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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, December 31, 2010

You Can Still Help

Church was cancelled last Sunday for most PCC people. It was really cool that 130 people came to Powhatan. I was surprised - I thought we'd see like...TEN. And over 100 computers tied in to the online service. It was really neat.

But that still means that 80% or so of our normal attenders didn't come to church either physically or virtually. Among other things, this dramatically affected giving.

Normally, giving is up and down - part of the normal cycle of a month. But this was the last Sunday of the year, and a very low offering will have a pretty dramatic impact. Our two largest budget items - building payment and staff - still happen, even if we don't have church.

Today, you can still help! If PCC is where you call home or a place you love and can support, let me encourage you to give today. It's December 31, and if you postmark your envelope today or give online today, your giving will be reflected on your 2010 giving statement, making it a tax-deductible contribution for this year. (see below for addresses)

Thanks for your help and for your support of our church. God has done some remarkable things in 2010, and that is sure to continue into next year!

Give online by clicking here.

Mailing Address:
P. O. Box 834
Powhatan, Virginia 23139

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Proverbs 30

I have been reading Proverbs for a couple of months now. One chapter every day - whichever chapter corresponds to that day of the month. It's convenient, since there are 31 Proverbs (or chapters).*

Today, I read the 30th chapter. Written by Agur (I don't know anything about him). Somewhat weird, especially the beginning. Here's a guy who says he's gotten no wisdom and doesn't really know or understand God...and then he goes on to say, "Every word of God is flawless..." and other praises. I haven't figured this one out yet.

However, the reason I write about it today concerns Agur's deep thinking. He takes his time to ponder the way 'things' are - in nature, in life, in relationships.

"There are three things that are never satisfied...the grave, the barren womb, land - which is never satisfied with water." (v.15-16)

"There are [four] things that are too amazing for me - that I do not understand...the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden." (v.18-19)

I don't think enough...ponder enough. I don't sit on the front porch in a rocking chair and consider enough. I don't listen enough to the voice of God speaking through the creation and the world around me. Proverbs 30 is helping me...even though I may not understand every part of it. Maybe it can help you, too.

*there are actually many proverbs contained in every chapter, so I prefer to say that there are 31 'chapters' instead of 31 'proverbs'.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Social Media Christmas

As promised, here is the video we showed at church today...I recommend reading Luke 1-2 first, if you haven't done that recently:


PCC is only having ONE service today: 11:15 at the Powhatan Campus. You can see the online service today at You can go there directly by CLICKING HERE.

No church at Westchester and no 9:30 service at Powhatan.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snow Sunday?

As you probably know, they've been talking about Christmas day and Sunday snow for the whole week. Today, they are saying it's less likely, as the storm seems to be taking a more easterly track. Still, we will post ANY changes we make due to weather in several ways:
  • this blog
  • local tv (especially channels 12 and 8)
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • the website
  • the church phone voicemail message
  • an email to everyone in our database
If we were to get a ton of snow this weekend or any other weekend, we will at least have a live broadcast on the internet (assuming we have electricity), like we did twice last winter.

Hope to see you tomorrow at the Christmas Eve services!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Eve and December 26!

You do NOT want to miss the VERY special Christmas Eve service we have planned, called God with Us. I'm really excited about how moving this special evening will be. And, for the first year ever, we have 3 services (the first 2 offer childcare).

Invite your friends! At this service, we will share the message of Jesus Christ in a very non-threatening, simple way that people will understand, regardless of their religious background.

Second, you can help. We need folks to help with parking, greeting, and childcare. I know this is a very busy night for many families. This service is a great gift to our community. Lives will be changed. Why not make helping out at one of the services a family event for you and your family?

Finally, the day after Christmas is Sunday and we have a GREAT service lined up for you. We'll continue some Christmas music and have a fantastic celebration together!

Hope to see you there Christmas Eve and next Sunday!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A few questions about Luke 1-2:

  • After reading Luke 1-2, name the things you know about:

  • Which characters in the Christmas story are NOT in Luke's account (who is usually in the nativity scene that is not mentioned by Luke)?
  • Why was Zechariah unable to speak?
  • There are 2 songs in Luke 1 sung by 2 different people. Who are they? Why are they singing? What is their message?
  • John has a unique way of greeting Jesus the first time he 'meets' Jesus (from his mother's womb). What does he do?
  • Elizabeth and Mary were both unlikely candidates for motherhood. Why?

Don't limit your family time to these questions. Work through the scripture.

And also consider the 3 things we talked about today:

  1. How are you making the paths straight for Jesus to be in your life?
  2. Is there someone around you to whom you can give some time, and help fill in their valley this Christmas?
  3. Is God calling you to give to families in need this year - helping level their mountain of need or hunger or pain? Where should you give? There are lots of options - from individual families to the Salvation Army. You can also give to those folks through PCC. Click here to give through our website. There is an option for 'help others in need' and 100% of your donation would be given to a family in need of help.

Hope this helps you prepare for His coming this Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Help

If you are interested in helping some families in need this Christmas, Mary Ellen Freeman is coordinating the effort. We have more families to help than we have resources at this point, so if God has been nudging you about this, now is a great time. Contact Mary Ellen at

Thanks for what you can do this Christmas.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Need help planning for a service...

