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

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Monday, May 21, 2012

The LITL Secret

Yesterday at PCC, we got to see four key elements that are key components of effectively sharing your faith.  They spell LITL: Location, Investment, Time and Lifestyle.  I won't rehash what I said - you can listen to the message by clicking here or watch the entire service by clicking here.

Today, I wanted to expand on a couple of things I didn't have time to fully explore.

Time.  The primary illustration I used yesterday was about James Nyangas, who digs wells for poverty stricken villages in Africa.  Putting your time into that kind of work really will give you a chance to share your faith in dramatic ways.  But you don't have to wait to go halfway around the world to invest time.

How does this practically work in every day life?  I'm glad you asked!

  • You pass Bob in the hallway at work.  You know he's going through a hard time at home, mid-way through a bad divorce, and he's been struggling.  You have a full plate and a growing to-do list.  As you pass each other in the hallway, will you give Bob your precious time by asking, "How are you really doing?" knowing that he will take half an hour or more to tell you the same things he's already told you?  Deep down, you know that he really needs to talk a lot through this season in order to process what's happening with him and his life.  He needs a friend who's willing to listen patiently.  This is a moment that begs for your time investment.
  • You are really good with kids, and you know they need help with coaches in the rec league.  Your own kids are no longer in that age group, but you also know that you have a chance to be a significant influence on parents and kids, and you suspect that will also open doors to share your faith.  This is a moment that begs for your time investment.
  • You've heard about teenagers coming to PCC who come on their own, without a parent.  You've heard Angie talk about needing adults to invest some time into the lives of some teenagers, but you also know you have lots of other things you want to do.  This is a moment that begs for your time investment.
  • So far, you've resisted all asks for you to open your home and host a small group.  While your neighbors have resisted your invitations to come to church, you have had several spiritual conversations with them and you suspect that they'd come to your home for burgers and a little spiritual conversation around a Small Group Bible study.  Still, you hate the thought of having to clean your house every week so folks can come over.  This is a moment that begs for your time investment.
There is an endless list of ways you can invest your TIME into people.  And if you are intentional about this, you WILL have chances to share your faith.  I am fully aware that none of us can say yes to every opportunity.  Yes, we should be selective.  But we cannot neglect to be faithful with giving time.  There is no other way to effectively share our faith.  

Invest your time in other people!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How and What To Share

Today, I talked about sharing your personal story of life change.  We used the text from John 9 about the blind man who couldn't answer all of the questions, but could bear witness to his experience, "I don't know a lotof things about Jesus, but I do know this: I was blind, but now I see."

Here is a brief outline of how you might learn to tell your story:

1. What my life was like before I met Jesus Christ?  You might talk about your circumstances, attitudes or things that were important to you.  Was there a 'substitute' for God in your life, like work, success, sex, money, drugs/alcohol, status or leisure?

2.  How I realized I needed Christ?  What were the markers or steps that led to your decision to follow Jesus? What was the defining thing (hurt, struggle, pain, problems, etc.) that was the impetus to your coming or being open to Him?

3.  How I committed my life to Christ?  What, specifically did you do to step across the line of faith?  What was the gist of the prayer you prayed (what did you say to God)?

4.  The difference it has made in my life.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  What benefits have you experienced or felt.  What problems have been resolved?  How has Jesus changed your life?**

I would highly recommend that you do the following:

1) Write out your story and learn to tell it.  Use the matrix above to help.

2) Choose one or 2 defining scriptures.  But whatever you do, don't just spit memorized Bible verses at people.  I'm talking about a text that moved you to your core when you needed God most.  For me, Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20 were it.  They teach that God can use ANYTHING in my life to bring good - even my horrible mistakes and terrible sin.  I know those texts and have them always in the front of my mind.

3) Practice telling your story to others in your small group.

4) Keep your eyes and ears open!  God wants to use your story - no matter what it is - to change the world!

**I borrowed and adapted this from Saddleback Community Church

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I REALLY need YOUR help...

Right now, I'm traveling back to Powhatan after spending 2 days with some of our staff and leaders at The Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon. Highlands is an incredible model for PCC - a little farther down the road in terms of age, size and number of campuses, but not so far as to be out of reach for us. I could say a LOT about what we learned, but one key thing was this:

Their facilities were comfortable, well thought out, and COMPLETE. 

Most of our team were keenly aware of how much more comfortable, inviting and relaxing it felt to be in a finished facility. To date, though, even after being in it for over two years, PCC's building remains incomplete.

I decided that I needed to do all I could to finally finish it, and I'm asking you to join me! 

I'm giving back a week of my time off this summer and dedicating it to PCC for this project. If you can come and help for ANY time - a lot or a little - we can finally finish our building! Would you consider it? Maybe you would be willing to come in the evenings or on Saturday. Perhaps some folks will even take some vacations days from work to help. Whatever you are willing to give, it would make a difference! There is a LOT to do, but together, we can do it!

During these five days, we are going to install a MAJOR Landscape all across the front of the building - it has already been designed, the plants donated, and they've been ordered! We'll be finishing the cove base (trim along the floor). We'll be painting, finishing the doors throughout the building, and hanging fixtures we own, but haven't yet installed. We'll be doing wood trim (for those with those skills), landscaping, and a million different little touches that just need to be completed. I'm hoping a lot of people will help me get this done! We CAN finish!

No skill is required. But we do need some folks with specific skills (see list below).

Dates: Saturday, June 9. Monday through Thursday, June 11, 12, 13, 14.

Kinds of work to do: Painting, cove base, wood trim, landscaping, cleanup, hardscape project, parking lot work (tractor work), light construction, plumbing, small concrete project, grouting, fertilizing, planting plants, mulching, painting, painting, painting! The link to sign up for some helping is here.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. I've been very encouraged by some 1-on-1 conversations with people who seem excited to help. Looking forward to seeing you there!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why the SHARE series is so important!

My claim is that the SHARE series we kicked of today is among the most important conversations we've ever had as a church.  I know there must be folks who are thinking, "This is definitely not for me!"  But hear me out.  (to see today's service, click here)

If you are a follower of Jesus, and if Jesus is who he says he is, than you don't have an option to ignore the subject.  By definition of being a follower, we decided that we would do whatever God tells us to do.  Being a light to the world and the salt of the earth is not a decision to be made.  Rather, it is part of the very DNA of every person who follows Jesus.

But we can do it in a way that is not threatening or aggressive or invasive.  Allowing Jesus to work through you to help change someone else's life is the single most amazing thing I've experienced, and I know many others who would echo the same sentiment.

Frequently, someone comes to me and asks advice about caring for someone in crisis or about sharing their faith journey.  One of my favorite things to tell people is, "You are a good pastor."  It always surprises them.  People don't usually think of themselves that way, but when you are the one who another is looking to for  spiritual advice, counsel or care, you ARE being a pastor to them.  They came to you because they knew you cared about them or because they recognized God's work in your life.

Don't miss the chance.  God wants to use YOU to dramatically change someone's world.  So, don't miss the next few Sundays.  Together, we'll discover the Bible's potent teaching that will give us the tools you need and equip you to be the light of someone's world.

See you next Sunday!