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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thinking about some coming series...

I don't usually think much about anything beyond the coming Sunday. Seriously, I'm just not wired that way. I honestly wish I was.

But in order to be the best we can be - in order for us to rise to the level of excellence that truly is our very best - I have to do just that. I have to see more than one coming Sunday at a time. I'm not good at it, but I am learning.

And the truth is that I'm pretty excited about some coming series. I'm pumped about the one we're in right now, by the way. This coming Sunday, you are in for a real treat. My friend and fellow church planter, Tommy Adams, will be at PCC. Tommy planted Amelia Community Church. I promise you, you don't want to miss a chance to hear him. He is a killer speaker. He's going to blow you away!

The following week, on July 4, Dennis Green will be the teaching pastor. I'm also very excited about Dennis, who in an experienced and dynamic speaker. There is no doubt in my mind that Dennis will bring you a message to remember.

Beginning on July 11, we start a 4 week series that will be called something like "One". We thought we could help everyone by giving them something they could really achieve - a serious milestone - with relative ease. There are four books in the Bible that are just one chapter each - Philemon, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. We're going to talk about one each week, learning the practical teachings of the Bible, and we're going to encourage everyone to read all four books in four weeks - something that can be done in an hour, total. (By the way, I think we should all read the Bible for a few minutes every day, but some folks are intimidated by it, so this will really help them.)

In August, I am SOOO excited about doing something we've never done before. I am very good friends with 3 other church planter/pastors: Jeff Boggess from Atlee CC in Mechanicsville, Mark Jenkins from Mountain View CC in Culpeper, and Hank Brooks from Coastal CC in Va. Beach. Last summer, we started batting around the idea of rotating. Each of these guys is a great communicator, but we all have our own unique styles, too. I'm looking forward to being in each of their churches, but I'm also excited for you that each of them will be able to be on the stage at PCC. This will be healthy for us, a good exchange of ideas and styles, all the while maintaining an absolute commitment to God and the Bible. The series is called 'Get Real' and we'll talk about some very practical things that the Bible has to say about living our lives.

At the end of September, we begin to look at 6 ways that our lives are caged in - 6 areas where we need to break free and where the Bible has powerful words for us. This is our fall spiritual growth series - where all PCC small groups do the same study. We'll be using Mark Batterson's book, Wild Goose Chase, which is an incredible book.

When that's over, it's time for Christmas...

Feels like snow already!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mark Your Calendar

Here are some things you might be interested in attending or being a part of:

  • Dennis Green, our Executive Pastor and the Campus Pastor for the Westchester Campus, is being ordained on July 11. Ordination is a special time when the church honors a long-held tradition (see, we have some traditions!) and 'sets apart' someone for vocational ministry. In this service, we are effectively saying, "we see in you and affirm that God has called you into vocational ministry." As a church, we get a really special part in this service. The service is at 5pm. Come and join us for this special time in PCC's life and in Dennis Green's life.
  • The Leadership Summit is coming! Mark your calendars for August 5-6; do whatever it takes to attend PCC's premiere leadership and team building event for 2010! We'll be Atlee Community Church this year. Contact Lori Wheeler for details.
  • Building Help. There is a LOT going on with our building now, as we make a final push to finish it. If you have or can operate a tractor or are willing to help stain our Portico, or are willing to help do other things in our building, please contact Dennis Green at or 400-9820.
  • Looking for something to do on July 4? Check this out :
  • How about a picnic?! The Midlothian Small Group is sponsoring a picnic and you’re invited. You only have to bring a lawn chair and a side dish. PCC is providing hot dogs, lemonade and iced tea along with all the paper products we will need.
    When: June 27th from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m.
    Where: Huguenot Park - 10901 Robious Road – Chesterfield County
    We have reserved a great playground adjacent to the shelter. There will be a horse-shoe and volley ball competition. We may even get a softball game going – so bring your glove. A great opportunity to come, relax and get to know some folks at the same time. See you there!
There is so much more happening...keep an eye on the program and the monthly events sheet at each campus. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, the Website, get our weekly email, and follow several staff member blogs. Stay connected and get involved! If you'd like help getting the weekly emails or connecting with us in one of these forums, contact any of our staff members and we'll get you pointed in the right direction. You can find our staff on our website at Just click on any name on that page for an email prompt.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Scared of the Shower

On Sunday the 13th, I talked about sacrifice and I was sharing how I would stand in harms way for my family without hesitation.

