- Last Preview is done and now the Countdown to Launch truly begins.
- Had another great day.
- I woke up at 3:30ish ready to go!
- Almost all of our equipment has arrived so it was yet another morning of trying out things for the very first time.
- Like last time, all things considered, things went very smoothly.
- Our goal for today was to have 95% of the bugs worked out.
- I’d say we’re pretty close.
- The first impressions team and children’s ministry are getting set-up quicker than we could have hoped so soon they’ll earn the right to come in later. 🙂
- Our biggest issues after the first preview was in getting all our signage set-up properly and getting the lights functioning the way we wanted.
- Signs are now all good and the lights were much better.
- The biggest issue we’ve got right now if getting more front light to the stage. I feel depressed when I’m up speaking because it’s so dark.
- A number of people have said that they can see me fine, so it might just be that I was so used to a very bright stage at Chambersburg that I need to adapt.
- More than likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
- The band and tech team did another phenomenal job considering everything they have to do to get ready.
- So glad to have two guys like Bill and Andy who I can count on the get those areas not only up and running but also done with excellence.
- We still have a long way to go to get things where they’ll ultimately need to be we’re off to a great start.
- The last song they did before I preached was “He Loves Us”. Man that song messed me up big time…I was a crying, blubbering, slobbering fool over on the side getting ready to go up on stage.
- Praying that many got a paradigm shift today as we discovered that ministry is not just for the “paid professionals” but for all of us and that no matter what we’ve done in the past or how inadequate we think we are, God still has a unique plan and role for us in serving Him and His Kingdom!
- Speaking of serving, I’m so grateful for the awesome volunteers that have been coming in from other churches each week to help us with the Previews and then as we launch. We truly couldn’t be doing this without them and I hope to someday be able to sow back into the churches that are sacrificing for us in the same way they’re helping us.
- We’re really trying to go over the top with our First Impressions Team and so far I think it’s been a success. Our goal is to have at least 7 contacts with a person from the time they exit their car to the time the get into the theater.
- I had one man say to me that he got out of his car with some “barriers up” but the friendliness of everyone helped to quickly knock them down and help him to feel comfortable.
- Tear down went smooth again however the biggest of the theaters that we rent had an early movie so we really had to hustle to get out.
- Desperately needed a nap today which I got and now it’s time to head off to launch team meeting to discuss everything that happened today and get ready for more community events we’ll be doing in the next few weeks.
Archives for September 2010
Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen? Why there is pain and suffering in the world when He could stop it all if He wanted? Let me share with you what happened to me 25 years ago today and you be the judge of whether or not good can come out of bad.
It was my 7th grade year and I was all of 4′ 11″ and 75 pounds. I was a sports nut and what I lacked in size I made up in speed and determination. Baseball was my first love and like most kids I dreamed of one day going pro. I was always making All-star teams and what not so when my cousin Deron called and said I should switch from soccer to football during the fall sports season I was on board. As you can tell already from the picture in this post, things didn’t turn out so well.
September 23, 1985. My team was playing the late game and the call was for me (a running back) to run a reverse. Unfortunately the exchange between myself and the quarterback didn’t go so well and there was a fumble. As I reached down to try to scoop it up with my left leg extended far behind me, two guys (one 145 pounds and the other 135 pounds) both came down on the back of my left leg and shattered my femur bone almost all the way up by the hip. In fact, when the paramedics came out they thought I had just dislocated my hip and that’s how they were treating me, which turned out to make things worse.
I won’t get into all the details of that night but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I ended up having surgery that night to put a pin in my leg and I then spent the next month in the hospital in traction. After that came a full body cast for 2 more months. As you can see in the picture the cast went all the way down my left leg, halfway down my right leg and all the way up my chest. A bar connected the two legs so they could not move at all the entire time. Lying flat on your back for 3 months is not fun. Being constantly dependent on others is not fun. Being a sports junkie and not being able to go out and run and play is not fun. Having to use a jar and bedpan for the bathroom for 3 months when you need others help to do it and you’re a 12 year old boy…really not fun. However, looking back this was the best thing to ever happen to me in my life. Here’s why…
When I was able to return to sports, while I was still fast, I had lost the advantage I once had. I continued to play sports even into high school but when I was 16 I got a summer job that I loved. When the fall rolled around I decided to quit soccer so I could keep my job in the evenings. I told myself though that once baseball season came there was no way I’d quit baseball. Guess what…I did. I realized that at my size and with my quickness gone, there wasn’t a future for me in baseball, but there was the possibility with the job I had. So I continued working there and it was that summer that I met Lisa. She not only ended up becoming my wife a few years later but through her, her family and their church, I ended up becoming a follower of Jesus on July 27, 1993.
