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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shaving Cream Fight

Most years, Angie Frame graciously asks me to host the annual shaving cream fight at my house. Today was the day, and we had a pile of teenagers come over, cans ready, victory in their eyes, ready for war! It was a blast, as always. I heard that the Food Lion started asking people 'what's going on??' as our folks carted out can after can, cleaning their shelves of shaving cream. My back yard smells like a fresh blast of CLEAN.

One of the best parts of the day is found in the accosting of innocent adults who have come to get their kids. We plot together, young and old alike, covering the left and right flanks. It's like a pride of lions picking off unsuspecting gazelle's. They never really have a chance.

Except this year, Susan hid in the closet on the 3rd floor of our house. When we finally found her, she ran and locked herself in the bathroom. You know what they say about payback. I can't wait.

Check out my facebook page (and some of our teenagers') for more pictures.

So, it was a successful event. Lots of fun. I really love our teenagers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The post about David's Mighty Men from the day before yesterday was made by Brian, not Beth. Just a little technical problem there. Sorry for the confusion.

Exciting Changes are Coming...

As you may have heard by now, we are changing the way we do small groups at PCC. While our church has a high tolerance for change, we never change something simply for the sake of change itself. We change to be more relevant, to adjust to the needs of our community and to achieve excellence.

This new Small Group paradigm is different, but it will be much more effective. The Small Group Leadership Team has researched, prayed, argued and debated, and then settled on what they believe God is calling us to do. I believe it to.

So, come with us on our next big adventure!

Below, is what I wrote that will go into the new small group catalog, which you will soon see on a Sunday morning. Consider it a 'preview' copy!

Thanks for your support and enthusiasm about connecting people at PCC in real church - because small groups are where real church happens.

Brian’s Catalog Introduction

At PCC, we recognize that not everyone is at the same place in their spiritual journey. Some are still investigating the claims of Jesus and the Bible and trying to decide if they will follow Him. Others are ready to impact our community and the world and make a difference through serving. There are Christ followers who feel a calling to invest in a concentrated spiritual development or Bible study. Finally, there are some who long to be involved in a community where they can build friendships, have a base of support, and enjoy the company of others who are on the faith journey, too.

Regardless of where you are and what you need right now, we have a group for you! This new small group paradigm promises to meet your needs where you are. Because everyone is busy, folks have often felt that they had to choose between being in a small group and serving. But our new, semester-based system allows you to serve for a semester in an impact group then study intensely for a semester in an invest group and then learn together in a community through an involve group – all in the same year and without overloading your calendar.

The Small Group Leadership Team spent months unpacking and learning about this new way of doing small groups. They took their time and did it right. They gained the support of the staff and steering team, and I am completely sold out on it! I think this new system is the answer our church has needed. Make no mistake about it: The small group is where real church happens! If you haven’t been a part of small group life at PCC, there is no greater moment than right now.

So take some time today and sign up for the inaugural semester. Yes, we’ll tweak and make adjustments over the next few months and we look forward to your feedback. Still, there is no question in my mind this change will result in great improvement for the folks of our church. I look forward to hearing about how small groups have affected you!

Brian C. Hughes
Senior Pastor

Monday, August 24, 2009

David's Mighty Men

I'm reading through 1 Chronicles and came to a cool part today. 1 Chronicles 11:9 says that David became increasingly powerful 'because the Lord Almighty was with him'. But then, the very next verse is the prologue to a long list of men. V. 10 says "These were the chiefs of David's mighty men - they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised." (emphasis mine).

Now, I am not David, and I'm not a King and PCC is not Israel. But I do think there is an important correlation here. Why wouldn't v.9 stand on it's own? Isn't the Lord Almighty enough? Certainly from many perspectives, He is. But v. 10 (and the rest of chapter 11) completes the picture and illustrates an important truth: God uses key people to support the leader so that the fullness of the Movement is accomplished. God put the mighty men under David's leadership, and they were a major factor in his success. To go further, he probably wouldn't have been successful without them.

