Posts Tagged ‘ Church Planting ’

The More it Changes, the More it Stays the Same

We began Awestruck Church with a vision to create a Genuine Community of people formed around living life for Jesus and doing life together.  That’s it…nothing too fancy.  Our “church” exists for people to build a life changing relationship with Christ and life enhancing relationships with others.  Real people who refuse to play games and hide behind the mask of false perfection.

Our desire is not to simply have a church building and hope people come in and join us, but to inspire a culture of people who live out their faith every day.  A living representation of the life changing message of a God who loves us deeply.  The paradigm shifts from “coming in” to “Going Out”.

That was our dream when we began this adventure into Awestruck 3 years ago, and nothing has changed!  We are now the owner of almost 21 acres and a church building, but nothing has changed about our vision.

For our church the blessing of land and a building is just the beginning, not the end.  We see it as God’s provision for us to begin achieving new levels of the dream He gave a few years ago.  Having a permanent location is not the Finish line for our church, it is a whole new Startling line to the next level of what God has in store for our future.  It changes everything about the we function as a church.  We are moving from mobile to permanent.

But the more it Changes, the more it stays the same as far as our Vision is concerned.

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“This is the stuff that happens to other churches…”

That’s exactly what I have been thinking for the last two months, but one of my leaders summarized exactly how I’ve been thinking and feeling with his statement.  He said, “This is the stuff that happens to other churches.  You know God can do it, but never expect it to happen to us.”  I’ve never doubted God’s ability, but perhaps questioned when, where and IF it could take place at Awestruck.

In August 2007 I sat with my pastor at CrossPoint Church (formerly Clifton Road)  and shared my dream of starting a new church.  We celebrated and prayed over what God was doing in my life and my ministry.  When he asked where we would meet i immediately answered, “We’ll end up wherever God decides to give us land”.  It flowed out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying.  I remember in that moment God whispered into my spirit and said “That was for you, hold onto it”.  For almost 3 years I have been believing and telling people that one day God would give us some land for our church when the time was right.

Just a few months later while going through church planter training we were asked to close our eyes and envision our church in the future.  Everyone in the room was willing to share what their church would look like and it all sounded great, but it sounded a lot like every other church I’d ever been to.  I politely declined sharing my vision to avoid being viewed as even stranger and crazier than they already presumed me to be.  🙂  What I saw was a huge place where families were spending time together.  It contained all kinds of fun and amusement type activities.  Dads were spending time with their kids.  Christ was being honored and people were growing closer to God by doing life together and enjoying themselves.  I don’t remember what our church building looked like?  I don’t even remember if I saw a building on the property?

Last night while walking the property with a good friend he said, “God gave you a clear vision, you held onto it, and now look what He is doing.”  I can promise you that I no longer believe that it’s the stuff that happens to other churches!  I don’t understand and I can’t explain why God has blessed Awestruck Church.  I do know “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  He gave us clear direction and we have been vigilant about protecting it and walking it out.  Always trusting that we were on the right path, even when it didn’t make sense.  Especially when it didn’t make sense to the critics and doubters.

What is the vision God has given you?

How committed are you to walking it out despite the consequences?

Awestruck Church is getting a new home…

Many are asking how and where, and when, and every other question possible about the new home of Awestruck Church.  Let me first say that we will be moving our church to 20.6 acres located at 5840 Butler Rd.  (Click it to see the Google map) but I’m not sure when the official move will take place.  I can promise you it will be as soon as possible.  I am excited and I am slightly impatient.

Next let me explain how all this came to be.  The obvious first statement is God is in control and He has orchestrated this whole deal.  I am nothing but humbled and overwhelmed in this process.  This wasn’t something we went searching for, but God has taken His plan and collided it directly into the path of our church.  We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for our future.

On May 20th (exactly 2 months from the day it became official) we were driving to Boone, NC for me to do a wedding.  I normally don’t answer phone calls from people whose number I don’t recognize, that’s why God created Voice Mail, but for some reason I picked up the phone on that night.  The voice on the other end introduced himself and then asked, “If your church had a lot of land and a small building, could you do something with it?”.  I simply answered “Yes” and then the questions began to flow.  How will you use it?  How does it fit the vision of the church?  What sorts of things would you do with it?

