Archive for the ‘ Lessons from Life ’ Category

Reflections on Awestruck Church (And a Prayer for our Future)

moveOne thing we can be sure of in life… Things will change! 

Sometimes that is bad, other times that means the situation is improving

 

In 2005 I had one item on my Christmas list…

It was a big ticket item and I just had to have it … It was a game changer!

4G iPod Nano

It did not take very long for my Life Changing Gift to become outdated…

It doesn’t hold many songs, No Touch Screen, No Candy Crush Saga???

This Nano led to other iPods, iPhones, iPads being in my house

Sometimes when things change it means there is an Upgrade in our life

 

Awestruck began in October 2007 with a group of 10 sitting in my living room

–In September 2008 we launched at Eastern Middle School

–In August of 2010 we began renovations on the Butler Rd.  property

And this is where we have been for the last 4 & 1/2 years

 

Since we have been on Butler Rd…

–We have camped out in below freezing weather

–Roasted almost 1000 hot dogs over a big bonfire

–We have hosted 2 Glow in the Dark Egg Hunts…before the sun went down

–We have worked hard together on improvements

–Hosted movie nights

–Served our volunteers breakfast and dinner

–Had some fun small group parties

–Our band has released 3 CD’s… Recorded one in this building

–We hosted a big CD release party right here

–We partnered with “The Patio” at this location

–2 churches became one awesome place for God to do work

–We have formed a great relationship with the Reedy Fork community

–We have celebrated 5 out of 6 of our anniversaries on this property

–We have seen some of our folks move on, but God has added a bunch of new people to our congregation at this property

–We have commissioned 4 people into Christian service and helped launch 5 church plant while in this building

–Tyler was ordained on this stage

–Almost 200 Families in our area have been blessed at Christmas time

–We have watched our children’s ministry become a youth ministry

–Almost 40 children have been dedicated on this stage

–Many people have given their life to Jesus at this property

–21 people have been baptized at this building

God has used this property to do some amazing work and gather some pretty awesome people.

The church is the people of God…Not the building

Over 100 Times in the NT the word Ekklsia is used to describe the Church

This word always means the Assembly or Gathering of people

NEVER the building or house where they met

Awestruck has had 4 Locations in 7 & 1/2 years 

God will move among His people as long as we are following His Plan and Seeking to give Him the Glory.

Here’s the Key to our Future success … We seek to Give Him all the Glory

 

Let’s look at Some things we need to Guard ourselves from in the Move:

1.  Being distracted by the location and the size

–God Grows a church…No matter where it is located

–Bigger does not always mean better … Especially if Christ is not the focus

2.  Letting the Newness Wear off … 

–Eventually the new location will become just the Location

–When that New building smell begins to fade we need to ask God to Refresh our passion for Gibsonville and the surrounding areas

3.  Thinking that the Church is becoming “Too Big”

–I believe we are going to grow in numbers

–You are going to bring friends and the Town is going to Show up

–As we grow bigger in numbers then you need to grow smaller in our community

–Get involved in a small group so that you can maintain intimate relationships

–Get involved with a serving team so you can work to help us reach more people

I Believe this with all my heart … We are moving forward in God’s timing and according to His Purpose for Awestruck

After 2 Frustrating years of waiting to hear clearly from God

He has answered our prayers about the location of our Gatherings

God has Clarified the Vision of our church so we can all move forward under the Heading of “Every Single One”  (Truth / Focus / Heart / Hope)

Our church body feels more Unified than ever before in this move…

-We have come together to work and renovate

-We have Unity in our daily prayers for the future of Awestruck

 

We want to keep our eyes on where God is taking us in the days to come

–Our past will always be a reminder of God’s faithfulness when we seek Him

–Our future is unknown, but We are trusting God to continue to Blow our Minds

 

This verse has always been our prayer…

It seems even more relevant at this time in our Church’s History

Eph 3 : 19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21  Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

The Future is so Bright…

moveOn September, 7 2008 Awestruck Church launched at Eastern Guilford middle school.  The location was hard to find and no one found us by accident.  The school was a wonderful venue to host a church service.  We formed a successful partnership with the administration and teachers.  But the location was not ideal.

In July 2010 our church was given an amazing gift!  It was clearly a God sized miracle.  Our church was given 21 acres with an existing building.  It was deeded to us free and clear.  (You can read the story of our current church property RIGHT HERE )  There was only one issue with this amazing gift … the location was hard to find and no one found us by accident.  It was even farther off the road with a long, creepy driveway through the woods to get to the parking lot.  God has a way of keeping us humble and showing that He is in full control of our church health and growth.

Over the past 2 years we have been trying to outgrow the small building on the huge property.  Whenever we reached maximum capacity the crowd would begin to shrink back down because of overcrowding and space issues.  Our church leadership has been exploring as many options as possible over this time period.  We tried to add extra service times without much success.  We attempted to partner/merge with existing churches with dwindling congregations.  We have toured numerous church buildings, warehouses, strip malls, and talked with architects, engineers, contractors, real estate agents, and inspectors.  Every different option came with it’s own set of reasons to say “no”.  Too expensive.  Too small.  Too big.  Bad location.  The land will not perk for additional septic.  Needs too much work.

Each “no” led to more frustration within our staff and leadership.  All of us knew that something had to be done.  Each of us was praying hard and putting in work to find the right option.  We were willing to make any move that God would lead us to…but it seemed that the right door had not been opened.

