Archives For STORYCHURCH

Thoughts and comments meant specifically for the STORYCHURCH community.

An open family

June 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Family Portrait MailchimpI love my church family. We just finished up a series called “Family Portrait” in which we talked a lot about what it means to be part of a spiritual family called a church. One of the things that seemed to resonate with a lot of people was the idea that unlike our biological families – this family is open to anyone. It’s a family that always has room for more. A family where anyone and everyone can join. At STORYCHURCH we’ve continually heard from our guests how warm and welcoming our church is for them. Many have talked about how they feel like they belong almost immediately. And that’s exactly as it should be.

But here’s the problem. The more that we grow, the more difficult it is to keep that “family” feel. And so one of two things is bound to happen. The first possibility is that we start to turn inward. We could start to see new people as a threat to the close family we love. We could start to turn toward the familiar relationships we already have and neglect the guest who happens to visit on a given Sunday. Unfortunately, many churches choose this route – intentionally or not, they choose it. Pretty soon the growth stops and the church begins to die.

But the second possibility is that as the church grows, we celebrate that the family is getting bigger. We rejoice that there are so many people in the family now that we can’t even know everyone. We look at every guest as an incredible addition to the family – enriching us and making us better.

I know that for me and for STORYCHURCH – we choose the second of those possibilities. Every time someone is baptized, every time a marriage is restored, every time a child begs to go back to church, we rejoice that the family is getting bigger, reaching further, and having greater impact than we could ever have on our own.

So STORYCHURCH, here’s what I’m asking you to do to help the family continue to grow:

Continue to invite. Ask your coworker, your neighbor, your grocery store checker. Then ask them again. This family has room for more. No matter how full it feels, we will always have room for more. Whether we have to change venues or add services – we will do whatever it takes to let the family grow. Here’s a few things you can do to invite:

  • Keep a few cards handy. We have business cards available to you at the welcome table with all the information someone would need to take a look at STORYCHURCH. Keep them in your wallet or purse. Hand them out at work. Leave them with a nice tip at a restaurant.
  • Use Social Media. Make sure you’ve “liked” us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Whenever STORYCHURCH posts, retweet or share. Whenever you serve, post something about it like this — “Excited to serve at STORYCHURCH today! I’ll be greeting at the door, come and say hi!” Every time we get mentioned online it helps us become more visible to people searching for a family like ours.
  • If you have a blog – put a link to our church site on it.
  • Whenever you get our weekly emails, share them online, “like” them, forward them to a friend.

Treat every Sunday like a family gathering and you are the host. If a guest was in your house, you’d welcome them, offer them food, show them the restroom, find a place for their kids, offer them the best seat, the best parking spot, and the last bagel. You’d engage them in conversation, ask about their kids, and do everything you could to make their time with you comfortable.

Contribute. A growing family has growing needs. We’re asking that you will find a place to serve, to help us create environments where guests feel welcomed into the family. From greeters to food service to kids workers – there’s a place for you to serve. (You can find out more about serving by going to www.storychurch.org/serve) Another way to contribute is to give. Be faithful with what God gives you. If you love this family and want to see the family grow, be faithful to give as often as you receive so that the family can continue to grow and cover the expenses necessary for a growing family. (Give online here.)

I believe we have an incredible family together, and it’s way too good a thing to keep to ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to act on this today!

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Sospesa - SuspendedThis week I finished up a teaching series I was doing at STORYCHURCH called “88MPH: Overcome the past, embrace the present, change the future.” (You can listen to the series by subscribing on itunes here.) Every so often I finish a particular teaching or maybe a particular series and I feel like there was more to be said. As I’ve been reflecting on the way we ended the series I feel like this is one of those times. So here are some bonus thoughts.

There’s this guy named Paul in the New Testament who faced all kinds of pain and trials and difficulty. But through it all, his mentality was this:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14

For Paul, there were plenty of reasons for him to quit. There was lots of opposition. If he was looking for an excuse he had plenty to pick from. But what’s clear to me is that despite everything else – Paul was focused on a particular future. He had a goal in mind (to “know Christ” as he tells us a few verses earlier). Nothing was going to keep him from that goal.

