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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ever wonder what is happening in PCC Kids? I just wanted to share some exciting things that have been happening with our kids and their families:

* In June, 7 children were baptized in the James River. 12 more gave their lives to Christ and were baptized in our September baptism - WOW!

* A dad started coming to church because his kids were so excited about being at PCC on Sundays. He said he just had to 'check it out' to see what was so great. AND, since then, his parents have started coming with them too!

* A seven year old went home after hearing a Bible story about peace and proclaimed July 25 as "Brother's Day" in his household (there are all boys in his family).

* A preschooler visited PCC one Sunday, then woke up on Monday and asked his grandma if he could come back to church that day!

* When asked what the Bible verse of the month was, little 5 yr old Sam repeated the verse from this month, then proceeded to state LAST MONTH's verse word for word with the correct reference!

* A four year old went home one Sunday and started 'preaching' to his toys with his Bible in hand (even though he can't read it yet). He told them that God loves them and Jesus wants to be their friend! Could this be a future Brian in the making?!

God is doing some AMAZING things and more are yet to come! And we know that more children will be coming too. We know that by the fact that we have had 5-10 new children each week throughout the summer.

We would love to have you be a part of our growing team (either in Powhatan or at Westchester) and I'm asking you to pray about that opportunity. You can be a part of impacting these kids lives and making a difference in bringing them closer to Christ!

Thanks for praying about it! If you'd like more information, you can contact Susan at or call the office, 598-1174.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Study a Book?

Someone recently asked the question, "Why are we studying a book?" They went on to say that they felt we should not study a book, but should only look at the Bible. In the most respectful of ways, I want to address that question here.

First, I'm glad that folks are hawkish about ensuring that PCC remain founded on the Bible. I believe the Bible is God's special revelation to us and is our authority on matters of faith and the practice of faith. There is nothing wrong with someone wanting to be sure we have not moved away from the Bible.

Secondly, from its earliest beginnings, the church has relied on leaders and scholars to help interpret the Bible. I have on my shelf today classics from Thomas Aquinas, Thomas a' Kempis, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine, Irenaeus, and other early church leaders and thinkers. They help us put the Bible in a context closer to the original writings and see how God used scriptures in a different era.

Third, more contemporary thinkers help us apply the truths of Scripture to our setting today. We've applauded Rick Warren's interpretation of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in his book, "The Purpose Driven Life", which we studied in the fall of 2004. We championed John Ortberg's deeply introspective work, "God is Closer Than You Think" in the fall of 2007. And we worked really hard to understand what the Bible says about doing life together as we worked through "40 Days of Community" in the fall of 2006.

Every one of these books was a deep teaching on the Bible.

Wild Goose Chase is no exception. It is a study on the Holy Spirit, rooted firmly in scripture, which is throughout the book. This book is a study on what the Bible says about how to more fully live under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Nobody objects when a couple buys a book to help them better understand what the Bible says about marriage (like Eggerichs' "Love and Respect" - a very good study on Ephesians 5). We applaud parents who read Biblically based books about how to raise their kids. We run to get books that help us live closer to the Bible's intent as better men, women, teens, employees, etc.

In the same way, that is what we do every fall. It's a fresh way to look at the Bible...but we are still looking at the Bible. I've never spoken a message that was not firmly grounded in scripture, referred to scripture and taught scripture. Never. And that is still the case in this series.

We're helping people in this series. They'll follow the Holy Spirit more closely and better understand God's will AND they will know the Bible better than ever. We'll never go wrong like that!

Hope this clears up some of the confusion.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections on Sunday

Sunday was a fantastic day! We kicked off the Wild Goose Chase series AND we gathered again in the evening. Here are some highlights, from my perspective:

  • The stage was AWESOME! It's the best the big room has looked since we moved into the building. Debbie and others exerted TONS of energy and SCORES of hours putting all of that together, and it really paid off. Way to go!
  • The bands at both of our campuses really ROCKED!
  • Ron and Don were BACK!
  • We've sold like 250 books! (I'll do a post about Wild Goose Chase this week and why we are doing a book study).
  • The worship at our CORE meeting was fantastic, as was the Q & A.
  • Lindsay Harris did a GREAT job on the presentation of the Thematic Goal. Just when we think we've discovered all of her gifts...(and she can sing a little, too)
There is so much more that I could say, but I'm going to try to do a series of posts to answer some questions that are floating around, so keep your eye on this blog.

Great things are happening at PCC!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reading Schedule for Wild Goose Chase

I am sorry that I did not publish before now a reading schedule for Wild Goose Chase. People have bought hundreds of books, which is a humbling thought. There are obviously a lot of people who are going to follow along while we Chase the Goose. I should have made the reading guide clearer.

Here's how it will go:

We will do the 6 cages in order, beginning this coming Sunday (October 3). So, since most small groups are meeting this week, I would read the introduction chapters this week and have a 'get to know you' small group this week.