But I ALSO said that I didn't do too well at home alone - especially at night - because all the noises freaked me out and I guess I'd watched too many horror flicks as a kid.

Anyway, Friday of last week I heard a report on NPR. They were marking the 50th anniversary of the movie Psycho. They talked to someone who had interviewed Janet Leigh, and she said she never took a shower again after making the movie! The interviewer was unconvinced, so she took him to her bathroom...there was no shower curtain! Just a tub.

They went on to say that Psycho changed the way America took a shower!

I feel so much better, now that I know I'm not alone.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thoughts on Vacations...

I faithfully take 2 weeks of vacation every year. Only once in the past ten years can I remember not taking 2 weeks...the year that PCC began. We were just too fragile, not enough systems in place for me to be gone. I took one week that year, not two.

Vacations are so important. They are an opportunity for us all to have fun, sure, and spend needed time with our families, no question. But there is more to them, for me. Vacations are reminders: I'm not nearly as important as my calendar would my busy life would lead me to believe. Vacations provide me an opportunity to learn anew that everyone is expendable - everyone.

That doesn't mean we're not important or that we don't make a significant contribution. Rather, it is to say that vacations help me to gain a healthy perspective. Ultimately, I'm God's vessel, here for a season to use whatever I have to do whatever He wants. But in the last analysis, God is the important one, I am not.

PCC has a personnel policy that the Steering Team approved a few years ago. Like most organizations, vacation time grows with tenure. We were generous with our vacation policy, to help compensate for other areas of compensation that were a little less so. That means that I get four weeks a year now, since I've been here for over 7 years. I don't know that I'll take them all, but it's nice to have them.

What I WILL do, though, is leave for a row. Haven't done that in well over a decade. In fact, I'm already gone. I wrote this on Saturday, and left yesterday, headed for a week at Hatteras followed by a week at Myrtle Beach, both weeks possible because of the generosity of some good friends, and because our staff is incredibly competent.

I've posted in advance some thoughts here - they'll show up over the next few days, but next week will probably get pretty quiet on my end. I'm disconnecting from work, refocusing on God, enjoying my kids and Susan, reading the Bible and a good fiction book...and I'm re-appreciating this truth: I'm really not all that important, but God wanted me anyway.

That's how He feels about you, too.

See you in 2 weeks,


Thoughts about Sunday...