So, I started thinking about the short history of our church and the moment that exists for us right now. Whether we were facing calm waters or stormy seas, there has been a growing group of strong, steady people who have supported me. They aren't blindly following - many of them have disagreed and debated and even admonished me. But mostly they just loved me, loved our mission, and their support has never wavered - even when they disagreed with some decision.

Many of the people reading this blog are these folks. During these past few weeks, you've gone out of your way to voice your steadfast determination for the success of our church and for me. Your fervent prayers, encouraging notes, powerful stories, and gentle reminders have meant more to me than you will ever know. The visible support from last Tuesday's meeting, too, was defining.

Chronicles isn't just a history of the's more than that. It's a lesson on how movements succeed and how they stumble. It's a teaching on what causes leadership to succeed, and what makes it fail. David had his mighty men and for a long time, Israel soared.

We are still soaring. And God is using you to make it happen. Thank you for standing beside me and our church through thick and thin. God is working through you in ways you will never know.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Faithful in Prayer

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Yesterday, while we were in hours of difficult meetings, there was a group of people gathered at the church office praying. I can tell you that I knew it, I felt it. It would be hard to describe how grateful I am to those who were there. Just knowing they were praying for us and for our church was a source of great comfort.

I know that many others were also praying at other places, and I'm so grateful for them, too.

God is not just good when we like the outcome. He is good all the time. And one of the ways His goodness is apparent is through the faithfulness of His people. Thank you to all who committed time and energy to lifting us up to the King yesterday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Turning the corner was a defining day. I know many of you are hoping for good news...and I have it, but it's not in the form we had hoped.

The mediation meetings today were really long and exhausting. I thought we might be there for 3 hours. I was only off by half. We started at 9 and I left at 3:40. The bottom line is that we were too far apart. Therefore, we could not reach an agreement.

Why is this good news? Well, we needed to know some sense of direction. We would have liked to have put this behind us today, reached an agreement and moved on. Instead, we are still moving on. We'll do it by digging in, turning the matter over to the attorney and a couple of in-house folks who have some skill in these sort of situations and turning our attention to our core mission.

For a few months now, I have put an inordinate amount of time and attention into solving this dispute. So has Chauncey, Dennis, the Steering Team, others on staff, and some of our leaders and others in the church. Since we are apparently going to be a while before we have a resolution*, let's just focus on church again. I'm not saying that we forget the building. We can't do that. We're in the middle of the project and we have a responsibility to construction, the county, to continuing to raise money and to the bank.

Still, today - as hard as it was - was a good day. I feel...released. And I have a great idea: Let's just do church again! How about that? Let's just focus almost all of our attention on people again for a while. When the time comes and the arbitration process has run it's course and the project is ready for are attention again, we'll focus there to wrap it up. Until then, I think there are about twelve thousand people who need help, hope and a home.

So let's go get 'em!

Thanks for standing with us during this season. I kid you not: I'm really excited about this fall! And it feels good to think about focusing all my energy on our church and our mission again.

See you Sunday.

*What I mean by this is that the arbitration process is going to take a while - probably a few months. I don't like it, but it is what it is. We've done all we can. Now we have to wait.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thoughts about last night

Last night, about 100 people from our church gathered to hear and ask questions about the state of our building, the dispute with our former builder, and where we go from here. I got feedback from several folks last night and throughout the day today. Everyone I heard from expressed passionate support for our leadership, for our church, our mission, and specifically for me, Chauncey, and Dennis. I am so grateful. I know you are praying and am grateful for your support and care. There are a couple of highlights that were very special that I thought would be good to share for those who weren't there.

There was a point when we were well into the meeting...I was taking questions and hands were going up all over the place. It was a great, productive conversation. I started to specifically look for folks who hadn't gotten to ask a question yet and saw this one guy towards the back who I didn't recognize. He hadn't yet asked any questions, so I called on him. His name was Mark and he said something like this, 'I was at PCC for the first time last Sunday. I heard about this meeting and thought I'd come tonight and check it out. I am really amazed by the unity that you all show about your church...' That's not an exact quote, but it's as good as I can remember. He was smiling, clearly impressed. We had made a positive impression, even in the midst of a difficult situation. I honestly had to fight to hold back the tears. It was such a great moment...a God moment.

