Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Friday...but Sunday is comin!

Week 2 of Area 10 is moving along nicely.  I can't believe Sunday is two days away.  You spend a year planning/dreaming about the first service and the second one shows up 7 days later.

We are talking about Jesus this Sunday.  It should be a fun day, I think!  I think talking about Jesus is probably a good idea for a church.

One great thing this week, was I invited some people out for ice cream Wednesday and 8 people showed up.  It was a great time of meeting some new people, and hearing their stories.

See ya Sunday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Video of the launch day

Here it is. This is the song we used in the video we showed on Sunday. Enjoy the video.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Photos Part 2

More Photos from Launch

Here are some great pictures- courtesy of Dave Hileman.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Launch

Area 10 held it's first public service today. It was an absolute blast. A total of 233 people showed up. People were excited and I talked to lots of people that loved it. Great stuff. God delivers up again.

I'm watching football and relaxing now...

Enjoy the picture of our opening service!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We are launching a church because...

We are launching a church this Sunday because Richmond needs it. Richmond doesn't need just another church. Richmond needs more churches that speak the language of the people and deals with contemporary issues in a biblical way. Richmond needs a church that offers the love of God and hope for people. Our city is great to be sure. But it could be so much better. We need a revolution. Stop complaining...start a revolution...

We are launching a church this Sunday because God called me to do this. The prophet Jeremiah said, "his word is a fire shut up in my bones..I'm weary of holding it in. Indeed I cannot." I can relate. I'm going to tell people about Jesus. There is nothing more important in this life. Money, sex, power, everything takes a back seat to this. I will to go to the grave believing that Jesus died for all of us, loves us and wants to redeem us from this life and turn our world upside down.

We are launching a church this Sunday, because the local church is the hope of the world. Politics is interesting (to me at least!). But politics does not meaningfully change things. That is what God does. God works through the community of the church to help people.

We are launching a church this Sunday, because being a follower of Jesus is a better way to live. I think some people criticize Christians for acting as if they are better than other people. Let me make this perfectly clear: Christians are not better than anyone. We are just better off than we used to be.

3 days and a few hours until the revolution begins...

Monday, September 15, 2008

The day the batteries died...

This morning I ran into a too frequent occurrence at my house. I got into my van, turned the key and then nothing. Dead battery in my 2004 Toyota Sienna. Completely dead. I looked at the dome lights and noticed they were in the "on" position. So that was the culprit...just like always.

So I decided to walk. (gotta love city living- I live close enough to things that I can use my legs--the original fossil fuel free form of public transportation) I walked over to my favorite French Cafe for some coffee. (La Vazza coffee- I love it)

My laptop battery was dead. So I reached in my bag for my power cable. That was gone. No car, no laptop power...this is a bad start to a Monday.

Isn 't it amazing how much better things run when they are plugged into the power?

The same is true for churches. This Sunday is the launch of the Area 10 Faith Community. We begin having regular worship services in the Byrd. Here's what I know to be true and I'll be as blunt as possible: If people do not pray for this church, there is a good chance this church will suck.

So please help us out. God is the source of all power. We need to be plugged in big time. So please pray this week for our church. Pray...right now...I'm waiting...go on! Get yer pray on...

And every day of this week at 10 (am or pm)- stop...take a moment, and pray for God to show up in a big way at Area 10 this Sunday.

I need you all to get plugged into the power this week. The last thing I want to do is step into our brand new church, turn the key...and nothing...


When I'm elected president, I'm passing a new law. All Mondays will officially begin at noon, not 8 a.m.

Congress would not be able to stop this, because there would be a massive wave of public support.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet the Children's Director

Ok, this is kind of old news. But it's good stuff! Amanda Peck signed on board to be our children's minister. Amanda comes to us from Cincinnati, OH where she was a Kindergarten teacher in the public school system there. She has an educator's background and is constantly looking at what we're going to do with kids through that lens...She sees children's ministry as a chance to help spiritual form our shortest church members! I'm excited to have Amanda as part of the team.
So that's the 4 of us on staff. Me, Laura Shibut (administrative genius), Aaron (creative arts genius), and Amanda (small people genius). I'm excited to move forward with these people on the team. God brought to us who we needed!

This picture of Amanda is pensive...I think. Or thoughtful...but I think she was going for pensive.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Area 10 has one more preview service in the Byrd

We're in the Byrd tomorrow (after all this rain!). Come on out. 10 A.M. It should be a good time. If you can, plan on going out with some people for lunch afterwards.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cartwheels and Coffee gets some pub in the RTD

The Times Dispatch, the local paper ran a great article yesterday in the Metro Business section. Thanks to Louis Llovio for some fine reporting. The article mentions the church a little which is nice. There is another article for the church that is coming soon.