I think too many of us treat life as though we are simply along for the ride. It’s as if we are a ship at sea that’s lost it’s rudder – falling victim to the waves, the winds, and the tide. We act as though our circumstances dictate our future and that we can’t do anything about it.

Even worse, some followers of Jesus do this and then over-spiritualize it and say that whatever happens “must have been God’s will.” I’ll be honest, I don’t buy it. I believe God gives you and me WAY MORE room to shape our future than we sometimes want to believe. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely setbacks and obstacles and opposition. I’m sure there are even times when God redirects us. But I think that more often than not the future that we end up with has way more to do with the choices we make than something outside of our control.

People often talk about having vision. Vision is a picture in your mind of a preferred future. I have a vision for a particular future for my marriage. For my family. I have a vision for my church. I can guarantee that as life happens there will be MAJOR obstacles to those specific visions. As opposition and obstacles get in the way I have a choice to make every single time. Do I forfeit the vision I have for my marriage, my family, my church – or do I fight through that obstacle? When it gets hard do I say “Well it must not be God’s will” or do I do whatever it takes to overcome the obstacle? No story worth telling develops without opposition and setbacks.

What’s the vision you have for your marriage? Even if you are single today – what’s the dream marriage? How many losers are you willing to pass up in order to wait for the vision that’s in your heart? Do pictures of old couples holding hands move you on some level? Then what will you push through to make that a reality?

What’s the vision for your family? Do you want kids who love you and respect you as adults? Then what are you willing to do to see that become a reality? What job or promotion will you pass up because of the time it will require you to be away from your kids? What will you sacrifice in order to create the memories for them?

Your future isn’t decided for you. Sure, circumstances and sickness and pain will come along. But it’s up to you. You create your future. In spite of opposition and obstacles – your vision is worth the fight. It’s worth the struggle. It’s worth pushing through the pain.

A brief word for STORYCHURCH:

The future of our church is up to us. We get to decide how it goes. Kimi and I have committed our lives to see a church for people who don’t go to church. A church that helps people embrace the story they were meant to live. It’s why we get out of bed in the morning. Every so often we see glimpses of the future we are pushing toward. Every time someone who gave up on God shows up giving God one more chance – the future peeks through. Every time someone goes from death to life and chooses to follow Jesus – the future breaks in. Every time someone is baptized and we see a life transformed – the future comes crashing in around us. Every time a couple does the hard work of rebuilding their marriage rather than letting it implode – the future shows up. Every time a village gets clean water because our community decided it mattered – the future looks bright.

None of this will come easy. There will be challenges of every kind. Spiritual, financial, relational. It will be messy. There will be conflict. There will be tough decisions and difficult seasons. But it’s worth it. Because we have a vision of thousands of people finding life and embracing stories they were meant to live. I hope you share that vision. I hope you have similar dreams for our city – for your coworkers, your neighbors and your friends. And I hope you’ll do whatever it takes to see this vision become a reality.

photo by: Porfirio
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One of the more frequent questions I get from parents is about how to talk to their kids about baptism. Many don’t feel prepared to do so, others aren’t sure if their kids are ready, and others want to know if there’s some age at which baptism becomes a natural next step. Ask 10 pastors this question and you might get 10 different answers. Ask a mom who happens to also be the STORYCHURCH Kids ministry leader – and you get some serious wisdom. As you can probably guess, that’s what I did. So here is a brilliant guest post from Liz Vance:

DUNKING THE KIDS

A few months ago I was challenged to approach the subject of baptism with my kids.  My children have accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts, they know He is their Lord and Saviour.

Whenever it comes to the crunch, whenever they need a miracle, whenever they need someone bigger than Alastair and I to step in and move mountains, they know exactly where to go.  They call on God!  In fact, they often turn to us asking us to pray to God.  As parents, there’s no greater pleasure than interceding on behalf of our kids.

So, when is the right time for our kids to be baptized?  Neither Alastair and I agreed with child baptism or that special sprinkling that sometimes happens not long after your bundle of joy is born.  I was “sprinkled” when I was 7 during a trip to my family’s home in India. My grandparents felt it was necessary to baptize my sisters and me into the family church.

