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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Working a Split Shift

In the summer, I work a lot of 'split shifts'. You probably know what that is - I think a good bit of medical professionals (and some others) are familiar with the concept. But I'd love to reduce the mystery that surrounds what pastors do all day. And many pastors, because of the necessity of normal ministry and care, work unusual and unpredictable hours.

This is amplified in the summer, when kids are out of school and vacations are planned.

For me, I tend to be most productive in the morning. I love getting up early and reading, studying, writing and being creative before the rest of the world awakens. I get a lot done before 10am. But then my productivity wanes. Because my kids are home all day during the summer (well, the 2 younger ones, anyway), I can take the middle part of the day, when I'm not productive anyway, and play. Then I can return to work in the late afternoon/early evening when I get my creative second wind.

Today was one of those days. I got a lot done early, spent the afternoon at the river with my family and some of our good friends, and was home at 4:30 energized and back at being productive again.

It was a good day, balanced, where I can look back and know that I did it right. I wish I did it this well every day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Finished Book 1: QBQ

I had gotten this book at the conference I attended in Tennessee a couple of weeks ago (see my post at It looked intriguing, had an unusual title and it came from an organization I highly respected - they GAVE it to me, so I figured it would be helpful to read it. Plus it was very small - a quick read.

QBQ (which stand for the Question behind the Question) is a book all about personal accountability. It forces you to take a hard look at yourself - your behaviors, attitudes and thoughts - so that you ask questions that will prompt solutions, not endless complaining and fingerpointing. It's basic premise rests on a 3 legged stool:

1) Your questions should start with What or How, not who or when. Instead of asking 'who's fault is it that this wasn't completed' or 'when am I going to get the budget I need', the QBQ would ask 'What can I do to help resolve this' or 'How can I be a part of the solution'.

2) Your question should always contain an 'I'. How can I help. What can I do.

3) Finally, your questions should always contain an action. Words like do, solve, help, tackle, overcome, contribute, make the team better, make it happen, achieve the goal, accomplish, etc. are all a part of the QBQ.

There is no single QBQ. There are lots of examples of them, though, that John Miller poses in a helpful chapter near the end.

I found the book a helpful reminder of my personal responsibility for my own life, my leadership, and my circle of influence. It was a little choppy, not particularly well written and lacked some continuity. It WAS helpful, but if it had been much longer, would probably not have been worth the the read.

As it was, with only 2-3 hours of reading time, it was a worthwhile investment, especially since it was free.

Guess that wasn't a rousing endorsement, huh?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The MOST EXCELLENT Mobile Church I've EVER seen!

I am really digging into some studying now...after a few days of playing. I've almost finished reading the first of four books on my reading list (will finish that book later today), and have written a good bit about the formation of a teaching team that may be helpful for leaders outside of PCC and folks inside who just want to know more about it.

But I wanted to tell you about the church I visited today. One of the things I like to do on my study break is something I never get to do in the normal course of things - visit other churches! This has become an annual ritual for me and - though I love our church and think it's awesome - visiting other churches helps me see some things we could do differently (and better) and helps keep me fresh because of inspiring messages and creative elements that make me think differently (and better).

My wife, Susan, had found a church in Fredericksburg that intrigued me, so I decided to go up there and take a look. I was completely blown away. You can imagine that in a decade of studying innovative churches, I've visited a LOT of them. They vary in quality from A to Z. But this one takes the cake, by far, hands down. It was awesome. The church? Lifepoint Church in Spotsylvania. You can check out their website by clicking here or going to

Now, perhaps it was an atypical experience. They had a guest band in that apparently makes regular appearances at Lifepoint - The Andy Cherry Band - and they were outstanding. The technology and the artistic talent was top notch. Plus, the Senior Pastor was out on break (go figure). They had a message from Steven Furtick from Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. the audio/video quality was excellent and after a few seconds, I felt like he was in the room with us.

Other notable parts of my experience include:
  • Lifepoint had a 'family worship' area, with chairs and black curtains and a monitor where families who didn't want to take their kids to the children's area could participate without disturbing others in the big room.
  • The music was LOUD - but not painful at all. (WAY louder than PCC). About 500 people were in the service I attended and were really into the music and seemed to enjoy it. It was edgy and very cool. Nobody had their fingers in their ears. I thought it was excellent.
  • They meet in a High School auditorium, but they use 8' or 9' black curtains (which they set up and take down every Sunday) to make the room feel 'full'. It really worked, too. The mood was electrifying and the energy was palpable. They really understood the concept of critical mass.
  • People were friendly, signage and literature were excellent, parking folks helped guide you in and waved goodbye as you left.
There were only a couple of things I think they could have done a little better. They were mostly minor, and you can find those in any church anywhere (PCC has several, too). For the most part, this church understood excellence without extravagance. They honored the folks who came to church.