Perhaps the funniest line in the article is where it says that I might be a "genius".

I have now been called a "genius" and a "fixture" by local media. That's nice. I'm a genius that hangs around a lot I guess. I'm like a really smart lamppost or something. Nice.

The truth is, my wife is the genius behind Cartwheels. I really just work for her.

I am humbled as I remember this great truth: Behind every great man, is a woman rolling her eyes.

School Supplies for the kiddies

I'm amazed at God sometimes. You'd think that would get old but it really doesn't.

I'm amazed by our launch team.

This past Friday, our church (with a few more turned in today!) delivered up over 70 school bags full of school supplies to kids that need them at Fox Elementary. The principal emailed me and was thrilled. I had hoped we would get that many, but I wasn't sure we would.

One of our launch team members, Sommer, when I told her how many bags we had as of Tuesday (14!) said to me, "you need to ask the launch team again to step it up." So I did...and they did.

Over 70 bags. God is good. This is fun. Thank you to all who rose to the challenge. You are truly loving our city beyond reason.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The first practice service is a success!

Yesterday, Area 10 showed up at the Byrd Theatre for our first practice service and it was a blast.
We had volunteers helping with set up, sound, lights, children's ministry, and all that. The place, once it was all set up, looked amazing. The worship band sounded great. It was an exciting time. We had several people join us for the first time which was pretty awesome. I'm always surprised when people find us, even if we've done no advertising whatsoever, for that service.

Thanks to the launch team, who are doing the heavy lifting here to make it go. We had our share of technical glitches, but it's nothing we can't get worked out. Thanks also to Todd, from the Byrd, who helped us immensely with our setup.

We have 13 days to work on the details until we do it again. I can't wait.

Area 10 collects a ton of food!

The big food drive happened this weekend. It was incredible. On Saturday, a volunteer army walked the streets and stationed themselves at Ukrops and collected up bags of groceries.

All totaled, we delivered up just over 2000 pounds of food. 1 ton of food!

The food bank was thrilled today. It was awesome to be a part of this. Want to hear some cool stories? Check this out:

1) We planned this food drive months ago. We decided that we would go door to door to deliver fliers for the food drive. On Tuesday night August 19th, we hand delivered 4,000 fliers. We choose that date, pretty much arbitrarily.
That same day, all day long, channel 12 broadcasted from the Central Virginia Food Bank. They made a plea for people to help. So, that same night, residents of the fan and the museum district got fliers for how to help. Coincidence...maybe...but I'm just going to call that a God thing.
2) The volunteer teams that delivered the fliers and collected the food were pumped. Several of them reported back about how well it went and excited they were. Some of them, talked to residents who gave food, and who had already heard of our church at the byrd...word is getting out. That was pretty cool.
3) One lady told us at Ukrops what a great idea this was. She said by us collecting at the store, it made it so easy for her to donate.

I want to say a big thank you to a few groups. One is Velocity Church and Area 10 for handing out fliers. Second is to Journey Church for helping us collect all the food. You all were amazing and really stepped up to this thing.

And finally thank you to my fellow Richmonders who were generous with some food! In slow economic times it would be easy to stockpile, but you all stepped up and showed a love beyond reason here in the city. THANK YOU!

Disclaimer: No groceries were injured in the taking of this grocery bag picture.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Food Drive!

We are doing a food drive this weekend. The Central Virginia Food Bank needs food and we want to help. We have an army of volunteers that are going from door to door through the museum district and the Fan (on the east west streets only!) to collect canned goods tomorrow morning. So if you live in those areas, put some canned goods on your porch by 8 a.m. tomorrow and we'll come get them and take them to the Food Bank.

1 month out

The countdown clock on the right has reminded me..we now have less than a month before our church launches at the Byrd. It's crunch time now...We're in the home stretch, it's the 2 minute drill...the bottom of the 9th....insert your sports analogy here....

I'm ready. Not actually READY...but I'm ready. God and I are talking regularly about this. He has called me to church planting for years...but now is the time.

We have a launch team that is ready too. They have that pioneer spirit...they want to see something new birthed here in the city. I'm so proud of them for seeing something that doesn't really exist. I'm humbled that God has given me these people to lead.

