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3 Things You Won’t Find at Easter

1. Creepy bunnies

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At Venture Church, we try to make sure your children have happy, fun memories of Easter. We do our best to avoid any Easter nightmares that could cause years of Easter-related therapy down the road. Therefore, there will be no creepy Easter bunnies at Easter. Now, we’re not saying every photo studio Easter bunny is bad, but if that’s what you’re looking for, Venture Church is not the place.

2. Loners

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We’ve been encouraging you for the past month to bring someone with you to Easter, so you won’t find any loners this Easter; we expect everyone who comes to bring a friend. “What if someone stumbles in alone of their own accord?” you ask. If that’s the case, our guest services team, staff, and partners are so welcoming and friendly that someone may enter a loner, then quickly wind up with a whole group of new friends.

3. A dress code

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Will you see Easter dresses and bonnets this Easter weekend? Maybe. Will you see jeans and tshirts? Maybe. The point is, both are ok. There’s no dress code at Venture Church, so feel free to come in whatever you feel comfortable in, even if it’s skinny jeans, a sweater, and top hat.

Club FX recap: April 2014

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Over 800 people, including over 100 volunteers, took part in Club FX on Sunday night here at Venture Church.  Club FX is a monthly event that brings the family together and equips parents to lead their kids to know, love and follow Jesus.

Charlie Blake

Drawing inspiration from great talk shows, and even Saturday Night Live, Charlie welcomed the crowd with a few jokes, chatted with guitarist, Blake Houston, and told everyone about his Club FX “Top 10 List.”  He did not disappoint.

gordo cammie

Friends like Gordo had to remind Cammie this month, that her constant focus on herself was hurting her friendships.  What she really needed to do was put others first.

Talk Time Amber Coyote

Amber reported the Club FX news, with just a few interjections from the always funny Coyote Jones.

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The Club FX band led families in worship with “Alive” (Hillsong Young & Free), “Jesus is Alive Right Now (Remix)” (Kids on the Move), and “Happy” (Pharrell Williams) (arrangement by Kelsey Walsh).

Byron Stacey WelcomeByron and Stacey rolled out our virtue of the month with Gordo’s latest invention, “THE LEVER!”  With the help of the lever, Stacey revealed that our virtue this month is humility–putting others first by giving up what you think you deserve.

Don’t miss the next Club FX on May the 4th!

 

Hunt Club Update April 10

Update:

The Hunt Club audio-visual, electrical, and plumbing rough-ins continue. Walls have been laid out and installed in the auditorium, coffee bar, and restrooms. Currently, walls are being laid out in the preschool and children’s areas. The auditorium stage is currently under-construction and should be completed by the end of next week.

Some of the walls have been sheet rocked and finished. By mid-April, plumbing and electrical rough-ins should be completed. We are working with vendors for networking, cabling, security systems, and signage. By early next week paint colors, carpets, and other finishes should be selected. Currently, we are on schedule for construction to be completed by June 2014.

Things to pray for:

-          That this expansion would continue to be focused on what God can do in the community and not on what we have done or accomplished without the work and intervention of the Holy Spirit we would be nowhere.

-          The favor and blessing of God.

-          Unity throughout our fellowship.

-          That the construction would continue on schedule and on costs projections. (I am getting nervous; decisions to limit scope will have to be made.)

-          That Venturers would continue to give over and above toward The Uprising which is a vision for providing space for more people to connect with Jesus.

-          For safety of the workers and staff as they are working.

-          That the strategy for multi-sites and its implementation would be based upon God’s leading. That our plans would get out of the way and that God would accomplish His purposes through this endeavor.

-          Area churches, our desire is to see all churches reach people and connect people to Jesus. We hope that what God is doing in the Pinebelt grows His kingdom.

-          The people you will invite and bring with you. Pray that the Holy Spirit would begin preparing their hearts even now.

-    As with all projects, the budget is an issue. We are in the process of pairing down and seeking a cut-off for phase 1. Please pray for wisdom as we draw that phase 1 cut-off line; specifically, that we would include enough space to accommodate the initial surge of people that we reach from the Hunt Club.

Have a great week. Until next time.

 

5 Reasons to Come to Easter at Venture Church

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In case the overabundance of Reeses Eggs and Starburst jellybeans (two personal favorites) haven’t tipped you off yet, Easter is upon us. And what better way to celebrate Easter than by joining us at Venture Church! Still on the fence about coming? Here are five reasons why you should definitely come:

1. End of Hurt series

For the past few weeks, Pastor Jeff Clark has been leading us through the Hurt series. The series comes to a powerful conclusion Easter weekend as we remember Jesus’s death and celebrate his resurrection.

