Johnny's Blog
  • What Happened To Trinity Fest?

    I recently received an email from a writer on the Mitchel High School newspaper staff. They are running an article on 'Why GCC canceled Trinity Fest,' and I wanted to take an opportunity to let everyone peek into our leadership meetings and decision process concerning this fall's strategy in connecting people to Christ locally! Since so many teens attend Trinity Fest, and since this topic is of interest to them, I thought I would post our comments for the paper in full because they convey the heart and hope of Generations Christian Church over the next few weeks!

    Dear Mitch High School News Paper Reporter,

    Thanks for reaching out to us to comment! We estimate that 8,000 people visited Trinity Fest last year and it was a fun event for our whole community. I, personally, LOVE this event and participated in everything from the 5K to the business expo and especially ate the equivalent of my weight in elephant ears.

    Our main goal is 'to connect people to Christ' at Generations. So with everything we do, we evaluate how effective each tactic is that we employ to connect people in meaningful ways relationally to our church and Christ.

    Our analysis showed that Trinity Fest was a GOOD event, and we look forward to bringing it back in the upcoming years. Our data also showed us that, of those 8,000 visitors, almost half of them also attended our one-night Fall Festival and Trunk-R-Treat event! This event proved to be one of our BEST events!

    Because of this analysis, we have chosen to pause the tradition of Trinity Fest, in some respects, for the fall of 2019 and focus on working in more effective ways to achieve our primary goal while wisely using our resources for the most positive impact on our local community.

    We are making our Fall Festival event on October 30th bigger this year with more family experiences, bounce houses, food trucks, and MORE decorated trunks with candy!

    For students at Mitchell High School, we have a special event each month called "1st Wednesday". This event happens every 1st Wednesday of the month at 7 pm for all students. We have put lots of resources into themed party environments, food, and massive inflatable games. This tactic has helped our Youth ministry grow every week. We are seeing high school students meet other kids, make friends, get into small groups, and get connected with mentors. 

    This decision was just one of many we are doing that make an impact all year long and helps Generations realize our goal of connecting people to Christ more effectively!

    Feel free to use any or part of the quotes above, and I'd also love to personally invite you to come out on a Wednesday to visit or get some photos for your article. Thanks again for letting us participate.

    Blog Postscript

    I was so excited to have pastor Mickey preach the second message in our current series, "This Is Your Time: Discipleship." This message is our main strategy, to seek and find lost people. The next part of Jesus' instruction is to baptize and teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded (Matt 28 16-20). The way we say it is simply this, "Connecting People to Christ."

    There is an urgency and expectancy we are concentrating on as a church right now with our tag line, "This Is Your Time." We could have a massive festival and attract 10,000 people to our church property. That would be wonderful, and we would all rejoice at the influence for Christ we worked for. But even if that endeavor was financially successful in stewarding the provision of the Lord, and everyone also had a good time, it would still not guarantee we were moving faster towards our goal of making disciples! This is our priority, and we have a responsibility to consider it in each decision moving forward.

    There is no doubt I do believe that getting people on our campus is a significant first step towards more in-depth community. When people come on our campus, we must be ready to engage them intentionally, and our church does a great job at this! We must be wise as we decide which tactics we use and in which order. 

    I think the best illustration here comes from Jim Collins highly regarded book, Good to Great. Jim uses the idea of a flywheel or child playground Merry-Go-Round. It is very difficult to start pushing a fully weighted down Merry-Go-Round. However, once it is in full motion, a person can simply stand and maintain the speed by an occasional gentle tap the Merry-Go-Round. The amount of inertia it takes to start a big thing, like Trinity Fest, is much greater than the energy it takes to sustain it or add it to an organization that is already spinning quickly and effectively in the right direction.

    So the next question in our strategic process is, "What tactics gain momentum towards our goal of connecting people to Christ the fastest?" What tactics are the most cost-effective and, at the same time, have the most substantial return on the kingdom investment? We invest time, resources, and creativity into many programs. The metric that we must always evaluate our strategies success by is "how many new people are being connected to Christ?" As a staff and leadership team, we have been prayerfully asking these questions for the past year.

    We are looking forward to so many wonderful events and gathering times that reach out to our community and friends over this fall season! A person could not possibly attend them all! This is your time to engage the community God has placed you in and connect them to Christ!

  • These Things I Leave You ...


    You're not going to want to miss a single week of this next series. If you are on vacation make sure you log in live (HERE) or catch up during the week because this new series is great for Christians who need to take a more in-depth look or those who have yet to make a confession to our Lord of belief!

    Invite your friends, nag your family, and make sure you are tuned in because This Is Your Time to dive deeper, understand more, and take a quantum leap in your life spiritually.

