Saturday, January 31, 2009

Much to do before tomorrow's practice/preview service

Whew! This week has had many appointments, shopping trips, guys learning how to use our new MacBook Pro w/ ProPresenter 3, and setting up our A/V equipment for the first time ever, tonight. I'm glad we are calling these next nine weeks "practice" services! That is literally what we are doing:-)
I'll be sure to fill you in on how things go Sunday.
Thanks for praying.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Final Meeting at Eli Pinney before Practice Services Begin February 1st.

Yesterday was a great final time together as a launch team. We set-up everything, coffee was ready early, and we started the service right on time at 10:00AM:-) We sang two worship songs, heard from Joey & Tiffany Holibaugh on their continuing journey towards Jesus Christ and then took an offering, letting those who were visiting know that this was more for those who call ENCOUNTER CHURCH their home.

I shared about how our enemy, Satan, wants to see this church plant fail and that one way he would likely attack us was through our relationship with each other. I asked everyone to be especially kind, forgiving, and flexible as we move ahead because we're still experimenting with how we do lots of things. i.e. setting up rooms, who needs to be where, when, etc.

After the offering the different ministry groups got together and like last week I had the privilege of meeting with some very new people to ENCOUNTER. I again explained about our name, vision statement and core values.
Afterwards it was hard to get everyone out of the school because there was so much conversation.
Our first preview/practice service is this Sunday, February 1st. It hard to believe it's already here. Pray that we will truly show Christ's love to those who walk into ENCOUNTER CHURCH.

Monday, January 19, 2009


For the last five months the launch team has been meeting at the Powell YMCA at 10:00am-12:00pm. Then three weeks ago we started the new year by meeting at our rental school Eli Pinney Elementary in the Tartan Fields community of Dublin, Ohio. In just two weeks, Feb. 1st, we begin our nine weeks practice services that will lead us into April, which is our Grand Opening month.

All this to tell you our Sunday morning service will start at 10:00AM sharp!

There will be music playing at 9:30am and freshly brewed coffee will be self-served from airpots around then too. So if you are going to visit ENCOUNTER CHURCH, come early, drop off your children, if you have any, get a cup of joe and enjoy the band.
To help everyone with when the service will begin, there will be a countdown timer on the large video screen.

Ministry Training Meeting at Eli Pinney 01-18-09

Yesterday was a great morning for the launch team. Many of us got to the school early to set-up and figure out where things should go. Then at 10:15am Dalan and Rob called us together to sing. After three worship songs we heard a testimony from Bill & Janetta Sinzinger on how they came into a relationship with Jesus Christ and what He has done in their lives over the many years they've called Him their Lord. Once they were done I told the group we had something to celebrate: our sister church, Marysville Grace, gave us a very generous gift to help in the start-up of our "Baby Church". This was especially a thing to praise God for since I was going to ask Clancy Cruise, the pastor at Marysville Grace, if they would consider giving us some funds to help with start-up costs. God's timing can be pretty amazing! We took an offering and sang one more song before breaking into the different ministry groups: Children's (called E-Kids) - led by Deb Taylor, Hospitality - led by Carol Hall and Facilities - led by Larry Hall. Each of these ministry coaches talked through the expectations of those serving and some practiced what they'll actually be doing each week. I had the pleasure of meeting with about nine visitors and giving them a brief history of ENCOUNTER CHURCH. Around noon we packed everything up and put it in the 18ft. trailer we bought months ago. There is still things needing to be done like revising our website, making a few more brochures, finalizing our indoor and outdoor signage, figuring out how we're going to use all the audio eqipment we purchased, etc. etc. Now that I listed that all out, I'm more scared than ever. Time to keep praying!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Birthday

It's midnight exactly. My 38th birthday just officially ended. For supper Melissa made one of my favorite meals: chicken enchiladas. We ate as a family and had a fun time talking around the table. After supper I snuggled on the couch watching a movie with all the kids. Then came the chocolate chocolate cake and ice cream! Yummy.
Eight years ago I went an entire year without pop, candy, desserts or eating after 8:00pm to loss some weight and eat better. If you know me, you know that those four things listed are a large part of most days in my life. Well...I thought I'd give it another try. The exception is I'm giving myself one day a month to indulge. Mainly for our families birthdays and special occasions. Feel free to ask how it's going. The first few weeks will be the hardest.