2. Lives will be changed

Throughout the Hurt series, we’ve heard stories from people who have allowed God to transform their lives, and throughout Easter weekend, we’ll  get to hear more as six different people come forward to share their story through baptism. This Easter weekend, how are you going to let God speak to you and change your story?

3. Great music

It’s no secret that we love to worship with great music at Venture Church, and at Easter, we’re bringing out the big guns. There will be songs you know and love to sing along to, but there are also a few surprises in store…

4. Best time to bring somebody

Jeff Clark has said that even the devil comes to church on Easter. So that friend you’ve been thinking about inviting to church? Inviting them to Easter is a no brainer. We’ve been encouraging you for several weeks to think about who you’ll be bringing to Easter, so we expect to see you and a friend (or two, or five) at one of our Easter services.

5. Four chances to come, so no reason to miss

We know Easter is a time when people like to travel, visit family, and enjoy a big lunch at grandma’s, so Sunday services can be hard to fit into a busy schedule. No worries! We have four different service options, so there’s bound to be one that works. There will be 5:30pm and 7pm services Saturday, April 19th, and 9:30am and 11am services Sunday, April 20th, in both the East and North Venues. All services are the same, so you can attend one and still have time to make it to grandma’s.

We can’t wait to see you Easter weekend here at Venture Church!

Kristen

Kristen Allen is the Worship Programming Assistant at Venture Church.

Producing and Ministry: How to be 212° Without Losing Your Cool

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Do you know that moment in Tetris when you’re unnervingly close to the top of the frame, but those geometric shapes just keep inching down, faster and faster, piling higher and higher?  You need that long, I-shaped piece for a 4-line bonus that will save your butt,  and your veins pulsate faster and faster as beads of sweat form on your forehead.  Finally–it happens.  You heave a sigh of relief, and you’re back in the clear, strategically categorizing shapes and waiting for your next predicament. That’s the best way I can think to describe what it’s like to be a producer.

I used to think a producer was the person who financially backed television shows and movies, but a producer, in the context of church production, is actually responsible for giving cues, directing the team, and ultimately making a service happen.  As production director for Club FX, our family worship experience, and Impact, our youth worship experience, producing is not necessarily required for my position; in fact, I think great production directors don’t always produce the show but instead make sure everything is in order and step back, equipping others to lead.

With that being said, however, most of the time I do serve as producer.  It works well for me because I am the one who creates most of the media we use in Club FX and about half of the media we use at Impact, so I am very familiar with what media elements exist and how the service should flow.  But hear me say this: I can’t stress enough the importance of training up volunteers to do what you do.  I’ll talk more about that later.

Club FX and Impact are basically the two most jam-packed programs we offer except for maybe our weekend Christmas services.  There is never a down week.  Impact has grown from what used to be a bible study with a few songs into a full-on production with spectacular openers, worship, dancing, on-stage games, a recurring news-style announcement segment, videos, and themed sermon series with their own bumpers, set, and lighting design.  Club FX is even more eventful.  It’s basically Saturday Night Live for kids with worship, singing, dancing, drama sketches, a talk show segment, object lessons, intermittent videos, and much more.  You can imagine that’s a lot to manage.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

In order to discuss what it means to be a good producer, I have to first explain what it means to be 212°.  I heard the phrase early on in my career from Byron Malone, our pastor of family ministry.  Water, as he explained, boils at 212°.  It’s pretty warm at 100°.  Pretty hot at 200°.  Very hot at 211°.  But until it reaches 212°, it’s not going to boil.  It’s those few extra degrees that really get those atoms moving.  Here are some lessons I have learned as a producer that can turn 211° into 212°.

1. Know your flow.  “Flow” is a term we use to describe the master outline of a service.  It’s the second most important text you’ll read next to the bible.  It lists everything that’s going to happen: songs, dances, on stage action, message, videos, and instructions for every production position every step of the way.  As a producer, you should know it like the back of your hand.  It’s something I’m working on.  Jeff Powell, our director of worship programming, is great at it.  He leads production meetings without even reading from it.  Because he plans it.  He studies it.  And he’s ready to give cues and answer questions when necessary.  Trying to read and convey details at the last minute or even on the fly won’t make you a good producer.  It will just make you flustered and ultimately embarrassed in front of the team.  Know it, show it, bestow it. (See what I did there?  Rhyming.)