So put your seat backs and your tray tables in the full upright position...this month is going to be a wild ride.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A practice service this Sunday!

This Sunday, August 24th at 10 A.M....area 10 invades the Byrd Theatre. It should just be a small group of us gathering...but we are ready to try out the systems for children's ministry, sound, lights, video...and all that. I'm excited about this. A photographer from the TD will be there...I don't know if we'll have anything great to take a picture of but we'll try! A lot of our launch team is going to be out of town, which makes sense as everyone gets in their last summer hurrah before school starts up.

Well come out if you are in Richmond! It should be fun. We'll be there...10 o'clock.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Getting the gang together

Tomorrow night, Sunday the 17th at 6 p.m. the Area 10 launch team is meeting up. We will be talking about the food drive, the school supplies, and discussing everyone's roles for Sunday morning. Our first preview service at the Byrd is one week away, so we have lots to discuss.

See ya there!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So what are we?

I'm perplexed here. Our church is called the Area 10 Faith Community. We chose that name because the heart of Richmond is called Area 10 on a real estate map. And I like it. It's original. It makes people think of Area 51...which has this nice mysterious UFO like vibe (OK- that part wasn't really intentional) and it's super easy to get a URL for or Surprisingly no one has taken that name.

Area 10 really is a nice name. It's way better than my other choice which was: Upper Room Tongues of Fire, Holy Trinity Discount Baptist Tabernacle. Or URTFHTDBT for short.

My issue is what do we call people who attend our church? I once went to Willow Creek church in Illinois and heard Bill Hybels refer to people at his church as "Creekers" which I thought was very funny. Especially for a church wanting to be "Seeker" they have Seekers and Creekers? Can you be a Seeker Creeker? As you grow in your faith are you a Meeker Seeker Creeker?

Where does that leave Area 10? Could we be 10ers? If there are three of us...does that make us the three 10ers? You see my problem here. And churches go nuts with their name too. We could call our people 10-acious! (I could be 10-acious C!) Or have a compassion ministry called 10-der Loving Care! Could we have some marketplace ministry called 10t Makers?

I'm open to suggestions here people. I'm hoping we can call our people insanely awesome radical followers of Jesus. But that's a bit cumbersome and slightly weird. Any good ideas out there?

Letting God do His thing

This week I've felt a little overwhelmed. There are, by my last count, (warning:exaggeration ahead!) about 81,000 little details to get covered before we launch this church publicly on September 21st. And I had this great revelation today:

I'm not going to get all those details covered.

I'm just not going to. I'm one dude. I've been in Tennessee all week. Our whole church staff is in the mountains this week. We are all doing great stuff, but not a ton of it is directly related to all those little details. And today...I just don't care that we aren't cranking on all the details.

When I get home, I'm going to play with my kids on Saturday. I'm going to chat and snuggle with my wife. That's all I want to do. I don't want to write, memorize, strategize, or network. I want to just get home and BE.

But here's the thing I was challenged with today. This church is God's not mine. He's got this...He really does. It's my job to live like I believe that. How easy for us to try to play His role...for us to live like we're the world changer or world sustainer.

Go ahead God. Do Your thing. Sorry for the times I try to take Your job.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The American Idol Church

The other day, I was flipping through the channels when I saw one of those idol type shows. I think it was "so you think you can dance" had 3 of whom was British. It had music and staging strangely familiar. The whole thing basically looked like American Idol. It was a complete American Idol rip off. And you could tell that's what they were doing. And it was lame. There is nothing worse than a rip off of some other show. You can almost smell it a mile away.

So this got me thinking about our church.

In 1997, I read Purpose Driven Church and thought it was amazing. I wanted to try to "catch a wave". I thought Rick Warren was the smartest pastor ever.

Then I read "when God builds a church" and became convinced that all a church needs is to have great preaching and worship and then it will grow.

I read Brian McClaren's stuff and met him in 1999 (before he was all famous and awesome) and went through my emergent phase. I started using words like "conversation" and "journey" all the time. After journeying for a few years and not getting anywhere I got tired of the journey and moved beyond that.

I've learned from Andy Stanley that vision leaks so now I want a clear vision, that sticks..or is sticky.

I've read Mark Driscoll and thought that I should probably cuss more.

Over the last dozen years, I've figured out what color my parachute is, I've developed my purple cow and taken it from good to great. I've identified my 5 dysfunctions on my team, and have been wowed by the latest leadership parable. I've seized my divine moment, fell in love with the divine romance, practiced the art of the start. I've pushed the flywheel in an effort to find my tipping point. I've orbited the giant hairball and overdosed on Nooma.