That leads us to the exciting news that has happened faster than we could have expected.  In late January one of our staff made another phone call about an available property.  To our surprise it was not only affordable, it was also in a Perfect location.  As we walked through the property it became obvious that each of our staff was getting excited, but did not want to get our hopes up.   Each of us was protecting ourselves from the disappointment of the unrealistic high hopes that had just been abruptly shut down by all the “no” over the past two years.  For the first time all of us were in unity with a resounding “YES” about a new location.  We invited a group of folks from our church to tour the property and give us their feedback.  A bunch of great questions came out the group.  They gave us good suggestions and helped us think through some issues we had not fully explored.  At the end of the tour we had a unanimous “YES” from our feedback group.

After 2 years of the frustrating “no’s”, could it be that God has finally opened up the right door?  I am willing to say with 100% confidence that God has finally revealed His new plan and direction for Awestruck Church.  We will be moving into a historic theater on main street in Gibsonville, NC.  We will use a dance studio that is next door for our children’s space.  This move will more than double our worship space and almost triple our children’s space.

Please continue to pray for direction and guidance as we make this huge shift for our church.  This seems risky, but God honors our faithfulness when we follow His perfect plans.  I cannot wait to see what our amazing God has in store for His church!

He’s Back … Hopefully for real this time!

This Blog space has been sitting stagnant for about 4 years now.  It’s hard to believe how quickly time can slip by and how easy it is to forget about something that seemed so important.

Life has changed and my life is busier now than ever.  Two active kids keep us constantly moving in different directions to make it to practices, events, dance, and gymnastics.  A growing church keeps me busy during the day and on the nights we aren’t playing taxi driver for the kids.  (I could go on with my excuses, but you get the point.)

As I reflect on how long it has been since I actually logged in to this blog, I’m shocked that so many years have passed without my noticing.  If we don’t make things a priority then we are destined to let them fall apart.

Hopefully I’m back!  I say “hopefully” because that is my plan.  But we all know what it’s like to make great plans and watch life interrupt our great intentions.  I plan to keep you updated on life at the Parrish house, what’s going on at Awestruck Church, generate some random ramblings from my ADHD brain, and post my sermon notes to go along with the video podcast.  This should be a fun journey to begin.  I’d be honored for you to walk alongside with me.

Josh

Grand Canyon Backpacking Day 1

October 19, 2010…down South Kaibab trail to the River and Bright Angel Campground

I don’t blog…

much lately!  There is so much going on in our life and at Awestruck Church, and I hope to find some time next week to catch up on my blogging and fill everyone in.

For now I am going to spend as much time as possible with my family before school starts back.  I cannot believe my son is going to be a kindergartner.  (more on that next week)  I just wanted to check in and let everyone know I was alive and this site is still up and running.  Talk to you next week…

Constant state of Reflection and Learning…

magnifying glassI have taken a small break from blogging lately to reflect and analyze many aspects of my life.  I am a husband, a Daddy, and a pastor of a new church.  Each one of these responsibilities brings it’s own set of responsibilities and challenges.  I’ll spare you (and me) the details of how tough I’ve realized it must be to be married to me.  My wife is my greatest supporter and cheerleader…and I have realized how much more of my time and love she needs.  My kids are growing up faster than I want them too!  I have not figured out how to slow down time…so I have been pondering ways to enjoy each day and be the best dad I can be.  

As far as being a church planter/pastor/creative paradox for Awestruck Church is concerned, I am discovering how much I have to learn!  Our church is 9 months old and every week is a learning experience.  I am learning the balance between entertainment and engagement.  I am learning the difference b/n what I want and what God wants.  (His way always works out better by the way)  I am learning the difference b/n being a “boss” and being a leader.  I am learning how to lead within my strengths and surround myself with people that pick up the slack of my weaknesses.  

As a leader (in any area of work or business) it is crucial that we constantly evaluate who we are and how we can improve.  Reading books, blogs, and going to conferences are great things!  I am learning that I can learn and be inspired by others, but simply copying and pasting others techniques into my life is detrimental to my personal progress.  Times of quiet reflection and (painfully) honest discussions with God produce the greatest results in my journey of becoming the greatest Husband, Daddy and pastor that I can be.  God created me with a purpose…I am committed to tenaciously chasing it with all that I am!

The first Milestone…

safe-baby-handling14I remember it like it was yesterday!  I can still feel the emotion and anxiety of that night my wife said get up, we are going to the hospital!  I remember all 20 hours of labor…before the C-section.  I will never forget his first poopy diaper!  It was so bizarre looking that we actually called the nurse to make sure he was alright.  I remember bringing my boy home and thinking, “Now what do we do with him?”.

Fast forward 5 1/2 years and now my son has graduated preschool.  This is his first huge milestone in life.  We have many more to come in his life, but last night marked the beginning of a new era for Micah.  He starts “big school” in the fall and if what people tell me is true, he will be graduating before I know it.  I am proud of all he has accomplished up to this point, and looking forward to see the man that he becomes.  It’s just a reflective time for me to ponder if we’ve done everything we could to raise him and provide for him.  Have we prepared him for “big school”?  Only time will tell, but for now we will spend our summer celebrating his graduation.  

I love my kids!  I love being a Daddy and want to enjoy every moment with them to the fullest.  Congratulations to Micah!!!