Mercy Marie Artrip born 10-28-2012 8:02pm

Wow, I cannot believe that I am sitting here in our hospital room writing this blog entry! This day has been a whirlwind and here is the story…

Today is Monday October 29, 2012. It is Mark’s day off and we did our normal routine of going to the Y in the morning. We came home and made lunch and the boys played around the house. I had this crazy desire to reorganize the boys’ toy room and clean the whole house.  So, that’s what I did. The boys went down for nap and I was checking my email and it was 3:30. My phone rang and I saw that it was our adoption agency calling. So, I answered and the conversation went something like this… “Hi Kristin are you and Mark still interested in pursuing adoption with us?” I said “yes, we are just waiting for the call” and she said “this is your call. Your daughter was born last night at 8pm. The birth mom just went through the profile books and picked you. I need you to come to Dayton right now to pick up your baby girl! She is 6lbs 13oz healthy and beautiful”.

So we kind of of went into crazy mode and woke the boys up from nap, and threw together three overnight bags, gathered the insurance papers, and got in the car and headed for Dayton at 4:30.  The great thing is that my parents live in Dayton so my mom was able to meet us at the hospital to pick up the boys. We met the birth mom very briefly and then within minutes of that we went to the nursery and they said, “here is your room and here is your daughter”.

So, wow I am in sitting here and Mercy is such a sweet baby. She is very calm and hasn’t cried at all. She is a great eater and is coming through all her test with flying colors! She is with us here at the hospital in our room and we will go home tomorrow. We are amazed at the moment and know that God knew all of this was going to happen even though we didn’t have a clue! Thank you for all the prayers and financial support over the last year as we raised money in anticipation of this day! We will do our best to keep facebook/twitter/instagram updated so you can all share in this with us!

Lots of love,

Mark, Kristin, Malachi, Canaan and Mercy



The most common question I get the last couple months is “So how’s the church plant going?”  The other day I was sharing with a friend what our calling, transition, and first few months in church planting have looked like. As I verbalized it to him, I realized it was a blog post in the making and actually proclaimed to him “I have to blog about this”.

One of my biggest lessons in life that others have invested in me is that people need to continually do things that make us depend on God and require faith, because when we do we are forced to see and depend on Him in new ways and that grows us. 

I often bring this concept up when people ask me questions about what they should do or what decision is the best. When I was a student pastor I would always tell students they should go on one of our summer ministry training trips for this reason. Sometimes it was freshmen going away from home for the first time and other times it was juniors and seniors going away for a month or more on other trips and taking intentional steps to trust God more.  The process is the same for adults venturing into ministry for the first time or pushing their leadership and comfort.

What I have appreciated about the journey of my family over the last year is the necessity of faith for what we are doing right now. I wish I could say that I always live by faith and I trust God in all I do. It would sound awesome to say I don’t get comfortable but that isn’t reality. I think this has been a great season of depending on God continually because the situations and circumstances continually require it in one way or another.

For some faith can be a discipline while for others they may need to put themselves in a situation that makes it a necessity. That is where we are right now and I am loving it.


We are 6 weeks into planting Movement Church. Its been a wonderful faith walk watching what God is doing through our team.  There are so many things going on, so many thoughts in my head, and so many things I am excited about.  It must be time for a mind dump.

