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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!

One Small Step…

December 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

The life of a church plant goes through many phases or steps.
Here are just a few, off the top of my head.

Prayer/Exploration:
A person or collection of people feel a call, pray about it, seek counsel and explore the options.
Decision:
A person or collection of people make the final decision and begin to talk about it with a selective group of people.
Build:
A team of people begin to form around the call to build that church. I’m not talking about a physical building, I’m talking about a body of people. That’s what the church is… a body of people.
Pre-Launch:
That team begins to hold small gatherings of interested people to share the vision.
Pre-View:
That team begins holding semi-regular “glimpses” into what the church services will be like. (This is where we are at) Those glimpses increase in frequency over time, as cash-flow increases.
Launch:
That team and the people who have come around the vision of the church start “every-week” services.
Continued Growth:
The years and decades to follow impacting the community, country and world.

This probably isn’t every church plant’s story. But it’s ours.
I’m getting comments left and right from people who have come to our services saying these three things.

I love Two Cities, it feels like home.

I just wish it was every Sunday.

We’ll be there when the elementary environment (UpStreet) is open!

So here’s where we’re at:

In order to increase our service frequency and open up UpStreet, we need to increase The 4 Things:

  • Percentage Giving:
    The amount of people giving a consistent amount every month needs to increase by at least $4,000 a month. In addition to the increase in monthly giving we have a goal of raising an extra 10K at the end of 2013. That money will be used to pay the last couple grand owed for our portable church system (credit card), various insurance plans we’ve recently started, events we’re holding in December and give us a little margin with which to begin 2014.
  • Strategic Service:
    The amount of people serving needs to increase.
  • Authentic Community:
    As we grow, we need to continue to create small environments, groups, that meet in living rooms.
  • Invest & Invite:
    Investing in the people around us and invite them to come to a service or event.

So, how can you help? Take one small step today.
Give regularly online, let me know you’d like to serve on a team, join a group in January and invite everyone you know to come and see what Two Cities Church is all about.

Baptism Gathering Pictures

November 30, 2013 — 2 Comments

On Nov 22 Two Cities Church had our first ever Baptism Gathering. Cady Hurtado and Mauro DeBenedetto went public with their faith in Jesus Christ and boldly proclaimed Him as their Lord and Savior. Videos will follow later, but here’s a few pictures from the evening. Most of these were during the video shoot or rehearsal, but you get the idea…







If you’re interested in baptism, reach out, let’s talk.

Imagine this.

You’re a church planter.
You take risks.
You believe that things will work out when you take those risks.
You run into issues from time-to-time that require quick thinking and fast action.
Your RightPath profile says you’re a DRIVER, which means you’ll get it done.

Now, imagine what you would do in this scenario…

It’s 8:45am on Sunday November 17.
Today is the day of the church plants second service, ever.
You drive up to the security gate, an arm activated by a key card (fob-esque).
You run your key card over the sensor.
Nothing happens.
You do it again.
Nothing.
The guy behind you in his truck is waiting because he’s volunteered to tow your 26′ trailer to the location of the portable church.
This is the first time you’ve ever met the man.
He’s a brother-in-law of someone who helped for the first service.

You repeatedly try to scan your card, but nothing.

You inform your wife, sitting in the passenger seat, and the man behind you that you’re going to try the uHaul next door. Maybe they can get into the lot through a pad-locked gate.

No, that’s doesn’t work.
Maybe this man on the street who has a boat in the lot can get in with his card? No.

The storage lot is owned by a local glass shop. They’re closed on Sundays. In fact they don’t usually grant Sunday access, but they are friendly to churches and you got special permission and a special remote for the outer gate.

Your wife looks at you as you examine the gate and start analyzing how you’re going to break in.
She says, “So, what are you going to do?” The pressure is on.

You remember that the man who helped you when you first rented the space used to drive a trailer for another church in town called The Quest… You pull out your phone and you have the pastor’s cell phone in your contacts. But it’s Sunday morning, what pastor is going to answer a call on Sunday morning?

You call. He answers. He sounds confused. You haven’t spoken in months, but had a mutual contact connect the two of you previously that year.