Yesterday was a real win for PCC. It was also a win for me, personally. Let me walk you through my day...
  1. I was at our Westchester Campus at 6:30 to help them unload the trailer and set up. Normally, I drive a shuttle a the Powhatan Campus from 6:15 til 7 or 7:15, but Erik Edwards relieved me yesterday and I jumped on the chance to get the 'full Westchester experience'. Can I just say 'WOW!!!' Our WC operation is as complex as what we did at the high school, with 2 full trailers, sound, lighting, PCC Kids, coffee bar, portable signs and food for the volunteers who serve... Our folks at Westchester are working incredibly hard. But let me say a word about their attitude: Unifying. Our folks there are doing backbreaking work, week in and week out, and I never heard one single complaint. I even tried to get them to grip: "Wow...this is really hard work!" I would say. They didn't say, "Yea...and we need more people," or "man, this is getting old." or even "my back hurts." They simply replied, "It's worth it." Wow. The truth is that they could use some more hands. It matters...a lot. We're reaching people and changing lives there, too, like in Powhatan. You don't have to go to the WC campus for the service to come at 6:30 and help for 45 minutes or an hour. However...
  2. At 7:15, I left the movie theater and went to the hospital to pop in on a friend who is fighting for her life. Kathy and John were both sleeping (even my knock and opening of the door didn't wake them), so I decided to let them have their moment of peace and left them a note instead. My heart is heavy for what is happening in their lives...and it seems that they really need a miracle right now. I'm praying for them every day, and I hope you will join me in that.
  1. From there I went back to Westchester. The place was buzzing - people everywhere doing coffee and prepping the PCCKids check in table, checking sound and rehearsing music. I am soooo impressed. It took PCC YEARS to get to the level of quality that our Westchester folks have achieved in WEEKS. The service was OUTSTANDING. I am so impressed at how engaged the crowd is, how intimate the message is. If you came to Westchester in the first few weeks, but haven't been lately, you just don't know how much we have improved the quality of the video. You think the speaker is in the room with you. It is simply the BEST presentation of a remote speaker I've every seen. You shoudl check it might even like it more. And speaking of the message...
  2. Wasn't BETH BRAWLEY STODDARD AWESOME?!! Words just can't say how proud I am of blessed we are to have her at PCC, and how enriched my life is to have her as a partner in the Gospel and one of my closest friends. Her message was outstanding and she delivered it like a seasoned, experienced teaching pastor. She had all of the elements: she was passionate, engaged, funny, Biblically sound, practical. She left us with more work to do, more questions to answer, and more connection with God to gain through the reading of the text. (this is essential, in my opinion, to a good message. It never answers all of the questions, but simply leads us to a deeper connection with God). Behind the scenes, Beth also had some qualities that would be lesser known and hardly noticed. Anyone who teaches at PCC needs to be coachable. When I say that, I mean they need to be open to my instruction and teaching. Beth has that, without a doubt. We went through her message many times, talking through words, stories, Scripture choice, Bible application, laughter and humor, expression, pauses, standing and sitting...everything. It was as fun for me as actually doing the teaching, but that's as much because of Beth's response. She wants to be the best at everything, she recognizes my experience and my gifts, and she takes instruction and coaching with all the grace she exhibits in the other areas of her life. I could go on an on, but I just cannot say how proud I am of her. WAY TO GO, BETH!!
  3. After the WC service, I raced down to the Powhatan Campus. I wanted to see how long it would take - 17 minutes, but I didn't catch any lights. I got to the shuttle lot at 10:50 - the shuttle picked me up immediately - and was on campus at 10:52. I greeted people and played with some kids and talked to some friends before and after the 11am service, which was an intimate but fun crowd.
  4. I got to spend a very few minutes with my whole family at home for Father's day...
  5. Then we drove for 7 hours to Hatteras...for a week. I could say a LOT more about that, but if you've made it this far, you're ready to do something else. More on Hatteras later!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

You are invited to a VERY cool evening...

Join Beth, Lindsay and a bunch of folks from PCC on June 26 at 7:00pm at the Powhatan campus for our first Summer Saturday Night open mic night! Coffee-house setting, no pressure, just come share your talents!

Contact Lindsay Harris with questions and spread the word! (Lindsay is at, you can also follow her blog and you can find her on facebook!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

A few thoughts...

Some random thoughts...

1) On getting away with friends. We had a chance to slip away for a day with our good friends, Dennis and Brenda Green. Brenda had been given a gift of appreciation from her work - 2 nights at an historic Bed and Breakfast in downtown Baltimore. We went up there Thursday afternoon and got a room for one night. We had a GREAT time, a nice dinner at an Italian joint, sat out on the balcony - really cool. I got up early, sat in the courtyard, read my Bible, enjoyed the coming of a new day. It's so important to get away sometimes. Today, we went to the National Aquarium

2) On traffic. The worst place on the PLANET to drive is Northern Va, Baltimore, Washington DC. We were having such a great time, we didn't leave until 3pm. After 2 & 1/2 hours, we were still only in Northern Virginia! Stop, drive 10mph for 10 seconds, stop again. Mile after mile after mile. Took almost 5 hours to get drive 180 miles. Those people are CRAZY!!! I don't know how ANYONE can live in that mess all the time. We don't know how good we've got it...I gripe when I have to wait more than one click at a stoplight. Today's experience really makes me appreciate where we live.