So, I had an extremely formative experience at Lifepoint church today. I suspect you'll hear lots of things about them as they grow (and I suspect they will grow rapidly). If you are ever up that way and can check it out, let me know how your experience was!

Introducing the Teaching Team

For at least two years, I've felt strongly that it was time for the formation of a 'teaching team' at PCC. Others have 'stood in' for me in my absence, but what we needed was something more systemic. I have been studying this concept for a long time, slowly building the mechanisms and trying to gauge the winds of the Spirit in terms of people and timing.

Rationale for a Teaching Team
Almost every Senior Pastor holds the responsibility of the 'platform', whatever they call it (pulpit, stage, etc.). Every pastor I know treats this honor like it is the greatest of privileges - because it is!

Some people think that teaching pastors keep a tight reign on the platform because of his ego, and I supposed there are a few who think they are God's only gifted communicator. Mostly, though, teaching pastors feel that a great trust has been given to them. Think about it: every week, scores, hundreds, even thousands of people come to a given local church. They come to encounter God through worship, to ask their spiritual questions, and, yes, many of them come to hear the teaching pastor communicate spiritual truth. Most innovative churches wouldn't have strong attendance or healthy growth without a good communicator (a lot could be said to define what it means to be a 'good communicator', but that's for another conversation).

All of that is to say that the person who holds the teaching platform does so 'in trust'. We don't just let anyone speak. We want to be sure of a few things:

1) The person speaking will do their work. Most of us do not speak extemporaneously. We don't just wing it. We prepare. We study. We write. We ball up the bad stuff, toss it in the can and start over, we work and re-work and re-work again. We come prepared. And we want to know that the person standing in for us will also come prepared.

2) The person speaking will look to God. After all, we are trying to be a conduit of sorts. We want to know that the person speaking in our stead will seek out God's voice, hear his words, and relay them accurately.

3) The person speaking will not make a mess. This is what I call the 'lowest common denominator'. Above all else, no matter what, the primary communicator does not want to come back from a break or vacation to find that the guest speaker ran people off, sparked a needless controversy or made a mess that has to be cleaned up. In fact, this is one of the main reasons that teaching pastors are so protective of the platform - the horror stories abound. The main issue here is TRUST. Once a group of people have come to know me and trust me, I can say things that others cannot say. I used to think it was the other way around - that you brought in guest speakers to say what you cannot say. I've come to realize that this is backward thinking that is dysfunctional and somewhat cowardly. Our core value of authenticity would dictate that the better you know me, the more I have the trust foundation and, indeed, the responsibility to speak the haredest truths, not run from them.

Selecting a Teaching Team
There are many people who are or could be good public speakers. Others are well versed in the Bible. Others still have a history that would help them connect with a certain segment of the folks who come. But what I was looking for were people who contained within them a certain set of characteristics:

1) Are they coachable? It didn't matter to me if they were Rob Bell or Billy Graham. If they weren't coachable, then it's not workable. Their spirit has to have a willingness and excitement about learning from me.

2) Do they have an indication of giftedness? Most people can learn the mechanics, but for a teaching team, you need folks who have gifts in communicating with people. They don't have to be fully developed gifts, but they have to be there.

3) Do they 'get' PCC? There are many people who fit 1 & 2 above who don't really understand what we are trying to do at PCC.

4) Are they willing and available? I brought this team in for weeks before they started speaking. They prepared a mock message for me, based on a scripture I gave them (and it was a VERY hard scripture). They had to come and 'deliver' that message in front of the other 5 members on the team and get critiqued by all of us. We had training times when we watched other great communicators, heard teachings about preaching. I had them read material. And, for the past few weeks, they've been gathering every week (some with me and some without me) and delivering the following week's message to each other, and then assessing, making suggestions, and coaching each other. All of this takes a LOT of time an energy. I needed people who would make the commitment and could keep it.

The Teaching Team at PCC

I will continue to be the primary teaching pastor. That is my calling and I believe that's where I'm supposed to be. But there are five others on the team:

Beth Stoddard
Sammy Frame
John Tiller
John Ivins
Dennis Green
(pictures are in that order)

You will notice that the last Sunday in this series (July 31), Angie Frame will give us a GREAT message, too. Very occasionally, someone not on this team will teach instead of me. But mostly, when I'm absent or not on the stage, it will be on one of these five.

