Wednesday, December 29, 2010

1st Service of 2011

As is our custom at Encounter Church, we begin each new year by reminding ourselves of our vision and core values.
This Sunday, January, 2nd will be a family service including kindergartners and up in the service. We'll be singing a few more songs than normal, have an open mic time for testimonies about what God has done in our lives in 2010 and then I'll attempt to be creative in sharing what our vision is as a church so that even children can understand it.
I suppose if a child can't understand our vision then we need a new one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Dream Come True Christmas Eve Service

With all the time and people who put forth the effort to make this years Christmas Eve service something God honoring and enjoyable for all ages, I can honestly say it was all worth it. We enjoyed a packed house (our largest service ever) full of kids, parents and grandparents. Rob Comfort was our host for the evening and did a bang up job. Our children's pageant went off without a hitch (too bad in a way) and having the band Azalia lead our Christmas carols was excellent. We heard a testimony from Mary Miles who accepted Christ as her Savior at last years Christmas Eve service. She shared about the growth she's experienced since receiving Christ including being baptized in June and going on a missions trip to Guatemala in July. I had the privilege of sharing from Matthew 2:1-12 about the wise men and how their three gifts pointed to more than just simply the birth of Christ.
As is the custom, we ended the service with singing Silent Night as we lit each others candles. It was a powerful moment.
The only thing we forgot to tell everyone was that there is not a church service on Sunday, December 26th. If you're reading this please pass this along to anyone you might think will show up on Sunday:-)
We will be back at Eli Pinney Elementary on Sunday, January 2nd at 10:00am for a family service with children three years and up in the room with us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Eve's A Coming!

I'm getting nervous and excited all at once about the Christmas Eve service we're having Friday night at 5:00pm at Eli Pinney Elementary.
There's a lot we're packing into a one hour time frame. i.e.

*a children's pageant and kids choir
*a testimony of a gal who accepted Christ as her Savior at last years Christmas Eve service
*of course singing some carols
*a brief (at least brief for me:-), message about Jesus
*lighting of candles as a congregation while singing Silent Night

Here's the postcard we sent out to our neighbors in the greater Dublin area inviting them to join us.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Very Special Sunday

This morning, December 19th, marked a mile stone for Encounter Church: the 100th church service.

At the beginning of our church plant I told the congregation which Sunday it was for the first 15 weeks. Then I told them I wouldn't say it again until the 100th service. It was fun for me to end my message early and invite all the Ekids, Impact teens and their teachers to join us in the service. There were three congratulation videos shown: one from each of our missionaries, Matt Storer of VisionTrust International and Ryan Janosko of Campus Crusade for Christ and also one from Pastor Rick Nuzum, lead pastor of our mother church, Grace Church. I had also asked our 1st Impressions Coach, Jen Hill, to order a few cakes for the celebration and her hubby Phil to take the picture below as a memory of the day.

All praise be to God for the people He has brought to Encounter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lunch today at the famous Thurman Cafe

Today I had the pleasure of eating the largest burger of my life. At our Christmas party somehow the topic of eating burgers came up while talking to a bunch of guys and my new friend Chad Pierce said he'd have to take me to The Thurman Cafe. Well who am I to turn down an offer like that. Apparently this little burger joint was highlighted on the show Man vs. Food.
Here's the menu description of what I ate:

The THURMANATOR - Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, 12 ounce burger, bacon, cheddar, another12 oz burger, sautéed mushrooms & onions, ham, mozzarella & American cheese, top bun served with fries.

I'm sorry to say I couldn't finish the fries and pickle. I betcha Dalan Zartman could have. Anybody with me on that?

Something special @ Encounter Church

In two days something very special is happening at Encounter Church...but I'm not going to tell:-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I love a good prank:-)

After returning from a Thanksgiving trip in NJ with our sister and brother-in-law, Melissa & I came home to a surprise in our living room...a gigantic stuffed monkey!
Well it's been in our garage taking up room ever since. That is until this morning when Melissa said, "Why don't you take that thing and put it in Mark Artrip's office". So after dropping off Zach to school I headed on up to Grace Church and snuck it into Mark's office 30 minutes ago.

I won't tell who took the picture:-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pics. from Sunday's service

This past Sunday was unique. We had a request for a family dedic
ation. Usually we do this sort of thing on
Mother's Day but it's fun to make exceptions. Here's a few shots of Keara dedicating herself, Kayveion and Kay-ana. The Mielke family joined them up front since they had fostered KV for almost a year. After the service we had a potluck lunch that many people attended. It was a nice time for those who stayed to connect.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week #2 in Advent series

This Sunday's service has a few special elements to it. Besides the normal well led worship we will also be celebrating the communion of the Bread and Cup. What a great thing for us to remember: the past act of Christ dying on the cross for us as the total payment for all the wrong thoughts, actions and even inactions we've done. Also, one mother is dedicating herself and her children to the Lord. Keara, the birth mother of Kayveion (and Kay-ana), the foster child Kyle & Kristi Mielke spent 11 months caring for, has asked to go public with her faith and parenting. Right after the service we will be having a potluck to further celebrate. Bring a main dish and dessert or salad to share.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here at NewThing's Lead Pastor Gathering

I'm so glad I came to this year's lead pastor gathering in Kansas City, Kansas. Hearing from Dave & Jon Ferguson the founders of the NewThing movement and also meeting Kim Hammond, an Australian who has recently joined their staff has been inspiring. Kim is helping the NewThing guys and Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. and their 13 campuses see the mission of Christ be something for everyone. Not simply the "leaders". Moms, mechanics and mail carriers. He is also the national director for Forge America, a ministry in partnership with Alan Hirsch who wrote, "The Forgotten Ways"

Here's a clip of Kim speaking to us about an hour ago:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heading to Kansas City, MO for NewThing lead pastor gathering

I'm sitting in the Columbus airport waiting to board a flight to Kansas City, MO to hang with a bunch of church planters. These guys are the real deal and they motivate me to do better.
Encounter has been officially connected to the NewThing Network as an affiliate church since February of 2009.
Melissa and I were first introduced to them at the Exponential Conference in April of 2008. Our vision and values are very similar and I have enjoyed the relationships I've built over the last few years.
In fact, the place I'm going is where my church planting coach, Troy McMahon, is lead pastor. Once a month he has lead a conference call for about four of us other planters. We'll all get together over the next few days and connect as a team. We're called the Mac Network:-)
A fun thing to note is that my buddy Mark Artrip is joining me for the open session all day Tuesday. It is for those interested in church planting and for those who love to lead in worship and creative arts. He and I served together at my mother church for years and his desire is to some day plant a church.

Christmas message series

Today I started a new series using a tradition often seen in churches during the Christmas season. It is titled, "Advent" and I'm allowing it to be a gentle guide for what is taught each week.

Here are the weeks in order:

Dec. 5 The Advent of Hope
Dec. 12 The Advent of Peace
Dec. 19 The Advent of Joy
Dec. 24 The Advent of Jesus

There is no morning church service on Sunday, December 26.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Party a Blast

What a fun time last night with Encounterites and a bunch of guests.
There were just over 60 people who came out for some yummy Christmas treats, two silly games led by Chrissy & Matt Jacobs and a testimony from Scott & Bethany Schweitzer.
As a pastor it was fun for me to survey the crowd and see so much connecting going on at the game tables, over food and in the crowd during the games. Our people really enjoy being together and do such a great job of welcoming new folks. From my count there must have been just over a dozen guests among us. CLICK HERE to view a lot of funny pics. from the night.