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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, April 30, 2010

Building Dedication

I really hope you can make the building dedication we have on Sunday. We'll have a good ol' fashioned picnic on the grounds (inside and outside, weather permitting). Bring a side dish and we'll have the hot dogs and drinks. Dinner starts at 5pm.

At 6:30, the service begins. We still need a couple of people to help with childcare. By the way, we are offering childcare for infants through 5 year olds.

This service is going to be awesome and meaningful and defining. I hope you can make it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When Does Transformation Happen?

I could not agree more with JF's comment to yesterday's post. In fact, I wanted to talk further about it. JF, you are absolutely right. Paul said 2 things that I have always seen as a very healthy tension:

On the one hand, he said "In Christ, I am a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come." This seems to suggest that transformation comes in an instant. It happens, then it's over. Old is past. New is present.

But he also said, "...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12, NIV) Further, Paul lamented the 'war' that continued to rage within him between good and evil in Romans 7.

So, transformation, it seems, BEGINS at a moment or a decision, but it doesn't end there. Transformation is ongoing. Again, Paul's words come to mind from Philippians 3

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) "Not that I have already obtained [perfection], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Press on toward that goal!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No Perfect People Allowed Responses

Sunday was a phenomenal day. We talked about how God can change anyone who is willing to give their lives to Him. Transformation is the final step in a commitment to Christ. Belief is not enough. Even the devil believes. You have to be willing to let God transform you if you want to be a Christ follower. Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, said later in his life, "…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17, NIV)

We received hundreds of cards on Sunday and we're following up with everyone now. There are several folks already who have confirmed that they crossed the line of faith on Sunday, made a commitment to follow Christ, and are ready to go public with Baptism.

Lots of others indicated that they needed a friend or were waiting to see God or just weren't quite ready for transformation. We're following up with everyone of these, regardless of which box they checked. There are scores of them.

Please pray for these folks. Many are seeking God. It is a very exciting time in their spiritual journey, but also a vulnerable one. Pray that they would continue to pursue Truth. Pray that we would represent God well as we help to guide them. Pray that God would continue to use PCC in the powerful way He has been doing these past few weeks and months.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Church Softball

You may not know, but PCC has 3 teams playing in the Powhatan County Church softball league. The Lambs are made up of a group of young guys who have been playing together forever. PCC East and PCC West are teams that we field from our general population. Below is the playing schedule. Come out and enjoy some of the games.

Church League games are played at the field behind the county school administration building on Scaggs Road in the village of Powhatan.

By the way, after the church league is over, we have a PCC-only league. Usually made up of 4 teams from folks who are a part of PCC, we have a lot of fun playing all summer long. If you want to be a part of that, send an email to and she'll get you in the right place.

Mon 04/26/2010 8:45 PCC at Red Lane 2
Tue 04/27/2010 7:15 Graceland at PCC East
Tue 04/27/2010 8:45 Lambs at Mount Moriah
Fri 04/30/2010 8:45 Mennonites at PCC
Tue 05/04/2010 8:45 Family Worship Center at Lambs
Fri 05/07/2010 7:15 PCC at PCC East
Mon 05/10/2010 7:15 Band of Brothers at Lambs
Thur 05/13/2010 7:15 Lambs at PCC
Mon 05/17/2010 8:45 PCC East at Red Lane 1
Tue 05/18/2010 8:45 Lambs at Hollywood
Fri 05/21/2010 7:15 Red Lane 1 at PCC
Fri 05/21/2010 8:45 PCC East at Mount Moriah
Thur 06/03/2010 7:15 PCC East at Bethesda
Mon 06/07/2010 8:45 Hollywood at PCC
Tue 06/08/2010 8:45 St John Newman at PCC East
Fri 06/11/2010 8:45 PCC East at Family Worship Center
Mon 06/14/2010 7:15 PCC at Mount Moriah
Tue 06/15/2010 8:45 Bethesda at Lambs
Fri 06/18/2010 7:15 Red Lane 2 at PCC East
Mon 06/21/2010 7:15 Lambs at St John Newman
Tue 06/22/2010 7:15 Graceland at PCC
Tue 06/22/2010 8:45 PCC East at Band of Brothers
Fri 06/25/2010 8:45 PCC at Family Worship Center
Mon 06/28/2010 7:15 PCC East at PUMC
Tue 06/29/2010 7:15 Mennonites at Lambs
Tue 06/29/2010 8:45 PCC at Band of Brothers
Thur 07/01/2010 7:15 Lambs at Red Lane 1
Thur 07/15/2010 8:45 Lambs at Graceland
Fri 07/16/2010 7:15 PCC at Bethesda
Mon 07/19/2010 8:45 Hollywood at PCC East
Tue 07/20/2010 8:45 St John Newman at PCC
Thur 07/22/2010 7:15 PCC East at Lambs

Friday, April 23, 2010

Have a donut...and a parking spot

First, I know I haven't written much here lately. I have leaned into some other areas that needed a lot of energy from me, but I've neglected this blog and some communication areas. You'll see a good bit of posts in the coming days.

