Archives For Serve

LifePoint’ers at our Lynnwood Campus have been looking deeply at how Jesus made disciples. They want to move the the needle in the Northwest for the gospel and that will be done by making disciples who are living as missionaries in their neighborhoods, workplaces and communities. A core piece has been understanding that Jesus lived his life balancing three dimensions of relationship:

  1. Jesus had a deep UP relationship with the Father.
  2. He prioritized his life for IN relationships with a handful of men, the first disciples. He gave them truth and his life to imitate that involved high access, high accountability, and high care.
  3. Jesus intentionally pursued OUT relationships with those who were in need of the gospel and His Kingdom message and life.

Eggs in the ParkThis past Easter weekend, the Lynnwood Campus hosted, Eggs in the Park (view images in our Dropbox folder). The event’s focus was to model the life of Christ and pursue OUT relationships with the community. Eggs in the Park was a great community event bringing families of all types together for a fun and safe experience. 11,000 eggs for two egg hunts, bounce houses, artists, and more. Along with a mission team from the Smyrna Campus of two adults and four high school students, the event was a success! The win ultimately is the many invitations prior to the event that were made and the numerous conversations during Eggs in the Park. While hundreds of families played, gathered eggs, and took away bags of candy, LifePoint’ers were deployed on the edges and in the middle of the park connecting and encouraging parents and kids. Many of the conversations were surface conversations, positive and caring. A few moved past the surface, with people expressing their desire to connect more and find a faith family.

Now, the LifePoint Lynnwood campus is preparing for their next OUT environment where they will again invite the community for a fun family event . Once again, the priority will be conversations and relationships where beginning steps of discipleship can occur.

LifePoint Lynnwood

LP Lynnwood is also celebrating the milestone for its largest worship gathering in its short history on Easter Sunday. Ninety-one people celebrating our Risen King together. Easter weekend was a beautiful picture of scattering OUT, then gathering to celebrate our UP relationship with God. Next, LP Lynnwood leaders are taking action on how to effectively and intentionally prioritize IN relationships to make disciples who make disciples. The result will be LifePoint’ers effectively living OUT so more can experience an UP relationship with a Heavenly Father. All of this for our King, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done…” Matthew 6.

Our family moved to Brussels along with three other families to plant a church. We have a meeting place for our Sunday gatherings with LifePoint flags out front. We even have a great website. How do we get people to come inside? Moreover, how do we get French speaking Belgians to come inside?

Scattered and Gathered

Our Campus Pastor, Kyle Goen, recently said that “our gathering time will only be as fruitful as our scattering time“. This has motivated our team from the very beginning to be out in the community. The people of Brussels will not come inside until we go outside.

For each family it looks a little different because—thank God—we are different. Each of our unique abilities and interests make it possible to connect with a variety of people. Angie and I are intentional with leveraging our musical abilities for the gospel. This has opened doors to a new stream of relationships. People in Belgium love American music. It’s what you hear 90% of the time as you make your way through the city on subways or shopping. People are excited when they find out that we musicians from “Music City, USA”!

Late last year Angie and I formed a band. We are performing in restaurants, cafes, and other venues. We are connecting with fellow musicians, people who hire us, workers at the restaurants, and of course, those who come to listen. You see, many people we are in relationship with are not comfortable coming to a church gathering. They have a lack of understanding about a church like LifePoint. Their preconceptions about church and religious people often keep them from venturing out into the unknown. The Catholic church is really all they know. In many cases, there is a great disconnect between their experience at church and the rest of their lives. Our hope is to break down their preconceptions and show them that people of faith can have fun and be relevant to the world around them.

In January, Angie and I played at a restaurant and invited everyone we have relationships with, many of whom had not yet visited the church. It was incredible. I think everyone we invited actually came! They brought their friends, too. Fifty came to hear us in addition to an already full restaurant with their normal customers. We have already seen this event as something that has brought us closer to those who came . We are experiencing an increase in dialog around thing like church and faith. One family recently attended our worship gathering. One of the women who came has started to send her son to our youth events.

We are also leveraging our experience in music is through “meetups”. Meetup.com is a website designed to connect people with one another. In a diverse and transient city like Brussels, there are always people looking to connect. Angie and I recently started a musician’s meetup. We meet monthly at restaurants or cafes. It gives musicians here a chance to meet others like themselves, explore the possibilities of playing together, or at the very least, support each other in their endeavors. Late last year, we had a young man at our meetup named Aaron. He is a bass player who moved here recently from the Philippines. He is a new believer but had not yet connected with a church. After sharing about LifePoint, he attended our worship gathering and is now the bass player on our worship team. He has recently expressed a desire to be baptized and will be part of our very first baptism service later this month!

Of course, not everything we do is related to music. We have formed many relationships at the school that Phoebe and Ruby attend. Angie is teaching conversational English to some of the mothers from our children’s school and for a few the students in her French class. This is strengthening relationships and paving the way for the gospel.