    Think about the bold statements that Christ made during His ministry! The Kingdom of Heaven is here! In the course of all human events has a more critical news scoop ever existed? The physical reality that we all know has been interrupted by the collision of the spiritual realm. Jesus himself broke the news when He announced, “The Kingdom of Heaven has arrived”. Three years later, he was gone and vanished into a cloud. His followers thought, "What now?"

    Jesus left us with a mission and the tools to accomplish the task. If the Church is the vehicle, then what elements give it power? "These Things I Leave You . . ." is a series all about the aspects of the church that Jesus himself instituted. We can't overlook the perfect plans He laid either himself or through His closest Apostles. We will look at these foundational elements that Jesus left us with to build His Kingdom here: Worship, Gifts of the Spirit, Scripture, Baptism, Communion, and the Hope of Heaven.

    This is not an exhaustive list. Clearly, other things connect us to the power source of Christ like prayer, service, and obedience. Many of those essential elements to our Christian walk will come up in the series. Jesus introduced new things we need and reformed some Jewish customs to prepare us for joy in the task before us.

    Don’t Miss A Week!

    WORSHIP | June  8 & 9

    Core Verse: John 4:23

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 

    Narrative Text: Exodus 40 | Tabernacle Experience

    UNITY | GIFTS | June 15 & 16

    Core Verse: Ephesians 4:4-7

    There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Narrative Text: Acts 15 | Circumcision

    SCRIPTURE | June 22 & 23

    Core Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

    Narrative Text: Mark 4:35-5:43

    BAPTISM | June 29 & 30

    Core Verse: Acts 2:38

    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Narrative Text: Exodus 14-15 | Crossing Sea

    COMMUNION | July 6 & 7

    Core Verse: John 6:53

    Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 

    Narrative Text: Exodus 12-13 | Passover

    HEAVEN | July 13 & 14

    Core Verse: Revelation 21:1-3

    Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

    Narrative Text: Revelation 21-22 | Heaven

  • 2019 Core 52 Sermon Series

    I’ve announced a few times earlier this year about the exciting 2019 Core 52 sermon series plan. I am personally excited because I have the opportunity to partner with a dear friend on this project and the experience we are having on the weekends is awesome. Here is what we are working on in 2019:

    Core 52 is a content road map for the weekend corporate teaching. Mark Moore is the developer and author of a book called Core 52. Mark has also custom designed a road map just for GCC, connecting the top 52 essential verses in God's Word with the top 52 ‘can't miss’ narrative texts! Now, I have to give this sidebar real quick, this isn’t legalistic folks! We know there isn’t a passage that says, "here are the most important verses." (besides when Jesus said this is the GREATEST COMMANDMENT OF ALL in Matthew 22!) However, after years of study and teaching at the collegiate level, Mark has zeroed in on what he believes are the most important texts to build on. If we start with these 52 verses and 52 narrative texts, the base knowledge in both testaments and primary historical contexts will prove to be a firm bible foundation. This is one of the significant things that we are all called to do, ‘teach and closely watch out for sound doctrine’ in 1Timothy 4:16.

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed that we are in a long 52 week series. That is because our creative arts team has broken the larger series into smaller mini-series with compelling theming (Thanks to our team!). We are super thankful for the road map that Mark has created. We would encourage you to grab his book too! Don’t worry, this won’t spoil the GCC weekend experience! God’s Word is deep and wide! Sometimes we have tracked just with the main memory verse and haven’t had time to use the narrative text as the means to explain or teach the memory verse. There’s nothing wrong with this! We can’t go wrong when we are opening God’s Word and digging in. Some of the themes will line up for sure with Mark’s book, but our custom GCC mini-series and weekly snapshots are tailor-made for what we are experiencing here at GCC!

    Here is the win for our church and how you can participate:

    • Join us in memorizing these 52 verses here!
    • Join us in taking a quantum leap in understanding God's Word in a deeper way!
    • Pray for God to help you understand His Word in a deeper way.
    • Invite anyone who doesn’t understand God’s plan for their life to join us on this journey at GCC.
    • Watch this video HERE

    This is Your Time . . . to Dive Deeper!


  • Special ingredients for our season . . .

    If we were to look at the necessary ingredient list for our new choir initiative, it would read like the labels we see in stores on ordinary products we buy every day. I never looked at ingredient labels until we had kids. I soon came to find out that my favorite items had the first, and thus largest volume, an ingredient of ‘high fructose corn syrup.' Come to find out, all of my favorite foods, that I thought were different, were actually just different textures and colors of the same main ingredient- corn syrup.

    Ingredients matter and so have been prayerfully considering the elements that we add to our new Choir initiative. I imagine you are thinking now about the correct first and most important ingredient. This is a metaphor so don't blow a fuse thinking and overthinking this theologically. The environment we are making our Choir in has some given elements that are foundational and not considered ingredients. These things would include the Holy Spirit, Faith, and Unity in Christ. These things are so elementary to what we do that they are as Paul described in Acts 17:28 how we, "...live and move and have our being."