It was a big occasion for the family but my sister was stood there threatening to punch the bishop for splashing her.  It just didn’t have any significance for us except the fact that this dude just splashed water in our faces.  I couldn’t even understand what they were saying since they were speaking in our parents’ mother tongue.  Oh well, the grandparents were happy!  When I was seventeen I decided for myself that I wanted to get baptized.  It was actually a few years after asking Jesus into my heart.

Nathan and Noah are now 12 and 11 respectively.  After being challenged, I realized it was time to find out exactly what they knew about baptism.  I did a little google research to find out how other Kids Ministries dealt with baptism.  One thing stood out to me.  Leaders were challenged by kids who confused baptism with salvation!

I like to use my kids as guinea pigs on a regular basis so this was a great opportunity.   I’d ask my boys to explain what baptism meant.  They’ve seen plenty of baptisms and I thought I had explained it all well enough but sure enough, when I asked “why do we get baptized?” they talked about salvation.  They thought that when you get baptised you receive your salvation!  Okay, now I had to do some unravelling.

So this was the main misconception.  Basically, children (and adults) need to understand that salvation comes when you ask God into your heart.  You ask God for forgiveness and accept Jesus into your heart. If we have done this, we don’t need to doubt our salvation.

Baptism, on the other hand, is an act of obedience.  Peter’s instructions were to repent and be baptized (Acts 2 vs 38).

Baptism is the symbol of the old life being washed away and the start of a new life with God.  It’s a symbol of the decision we’ve already made.  Baptism doesn’t save you or get you into Heaven.  Only the sacrifice and  grace of God can do that (Ephesians 2 vs:8-9).

We also have to remember that baptism does not make us christians.  People may choose to be baptized or have their children baptized but this does not give them that relationship with Jesus.  Again, only the sacrifice and grace of God has that power.  We have to invite Jesus into our hearts.

Baptism is an opportunity for us to show others what Jesus has done for us. It’s showing people on the outside what has happened to us on the inside.

Hopefully my kids and I have talked through any misconceptions.  I often wonder what their next step will be in their relationship with God.  I continue to watch them serving in church (I’m definitely a proud mummy).  I hope to see them off on many a mission trip, maybe go on a few with them, and when they are ready I hope to watch them get baptized.

lizI don’t intend to push them to do it, although I’ll take the opportunities to talk to them about it.  When they are ready and when they choose to, I’m sure they will be baptized.

I’m thankful that we have so many great leaders and mentors in my church.  People that I can trust to take my children under their wing and help lead my kids.  It definitely takes a village to raise a child and Story Church is my village.

 

You can connect with Liz through twitter @lizvance.

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Relocation update

February 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

Hey STORYCHURCH, here’s the latest on our search for a new home:

Our relocation team continues to meet almost every week. To date they have called or visited more than 30 different facilities and are continuing to work on several more possibilities, with new places opening up all the time. It’s an exciting process of honing in on exactly the right space for us – one that meets our specific needs (parking, kids space, seating, staging, accessibility, visibility, etc.) as well as our budget. But our team is doing an incredible job. I had the opportunity to meet with them last week and they remain encouraged that the right fit is out there somewhere.

One of the questions that I want to continue to keep at the forefront of our search is this: Why move? It’s a great question. Below are a few of the reasons we think this is an important step for us:

  • Our current location has its limits. In some ways, our current location is sort of hidden. It’s in a new school in a new neighborhood. Many GPS systems have a hard time finding it. Explaining to someone where we meet is often a challenge, in fact few people have ever even heard of Spring Valley Elementary. It’s also limited in terms of growth. We are already maxing out our main parking lot, and the main room puts quite a few constraints on us as well.
  • Movement is unsettling, and that’s a good thing. While we will likely have a permanent home some day – chances are that this is not that day. There’s something beautiful to me about the unsettled nature of being a portable church. It keeps us moving. It keeps us innovating and thinking and creating and finding new ways to do what we do. It’s hard to believe that a three year old church could be settling, but sometimes it seems that STORYCHURCH is starting to settle and be comfortable. I want us to live in the discomfort of faith – constantly trusting God to do something unexpected. Moving is a chance to rethink how we do things, to reinvent and re-energize around a common goal.
  • People matter. We believe the message of Jesus is really good news. And we believe that there are thousands of people in our city that God has called us to reach with that message. We are willing to do whatever it takes to continue to grow and reach more people. The same reason you love STORYCHURCH and keep coming back is exactly why we have to share that with other people. If moving to a new location opens up opportunities to reach more people, then we feel like we have to consider it.

