Month: July 2017

Pastor’s Weekly Update

Every year when I return from vacation, I can feel the anticipation that is in place for the fall. Coming back to campus this week, I sensed that there is a buzz in the air about things that are happening in the church with the grand opening of the Connection Plaza in a few weeks, and a great number of first time guests in our services on both campuses. The Academy is just a few weeks from having students on campus, and there is an excitement about the future with a new administrator in place. The College is a little less than a month from opening and students returning to campus. We are looking forward to the energy that results from having nearly 2000 college and academy students on campus every day.

The Connection Plaza is already making an impact as I see and hear stories of people who are connecting with new families and helping to build relationships that will be fruitful in the future. The playground will be completed and opened in about a week. My grandson, Tripp, asks about it every time he is on campus; his excitement level is off the charts!

One of our focus points in reviewing church programming is to help create a better discipleship and leadership focus. I am seeing that begin to take shape and am really encouraged by it. We are regularly talking with staff about not only getting people to serve, but raising up leaders who are going to help us reach Northeast Florida for Jesus. One area that really has been encouraging is what is taking place with our Rooted Ministry. Tommy and Rhoda Carr lead this ministry to our young adults, mostly single, and have sponsored a weekly volleyball tournament. They are averaging over 120 every week at the tournament and have connected with 30 first time guests. In addition, this group of young people, along with our youth, have filled dozens of volunteer positions to enhance Sunday morning.

Last week, I mentioned the 24 Hours of Prayer that will take place at Hammond campus on August 4–5. After seeing our altar filled with so many prayer requests written on post-it notes, I was reminded of all the needs we have in our church and all the ways we want to see God work. I know that this day of prayer will be a very powerful experience! I have great anticipation for all that God is going to do both individually in our people and corporately as a body of believers. If you haven’t already signed up, do it today!

Our prayer focus at Oakleaf is on the ministry that we are doing in public schools and is scheduled for August 13th. I want to encourage everyone to participate in these important prayer initiatives.

We are three weeks from completing our summer study through Galatians. The theme this weekend deals with the Holy Spirit and the way that he transforms our lives. I am convinced that this teaching, rightly applied in our lives, can be a catalyst to life change.

Remember, you are the most important part of helping us reach people. Invest in relationships with those around you for the purpose of reaching them with the gospel of Christ.

Pastor’s Weekly Update

I am writing this week’s blog while sitting in a condo at the beach. Our entire family, as well as close friends, are here together and we are enjoying a little time away this summer. It is always fun to get to be with the family and some friends as we get ready to gear up for what I believe is going to be a great fall at Trinity.

I am hearing wonderful reports about VBS this week, and appreciate every leader in children’s ministry and the great number of volunteers who are helping us to share the gospel and teach Biblical truth to children in a high impact setting. We have over 100 volunteers who are serving each night and 35 first time guests! Our Children’s Pastor, Jason Brown, told me of one particular guest who was invited by Susanna Zekas. Since he has special needs, one of our teens, Jensen Beck, has gone out of his way each night to make sure he is included and having a great time. It’s awesome to see Jensen as well as many other teens step up to serve.

This is a combined campus effort and I love to see what we can do when we work together.

This weekend, Daniel Riddick will be speaking at Oakleaf, and I will be back at Hammond. We have a few weeks left in our series through the book of Galatians, and this week’s topic is how the gospel transforms us. Most of us want to change; we just do not know how that takes place. This week will be practical and inspiring as you see how the gospel can change your life.

Pray for Pastor Daniel this week, as his dad went home to be with the Lord. I know that he appreciates your prayer and support during this time.

One of the things that I am most excited about on the calendar over the next few weeks is a multi-campus prayer emphasis. On August 4–5, from 4 PM to 4 PM, we are going to do a 24 hour prayer event at Hammond. On August 13, we are going to do a prayer initiative at Oakleaf that focuses on the 7 schools that we serve in the Oakleaf area. When I think about the needs of our city, the desire of our church to impact Northeast Florida, and the opportunities before us, it is impossible to underestimate the need for prayer!


Pastor’s Weekly Update

It is hard to believe that we are already in July. A little over a year ago, we started a search for a new administrator to lead Trinity Christian Academy. This weekend we welcomed Mr. David Welling to begin serving in this important ministry role. Mr. Welling moved here with his wife, Marian, and youngest son, Daniel. If you see the Wellings around campus, please make them feel at home. I also encourage you to pray for him as he takes on this new responsibility. Trinity Christian Academy is a strategic part of our ministry and a great opportunity for us to impact our community. It is our mission to prepare students for future success in a gospel-centered environment. I am confident that the Lord led us to Mr. Welling and I’m excited about the future of the academy under his leadership and influence.

This afternoon I took a walk around campus to check on some of the progress being made to our renovations in the E and M Buildings. This summer we have refurbished hallways and classrooms and have added an upgraded Media Center in the E-Building. Some of the work is much needed, like updating paint and carpet, while the rest is strategic to help us modernize and improve educational practices and provide a more secure learning environment for our children.

Last Sunday was the soft opening of the new Connection Plaza. It is so meaningful to see this building come to life knowing that so many of you invested in it. I know that this “New Front Door” will help us better connect with guests and give them the best experience possible on our campus. I loved the energy from our greeters, especially those holding signs at our front entrance. It is so encouraging to see so many young people get passionate about serving. There is a place for everyone to serve; if you have not yet signed up, please consider doing so!

This weekend Dr. Ed Gibson will be speaking for me at the Hammond Campus, as I am out of town with my family for vacation. I look forward to resting and starting to prepare for what I believe is going to be a great back to school season. I am praying for God to do great things in our church in the days ahead.

Before I go, here are a few more encouraging things I thought you’d like to know:

  • VBS starts this week and we have 100 volunteers who have signed up to help. Pray for our leaders and kids!
  • Construction on the Connection Plaza playground began on Wednesday. Tripp told his mom that he was going to sit right in this chair and watch them build the whole thing!


Pastor’s Weekly Update

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Fourth of July. Our festivities started on Sunday and we experienced a great day! Both campuses had food trucks and inflatables and both campuses had a great number of guests. In fact, Oakleaf had the largest number of guests all summer and the largest single service since they began almost three years ago! There is an energy that we get when we are all together and we have opportunities to hang out and visit with people that we don’t always see because of multiple services. We already are looking at more opportunities for similar events in the future.
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