We are looking at the January 2 service, when we will 'look back' at 2010 and pick out the memorable moments. I was hoping you could help.

What were the really memorable moments? I need more than just a particular Sunday, but something specific. So far, I've thought of things like:

When I taught from the cage on the final Sunday of Wild Goose Chase
When we had the service 'in the round'
Launching Westchester
Our first Sunday in the Building
We helped some new, upcoming artists this year - like Nathan Wheeler and Alex Sabatini.
John Ivins and Beth Brawley Stoddard both did some teaching
The pastor swap in August (which included 'coffin' Sunday)

Tell me about the cool, memorable, or even the 'bad' moments we may have had. Tell me about a particular song, drama, video, teaching, etc. This will help us choose the right moments to highlight as we pause to look back before we turn the page and look forward. Last year, this was a really cool service, and -with your help - it will be again this year.

Email your ideas to or simply post a comment on this blog.

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finally...excitement about Christmas has come!

Every year, I struggle with Christmas. Every year. It's not the shopping, decorating, spending and eating - although those things certainly get to me from time to time - but it's a burden I feel. I want to say something fresh and new and exciting. I've been coached to just 'tell the story', but I want it to be seeing it for the first time again.

Christmas this year was a chore...until this week, when the light finally came on inside of me and I saw things I had never seen before. I'm (finally) so EXCITED about Christmas @ PCC this year! Let me give you a little preview:

This coming Sunday, I'm going to talk about THE real meaning of Christmas. Now, to be sure, every pastor in America will have a 'Jesus is the Real Reason for the Season' message. But this is not it, I assure you. You don't need to come to church for that. You've already heard it. Many of you already believe it. But I think I have discovered a better answer - a more complete answer - to the question, "What is the real meaning of Christmas?" It starts with Jesus, but it ends somewhere else. That ending - that ultimate reality of Christmas - ought to change the way we think and it should change the way we live our lives. On Sunday, I'll share my discovery with you.

December 19th, I'm going to talk about preparing ourselves for Christmas. Not the 'am I finished shopping' version, but the more spiritual variety. This may sound a little cheesy to you, but Christmas is serious business, from God's perspective. Humanity was preparing for decades, even centuries for Jesus' birth. So, are there ways that we can use these few days to be better prepared for what God wants to do in us? Even for people who are not yet convinced that Jesus is for real, if you are open to the notion, you can prepare yourself to hear what God wants to say to you this Christmas. We'll see the Bible's idea of how that works and I'll give you some practical things you can do in the final stretch before Christmas.

Christmas Eve. This has become one of the most incredible evenings of the entire year for our church. Our team, under Sandy Sabatini's faithful leadership, has been working on this event for months. This Christmas Eve will be a simple, familiar reminder about what God has done for us, and we will have and intimate, private moment to respond to Him.

The day after Christmas is a Sunday, and that day I'm REALLY excited about sharing from 2 obscure characters in the Bible that I've never taught about before. They responded to the coming of Jesus in the days after He was born and then we never see these 2 folks again. God wants to show us something significant through their rarely discussed actions. I can't wait to share with you what God showed me!

Don't miss Christmas at PCC this year! These next few weeks are going to be great!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Eve and Blue Christmas

Just to be sure everyone knows...

Christmas Eve, we will have THREE services, all of them will be at the Powhatan Campus. 4:30pm, 6:15pm and 8:00pm.

Tonight, our Blue Christmas Service is at 7pm at Winfree Memorial Baptist Church in Midlothian.

Thursday, our Blue Christmas Service is at 7pm at the Powhatan Campus.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Hodgepodge of Things...

We had another very exciting day at PCC today. Lots of cool changes happening, lots of buzz. I'm really glad that Beth Brawley Stoddard and John Ivins both stepped in for me in the past few weeks. Teaching every week takes a lot of energy and time, and their work allowed me to do some other kinds of leadership that I needed to do one week and take a vacation the other one. I'm planning to be the teaching pastor for the next several weeks now, and I'm quite excited about it!

  • Today, I taught about prayer in a tongue-and-cheek way, by teaching 'How to NOT hear God speak.' 3 things: Do all the talking (see Rom 8:26-27, Matt 6:7-8; Be a spoiled brat (see 1 Sam 8, Phil 4:6, Ps 37:4); and Maximize the Distractions.
  • This coming week, we are having our Blue Christmas services. You don't want to miss this special service, offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings. For more details, see our website
  • Plan to spend Christmas Eve at PCC! Come to one of THREE services offered that evening.
  • Get involved! For our church to keep growing and reaching people, we need everyone to get in the game! Sunday mornings are exciting at PCC. We need folks to help at Westchester, and if you live on that end of town, consider going to that Campus. At least check it out if you've never been. At Powhatan, we need shuttle drivers and folks who like working with kids from infants through 6th grade.
  • Finally, a way you can pray for us. We're now seriously considering what the time slot of the 3rd service should be and the format. We're also starting to seriously pray about our next campus. While launching that campus would still be months (or years) away, the Spirit is moving us today. Pray that we would clearly hear God speak, and have the courage to move when He says.
So many folks are finding their place and their home at our church. Isn't that awesome?! God is really up to something!

Change is coming. Always. Because we're on the move!