All these things have been just fine. But none of it is authentically me.

If I try to Frankenstein all these things together and hope it builds a great church here in Richmond, I am doomed to fail.

I want to start a church that fits Richmond. This church is not being planted in mine or anyone else's head. It's being planted in the city and culture of Richmond.

So, in the next few weeks I'll be fleshing that out a little bit on this blog. I'll be talking about what our church will look like based on the vision God has given us here.

I'm done reading the books. I'm done going to the conferences. The temptation to rip off everyone else's ideas and make them my own is too great. I want to plant an original church.

The day our church has three judges, one of which is the day I quit.

Cartwheels and Coffee is Open for business!

After about 64 days, thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, 20 or more gallons of paint, and about 5 city inspections, Cartwheels and Coffee is now open. Thank you to SO many great people who all pitched in to make this happen. I looked around today...saw kids playing in there for the first time and I was soooo happy. This whole process has been incredible. I want you all to see. Check out the pictures of the finished product. I used my built in camera on my laptop so all of the pictures are reversed...whoops.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Launch Team Gathers

The gang came together last night for our first launch team meeting. We had lots of yummy desserts, and some coffee (some hot, and some cold due to technical difficulties!).

It was also the unveiling to everyone of Cartwheels and Coffee. It is not finished yet, but it's mostly finished. After the meeting last night we primed the floors, and this morning we painted them. So, a bit more plumbing, electrical, and about 3 city inspections and we'll be open. At this point we're hoping for Friday, but we'll see.

I'm thrilled with the people that turned out last night. There seemed to be a great energy in the room and people were pumped about what we're doing.

It really is an incredible thing, when the church you plant in your head starts to become the church that is planted in reality. God is up to good things. We'll keep you posted as it unfolds.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm drowning in Cartwheels!

This is crunch time...We are pushing to get Cartwheels and Coffee open by this coming week so I'm wrapped up in contractors and painters and volunteers and stuff. That's where my head has been.
I just keep telling myself..."this will be over in a few days"

It will be totally worth it...but it's a pain right now. I guess some of the best stuff in life requires hard work to get. Hopefully life will return next week to just normal church planter lunacy rather than church plant and open a business lunacy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who made America?

This is a conversation my kids had in the car today that I had to share:

Colin (5yo): Mom, did you know that Scrabble is America's Favorite word game?

Mom: I guess that's right.

Colin: And do you know what America is?

Mom: What? (ya' gotta humor them, you know)

Colin: The United States!

Mom: That's right

Colin: And do you know who made America?

Declan (3yo): Jesus!

Colin: ...and?...

Declan: God!

Colin: ...and?...

Declan: Emperor Palpatine!

So there you have your history lesson for the day. Props to my 3 yo for answering Jesus. He has already been in church long enough to know that if someone asks a question very excitedly, the answer is usually Jesus.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our First Gathering is a Success!

Area 10 took a big step this weekend. We went public. We invited the neighbors and had a picnic and talked about the church we want to become. It was an awesome thing to see. We figured that about 83 people showed up for the event, which is just awesome. Major props, to the people who helped make it happen...Emily Harrison, Laura Shibut, and others who showed early to set it up.

Thank you to those of you who came and brought friends. That was so cool to see. This church will grow when people own the vision and bring some friends. And you guys stepped up to that this weekend. Thank You!

Here are two pictures from the picnic! One is a wideshot so you can see some of the crowd. The other is me giving my "I have a dream today!" speech. I don't know what I'm saying at the exact moment of this picture but you can just imagine it was something funny or profound or inspirational...or a bit wacky....whatever.

A guy named Rob came to the picnic. He showed up on a scooter which makes him extra cool in my book. He said he hadn't been to church in 3 years. After the picnic he said. "this is great...How can I help?" Guys like that are why we're here. Welcome to the party Rob.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're having a picnic

So here we are, a little less than 3 months until we launch and I thought it would be good to get everyone together. We are having a picnic/bbq in Byrd Park this Sunday at noon. We will have food, fun, laughs, and more food. We have a very deluxe model moonbounce type thingy for the kiddies. Should be good times! The weather is looking good so far (although I don't trust forecasts beyond about 48 hours!). And we have about 50-60 people signed up.

Come join us this Sunday. Bring a friend. I invited my next door neighbor. She is coming with her 3 kids. I told her to bring 100 friends. She said she would. I'm holding her to that! :)

We are also handing out 10,000 fliers to invite our neighbors. Say a prayer with me that people would receive those and get fired up about joining us. The more the merrier.