A couple of things you can do to help us out:

  1. Please pray for our team on a daily basis. Pray that the right contacts and the right people come along and point them to just the right place for us. Pray that they stay encouraged and find great joy in seeking God’s will for our church.
  2. Communicate with them. If you have any ideas of potential spaces or contacts that they should know about – you can email Jeff at jeff.fabu@gmail.com.

 

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Hey church, yesterday we continued our “Less is More” series with a word on fasting. I spent most of my time talking about the “why” of fasting but not as much time talking about the details of the “how” of fasting. Afterwards, several great questions popped up in conversations so here’s a few quick thoughts that may be helpful to you as you fast today or sometime in the future.

First of all, remember that the point isn’t to be religious. Several of the questions that came up had something to do with whether or not it would still “count” if one fasted from certain foods, or if someone still drank liquids, or certain kinds of liquids, etc. No one is keeping score here. You aren’t going to be disqualified. God isn’t withholding something from you if you forget and eat a granola bar, etc. Our point in fasting is to remind ourselves that God is the One who sustains us. We’re also trying to increase our sensitivity to Him and His voice by limiting ourselves physically. However you fast, try and keep this in mind.

WHAT SHOULD I EAT OR NOT EAT?

Now speaking of “how”, there are many ways that people fast. Some fast from everything. Not a single thing goes in their body. Others fast from only food but liquids are fine. Some fast from food and liquids except for water. Others fast from certain kinds of foods. There’s a popular fast out there called a “Daniel fast” based on the biblical story of Daniel who requested that he be given only fruits and vegetables to eat.

Typically, fasts that have more exceptions tend to be for longer periods of time. Often a Daniel fast goes for 21 days. Sometimes there are medical reasons for fasting with exceptions.

Because of the short amount of time in our “First Monday Fast” I personally will refrain from eating anything but will allow myself to drink water, juice, or coffee. Some would say I’m cheating if I put creamer in my coffee, but again, there’s no scoreboard here.

HOW LONG SHOULD I FAST?

If you are just speaking about our “First Monday Fast” then we are talking about just Monday. But even there you have room to do what you want. Some will probably fast from a single meal. Others may fast all day but then eat dinner with their family at night. Still others will complete a full day’s fast and not eat until breakfast on Tuesday.

If this is your first experience with fasting I would recommend you commit to something before hand and stick with it. It is a discipline. So your body will be mad at you at first and you’ll be tempted to stop as you feel hunger. But I promise you that as time moves on, your body will stop saying it’s hungry and you’ll find it isn’t that hard.

Personally, I will likely fast all day and then eat dinner with my family at night (unless broccoli is involved, in which case I may just go ahead and wait for breakfast 😉 )

WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING?

First of all, pray. Let your hunger remind you to do so. I would recommend bringing things to God throughout the day that are sort of “big” things. Pray about big decisions, about direction, about relationships that may need mending, pray for the salvation of people that you love. As we do this more as a church we will give you guides that will have some suggestions for prayer on a church level – that is, things we can all be praying together for our community and our church.

For now, I would ask you to pray for our goal to see 50 people baptized in our church this year. Pray also for direction as we continue to explore whether or not God would have us move locations in order to reach more people. Pray for those preparing and thinking about going to Guatemala and for their efforts to raise the funds they need in order to go.

You could also spend more intentional time reading the bible, journaling, or connecting with others in our community.