The rest as they say is history. After owning two businesses, God called me into vocational ministry and now in the past 10+ years I’ve been able to lead 1000’s into a relationship with Jesus and had the privilege of training over 10000 other churches during my time with Purpose Driven Ministries. Now I get the opportunity to start a new church in Harrisburg which I’m sure God is going to use to make an eternal impact. And it all can be traced back to, what at the time seemed like a devastating injury, 25 years ago today.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I do now…God wants to take what Satan means for evil and turn it around for your good. The choice is ours though. Will you become bitter or become better? Will you “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds…”? Difficult times are like weight lifting. What builds muscle is when you push through the resistance of the weights pushing down on you. Without the struggle, your muscles wouldn’t be built up. It’s the same with your faith. God will allow tough times in your life not because He doesn’t love you, but because He knows that if you stay strong to Him and His Word that your faith will be stronger than ever.
So what problem or challenge do you need to thank God for today? Who knows, like me you may be able to look back in 3 years, 10 years, 25 years and say “Wow that’s the best thing that every happened to me because if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have and be all that I am today”.
Well that title certainly caught your attention didn’t it? In this case, I mean literally the picture in this post is a graphic that I created at Wordle of this past Sunday’s message. Basically it takes the words and puts more weight/size to the words used most often (Note: This is taken from my notes not the actually words that came out). This past Sunday’s message at the Preview Experience for ExponentialChurch.tv was called entitled, Perhaps and was based off the story found in 1 Samuel 14:1-14. Cool!
- Been awhile since I’ve been able to do an Inside Today’s Experience blog post and it shows since I’m not almost 36 hours late getting this posted.
- What a weekend…exciting and tiring all at the same time.
- My Dad and Andy traveled out to Troy, Michigan Thursday night into Friday morning, picked up a lot our equipment and then turned right around and drove home.
- Saturday morning everyone gathered at the theater at 7am to unpack and test equipment for the first time.
- We still have a lot of stuff on back order so we were improvising on some things but all in all it went well and we felt confident going into Sunday.
- Before I go further, let me throw in a couple of relevant points.
- Our team is amazing. They have been putting in dozens of hours each week and I’ve hardly heard any complaining at all. Let me say it again…they are amazing and surely God is going to reward them for all the hard work they’ve been doing.
- Other churches are just as amazing. So far over 30 churches now are helping support us in some way. I’ll do a blog post in the future to recognize them all and share some inspiring stories of what can happen when the capital “C” church truly cares about lost people and realizes we’re all on the same team. This past weekend and future weekends wouldn’t be possible without great leaders who are sacrificing time, money, equipment and people to help us.
- One example of the last point is that we went from no lights at all just 2 weeks ago, to two churches donating entire lighting rigs and others financially contributing so we could buy even more , which “just happened” to be on sale for 50% off when we went in to buy them).
- Problem was we couldn’t get everything to work together lighting wise on Saturday morning so Andy I worked at his house until 9pm in his garage and front yard setting up a fake stage.
- Oh the adventures he and I have had together over the past 17 years. Next to God and Lisa, I couldn’t ask for a better friend and partner to do ministry and life together with! And Gayle’s not so bad herself 🙂
- I slept like a baby and then we were all at the theaters again at 7am, but this time to do it for real.
- Everything went fairly smooth with set-up except we couldn’t get some of our signage assembled the right way and even though Andy and I had the lights working, we didn’t have time to write any light scenes so we went with a solid blue look the entire Experience.
- Not bad though…our goal was to by the end of the weekend be at about 80% efficiency and effectiveness…think we did at least that.
- In addition to our team we were joined by volunteers from 5 other churches. Thanks to everyone who came on a short-term missions trip to the deep, dark jungles of Harrisburg to help reach out.
- Again we have some bugs that needs to be worked out but I thought overall our lobby presentation and signage, our kids areas and main adult worship spaces looked amazing.
- As for the Preview itself, it’s sort of one of those catch-22’s. You want enough guests to show up so you can see if the systems we put in place work, but at the same time you don’t want so many people that with everything not being at 100% you make a negative first impression.
