Easter @ PCC this year was crazy. Here are some of the highlights:
1) Easter Egg Drop - Due to heavy fog and rain and the low cloud ceiling we couldn't drop the 100,000 eggs from helicopters as planned. So our team improvised and stuffed the eggs in bags and handed them out to the kids and parents once they arrived. We conservatively estimate 2500 cars came through our parking lot which would represent 6000 people. Thousands toured our newly updated kids ministry area and were totally amazed.
2) Attendance Record Shattered - This year we had 4046 people in our 6 weekend worship experiences. This blew our previous attendance out of the water by more than 1,000 people. We also had a record 715 kids in our worship services. It's crazy to think that 10,000 people were touched with the Gospel in our building in less than 48 hours.
3) Life Change - Each number represents a story. And this year God began writing a new story in hundreds of peoples lives that gave their heart to Jesus Christ. It's so humbling to be part of a church that is reaching out to its community and witnessing entire families come to Christ.
4) Volunteers - On behalf of our entire staff, I want to send out a huge thank you to the 615 volunteers that served this Easter in our outreach and weekend worship experiences. I've never had the opportunity to work with more committed and sacrificial people in all my life. Without each and everyone of you, my prayers would have gone unanswered. I am forever grateful.
This past weekend was pretty amazing at PCC. Here are some of the highlights.
1. Thanks so much to George Monroy for sharing his story. George is a high school student that just started coming to PCC the past few months and it's been really cool to see him come to faith and get so plugged in to the church family. So proud of you George! God's got BIG PLANS for you bro.
2. The worship experiences were amazing - especially the music. Thanks so much to all the musicians and singers. I loved that song, "Power of the Cross." Crazy anointed people leading us in music.
3. Enjoyed preaching on John 4 and Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well. If we are going to witness the Jesus way we have to 1) Go to the well - places to intentionally connect with lost people, 2) Give them water - truth and life and a new dimension of God through the Holy Spirit (without watering it down), and 3) Get out of the way - let the Holy Spirit work in people's lives.
4. We had almost 80 first time guests! Very cool. We had 2154 people in attendance too. God's given us great momentum as we get ready for Easter.
5. My wife, Bekah, celebrated her birthday on Sunday. I brought her up on stage during the 11am service and we all sang happy birthday to her. It was a lot of fun. My mom and dad and sister and nephew were with us for Sunday and we went out for sushi and hibachi at Desaki's for lunch. Awesome time with my family and a great restaurant.
6. The Spanish ministry celebrated their one year anniversary yesterday at PCC. It was an amazing celebration with salsa music, pinatas, empanadas, dancing and more. I love our Spanish ministry and Pastor Emilio Quinteros.
7. We had 354 kids in church this weekend. That's awesome to see so many young people excited to learn about Jesus. The PCC Kidz City renovation is really coming along. I can't wait to see it all completed.
This weekend we wrap up our series, Invite.Me with a practical and provocative look at the widely-known story in John 4. In his encounter with a Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus teaches us to witness His way. Service times this weekend are Sat. 5 and 6:30pm and Sunday 9:30, 11am, 2pm (Spanish).
Drive2011 was an incredible experience for both me and our team.
Here are a 11 huge takeaways:
1. I am inspired more than ever to build a church that unchurched people want to attend.
2. I am motivated to be more intentional in designing weekend experiences that engage, involve and challenge both churched and unchurched people.
3. Clarifying the win at every level and in every ministry environment in the organization is essential for success.
4. I have to push leadership down. That is, empower other great leaders to raise their level of leadership in the organization. I am doing way too much and underutilizing the gifts and talents of the stellar staff within our organization.
5. I have to lean into my strengths and lead from them. I get frustrated when trying to lead outside of my giftings.
6. People resist things they don't understand and cannot control. I need to do a better job communicating the "WHY" as much as the "WHAT" in ministry.
7. The gospel is offensive. It divides because truth divides. The key into designing worship experiences is to not offend someone until the preaching event. In other words, create welcoming and fun environments that prepare the hearer to receive the truth.
8. I need to develop my personal schedule around the age and stage of my life. Your schedule will change with the changing seasons of life, family and ministry.
9. The best thing you can bring to your staff is your energy. Be sure to plan your meetings with your staff at times you have the most energy.
10. Get the best and brightest brains in the room for two hours a week to work on the organization and leadership development. I need a system to get the smartest people in the room.
11. Your approach to communication should be shaped by the goal of your communication. Approach is everything. How you say it is more important than what you say. Make it simple, memorable and portable.
The Pocono Record retracted last week's article regarding our donation to the American Red Cross. I would personally like to thank Andrew Scott and the editorial manager for setting "The Record" straight.
By Andrew Scott Pocono Record Writer April 05, 2011 Pocono Community Church's $10,000 donation to this year's Run for the Red has nothing to do with the marathon changing its course from previous years, according to the American Red Cross of the Poconos in Stroudsburg.
"The church's $10,000 donation is not payment to us to change this year's course," Red Cross Stroudsburg Executive Director Jim Rienhardt said Monday after returning from vacation. "It's merely a donation, like all other donations, to benefit Red Cross disaster relief services. Yes, some of it might go to help defray the cost of having the marathon, but the rest goes to disaster relief."
The Rev. David Crosby Jr., Pocono Community pastor, emailed his congregation last week after the Pocono Record raised questions about whether the donation was connected to rerouting the marathon so that it no longer affected the church's heavily attended Sunday services.
"When we were approached last year for a contribution to the American Red Cross, I, along with the rest of the leadership team, thought it presented a great opportunity to share God's blessings with our community," Crosby wrote.
Rienhardt said it's possible one of his volunteers approached the church about making a donation although he couldn't be sure.
Crosby said in his email that while he investigated the possibility of having the route changed a couple of years ago, the $10,000 donation, "like all gifts, was given with no strings attached."
He said the church had contributed to the American Red Cross organization in the past. Crosby said he participated in an American Red Cross telethon the year before last and the church gave $3,000 that year.
Rienhardt said the $10,000 marked the first time the church specifically donated to the Run for the Red.
"I believe we have received donations from other (entities) along the marathon route in the past and will probably receive more from those same sources in the future," Rienhardt said. "I can't, off the top of my head, tell you who along the route has donated to us without looking at a list."
He added: "It saddens me that someone out there apparently is trying to make it out to be something more or something other than what it is."
Whatever money we take in, whether it's a donation to our annual telethon or to Run for the Red, all goes to the same place. It all helps the community, you and your neighbors, in times of trouble."