch the journey of walls down church. i think you are a fantastic leader paul.

    i know what it’s like when things don’t go like you planned and i would encourage you to be faithful with what you’re given. After all, Jesus began a worldwide movement with a dozen dudes.

  2. Hey Man!

    Hang in there! Our last meeting sounds VERY similar to your last meeting on every level (good and bad).

    Here’s the thing though man – we’re asking people to come to meetings on Saturday’s. No matter what we spin it as – we are asking people to take off on Saturday and come have a meeting with us. That’s tough.

    I personally hate Saturday meetings, but forgot that I hated them now that I started to plan them myself.

    We need to rethink some of our strategy.


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