Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Closer Look at PCC - And it's GOOD

I’ve just got to say how thankful I am at the way God is using the ministry of PCC. So many things are going just right… and so many lives are being changed that it has to be a God thing.

Every Sunday God is sending new people to PCC - people who are desperate for help, for healing, for salvation, and for deeper understanding. God sends them to our church because He KNOWS they will receive help here. For this I feel privileged.

I still attend a couple of small groups during the week. I am very pleased at the depth of Biblical discussion that takes place among group members. Plus, it is very encouraging to see the depth of fellowship and strength of bonding taking place.

Last night I stuck my head in a class being taught by Cathy Denny, our children’s ministry pastor/director. I regret interrupting the class, but was very pleased at what I witnessed. It looked like there were about 12-18 children sitting at the tables, Cathy was teaching, and I heard one of the kids answering questions about the Bible. The way this child was articulating his answer almost floored me! I mean these are elementary aged kids and they are learning real Bible stuff!

Renae told me some things about the teenagers who are currently away on Youth Camp. She said the leadership potential in these teens is enormous. Furthermore, these teens are expressing a desire to be leaders in the church. She said the teens are teaching the adult chaperones (in the teaching sessions) as much about the Bible as the adults are teaching them! Who knows, the future pastor of Pace Community Church may be one of our current teenagers. The day will come when God is through with me here, and I’m sure He has a successor already in mind. My eye will always be open to ascertain if that person currently attends our church.

Footnote: Renae’s birthday was yesterday and the teenagers threw her a surprise birthday party; lots of nice gifts, including a years-supply of OREO’s.

Our summer Foundations Classes are a home run! Those attending are having a knowledge-gap filled, plus the three teachers and doing an exceptional job. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Attendance in the second service is way up. It looks like this service is here to stay! A lot of newcomers are finding their way into our church through this service. Plus, it is beginning to take on a life of its own - we have actually formed a second “congregation” in the 11:00 hour.

There is so much growth in our church right now that I’m having to learn a whole new set of pastoral skills. Most unsettling to me is having to learn how to pastor people whose name I will probably never know. I’m a people-person and like to know everyone by name. God is stretching me here.

Our paid staff, (Gene, Renae, & Cathy) have got to be some of the best staff members to be found in any church anywhere.

Our unpaid staff, (i.e., ministry leaders, directors, etc), are just as exceptional as our paid staff. I don’t know what we would do without them.

Our church volunteers are really the ones who make it happen. It takes a lot of personnel to pull off our weekly responsibilities, and our volunteers are first-class.

Morale is higher at PCC than it has ever been in our ten-year history. We have experienced “the day of small beginnings,” growth, conflict, purging, and pruning. Now we are in a season of renewed growth. The people who are with us right now have truly been “sent of God” and will take us to the next level. I cannot tell you how happy I am.

We need to hire additional staff… yesterday. If we had the moo-la to do it we would hire for two positions: a full-time secretary (or administrative assistant type) and an Executive Pastor/Discipleship Pastor.

Have I mentioned that we have an amazing church? Better yet, we serve an awesome God!

Our attendance has remained consistently strong all summer long (in the 400-450 range - with a couple of Sunday’s that dipped lower). After school starts and all the summer travel is over, we anticipate our attendance to jump about 100 every Sunday.

Our music is exceptional each week. Probably some of the best in the area. But that’s not the point. The point is - does it help me connect with God? And the answer is a resounding YES. I feel like shouting each week, “OMG!”

This week we sent out a stack of follow-up letters to visiting guests that was one of the largest ever. Better yet, most of these letters were to 2nd and 3rd-time visitors. It is always a good sign when people are returning for a second, third, and fourth time.

We have a “benevolence ministry” being headed up by Donna Kramer. This ministry is a response to, or a follow up to, any deaths or major crises occurring in our church family. What this has done to lighten the load of your pastor and staff I cannot say. More importantly is the fact that this person is performing in this ministry capacity in a way that is very, very effective. She is “on top of” things when they occur. Better yet, she really has a heart and passion for hurting, grieving people.

Every Sunday we have cards turned in with prayer requests. I am silenced by what I read. People are hurting. They are reaching out. They are hoping, trusting, that this church can help them find their way to God. It makes me tremble. I don’t want to mess up and cause the faith of any person to fail by doing something, or saying something that is insensitive or dumb. “God, put a guard on my lips.”

We also have marvelous testimonies turned in each week. This is what I look forward to the most.

I am glad that we get to have a small part in what GOD is doing.