By next week's small group night, read about the first cage, and so forth. In this way, I'll 'introduce' the cage on Sundays while you are reading about it and then we'll all discuss the cage with the full information and having thought about it at our small groups.

I think we will get a maximum benefit of the Bible's teachings and God's interaction with us in this way.

Enjoy the Chase!

I hate being sick!

I could feel it coming on yesterday...a sore throat and the 'crud' that others in my family had been getting over. When I got up this morning, it was the full blown CRUD! I keep telling Susan that I'm sicker than she was :-) Makes me feel better.

The worst thing about this (I think it's strep) is that it just sucks the energy out of you. I worked about 1/2 a day, but mostly just laid here (I'm writing this from my bed), thinking of all the things I needed to do. I'd stand up, feel dizzy, lay back down and try again later. The Dr. said my throat looked...well...let me just summarize and say 'bad'. Got some heavy antibiotics and hope to feel better tomorrow.

I was scheduled to speak at a gathering of local leaders and absolutely hated to cancel. It was just speaking at a breakout session, and there were lots to choose from, but I take these things very seriously and felt horrible about it. Still, I wasn't sure I had the energy to walk to the car, much less stand for 2 hours.

Susan is taking good care of me, though I secretly wonder if she thinks I'm a big baby.

If only she really knew...I'm a LOT sicker than she was. :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Taking a Sabbath

I was really moved today as I begin my Sabbath. I'll tell you why in a minute.

Not long ago, I changed my day off to Friday, so that I could kind-of take 2 days in a row off, like normal people. Also like normal people, it doesn't exactly work like that. Most weeks (OK, pretty much every week) I work on one of those days. Last week, I worked Friday because I was gone Monday through Wednesday at a conference and there was simply too much to do.

But today, as I began my Sabbath, I wanted to read the thoughts of a few friends who think deeply, whom I trust, and who make me better. One of them is Beth Brawley Stoddard. If you have not read her post about Sabbath from earlier this week, I strongly encourage you to do that. It will move you, too. Click here and it will take you there. You can also go to

So, now I'm off to do some fishing with my good friend Jeff Boggess. Jeff is the Senior Pastor at Atlee Church in Mechanicsville and you might remember that he spoke at PCC in August. But today, Jeff and Brian are not working, we're not pastors, we're just friends...and we're just fishing.

Thank God for the Sabbath.

May we all learn to take one every week (me included), the way He intended. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Notes from yesterday with Scripture References

I promised to get you the scripture references from yesterday, along with some notes:
  • Jesus' call to 'follow me' comes from lots of places. I referred to some in Matthew: 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 19:21,16:24.
  • I referenced Nicodemus, who you can read about in John 3 & 7
  • I began by talking about Bill Hybels. Several folks asked about him, you can find out more by clicking here. You can get the 'from Here to There' presentation that he did on DVD (it costs $25) by clicking here.
  • Here are the 5 stages of maturity that I developed:
1) Life is about what I want.
2) Life is about what is happening around me.
3) Life is about what Jesus can do for me.
4) Life is about what I want to do for Jesus.
5) Life is about what Jesus wants to do through me.

The destination goal for our spiritual journey is #5.

Hope this helps.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today was a fantastic day for PCC. As I sit and reflect on this day, let me share with you some of what I experienced:

  • I had pancakes! The Macedonia mission team is raising money for their 2011 trip, and did a pancake fundraiser at the Powhatan Campus. I ate 2 before the first service...and 2 more before the 2nd one. Extra running tomorrow...but it was worth it!
  • We had great services at both campuses and all 3 services. I don't teach the kind of message I taught today very often. I really enjoyed the change and I think God did some amazing work in some lives today. The music was AWESOME and some budding new musicians got to use some of their clearly God-given gifts. It was a great day at both campuses!
  • We finished up 101 today. A big group of around 25, several people and families joined the church.
  • And, of course, whenever we do a baptism it's awesome. I didn't get the final count, but it was something like 40 people who were baptized today. As we were leaving the water, Beth said to me, "It never gets old, does it?!" I couldn't have said it better. (I did miss Angie in the water today. It's been a LONG time since I did a baptism without her...but she has a great excuse! :-) )
God is doing something phenomenal at PCC. Lives are being changed. People are being transformed. And we get to be a part of it all...Wow!

What we do matters.