And Mark helped to remind us all again that we are a reflection on Christ - no matter what setting we're in. How we live matters. People don't care what our faith proves. They care what kind of people our faith produces. Last night, God reminded us all that unity is key to the kind of message we send to those on the outside. Jesus prayed it like this:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:20-21, NIV)

The greatest risk to our future is ourselves. If we were to begin to devour each other from the inside, it's the only way our church can fall. We must maintain the spirit of unity that we displayed last night, because it will speak volumes to our community. I've often said to the Steering Team something like this: 'We can get a bunch of decisions wrong, but if we have unity our church will be strong. On the other hand, we can get make every decision right, but if we are divided our church will fall apart.' Nobody wants to be a part of a divided church. I came from an environment like that. Going through that kind of conflict as a church is no fun for anybody, and growing a church in conflict is nearly impossible. New people avoid it like the plague.

Unity does not mean that we don't have honest debate and honest disagreement. We're never going to agree on everything. Two people who have been married for half a century don't agree on everything, how can we expect a thousand to do so? That's why we structured our church the way we did, with team empowerment, the Steering Team, the staff - each with their roles and authority. It helps to ensure that we have healthy debate while limiting unhealthy conflict.

Unity is not uniformity. Unity is not consensus. Unity is rallying behind a central vision that drives us into the future together. Our mission is about reaching people who are far from God and outside of other churches. It's never been about those who are already Christ followers. Jesus calls us to give up ourselves to serve others. Somebody always gets upset when I say it, but, frankly, it always gets me jazzed up. So, I'll say it again: If you are a Christ follower, it's not about you. That's the essence of our church. Selfishness has no place here. Unity behind our mission does.

So, keep that spirit of unity the positive, driving force at PCC. When someone is complaining, gossiping, rumoring, etc., put a stop to it. Unity - the kind of Unity that Jesus prayed for for us is absolutely key to our future. It impressed Mark and it will impress the thousands in our community who don't go to church.

Thanks again for those who came last night. Your support and encouragement was overwhelming. It was an evening I will never forget.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Churchwide Letter from the PCC Steering Team

July 21, 2009

Dear PCC Friend,

For the past few months, we have been steadily working through the challenges and opportunities with our building project. Along the way, each of us has regularly been asked questions by vested PCC’ers and by others in our community, wanting to know, ‘What’s going on?’ To this point, we’ve mostly answered those questions as they came, on a one-on-one basis. We feel that the time has come for us to take a much broader approach to communication with the church. This letter contains the latest information as we know it, an invitation to some forums where you can ask questions and get more detailed information, and a few suggestions about how you can help.

First, here are some basic points that you should know (1) :

1. We have assumed responsibility for completion of the Building. Due to unresolved conflict with the former builder, we have terminated our contract with that company and our Staff is now managing completion of the project. The building is approximately 75% complete. We have people working on it right now. Most (possibly all) of the former builder's subcontractors have agreed to work directly with us to complete the project for the same costs.

2. We can pay our bills. We have all of the money accounted for to build the building. However, we don’t have enough money to build it twice. What we mean by that is some of the money we paid the builder is money they were supposed to pay the subcontractors and did not. We are working to resolve these issues through the conflict resolution process described below.

3. We are working as hard and as fast as we can to have the conflict resolved. In our building contract, we pre-determined a dispute resolution process. This process begins with Mediation, where an independent mediator attempts to facilitate mutual agreement between PCC and the builder. If Mediation does not resolve the conflict, the next step is Arbitration, where an independent arbitrator considers both sides of the dispute and makes a decision that is binding to both parties. We had our first mediation meeting on Thursday, July 16.

4. We will finish the building as quickly as possible. It took us some time to get our own building permit. That was issued last week and we began to mobilize crews back onto the building site. Once all the subcontractors are back to work and we’re going full speed ahead, there will be only about 90 days of work left to be done. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be finished in 90 days. We have to resolve the dispute with the former builder in order for the bank to release the final money needed to complete the project.