- So with all that said, our total attendance for the day including helpers and kids was 86 people!
- I just realized that for this Preview we actually had more people than the average church in America does (72) for one of their regular services.
- Wow God is good and the best is yet to come!
- If you’re interested in getting a taste of what happened yesterday, here is a link to a simple video I put together with some highlights of the Preview.
- In addition to the 86 people we also had some news media folks who showed up.
- Last week I did an interview with the Patriot Newspaper and they sent out one of their photographers to shoot some shots.
- I would expect the article to come out in the next week or two.
- Also ABC27 News sent a film crew out to take some footage and do an interview.
- Funny thing was we had already started the Experience when one of our team members informed me that they were there and wanted to do an interview but couldn’t wait around until the end.
- So I left during the worship set…did a quick interview and then got back just in time to deliver the message.
- The news clip has run a total of 3 different times and we’re appreciative of the nice feature they did on us. You can watch it here if you haven’t yet seen it.
- Bill and the band did an incredible job and every kid I talked to was excited about what Chelsea had to offer in the ECTV Kid’s Theater. Add in Chad running around making sure behind the scenes stuff was happening and our staff did a tremendous job…in fact I gave them all the day off so they could rest and recuperate after weeks on end of hard work. Great job guys…love partnering with you!
- We’re already getting a lot of positive feedback from the weekend and we can’t wait to do it again on September 26th…although it’s nice to have a week here to “breathe”.
- I preached about how none of us grow up wanting to be the guy who cleans port-o-pots or cleans up road kill yet many times the dreams we had for a life of significance gets shot down. The result is we get into survival mode instead of being the community and world-changers God has called us to be. When we occasionally do get a spark to do something great, is when the naysayers come out and start saying things like, “Well perhaps that will happen…I mean maybe you can do it”. These discouraging words cause us to retreat back into our safe, comfortable lives where our biggest goal is winning the rat race. So the big idea from yesterday was that “God’s promise is always bigger than my perhaps”.
- I truly believe that if Jesus could use 12 ordinary guys to change the world then He can take the people of ExponentialChurch.tv and use us to change Harrisburg and beyond.
- Partnering with other churches and ministries in the city to win it for Christ is not a very popular message as evidenced by the guy who refused to shake my hand on the way out the door.
- Here’s the sad part…I’d almost guarantee he is a part of another church and was there to check out the weird new church in town who doesn’t do things the way his church does. In other words in his mind, the right way. But instead of celebrating that more people will be in heaven one day because of our combined efforts, he instead made it very evident that he was offended. The reason this is so sad is what he doesn’t realize is that it’s attitudes like that actually push people further from Jesus.
- I post this for a reason…ExponentialChurch.tv is not doing church the right way or the only way…just a different way. We desire to be a church for people who don’t like church not just do things because “that’s the way they’ve always been done”.
- Sorry if that sounds like a bit of a rant, but as I said in yesterday’s message, “The church has been called to domination and we’ve become all about conversations about topics that really don’t matter”. Is it any wonder the church in America is on the decline and we are the laughingstock of the world as even they realize how stupid it is for Christians to argue over worship styles?
- Tearing everything down afterward went quicker than I anticipated which is a good thing because when we eventually go to two different Experience times on Sunday mornings it will force us to tear down in only 1/2 hour.
- Even though I was tired, I then went out to lunch with two future church planters who were in town to help and observe everything we were doing.
- Hopefully we showed them more good than bad.
- Great guys and they asked a lot of great questions at lunch.
- After that we hosted our good friends Bill and Nicole Mellott from West Virgina for a couple of hours at the house. They are another couple that we’ve done life deeply together with and we’re still praying that God would somehow make it possible for them to move up here as well.
- After that then we went over to Andy and Gayle’s for dinner with them and the Chute’s. Mmmm grilled chicken kabobs and I even treated myself to a Mellow Yellow which I haven’t had in years.
- It was a long day, but one that I’m extremely excited about and feel the hard work and effort of the entire team will pay-off big time as we move forward!
- Thanks for reading all this…if you’re just checking us out for the first time, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions. Gilbert@ExponentialChurch.tv
In case you missed my post yesterday, please click the link to my survey and take the 1-3 minutes to think through how you’d respond. When you click the link it will give you the motivation behind and instructions for how to participate. Thanks in advance for as many of you as possible participating.