Fire up the grills, let's get some burgers, dogs, and bocas cookin up!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet our worship leader!

After many months, I can now announce that we have a worship leader. Aaron Peck is moving to join us in Richmond with his wife Amanda and their tiny chihuahua doggie Sam, in the middle of July.

Aaron is the guy we interviewed from Cincinnati back in March. At the time, he and his wife told us that they wouldn't be able to come join us. We were disappointed as we really liked them and thought they would be a great fit with our culture.

But God did his thing, enabling us to hire Aaron, and giving Aaron and Amanda a sense of calling to this place.

He will be our worship leader on Sundays, he will oversee all our creative arts, and he will also be working with me on discipleship and assimilation stuff. Welcome Aaron and Amanda to the team. We are so glad you are coming!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Be-Bopping 5 year old

Today, my son Colin came to see me sitting out on the porch. I asked him what he had been doing. He gave me a hug, and told me he had been listening to "Charlie Parker play bebop". I told him this was a good thing and he should keep doing it.

I love kids.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Meet Kimberly Alvord

Kimberly is the lady who we've hired to run Cartwheels and Coffee. She is a woman that comes to us with about a dozen years of management experience. She has started businesses...she knows what it takes to succeed. She loves what we want to do with Area 10 and she loves Jesus. All these things make for a great combination for what we needed. It was a God thing how it happened.

I spoke about a month ago at Journey Church in Midlothian. Journey is a church that is partnering with us to start the Area 10 Faith Community. I mentioned at the end of my message that we would be starting this business and we needed a manager. Kimberly wasn't there that day, but her sister was.

We interviewed several great people for the job. Kimberly seemed to be the strongest candidate of the group. And now she is on board preparing to launch Richmond's best indoor play place for kids.

Welcome Kimberly. Thanks for joining the team. I can't wait to see what God is going to do next!

Monday, June 2, 2008

This thing is getting more real all the time...

We signed a lease this weekend. Our church now has offices and space for kids ministry. We have a business. (see previous post) We have contractors coming out tomorrow to start swinging hammers. This thing is starting to seem quite real and like it's actually happening. Ready or not, here it comes.

I have been meeting with people regularly and talking about the dream of this church. It's been pretty wild. I'm praying that many many people will join us to launch this thing.

On that note, on Sunday June 29th we are having a picnic in Byrd Park to get everyone involved to meet each other, meet some neighbors and talk about the future of the churchatthebyrd.

If you are local, please join us for this picnic at noon on the 29th. We will be grillin and chillin. We will have games for the kids. It should be great. Bring friends!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cartwheels and Coffee

Ok, I've been dying to blog about this and I can't wait any longer! Area 10 is getting an office space at 2820 W. Cary Street, starting in June. This is exciting because we will have a presence right on Cary Street 3 doors down from the Byrd.

But here's the best part! We are starting a business in the downstairs portion of the building. It will be a kids indoor play place called Cartwheels and Coffee. It will have indoor play equipment for kids and lattes and coffee for adults.

I am so excited about this! There is no business like it in the city of Richmond. In the suburbs, there are similar things, but none in the city. There is some buzz already in the air in the mommy network. Several mommies have already told us they'll be there everyday!

Why is our church starting a business? Well the truth is, we need the space for kids classes on Sunday mornings for church at the Byrd. Since we need the space, why not do a great business in there that also that serves the need in the community? It seemed like a no brainer to us.

We have hired a terrific managing partner for the business. I'll introduce her in an another post.

God is dropping sweet stuff in our lap! I never knew this whole church planting process was going to be this much fun.

To look at the site we have up for cartwheels and coffee- look here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Area 10 has one of those cool web site things...

Well now we are on the web for all the world to see us. Check it out here. I love the look Laura "the great" put on the web page. Can anyone tell me where the three photos in the collage on the front page are taken from? The web page is just a start. We will be fleshing it out over the next few weeks. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A new logo for the 10

Area 10 Faith Community got a new logo. We think this one is a little more professional and interesting. I personally like the circle motif. the large gray circle sort of represents the wider community outside the church that we want to plant ourselves inside.

It's nifty. It's weird though- that we've already changed logos and our church doesn't really exist yet...Oh well. You can do that when your church doesn't exist.

You can do whatever you want really. I think we'll be Buddhist next week. Who knows?

Area 10 getting some pub!