5. We have treated the builder and every subcontractor with fairness and respect. We've had a disagreement that has ultimately brought us to an impasse. Our differences were irreconcilable and we have parted ways. This is neither unbiblical nor unchristian (2). We just have a fundamental disagreement that makes it so we cannot continue to work together.

6. As PCC’s Steering Team, we have been involved in every step of this process. Every critical decision has been ultimately made together by this team, in unity, and with great prayer and consideration. Our job is to protect the church and our mission. We have done our best to accomplish that goal.

7. Most importantly, we have nothing to hide. Anything you want to know and any information you want to see is at your disposal. Dennis, Chauncey and Brian have agreed to make themselves available to anyone who wants to meet and talk about this. You can call the office or email them to ask your question or to schedule some time. They will tell you anything you want to know.

Many have asked, ‘What can I do to help?’ First, on Tuesday, August 18, 7-8:30pm at the Village Building in Powhatan, we will have a church-wide meeting. We encourage every person who attends PCC to be at this meeting. We will give you the most up-to-date information, answer any questions that have not been addressed, and provide more details about what’s going on than we can articulate in a letter.

Secondly, you can follow Brian’s blog by going to Once there, you can keyword search ‘building’ and see every post made about this project. Our Staff has committed to posting a comprehensive update about the building on the 1st of every month, at a minimum. We want to share our excitement about the completion of the building!

You can also be a positive voice for PCC in our community. When you talk to folks, invite them to church. If you hear something negative, assure people that your church has treated everyone fairly, acted with integrity, and is working hard to resolve this situation. Tell them about the good things that have happened at PCC!

You can give. We need our people to continue to give to the Reach Campaign. These donations have always been a key part of how we would pay for a facility of our own. If you are not involved with the Reach Campaign, you can call or email Lori and she will send you the information you need. Lori dot Wheeler at powhatancc dot org

Finally, we ask that you pray. Keep our church and our building lifted to God in prayer. Ask Him to help a resolution come quickly and for all decisions to be God honoring. Ask Him to protect our church and to continue to use us in bold ways in our community.

Thank you for your ongoing support for our church. God has done and continues to do incredible things here, and we are looking forward to the great things that are still in store for us. We will see you on August 18th.

Faithfully yours,

The Powhatan Community Church Steering Team

(1) Greater detail about this was communicated to the church via a blog post Brian did on May 25, 2009.

(2) See the story of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15:30-41. “They had such a sharp disagreement, they parted company.” Acts 15:39. God then used both Paul and Barnabas to multiply his mission efforts. God brought good out of that conflict, and He’ll do that at PCC, too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Some Updates...

Here is a hodgepodge of things I'm thinking, working on, etc.

