- Another great day!
- Saw 8 more people give their lives to Jesus!
- Had a lot of new people doing “First Serves” today.
- So awesome seeing people step up and use their gifts, skills, talents and abilities to serve others.
- Great having church planters, Luke and Sabrina from Raleigh, North Carolina with us this morning observing what was happening and then having lunch with them at the Rock Bass Grill. Holy cow is that some good food.
- Also awesome having Aaron Hoke leading worship for us today.
- Aaron is normally one of our guitarists but with Bill away for a few weeks while he and Meghan welcome a new child into the world, Aaron is stepping up and did great!
- FYI, Meghan was there today along with Bill…she’s now past due by a couple of days…they’re hoping for a Leap Year baby now.
- As I told Bill, “The good thing is you only have to buy birthday presents every 4 years, the bad news is the kid will live with you for 72 years”. 🙂
- Not a lot else to report for the day…pretty smooth.
- I preached part 2 of the Sun Stand Still series on how to turn your pitiful prayers into powerful ones.
- Based on Facebook comments, it apparently was a good and convicting message.
- You can listen to it here as I taught on how to pray using an acrostic for the word ASK.
- Next week we’ll wrap the series up by looking at what to do when opposition comes to your new life of faith. See you then…hopefully with a friend or two.
Archives for February 2012
- Another good day.
- Started out this morning not being able to open my car doors because they were froze shut. Once I did get the rear door open, then I couldn’t get it shut.
- Made for a late start with Mike getting the signs out…and oh wow was it cold.
- Set-up went pretty smoothly…although after last week’s “No Show Sunday” seemed like we had some missing and out of place stuff, but we figured it all out.
- Bill is always really creative and came up with a boxing ring for the set piece today…it was cool how he made it.
- Had a decent size crowd show-up at 9:10 to share in communion with us.
- The theater is such a hard place to pull it off (logistics) and with our large amount of unbelievers that attend, for some theological reasons its difficult as well.
- This will be a good solution to use from time to time to supplement the times we do it other ways.
- After communion we had a lot of new people come in to observe our team meeting and then get a behind the scenes tour of the areas they are interested in serving in.
- If you’re interested in serving, please start the process by choosing the appropriate link and then filling out the form. For set-up, tear down, or any First Impressions role, click here.
- For any Children’s Ministry role, click here.
- As a reminder, to incorporate some new stuff we want to do, we also need those currently serving to fill out the appropriate forms as well.
- As for the Experience itself, it was a small yet fairly enthusiastic crowd today.
- Bill and the team did a great job covering “Ladies and Gentlemen”.
- Andy and Cris did a great job as well creating the tech side of things for it.
- I shot a video but it didn’t come out great but here it is anyway so you can get a sense of what we did.
- That led into Chad’s message which we called, “All Show Sunday”.
- He did a great job sharing why you need to serve with others in the area that you not only have a passion for, but are also gifted to serve in.
- I was able to walk around today and see some of our other ministries in action.
- So thankful for all that God allows us to do!
- Again we’d love to see you begin serving if you’re not already…click the links above to get started.
- One cool up-date…
- I announced at the end that we fell about 500 cans short of our goal to collect 2012 food items for Isaiah 61 Ministries.
- After the Experience was over, a very generous lady said she’s buy the difference!
- Love to see people being radically generous!
- Had about 70 people come out to lunch at Infinito’s with us.
- Always good to be able to spend time with getting to know people better.
- Pretty awesome to see how many people from my couple of blocks are now attending…some that I didn’t even know lived nearby.
- Next week we begin a new series called, “Sun Stand Still”.
- I can’t stress this enough…THIS WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT SERIES WE’VE EVER DONE…DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO INVITE PEOPLE TO COME WITH YOU.
- If you need more of the invite cards, please email me and we’ll get them to you.
On Sunday I announced that Chelsea Miller would be leaving our staff effective March 11th as our Director of Children’s Ministries. You can read her letter here and the answers to some frequently asked questions here. Today I’ll wrap this up by giving you some of the plan on how we’re proceeding.
- March 11th- Chelsea’s last day leading the kids.
- March 18th- Party (kids theater) and recognition (grown-up theater…you really didn’t think I was going to put adult did you?) for all that Chelsea has done.
In the meantime, Chad will be working with Chelsea to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. He will then oversee and lead the teams that will make make ECTV Kids Theater the highlight of every kids week! For the most part we’ll be keeping with the same awesome format we’ve been using. Here’s a brief overview video from another church that uses the same thing we do. As you can see, the hard part is done for you…the key now will be instead of 1 staff person overseeing every aspect of it, we are looking for team leaders to take ownership of small parts of it. These team leaders will then have various people who oversee even smaller portions.