Yesterday I was interviewed by a friendly reporter from the Richmond Times Dispatch. She wanted to do a story on church planting as she had not heard of it before. We talked for about an hour at the Times Dispatch office. It was very interesting. We talked all about my calling to church planting and why I'm doing it. She is probably going to interview some of my church planting buddies around the country.

Hopefully, the story she writes will get good placement in the paper. I'm praying for front page news, but we'll see!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Church plant..yes but the dream's even bigger.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about changing the world. Specifically, how can I/we change Richmond and make it a better place. It's not's a fine place to live...I just want it to be better.

This is what I'm called to do. I feel that in my gut. I am a church planter...yes. But really, I'm a society changer/social architect/social entrepreneur. I'm setting out to help people I meet know God better. I'm also setting out to get people together (contracters/architects/lawyers/whatevers) who can come together to work on the big issues in the city like affordable housing or crime or whatever.

I had a great lunch today with like minded people. Whenever I meet people who are tired of same ol same ol religion and want to see new things birthed out of the church, it gets me fired up. Today was one of those days.

I can't spill all the beans right now, until I have final commitments on a few things, but I will have some good announcements soon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A week in Florida is good for the soul

We just returned from Florida. It was sunny, and about 80 degrees everyday. Today in Richmond it is about 68 and rainy. It's a good day to be indoors and type like a madman. I was in Orlando for the exponential conference. My brain is brimming with good stuff. I got to hear some of the best teachers, and leaders in the church in the U.S. today. It was very cool.

The thing I was most reminded of in the whole experience is that I'm not trying to plant a church. The church should be the bi-product of the whole thing. What I'm trying to do is disciple/invest in people and impact the culture. I will be rethinking some of the things we'll be doing these next 4 months. When the church launches, I pray it will really be birthed out of networks and the mission we are already living out in the community.

Getting back to it today. This is too much fun!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Off to Florida Again

I am loading up the Sienna tomorrow and taking the fam to Florida. The purpose? To attend the National New Church Conference. It's going to be a blast. A few days in Orlando in the sunshine, taking the kids to Disney...seeing lots of friends and fellow church planters--fantastic stuff. This Sunday I will be speaking at my home church- Christian Church in the Wildwood. I'm really looking forward to being with those people. So if you are in Spring Hill, Florida this weekend...(and I'm not sure why you would be!) come see us.

Pray for our trip. I need to network like crazy and have God fill my head some more with his plans. I'm praying this is a fruitful trip for us in many ways.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The wild ride of church planting

I'm having one of those weeks where you just can't believe what God is up to. I have had several amazing conversations with some people this week that want to possibly be part of this church. I hardly know where these people are coming from. It's exciting. I wonder who doesn't even live in Richmond right now, that will be here when we launch our church in 5 1/2 months. Who else will God call to join us on this wild ride?

This past month has been really cool. I keep being amazed that this is my full time job...starting a church. It has it's challenges, but for the most part it's great. Right now I'm sitting on our porch's 76 degrees outside and there is hardly a drop of humidity in the air...awesome stuff.

Stay tuned next week for a potentially huge facilities announcement. (no, it's not as big as the Byrd, but it's pretty huge.)
More fun stuff is ahead.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The value of community

Tonight we had a small group meet in our house. There were about 13 of us meeting in the living room and it was a blast. It's such a great mix of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds who all want to learn about God and grow in their faith.

I don't know if all these people will be part of Area 10 Faith Community some day. People can do what they want. I just want to get to know these people and we'll just see what happens. I think great things happen when people get together and God does his thing in their midst.

Who knows where this group leads...for now I'm just loving the ride.
A day like today makes me feel like I have the best job in the world.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Area 10 gets a bit of Style

Style Weekly, Richmond's alternative weekly paper did a little story about the church in the Byrd. They put a picture of me right there on page 7. Overall, it was a great write up about who we are and what we want to do. It's pretty funny too. The writer, Chris Dovi, I think did a good job of making it funny and informative. The photographer did a good job of making me look like a stalker. I specifically said to him "just please don't make me look like a stalker." and that's what we got. Oh well...not his fault I guess. If you naturally look like a stalker, what's the photographer supposed to do about that?

My favorite line in the article is when the writer refers to me as a "fixture" in Carytown. That's me. I'm a a faucet, or lightpost.

Just call me Pastor Fixture.

To read the article click here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Area 10 Faith Community

So what does our name mean? I was recently asked...what is Area 10 anyway?