The picture of the kids is them enjoying some
well deserved hot chocolate after building a snow fort.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Week # 2 Onsite at Eli Pinney Elementary

What a great adventure God is providing for us at ENCOUNTER CHURCH.
Yesterday was a mix between a service and a meeting full of FYI's.
We worshipped through praise songs, heard a powerful life testimony from Dalan & Jocelyn Zartman (pictured below) and even took our second offering. I had the opportunity to share about the trip I took to Chicago with Melissa, Kyle and Dalan. Check out the post just before this one for info on that. But as is often the case, when I begin talking about things I'm passionate about, the preacher in me comes out:-) No shouting, but I did speak with conviction.
Below are some pics. from our time yesterday.
This coming Sunday we will sing, hear a testimony and take an offering. After that each ministry group is getting together to be trained and talk through their responsibilities.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

NewThing field trip January 8-10-09

Thursday night around 8:30pm Kyle Mielke, Dalan Zartman and my sweetheart Melissa and I piled into the Mielke van and headed for Chicago. Arriving at 2:30am our time at Kyle's sister and brother-in-laws, it was nice to set the clock back an hour to get a little more sleep:-)
Why make a through the night trip like this? Well, way back in April 2008 Melissa & I went to Exponential '08, the largest church planting conference in the country. There we met and sat under the teaching of these crazy guys from the NewThing Network. They're ravinous about planting churches in all sorts of creative ways. What can I say, we were inspired and excited about what we heard. Then we traded a few e-mails back and forth and set up a meeting in August '08 where Chuck Taylor and I visited Chicago to ask some questions and see the "Big Yellow Box" and those who worked there. That was informative as well. Next we had a conference call with NewThing guys Jon Ferguson and Brian Zehr, in November '08 where Kyle, Dalan and I asked, and were asked, more questions to see if our ministry passions aligned closely enough to consider partnering together. During that call they suggested that we all come to Chicago in January '09 for their Leadership Community. That's their once a month combined coach, leader and apprentice leader meeting.
This morning we attended it and were impressed. Imagine approx. 500 leaders excited about the same vision, worshipping Christ, cheering for each others successes, and laughing together. These leaders came from the nine satellite churches tied to Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. in the West Chicagoland area. Even though it had snowed 4-5 inches the night before, these people made it a priority to be there.
Dave Ferguson, the lead pastor for this movement of churches, cast vision into the lives of the leaders this morning calling them to the next level of their walk with Christ. Inspiring stuff.
ENCOUNTER CHURCH looks forward to partnering with the NewThing Network as we Seek HIS Kingdom First.
Here's a few pics of our time there. The guy with the beard is Brian Zehr, one of the campus pastors who gifted us his entire Friday so we could bombard him with lots of Q's. Thanks Brian:-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Onsite at Eli Pinney!

Well today has been anticipated for months and months: the team finally being at the elementary school before we start services February 1st. We need the month of January to get used to the building, figuring out where everything will go and practicing set-up and tear-down. We'll also do some Sunday school teacher training and I want the opportunity to cast vision into their lives one more time before we go live.
Today was different though. Today we stopped the business of meetings and agendas and took the whole morning to remember what our awesome Lord did for us. We celebrated with a trifold communion. That is the Bread and Cup (I Corinthians 11:23-32), Footwashing (John 13:1-17), and a Meal or Love Feast (I Corinthians 11:17-22). It takes more time than what many other churches tend to do when celebrating the Lord's Supper, but it allows us to get a real life sense of what our Lord did during that last meal with His disciples. We plan on having this trifold communion eight times a year. Four in our small groups and four on a Sunday morning either as the service or immediately following the service.
CLICK HERE to view an album of this mornings celebration.