Orchard Staff Take Journey Beyond Our Walls

>> Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yesterday almost our entire staff took a bus trip called Jouney Beyond Our Walls. This was a day for us to see some of what God was doing beyond the walls of our Cedar Falls campus. According to staff evaluations. This was a tremendous day for growing our hearts. In this picture we are hearing about our Art Team from Walnut Neighborhood who are painting this awesome mural. We visited with two of young ladies who are on this art team!

In partnership with Harvest Vineyard Church we are renovating Walnut House to have a ministry center in the neighborhood. We walked through Walnut House and prayed for every room. George Marshal, one of the co-pastors of Harvest Vineyard shared his vision for the house.

At Lincoln Center we laid hands on and prayed for Jesse and Rachel Henkle who will be starting
as our Host Leaders at that ministry. We also ate lunch in the basement with about 20 people from that ministry. This was an excellent time for our staff to meet some of the people who make up this ministry. It was moving for many of our staff to hear the surrendered hearts of people who have invested in this ministry for their entire lifetime.

Tuesday was a beautiful day for our staff Journey Beyond Our Walls. This bus was our home for the day and this is a picture of the building in which Lincoln Center Church meets.

Here are staff gathers in one of the four buildings that we rent each Sunday in Grundy Center. We were inspired to hear from Mike Brost and Jen Venenga about their vision for this ministry of life-change in Grundy Center. This ministry is doing an aweful lot with very little.

One of our Orchard families donated the funds to sponsor this day. It was so encouraging to spend the day together as we bused across the countryside to see some of the places where God was at work. The Student Ministry staff led interactions and games during some of our bus time.

We began our journey within the Cedar Falls campus as our entire staff visited our preschool. Here the students are singing an enthusiastic song about how big and mighty our God is! It was incredible to see the faces and the smiles of these children and teachers.

So, what did we learn from a day together as staff? Several evaluations said that the hearts of individual staff people grew several sizes on this day. It was oustanding to see how God is working in so many different places and in so many different ways. So many of our staff do not get the opportunity to see firsthand the work that God is doing through our church family.

For me, it was so good to see the incredible passion and gifts of our different staff leaders. Each segment of this trip was introduced and described by one of our staff leaders or partners. Their enthusiasm was contagious. One evaluation from a staff simply said, "I'm more glad to be a part of Orchard Hill Church!"


Every Life a Deep Ocean to be Explored!

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

This morning we heard our second story in a 3 week series called Stories from the Seats. The response has been amazingly strong. Laura Sol Cryer, Sam Schmidt, Jim Thompsen and Bruce Adkins (at Lincoln Center) all have amazing stories which highlight the work of God in their lives.

I love this series because when someone tells their authentic story it touches people in a very deep place. It seems that each person finds a piece of their own story in the story of what God has done in another's life. As I visited with so many people in the Atrium this morning, I found people connecting with Laura's story in so many places:

--a young person with an eating disorder
--a distraught mother searching for God in the struggle of a child
--a struggle with alcohol
--trusting God when I cannot find the peace that passes understanding

I love that one theme of the stories is that we are all broken and only in the power of Jesus Christ can we find healing. I love that another theme is that every life is a deep ocean to be explored and in the exploration we will often find God doing amazing and unexpected things. We will be filled with awe!

I'm grateful for the courage of these story-tellers!


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