Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Monday, December 23, 2013


Recently, we began housing my blog through PCC's website.  Please click here or use to get to my blog.

You can also follow me on twitter @brianchughes and facebook @Brian.Curtis.Hughes

Every time I post on my blog, I tweet and update my FB status.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

PCC is Online Only tomorrow

As before, please distribute in every possible avenue you have available to you, including Facebook, Twitter, Email, Texts, phone calls, etc.  

The latest forecast uses the word 'Paralyzing' to describe the impending ice storm headed our way.  Therefore, for the safety of our volunteers and all PCC'ers...

All PHYSICAL CAMPUSES are closed tomorrow - no services at Powhatan, Riverside, or Westchester.

HOWEVER...We WILL have church ONLINE at 9:30 AND 11:15.  We will be Streaming, with the chatroom community open for conversation.  So please come to church tomorrow at

The Blue Christmas service will be rescheduled to NEXT Sunday, Dec 15.

Hope to 'see you'  at church Online tomorrow!

Be safe!


Friday, December 6, 2013


Please distribute in every possible avenue you have available to you, including Facebook, Twitter, Email, Texts, phone calls, etc.  
Due to the very high likelihood of icy, sleety, dangerous weather on Sunday morning, PCC is going to have a Saturday evening service this week!  It will be at 5pm tomorrow night at the Powhatan Campus.   This is a churchwide event - not just for the Powhatan Campus, so look for familiar faces on the platform from every campus tomorrow night!  All of PCC in one place at one time!  Tell everyone you know as soon as you can, regardless of the campus they normally attend. 
By the way, this is a GREAT time to invite someone who can't normally come on Sunday morning!
More information: 
What about Sunday services?  Right now, we don't know yet what we're going to do on Sunday morning.  When the service is over tomorrow night, we'll consider how many from PCC were able to come, the latest forecast and other factors and we will make a call.  As of right now, Sunday services have not yet been cancelled at any campus.

What about the Online Campus?  We will broadcast a service for our Online Campus community on Sunday morning, regardless of what happens with church.   We will not broadcast Saturday night, though.

How can you help?  We need help with kids, guest services, parking, etc.  If you'd like to help, contact your ministry team leader or email

What about the Belize Team Event?  You may know that the Belize Team had scheduled a 'date night' event from 5-10pm Saturday where parents could drop their kids off for safe, fun babysitting while they went out for the evening (for a donation to the Belize Team).  This event will still take place!  Those kids will be
registered in and will be a part of PowerJAM and First Steps during our 1-hour service, then will resume their other activities after the service is over.  (So, parents, you could come to church and go out afterwards!)
Hope you can come.  See you then!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Don't Waste This Christmas

If you weren't at PCC today, you missed one of the most moving Christmas messages I've personally ever heard.  (You can watch or listen here).  Angie Frame helped us wrap our minds around a perspective on Peace at Christmas in a way that was fresh and moving.  Frankly, in a respectful way, Angie's message cut into my heart and helped me to see again the role that God intended followers of Jesus to play in the world.

WE are the kingdom of the Prince of Peace.
WE are empowered, equipped and authorized to bring the reality of Peace on earth.
Peace can only happen when followers of Jesus become the people God has called them to be.

My mentor, Dr. Cecil Sherman, used to say, "Brian, don't waste Christmas.  Challenge your people to give at Christmas so that the world is made a better place.  They will rise to the occasion!"

Dr. Sherman's challenge was that I give a gift to help others in an amount equal to or greater than the largest Christmas gift I would give to a family member or friend.  He urged me to urge people around me to do the same. 

When I think about how much I have to eat, the cars I drive, the nice home I inhabit...  When I consider my climate control, internet, satellite TV, tablets, cell phones, and closet full of clothes...  When I look at the gold wedding band on my finger, the 600 thread-count sheets on my bed, and how much money we spent eating at Chick-Fil-A last month... 

All of those things and a hundred others remind me that I live like a king, compared to 99% of the people on this planet.  You do, too, frankly.   I don't know why God has blessed me (and you) like He has...but I know this:  Our wealth is not simply for our pleasure.  We are supposed to be agents of change in the world. We represent the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. 

I should do more.  I can do more.  I will do more.

So, let this be our challenge.  Let us put our first world problems into perspective, appreciate just how great we have it, and help some other people who can't even remotely relate to our level of blessing. 

We can do all of these at the same time, with a sacrificial act of generosity.  Give a gift that is as large as your largest Christmas gift this year.  Help us fund the work of PCC's missions efforts here and around the world.  Your gift will directly affect someone's life - put food in their mouth, shelter over their head, rescue them from human slavery, and introduce them to Jesus Christ.

You can go learn more about the causes we support and make your gift here

Let there be Peace on earth.  Through us.  Amen.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Your Most Important Human Investment

I was reminded in several ways last week about the importance of the most sacred human relationship for most people - the relationship you have with your spouse. Especially if you are married, indulge me here with a little leeway for a story or two and I think I'll be able to help you.