Let me start with something exciting...last Sunday was an awesome day at PCC! Awesome for lots and lots of reasons. But one of them was that we just are in a season of high growth right now. It feels good to be growing like this again, and I'm glad we have the challenges that come with growth.

But...last Sunday, we ran out of parking spots at the 11am service at the Powhatan Campus. As many as 15 cars had to be turned away and sent to the shuttle lot, and we know for a fact that some of them were first time guests. We're not positive that they actually went to the shuttle lot. They may have just gone home. Obviously, that's not what we're after.

Also at 11am, there were so many kids, we were very close to having to shut down some of the classrooms (turning away any additional kids). For example, there were 17 kids in the 3 year old room. There were 21 girls in the 4-6th grade small group. Wow!

What's the solution? Well, certainly we need more parking. We're working with a civil engineer and the county to amend our site plan and add about 80 more spaces, and Dennis Green spent a good bit of time on a Bobcat this week trying to improve the parking areas we already have.

But that's not the whole solution. New parking areas won't solve the floor space and classrooms sizes for our kids and seats in the big room. It's more complicated than just having more parking.

We really need some folks to shift from the 11am service to the 9am service.

We also need some folks who live to the east to consider going to the Westchester Campus. Now, I'm not trying to make anyone feel unwelcome. Please don't hear me that way. But we're all in this together and we're all going for the same goal: to reach people. And we can't reach them if they can't find a place to park or have a safe place for their kids to learn and have fun.

If you come to the 11am service, I'm asking if you would consider shifting to the 9am service or to the Westchester Campus.

What does this have to do with Donuts?

If you come at 9am, you will have a place to park on site (I'm assuming that we're not going to have 300 people shift services...if that happens, we'll still have some shuttling).


Anyone who comes to the 9am service will have fresh Krispy Kreme Donuts to eat, our treat!

Saturday evening, I will personally pick up more than One Thousand Hot Krispy Kreme Donuts (yes, I'm going to have one on the way home.) (OK...OK...I'll probably have more than one.)

Come Sunday at 9am. Get a fresh cup of coffee and a donut or two...and park on site!

See you then!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Notes from Today

These are notes and scripture from today's message, as promised:

4 Things that Every Christ Follower Should Practice

1) Be the Church
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I referenced John Ortberg, quoting his Easter, 2009, message to his church. You can see more about him at

2) Invest in the Kingdom
Matthew 6:33 first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness….
Matthew 6:20 (NIV) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…

3) Choose Relationship (instead of religion)

4) Pick a Side
Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Shirt on Your Back...

I'm sure you've heard the expression, "he'd give you the shirt off his back" as a way of illustrating that someone is particularly giving or generous. The shirt on your back is presumably the last thing you might own, and people who really want to serve others are apparently willing to give even that away.

Recently, I've had a number of encounters with the shirt on my back, not because I was giving it away, but just because I was wearing it.

I'm talking about my PCC shirt.

A few days ago, I was in a local store, buying something, and the cashier asked me if I went to that church, pointing to the logo on my shirt. "Yes, I do," I told her, with a smile. "Well, I've had several friends tell me about it and I was thinking about coming." "I think you should," I said. "You would like it." I never mentioned who I was. I never do. It's not about me. It's about her.

I got an email about a similar encounter from a friend recently. Here is a piece of that email:

"Today I went [to a local story] at Westchester Commons to pick up some things.

When the manager came out, she saw my PCC hat, she got excited and wanted to know if I went to the church next door. Not connecting immediately, (old age I guess), I told her no, my church was in Powhatan.

She explained that I was wearing the same logo on my hat. Then when I realized what she meant, I told her that we had 2 [locations] and one of them
was next door. Next thing I know, we were hugging like we were old friends!

She promised she is going to be going there and never heard of church in a theater.

She instantly recognized the logo. Way to go Beth and those that created this logo. It matters."