2. Breathe.  If you’re anything like me, you hyperventilate when there’s a lot on your shoulders.  The moment you realize it, your brain shuts down, your eyes glaze over, and you want to go huddle in a corner.  And sometimes you might just do that.  (Just ask my team.) However, that’s when you have to remember that the God you serve is also the God of your emotions, fears, and predicaments.  Everything you’re worrying about–He’s seen it.  He knows about it.  And He’s prepared for it.  He’s surprised by nothing.  (Not even that random light that won’t turn off during a blackout or the feedback coming out of that wireless mic.) God is the ultimate producer.  And He’s for you.  So step back, take a deep breath, and get your junk together.  What you’re doing is for the sake of His glory, and He’s going to equip you to handle it.

3. Take notes and make lists.  Stop saying, “I’ll totally remember that last-minute change.”  FALSE.  Write it down.  I don’t care how good your memory is.  I always carry a flow and a pen in my back pocket on Club FX and Impact days.  That makes it easy to whip it out and make notes as changes are made or you get more details from the higher-ups.

4. “Don’t you ever for a second get to thinkin’ you’re irreplaceable.”  Normally, I don’t take life lessons from Beyonce’, but this is a good one.  As a producer, you should always be pouring into someone and training them to be you.  Being the only person who can do something might mean job security in the business world, but not in ministry.  Train up the next generation–or the previous generation–to be as skilled and knowledgable as you are.  That way, you’re one step closer to stepping back and supervising.  (Side note: I know all of this because someone poured into me.  So put “everything you own in a box to the left”..and then hand it to someone else.)

5. Don’t cry over spilled transitions.  Yeah, I know that’s a bad metaphor, but you get what I’m saying.  In production, transitions are super important and have potential to be distracting if done incorrectly.  Put time and effort into them.  Practice them.  Make sure your team knows what you want them to look like.  But don’t beat yourself up if they’re not perfect.  In the end, God’s word (in whatever format you’re presenting it) will not return void, even if there are a few extra seconds of lag time on a video, or lights come up too early.  Also, being bummed about a bad transition can affect your focus for the rest of the service.  Do everything you can do to prepare, guide, and direct others–and then let them do their jobs, trusting that God will be glorified no matter what.

6. Show love and gratitude to your team.  Just because you’re running things doesn’t mean you can do it by yourself.  Although I sometimes want to just do everything, I know that it’s physically impossible and not what I need to do.  At the end of the day when things have gone well, praise God first and then your team.  Affirm them for their successes, lovingly address ways they can improve, and encourage their development and contribution to the production.  I often tell my team that I wish I could get “thank you” tattooed on my forehead.  Still thinking about it.  They’re that good.

Kelsey 250Kelsey Walsh is a Family Ministry production intern at Venture Church.

Hunt Club Update Apr. 3

Update:

The Hunt Club electrical and plumbing rough-ins continue. Walls have been laid out and installed in the auditorium, coffee bar, and restrooms. Currently, walls are being laid out in the preschool and children’s areas. The auditorium stage is currently under-construction and should be completed by the end of next week.

Also, by the end of next week, all walls should be constructed and sheetrock hanging should begin. By mid-April, plumbing and electrical rough-ins should be completed. Audio-Visual rough in should begin next week, also. Currently, we are on schedule for construction to be completed by June 2014.

Things to pray for:

-          That this expansion would continue to be focused on what God can do in the community and not on what we have done or accomplished without the work and intervention of the Holy Spirit we would be nowhere.

-          The favor and blessing of God.

-          Unity throughout our fellowship.

-          That the construction would continue on schedule and on costs projections. (I am getting nervous; decisions to limit scope will have to be made.)

-          That Venturers would continue to give over and above toward The Uprising which is a vision for providing space for more people to connect with Jesus.

-          For safety of the workers and staff as they are working.

-          That the strategy for multi-sites and its implementation would be based upon God’s leading. That our plans would get out of the way and that God would accomplish His purposes through this endeavor.

-          Area churches, our desire is to see all churches reach people and connect people to Jesus. We hope that what God is doing in the Pinebelt grows His kingdom.

-          The people you will invite and bring with you. Pray that the Holy Spirit would begin preparing their hearts even now.

-    As with all projects, the budget is an issue. We are in the process of pairing down and seeking a cut-off for phase 1. Please pray for wisdom as we draw that phase 1 cut-off line; specifically, that we would include enough space to accommodate the initial surge of people that we reach from the Hunt Club.

 

Have a great week. Until next time.