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The following post is part of a series of guests posts from people involved with Two Cities Church. This post is written by Tim Douty. Tim is one of our group leaders, our band director and he is also on our board. Tim recently emailed me some thoughts and I asked him to expand on those thoughts and write a guest post for my blog. Thankfully, he agreed. Enjoy.

My wife and I are church planters.

I’m not sure if I ever imagined I’d say that about us, but I suppose that’s what you call it when you start a new church. A couple years ago, we, along with some close friends, felt a nudge or heard a call or sensed something – whatever phenomenon you want to call it. It was a moral imperative for us that could not be ignored. Start this church.

So about two years ago, we started meeting and getting people together around a specific vision. You see, we weren’t just going to start another church in Fresno and Clovis. These two cities that I have called home all my life do not need another church. They are filled with hundreds of great churches. I met my wife in one of these great churches. These churches are reaching people and helping people grow and they are making a difference in our community and around the world. We are not seeking to duplicate them or replace them. These cities need a different kind of church.

We are going after a completely different market.

We are creating a church that un-churched people would love to attend. This is a place where anyone, regardless of their previous experience with church or religion, could come and feel welcome and would find it so captivating and helpful that they would want to come back. It is a place where the life-long Christian like myself and the person who has never cracked open a Bible or knows any of the Christian songs or lingo would feel at home. This is a place where the good news of Jesus is presented without shame or reservation, but where all the clutter of religion is removed to make it clear and practical. This is a place where people who are curious about God, or have questions or doubts, or believe in something greater than themselves but have found traditional churches lacking can come.

We want to reach people that no one else is currently reaching.

We call this place Two Cities Church because we are for these two cities of Fresno and Clovis, as well as the whole Central Valley. We have friends and family members – names and faces of real people – that we want to introduce to Jesus. But these people are not currently attending church or they have had bad church experiences or have simply found organized religion irrelevant. These are who we want. We want the rejects, the down and outers, the underdogs. We want the imperfect, the have-nots, the ones who don’t have it all together.

Because Jesus is for everyone.

So the Church should be for everyone.

This is a daunting task for several reasons. In the traditional church world, most churches are planted by other churches. One church either outgrows its facility or wants to expand their influence so they get a group of people together and they send them. They put together volunteer teams, financial support, and they plant the new church.
Well, Two Cities is different.

No one is really sending us. We have not received a massive influx of cash or volunteers or attenders to start this thing. We are starting from scratch. We are starting this church from nothing but the vision God has given us and the relationships we have. We are sustained only by the people who give to the church and attend each month at our services and by those who come to our small groups. That’s it. It’s a daunting, and at times lonely process.

In effect, we have started something from nothing.

But we are in good company.

In Romans 4, the apostle Paul writes about the faith that Abraham had. Even if you’re not religious, odds are you have heard of Abraham before. In the book of Genesis, you can read his story. God makes a covenant with him, an agreement, and he promises that he will make him a great nation and that from his children will come generations of people that will follow the one true God. Sounds great right?

Except Abraham didn’t have any children.

His wife, Sarah, was barren. And by the time God makes this outrageous promise to him, he was old and incapable of fathering any children anyway. In regards to the promise to father a great nation, Abraham had nothing. There were no kids, and there were no fertility doctors or medical procedures to attempt. As far as Abraham was concerned, it was hopeless.

But in Romans 4, Paul writes that Abraham still believed God in spite of what the circumstances told him. Paul says that Abraham believed God even though there was no earthly reason to do so. And because of his faith, God honored Abraham, gave him right standing with God, and honored his promise. Abraham became a great nation, in fact founding what would become the nation of Israel.

In telling this story in his letter to the Romans, Paul makes a startling phrase about God. This is a phrase that I could not gloss over when I read it recently. I had to stop because it was so astounding.

He says that Abraham became the father of many nations because “Abraham believed in the God who brings back the dead to life and who creates new things out of nothing” (v. 17, NLT).

I love that line. It’s almost as if the defining characteristics of God is a.) he brings back the dead to life and b.) he creates new things out of nothing.