  • August 18 Meeting. Don't forget about the churchwide meeting on Tuesday, August 18 at 7pm at the Village Building in Powhatan (immediately next to May Memorial Church). We will be discussing the latest information on our building AND answering every question you have. We will let everyone go at 8:30, but I'll stay until we've taken every question. Even if you don't have any specific questions, I would ask that you come if you can.
  • Leadership. There is still a lot rattling around in me from last week's Leadership Summit. We have the best leaders anywhere, I'm convinced of it. I'm just starting to read the books that I got from the Summit and I'm really enjoying them.
  • Demographic work. I keep thinking about doing some new demographic work about Powhatan. The data I have is a couple of years old. Not overly dated, but still could use a refresher. If you like that sort of thing, let me know. I'd love to have some help on this project.
  • Baptism. Beginning to think and plan for the next Baptism. It's September 13. There are folks already on the list, so it's going to be as exciting as ever. If you or someone you know has made a commitment to following Jesus Christ, but have never been baptized as a believer, this will be a very important part of the journey. Contact me or Lori at our office if you want to talk about it.
  • Multi-site. Perhaps you've heard that we are looking to launch a second campus in Midlothian. While this concept may be new to you, churches have been going multi-site for several years now, with great success. There are many great reasons to move in this direction, and I'm really excited about what God is going to do. More info is coming.
  • New Logo. We are changing our logo. Actually, what we have now is not a logo. This is something that our graphic design folks have been saying to me for years. I've resisted this, but the truth is that it is something we have long needed to do. I'm excited about the new branding that will come from it and how effective it will be at helping us connect with our target - especially those who are under 30. It will also give us a needed identifying symbol for all of our campuses as we become a multi-campus church.
  • Mission. Please don't forget that we have a reason for existing. PCC has, from our very first day, been focused on reaching people who are far from God and outside of other churches. We have said that we would do whatever it takes to get them, even if we don't 'like' it or it makes us 'uncomfortable'. Jesus gave himself up for the people He came to save. The Bible is very clear that we are to 'die to self'. You can read many New Testament texts that are explicit (including 1 Cor 9:22, Phil 3:8, Phil 3:12-16, Acts 10, 2 Cor 5:16-21). If you are a Christ follower, circling the wagons and just caring for your needs, desires, and preferences is not an option. You were bought with a price (1 Cor 7:23). You don't belong to yourself anymore (1 Thess. 5:8, 1 Cor 9:19). We have a calling, and it is to meet people where they are, hear their story, and ultimately introduce them to Jesus Christ. I like the way Don Miller put this in a training video Sammy recently showed the Small Group leaders. Miller said that our job, ultimately, was to put people on a blind date with God. Our job is not to defend God or convince people of the Truth of Jesus in a linear way, but to simply introduce them to a relationship with Christ. I would argue that, in order to do that, we have to set aside our own desires and meet them where they are. That's what PCC has done since our first day and it's what we will continue to do into our future.
Well, there's more rattling around in my mind, especially from some scripture I've been reading lately, but I'll share that tomorrow.

What I'm seeing in Scripture

I have been reading in 2 places in the Bible.

The first is Colossians. We start a new series on Colossians this coming Sunday. It's really cool, and there is a lot of life application that will come of it. I hope you will read through this short but important book of the Bible with us. I'm have read it several times to prepare, and I gain new insights every time I read it.

The second is Chronicles. We don't talk about Chronicles very often, and there is a good reason. 1 & 2 Chronicles are almost identical to 1 & 2 Kings. So, when we get to that part of the story, we usually finish 2 Samuel and then start with the next book, 1 Kings.

I said they were almost identical. Almost. But not entirely. And I have been finding some really great truths as I journey through Chronicles again. It's been some years since I spent any time there and God is really honoring my commitment to seek Him in the hidden corners of the Bible. I'll start to share a few of these in some future posts. If you aren't reading anything in the Bible right now, in addition to Colossians, perhaps you want to come along with me in Chronicles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kiva - No Small Thing

Guest post by Beth Brawley

Those of us at the Leadership Summit last week had the privilege of hearing Jessica Jackley share an incredible and inspiring story. When Jessica learned that Jesus said, "What you do for the least of these, you do for me", she took it seriously.

Five years ago, she quit her job and went to Africa to learn about micro-finance. The result is Kiva, which has raised over $61 million in just three years - all going to assist entrepenuers in the developing world. Investors with as little as $25 are able to connect with across the globe, giving sacrifically in order to change lives all around the world.

On a personal note, my family has been involved with Kiva since last year. As we gathered at Thanksgiving, my mom gave everyone in the family a $20 bill and a mission: "Use this to help somebody else - and report back at Christmas." The Brawley family pooled some of our funds together and created a $50 loan to a group of mothers in Bolivia who are creating small retail businesses to provide a better life for their children. That loan has already been repaid, and our $50 has been re-invested into two businesses in the Dominican Republic.

Kiva is a way for anyone with internet access to invest as little as $25 to better the lives of people who have far less access to financial stability than any of us here. Brian often says that even the poorest American is considered rich in the eyes of the developing world - and it's true. One look at some of the photos of these hard-working entrepenuers in third-world countries show that although our resources are different, we are the same in our desire to work hard and provide a better life for our families.