To be most effective we’ll need about 25 people to take on the above mentioned roles. As I mentioned Sunday, some of these roles are during the week, while most are on Sunday. Some require you to occasionally miss the Adult Worship Experience while others might require you to miss little to not at all what’s going on in the main theater. There are various roles that will need to be fulfilled for nursery and toddlers as well as roles for our K-5th grade programs. All types of skill sets and passions are needed, as well as roles that both introverts and extroverts could do.
Ok that’s the what…but now let’s talk about the why. Why would you want to get involved in some way? The reason is is quite simple…research has shown that if someone doesn’t become a follower of Jesus before age 19, there is only a 6% chance that they will sometime in adulthood.
In other words, since one of our core values is “Lost People Matter to God and Therefore They Must Matter to Me” then children have to matter to us as well. Why? Because those cute little ones will one day get to the point of being convicted of and held accountable for their sins. In that moment will they realize Jesus is their only hope of forgiveness or are we going to send them out and hope they become a part of the lucky 6% who have an adult conversion experience?Not only that but by teaching them a biblical foundation at such an early age, you will help them to be better people, students, and eventually moms, dads, workers and citizens.
Listen, many people don’t think that they can make a difference with their life…but the reality is you can. Miss Patsy, Mrs. Huffer, Mr. Bob, Aunt Dot, these were just a few of the children’s workers in the church I grew up in that made a difference in my life. Little did they know when they kept telling me to sit down and be quiet and stop hitting people, that one day I’d grow up to be not just a pastor, but also a pastor who would get to travel all over North America training other pastors.
These 4 were homemakers and mechanics and bankers. Each would have probably told you that they felt vastly under-qualified, and that some weeks they wondered why they did it, but I guarantee you that now looking at not just my life but the lives of many others they’d all say, “It was worth it!” For two of them, they’ve already heard Jesus say, “Well done my good and faithful servants”. In fact, at the church I grew up in there is a plaque honoring Mrs. Huffer and my Aunt Dot for more than 120 years of combined service to teaching children. Having read the bible literally dozens of times from cover to cover I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that no matter what I do and how “successful” I am as a pastor, their reward in heaven will far exceed anything I’ll ever get.
So with Chelsea’s departure the goal remains the same…it’s just now we’re allowing more of you to get in on one of the most effective ways that your life can make a difference. We’d love to see you get involved. If you haven’t already, click here to let us know in what way you’re interested in serving our kids!
In Sunday’s message and then again in this week’s “Inside Today’s Experience” I made the announcement that Chelsea Miller will be leaving our staff. If you missed Chelsea’s letter from yesterday, you can read it here.
Any time something like this happens, there are bound to be a lot of questions so I wanted to answer them here for you. Then tomorrow check back into this blog for more info on the plan going forward.
Q. Why is she leaving?
A. Because it is how God is directing her. As I mentioned Sunday, many times God will ask us to do things that aren’t comfortable and require sacrifice. Having worked with Chelsea for the past 18 months I know how much she loves your kids and how much it pains her to be called away but doing what Jesus asks us to do must always be our first priority. Again you can read her thoughts here.
Q. But you said she’s still going to attend ECTV right? Why would she do that?
A. Because she still believes in the vision of ECTV and has made many good friends here. In other words, she’s feeling called away from her staff responsibilities but not the church.
Q. OK Gilbert what did you do to upset her and make her want to quit?
A. Nothing. I may not be the world’s greatest boss but Chelsea and I have a great relationship. Over the months she became not just an employee but a close friend and someone I protect like a little sister. She would tell you that I’m not perfect but that I tried to support and encourage her each and every step of the way.
Q. Ok was she fired then?
A. No Chelsea was doing a great job. Nothing made me happier than seeing kids each week come running out excited about what they had just experienced in the kids theater. When I hire and then evaluate people for job performance, it’s based on 3 things…Character (are they growing to become more like Jesus), Competency (can they do the job) and Chemistry (can they get along with other staff and those they are called to lead and minister to)…by each of these measures Chelsea was doing very well.
Q. You’ve mentioned the tight finances at the church a number of times, was she laid-off for financial reasons?
A. No. While yes, like any church plant, we’re struggling to get a financial base, things are not so bad that Chelsea had to be laid off. In fact, I’ve told the staff that if we were ever to get to that point that I’ll be the first to sacrifice salary before I’d ask them to or have to get rid of one of them.