Each of us is gifted the exact same amount of time every week. There are 10,080 minutes spanning every seven rhythmic days. Regardless of your wealth, health, family size, workload or responsibilities - we all get the exact same amount of time every week - not a second more or a second less.

What is particularly shocking to me is how few of those precious minutes we spend investing in our marriages. People squander time here and there, investing discretionary minutes in many areas of their lives that will yield far less of a return than if that same time were invested in their marriage. Seriously, very few things offer even a remotely similar benefit of a fully functioning, healthy, God-honoring marriage.

And yet, so few married couples actually achieve that kind of marriage.
Those who have a not-so-great marriage (which represent the majority, by the way) blame all kinds of things - incompatibility, a past mistake, their parents, their kids, their boss...

But for many (not all, but most) couples, the true source of their less-than-fantastic marriage is a lack of willingness (by one or both spouses) to give the time that is needed to have the marriage they say they want.
  • We go to school for 13 years to graduate from high school. That's an investment!
  • We go to college for 4+ years to get a degree. That's an investment!
  • We go to training to learn a skill - and continuing education to keep our skill sharp. That's an investment!
  • We practice for countless hours to learn our sport or instrument. That's an investment!
And we scratch our heads in bewilderment that our marraige is not awesome even though we only give it the leftover time, when we're tired, hungry, broke and grumpy. If it weren't so sad it would actually be funny.

But it's not. Funny, that is.

Last week, Susan and I went away together for the 3rd or 4th time this year. Just the two of us. Two days, in the mountains. Yes, it cost real money that I had to scrape to find. Yes, we left our kids at home. Yes, there was undone work on our desks. Yes, there were a thousand things we needed to do at home.

But we believe that the greatest return for our time can be found by investing it in our marriage. So we do whatever it takes to make that investment. And as a bonus, we're teaching our kids what a great marriage looks like! (Did you know that your kids will very likely have a marriage like yours because it's all they know? Would you be pleased or dismayed if your kids had a marriage like that?)

For the record, the odds were stacked against Susan and me. We were married very young (19), and we had a child 7 months later (no, she wasn't premature). And we had no money. I worked 3 jobs and went to school full time and we barely saw each other. It was a rocky start!

But some people mentored us and helped us to see that we had to invest in our marriage - regardless of the cost. We had to read books about marriage together (one every year). We had to go away together (3-4 times a year). We had to go to marriage retreats together (once a year). We had to spend dedicated time together (a date every week). We had to get tools to help us hone our skill as husband and wife.

I'll share some of those tools with you in another post this week. But right now, I'm asking you - if you are married - to find some time - no, to MAKE some time - this week to talk about your marriage and to make some plans to go away. Even if it's January before you can do it - even if that IS your Christmas gift to each other - it could be the best gift the two of you have ever given. It's the gift of a great marriage.

And the only way to have one is with time!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FIVE Things I want you to know

Hey PCC'ers!  It was a GREAT day for our church.  We're in a really great season right now.   Like the rest of our lives, our church has experienced times when we were firing on all cylinders and a few moments when we struggled.  Ups and downs are a part of life, but we savor the moments when we are on the receiving end of an extra portion of God's blessing.  This is one of those times.

Here are 5 things you need to know about PCC right now:

#1  I don't care about being a big church.  I mentioned today that last Sunday was our largest non-holiday attendance ever.  Over 1,600 people came to one of PCC's campuses last week.  And we have consistently been over 1,400 for several weeks before that.  It can seem to the casual observer that all we care about is numbers.

We do.  We care deeply about the numbers.  Every single number is a person that Jesus died for.  Every one of those people is someone God wants.  Every one of them can only find their most fulfilling life potential when they dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.  We care about every single person because God cares about every single person.  And we won't rest until every person around us has been introduced to the Truth and is a part of the movement called the church.

But I don't care about being a big church.  I care about reaching people and guiding them to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.  If we are a big church as a byproduct of that goal, then so be it.

#2  You will never be a fully devoted follower of Jesus sitting on the sidelines.  If you are not using your gift, skill, talent and time to serve people, you are not reaching your full potential.  God didn't give you the special makeup you have so that you can use all you have for your own benefit.  In Matthew 20:28, Jesus states that he did not come to be served, but to serve others.  If you want to be like Jesus (which should be the goal if you are His follower), then you have to serve.

But there is a bonus.  Yes, there is a cost.  But the benefit is that you get to be used to change the course of someone's life.  And we get to see glimpses of those results along the way.

There IS a place for you at PCC.  And we're not interested in sucking the life out of you.  We want to use your gifts, skills, passion and talent in a way that gives life to others and is life-giving for you at the same time.

#3  We are planning to launch a 3rd service at the Powhatan Campus soon.  When?  As soon as we can do it well - but hopefully before Christmas.  We've been very crowded for the past few Sundays.  Obviously, we don't want someone to come to church and not be able to sit or sit together with their family or friends.  It's a GREAT opportunity for us to create another service and add capacity for you to invite folks to church.

