Sunday, June 27, 2010

Campout 2010

We're all home now from what was a great family campout. This was the largest on we've ever experienced in the last 11 years. As you'll see from the pics. below there were lots of fun things to do. We sure appreciate Uncle Dave and the folks at Camp Cotubic. They were great host. I'd like to send a shout out to Carolyn Dubois as well for doing a super job organizing the registration, food and lodging for the campout.
On Friday night a couple I've known from WOL Island in the early 1990's, Bud & Beth Brentlinger, stopped by to say hi. They live in Bellefontaine and are on the board for Cotubic. Bud offered to take Zach and I up in a plane on Saturday afternoon. If was great fun and that's why you see the ariel shots of the camp. Those are our actual people at the waterfront:-)
Normally at our campouts we have people give their testimony of how they came to follow Christ and what their learning in their relationship with Him now. So Friday night Adam Koloff spoke and then Saturday night Rob & Diana Baiocchi shared. It was encouraging to hear their different stories.
As is also normal for our campouts, on Saturday morning the guys took all the kids fishing so the ladies could have some time to themselves, bonding around the campfire.
This morning was a very special time as 10 people got baptized. Nine were scheduled and one chose to do it when were at the beach. These are really bonding times for Encounter Church as we continue to Seek HIS Kingdom First.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sydney Arena on Operation Barnabas Trip

On March 14th in our morning service we first informed our people that Sydney Arena, one of Encounter Church's high schoolers, was going on a seven week missions trip called, Operation Barnabas (OB). That morning Sarah Knepper and Stacie Fay, two gals helping to lead different OB teams, told the congregation what Sydney was getting herself into. Then on May 30th Beth Fields interviewed Sydney and prayed over her concerning the trip.
Now she and about 35 other high schoolers are driving around in a non-air conditioned blue school bus with "OPERATION BARNABAS" written on the side. It's in the backdrop of their team photo below:-)

If you would like to follow her ministry teams daily blog CLICK HERE.
Below is a picture of Syd with two of her teammates, Jessica and Tony, talking to a man about Christ in downtown Philadelphia.

If you would like to hear firsthand about Sydney's trip she will be sharing about her experience on August 8th in our morning service.

Please pray that she will have the strength to endure the long days of work and ministry and that this stretching experience will grow her faith in the Lord.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2nd Annual Encounter Campout

This weekend about 20 of Encounter church's families are going camping near Bellefontaine, Ohio at Camp Cotubic. Some will be in air-conditioned motel rooms, most will brave humid 90 degree weather in tents:-) It's probably the best connecting time for our people during the year. Friday afternoon to Sunday lunch: fishing, swimming, S'mores, relaxing around the campfire, volleyball, kickball, and meals together. On top of that, there are 10 people signed up to be baptized in the lake during our 10:00am Sunday morning service. I'll post a link to pictures when the weekend is over.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Bread and the Cup

This morning we had a very special service. First Pat Kearney prayed for our EMS (6-8 Gr.) young people who are heading off for a week of the Beyond camp up near Mansfield.
Then I had the privilege of leading the congregation in our first ever celebrating of just the bread and the cup in the service. I read from I Corinthians 11:23-29 and allowed our people a time to examine themselves before God. Similar to the experience we had at the Exponential conference, Kyle Mielke and I held the elements and the people came up when they were ready. It was really awesome to see a long line of people waiting to receive the body and blood of Christ. When everyone had come up, Kyle and I gave the bread and cup to Dalan Zartman, who'd been playing on the keyboard, and to each other. It doesn't happen that often, but at that moment I choked up just before praying.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rachel and Jeff get married

Melissa and I recently got back from the wedding of Rachel Bauer and Jeff Ruetty. The last few weddings I've been to I officiated so it was fun to just be an observer with my beautiful date. We went up to Findlay, Ohio with a few friends and met up with even more. There were about three tables of Encounter-ites:-) As you can see from the pictures some were in the wedding.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elders and wives BBQ

It's quarter to 1:00am in the morning and the last of the couples left 10 mins. ago.
Melissa & I hosted all the elders and their wives for a BBQ. It was mostly a night to connect, laugh and catch up with each other, though we also took a block of time to pray and discuss how we think things are at Encounter. As I look at the people in the picture below I think about how much the group exemplifies a cross section of our congregation. They are men and women in their 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. All have been following Christ for 20 years or more and all have vital rolls in ministry on Sunday mornings, in small groups or both. They are not perfect people but by God's grace are willing to lead and be examples to the flock. As a pastor I feel very blessed by the Lord to have such people standing by my side as we together, "Seek HIS Kingdom First".

From left to right they are: Sean & Melissa Spoelstra, Kyle & Kristi Mielke, Luke & Beth Fields, Chuck & Deb Taylor, Bill & Janetta Sinzinger, and Rob & Carolyn Dubois

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Living in the Middle of the Road

Here is a video clip from a guy I greatly admire: Francis Chan. Watch it and tell me what you think when you compare what he says to how you are living. WARNING: It may kick you in the butt.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Elders Gathering

Tonight was the first of what will be many elder gatherings. The men serving in this role are (L to R), Chuck Taylor, Luke Fields, Bill Sinzinger, Rob Dubois, Kyle Mielke and myself. We all share the privilege of shepherding those that call Encounter Church their home. Please pray that we will be examples for the flock, leading with tenderness, humility and passion.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Good-bye to the Painter's

This morning in the service we got to celebrate the lives of Matthew & Jennifer Painter. They have been part of Encounter since the very first practice service on February 1, 2009. Over this past year they both got involved in our small groups and served on Sunday mornings: Matthew with Ekids and Jennifer with the worship team. They are moving to Wyoming this month b/c of a job Matthew has taken at the University of Wyoming to be a sociology professor. After I spoke about them and how we have deeply appreciated their being part of our church body, they spoke about their experience of Encounter being the first church they've been part of as a newly married couple. I asked the elders to come up and lay hands on them as I prayed for their future as a couple and that they would find a new local church body to grow with.
We will miss having them with us. I pray there will be people to fill the ministry positions they leave behind.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A time of prayer at LC

This morning at Leadership Community we took a little extra time to get before God and commit ourselves and this summer to Him. We used our core values celebrate, grow, serve and multiply to have a concert of prayer. Some of it was open prayer, some silent, some in groups and some assigned to individuals.

All throughout the church planting journey we have taken specific times to get before the Lord to bring our requests, offer our thanks and ask Him for wisdom on how to move ahead. It is often one of those quiet things that happen in the backdrop of our personal and church body lives, but it is the backbone of the Christian life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Real Life

I just got back from the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), "Real Life" gathering in Independence Hall on the campus of OSU. It was awesome. There were approx. 650 college students and a fantastic worship band leading them in authentic praise of our great God. It was the last Thursday night before the summer break. They will start up in late September again and that's when we will begin to partner in ministry with them.
Encounter's own Ryan Janosko is now fully on staff with CCC at OSU and will soon tell us more specifically how we'll be serving alongside these young adults.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Party with a purpose

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a party with about 250 other fine folks to hear about the lives of three golfers playing in this years Memorial Tournament. It was hosted by my friends Rex & Laurie Elsass and the organization putting it on was Search Ministries, Columbus, headed up by Doug Franck. I have to admit, I'm not an avid golfer or spectator, so I knew nothing about these three men. But after listening to them briefly speak of their families, their knowledge of the game and their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I was very impressed. The men were Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry and Mark Wilson.