- Not preaching or speaking at all today so I’m live blogging the second Experience.
- Just got done baptizing over a dozen people!
- I’m coming in during the first song…”The Time Has Come”.
- 3 of the normal team members are gone, but the band still sounds awesome none the less.
- The 1st Experience was great. Everything went smoothly…Earl’s message was great and Brian did a very nice job with his remarks.
- More of that to come later.
- Just moved to the song, “Yours Forever”.
- So proud of the growth of Brian these past 3 years.
- Crowd is still coming in…the joint baptism service went long so people are late arriving.
- Last I saw Earl he still hadn’t changed clothes…he’s about 1 minute from having to be on stage.
- Maybe he’ll come out soaking wet. 🙂
- “We are yours forever, our lives won’t be the same…”
- Shouting and clapping…that would have never happened 3 years ago.
- Earl on stage doing announcements.
- Don’t forget that next week we WILL NOT change our clocks until after the Experience is over.
- Done this for 3 years now and everyone likes it…don’t lose an hours sleep.
- Don’t forget to let others know.
- Sign up to help with the Easter Egg Hunt. Last year we had over 1200 kids show up so we need your help. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Earl asked not to do fist bumps today because he hurt his hand one time. Poor Earl.
- Back to music…”We Will Run”.
- Andrew getting his guitar groove on!
- Crowd’s a little dead.
- One last song…”Kingdom Come”.
- New song…love Brian’s lighting for this one.
- Just looked to my left and Tim, Jerry and Chris are all busy making the tech happen here in the back.
- Cressa giving some awesome harmony while Brett’s bass and Thom’s drumming are building…building…building….
- “Raise your hopeful voices, make a joyful noise and sing to the King of Glory”.
- Brian praying…please hold be right back.
- Earl in jeans and a nice looking shirt…using the table and stool. We’ll make him contemporary yet!
- “It’s ok to be disappointed that Gilbert’s leaving. But that leaves questions. I want to answer those today”.
- “I want to tell you a story”
- July 24th 2004: The first preview of United.
- Mike Schooley leading.
- Earl looked in that day. One person he saw was Adam Swisher who is still with us today.
- Mike’s vision was that United be like a bar where people would feel love and excited.
- “Under Mike’s leadership Chapter One of United had begun”.
- “At the beginning of 2006 Mike came to us and said God had called him to plant a church in his hometown of Horseheads, NY”.
- “In the spring of 2006 Mike left. Chapter One was done”
- “During that same time God brought Andy and Gayle Krull came to lead worship and up-grade our technology.”
- “Andy and Gayle said you need to talk to our friend Gilbert Thurston”.
- “Gilbert came on and things began to really grow”.
- “Gilbert really stressed excellence and evangelism”
- Fall 2007: A second Experience had to be started because of all the growth.
- “Last week you heard that like Mike, Gilbert is leaving to start a church in Harrisburg so chapter 2 will be coming to a close”.
- APPLAUSE for me. Thanks all!
- “The book is not done…chapter 3 is coming up and I can’t wait to see how God is going to work”!
- Ephesians 3:20-21
- “Mike laid the foundation, Gilbert added on, but the best is yet to come”.
- “Tuesday of this week an ad went out…so far over 50 people have applied. We will be seeking the right person to lead us in Chapter 3”.
- “We want to challenge you to pray…for search committee…for the right person…Gilbert…myself, staff and leadership…yourselves”.
- Ephesians 3:14-18
- Earl’s talking about Avatar and 3-D. “God is 4-dimensional”.
- “2nd challenge is to not fall away just because leadership is changing”.
- “Some leadership is not changing…one person is Brian Miller”.
- Brian now on stage.
- “Leading you in worship is amazing”.
- More applause for me…Oh stop. 🙂
- Brian is talking about praying after finding out I was leaving.
- “God slapped me across the face”.
- God spoke to him that it wasn’t Gilbert or Brian or the team that built this building, saved, hundred, etc. It was all God.
- AMEN Brian, good word!
- “God is not leaving us, nor are the 70,000 people in our community who don’t yet know Christ”.
- Brian is having people yell, “I’m excited”.
- Earl speaking again…”Don’t stop inviting people, Gilbert will still be here for a few months and then the next person will come on to start chapter 3…again the best is yet to come.”
- “We also want you serve so the next person coming on can say ‘wow'”.