  • Today was our 6th Sunday as a launch team. We have met 4 times at Encounter church and visited two other churches.
  • I love Sundays with Movement Church.
  • I know I do this for a job, and it sounds like propaganda, but trust me when I say I love that I get to do this.  It honestly makes me hyper.
  • Our Sunday gatherings are always exciting and new because we have seen so many first time guests. Today almost 1/3 of the people in the room were visitors.
  • We have seen an increase in our Sundays each week.
  • We are small and numbers and growth are very exciting right now. The best part is that we know the story and connection behind every person and numbers so it’s a special time.
  • Don’t worry we haven’t broken 35 yet so we aren’t numbers crazy, we just like to know how many chairs to set up.
  • Next week our full band gets the chance to do their thing for the first time plugged in.  Our band is leading worship at Encounter so we will start together in their service and after that.
  • I am excited for our musicians because some of them have been smothering their gifting while we meet in a small room, as a small group, with a small band.
  • Also next week we are talking about our DNA and some things that we want to keep as guidelines for the church we want to be. These things aren’t new additions to the Ten Commandments, but they are things that we want to keep in our vision and let them steer us.
  • Our movement groups are meeting and still in start up mode but we are already talking multiplication for next session.
  • Multiplication isn’t always easy or comfortable but we want to keep it happening when we can.
  • Our website is up. You can find it if you are really smart, but we aren’t really taking the training wheels off just yet. We wanted to put it on our flyers that are going out.  Mostly social media will suffice for now.
  • I am excited for Trunk or Treat on October 31st.
  • We went door to door tonight with flyers. It rained and wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but I was so encouraged just by the amount of families we ran in to.
  • We’ve known from the beginning there are so many people in Hilliard and so many people who need Jesus, I can’t wait to be able to get our name out there and be the church to Hilliard.


Movement Church is a new church plant, so we are under no impression that we have mastered this church thing.  In our formative launch team meeting phase we have dedicated one weekend a month to visiting churches and learn from them.  Some of them are financial partner churches, while others are area church plants that we respect.  I thought I would take the time to re-cap our times with these churches and share some highlights and things that blessed our team.

This past Sunday on October 7th we visited Marysville Grace.  They are like a big brother church for us in many ways since they were planted out of Grace Church (where I was the student pastor for 7 years) in 2003 and they also were a partner for Encounter Church (our sending church).

As I mentioned, Marysville Grace was planted 9 years ago and has been a portable church meeting in an elementary until they moved into their first permanent location this past July.

Not only are they a financial partner, but also they have invested in other ways.  Because they have the DNA of a plant and until recently were portable it has been natural for them to give advice.  As they have moved into their new building they even ordered some equipment they didn’t need so they could gift us equipment along the way.  Their leaders have even invested in us, as I have known their lead pastor Clancy for a long time and greatly respect him.

Sunday we got to take our entire team up for their services.  They honored us in such a huge way that I still smile talking about it.  Clancy interviewed me and made that the sermon for the day so we could have significant time to really talk about our vision, who we are, and who what we want Movement Church to look like.  At the end of the service they made the application for the day two things…

1)    Committing to pray for Movement Church once a week for one year

2)    Volunteering to host a car and help us with Trunk or Treat this Halloween.

Those are not small things and I can’t even tell you the number of hands that indicated they would pray for us. I may or may not have had a tear in the corner of my eyeJ

The blessings didn’t stop there though, they also didn’t want to take us off of our meeting schedule so they set up a room where they fed our entire team for free, gave us time to meet and watched our kids so we could. They went way above and beyond anything that they had to do and were selfless. I challenged our team to remember the legacy of Marysville Grace and the way that they are giving themselves to multiply the kingdom of God through us. Not because it is easy or convenient but because it’s the right thing to do. I want to honor their investment and pay it forward into many other churches.

One of the biggest blessings to me already in this journey has been seeing our family of churches surround us and take care of us. They have given us everything from money, to advice, to accountability, to resources, and love. We are a blessed church because of the churches investing in us.



Movement Church is a new church plant, so we are under no impression that we have mastered this portable church thing.  In our formative launch team meeting phase we have dedicated one weekend a month to visiting churches and learn from them.  Some of them are financial partner churches, while others are area church plants that we respect.  I thought I would take the time to re-cap our times with these churches and share some highlights and things that blessed our team.

On Sunday September 30th we visited Grace Fellowship in Pickerington.  They are a thriving church that recently sold there building after maximizing it with 4 services and is in process of building a new one. In the meantime they became portable and meet at Pickerington Central High School.  They were already a church that we respected and were a financial partner of ours so the fact that they went portable is only an extra blessing as they can help us even more.

Our team had the chance to be there early for setup before first service and see things get put in their places and get to know the building.  We sat through first service as a team so we could see what a worship experience looked like and than walked the halls and watched first impressions, children’s ministry, and tech in action during second service.

