Saturday, February 28, 2009

Visitors Over for the Weekend

This afternoon my mom and step-father, Henk & Heidi Guther, arrived for the weekend. They will be here for Encounter's fifth service in Eli Pinney Elementary:-) We enjoy playing cards, drinking Tetley tea and having long talks with them. The kids were so excited for their arrival they waited outside for 20 minutes until they saw them coming down our street. It's so nice to have parents who are fully supportive of what we are doing with the church plant.
We have another visitor lately at our home as well. Like my parents, he'll be departing by Monday. One of the five squirrels in our backyard has been living high-on-the-hog in my BBQ. As you can see he's built quite a nice home for himself. Needless to say Melissa wants him evicted. Question: Do you have any funny animal stories to tell?

Ekids Classroom Cheers

We've got such great people leading our children's ministry at ENCOUNTER. We've named it Ekids. Here's the logo:

Deb Taylor is our Ekids Coach overseeing the entire ministry of birth - 5th graders. It's exciting to me that from day one (Feb. 1/09) we were fully staffed. I believe there is still a need for about five more adults to join the team. Please talk to Deb for the specifics.
Here are some pics. from last week service of the children and their teachers doing classroom cheers:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our First Month on the Books

Well we've had our first four weeks of practice services and I've loved it!
From my vantage point I get to see a whole group of people, some who've been close friends for years and others who've joined within the last month, become another expression of the Body of Christ. We are a microscopic part of the Church worldwide. Our goal is to bring glory to God by "Seeking HIS Kingdom First" in all we do.
This group of men, women and children have done a marvelous job doing the work of the ministry setting up chairs, putting signs up, audio/video equipment, a children's ministry called E-kids, a coffee area, a welcome center, and also friendly greeters and ushers. It's amazing to me that we started out with our Ekids ministry ready to receive children birth-5th grade. And the guys leading our worship time have done so with humility as they direct us to reach up to our great God.
I am a blessed pastor to have this many commited people to the cause of reaching Dublin for Christ.
Here are some pics. from last Sunday:

Kyle Mielke's First Time to Preach

As we began this church plant I always knew there would be others who could and would share in the teaching on Sunday mornings at ENCOUNTER. This is not handed to someone lightly. It is a great responsibility to teach from God's Holy Word. As James 3:1 says, "Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strickly."(NLT)
That being said, my good buddy Kyle Mielke did a super job of finishing up our first four week series on relationships. I've known Kyle for probably eight years and we have ministered in some capacity together over the last six. Shhh, don't tell him, but I think some day when he grows up he'll be a pastor too:-)
His mom lives in town so even she got to see her boy in action. Kristi, Kyles crazy-fun wife was right there on the front row cheer her hubby on too!
Over the next year there will be a few others who who step into the preaching role.

My Fellow Church Planters

Last blog entry I highlighted a group of guys who are at various stages of planting churches. After that meeting we got together the next week for our once a month meeting. These guys range in age from 32-62 and come from many different backgrounds. One worked for the government until he retired, one writes a column for a local paper, another is a school teacher and still another a graphic designer. Two of us are full time pastors. When we get together over coffee it's to encourage eachother, share difficulties and celebrate wins.
All five of us are connected to the North Central Ohio (NCO) Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. A quirky but quaint group of folks. Knowing that there's less than 300 Grace Brethren Churches in all of North America, it's pretty amazing to have five new one's popping up within 35 minutes of eachother!

Friday, February 13, 2009

North Central Ohio (NCO) Pastor's Fellowship

About every two months or so there is a gathering of pastors from approx. 25 churches that get together and have a light breakfast, a time of social connecting and then report on what's going on in their various ministries. Yesterday's focus was on the five different church plants in the region. The five of us were given ten minutes each to share where we were at in the process of launching our new church. After each of us shared a group of men gathered around us, laying hands on us as they prayed. If you've ever experienced it you know it's humbling and an honor to have done.
In the picture of me below I'm explaining to the group about a promotion/info. piece on each of the five plants. We hope to have every church in the district provide them for their congregations. The point is not to steal people from our existing churches but to have attenders tell their friends, who may not have a church home, that there is a new one in their area. CLICK HERE to view the info. piece.
Below my picture is Andy Wirt with ClearView in New Albany. To his right is is Shawn Kaeser talking about Darby Grace in Plain City. To his right is Eric Miller (the younger one:-) and Larry Totzke (the older one-hehe) with Capital City Grace in downtown Columbus. The bottom pic. is Doug Shotsky with Sterling Grace in Mt. Sterling. The group of us get together once a month to encourage each other, trade ideas and pray.

Second Sunday Service @ Eli Pinney

I'm sorry I've been remiss in getting last Sunday's pics. and comments on the blog. Especially since the readership is up 100% making it six people now:-) Last Sunday, Feb. 8 was a nice sunny day and warm for the middle of winter. Pretty much all the snow and ice was gone giving better access to the school.
Rob Dubois led us in singing, Kyle explained our gift bag and Adam Koloff gave a brief testimony about how he came to follow Christ and weaved in our core value GROW. It was nice to see some visitors from last week attend again and four others who came for the first time. About half our total launch team, children and adult/student helpers, are now back in Ekids (birth-5th grade). Almost every area of ministry has its first team of leaders. Now we need to see another full team recruited to bring relief to the first team. That's about 40 more volunteers. Know anyone???
Here are some pics. of the morning.

Monday, February 2, 2009

First Preview/Practice Service on the Book

Yesterday was a great day. I'm so proud of the ENCOUNTER CHURCH launch team! The last six months has led up to preparing us for these next two months. April 2009 is still our Grand Opening month, but these nine weeks in Feb. and Mar. are very important too.
God has blessed us with a great location and kind renters.It was a real pleasure to speak with seven of the first time visitors.
Our first four week series of messages is titled, with. and is about relationships. A big thank-you goes out to the artist videos done by the team at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill.

Here's a bunch of pics. from the morning.