Several folks who were at the Leadership Summit have already set up Kiva accounts and started a new journey of giving. In fact, we've created a 'Powhatan Community Church' lending team that will allow us to track how we, as a small community of believers, are able to pool our resources to assist those in other countries. Through our lending team, it's possible to focus our giving on one group, country or region.

Please take the time to investigate Kiva and consider participating. Seriously - what we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus.

And that's no small thing.

To learn more about Kiva, click here.
To see the Powhatan Community Church lending team, click here.
To create a Kiva account, click here.
For overview notes on Jessica Jackley's Summit presentation, click here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where I was yesterday

Every summer, I take a couple of weeks and speak at some other churches. I think it's good for PCC for me to be away, but it's also good for me. It strengthens my skills as a communicator, and helps me to better understand how to engage an audience. Sometimes when we only relate to the 'known', we slip into bad or ineffective habits but don't realize it. So, getting in front of different crowds every long now and again is very helpful to me.

Just so you know, when this summer is over, I will have been away for a total of 5 Sundays, which is one more than normal. Susan's grandmother passed away last month, so I was out of town for the funeral.

Yesterday, I spoke at Amelia Community Church. It hadn't been on my calendar for all that long. But when Tommy Adams (ACC's lead pastor) called a few weeks ago and I realized that we were doing Summit Sunday on that day, I accepted the invitation.

I really enjoyed being there with those folks. ACC is trying to reach unchurched people in Amelia and is starting to see real success towards that goal. I am so glad to count PCC as a partner church for them, as we have been supporting them financially for a couple of years. I was on the team that helped to hire Tommy and I've been quite impressed with his work there.

Next Sunday I'll be speaking at Coastal Community Church in Virginia Beach. They are a sizable multi-site church and their pastor (Hank Brooks) is one of my closest friends. Susan Hughes (my wife and our Children's Pastor) will be speaking for me at PCC.

I am looking forward to my return to the PCC stage on August 23.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Today's Experiment

We experimented today. For months, we have been planning today as 'Summit Sunday' and decided to used Craig Groeschel's presentation called, "IT". Personally, I've seen it twice (the first time was 'live' at last year's Leadership Summit and then I watched it again for a refresher). I loved it both times. The message he gave has so many applications for our church. I read his book, 'IT' and found it very helpful for my leadership and for our church.

I have gotten feedback about the 'video teaching' today. Some folks loved it. Others hated it. A few thought it was just 'OK'. But there is a deeper issue that is bothering me. And it has to do with the concept of experimentation.

We have a mantra that we've said from our very first day: "Everything we do is an experiment." We try lots of things. Some of them are effective, some of them are not. We should be careful not to repeat things that don't work, but we should have great freedom to experiment with ideas and new ways of doing things.

I have also talked a great deal about 'permission to fail'. If you experiment with different ways of doing things, some of the experiments will be huge successes. Others, though, will fall flat. If you remove from people and organizations the permission to fail, you will inherently remove from them the ability to succeed. This is because permission to fail equals the permission to innovate, and without innovation, organizations, movements and churches become stagnant, stale, and, ultimately, they will die.

PCC is an innovative church. We experiment. We grant the permission to fail. Through the experimentation process over the years, we have seen some stellar success. Occasionally, we have seen failure. I don't know much about the future, but I can promise you this: there is more success to come, and there is more failure to come. Why? Because there is more experimentation to come. It's who we are, and we are better for it.

So, let me hear from you on how you adjusted to our experiment today. Sure, I'd like to know if you liked it. I'd also like to know if it is an effective way to communicate with people who aren't used to going to church. Think outside of your own frame of reference. Give me your opinions and perspectives, but whatever you do, don't shoot down the concept of trying new and different things and ideas.

I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Amazing Experience

Last night at about 9pm, we wrapped up 2 days that represent one of the highlights of my year so far - Willow's Leadership Summit. I suspect that, if you are reading this and weren't with us you might be saying, ' don't get out much, do you?!' All I can say is that you'd have to experience it to believe how incredible it is.

Now, like many Summit veterans, I noticed that there was less music; more academia; less live drama; more video productions; less of Bill Hybels; etc. But there was also more.