This will probably make for some adjustment in our current service times to make room for a 3rd service.  We're working now with Campus Coordinators from all the ministry areas to figure it out.  This is very exciting, because it means that God is bringing people who are investigating spiritual Truth to PCC.

#4  Christmas Eve will be AWESOME!!!  We're have an  incredible Christmas Eve experience planned, with services starting at 2pm and the last service starting at 10pm.  We'll have something great for all three physical campuses, so keep your eyes open because tickets are free, but you will need to get them!

#5  You can still get a T-Shirt!

We thought that giving away shirts would be a good gift AND a good way for folks to start conversations about PCC.  We scraped together all the funds we could find and bought all the shirts we could afford.  I know we ran out and I know we didn't have every size.   If you weren't there today or if we didn't have the size that you need, you can still get one at our cost.  We don't have any more to give away, but we won't make any money on any we sell.  I'm personally going to buy a few for some folks in my family and a few friends.  You might want to do that, too.

We are setting up that link right now, and I'll have it for you in a couple of days, as soon as it's available.

See you next week!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Grumpy Day and what I did about it...

I don't do most things well.  I can't really build anything.  I'm no good with visual art.  I have only a basic working knowledge of project management.  I'm not particularly well organized.  And, as a few of you have noted, I should never pick out my own clothes!

But each of us has at least one God-given gift.  One Divinely-infused genius that is beyond the norm.  Most of us have marveled at a particularly gifted carpenter, artist, architect or musician.  I can think of moments when I was awestruck over the ease at which a colleague broke a project down to all its working parts, the full color gantt chart on display like it was a Rembrandt.   Who can't remember that one incredibly gifted teacher who made their subject come alive for us?  Or that one skilled manager who inspired us to accomplish more than we thought we could?  Or the athlete who plays your beloved sport at a level that is truly magical?

Whether you know your gift or not, I believe that everyone has one.  And my one gift is writing and communicating spiritual truth.  I wouldn't call it genius, but I think I'm learning to do it well, at least better than I used to.

The downside for what I do is that I feel the weight of enormous pressure every single week.  See, Truth can be taught in a way that is engaging...or in a way that is boring.  We can teach it so that it's relevant or we can fail to connect the dots between Truth and life where we live it.

I often imagine people coming to church, inviting their friends.  I envision them saying as they leave, "well, I don't know what happened today....Brian is usually better than that." and sheepishly asking, "Wanna come back next week and try again?"  The image in my mind is of an embarrassed PCC'er and their unchurched friend who is now firmly convinced to remain...unchurched.

So every week I feel pressure to be Biblical, engaging, fun, serious, funny, relevant, challenging, authentic, truthful, self deprecating and humble - all at the same time and in every single message.  I know the need to connect the dots for folks, have them leave having the Bible come alive for them and encountering God in a new way.  I want folks to leave saying, "I can't wait to come back!"  and "I wish he would have taught for longer" rather than "If only he had quit 10 minutes earlier!"

That brings me to this week.  With a deadline looming, and Sunday racing towards me, I could not make the words happen!  Call it writer's block.  Call it a lack of inspiration.  Call it laziness.  Call it a lack of faithfulness.  Call it whatever you want.  I call it misery!  I hear the tick-tock of the clock on my desk reminding me one second at a time that the moment I've always feared is now coming:  That I would walk on the platform and have nothing to say.

Yesterday was a really bad day.  Grumpy doesn't adequately describe it, but - since I quit cussing - I have no better word that I can use.  It was one of those days when I hate this gig, just to be honest. ('hating this gig' doesn't happen very often, but it does happen)  Sure, I can write something.  But who cares if it's not worth hearing

So here's what I did:  I came to the Powhatan Campus yesterday evening.  I knew that there were some small groups that met in the building, and I knew that they started their time as one big group, worshiping together.  So, at 6:30, I slipped into the big room, the simple sound of a keyboard and guitar calling out into the atrium as I approached.  I stood in the back, away from the crowd.  I didn't need to have a conversation and I didn't want to be the pastor.  I just needed a moment with God.

So I hid behind a wall and closed my eyes and basked in the presence of God through song.

He wraps Himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
It trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How Great is our God - sing with me
How Great is our God - and all will see
How Great...How Great is our God.

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

How Great is our God - sing with me
How Great is our God - and all will see
How Great...How Great is our God.

As I sang, an amazing thing happened:  God met me there.  And I noted something else:  when others use their gifts, it often inspires us to use ours.  Not in a competing way, but in a complementary way (See 1 Cor 12) so that the Body of Christ is complete.

Beth's voice led me to God's voice. The genius of Beth's gift and the genius of Matthew's gift led me to practice my gift.

When the music was over, I slipped quickly out of the room, down the hall, into my office, closed the door, opened my heart and the words began to pour out.  It was almost as if I simply needed to let the pressure go long enough to simply stand in the presence of God and acknowledge who He is.  And once I did that, I could accept that my gift really isn't my gift, but a reflection of the very Greatness in which I stand.  Then and only then can the Genius of God be seen in me.  

And in all of us.