Pastors, I hope you will begin to develop a teaching team. Getting away would not be possible for me if I didn't have these great folks working with me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A VERY Exciting New Thing at PCC...

For those of you who can make it, who love PCC and want to help make a real difference, I just can't tell you how excited I am about something very innovative and very exciting that's coming this fall. It's so significant that we actually have to begin preparing right now.

If you are able to make it, we will spend 90 minutes together next Tuesday, June 28, at the PCC Powhatan Campus. 6:30-8pm is the time. Anyone is welcome to come, so spread the word.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why I take a Study Break

I need your help. Every summer, I take a study break in addition to a vacation. I've done this in different ways. Sometimes I break it up. Some years I've gone away. Some years it's only two weeks. But early every year (like in January), I try to get a sense of my own pace, fatigue, spiritual and emotional health, and the condition of my family. Based on these things, I plan my summer and, specifically, my study break.

Most people don't really understand why I take a study break. It's ok. I don't really understand what most people do in their jobs. Likewise, most don't understand what I do in mine. But I am quite sure of this: being the senior leader in a church like ours, coupled with being the primary teaching pastor leads to a very high burnout rate among my peers. Let me explain a little more...

I LOVE being the Senior Pastor of PCC!! But in addition to being the most fun job I've ever done, it is also the most challenging and taxing. I have found that the combination of trying to be an intuitive, strategic leader AND a creative, excellent and effective communicator every weekend is somewhat unique. At moments like the one I'm in right now, I feel pretty good, but also like I'm slowly draining. I'm older now, and I can see the pattern of my life better and in a more mature way. I know I have to have some extended time working from a different altitude, thinking about our church from a birdseye view, and seeing PCC from a very big-picture perspective. I also desperately need to dig deep into some Bible study that doesn't require me to write a message out of it. And then there are some projects that I can't seem to get done, such as:

- I'd very much like to do a video curriculum for new believers that can be shared online or through DVD's. This would be 8-12 sessions that would cover the basic practices of a good spiritual life. What does it mean to pray or have a prayer life? Bible Study? Giving/Tithing? Small Group life (Community)? The symbolism and significance of Communion (the Lord's Supper) and Baptism. What is worship and how do we do it? I could easily spend 80 hours or more developing this, and I'm not even sure I'll get it all done on this break, but I'm going to try.

- Series planning. Beth and I (and some others) did a good job earlier this year of planning our services out into the summer, but we're not planned out beyond July. I have got to spend some time finding a fall series that's as good as Wild Goose Chase was (no small task), and plan us through the end of the year.

- Restructuring. A church like ours should restructure our staff every 18-36 months. We're not the same church we were 2 years ago. We'll need to have a staff that's ready for 2,000 people in 5 services in 3 physical campuses plus an online campus.

- Coaching Network. I'm committed to organizing a coaching network for Senior Pastors who want to take their leadership to the next level. I have a website and am just about ready to launch this for the fall. This is Kingdom-minded work, and I'm really excited about it.

- Read 4 books: QBQ by John Miller, The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and Innovative Planning - your church in 4D by Bud Wrenn

- Other things include incorporation for PCC, some work for our teaching team, learn how to use Evernote, prep for a staff retreat and for my leadership summit presentation, prep for a VERY exciting church-wide study that begins in mid-October, catch up on some leadership blogs (Michael Hyatt and Tony Morgan particularly), and finish moving all my files to the cloud, just to name a few.

In addition to all of this, I'm going to dive deeply into a study on the book of Hebrews and will blog a lot about my journey through it.

AND, finally, I'm hoping to rest some. Recenter. Take some long walks and hear God speak. Pray for long periods about our church, our people, our staff, our leaders, and our future.

As I think about all of this and look back on the agenda I just created for you, it occurs to me that I've already bitten off more than I can chew. I'm going to have to whittle this thing down, and I haven't even started my study break yet!

What I'm hoping that you see is that study break is still working. It's not vacation. But it's working in a different way. This year, I'm mostly going to be gone. God blessed me with access to a few places that folks have generously lent me or rented to me at a very low cost. I've got some fun planned and some family time, in addition to the work.

When I go away, I always get a little pushback about the teaching platform at PCC. I'll have more to say about that in a blog post this week, but for now, let me simply say that you will not be disappointed this year. In fact, I think you are about to be blessed!