After reading this, I immediately thought: that’s us. That’s Two Cities Church. There was nothing, and then, through a vision that God gave us, suddenly there was something. I also immediately thought of people I know who have experienced this amazing characteristic of God’s character in their own lives. I have seen God bring dead things back to life. I have seen marriages that were dead that God resurrected. I have seen futures given new life after it was believed they were gone forever. We have seen dead relationships with siblings and friends revived. We have seen families created from noting. We have seen impossible diagnoses miraculously healed. We have seen lives that were dead turned around by the incredible grace of God. And we have seen God take nothingness and turn it into something incredible.

We are Two Cities Church, and in this phase of growing, praying, waiting, pressing in, we know that at the same time we are in the exact center of God’s will for us. Because the God we serve is a God who makes something out of nothing, who takes dead things and gives them new life. He did it for me, he’s doing it for many others, and he’s doing it through Two Cities Church.


 

Volunteer Staff

July 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

volunteer
Before we began the journey of church-planting, Paul Haugen and I met with Steve Davidson, Co-Lead Pastor of Clovis Hills Community Church. I wanted to let him know that we appreciate the work he and Clovis Hills has done in our community and in many ways we “stand on the shoulders” of him and several other pastors in town who have paved the way for church-planting in our two cities. While picking his brain on the experience he had in church planting he told me to get as many qualified volunteer staff as possible to take on certain tasks and departments.

In that spirit and following my previous post Who is our Customer, I thought it would be fitting to introduce our volunteer staff at Two Cities Church. So here’s a snapshot of our volunteer staff positions. These are people who have decided they want to be a part of this to the point where they will put in extra time and use the talents they have to further the mission of leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. There are four main departments in terms of staff structure at Two Cities. Those are: Service Programming, Family Ministry, Group Life, and Ministry Services. Many of use wear multiple hats and in some cases, in multiple departments. Over the long haul that won’t work, but we will always be working to replace ourselves. In no particular order…

(the following pictures were taken from their twitter profiles, so that’s why paul looks like a little girl… lol)

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Paul Haugen, Service Programming Director [In 2014, Paul became a part-time staff member, while holding down two other jobs.]
@haugenpaul

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Erica Foster, Children’s Ministry Director, Waumba Land Director
@ericafoster

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Erika Loach, UpStreet Director
@erikaloach

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Chris Loach, Director of Ministry Services, UpStreet Large Group Coordinator, Student Ministry Director
@chrisloach

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Darren Grubel, Production Director, Media Director
@darrengrubel

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Thilani Grubel, Media Director, Production Vol. Coordinator, Graphic Designer
@thilanigrubel

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Tim Douty, Music Director
@timdouty

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Jill Douty, Vocal Director
@jilldouty

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Brian Weber, Guest Services Director
@BrianDoesn’tTweet

I imagine that in the coming months we will discover amongst our team a great Group Life Director, team captains for many strategic service teams and lots of fantastic volunteers! The people listed above are just the volunteer STAFF, not all of the volunteers, but the ones specific asked to fill a role that in the future, may be full-time, part-time or contract work. Every one of these people has filled these rolls before at different churches,

[Last updated on July 11, 2014]

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Chances are, if you know me or anyone from Two Cities Church, you’ve seen the above graphic anyone from 5.3 to 200 times. Why? Because we’re putting the word out via Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Ads, Twitter, Blogs, and business card sized invites. This is the first ever, Night of Worship at Two Cities Church. We are excited to create this environment, not just for people involved with Two Cities, but really anybody who has an interest in celebrating what God is doing in their life. And if celebrating isn’t something you feel like doing, then maybe you just need some inspiration to get through today. It doesn’t matter where you fall on that spectrum, this night is for you to connect with the savior and king of the universe, Jesus Christ.

This is NOT a recruitment event.
This is NOT a vision event.
This is a celebration.
All people are welcome.

The band is going to be rocking and our vocalists will include Paul Haugen, Jill Douty, Tim Douty, Mauro DeBenedetto and Chelsea DeBenedetto.

Friday, June 14 @ 6:30pm
The Venue @ Clovis Hills Community Church
More DEETS here