A neat thing happened earlier this week: I sat in services of the statewide Minister's/Spouse retreat between my Pastor and his wife who I grew up with (0-18 yrs old) and my Pastor and his wife for the rest of my life (my wife's grandpa and grandma).
My wife's grandpa, G. Mark Denyes pastored Emmanuel Christian Center for around 45 years. He was the first pastor of Emmanuel - hired by a group of families meeting in the basement of a home. Today it is a sprawling mega-church with global impact and deep spirituality.
In our church's 50 year history, we are only on our second Lead Pastor - my father in law, Dwight Denyes. God is using him in creative ways to lead our church with great momentum.
I have been going to Emmanuel Christian Center since I was 18, and I really have no desire to go anywhere else. In truth, I love visiting other churches and learning from them and enjoying their unique cultures as we travel and preach around the globe. But being away from my church makes me love it all the more. It is an amazing place.
One thing we do great is simple, powerful ideas that the members can latch on to, to impact our community and the world:
Give the price of a gallon of milk a week to missions
If we all did only this (our congregation of 5,000 attendees) we would be giving over 1/2 million a year to missions! As many of you may know, giving to missions is addicting - as people initiate this simple act in their lives it becomes a snowball effect of generosity.
Gathering 200 people to pray 1 hour a week for the pastor
Now over 280 people commit to pray 1 hour a week. This is not a traditional 24/7 prayer chain, but it's creative formula allows for essentially two people praying every hour of the day.
Write down the names of 5 unchurched friends and pray for them regularly
When we pray for the lost, God moves our hearts to step out and reach them. Stories are coming consistently of all God is doing through this movement.