Friday, September 17, 2010

3 Events You Don't Want to Miss

  • Lots of folks are asking lots of great questions about where PCC is headed. Whether you are a committed member of our church or someone who is still checking us out, I would strongly encourage you to come to the Powhatan Campus on Sunday, September 26, at 6pm. We'll have a great time of worship, share communion together, and we'll hear about where God is leading PCC. I'll also do some question and answer time. It will be a GREAT evening that you don't want to miss!
  • This Coming Sunday (Sept 19), we will have our September Baptism. 4pm at the James River at Cartersville. If you would like to be baptized, it's not too late to get on the list. Please call the church office at 598-1174 or contact me or Sammy Frame at This is an event that the entire church is encouraged to attend, and there is a sizable group that is going to be baptized. Come celebrate with us!
  • Finally, there are still 2 spots available for the Marriage Retreat. You can find more info by clicking HERE. But we need a commitment and a deposit asap if you want to go.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Rallying Cry at PCC!

Several weeks ago (August 8 - 11) the entire PCC staff spent an exhausting 4 days and 3 nights on retreat. PCC's staff retreats provide a concentrated time for team building, renewal, and strategic planning. As people highly invested in our church, our staff believes it's important that you be kept "in the loop" and "up to speed" on the future direction and current decision-making at PCC.

This year's staff retreat proved extremely productive in two very important ways. First, our staff engaged in several extremely healthy and helpful conversations that raised our sense of team, commitment, and unity. As a consequence of these focused efforts our staff left the retreat with renewed spirits and commitments. A part of those commitments included a new way of dialoguing as a team. Our staff covenanted together to clarify expectations and establish guidelines for more effective team engagement and decision-making. You can find the contents of that covenant attached to this e-mail.

Second, our team wrestled with a concept known as a "thematic goal". Coined by business, management, and organizational consultant, Patrick Lencioni (see his book Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars), a thematic goal is simply the "rallying cry" of an organizational (particularly its leadership) for a specified period of time. More carefully, Lencioni defines a thematic goal as "a single, qualitative focus that is shared by the entire leadership team - and ultimately, by the entire organization - that applies for only a specified time period" (Lencioni, p 178). It is the overriding theme of the organization that basically answers the question, "If our organization needs to accomplish one thing in the next X number of months, then what must it accomplish?" The thematic goal is the one thing that the organization must accomplish. It is shared by everyone, regardless of expertise, interest, or job description. It is time-bound (Lencioni recommends anywhere from 3 to 12 months).

The thematic goal, in turn, is clarified by "defining objectives". Lencioni defines defining objectivesas "the components or building blocks that serve to clarify exactly what is meant by the thematic goal". Lencioni recommends 4 to 6 defining objectives for a thematic goal.

The PCC Staff is pleased to share with you our thematic goal and its corresponding defining objectives:

Thematic Goal:
Prepare PCC for an average worship attendance of 1500 people in January 2011.

Defining Objective 1: Address interim financial questions
Staff Members Leading Here: Chauncey Starkey, John Starkey

Defining Objective 2: Prepare building by addressing critical building issues
Staff Members Leading Here: Dennis Green, Sammy Frame, Lori Wheeler

Defining Objective 3: Re-evaluate services, scheduling, and programming
Staff Members Leading Here: John Starkey, Angie Frame, Beth Brawley

Defining Objective 4: Prepare for leadership development and 'mid-level managers'
Staff Members Leading Here: Beth Brawley, Anna Holland, Susan Hughes, Chauncey Starkey

Defining Objective 5: Establish a clear connection pathway
Staff Members Leading here: Susan Hughes, Sammy Frame, Anna Holland

Now, as you might imagine, each defining objective suggests a long list of actions and tasks that must be performed to successfully accomplish our thematic goal. Our staff has brainstormed tirelessly and is currently working on prioritizing and strategically executing those tasks and actions to most effectively reach our goal.

If you have questions or want to help, please contact a member of the staff. You can find more information about the PCC staff by clicking here.

This goal is not about reaching 1500 in attendance. I think God is already doing that. This goal is about being ready for what He is doing...And that is VERY exciting!

(to see more about what happened on the PCC Staff Retreat, click here.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Awesome New Song

Andrew Peterson wrote a new song that really hits home for me. It's about a couple that gets married at a really young age, odds stacked against them, but they make a promise and they keep that promise. They get older, until they are much older. And now, on the other end of the journey, they move forward, Dancing in the Minefields.

This has to be one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. Thanks to Beth Brawley Stoddard for getting this to me. As it hits pretty close to home, Susan and I watched it together, a few tears falling along the way. Grab a tissue and click on this:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Special Invitation

You Are Invited!

Saturday October 2ND at 2:00 pm

Join Bob and Jeanne Pino as they renew their marriage vows, celebrating 10 years of joy together!

Here's a statement from the Pino's about this event:
"As we gather together we will give God glory, honor and praise for all He has done and all He continues to do for us.

We are in the fight of our lives as we battle brain, lung and kidney cancer, and we feel the best way to do that is to gather family and friends, renew our vows before God, and openly declare that, “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord. The enemy will be defeated!

Please dress casual, bring no gifts except your joyful praises to the Lord, and bless us with your presence."

RSVP to Bob and Jeannie at by 9/18/10