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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Special Thank You from Calvary Church

We received this message from Pastor Samuel Brown at Calvary Baptist Church in Belize. Because of your sacrifice, they are able to worship in a stable, beautiful building and now they are able to dream a dream of saving a lot of their youth from lives of poverty and violence. See my post this coming Saturday with an update on that. But today, I thought you'd like to see Pastor Brown's letter to us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Imagine Christmas

Imagine Christmas, PCC's Christmas Eve production this year, was fantastic. We heard some great stories (see below) from folks who had been to see it in 2008 and from some who came to it for the first time this year. We made some adjustments to the program and it was even better than last year. There were literally hundreds of hours put into making it happen, and the snow prevented the last couple of critical all-day rehearsals, but the team still came through. It was really wonderful.

Some folks commented on a scarf I was wearing just before the program started when I led us in prayer. A guy from our church had given it to me before the service, telling me his wife had recently taught him to knit and he had made it for me. Cool, huh?

Well, after the service, he caught Dennis Green in the hallway and said this, "Tell your pastor that if that scarf was a mile long it wouldn't bring him the warmth that I feel after being here tonight."

Another lady stopped me and said, "My first service at PCC was one year ago tonight, and I just wanted to thank you for the great gift that you and your church have given me this past year since I've been coming to PCC."

Thanks to all who made Imagine Christmas happen. What you do matters!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still Reaching People

I did both parts of PCC 101 - Introduction to Powhatan Community Church this month. It's one of the most exciting things I do. My favorite part, and one of the most invigorating moments for me, is at the very beginning. I ask each person to share 3 things: 1) their name, 2) how they found out about PCC, 3) why they came back to PCC.

This 101 was as inspiring as ever. They talked about the freedom that we give them to explore faith at their own pace. They talked about our non-judgmental environment, where everyone was welcome. They talked about our children and student ministries, the Sunday morning experience, the warmth of our guest services folks.

Out of 16 people in this 101, Nine of them weren't going to church anywhere when they came to PCC. Don't lose sight of this: the mission of PCC is to reach people who aren't a part of church. For several years now, we consistently find that half of our 101 attendance is made up of unchurched people. It's what we did when we started.

And it's what we still do today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

No PCC Services tomorrow

Because of the snow, we are not having any services tomorrow. Team leaders should communicate with their teams regarding any other meetings or activities.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blue Review

Here is the reality: Christmas is not a happy time of year for everyone. I think about a family I know who lost their dad and husband a week or so ago suddenly and unexpectedly. This Christmas will be really hard for them. Truthfully, for some, there is not joy in their world and it's not the most wonderful time of the year, even if they sing the words to those songs. We wanted to really care for those folks. I think this is consistent with the life and example of Jesus, who went out of his way to care for hurting people.

PCC's Blue Christmas service was just for them. This is what I said early in the service:

"If we do what we set out to do tonight, we will accomplish two things: The second is to claim a sense of hope and assurance for the future, and we’ll get to that. But the first thing we’re going to do is acknowledge and embrace reality. You don’t have to pretend, fake it, or play a giddy character in a Christmas play. For many of us, this Christmas is what it is: vacant, empty, lonely, scary…and silent. So, tonight it's ok to let your guard down.

Washington Irving once said 'There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love.' If Jesus could cry at the death of a dream, of a friend, in his pain…than we can, too. It’s ok. You are in good company here. This is a safe place. There is no shame in your tears."

People connected with God...and with each other. We received some very good feedback. Here are just two:

"Last night's service was awesome. I was so glad to be able to be there and hear the message. The music was BEAUTIFUL! What talent -- the harp, the instruments & the singing were just wonderful! I could have listened for a lot longer... Someone I invited to come with me has had a really hard time lately. He said to be sure to pass along how much the service meant to him. When we were leaving he said, 'I've got to start going there -- he found a lot of meaning in the message and music. Thanks for reaching out to the community and filling a real need this Christmas season. I can't wait for the Christmas Eve service!"

