Archives For church plant

I Was Blown Away.

June 9, 2015 — 1 Comment

Rudy Gonzalez has an amazing story of redemption. From a stubborn heart to an unbelievable man of God that I am proud to say is my friend. Rudy’s story should be a testimony to us all about grace. I love it when he says, “I was blown away.” I remember that day very clearly and it’s because of these kinds of stories that I continue to seek God’s will in this church-planting adventure at Two Cities Church.

End of White Flag

December 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

This past Sunday we ended our White Flag series with the song… you guessed it… White Flag. One of our Production Volunteers captured it on video. Here’s the end of the service from his vantage-point. (Thanks for posting the video, Abel.)

Come and See

July 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

There’s a unique group of people who dare to be different. They do things against the odds. They believe so deeply in their mission that they sacrifice time, money, energy and put relationships on the line for that very mission. The best way I know how to describe this group of people is, Two Cities Church. It’s not so much a place, but a people. It’s not so much a destination, but a community. It’s a church. And it’s new. And you’re invited to Come and See what it’s all about. It’s simple. There’s a singular mission. You just have to Come and See for yourself.

Come and See this Sunday
August 3 at 10:30am
808 4th St.
Clovis, Ca 93612
Message: Promises, Promises
More Details Here.

promises

Watch this highlight reel from a recent preview service and then Come and See it in person, this Sunday.

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Meet Micah Foster

Our Guest Services Director, at Two Cities Church, has had the highest turn-over since we began this venture and it’s good. First it was Chris Loach. Chris knew the model of ministry and what a Guest Services team should look like within that. The problem with Chris Loach is that he’s just too talented and capable of doing too many things. We quickly moved him into other roles after he got the team set up. Then we asked Chris Hansen to take over the spot. Chris Hansen had spent some time volunteering on the Guest Services team at The Village Church in Dallas, TX. He excitedly and willingly took on the role. He brought a different perspective and was able to help us create a better, more welcoming, set up in our lobby. Chris Hansen just moved back to Texas for a new job. We already miss Chris H. and his wife, Lisa. As various volunteer staff helped me brainstorm on who we could challenge to this position, one name kept surfacing… I give you Brian Weber. brian and michelle 1 brian costume

I asked Brian to share a little about himself by filling out a brief survey. Here’s what he said:
  • What’s your full name and age?

    Brian Kenneth Weber, 34 (35 on Halloween!)

  • What’s your full-time job?

    Director of Customer Solutions – Decade Software; I leave a team that develops custom solutions for automating data management within regulatory agencies.

  • Tell us a little about your family.

    Wife of almost one year, Michelle. She is the glue in our family and provides a calming effect to all of us! We have a son, Braden, 7-years-old who is in love with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and showing his sister hot to do everything. Camryn, 4.5-years-old, is in love with her dolls making her older brother THINK he is showing her how to do things. She is wise neon dyer years. Both love reading in the Bible and asking great questions bout God. Finally, Michelle and I are expecting a baby boy due in October. We couldn’t be more blessed.

  • What’s your favorite things about Two Cities Church?

    Two Cities is a church for any person, God-seeking, God-loving, God-questioning. There isn’t any judgement at Two Cities, just come hang out and we can learn from each other.

  • Why did you accept the invitation to be on our volunteer staff team?

    I accepted the invitation to be the Director of Guest Services because I believe in the direction of Two Cities and I can’t wait to contribute to its growth.

  • What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Two Cities?

    I want Two Cities to fulfill God’s plan for our church. The size, revenue, or funding is not as important as impacting people’s lives as we can provide an outlet to build a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to experience the ride!

We are excited to have Brian on the volunteer staff team and can’t wait to see what he brings to the Guest Services Director position. You can watch Brian and Michelle’s #WeAreTwoCities video here. You can read about our Volunteer Staff team here.

Staff-Values

At Two Cities Church we have six staff values. They are a basic agreement, a basic way of operation for loud our staff. These are commitments we’ve made to each other and God and we believe that these values will help shape the culture we hope to continue to build. We didn’t make these up. We borrowed them from North Point Ministries in Atlanta, GA because we’ve seen them create exactly what we feel every community needs. That is, a church that unchurched people love to attend all for the purpose of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

These values are hard to live out. As soon as we put these on paper, they began to be challenged by our circumstances. In particular, the one staff value that has been the most challenging is Remain open-handed.

We have had the amazing company of fantastic couples who believe in the mission of Jesus Christ, as expressed through Two Cities Church. But the job market in Fresno and Clovis has not been good to us. There have been three critical and key couples who have had to move away due to job opportunities outside of our area. They all wanted to stay. They collectively applied to what seems like hundreds of jobs in our area, but ultimately got one somewhere else. They are now a part of our extended family!

Dale and Susy Cobb lived in Visalia and drove 45 minutes just to come to small group every week. They move to the central coast for a new job opportunity. Erica and I had the pleasure of having dinner with them a couple of months ago and we miss them.

