- First I love that we don’t change clocks until after the Experiences.
- So nice to get a regular nights sleep.
- Except that I woke up early anyway.
- Because of some unexpected events this past week we weren’t able to do a normal run through on Thursday night so I was bit nervous that everything would be working/look right today.
- Luckily since I’m preaching a series on worry right now, it wasn’t as worried as I might have normally been. 🙂
- Loved all the music today…good blend of high energy stuff and passionate worship.
- Andrea and Gayle also did awesome with Scars by Allison Iraheta.
- Heard her perform it on Idol the other week and knew it would fit well.
- Love the new stage set that Brian came up with.
- Looks completely different than anything we’ve done before.
- Crowds were sparse today…hope the rain didn’t keep people away.
- Had a lot of fun sharing today’s message.
- As I said, The bible is not hard to understand”.
- Just keep reminding yourself that since God loves me more than a bird, I don’t have to worry.
- Fun singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” with everyone.
- Forgot how bad I really sing, until I listened back to it on the recording.
- We had a breaker keep blowing during the 2nd Experience putting half the stage in the dark.
- Hate that stuff.
- Had a group of 6 people from Harrisburg visiting today to get a feel for what’s to come this fall when we move there.
- I have mixed emotions…sad to be leaving but excited as well to be meeting with people who will be a part of the next phase of our lives.
- If you haven’t seen it yet, we started a Facebook page for the new church which I’d love for you to join.
- Wow I’m tired…time for a nap.
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.
I’m sure after my big announcement on Sunday the 28th, many of you have plenty of questions for me. This week I want to take some time to answer some of them.
- Why would you want to leave? The answer is I don’t. From a very selfish standpoint, I’ve got it good at United. I love the people I work with on a weekly basis and the people I get to minister to. In addition Lisa and I love our house and I get paid quite nicely to do something I’m extremely passionate about. However, Jesus has asked all of us to “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”. The last I checked, cross-bearing means sacrifice. Jesus before going to the cross prayed and asked God if there was any other way but the cross to fulfill his mission to please do that, yet He said, “not my will be done, let your will be done”.
Ever since God dropped the vision on me for starting a church in Harrisburg back in October, I’ve prayed God if there is another way, please make that clear. Instead though God has just opened one incredible door after another to confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is His will for us. To move is going to require sacrifice on Lisa and I’s behalf. Not only will we be moving, but I’ll be taking a dramatic decrease in pay. More than likely this will mean Lisa will need to find a job. In addition we’ll be starting all over from scratch what has taken us years to build at United. Will it be easy? No. Will it be fun? Sometimes. Will it be hard work? Yes. Are we confident this is what God wants from us? Yes, yes, 100%, yes. As I said in the announcement, it would be hypocritical of me to have preached for 3+ years that you need to be 100% devoted to God and always be obedient to Him, but yet then backed down when God asked me to do something that required sacrifice.
2. But why Harrisburg, why not somewhere closer like Greencastle or Hagerstown? There are a number of reasons. The primary one is because that’s where God told me to go. As I’ve joked with a few people during this process that have asked me this question…”Jonah didn’t go to the city God told him to go and that didn’t work out to well for him. So since God clearly told me Harrisburg…I’m going to Harrisburg”.
Also I believe He chose Harrisburg because the vision He gave me is so big and potentially nation/world changing, that it’s going to require a larger city to pull off. In the coming days I’ll outline more of what He’s calling us to do, but the vision is not to just reach a city, but to help re-ignite our denomination and to ultimately become a training center for churches all over the US to send others for training. Now obviously there are a lot of other large cities that God could have called us to, but I think He chose Harrisburg because it is the birthplace of our denomination, and there are a lot of strategic alliances/resources already in place in that area that will make the vision much more likely to succeed.
Lastly, my desire is to do nothing that will in any way hurt the United Worship Experience or Chambersburg First Church of God. Being too close might have done such a thing so I believe God called me to a place that was not so close to be a hindrance but also not so far away that United and CFCOG can’t help me as well as me help you.
That’s enough for today…keep checking back and I’ll answer more questions throughout the week. If you have one you’d like for me to answer, let me know so that we can make the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.