More progress. Two years ago, Hybels interviewed Bono (from U2), who has taken on the Aids and poverty issue, especially in Africa. At that time, Bono expressed his frustration with the church, which was largely in the background of that fight. But yesterday, he repeated again and again that the church has arrived, is on the scene, and is now leading the charge. He talked about how surprised he is that so much progress has been made in just a couple of years, and he inspired all of us that we can actually live in a world where severe poverty does not exist anywhere on the planet. That was the session where I was completely broken. The clips they showed and the hope that they gave us about what God was doing and the way that churches were pouring themselves out in sacrifice was all....well, I can hardly find the words (and I'm the words guy!) It was overwhelming and, at the same time, incredibly motivating.

There was also more practical information. I was impressed with the round table discussion with Henry Cloud, Carly Fiorina, David Ireland and Bill Hybels. I was grateful for Chip and Dan. I was thankful to hear from Tony Blair and David Gergen.

But what did it for me (what always does it for me) is what happens with our team. Frankly, we can get the information that the summit communicates by buying the Team Edition DVD and watching it later. It's in the combination of real-time learning and then the discussion within and among our team and sub-teams that something organic happens. For me, all of this culminates on Friday evening. Our time together there is as valuable to me as anything else I do all year.

This year, almost 70 folks from PCC attended the Summit. In addition, we sponsored several local pastors to come with us. This is THE premier leadership development tool for PCC. So, if you lead or if you want to lead or if you would just like to get connected with our leadership, why not go ahead and make plans right now to be at next year's Summit!

Thanks to everyone at PCC who helped make this year's summit a great success!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tuesday Evening!

Tuesday evening is a really exciting opportunity...

PCC has 2 softball teams in the inter-church league in Powhatan. Well, both of our teams have made it to the top, each having an 11-1 record. No one would have guessed this would happen at the beginning of the season. There are a lot of really great teams from other churches in the league, so it is quite an honor to be in this position with just one team, let alone both of our teams.

Tuesday evening at 7pm at the ball field on Scaggs Road in the Village of Powhatan, both teams square off against each other in the first game of the annual tournament. Come and root for...Powhatan Community Church, see lots of people, let your kids run around and have fun, grab a hotdog from the concession stand, and have a great, family-fun summer evening at the ball field! Hope to see you there!


The primary Scripture I used yesterday was 1 Peter 3:15: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…" (NIV)

I think it's worthwhile to spend some time thinking about what it means to 'set apart in your heart Christ as Lord'. If you have made a commitment to follow Christ, how should your life be different? Should your decisions be different? Should you spend money differently or give money differently? Should you use your house, cars, or stuff differently? Should you be more committed to some activities and less to others? Are there things you need to start doing and others you need to stop doing?

It's not about a list of 'to do's' and 'don't do's'. Rather, it's about answering the question: If Christ is Lord in my life, is there any area I am not turning over to Him and letting Him have?

As far as always being prepared, I urge you to continuously learn more about yourself and our world in order to be fully prepared to engage those who are curious about your spiritual life. I like the way Peter puts it here, because people do ask why you have hope. They want to know what makes you to handle a mess but do it with a sense of peace or joy. They notice, and sooner or later, if you treat them with gentleness and respect, they'll throw you the ball. Are you ready to carry it? If you feel like you could be more prepared, let me give you some resources.

First, Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleburg. This is the best, most user-friendly study I've ever read about how to naturally share faith issues in a way that is unique to your own personality and experience.

Secondly, the book that inspired our last series - The Unexpected Adventure. We have a few copies of this at our resource table. These are very short, engaging lessons on how some folks invested in others and had spiritual conversations in the process. Each day is very inspiring.

Finally, I am hoping that over the next few months every leader and core PCC'er will read No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke. This is the best book I've ever read about understanding the culture that exists today and engaging the people around us in a non-threatening way. It is well-worth the investment! Click on the link to order a copy for yourself.

The bottom line is that we all can always improve ourselves. I hope these resources help you become better prepared.