- Grace Harborcreek Worship Team- Whoa ... I'm not sure what to say about this. I was so blown away by the quality and presence of this team of musicians. This is the team that will lead worship at our brand new campus in Harborcreek launching this Easter. This was their first time playing together, they practiced for about 90 minutes on Saturday, and then just blew the roof off the place this morning. Each member was in their element. It was like a microcosm of the whole church - everyone playing their part, fulfilling their role. It was a beautiful picture. I was near tears several times. It was also a great reminder that when we step out and take risks as a church, that people will step up to the plate in roles of leadership. God brought the perfect people to this team. Even people who had been at Grace for a long time and never been involved in our music ministry. Suddenly this new initiative compelled them to get involved. I'm excited to see more of that as we move forward. You can follow progress with Grace Harborcreek and stay up to date on all our prayer needs at the Facebook page here. (You can also see a clip of today's worship team in action).
- Open Sourced Service - I was really happy with our grand experiment to open source our services. I was so burdened this past summer with how to involve more people in our worship gatherings. So we opened it up - asked people to submit life stories, home made videos for calls to worship, offering moments, invited the people of Grace to give feedback on which songs to sing and some input on my sermon content. I loved the involvement - I loved the variety - I loved the energy from the guys at Mercyhurst College who called us to worship, the honesty of Nikki as she shared about a strained relationship with her mom, the faith of David who talked about God's faithfulness after his recent decision to be generous, Matthew's heart-felt prayer for me at the beginning of my sermon. I loved what God did in our midst through the people of Grace.
- Commons Service - If you don't know - we have 2 services happening at 9:15 every Sunday. Our service in the Commons worships in a more traditional style than our Worship Center venue. They typically receive the sermon by video on the big screen in there. There are some amazing Godly people who worship with us there. I'm excited for Pastor Al to bring ongoing leadership to that congregation as we move forward. We had some special guests, the FOCUS Quartet, leading worship this morning. It was fun to peek in and see nearly 100 people worshiping God in that room. God has big plans for our Commons Service.
- State of the Church - On the week of our nation's State of the Union Address - I thought I would give a State of the Church Address. To be honest it was an uphill battle all week in preparation. I couldn't tape on Wednesday as I normally do because it was coming so slow. We postponed taping until Friday. When I went in to my computer on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 to put the finishing touches on it - I discovered that all my work (nearly 20 hours) was gone - totally deleted. I won't bore you with the details, but after an hour on the phone with our I.T. guru it became apparent that it was totally un-recoverable. So on Friday morning I started from scratch, and worked until Saturday night at 6:30 when I taped the sermon for the Commons. Needless to say I took about a 2 hour nap this afternoon! Anyway- it was a blast to unveil our 9 values at Grace as we head into being a multi-site church. Although I had a few difficult things to talk about, as usual, the people at Grace were gracious in receiving the word, and motivated to action. The texts and emails are rolling in already from people who are ready to step up. I love our church and can't wait for the next chapter together. If you're interested you can check out the sermon here (you can also find some resources for personal study and for group study). I will also post a 3 part blog series this week covering our 9 values.
On to a new week - I'm ready for it!
If you were at Grace this weekend - what were some of your highlights?