    Here are our ingredients: Leadership and Songs!

    We invite you to welcome both and get to know them!

    Ingredient #1 Leadership

    Jonathan Wimp is a worship leader and music Director that I have known since college. We both attended Cincinnati Christian University around the same time and traveled together leading worship when Matchbox 20 was a popular band.

     

     “I grew up in a small but strong church in the southern Indiana town of Scottsburg, where the Lord called me to Himself and eventually into ministry. Following His call has taken my family and me all over the country where I have served in local churches over the last 23 years. 

     My wife, Julia (who is Russian) and I met in Moscow, Russia in 2003 and in February we will celebrate our 12th anniversary. We have three little girls: Nelly (9 years old), Mila (5 years old), and Amily (like Emily but with an "Ah" sound, 2 years old) who are teaching us daily about the love of God.

    I have dedicated my life to the service of the Lord and am excited to partner with and lead those the Lord has and will call to service through Worship Ministry. I can't wait to meet, grow with, worship with, and serve you! Be Blessed!”

    A Word From Jonathan

    Ingredient #2 Songs

    "Raise a Hallelujah"

    "Great Things"

    "It is Finished" - Passion

    If you missed some of my previous thoughts on starting a GCC Choir I would ask you to take a look at the first blog I wrote a few months ago and see the heart behind the vision:

    Choir Blog

  • Leaked Internal Email from GCC Leadership

    I wanted to inform the church, as soon as possible, that I have identified a mole in the organization that has been leaking intentions, motives, and strategies to anyone who will ask. Some of the leaks are even documents that have secret plans on them. It seemed most prudent to have everyone find out about this situation at the same exact moment in fairness everyone involved. We are all aware of how fast news like this spreads. The best way to handle a predicament like this is to just let the facts speak for themselves so here is the deal:

    I am the mole, and I even have proof.

    Let's all just be honest right now and admit that is one eye-catching and juicy lead line! Don't be disappointed and stop reading! I really have some proof you need to see and even an internal document from the last 48 hours that was circulated in the leadership of GCC that you need to read! I have made no edits to this document. Nothing is blacked out. We are going to put the entire thing right here in this post so everyone can read it!

    I have been meeting with people talking about the things that God is stirring in the heart of His church. It has been exciting. I want to share a story about it with you to let you peek into the heart of what we are aiming for, and then I'll ask you to read the internal document we are sharing.

    I met with one gentleman recently and answered some questions he had on a variety of topics. It’s usual for me to ask for advice and be transparent about the decisions leadership prayerfully makes. When you don’t have an answer to a problem, the best thing to do is just say so. A few days later my wife ran into the wife of this gentleman. They exchanged greetings, and then this lady expressed to my wife that it seems like we are simply "over our heads." Please don't think that this is crazy for me to ‘out’ a single person in this way. It wasn’t the first time that Jen and I have heard this in the past 22 years of following the call to proclaim Christ crucified. It hasn’t been a single person nor would we ever receive such a word about our ability from a person without following Christ’s instructions to ‘take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Cor 10:5).

    So I have been taking . . . And retaking that comment captive over a few weeks. As I strive to make all thoughts obedient to Christ, I am reminded of His Word to me in so many beautiful ways.

    • God didn’t call Moses because he was capable. God was capable, and Moses was obedient.
    • Paul rejoiced in his inadequacies. Paul rejoiced in his weakness. As a matter of fact, that is how Jesus gets more glory! He writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10, Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    You have got to know these stories.
    You have got to know these scriptures.

    How can you make thoughts obedient to Christ if you don’t know what His metrics are? What are His teachings that would guide how you should be classifying thoughts? How are you going to know when to throw an idea out or keep it and build your life on it. One wrong decision could drastically alter your life course. It’s imperative that you know how to make thoughts captive!

    What is being put in front of you right now? What is going on in your life that you need help deciding? We all have messages sent our way. One of the hardest skill-sets to acquire is the ability to discern. Life experience is helpful. But nothing will ever be able to compete with the potency of knowing the entire counsel of God’s Word to guide and direct your life.

    When we come together on the weekends as a church, we are exercising muscles to help us cope and maneuver through the difficult messages sent our way. We are going to exercise proclamation this week. As a body, we need to:

    • Testify to one another the goodness of our God.
    • Boast in our weaknesses and God’s ability to overcome.
    • Share our burdens with one another.
    • Proclaim God’s healing victory in our lives.
    • Witness to people who are in our midst and lost that Jesus is REAL.
    • Encourage one another in love and good deeds.

    We need a warm-up exercise. If you want to get the most out of a workout, you don’t just jump right in. There are steps. Knowledge deepens the experience. I am compelled to share this recently declassified internal document to help us in preparing our hearts for the weekend!