Mauro and Chelsea DeBenedetto joined our team and a few months later he was hired on full-time as a worship pastor at a church in one of the out-lying Fresno communities. You can see Mauro’s baptism video here.

Eric and Tracy Bomgardner have been an essential part of Two Cities since we moved back to town from Santa Rosa, Ca. Eric recently accepted a job in the Seattle, WA area. Tracy is still in town for a few more months, but we already miss Eric at our services and groups. Eric remains on our board.

Chris and Lisa Hansen are our most recent couple to move. Chris left for Dallas, TX while Erica and I were recently on vacation. He has been on a job search for a long time. He got a great job in Texas and Lisa is moving out in a couple of weeks. We will miss them dearly.

It’s difficult to remain open-handed, but what choice do we have, right? These are circumstances beyond our control, like most things. Here’s what we know, every loss we experience in terms of people moving away is an opportunity for new people to step into a greater role. For example, Chris Hansen was leading our Guest Services team as a volunteer director. As soon as found out he got the job, we began to imagine who God might use to fill that role and I’m thankful to say that someone else has already stepped up. (More on that in a future post.)

Staff values are important because they help govern your responsiveness to challenge and they shape the culture you create. These are not statements on a piece of paper, these are guidelines to which we hold ourselves. And at this point, this one in particular, is difficult for us to live out… but we trust Christ, that His plan is being made perfect and He is motivating a host of people to get their hands dirty in the ditches of relationships and ministry at Two Cities Church. You might even be one of them.

If you’d like to know about our other five staff values, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to post about those as well.

Meet Westley and Vanessa Rakis-Garabedian. We showed their story at our last service at Two Cities Church. Westley and Vanessa are a vital part of our team at Two Cities Church. They have two beautiful little girls in Waumba Land and we are so excited that they’ve jumped on board with us at Two Cities.

Enjoy their #WeAreTwoCities story to find out why they’re so excited about Two Cities. [Can’t see the video? Click here.]

Click for more #WeAreTwoCities Videos.

Meet Chris and Lisa

March 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

Meet Chris and Lisa Hansen. We showed their story this past Sunday at Two Cities Church. Chris and Lisa are a vital part of our team at Two Cities Church. Lisa volunteers as a small group leader for our UpStreet kids and Chris recently took on the role of Guest Services Director. They are open, honest and just trying to follow God’s direction in their lives every day.

Enjoy their #WeAreTwoCities story below. [Can’t see the video? Click here.]

“Who are you investing in?” – Chris
“Two Cities is probably the first church that I’ve been involved with where I felt really comfortable inviting somebody.” – Lisa

Chris and Lisa were looking for a place that they felt God could use them together as a couple.

Click for more #WeAreTwoCities Videos.

Ever fought with someone? Like really, fought? As in, really said the harshest things you could think at them only to feel complete desolation of a relationship afterwards? If yes, then Fight Night at Two Cities Church is for you. You may have seen the following Flipagram floating around Instagram or Facebook. That’s because we believe there are two big audiences in Fresno/Clovis that need to be at Fight Night and so we will do whatever it takes to make you aware of this event. Those two audiences are:
1. Christians who aren’t connected to a local church in a way that is helping to grow their relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. People who don’t believe in Jesus.
If either of those descriptions is you or someone you can bring along, come out for Fight Night. I promise, you won’t regret it.

This Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 5pm.
808 4th St., Clovis, Ca 93612

We’re having our fourth glimpse (preview) service at Two Cities Church.
RSVP by clicking here to see our Facebook event, or just show up.

We have incredible environments for kids (birth-6th grade), a relevant and engaging service for adults and we genuinely seek to add value to your life. So come on out for #FightNight.
We hope to see you at Fight Night at Two Cities Church.

Church Planting is a unique journey. There are as many unique journeys as there are church plants and failed church plants. Thankfully, Two Cities Church has been fortunate enough to learn from both. I’ve had many conversations with people who have planted, are planting and plan on planting. I’ve had great coaching from North Point Ministries, their North Point Strategic Partner Office, and from Growing Healthy Churches. The thing about coaching is, your coaches won’t always agree on what you ought to do. And there’s a reason for that. Every church plant is unique and every community is unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that I’ve found. Maybe you have? There are transferable principles and timeless truths, but you’ve got to adapt to your own location, talents, and resources. The common denominator in any church plant is, it could not succeed without the power of God making a way for it to succeed.