- “Gilbert and Mike are two completely different people yet their passion was the same. The new person will be different than Gilbert, but the passion and vision will be the same. Don’t miss Chapter 3”.
- Earl praying.
- Brian and team back on stage finishing out with “The Time Has Come”.
- Well that was fun…have a great week everyone!
Archives for March 2010
Today I’m wrapping up the most common questions I’ve been getting since announcing that I’ll be leaving United to start a church in Harrisburg.
11. What’s the name of your new church? ExponentialChurch.tv
12. Why the .tv on the end? The domain name was already taken for things like .com, .org, .net, etc. Since .tv is not as common we just tacked it onto the name. This is actually pretty common. In fact did you know that Life Church which has been the organizer of the One Prayer series we’ve done the last two years is actually named LifeChurch.tv?
13. What’s your vision for the new church? I won’t go into a lot of detail here because I’ll be doing that in the future. If you’re really interested ask me and I’ll give you a full 20 page document until I post more here. For now though let me share the following 4-prong aspect to the vision:
- Weekend Experiences: Pretty much what we’re doing in United now. There are over 425,000 people in the Harrisburg area that don’t yet have a relationship with Christ. So in the same way we’re currently doing church for those that don’t like church, we’ll do it up there but in a much bigger way.
- Community Outreach: This will in some ways be similar to our current You Matter Ministry. Monday-Saturday opportunities will be given to go out into the community serving the needs of the people in practical way.
- Life Skills Center: People will be able to come to the church to get trained in various skills that can then be translated into jobs in the community or service to organizations. One of those organizations will be ExponentialChurch.tv. Essentially what we’ll be doing is offering our building to various people in the community who want to teach skills such as voice, instruments, video editing, computer programming, database, carpentry, sewing, etc. The people they give lessons to will then be offered an opportunity to hone those skills as a volunteer at Exponential.
- Church Multiplication Center: One of the aspects I miss about working for Purpose Driven is that I got to help tens of thousands of churches all across North America in being more effective in reaching their local communities. The final phase of Exponential will be in helping churches and new churches to get started. We will do this by offering 1 year residency programs where potential church planters can come in to get trained in how to not only start a church, but grow a thriving church that is making a huge impact in whatever community they happen to be a part of. Also, our goal is to plant other churches around the Harrisburg area to make sure that all 425,000 people without Christ get to hear the good news of what Jesus has done for all of us.
That’s a very brief glimpse of what we’ll be doing. What has been amazing is watching God open door after door confirming this was what He wants us to do. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done yet, but God has been faithful and I know will provide all the resources and strength that we need.
14. Couldn’t you have stayed in Chambersburg and done this same thing? Trust me…Earl and I talked about if it were possible. However, we both quickly realized that a vision like this will require a much larger city than Chambersburg to pull off. And besides, God made it clear that we were to go to Harrisburg. So if someone else wants to try this in Chambersburg they can, but as for us, we are called to leave. As I’ve said all week long…not because we necessarily want to, but because we know that being faithful to God’s voice and His direction often requires discomfort and sacrifice.
That’s it for now, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions.
Today I’m continuing answering questions about my leaving United and starting a church in Harrisburg. Here’s the most common questions I’ve been getting in person this week that I haven’t already addressed.
6. When will you be leaving? Probably at the end of May or by the end of June at the latest. I want to do everything I can to help United and CFCOG in the transition so we’re all leaving the timetable somewhat open.
7. Will you be moving to Harrisburg or commuting? We will be moving as soon as our house gets sold. If that means I have to commute back and forth to Chambersburg for a few months then I’m cool with that. We want to get up there ASAP to start making connections in the community so the faster we sell our house the better. If you know of someone who may be interested, here is the link for our house.
8. What’s the real story? Certainly something else must be going on for you to just all of the sudden want to leave. Again I don’t want to leave, but I’m just being obedient to what I know God has clearly asked me to do. As for any other story, there is none. Like in any church/job, you occasionally have frustrating moments with people, co-workers, bosses, the job itself, but I didn’t have anything nearly major enough that I was even remotely thinking about leaving. I was just as surprised that God asked me to leave as you were to hear I was leaving.
9. Do you have a location in Harrisburg for your new church? Yes and no. We are looking at a couple of facilities right at the junction of I-81 and I-83. Please be praying about that for us that God will open the right place for the right price. One facility we are excited about the possibilities but it will definitely have to be a God thing.