After about 20 minutes of talking I stopped him and said that we’d love to have land, but there was no way our church could afford to buy that much property right now.  And that’s when things got interesting.  His response was, (laughter) “We are not trying to sell it.  We are looking to give it away to the right ministry”.  We finished our conversation with pleasantries and talks of future meetings to discuss details.  I found it hard to even catch my breath and wrap my mind around the gigantic size of what had just taken place.  The next few weeks were filled with frequent meetings and phone calls with 2 of the 3 folks that would be voting to give us the land.  Then almost a month of SILENCE!  Nothing!  No contact at all!

The silence was broken late last week when I was informed the official vote was taking place on July 20th.

Here we are on July 21, 2010 and it’s official!  There are papers to be signed and some legal details, but the vote passed 3-0.  A unanimous vote of unity to donate all the property, building, and remaining possessions to Awestruck Church.  To top it all off they are also writing a check for $16,000 to help us get started with renovations!?!?!

How do I feel about all this?  I am a bit numb and completely overwhelmed.  I am more humbled by the power of God than ever before in my life.  I am emotional and have shed many tears of joy.  I am blown away that God has taken that much interest in our little 2 year old church plant.

I am sooooooooooooooo pumped about what all God has in store for our future.  This land fits perfectly into the the vision God has given me for Awestruck church.  It also is an answer to something I have been believing for the past 3 years.  Stay tuned for more info on that in a later post.  This one has become way to long!

God is amazing and I promise you that the Best is Yet to Come!

“Fuel” (Week 1 Sermon)

Awestruck-Fuel series PromoHappy One Year anniversary to Awestruck Church!  As we launch into our second year of ministry we wanted to establish and define “church”.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for this year as we strive to become the church that He has called us to be.  

Click Here to listen to Week 1 Sermon from “Fuel”

The Volunteers (Episode 1)

This is a fun video we put together to let people know we need volunteers to help out at Awestruck.  We had a good time filming it…hope you enjoy watching it.  

*The first episode of Awestruck’s “The Volunteers” Series. Josh and the team discuss the need for new volunteers and why we do what we do. Throwing ladders, arguments, and arrests. Awestruck’s people step up.*

Stage Design (“Child’s Play” 7/09)

After realizing we were focusing too much on the theatrics of our stage set up earlier in the year, we had pulled way back to a simple and clean stage w/ some lycra, trusses, and a few lights.  Well, for the month of July we kicked off a new teaching series called “Child’s Play” and found great joy in designing and decorating our stage.  It is still very simple and not overdone, but it set a fun atmosphere in our service.

The “Child’s Play” sign in the back is a large vinyl sticker (designed and printed by Ben Fowlkes) on a sheet of styrofoam insulation and cut out.  Fair warning:  this was a tedious and time consuming task, but I think it was well worth the effort.  It saved us money and looks great as our centerpiece.  

Monday Download

fantasy-bball-week-4-standings1.  I am #1 in my Fantasy Baseball league!  That’s right…Number 1!  Those guys signed me up because they needed a whipping boy, and right now I’m the one doing all the whooping.  🙂

2.  Enough gloating for now…nope, gotta say it one more time:  I’m #1!

3.  Ryan and Joe took me to Calibers last Thursday for my first experience at the shooting range.  I think I might be addicted.

4.  The Chicago Cubs are only 3.5 games back in the NL Central.  This is good considering the interesting start they’ve had.

5.  Now for Awestruck…We started our new teaching series “Go” yesterday.

6.  I still get excited to see new visitors every week.  God is doing some huge stuff in people’s lives at Awestruck Church.

7.  It’s always interesting when people leave a ministry and they blame it on my character flaws…that I don’t have?  If you need a list of why I’m not perfect I’d be happy to spill my guts (and there are some humdingers on that list), but if you decide to talk about me at least get your facts straight.  🙂

8.  I’m pumped about next weekend at Awestruck…We officially begin our partnership with Land of a Thousand Hills, World Relief, and Ariel Cook will be sharing about her trip to Guatemala.  

9.  It’s going to be insane as we talk about how to make an impact on the world for Christ!

10.  Our church is 8 months old and I love being the pastor more and more every day!

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