"I really appreciated the service this evening. You're right, the silence is deafening at times but the worse part is the lack of touch. I noticed most of the people in the congregation tonight had someone with them and most were being hugged or touched in some way. I go weeks at a time without a hug or any kind of loving touch. The last time I was hugged was a when at PCC a couple of weeks ago...The hug of a loving person is worth more than any words. Thanks for caring."

If you are a part of the PCC team, I just want to tell you: What you do matters. It makes a difference in peoples lives. Thank you for your investment at our church.

If you are not a part of the PCC team, but come to our church, I want to invite you to come alongside of us and invest your time, treasure and talents in what God is doing here. You can be a part of changing our community!

What if it snows?

We will NOT make a decision about church on Sunday until tomorrow (Saturday). It will be afternoon at the earliest, probably the evening. I don’t like making these decisions until we know what is actually happening. I’m remember a couple of years ago when forecasters were ‘sure’ we were going to get a foot of snow…and we didn’t get a flake. We’re going to be sure before we cancel church.

Keep an eye on this blog, twitter, facebook, email, the TV and radio stations, etc. We will post it and communicate it everywhere we can if we make a decision to cancel church.

Thanks for your prayers for PCC and the safety of our folks. (but some snow is going to be fun, isn’t it!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Multi Site Article on USA Today

A member of PCC's Steering Team turned me onto this FRONT PAGE article today's edition of USA Today. It's very interesting that the new church growth movement is getting this kind of attention. Check it out:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Youth Center Donations for Belize

I mentioned the youth center in Belize on Sunday for which we are raising money. We are committed to funding this project, which will cost $35,000. It may take some time, but I'm grateful that many have already asked about how they can make a donation to the cause. I'm so proud of the PCC family for putting feet to their faith and taking care of others first.

This coming Sunday, and for the next few weeks, we'll have envelopes on the 2 tables at the back of the auditorium. These tables have an offering box on them. These envelopes will be specially labeled for the Belize Youth Center. You can grab one and put a donation in there, or simply write on the memo line of a check "Belize Youth Center".

Of course, you can also mail a check with the same notation to PCC, P. O. Box 834, Powhatan, Va 23139. Our website has online donation options, too.

Just to be sure I'm clear on this: Every dollar given to this project will go to this project. Not a penny will stay in our church.

Thanks for your help. Together, we can change the world.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Need some help

I am hoping that two to four folks will step forward and help. We need STAGEHANDS for our IMAGINE CHRISTMAS production, which we do on Dec 24 at 5 & 7:30. We need people to work backstage, help move sets, get actors and singers ready, etc. It is a crucial job and we don't have enough people doing it.

We need you to be able to come to the rehearsal and the dress rehearsal and be there for both services on 12/24.

I know it’s a lot to ask, but I can’t overstate the Kingdom impact you will make through this sacrifice. People will come to know Jesus Christ because of it. Please help if you can.

All you need to do is email me or Jamie Dingus at and we’ll get you any info you request or get you signed up and good to go.

Please help us if you possibly can.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Youth Progressive Dinner

Got to spend some time tonight with some fantastic teenagers. Once a month, Angie Frame, our Youth Pastor, leads a large group called FOCUS. This month, they broke into 2 groups (high school and Jr. High) and each group went to 2 different houses for a progressive dinner, finishing with dessert and some Christmas music at the elementary school. I don't get to be with that group as often as I would like. They're fun to be around and make me feel younger!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Taking time out with Family

I am now doing a pretty disciplined job with a steady ritual: having lunch with my youngest son. I blogged about it a few weeks ago. That first day, Joshua asked me if I would do it again, so while we were at lunch in October, we put dates on the calendar for November and December. He wanted me to write down his 'order' for each month. October was McDonalds. November was Chik-Fil-A. Yesterday was Papa Johns, and while we ate he wanted to schedule January, February and March. "How's January 14 look for you?" I asked. "I think that's ok," he replied, as if his 8-year-old calendar was normally filled, but he would somehow squeeze me in.

I need to be as deliberate with my other two kids as I am with Joshua. So, I still have some work to do. Joshua makes it easy because he still asks for time.

Anyway, just a note to maybe encourage you to set aside some time for your kids. It's a good reminder for all of us.