Q. Will you be hiring someone to take her place then?
A. Short-term the answer is no. Again I’ll be posting tomorrow what the plan looks like going forward.
Q. Seriously this would be so much more fun if there was some big controversy or scandal…are you sure you’re telling the whole story?
A. YES!!! It’s sort of a shame that as a pastor I need to do posts like this in the first place. Unfortunately though because of the mistakes of church staff in other churches over the last couple of decades, it’s almost become a necessity to keep the rumor mill from churning. The most unfortunate part of that is, that as Christians, we’re to always look for the good in others first off but many times we are the meanest, gossipy bunch around. For that, shame on us. Again the truth is, Chelsea was called here by God and now she is being called away. I applaud her for following what God is asking her to do when it would have been very easy to just keep collecting a pay check. My prayer is that all of us would be as obedient.
Q. What specifically can I be praying about?
A. First, be praying for Chelsea. While she was only part-time with us, this is going to put a bit of financial pressure on her. Again though I so admire her faith to do what God wants even at the risk of personal discomfort. So pray that God will provide to make up the difference. Also, be praying for her as she seeks God for what her next step is in her own service to God. Again the plan is she wants to stay with us at ECTV, but who knows what God might have in store so pray that His perfect will be done in and through her.
Second, be praying for the children of ECTV. While all of this might make sense to us, for them this can be a confusing time. Why is she leaving? Did I do something wrong? Does she not like us? etc… I want to encourage you to begin preparing your children now. Over the next few weeks the kids will begin noticing some changes so hopefully we can make the transition as smooth as possible…then on March 18th we’ll have a big going away party for Chelsea where not only will we celebrate but also encourage them to always follow God’s will. One thing that will help is that the kids will still get to see her in the hallways before and after church so were praying that will take away a bit of the sting of losing her in the actual theater.
Third pray for the rest of our staff, especially Chad, as we work to build on the awesome foundation of Children’s Ministry that Chelsea has already laid.
Finally, pray about your part. Again more details will come tomorrow but we need 25 of you to step up in various roles in Children’s Ministry to make sure that it not just survives but thrives. If you’re interested in taking the next step, click here to get more info and begin the application process.
Q. Final question. Should vegetarians eat animal crackers?
A. OK now you’re just being weird, talk to you tomorrow. 🙂
NOTE FROM GILBERT: In yesterday’s message and then again in the “Inside Today’s Experience” I made the announcement that Chelsea Miller will be leaving our staff. Today I want to share with you a letter from Chelsea to you her church family at ExponentialChurch.tv. Tomorrow then I’ll do some FAQ’s, followed by the plan for Children’s Ministry, as we go forward, on Wednesday.
Scott Adams once wrote, “You don’t have to be a “person of influence” to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”
At a time like this a letter seems so insignificant, but a way I can share my deep appreciation for the influence you have all had in my life. I wouldn’t even know where to start. It goes without saying, that this has been the greatest growing and learning experience of my life, and without the help and support of my church family, I probably wouldn’t still be here today. God has given me the privilege of serving at Exponential and some of you have entrusted me with the care and education of your most precious gift; your children.
I love each of them and am thankful for the time I’ve had to share Christ with them. They mean the world to me and nothing brings me greater joy than seeing your children walk with Jesus hidden deep within their hearts, yet with a great desire to share that love with others. They have reminded me what having a child-like faith is really all about, and have helped me grow closer to Christ. I only hope I’ve helped them do the same.
Making this decision was one of the hardest, that I’ve ever had to make, but I feel as though God is leading me in another direction. I am thankful for the staff and the friendships that have been established. For their encouragement, love and support they’ve given me since day one on August 17th, 2010. The day I moved to Harrisburg. They’ve challenged me to grow deeper in my faith and knowledge of leadership and ministry. They’ve offered help, not only in areas of ministry, but on a personal level and for that I’m truly thankful.
Since I’ve lived here, I’ve learned more what it means to fully give my life to Christ and put daily dependence in Him. I’ve learned what it means to really pray and have seen God move in mighty ways. I’m learning about myself and who I am in Christ. It’s my hearts desire to serve God in everything I do, and so I will continue to serve qualitatively. With Christ at the center of my life, I will strive to become the disciple of God He has called me to be.
Although this is a challenging time in my life, I look up! The maker of the universe, the former of our hearts, the Lord and Savior who cares about every detail of our lives, He is in control.