LAST WORD

I know this is brand new to many of you. It’s really pretty new to me as well. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle. Don’t worry if you accidentally forget during the day, or if you end up breaking your fast early. All disciplines take time to develop. This will become easier for you. Over time as you continue to do this each month you will see big time growth in your ability and desire to fast.

Don’t be surprised if God speaks. Seriously. As you seek Him He may reveal to you some new dreams. He may convict you in certain areas. He may bring clarity to others. It’s a great idea to add this day to your SOAP journal.

I’m so proud of you for doing this. I believe this is a turning point for us as a church as we intentionally seek MORE of God together.

Praying for you all today! I love being your pastor.

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Let’s Change the World

December 10, 2012 — 2 Comments

For weeks now we’ve been challenging our church to prepare for December 16. For us, it’s the day we’ve determined to Change the World. A couple of weeks ago I wrote this article, laying out the challenge. Today I want to show you more specifically what changing the world looks like.

 

car20092009

Before we were technically even an official church yet, before we had even started having Sunday services, we gathered together and began talking about what it would look like to change the world. At that gathering we received an offering that ultimately became the first well STORYCHURCH ever funded. In 2010 a well was dug in the Central African Republic that serves more than 600 people today.

guatemala20102010

Our first Christmas as an official church we decided we would try and do it again. And so we all gave and this time were able to completely fund a well that was later drilled in Guatemala. One of our own actually went as part of the team that drilled the well. More than 350 people in this village benefit from this particular well.

 

haiti2011

2011

Last Christmas we did it again. And in the late summer of this year the third well was drilled – this time in Haiti, where more than 400 people now have access to clean water. This particular well was drilled on school grounds and is primarily accessed by kids, staff, and the community directly around the school.

 

World Changers

So for those keeping score at home, that’s three wells and more than 1350 people who this morning took a drink from a fresh water well provided by a small group of people in Durham, NC.

2012

So that brings us back to December 16 of this year. In just a few days we get to do it again. And unlike years past, this year we already know where this new well will go – we’re headed back to Guatemala. AND, for the first time, we will be sending the entire team that will physically drill the well and put the pump in the ground. Part of the money we are raising this year will go to subsidize some of the cost of the trip for those who will do the work of providing clean water. In addition to the well, some of the funds will help STORYCHURCH expand our reach into our city to see lives changed right here where we live.

So this is it! This is our chance to do something of LASTING significance this Christmas. Rather than buying that tie he’ll never wear, or the sweater they won’t really like, or the pre-packaged lotion and loofah set, why not join us as we literally CHANGE THE WORLD together!!!

Here’s how to get involved:

First of all, you can give. We would love to have you join us on December 16 at 10am for our service at Spring Valley Elementary School where you can physically give a check or cash made payable to STORYCHURCH. Be sure to write “Change the World” in the memo line. We will also have envelopes available for you. You can also give digitally on Sunday morning with any major credit or debit card. Or you can give starting TODAY online through our website.

Second, you can share. Share the link to this blog post on your Facebook or Twitter. Help us get the word out. Tell your friends what you are doing. Here are some sample tweets or posts for FB:

  • This year for Christmas I decided to Change the World, and you can join me! http://jeremycopeland.com/2012/12/10/lets-change-the-world/
  • Join me in providing clean water to a community in Guatemala this year. http://jeremycopeland.com/2012/12/10/lets-change-the-world/
  • All I want for Christmas this year is to Change the World. Is that too much to ask? http://jeremycopeland.com/2012/12/10/lets-change-the-world/
  • Dear Santa, you can keep the socks and underwear this year. How about water instead? http://jeremycopeland.com/2012/12/10/lets-change-the-world/

Finally, here’s the deal. You have the ability to CHANGE THE WORLD. Maybe for you it’s mentoring an at risk teenager, or contributing to an after school program, or maybe it’s helping the homeless in your community, or providing Christmas for a single mom. Take the risk this year to do something great. Invite your friends and family to join you, and let’s CHANGE THE WORLD together!!

 

 

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A letter to STORYCHURCH

November 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Image converted using ifftoanyHopefully you’ve heard by now about our CHANGE THE WORLD campaign that we kicked off a couple of weeks ago at STORYCHURCH. Here’s a couple of thoughts for you as you think and pray about how you and your family might get involved.