    To,

    The Staff, Elders, and Key Leaders:

    I want to invite you into the prayer, planning, and leadership of a special element during this weekend's services. Our Theme song during this "For You" Series is “Welcome the Healer” and the message and words of this song have helped craft this element. This email is intended to join us together in unity for a specific moment as a church in response to God’s Word.

    What is it?

    We are inviting people in the audience to come and Finish the sentence: “I welcome the Healer ______________”. This will happen at the end of the message during a planned response time. We are crying out to Jesus to come and heal us as a single entity and as individual members. People will be directed to go to the center cross aisle in the sanctuary where a few key leaders will have the public address microphones.

    Some great examples of what would be edifying and appropriate to the body would be:

    We welcome the Healer . . . 
    ...Into my unbelief 
    ...to bring unity
    ...Into my addiction 
    ...to our church
    ...Into my Anger 
    ...to our sadness
    ...Into my brokenness 
    ...to the division 
    ...Into my depression 
    ...to our fear
    ...Into guarding my heart and mind 
    ...into my Dr. report
    ...Into what I will wear 
    ...into my secret life
    ...Into what others think about me 
    ...into my insecurities
    ...Into my thoughts about suicide 
    ...into my priorities 
    ...Into my past 
    ...into my work

    Why Should we Do this?

    It is Biblical. God's Word demands a response. The New Testament letters were written to believers. They were written to the church to encourage, continue in our equipping and to assure us of the hope that we have. Our weekend gatherings need to incorporate our testimony to who God is and what He is doing NOW in our lives. As believers, we have not arrived. We are in progress, being sanctified. It is messy and yet beautiful. The more honest we are about that process, the more attractive the Gospel is! When people see us inviting a real living Spirit into our lives, into our brokenness, we DEMOLISH (2 Cor. 10:5) every argument against the Gospel! Let these verses pour over your heart as God prepares us for this weekend!!

    Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story-- those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,...

    1 Peter 3:15b Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for hope that you have.

    Matthew 10:32 "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven."

    Luke 8:39 ESV "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."  And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. 

    Mark 5:19b "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how had mercy on you."

    Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has comes on you, and you shall be My witnesses..."

    Declaring our need for the Healer is Biblical. Praising Him immediately for the help He brings is Biblical. This practice is intended to be a part of our corporate worship times! 

    What is my role?

    • Stand and be counted. Levites are WARRIOR Priests who were positioned first in battle. I am asking the WARRIOR Priests of GCC to prayerfully consider how you would invite the Healer into our Church and your life.
      • Let your words and attitude reflect the words in Philippians 4:8 ESV, “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
      • May the way you invite the Spirit into our Church edify the Body of Christ.
    • Listen to this song over the next 48 hours.
      • Pray it. Learn it.
      • Sync up with the sentiment and message.
    • Ask for the outpouring of God on our Church this weekend.
    • Forward this email to people on your team, call people, ask them to be prepared to Testify, respond, witness, confess, on Sunday. I am thinking of so many people who need to get a phone call or be specifically asked. I won't take that from you. It would not be Biblical. Jethro told Moses to delegate! It has been said that it takes 400 people to make a weekend happen at GCC, then 400 people should get this email or a phone call in the next 48 hours from church leadership. If a person serves in your area, then please forward to them with a personal invitation to participate in this weekend's services.
    • Reflect on what God is doing at GCC and your part in it.
      • Isaiah 43:19a, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” God is doing a NEW THING at our church! What a great thing to be a part of. Embrace this fully. It is FOR all of us. He is genuinely leading our experience.
      • Acts 5:39 “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

    It’s not my thing!

    I get it. Public speaking is NOT a requirement for following Christ or being an active Kingdom worker. We can't have every staff member, elder, small group leader in every service take up all the available time we have. The body NEEDS to participate in this moment. Paul has guidance for us here:

    Ephesians 4:11-12, So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up...

    Fill your role as led by the Holy Spirit! I am trusting that God will guide this coming weekend. He has been leading in the song, the message, even in the obstacles. God ADVANCES before the Bride in Spiritual Warfare. Here’s the last scripture😊. I hope you are still reading! We DESPERATELY NEED TO KNOW THIS Word from God. Paul is instructing the church in Corinth:

    1 Corinthians 11:17-19, I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.  For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

    As individuals, we are all in constant need of the Healer. Let us come together for the better! I need the Healer (Jesus) in EVERY WAY. You need a continuous ‘Healer’ encounter. Our church also needs healing in many ways. May John 17 Unity abound. May the storehouse of the Lord be made full in obedience during this season at our church. May the people see the new thing that God is doing and give to the continued work of the Lord at GCC. May the eldership and staff continue to be knit together in Biblical Unity that the body perceives and rejoices in!

    Let’s welcome the Healer in this place!

    Johnny


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