3) On vacations. I'm really looking forward to two weeks off. More on that in a coming post...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Key Leadership Event In Eight Weeks

You do NOT want to miss this. It is our premier leadership training event of the entire year. People use it as leadership training for their role at PCC, but the sessions also apply to the business world and just for personal growth. It's called The Leadership Summit, and some of THE most high capacity leaders in the world are there. Every year we hear amazing stories of personal spiritual growth and insight that bloom out of Summit experiences.

This year, we'll hear from Tony Dungy, Jack Welch, Jim Collins, T.D. Jakes, Andy Stanley, and Bill Hybels, just to name a few.

This year the Summit is August 5-6 at Atlee Community Church in Mechanicsville. Thursday and Friday sessions are from 10:00AM to 6:00PM. There are great opportunities for conversation and networking over lunch and at breaks. We ask all PCC Leaders who attend the event to also attend a dinner on Friday evening; we'll have good discussion about the future of our church and help connect the teachings we have heard with the reality of our leadership and church situations.

The two days are WELL WORTH the $95 cost for the event. I hope you can go with us...we normally have 50-80 leaders from PCC go. This year will be better than ever!

Save the date. Email to register.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thoughts about last Sunday...

At the beginning of most weddings I say this: "Days come and go, but this is a GREAT day for..." Well, most Sundays are really good. And good Sundays come and go...But last Sunday was a GREAT day for PCC. We baptized 34 people - each one proclaiming their faith in the reality that Jesus is Lord.

For me, this baptism was special on several front, but none more meaningful than in the baptism of my youngest, Joshua, who will be 9 in a few days. All three of my children have now been baptized as followers of Jesus Christ. I had the privilege of personally baptizing 2 of them.

Angie and Sammy Frame were such critical members of the baptism team...anchors who always play a huge part in putting it together. Angie and I have been baptizing people together now for a long, long time. It's an honor to partner with her. Sammy is such a great organizer and helps us all be prepared. Susan talked with a lot of kids and their parents. Chauncey maintained a good pace and did introductions, John, Jon and Mattias worked magic with the sound. Cathy, Lori and friends set up and organized the party, Wesley organized the cars, Tom and others took pictures... I could go on and on, but the point is that many, many people work to make the day special. I'm grateful for all of them.

Yet, the real honor is in knowing that God has been moving among us, changing lives, moving in hearts, repairing brokenness...and He is working through us. Sometimes, it just blows my mind that God would use us - as messed up as we all are (including me) to do something so incredible.

And there was a first on Sunday. Beth Brawley Stoddard did her first baptism - of her good friend Lindsay Harris. Lindsay and Lenny have become integral parts of PCC, especially at the Westchester campus. It was such a great moment to see Lindsay baptized, but also very special to see Beth do the baptizing.

And then there was one other new thing this year. We've always done a decent job of helping introduce people to Jesus Christ...but we've not done such a great job with following up. This year, Rachel Huff helped led in the formation of a new team with will do just that. They were there early, made some connections with the people being baptized, and will follow up in the coming weeks to help these folks keep their faith growing and strong.

Days come and go, but Sunday was a great day for PCC!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More thoughts from Sunday

Some notes from Sunday's message:

If you'd like to get the message from last Sunday, go to ttp://

If you'd like to see the video we used (Listen to your Lady), go to

There was a 5 step process I talked about in listening:

1. Change Your Shoes
2. Use Your Eyes
3. Reflect the Feelings
4. Rethink Your Position
5. Take Your Turn

Here are the scriptures I referenced:

James 1:19-20 (NIV) My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Proverbs 11:12 (NIV) A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.

Prov. 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

I also quoted Carl Rogers: “to be with another in this way, means that for the time being you lay aside your own views and values in order to enter anothers’ world without prejudice.

You might enjoy Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adopted Child!

One of my axiom's that I throw around a lot is "Words Matter". I'm a words person. My love language (see Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages) is Words of Affirmation. I like crafting words, shaping arguments and presentations, etc. I LOVE to write.