Despite the mountains of resources available to church planters. I’ve found that there continues to be 5 common church planting misconceptions. There’s probably more, but these are just some that I’ve run across.
  1. Church Planting Should Be Easy
    Here’s the logic, “If God is behind it, meaning it’s his will, then Church Planting should be so easy.” Well, maybe, but if there’s no struggle, it’s going to be cheap. The best wines in the world involve a vine that has to struggle. The richness of that struggle comes across in its taste. The best church planting stories I’ve heard involved struggle. If you don’t struggle how are you supposed to develop into the person, leader, or pastor God wants to use in order to expand his kingdom? Easy doesn’t necessarily mean good.
  2. Church Planting Will Kill Your Family
    I’ve heard about church planters neglecting their family and it ultimately causing marital issues. I can see how easy it would be do to that. I mean you’re doing “the Lord’s work” so obviously it comes first, right? Well, maybe we have a misunderstanding of the Lord’s primary call on our lives. Making our families a priority over the church is important. There will be sacrifice, but there doesn’t have to be death of relationships. Fortunately, my wife and I both work from home and get to have meals together, can help each other out when the kids are acting crazy. We carry each other’s burdens as much as possible.
  3. Build it and They Will Come
    Nope. ‘Nuff said.
  4. People (and Money) Follow Vision (Alone)
    This is true, in part. I think people gain interest based upon the vision, but they don’t follow you based on a vision. They follow you based on what you’ve done. The best way I know how to describe this is having some sort of track record. Makes sense, right? So if you don’t have a long track record, be prepared for things to take longer than usual, so that you can establish a voice in the community.
  5. Church Planting is About a Building
    Just because you have a place to meet or a building, does not mean you’ll pack the house. It is important to be able to meet somewhere, but it’s more important to have committed people on your team. When we announced we were planting a church, people asked me, “So, where’s the church?” At that moment, the church was spread over five house-holds. Three in Santa Rosa and two in Fresno/Clovis. The church is people, not a building. We can not forget that.

With those 5 Common Church Planting Misconceptions in mind I want to share the planting story of some friends of our in Gainesville, FL. This past Sunday they celebrated their 5 year anniversary! But as you can expect, it hasn’t been an easy ride. As a part of the celebration they released a 16-minute documentary about their start-up story.

So, what church planting misconceptions have you heard or believed?

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It’s Worth It.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Step Up[date]

December 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

[Summary of What’s below: Update on our Step Up Campaign, What We Hope for in 2014, How You Can Help Get Push This Vision Forward]step up letterhead
Update
Here’s a quick update last post on our end-of-year Step Up campaign. Let me remind of you our goals for this campaign.

  • $10,000 in one-time gifts
  • $4,000 pledged in increased monthly giving starting in Jan 2014

As of this moment we are still in need of:

  • $8,620.63 in one-time gifts
  • $3,550 pledged in increased monthly giving starting in Jan 2014

What we Hope for in 2014
But here’s the deal. We don’t need the money to sustain what we’ve been doing. We’re not in maintenance mode. We want to step up the implementation of our mission and vision. To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating a church that unchurched people love to attend.

Here’s what the cash from this campaign enables us to do:

  • Hire a Service Programming Director – The person in charge of the adult worship experience from the parking lot to the stage.
  • Increase service frequency from 1x monthly to every 3 weeks, then every other week, then every week. [The rate at which this increases is determined by increasing volunteerism, giving, inviting and involvement with small groups.]
  • Pay off the credit we owe to our credit card, due to the purchase of our equipment and trailer.
  • Pay for our December events (KidStuf Christmas Edition and Christmas Night of Worship).
  • Give us a little margin entering 2014 for the unexpected expenses we’ll face.

In 2014, we will:

  • Open UpStreet (K-6th grade environment) – in January we will have a BETA version open!
  • Continue to grow Waumba Land – it was doubled between our first two services
  • Host every week services by mid fall 2014
  • Increase our engagement with each other through more group opportunities
  • Increase our engagement with each other through our Strategic Service teams

In 2014, we hope to:

  • Hire some of our key volunteer staff
  • Create a Starting Point group for seekers, starters and returners
  • Continue baptizing people
  • Increase our community impact by partnering with local non-profits that are getting it done

*In 2014 we will receive $25,000 in matching funds from Growing Healthy Churches. Some of this end-of-year campaign will qualify us to receive some of those funds*

Push the Vision forward:
So, here’s how you can help us reach our goals for this campaign.

1. Give or increase giving, monthly
2. Give a one-time gift (tax deductible for 2013) online
, by mail (1865 Herndon Ave K304, Clovis, Ca 93611) or in person at our Christmas Night of Worship
3. Invite your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to our events, like these (KidStuf Christmas Edition and Christmas Night of Worship)
4. Join a launch group (small group) in January
5. Join a Strategic Service team, just let us know at our next event

You may think, “I can’t afford much, so it’s not that big of a difference.” Every penny matters, every act of faith is significant. When you give, you’re not just saying, “I want to support this.” You’re saying, “I trust God to do something significant with this.” It’s an opportunity to grow in your relationship with Jesus… which is accomplishing our mission.

Let’s Step Up together so that Two Cities Church can Step it Up!