So let me 'splain it to you. Realtors divide up the region into Areas. Like Area 30 for Chesterfield, or whatever. Area 10 is the area from Church Hill in the East, 195 in the West, the James River to the south, and I-64 to the north. It's a nice rectangle that encompasses most of the city of Richmond. It is the place I want to spend my life loving and serving.

I thought the name worked for the church because it's geographic and it describes the geography we want to serve. It's unusual in that I can't find any other churches with that name...and it is slightly mysterious in that it sounds like Area 51 which I believe is where the government is keeping the flying saucers.

So that's us...Jesus...Richmond...and flying saucers.

This church is gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Worship Leader?

I just spent the weekend with a potential worship leader. This is a guy we met a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. We spent the weekend and showed he and his wife some of the sites of Richmond. We even checked out the Byrd (which they loved)

Worship is a big deal in a church. We really need someone who loves God, loves people and has a gift for leading His people in worship. I was a worship leader for years, so I'm probably a bit extra picky about it.

That being said, this guy is a quality guy. We had a great weekend. We'll see what happens. Please pray for us and this guy as we try to figure out if this is the right fit for both of us. More updates on that when I have them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The cultural center of Richmond

The other day I told my friend Glen that I was hoping to get the Byrd Theatre for our church to meet in.  His response was something like:  "That would be amazing.  The Byrd is one of the top 3 most recognizable landmarks in Richmond."  I agree completely.  It really is a great place.  On New Year's Eve- roughly 20,000 people showed up on Cary Street to listen to bands, get ripped, and watch the ball drop...except here in Richmond the ball goes up...weird...Anyway, here is a photo from on top of the Byrd looking down at the crowd.  In the far left of the picture, in the darkness, you see some lights.   One of those lights is my house.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Byrd's Eye View

Here is the inside of the Byrd Theatre.  It's a gorgeous building that this picture doesn't quite do justice to.  I am praying already for the people who will fill these seats.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

Area 10 has officially signed on with the Byrd Theatre! The historic Byrd Theatre has agreed to allow our upstart church meet in their awesome building, starting September 21, 2008. Major props to Todd the manager of the theatre for letting us do this! I hope this is the start of a great partnership in the city.
Thanks to all of you who have been praying for this to happen. Thanks to God for preparing the place for us in advance and seeing this whole thing through.

More pictures of the Byrd to come!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Now we are three!

In addition to Chris and Abby (though Abby is not official paid staff)  Area 10 has now hired what we like to call our Mediastrator, the great Laura Shibut.  She will henceforth in these parts be known as "The Great".  Laura has done a fantastic job creating all of our media & marketing pieces to date, and we are absolutely thrilled to get to have her on our team, officially!  Thanks to you all for praying about staffing, and to the Lord for persuading her to join our rag-tag little outfit.

Stay posted-  More news is coming very soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Area 10 Hires it's first full time staff member!

Me-  I'm full time now!  Woo-hoo!  I couldn't be happier.  Starbucks was a great 2 1/2 year journey.  I look at it as the coffee break of my adult life.   I made many friends there and have some great memories.  

The time has come now, for me to do something audacious-launch a church.  This is the craziest best thing I've ever been a part of.  I've been on the job all of one day now and I'm loving it.  

People ask me, "What will you do now with your time?"  The answer is, there is 1000 point checklist I have to slog through to get ready to launch this church on September 21st.  We have TONS to do.  Here are a few things I'm working on:

1)  Fundraising-  I'm talking to anyone who will listen about the church plant!  If your church wants to partner with us to launch this thing, let me know.  If you grandma wants to partner with us, I will come to her house and bring her tea, and give the pitch.  If you have money in your sofa cushions that you want to give to the project, that will be great too.

2)  Facilities-  I am VERY close to announcing something big about this.  Stay tuned for more info.  Area 10 needs a home in the city and I'm searching for it.

3)  Core Group-  The revolution needs some volunteers.  Who wants to join Area 10 to get this movement launched in the city of Richmond?  MWM  ISO anyone for God sized dreaming, fun, and long walks on the beach.  (OK there is no beach here...but a brother can dream can't he?)  If you live in Richmond, and want to love the city until it becomes a more beautiful place, contact me.

That's just a start.  I'll also be a more consistent blogger now, so look for some more updates.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Gas Station in Ohio

Abby and I are in Ohio traveling around talking to churches about the project. I'm praying that people will catch the vision for what we are doing and get behind us. It has been a fun and tiring journey.