We are privileged to be a part of seeing God’s church established here. We are excited to see lives and families being changed. Brussels is a place that needs to be awakened! Faith in God is not the reality here that we are all accustomed to in the U.S. Please pray that God will use us to share the life-changing, life-giving, and life-saving good news of Christ.

So…how do we get them to come inside? We must go outside!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

David and Angie Ebensberger serve as worship leaders at LifePoint Brussels. Prior to the relocating there in late 2011, they both worked in the Christian Music Industry during their twenty years in the Nashville area. For many years. they served as part-time worship leaders at LifePoint, Smyrna. They have four daughters: Abigail, Emily, Phoebe and Ruby. You can connect with David and Angie on Facebook.

clc_320x160The Creative Learning Center in a ministry of LifePoint Church in Smyrna. Simply put, we want to love the kids and families that God brings to us.

Our philosophy maintains that a child should have a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow spiritually, socially, physically and emotionally. While teaching the children is our primary focus, we also seek to minister to the needs of the families.

Preschoolers learn through their five senses and those senses are developed through hands on developmentally appropriate activities. The Creative Learning Center provides a Christ centered atmosphere for children to learn and play. We believe our program is in part building a foundation for faith in preschoolers. We seek to enable them to grow and learn as children of God rooted in Christian values so that one day they can respond to Him in faith and love. Spiritual concepts are woven throughout the day’s instruction in Bible stories, songs and scripture. We strive to have children ready when they move on to “big school.” It is believed that children learn through watching, hearing, and modeling; therefore, every staff member and teacher is aware of the role they play in the Christian development of young children.

The Creative Learning Center also stresses that a child’s work is play. The importance of play and having a good time is at the heart of all teaching and instruction provided in our program.

We offer a 2 day program for 6 months-4 years of age. Children may attend our Monday/Wednesday program OR our Tuesday/Thursday program. We have a 4 day preK program for children who will enter kindergarten the next fall. The preK program is Monday-Thursday.

Registration for Fall 2013 is now open to the public. We fill all spaces on a first come first served basis. Registration fee is $90 for our 2-day program and $100 for our 4-day preK program. Registration fees are due at the time of enrollment and are non- refundable. Tuition is $168 for our 2 day program and $282 for our 4-day program. Tuition is due the first month of school, August – May.

To register, you can come by the Smyrna Campus anytime between 9 and 2 Monday- Thursday and pick up registration forms.

Here’s a great example of the impact CLC has on the kids in the program. This is the baptism video of Bethany Clardy. Notice that she thanks her CLC teachers who helped instill the foundation of Christ in her life while she was still a preschooler. This is what the ministry of CLC is all about.

Post by Becca Wilson, Creative Learning Center Director. Becca and her husband Scott have been key leaders at LifePoint for many years and have a great passion to see people impacted by the Gospel all over the world. They have three active boys and a beautiful baby girl. You can connect with Becca on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Volleyball for Jesus

LifePoint Church —  February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Early last summer, Reed Mitchell and Justin Theriot knew they had a large opportunity on their hands. Inspired by a Wednesday night message by R.C. Ford at LifePoint’s Stewarts Creek Campus, the two college students decided to put their heads together to figure out how to be more intentional with their faith.

Image credit: Taylor McBride

Image credit: Taylor McBride

“We had been playing volleyball all summer, in mine or Justin’s yard with neighborhood kids and other friends that we would invite,” Reed said. “Then one Wednesday night, R.C. was speaking about being intentional with whatever you do. What really stood out to me was when he said, ‘When you are hanging out with people who are not Christians, if you are not actively moving towards sharing the gospel with them, or sharing the gospel with them, then you are just wasting time.”

“I remember getting a call from Reed asking me to come over and talk,” said Justin. “One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I just can’t take having all these people over at my house to play volleyball, and knowing that some of them are going to Hell because they don’t know Jesus,’” he said.

“So we started brainstorming about ways to show these people Jesus rather than just telling them about it.” Justin said. “So we decided to not really have a Bible study or small group after our volleyball games, but just a time of fellowship and getting to know each other,” he said. “It started off where 8-10 people would stay, and we would talk…and eventually God would be brought up in conversation. It just turned into this type of ministry where Reed and I could just show love and invest in these students’ lives.”

What started as a ministry to 8-10 people began to grow rapidly. Initially, around 20 people would show for the games, with about half sticking around to talk afterwards. After four weeks, the word began to spread about this “volleyball ministry,” and the numbers grew into the sixties, with 30-40 students from all over Smyrna and Murfreesboro staying to talk about Christ after the games.

“It just started to grow and grow,” Justin said. “We went from having 5-on-5 games of volleyball, to having literally 80 kids show up for volleyball and fellowship afterwards. “We began to have guest speakers come and speak after the games or show Christian movies [on a projection screen].”

“It got to the point where we had too many people for just one person to talk to,” Reed said. “So I began to divide people up into small groups, making balanced groups of believers and non-believers, and just encourage them to talk about Christ and share their testimonies,” he said. “Leaders in those groups really stepped up and really invested in these people.”