But I still find that words are imperfect...or at least I'm imperfect at communicating with them.

So, a few weeks ago, I said, from the stage, that Susan and I were adopting a child from Moldova, and I went on to say that I'd be sending money every month, etc. What I meant to imply was that we were sponsoring a child by sending money every month through CERI.

But since then, people keep asking my wife, Susan, when our adopted child will be arriving!

So, Words Matter...if I can use the correctly! :-)

We are not adopting a child, we are sponsoring one! Sorry for the confusion.

(but the whole thing has brought us many laughs!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Marriage Retreat?

Susan and I used to lead a marriage enrichment retreat every year, but haven't done one in a couple of years now. Several people asked me yesterday if we would do another one.

In order to put it together, I need to gauge the interest. So, please let me know if this is something you are likely to do. You can email me or send me a FB message, or comment on the blog, that would be great.


When: Sometime Late October to Mid November
Days: It would begin on Friday at dinner time and end Saturday afternoon
Where: We would go away somewhere within 90 minutes or so of Powhatan, but it would be an overnight (Friday) thing.
Cost: Something very close to $200 per couple. This would include dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday, snacks, a book and other materials, the retreat, and your room.

Let me know.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Unbelievable Opportunity!

An UNBELIEVABLE opportunity: I got this email today from a pastor friend at another church:

"We’ve got 2 free airline tickets available for a mission trip to South Africa (each worth $2,175). We’re stuck paying for the tickets, but hate to see them go to waste. The team leaves June 23 and returns July 7 (yes, in 2 1\2 weeks). Also, each person would be required to pay in-country costs of around $1,000 – but the airfare would be free. $1,000 for a mission trip to Africa is an amazing opportunity, thus the reason for this email. I’m wondering if there’s someone in your congregation or staff who would be interested. In fact, we’re praying God will bring this info to just the right people in His timing. Today is June 5th – our deadline for changing the names on the tickets is June 16th."

Is God nudging you about this? Let me know if you are interested!

Brian C. Hughes

Only If...

We're kicking off a new series on this week, and focusing on RELATIONSHIPS. Whether you're single, married, a son, daughter, parent or friend, employer, employee, or the family across the street, you'll find something pertinent to YOUR life.

God intended for us to do life in communities and to relate to each other in all kinds of ways. It's clear that we weren't meant to live alone. Even the most introverted among us needs to have some 'people' interaction.

It's pretty cool to discover what the Bible has to say about how this. We can all have relationships that ROCK if we'll follow the Bible's teachings!

This is a great week to invite a friend to PCC. This week, I'm talking about one of my FAVORITE topics. AND, the service has a great twist at the end. Don't miss it!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Hole In Our Gospel

I've been reading Rich Stearn's book The Hole In Our Gospel. Rich is the president of World Vision.

It's one of the most moving books I've ever read, and it is THE best case I've ever heard for how we can end poverty around the world. Rich's argument is compelling, Biblically based, and practical. I don't know how anyone could read this book and not be moved to do more and live differently. It begins powerfully, there is a little lull in the first half, but push through it and you'll be glad you did.

There is a shelf in my office for books that I would grab if the building were burning down. They are books that I want to read again and again, that form the foundation of my leadership, our church, and of how I want to live my life. This book will go on that shelf. I commend it to your reading.

You can get it by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Small Groups

I have often said that small groups are where real church happens. You don't have enough time on Sunday mornings to really get to know people. There is always a lot of energy, fun, coffee, greetings, maybe one or two conversation that goes beyond the weather.

But in small groups, you get to really know folks, and they get to know you. It's a little scary at first, but it's worth it. I've seen people grow more because of the small group connection than from any other source. In Small Group, you can talk through the application of Sunday's teaching, hold each other accountable for some changes you want to make in your lives, and know God more deeply. Because of my small group experiences and the friendships I've made there, I'm a better husband and a better Dad.

It's not too late. Sign up for a summer small group today!