One weird thing happened on our way here. We stopped at a gas station outside of Chilicothe, OH. It was the only station around for miles. While we were there I used the men's restroom. It was as wonderful as most gas stations bathrooms. But the best was that I stole the men's restroom key. Usually they give you the keys to the bathroom attached to something like a 2x4. But this place just gave me keys on a small keychain. That keychain ended up in my pocket and traveled about 80 miles West with me. So if you are driving on US 35, and you see Bud's Gas Stop and you think that might be a great place to stop to use the restroom, you better just hold it, cuz you're not getting in. I have the key! Call me...if I'm in the area, I'll come unlock it for you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thanks a latte, have a Grande!

This week is my last week working at Starbucks.  I have been with them for 2 1/2 years but it's coming to an end.  It has been a long fun road.  I've made great friends and learned a lot.  I will miss a lot about the company but not the EARLY mornings.  On that note, I have to run.  It's 5 A.M. and I need to get to work!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Update on Area 10

Things have been going well for us here in the last month.  I will begin working full time for Area 10 on March 1st and I can't wait!   There are a few things going on for me that I will be working on when I start.
1)  Fundraising.  This is a big deal.  I currently have about 35% committed with quite a bit more out there dangling but not committed.  I'm out there speaking to anyone who will listen telling them about the dream.  I have an I have a dream speech.  Ask me about it rocks...(at least I like hearing it!)
2)  Hiring staff.  I need a quality worship leader who loves Jesus and wants to see a new be birthed in Richmond.  God has the person in mind.  I can't wait to find out who it is.  In addition to that, I'm trying to find a gifted children's pastor and an administrative/organizer type.  I have some leads on possibles in these areas but nothing is definite yet.  I'll let you know when I know.
3)  Location.  Our church will need to rent space.  I have a GREAT place in mind, but I don't want to tell you yet, in case it doesn't work out.  Your prayer should be like this:  "Lord give Area 10 that GREAT place to meet.  Lord you know the spot"  I will update you on this the moment I find out.
4)  Core people-  We already have 15-20 people who want to be part of this church but we need many more.  I'm praying that God is tugging on people to join us and help this thing happen.  I keep bumping into people who live in the area and might be willing to be a part of it.  We'll see. One thing I'm learning is that God has been in Richmond for a long time and is already been preparing people for this.  That's one of the most fun things about this adventure.
That's what my new life will be looking like in 1 months time.  In addition to that, I'm going to be playing soccer, playing with my 3 kids and doting on my wife as much as possible.  

The Pursuit Launches

The Pursuit Christian Church launched on Sunday January 27th in Miramar, Florida and I'm glad to say I was there!  

Matt Mehaffey, lead pastor is a good friend of mine.  He did a fine job pulling a team together to get the church off the ground.  As I told him, the wedding is now over, the marriage begins!  I was pretty impressed with a lot of what I saw there.  The team put together a quality worship service with great signs, children's area, etc.  

The thing that was so interesting to me was the truly multicultural feel of the place.  Alex, the worship leader mixed English and Spanish pretty freely in the worship music and in his speaking.  That was a cool thing and had a "slice of heaven" feel to it.  Just walking around Home Depot I noticed how ethnically diverse the area was one of 5 anglo people in the whole place!  And it was great to see the church plant reflect that diversity.

Matt tells me quite a few people are interested in learning about Christ.  That is awesome...The kingdom is expanding.  Here's to many more life changing stories from the Pursuit in South Florida.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Visiting the Sunshine State

I'm spending the week in Florida.  I spoke at my home church on Wednesday night-- Christian Church in the Wildwood.  It was a blast to see that place again and see many old friends.  When I finished high school in 94 that church was averaging about 250 in attendance.  They now have about 800 on the weekends.  It's good that I left so they could grow!
I have my oldest son with me.  We are taking him to Kennedy Space Center today.  That should be a blast.  Sunday, I'll be in Miami for the launch of The Pursuit Christian Church.  I'll tell you how it goes.  Matt Mehaffey, my very good friend is the lead planter and should do very well.  It should be a great weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Possible logo for the Area 10 church

How about this?  Sorry I can't resist.  This new mac is too much fun.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Area 10 gets a Mac

I just invested in a laptop for our new church. It's a macbook pro. It's a thing of beauty. All silver and sleek. I used it for the first time today. It really is gorgeous. I have had two friends call me so far to congratulate and welcome me to the family. These mac people are crazy about this stuff. You'd think I'd just accepted Jesus. It's wild. Well, I'm thinking the beauty of my new toy will inspire my blogging to new heights. Time will tell.