Thank you for supporting me while I take a breath. You can help me by being positive with folks who don't understand. This is important, and being away for a short while will make me better in the long run. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And I can make it for the long haul if I get a little break like this once a year.

Thanks again,


Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Seminar in Tennessee

I wanted to tell you about what I'm doing in Tennessee. A little background first, though.

For almost twelve years, I've been a hawk about removing empty rituals from the church. I know this offends some folks, and 'empty' is subjective (what is meaningless to some is profound to others). But I saw the church in many respects just 'going through the motions'. People were bored, which is one of the many reasons why they didn't come.

I wanted to do something about that, and we did. We asked very hard questions like, "Why do we do that?" and "Why do we do that every month, week, year, on the first Sunday, etc." Some of the answers made sense. Others, we discovered, were simply, "that's the way we've always done it". That's not good enough.

Its seems, though, that I've fallen into my own trap. From the beginning of my ministry, I adopted the standard, obligatory routine when it comes to money.
  1. The preacher does a 4 week series every year, mostly about giving.
  2. Attendance goes down because people avoid the subject like the plague.
  3. Giving goes up a little, so the leadership calls it a success.
  4. The church quietly celebrates that it's over, but already dreads next year's same-ol', same-ol'.
Why do we do that?!!

I'm not going to lay into a fiery sermon that will answer that question, but suffice it to say that our motives are pure. I believe that every Christ follower should give a tithe (10%). I believe that the tithe is Biblical and is the minimum, starting place for giving for the Christ follower. I believe that Christ followers who are not obedient and passionate here have a major issue in their spiritual lives. I have gone through this annual routine because I want to help people. I didn't know any other way.

But it clearly wasn't helping much. A few would take the plunge and start giving. A few would step up and give more, working towards a full tithe. Most avoided the subject. I used to think they were just telling God to keep His hands off of their money, but this week, I'm learning that there is a far more pervasive reason.

I'm just outside of Nashville. Beth Stoddard and I are attending an intense 3 day seminar with Dave Ramsey (yes, he was live with us yesterday)**. There are only about 100 church leaders here, from all over the country.

What I realized yesterday is that people want to help other people. Christ followers want to give to the church and other organizations. People want to be generous. But most folks are so incredibly strapped down in debt, payments and bills that they have no capacity. It hurts their lives in many respects - their marriages, their time with kids, their health and stress, and their spiritual lives.

Dave Ramsey is teaching us how to help our church - not to give, but to LIVE! If, using the 800 verses in the Bible that deal with this subject, can help people get out of debt, get on a budget, and live within their means, so many great things will happen because of it. I think that's the key. I'm convinced.

So, I guess you'll be hearing more about this :-)

Thanks for praying for us while we learn and try to hear from God on this important matter.

See you Saturday and Sunday!

**Our spouses traveled here with us (it was a 10-hour drive), but aren't going to the conference sessions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great Surprises and God Moments

We had a weekend to remember around PCC - a truly historic weekend. It was fascinating to see how God worked through our people and some very unusual circumstances. Just a quick overview.

We were gearing up for our Saturday evening service when a terrible storm came across our Powhatan location at about 5 o'clock. I was standing in the Atrium watching the swirling rain when all 4 doors blew open. They were literally sucked out! I was concerned about a tornado at that point. Cars started to pour into the parking lot because (we later learned) one of our huge oaks had fallen into the road, completely blocking route 60. Folks traveling down the road had nowhere to go except PCC. We had an opportunity to show them good hospitality and care. We invited them to come in, out of the storm, and have some coffee, comfort and conversation. I was so proud of our people, who just loved on these folks who weren't trying to come to church but were just looking for a safe place to land for a while.

Of course, with the power out, we couldn't have a normal service. We had no air conditioner, no lights, and we couldn't flush the toilets!

Sometime that evening, I called Dennis Green, who was on his way back to Richmond from northern Virginia. He had GRADUATED from seminary on Saturday.

I guess he thought I was calling to congratulate him, which I did, just before telling him we'd have no DVD for our Westchester campus and the he or Sammy would need to download the message, stay up all night so they could know it really well, and deliver it at WC the next morning! Dennis returned the bad-news favor by telling me that so much rain would make a literal mess of parking cars in the field at the baptism and we might have to shuttle 300-400 people from somewhere up the hill.

When we finally get power back at Powhatan, we learned the lightening had fried part of our lighting system in the big room.

Oh yea...and MORE storms were forecast to come at 4pm Sunday - the exact moment of our baptism!