“It grew into this weekly event that people were excited about, that was centered on Christ and sharing His love,” he said. “Lives were changed though God working there.”

One life that was changed through God working in this ministry was 18-year-old Joey Zelenak, who was invited to the event by two friends who had been attending regularly throughout the summer.

“My friends Kaitlyn and Kathryn told me about it,” Joey said. “The church thing wasn’t really my scene, but they made this sound fun, so I decided to give it a shot.”

The first night Joey attended, he was one of the students who stayed after the games and participated in the intentional conversations led by Justin, Reed, and the small group leaders.

“Honestly, I stayed because I didn’t have a ride to leave,” Joey recalled with a laugh. “But I was also curious and wanted to see what they had to say. I had never had spiritual conversations before, and I enjoyed it.”

Joey became a regular attendee of the volleyball nights, and was eventually invited to come to church by Justin. After his first Wednesday night at the Stewarts Creek campus, Joey knew that it was the place for him.

“It was very different than any church experience I’d had before,” he said. “The songs were very engaging, which I really liked. I also liked that the message because I could relate to it.”

After his third Wednesday at church, Joey made the decision to follow Christ.

“I just got really pumped about it,” he said. “It just hit me and I knew it was right. I just had this want for more and more knowledge about Christ. I just knew it was right.”

Since becoming a Christ follower, Joey has joined the student worship team at Stewarts Creek, playing electric guitar and leading students in worship every Wednesday night.

After seeing the effects of Reed and Justin’s intentional faith, Joey has developed a similar desire to spread the truth of God’s word among his peers.

“Right now all my friends and people I hang out with are my church family,” he said. “But I promise, when I make new friends, I will be inviting them to church. I will definitely be inviting them.”

Joey was baptized on January 20, 2013. You can watch his baptism video below.

Mission Vancouver

LifePoint Church —  February 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

My first impression of Vancouver was that it was exactly like Seattle. Buildings looked the same, houses looked the same…as we drove, we even began comparing neighborhoods to their Seattle counterparts. When we got downtown, I started to see how the dynamic was a little different. First, the majority of downtown high-rises are apartments, not office buildings. That’s a lot of people living in a pretty small area, and we learned that there are incredibly few churches in the area.

This doesn’t mean that it is easy to connect with them. Six of us went to Vancouver a couple weeks ago to help Jeff and Sara Phillips with their new church. Jeff, Sara, and their team are following God’s call to start a church in an area where it is incredibly difficult to build relationships. It’s the setup of the city: apartment elevator keys only access the one floor their apartment is on. The young church, the Crossings Church, currently meets in an apartment’s rentable theater room. Because it’s in a private apartment building, the door to the church is technically locked, although people were always standing nearby to open it when anyone arrived.

It’s also the dynamic of the Vancouverites. The first day we were in the city, Sara told us about the walls that people have. It goes like this: everyone has a core, the essence of who we are, and we protect it fiercely. We have built walls, and in the South, for example, where Sara and Jeff are from, the outer wall is low, but the inner wall is high. It’s easy to start a simple conversation with a total stranger, and to “connect” with people on every superficial level, without ever reaching their core. In Vancouver, and a little bit less so in Seattle, the outer wall is high and the inner wall is low. It’s not easy to start a simple conversation and in group settings, people stick to themselves. Scaling that outer wall takes roughly 18 to 24 months. But once you’re in, it’s a low hurdle to know someone on a deeper level.

I think this struck me most when I spent a few minutes at Starbucks. There was one friendly barista behind the counter, and he apparently had a side role as life counselor. I listened as numerous people asked him for advice and told him their problems. One woman had a nephew struggling with depression, and another was concerned about getting his flu shot. The barista offered up advice along with a smile. The reason this lodged into my brain: People are getting their advice from the man that hands them their morning drug. I’m not saying baristas can’t offer good advice, but I was struck by the fact that the people I was hearing didn’t know where to get good wisdom.

Our main focus for the two days we spent in the city was providing child care and assisting with services so the church planting group could participate in worship and focus on encouraging members and other pastors. Saturday night, we worked with a pastor in the nearby city of Richmond to host a worship night for his church. On Sunday morning, we participated in The Crossings morning service, and later Sunday night we helped with a joint worship gathering of three churches in the Vancouver area.

Jeff and Sara Phillips face the challenge of following God’s call to start a church in an area where people live in isolated apartments that no one can get to unless they are invited. It’s not an impossible challenge; God is always at work in ways we don’t know. When we attended The Crossings Church on Sunday morning, we had a chance to meet several members, including a new Christian who heard the gospel through Jeff and Sara’s persistent friendship. You can learn more about The Crossings online.

Post by Elizabeth Olmsted. Elizabeth is a young professional who is a part of our faith family at the LifePoint Lynnwood campus in North Seattle. Elizabeth and a team from LifePoint Lynnwood served in Vancouver partnering with a church plant who is trying to Be the Church where there is no Church.