You say, “Hey, It’s Micah from Two Cities Church. How you doing?”
He answers, “Fine?”
“I have a very strange question for you…” As you unpack what’s happened, he agrees to track down the guy who helped you. Turns out, he’s one of the owners. The owner calls your cell phone and meets you there. He unscrews a few bolts and you pull out at the arm.

The owner helps you break in and get your trailer. By the time you return the trailer, the gate has been fixed and improved.

Imagine your stress.
What would you have done?

Imagine if my wife’s uncle hadn’t put me in contact with a man, who would connect me with that Pastor, who months later would be such a key player in tracking down the owner, who loves the church and wanted to help us? Imagine.

It’s all orchestrated by God and it’s amazing how the churches and Christians in our Two Cities can work together to accomplish big things. Now that’s the body of Christ at work. Loving each other. Helping each other. In the moment it felt like a fiasco, but at the rear-view-mirror… it feels like God saying, “Keep trusting me.”

Church planters are confronted with issues every week, sometimes daily. There is no easy way to plant a church, but it’s always worth it. Check back on this blog Saturday to see why it’s worth it.

Two Cities Glimpse Media

November 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

On Nov 17 we had our second service, a glimpse, at Two Cities Church.
We have two events in December coming up.
Check out this Instagram videos and pictures from different people on our Launch Team depicting what went down at the service.
Click here to see videos from Oct 13.

















Also read: What Happened Yesterday? to see what happened at our second glimpse of Two Cities Church.

What happened yesterday?

November 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

It’s time to celebrate what God’s been doing in and through Two Cities Church.

  • Paul Haugen’s brother told a coworker about TCC. That guy came and said to Paul’s brother after, “It was great. Micah was a really good speaker and the music was awesome. I will definitely go back in December.”
  • Thilani Grubel had a mom come back to her after their video testimony played and give her a huge hug. The Grubels’ story seemed to really touch people’s hearts.
  • Micah had several people come up to him after commenting about what a great service it was.
  • Waumba Land doubled in attendance from Glimpse service #1!
  • One man said, “Just want to say how grateful my family and I are for two cities. It is a church for unchurched for sure, but it also is a church we enjoy even though we are “churched.” We wouldn’t have a place to hear from God if you guys didn’t exist.”
  • Several Waumba Land kids were able to retell the story they heard in Large Group!
  • Someone came up to Chris Loach at the connections table after and said, “I think this is where we will be coming now and I can’t wait to bring my niece who’s 22 here.”
  • Someone told Darren Grubel she has been struggling for awhile, but felt home in the first 5 minutes.
  • Tyler (Lisa’s son) came to help us set up yesterday morning. He has been going through a difficult time, and this was a big step!
  • We had over 100 people again, even on a night where there were a lot of other options including the Winter Jam at Save Mart Center.
  • One couple dropped their son Ghavin off in WL for the first time they have left him anywhere, and he did great!
  • One of the young guys in the Loach’s Launch Group brought 3 guys with him from his fraternity and they were really excited after and took home CDs of an Andy Stanley sermon which communicates our vision.
  • Paul and Jenn’s sister in law came with her two girls. Her daughter said to Grace (her cousin) after Waumba Land, “This church is fun! I want to come again.”
  • The guy who drove our trailer said he wants to come back and check it out.
  • We have tapped into a really good group of young musicians who seem to really enjoy playing and want to come back.
  • A mom who had two kids in WL wrote on our Facebook wall, “had the BEST time tonight and can’t wait for more events!” Josiah (my son) was so excited all day for WL. At bedtime he said “When I am bigger I will work at TCC and talk to all the people in the other room like Daddy.” A selfish win, but in all honesty planting this church has been the best thing we could have done for our family. Our kids are seeing God work in real tangible ways and are excited about church and learning about God!

