Friday, August 28, 2009

Small Groups Promoted on Sunday

In the Fall of 2008 Encounter Church started with two small groups full of all sorts of people. We had them full on purpose so that they would be ready to multiply in the Spring of 2009. We started them six months before our Sunday morning services began so there was something to invite people to while the launch team prayed, dreamed, were trained and visited other churches. Now we find ourselves a year later with four groups full of all sorts of people. How fun!
Our philosophy on when to multiply a small group is when there is an identified leader and co-leader not when the group is "ready". This may seem harsh or difficult at times but from what I've seen over the years, groups tend to wait as long as possible or are simply unwilling to multiply. The goal is to see new people come into relationships with other Christ followers and be biblically shepherded and cared for. Out of love for others we are willing to multiply our small groups.
Here's a shot I took last Sunday of the four current leaders as they were discussing the plan for this coming Sunday's promo of small groups. They and their wives have and are doing a great job of teaching, leading and shepherding their groups.

From left to right they are, Jeff Persall, Kyle Mielke, Chuck Taylor and Jeremy Hart.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1st Day @ the new schools

We've been looking forward to this day for months. Our four kids heading off to Dublin City Schools. Zach's at Davis MS as you may well know since he's been practicing football for over a month now and Abby, Sara & Rachel are at Olde Sawmill Elementary. I shot a few pics. and video this morning as is our custom on the first day of school. The neat thing this year is that I drove Zach to the Mielke's home so he & Nate could walk to school together. Then 40 mins. later Melissa & I walked all three girls to their's which took under 10 minutes at a slow pace. Here's a few pics. and video. In the shots of the girls Sara is on the left, Rachel in the middle and Abby on the right.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Largest Sunday to date

I'm so glad to have so many ministry minded, capable people in our little church plant. Having Jeremy Hart preach yesterday was fun for me as I got to be an attender of the service. Kyle Mielke did announcements, Beth Fields introduced Elizabeth Prieninger who did a testimony about generosity cards and we had our largest worship team yet with Dalan Zartman, Rob Dubois, Jennifer Painter and for the first time Michael Prieninger on vocals and Scott Schweitzer on drums.
We still see first time visitors each week b/c our people continue to invite their neighbors, co-workers, etc. I'm so proud of the team. Our set-up and tear-down guys do and efficient job carting supplies all over the building and the coffee & cold water is always ready for people to enjoy over conversation. Our sound and video team does a great job too. Each person walking into the school is greeted with a friendly smile and then met with the very capable Ekids volunteer staff ready to love their kids. The welcome center is another place to be greeted and given a name tag and answers to questions. Each person serving plays a vital roll creating an environment for the Body to encounter God and the people of God.
Just over a year ago 65 of us were commissioned to start this baby church. Yesterday I was told we had 162 in total attendance.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hart's on the Hot Seat

Ok, it's really not a hot seat I just liked the way that kinda rolled off the tongue. Jeremy Hart, famous for marrying Erica, is on to preach for his first time at Encounter this Sunday. He's doing week #2 of three in our series Eat This Book (that's God's Word BTW). That's him on the right holding the coffee cup. He and Erica have been gone all summer at an internship for his OSU Law School degree. Now that they're back the small group they led will be starting up again soon.
Speaking of small groups...we'll be promoting all of them on Sunday, August 30th. I think there's four groups for couples/singles, four for women and two for men.
Hmmm, me thinks the men need to step it up a little:-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feel'n 25 Again

Ok, I know you read the title and said, "Sean you're 38! Stop pretending you're 25". Ok fine but my soul feels like it's 25. Ha!
What a fun time we had last night connecting with just over 30 young adults. I took the opportunity to welcome them to our home and spoke frankly to about the generation that is often missing in the Church...their generation. I told them how impressed I was that they are choosing to engage in the Body of Christ and be productive in ministry for His namesake. After quick introductions the rest of the evening was spent having casual conversations over sundaes and an assortment of sweet and salty treats.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hart's back in town & 20 Something's Dessert Night