The bad news was stacking up. But underneath it all was something...Divine. God was reminding us that the great things that happen aren't about how good we are, but about how GREAT HE IS! Our job is to follow, and this is one weekend where I think we did that well. Here's what happened...

Saturday evening, Beth and her team ditched our normal service and quickly developed Plan B - a completely unplugged the Atrium. No lights. Not mics. No hype. Just us, unfiltered, unprojected, unassisted by technology.

And it was very good! I said a few words - 5 minutes of something uninspiring, to be honest, and we thanked God for His power when we had none of our own. We prayed for the people about to be baptized and something mysterious and mighty happened. It's hard to explain, but it was a genuine moment for PCC. Some of our stranded traveler friends stayed and some said they loved our church, felt welcomed, and would come back.

Beth was on a roll with good ideas, too. Earlier in the week, Sammy Frame introduced to us the notion of being live one Sunday (just to do something different) at Westchester AND Powhatan, driving back and forth, instead of being on video at Westchester. (For the record, I thought was a very good idea for sometime down the road. I had no idea we'd be doing it a few days later. That's how God works!) I asked Beth for her opinion about the message for Westchester. We could take the camera and I could film it remotely, or a Campus Pastor could deliver it live while I remained in Powhatan (which is what I told Dennis we would do). She suggested that this was the moment to try Sammy's idea. We had to make a few small adjustments and plan for me being held up in traffic, but it was a great time to try the experiment - and it was so great to be at Westchester AND Powhatan in the same day!

Of course, people wanted to know about the baptism and the predicted storms. I told them we'd figure it out, but I wasn't sure what that meant. By 3:45, we were standing on the banks of the river, keenly aware that we were about to get hammered. Sammy checked the radar on his phone, there was a warning issued with 60 mph winds and hail expected. We sent everyone back to their cars to wait it out. 4:20 was our new target time, and with a little rumble still happening to the south of us, we began.

It was overwhelming, as person after person; family after family; changed life after changed life came into the water to tell the whole world that Jesus is Lord. Several people - like Anna Holland, Chauncey Starkey and Delores Moss - were performing that sacred act for the first time. Angie Frame was my partner when families were baptized, something I count as an honored part of our long ministry together.

I haven't actually gotten a final count, but it was around 80 people - by FAR the largest baptism we've ever done. In fact, it was more people than we've ever seen baptized in an entire year. And yesterday, PCC baptized the 500th person in less than 9 years.

Lots of people worked really hard to make the baptism happen. It would add pages to this post for me to name them all. So I'm only going to name one. Rachel Huff is the most skilled care team leader I can possibly imagine. She has a unique set of gifts, and I'm so thankful she's on our team. You made a real difference yesterday, Rachel, and I thank God for your commitment to the people of our church.

God is always Good. If church had been cancelled and the baptism had been delayed to another day, He would still be Good. But this weekend, He poured His favor on us...just heaped it until it was overflowing. And I am exceedingly grateful to be a part of what He is doing and to be on the unbelievably dedicated team that God has brought to PCC.

Friday, June 10, 2011


We've been working this week with a lot of people and a lot of logistics for the historic baptism we have coming up. Right now, 88 people are scheduled to be baptized, but it changes every hour or so. You will not want to miss this incredible day. Here are a few things you need to know, so please read this information:

1. If you would like to be baptized, there is still time. Please contact me or a member of our staff asap. I can be reached at

2. The baptism begins at 4pm on Sunday at the Cartersville Boat Landing in Cartersville, It's about 15 minutes from the Powhatan Campus.

3. We are expecting  a record crowd and a record number of cars. We will have a completely different traffic pattern than we have ever had before.  We will have signs and parking people in place to help accommodate the change.  We are asking all our volunteers and guests NOT to use the main entrance to the boat landing area.  Instead, we have a back entrance that will allow us to park more efficiently and effectively.  If you are coming down the hill toward the river, this back entrance is about 100 yards before you get to the main entrance on the same side of the road.  We will have signs and parking attendants to help direct and park you.  Once you park, you will have a fairly short walk to the landing area, however, if you want to ride, we will have our shuttle van coming by to scoop you up and deliver you right to the boat ramp. 

4. We are saving a few spaces up close for handicapped parking and those who may not be able to walk from the parking area to the landing.  Depending on the volunteers and the demand for close up parking, we may even have a Valet parking service available!

5. You may want to bring a chair. The baptism will last around 30-40 minutes (don't hold me to that...We've never baptized 88 people on the same day before!)