[see more stories at WeAreTwoCities.com]

Were you there?
What did you think?
Baptism

On Sunday, October 13, 2013 we held our very first service. You can’t redo the first one. The first one will always be the first one. It’s kind of a big deal. And I am very pleased with how well it went. Here are some things I’d like to share from that day:

  • A volunteer’s daughter has been hesitant to attend a children’s environment anywhere, and was hesitant starting out at our service, but by the end she loved it. Someone overheard her ask if she could come back.
  • A one year old made it through the service in the nursery, that has never been away from his parents before! This may seem small, but to his parents this was HUGE. I know that with consistent faces in the nursery, he will continue to do well.
  • Another 2 year old was able to go home and retell the entire story of Joseph in great detail. We may have a future Bible Storyteller!
  • My son (4) prayed the night before “for all of the kids God would bring to Waumba Land.” These kids are being impacted by building this ministry!
  • Several people went to the Connections table after service and asked for big stacks of invites for the November 17 service.
  • We had 130 people in attendance!
  • Many people wrote on the response cards. We had people say they want to know more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, one person wrote they want to know more about baptism, and several people signed up for launch groups.
  • As a result we have two baptisms scheduled in Novemeber! We will share their stories via video online.
  • We bought a used portable church system from Church on Wheels and everything worked great!
  • We had a new couple come serve all day with us setting up Waumba Land and driving the trailer. They were excited, and said they will continue to come serve and be a part.
  • Several people came who we didn’t expect and came to various people on our team with great feedback. Several of these people heard about TCC through social media.
  • We saw posts and videos posted on social media with positive comments about people’s experience. See sampling here: http://www.micahfoster.net/2013/10/packthevet-video-roundup/
  • Some of the people at our preview have now joined a launch group and are becoming increasingly involved and we are developing relationships with more of them.
  • People who came to “support” us, said they’d return with guests

Were you there?
What was your experience?
Please let me know!

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#PackTheVet Video Roundup

October 15, 2013 — 2 Comments

I found these three videos on Instagram. One from my wife, one from Chris, who is on our team and one from someone that I don’t personally know yet. So, from 3 different perspectives… here’s a little peek into last Sunday night’s Glimpse service. If you have a video or pictures, send them my way. More debriefing to come later…

Last month we, Two Cities Church, held an event called Your Move. At that event we talked about our strategy for creating an environment for a pre-school and nursery environment called Waumba Land. We also talked about our Guest Services Team and philosophy. If you’d like to know more about either of those environments, let me know. Here are a few pictures taken from some of our team via Instagram.

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It was a great event and we have another Your Move event on Sunday, August 18 at 6pm (2080 E. Tollhouse Rd., Clovis, Ca 93611). At this event we will talk about our strategy and environments for elementary aged kids, jr. high school, high school, adult groups and more. If you have questions, we’ll probably answer them here. RSVP on our Facebook event. We’ll see you there.

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eavesdropping
Starbucks is the ultimate eavesdropping zone. A place where people pretend to read, work, sip on a cup-of-joe… but really, we’re all just listening in on everyone else’s conversations. Have you ever tried NOT to listen-in? I have and it’s difficult for a few reasons:

  • The bigger the drama, the louder they talk
  • The crazier the views, the louder they talk
  • The more secret the conversation, the louder they whisper

By the way, have you ever noticed that whispering often carries farther than talking normally? I think it’s because our ears have been finely tuned to hear sensitive, private, conversations. We hear a whisper and we lean in.

Well, if you’re a Christian, you (and I) probably speak even louder, without realizing it, about Christian stuff. We say things that stick out to everyone around us. In fact, it tips people off to who we are and what we’re all about. I find myself talking to people all the time in public places about church planting and why we’re starting Two Cities Church. And a lot of what I’m talking about probably sounds really odd to someone who is listening in… especially when I say things like, “Our vision is to create a church that unchurched people would love to attend.”

That probably sounds crazy to most people… I mean, isn’t church for church people? More on that here.

Think about it though, if you’re a Christian and you used words or phrases like, Worship, Blood of the Lamb, or Salvation… those are packed words, with a lot of meaning. But most people probably don’t immediately think the things you and I think when we say that stuff. Worship maybe conjures up images of ancient rome, idols or a modern rock concert. Blood of the Lamb… I mean, what? And Salvation… well, I can think of a few movies who have borrowed that term, one of them including a robot from the future.

We say things that make no sense to other people all the time…

What if we could create a church environment that, when using words that make no sense to a normal, non-Christian is explained? What if we could create an environment where we remove as much of the weirdness as possible so that people might hear the message of Jesus? What if we could remove the clutter to pave a way for Leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ?

That’s what we’re doing.

[Pssst… Be on the lookout for announcements concerning some preview services this fall. Sign up for our email list here. Like us on Facebook here.]