There have been many ways they have blessed us but here is the one I will camp on – As a staff team they have been 100% accessible to our entire launch team on Sundays, by email, by phone, and by personal appt.


1)    I reached out to Keith Minier last year and basically said I respect you, I would love if Movement could end up like your church and I intend to start bothering you with a lot of questions and he hasn’t flinched once. He has been gracious, humble, wise, transparent and a great guy to lean on.

2)    Their children’s director Erica was telling me last spring that she wanted to be a resource and blessing to our children’s director when and if we even found one.  When Mindy took the job and contacted her Erica was not just up for meeting but was an encyclopedia and really put wind in Mindy’s sail and gave her confidence, encouragement, and a ton of ideas and troubleshooting help. That is priceless.

3)    Grace Fellowship has a dude named Charlie who does their tech. I don’t know what his title is but it might be Super Master of all things. He is the perfect marriage of tech, media, and ministry. He has been so gracious in offering advice and even taking the time to cut down everything he does for their services into snippets so it can also bless us in fundraising and promotion. He also gave our team super in-depth tours and explanations of what they do, why they do it, how we can adapt it, and other ideas that could also save money.  At one point he had roughly 10 guys on our team around him in a semi-circle drooling as he explained his use of Apple TV’s all over the video that were connected to various TV’s and ipads.  Here are a couple videos that Charlie has made available to us. A video of Pastor Keith Minier praying for us in second service.

and a video interview they did of us last spring

4)    Drew Waggoner has helped our team out with first impressions and all the connection stuff that bridges the gap from Sunday morning to groups, serving, and follow up. We picked the brains of their first impressions team for a solid hour because what they do is solid.

One of the biggest blessings to me already in this journey has been seeing our family of churches surround us and take care of us. They have given us everything from money, to advice, to accountability, to resources, and love. We are a blessed church because of the churches investing in us.


The digital era is great because you can expand your platform for influence, ministry, friendship, and impact in so many avenues. Between websites (blogs), Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and countless others you can communicate as much or little as you want to.  I’ve heard it said before that the trap in this is still being authentic. We all want to put our best foot forward, but at what point are we being fake and not admitting our humanity?  You use the best pictures of yourself and throw away the rest; you put only your good ideas on your blog, you tweet and Instagram moments when you are a good dad and husband leaving out the rest.

I admit I am as guilty as anyone at this. It got me thinking, I should make a list of areas that I have messed up or need some work in.  Might be a little weird, but I figure it’s at least a step towards balance and provides a look at the real me.

  1. I AM NOT GOOD AT CONFRONTING PEOPLE. I have gotten better at this the older I have gotten as it becomes more and more necessary, but it does not and will not ever come naturally for me. I like people to like me and if that means letting them tell me what to do or hijack my vision I have been known to let that happen. I still remember this whole concept being so foreign to me when I first encountered it in a memorable way on Operation Barnabas as a 17 year old.  Its not always easy or comfortable, but sometimes the most loving thing, best thing you can do is to confront someone.
  2. I AM STILL LEARNING TO MANAGE PEOPLE –  I like to delegate but after that as it relates to working with people, bringing out the best in them and pushing them to be great, I don’t know that I have it figured out yet. I think in my years in ministry I have put people on an island with some food and water and said “good luck” without coming back to check or teaching them to make a fire.
  3. I HAVE ELEVATED PEOPLE TO LEADERSHIP TO QUICKLY – Normally I am intuitive but there have been times I have put people in positions they didn’t need to be in just yet. It might be because there was a need and the spot had to be filled, or it could have been that I wanted to believe the best in them.  If I am being honest sometimes elevating someone you have worked with can even validate your own ministry and impact for those looking on.  Whatever the reason I haven’t fallen victim to this a time or too.

I am not trying to throw a pity party and I am not looking for you affirm me in all the areas I just named. I just think it is healthy to be self-aware so you can get better at what you do. So lets be honest, what are you not too hot at or still working on in your leadership?