6. After a baptism, many people often stick around and swim (bring or wear your suit if you want to). You are welcome to do that (I will probably swim for a while with my kids, too). However, we are technically not supposed to swim right at the boat ramp, so we usually swim out into the river. It's not swift at this spot and the water is not deep, so it is relatively safe. Still, it's a river and you need to used your own judgment.  

Finally, let me ask you to pray for those people who are being baptized. This is a huge celebration for them, but it's also a serious moment. These people are 'going public' about their decision to follow Jesus Christ. Much is at stake, and it's important that we surround them with the Church. WE are the Church.
I'm looking forward to seeing you there!


Thursday, June 9, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading Seth Godin's book, Tribes. A short book, but packed with really great help for leaders who are passionate about doing something significant in our techno-savvy world. It was really helpful to see how the role of leadership is to help connect people who share a common cause or vision. It was a new way of thinking about leadership for me. A few notable quotes include:

"If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader."

"finally you begin to realize that the safest thing you can do feels risky and the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe."

"So great leaders don’t try to please everyone. Great leaders don’t water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger. Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever be."

"Settling is no fun. It’s a malignant habit, a slippery slope that takes you to mediocrity. Managers settle all the time. They don’t really have a choice because there are too many competing priorities. Heretics don’t settle. They’re not good at that. Managers who are stuck, who compromise to keep things quiet, who battle the bureaucracy every day—they’re the ones who settle. What else can they do? The art of leadership is understanding what you can’t compromise on."

(these are just a few, I had many!)

I recommend Tribes to anyone who is a leader or wants to be a leader.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A really Great Weekend

I tend to think that pretty much every weekend is good. God always shows up and great things always happen. But some weekends are exceptional, and while I occasionally can see a great weekend coming, normally it's a surprise when it happens. This past weekend was one of those. Let me share with you some of the great things that happened this weekend.

Saturday. When we launched our Saturday evening services, there was truly unbelievable attendance. was shocking. Now we've settled down to something more...predictable - around 100. What's great about that? A few things, actually. In the beginning, we had some 'missionaries'. These were solid PCC'ers who wanted to come on Saturday just to support what we were doing. I can't tell you how critical this was (and still is to some extent), and how grateful I am. But now many of these folks have said, "OK, I came for a while and now I'm going back to Sundays." That means that now we have a pretty good bead on how effective Saturday evenings are. Something like 80-100 adults (plus around 25 kids) are coming fairly regularly on Saturdays who would not or could not come on Sundays. That is incredible. If we can make it through the historically low month of July, we'll be home free.

Baptism. Off the top of my head, I think we baptized 63 people in our biggest year (both baptisms combined). Next Sunday, it looks like we'll baptize OVER 70 PEOPLE in ONE baptism!!! I met several folks yesterday who want to go public with their commitment to Jesus Christ next Sunday with their baptism. It's truly incredible what is happening.

101. We had a PCC 101 yesterday (part 1) and I got to meet a dozen or so people who love our church and what we do. These folks remind me that what we do matters and is effective. For the record, almost everyone in the room was someone who was not going to church when they came to PCC. Some had very little exposure to church at all. (I was also in that category as an adult, as we didn't really ever go to church when I was growing up). We are uniquely equipped and called to make a non-threatening environment for these folks, and the conversation in 101 today reinforced that in me again.

Transformational Moments. God really touched some people this weekend.

- One person told me that there was someone she had struggled to forgive for many years. That person, she said, was on the bottom of her 'list'. God used the message to help her see that she was in the same boat - neither got 100, both needed Jesus, and she finally forgave.

- Another told me that he had prayed today for the first time to accept God's grace through Jesus Christ and offer Him his life.

- One of our staff pastors had an opportunity to pray today with someone as they also committed their life to Jesus.

- I met two people today (independent and unconnected to each other) from European countries, both of whom raved about PCC and how there is nothing like what we do in their hometown across the Atlantic.

- A couple approached me last night to excitedly ask me for the scripture reference I quoted in the message. "Philippians 3:4-11," I said. Then I noticed the lady flipping through the Bible we had given to her a few minutes before. She began in Genesis and flipped, trying to find Philippians. I helped her get there, and she pulled out a highlighter and marked the scripture. It was obvious that God was really working in them both.

- Jim Mustian, our PCC Bookstore Manager, told me today that we have given out 1690 Bibles...before yesterday's services.

The bottom line is this: God is at work at our church, people's lives are changing, and it is a great privilege to be a part of it!

Don't miss the historic baptism next Sunday. See you there!