  1. Changing the world is kind of a big deal. I worry that sometimes people might think we are overstating what we are doing with our Christmas offering every year. But then I think about the 1300 people who will drink clean water today because of past gifts from STORYCHURCH. I think about the kids who won’t die as young. I think about the fact that less kids are home sick, less are spending hours retrieving the cleanest water they can find, and more are attending school, and contributing to their families well being. How many generations will that impact? When I think about it that way, I realize that maybe we are understating it rather than overstating it.
  2. No one ever changed the world without sacrifice. When we ask you to spend less on each other and instead to give more toward something like a well I realize that for many this is a huge sacrifice. We’ve grown so accustomed to our Christmas traditions. Our kids expect a certain level of gift. Our coworkers and extended families expect us to do things “as usual.” I know there are probably awkward conversations where you have to say “actually, we aren’t going to do that this year – instead we’re giving to help our church change the world.” I know there are weird moments. Strange looks. I know you are bumping up against age-old traditions and potentially throwing the whole family gift-giving bonanza into chaos. But no one ever changed the world by doing the same thing they’d always done. It’s hard. It’s costly. It’s worth it.
  3. People who change the world find themselves forever changed as well. It’s kind of impossible to go back to spending the way we always have when we see how much of a difference we can make with our generosity. My car suddenly becomes a “3 well car”. That new computer is “half a well.” That vacation is “a well and half.” Or let’s break it down even further. The average well services around 400 people for $5,000. That’s $12.50 per person for clean water that will change their lives forever. All of a sudden, our kids can now see how their money is able to change one person’s life forever. Think about what that does for our kids to realize the impact they can have on the world. What a different world we will have when generations of STORYKIDS and others grow up with the belief that they can literally change the world one life at a time!

Sunday, December 16 is CHANGE THE WORLD Sunday at STORYCHURCH. That’s the day we will receive a special offering to literally do all we can to change the world. In the week leading up that we will open up an online giving option for you as well. I want to encourage you to keep praying, keeping talking about it with your spouse or your family. Let’s dig deep together. Let’s give like never before. Let’s find a way to do more than we ever imagined we could do. Let’s CHANGE THE WORLD.

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A movement

October 30, 2012 — 7 Comments

skylineSTORYCHURCH exists to help people embrace the story they were meant to live. Everything we do is about that. It’s about taking people who have no faith, little faith, or damaged faith and helping them to discover or rediscover Jesus.

The vision for our church has always been to be a church that has large impact on our city. We want to love our city in ways that causes people to engage with Jesus with fresh eyes. We want to do everything we can to introduce people to the Author of every story, the one who takes incomplete, broken, going-nowhere stories and turns them into EPIC adventures.

I believe that one of the primary ways a church can shape culture and impact a city is from the inside out, rather than the outside in. I believe it means engaging our city in the places where people live, shop and get their coffee. It’s being actively involved in the places where they spend their time, their money, and where they hang out with their friends.

For the last two years at least, God has been impressing on my heart the need for us to play a larger role in the heart of our city. And so I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve walked the streets of the downtown area of Durham and placed my hands on buildings and asked God for his leading. Two years in a row we’ve moved our Easter services into the city – to test the waters and to see what we could learn.About six months ago I moved my office out of my home and got a small place on 9th street downtown so that I could be more present here in the city. And I’ve continued to pray. Continued to fast. Continued to ask God for His leading.

And now we enter a new step in this journey together as a church. Over the last couple of weeks a team has begun meeting regularly together. Their task is to put some legs to this vision, to hunt down our options, and to continue to see if this might be the time that God would choose to open something up for us downtown. They’ve started with more than 20 facilities in mind. They are grading each one based on space, cost, parking, kids spaces, accessibility, capacity for growth, etc.