I'm look'n forward to this Sunday for a number of reasons:
First, our friends, Jeremy & Erica Hart, are back in town having been gone the entire summer to Texas for an internship Jeremy was doing for his OSU law degree. We saw Erica at the service last week and had her over for lunch, but this Sunday they'll be together for everyone to see. They're going to share about how the summer went for them and about the small group they'll be leading again this Fall.
Second, Sunday evening we've invited anyone between 20 & 30ish to our home for dessert (make your own ice cream sundaes), croquet & corn hole. I'm looking forward to it b/c that group of people for one is simply fun to be around and also b/c I want to thank them for making Encounter their home church. I must say I'm honored to have so many (over 30) be part of our "baby church". Most of them are ministry-minded and I can hardly wait to see what the Lord has in store for them and the future of Encounter Church through them!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First day of hitting with pads @ Davis MS & a toothless girl

This morning Zach got to fully suit up and be aggressive running plays, tackling and receiving. He's hoping to be one of the 7th grade receivers for the Davis Middle School "Irish". It's been fun for me to see most of his practices since they are at 7:30-9:30am. Thankfully the practices to move to 3-5pm once school starts:-) It's been a real pleasure getting to know some of the parents who are also hanging out watching their boys practice. From the sidelines we laugh and cut up a bit when they mess up and yell encouragement when they do well.

All four kids are now registered for school. Abby, Sara and Rachel are going to Olde Sawmill Elementary. All four kids will be able to walk to school since it's literally less than 500 yards out our back gate. This is a huge change for Melissa and I with not having to take and pick up from bus stops, etc. We're actually really looking forward to it and so are the kids. In fact, last night at supper they all said they're wanting to go back to school so they can begin meeting new friends. August 25th is the first day.
I also had to throw this pic. in. Our last child to loose her front teeth. She let me pull one and the other somehow came out while Rachel was jumping on a trampoline. She never found it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Date Night with Dad

Usually on a Friday night the Spoelstra's try to have Friday Family Fun Night, but tonight mommy is at an Encounter Women's social sooo...daddy decided to take the kids out for a fun dollar theater movie and on the way home I surprised them with a yummy shake and some cheesy fries. Actually Zach paid for the movie the wealthy young man that he is and took the Steak-n-Shake bill. Shhh, don't tell mommy:-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Encounter Church welcomed into the FGBC

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to pastors, wives and delegates from Grace Brethren churches all over the US and Canada about our little church plant. It was the opening day of our national conference called Equip '09 held at our grandmother church, Grace Polaris. We had applied for membership into the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches a few months back and this was my time to publicly tell the larger group who we were. The picture below shows me speaking and the three other church plant leaders who also were welcomed into the fellowship. To see a short write up about us and the other church plants CLICK HERE.

Melissa was asked to participate in a women's panel discussion on Wednesday of the conference and I happened to stumble across this picture of her and my mother who attended the session. Melissa is wearing the green sweater with matching green shoes and my mom is on the right standing next to the red lockers:-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

LC #5 and fun with many friends

Today was filled with spending time with a wide variety of friends both old and new.
Starting this morning with the August Leadership Community, we had a "Concert of Prayer". Using our four core values CELEBRATE - GROW - SERVE - MULTIPLY, we had popcorn prayers, prayed in groups of 2 or 3 and prayed silently. I spoke to the group using Galatians 6:9,10 encouraging them not to grow weary in the good they have done over our first six months of services and to trust in Christ for the strength in the next six months.
After LC our family headed to the pool and met up with two other families. That was relaxing and fun for all of us.
Then we went to a friends annual "BBQ & Kickball" evening where we reconnected with a few dozen friends from our mother church.
Lastly, on the way home we dropped by a home having a teen party. It was fun crashing the group.
I've had the last two weeks off from preaching with Jeff Persall and Mike McCaman filling for me. I look forward to getting in front of our people and continuing in our Philippians series titled: Renegade Joy.