Wear your shirts, friends. They will spark conversations that you could never manufacture on your own. And the best part is that people will initiate them. All you have to do is wear the shirt on your back!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thoughts about PCC

Today was a GREAT day for PCC! It was truly a momentous occasion.
  • We officially became a multi-site church today, with the launch of our Westchester Campus! There were 128 people there today. The band is live and does the same music as the Powhatan Campus. The teaching is exactly the same, and on the screen. Don't knock it 'til you try it. You'd be surprised how personal and comfortable it is. Lots of folks I know have said they didn't think they'd like it, but found it to be as good or better than being in person.
  • The Powhatan Campus had an awesome Easter crowd. I had the chance to stand at the curb and greet people as they came in for the 11am service. It was sooooo cool! There were people everywhere. We ran out of seats and parking spaces (it's a challenge, but a nice one to have to overcome!).
  • We WILL fix the parking lots at the Powhatan Campus next week (before Sunday, April 18, weather permitting), so please bear with us on this shuttle and parking thing until then. I'll keep you posted. Thanks to everyone who took the shuttle today with a smile...and for the shuttle drivers!
  • I had a core PCC member tell me today, with tears in his eyes, how grateful he was for PCC 2.0. He said it was making a significant difference in his life. We really are living into a new day. We committed to moving out of 2009...and God was with us! Aren't you glad you stuck around to see the new thing He is doing in and through us?
  • There were scores of new people today at both campuses. Don't stop inviting your friends and coworkers and neighbors. It really does matter. God is at work. Lives are changing. We have a lot of don't stop what you are doing!
  • Thanks especially to those of you who have been faithfully giving to PCC. I know some of you are making huge sacrifices to give and tithe faithfully at our church. We are making good progress with our finances. Don't let up...we're in the building, launched Westchester, recovering from 3 lost snow Sundays this winter, about to go online every week, and our finances improve a little every Sunday. Thanks for helping us make that happen, and for the sacrifice you make for the mission of our church!
  • Finally, for those of you still searching for your place, now is a great time for you to begin serving. There are so many people coming and there are so many great things happening, we need someone of your particular set of giftedness, passion, skill, personality and experience. Several staff members, including me, would be glad to talk with you if you're ready to plug in!
See you next Sunday!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Trip to the zoo...and a lesson too

Yea, I know. The title is a little...Dr. Seuss'ish.

My kids are on spring break this week. I have two still in school, my boys. Mary Ashleigh is in college. Yesterday, Susan and I took the day and took them to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. Apparently, I wasn't the only one with that idea. Also apparent was that my kids weren't the only one's on spring break. I think there were about a billion people from Fredericksburg and north...give or take a few.

We drove to the southernmost Metro stop to 'avoid the traffic'. But traffic found us. It took about an hour to drive the last 20 miles. The parking garage at Franconia-Springfield is a massive complex - the biggest parking garage I've ever seen. It holds thousands and thousands of cars. We must have reviewed every square inch of concrete looking for a place to park. And we weren't alone. There were dozens of other cars driving around. All of us resembling bees swarming a freshly blooming azalea, hoping for an empty place to park.

Once we finally squeezed our Expedition into a space better suited for a motorcycle, we walked for a mile to get to the Metro station, studied the map, bought our tickets, waited at the terminal and finally boarded the train. 45 minutes and 13 stops later, we got off of the blue line at the Metro Center, switched to the red line, waited again and boarded again. This time there were only 3 stops before we got off, rode an escalator 300 feet back to the sunlight, and then walked another mile to get to the zoo, where the line for the bathroom was about 50 people long.

I found myself asking: Why would anyone do this? But as soon as I asked the question, I had the answer: Because there is no place like the Smithsonian National Zoo. The gorilla exhibit is phenomenal. The Panda bears (if you can spot them) are spectacular. The Cheetah was awesome. On and on I could go - but you get the picture. It's a one of a kind adventure. I sat in traffic, walked forever (my legs hurt a LOT today), and didn't get home until 10:30, but I'd do it again.

It reminded me of a trip I took to Northpoint Community Church in Georgia a couple of years ago. 11,000 people go there every Sunday. I parked a mile away. We were 10 minutes early, but had to sit in the very back row - the last of 5,000 seats available. And when it was time to go, I sat in my car for 30 minutes just to get out of the parking lot. But in spite of it all, crowds come and pack their way in every single Sunday. Why? Because there is no other church in Alpharetta, GA like Northpoint. It was worth it, and I'd do it again.

PCC is not better than the other churches around us...but we are unique. There is no other church in easy driving distance around us like we are. I know this sounds boastful, and I don't mean for it to. But God has given us a very particular atmosphere, granted us a particular skill with technology, and injected us with some particular talent in several areas of ministry.

Sure, we have a responsibility to do the best we can to expand our parking, traffic-flow our hallways and have more seating. But we also should step back and be thankful for these challenges. The crowds are coming. The traffic is rough, the parking is scarce and the seats are hard to find. People might have to leave home early so they can actually get into church on time. But when you ask them if they'd do it again, almost all of them will say, 'you bet'. Because PCC offers a unique experience, and we should be grateful we get to be a part of it.