So STORYCHURCH, here’s what I’m asking you to do:

  1. Pray. Pray for this team, pray for wisdom, pray for God to open up doors or knock them down if need be.
  2. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you come across a friend or relative or coworker who happens to know someone who knows someone, let us know.
  3. Lean in. In the coming weeks, we are going to roll out a vision and some specific goals that will both excite you and probably scare you as well. Every movement of God requires change. It requires flexibility. It requires us to serve more, give more, love more, pray more, and die more. Die more to ourselves, our preferences, and our own agendas.

I believe that 2013 will be the greatest year in our short history. I believe this ride is about to get even more fun. But it won’t all be easy. We will ask more of you. But when God moves it will be so worth it. So lean in.

Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to keep you updated, so stay tuned for more. It’s an exciting season for us STORYCHURCH. The best is yet to come.

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A few changes

September 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

Hey STORYCHURCH! This is just a quick heads up on a few changes we’ve recently made at STORYCHURCH. I hope this helps clear up some things.

GROWTH TRACK

Last year we launched something we called “Growth Track.” Many of you went through some or all of our four part track and hopefully it was something of great value for you! Here’s what that included:

  • Chapter One – basically STORYCHURCH 101. We talked all about who we are, what is important to us, and how you can get involved.
  • Chapter Two – All the essentials you need to help you grow in your faith. How to read the Bible, how to pray, etc.
  • Chapter Three – We helped you to Discover exactly how God has wired you by taking you through some personality profile tests, spiritual gift tests, and passion assessments.
  • Chapter Four – This was all about trying to get you plugged in to our Dream Team in a way that was consistent with how you are wired and in a way that would be life-giving for you.

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

After doing this for a year we arrived at a few conclusions. We think it was a HUGE success in that most of our church made it through at least part of the Growth Track. But here were some of the challenges:

  • 4 classes was a lot. It was a lot for you all to go to. It was a lot for our hosts. It was a lot for those of us who were teaching.
  • Scheduling was difficult. We were having some issues scheduling host homes for every single Sunday. We were having issues scheduling child care consistently. When we did it later in the day (4pm) we found that it was hard for people to go back out again on Sunday. When we did it right after church we had to deal with lunch and naps for the kids.
  • It was confusing to new people. “Chapter One” or “Chapter Two” doesn’t tell me anything. It’s insider language that needed lots of explanation each time we talked about it.

 

DISCOVERY EVENTS:

In light of what we learned, we went back to the drawing board this summer and redesigned and reorganized our Growth Track. We made the decision to shrink it down, make it more manageable and more guest-friendly. And it got a new name as well. So here’s what we’ve come up with:

  • DISCOVER STORYCHURCH – This is our all new introduction to who we are. While much of the content is the same as the old “Chapter One”, we also made some significant changes. It’s shorter, a bit tighter on content, and more specific to who we are and what is important to us. This event will run the first Sunday of every month. If you’ve been through Chapter One, you don’t need to go back to “Discover STORYCHURCH.”
  • DISCOVER YOURPLACE – In this event, we have combined our old “Chapter Three” and “Chapter Four”. This is allowing us to continue to help people discover how God has wired them, and then provide more direct feedback and opportunity to jump right into serving at STORYCHURCH. The way we are doing this is also freeing up our team leaders from showing up every month for Chapter Four whether there were people to train or not. We’ve replaced those team leaders with a couple of “Coaches”, who will help people find the specific place they may fit the best. This event will run the third Sunday of each month. If you are already serving, you don’t need to go back through “Discover Your Place.”
  • DISCOVER THE ESSENTIALS – We want to continue to offer people the opportunity to learn some of the basics of growing in their faith. But doing it every month was a bit much at this time. So instead of offering it monthly, we will now offer it once a quarter. This allows us to beef this event up a bit as well, in order to cover some of the things we weren’t able to fit in a monthly class. “Discover the Essentials” replaces our old “Chapter Two.”

So there you have it. The all new Discovery Process at STORYCHURCH! We hope this will allow us to be more effective, keep our leaders more fresh, and to really make it clear and easy for new people to get involved. You won’t be hearing anything about “Growth Track” or “Chapter …” anymore, just these Discovery events. So if you haven’t yet been a part of this content, I would HIGHLY encourage you to jump in and see what you’ve been missing.

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