10. So what is this big vision? Ah yeah that…you’ll have to come back tomorrow to get the details…
This week I’m answering questions that I’ve gotten since my announcement on Sunday that I’ll be leaving this summer to start a church in Harrisburg.
5. Is United going to change much? There’s a couple of aspects to this question. First, does the leadership want to keep the style as an energetic, relevant, come as you are place for people who don’t like church or have given up on church? YES!!!! So the heart of why we do United will not change. However, will some of the methods change in how to accomplish that? Undoubtedly yes. But that’s not a bad thing. Even in the 3 years that I’ve been around, what United looks like in 2010 and what it looked like in 2006 is vastly different. If we always just do things because “well that’s the way we’ve always done it”, then that is the same traditionalism that so many of us rejected as kids as boring and irrelevant to our lives.
Second, no matter how much the leadership wants things to basically stay the same, your next pastor will thankfully for him not be a Gilbert clone. Your new pastor will bring in new ideas and a vision for how to accomplish the overall tasks he will be called to do. Some things you’ll like better, some things you’ll hate (because none of us like change) however the key will be to give this new person 100% support. I guarantee you that things will change, but what hasn’t changed is God. He is still in control and with His leading, your new pastor’s leadership and your continuing support of United and CFCOG, I have no doubt that even greater things are in store for you.
Today I’m continuing to answer questions after my big announcement this past Sunday. Today we’ll look at two questions. One has to do with my plant and the other the future of United.
3. Can I just come up to Harrisburg each week to your new church? The simplest answer is, “Well it’s a free country we can’t stop you from doing that but…” and here’s where I want to give you some things to consider. First, traveling that distance each week will quickly get old. Second, you know that I’m big on you inviting people to come with you each week. Do you really think your unsaved neighbors, friends, co-workers and relatives are really going to want to drive an hour each week to get to church? No, so that’s why you being plugged into a local church is so important. Also, it’s hard to serve at a church when you live so far away. So for everybody’s sake it’s better if you remain at United/CFCOG and help the next guy take things to the next level.
Now with that being said, there will be opportunities for you to come up and serve in some short-term missions types of projects. Some of these will be during the week, others will be on the weekend. I guess what I’m saying is I’d love to see you help once, at the most twice, per year if you feel led to, but again for everyone’s sake….especially yours, it’s best for you to stay plugged in to the exciting things that are happening right here in Chambersburg.
Now I know for some of you this was not the answer you wanted to hear. So here is your option. Pray about actually moving to Harrisburg with us. Earl, the Elders and myself all feel that if someone is serious enough to make the move then none of us should stop it because it will need to be a God thing working in your life. What I mean by that is unless you really are a glutton for punishment then no one in their right mind would want to move, find new jobs, choose new schools, make new friends, etc, unless God was calling them to be a part of supporting me and the vision that God has given me to fulfill. If your seriously interested, I’d love to talk (email@example.com), but please make sure you’re motivation is to follow God not just follow Gilbert.
4. Who will be taking your place at United? Again the honest answer is I don’t know. Today an ad will be placed with the largest church staffing organization in the USA. Also, I and others have plenty of friends nationally that are a part of relevant ministries and so we are contacting them so they can think through their network of contacts for a possible right fit. Also we’ll be getting the word out through our denominational publications. I love what Galen said on Sunday, “Obviously if God is leading Gilbert to Harrisburg, it means He is leading someone else here”. I do truly believe that and what you can be doing is praying for the hiring team to make the right choice. That team is made up of people from all demographics of the church but primarily people who call United home. They will do their best to find someone to take United to levels I never even dreamed of. Also be praying for whoever that is that their heart would be open to God’s leading as they read an ad or hear about the opportunity.
Ideally within the next few weeks the team will have enough resumes that they can begin narrowing the stack down and actually begin the interviews. Again ideally we’d like to see someone in place during May so that there can be a brief overlap between their starting and my leaving. However, I know the hiring team and Council will not rush the process and just bring someone in for the sake of having someone on staff. Earl and the Elders are committed to having United be carried on as well if not even better than it currently is so if that takes longer, then it takes longer. In the short-term they may cause some temporary discomfort but in the long-term it will be very beneficial. If you have any questions about any of this, I know Earl would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org