LAST HSM WEDNESDAY NIGHT MIND DUMP

  • Tonight was my last normal HSM Wednesday night during a school year.
  • We will have some bonfire Bible studies this summer but those aren’t the same and you never know who will be at what.
  • The whole night was surreal since I am not leaving tomorrow, but in many ways it was the end of programming.
  • I did some math and I think I have done somewhere close to 196 Wednesday nights over 7 years.
  • I’ve never wanted our ministry to be about me and I hoped tonight was no different. I tried to go about things normal and I think it went well.
  • There some welcomed interruptions though and Josh, Sarah, Kristin and I felt honored.
  • Our students made photo books behind our backs and they are awesome and really a perfect gift that I can always look back on.
  • Sam Moore also wrote a celebratory verse for me to kick the night off. I told him that was the moment I knew we had lived out II Timothy 2:2 and my hip hop work here was done.
  • I thought about my final lesson for a long time and settled on II Corinthians 5. We talked about the fact that Christ’s love should compel us and we should reproduce ourselves (people, as leaders, and churches).
  • I ended the night with some stuff that I think every outgoing person needs to say to honor the person coming in.  I had a different situation since Kary Oberbrunner wasn’t going anywhere when I came, but nonetheless he was nothing but gracious and set me up for success. I want the same thing for Seth and hopefully I began setting the table these last few weeks.
  • Like I said I didn’t want to night to be focused on me transitioning because I am not the body of Christ and ministry or the church doesn’t revolve around me. I do want to thank many great people who deserve it, so Delores, Jim, Kelly, Heather, and many student leaders will be getting some incredibly sappy handwritten cards in the next few months.
  • Tomorrow my day to day stuff switches up in many ways. I now go into summer trip/conference/camp mode and begin setting the table for transitions in t-minus 75 days.
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HSM STORYTELLERS OUTREACH AFTER-THOUGHTS

This will be a weird post in that I want to share an idea that we recently did for an outreach, but I will also share how it didn’t go off as I hoped. The reason I am sharing it is because the moment this idea was shared with me I loved the concept and I still love the idea and believe in the heart of it. I didn’t think of it so I will just go ahead and say it is my favorite student ministry outreach idea out right now…hands down.

I have a friend Alyssa Corrova, who grew up in our ministry and is now on staff with Cru at Miami (Ohio) University. She is a top-level leader and Kristin and I respect the heck out of her and are on her support team. She is younger and cooler than me so last summer I asked her if she could do any one outreach event (because I wanted to add a new high school event) what would it be? She said she had long dreamed of an event that wasn’t about a time, or place, but was about the gospel infiltrating people’s paths via facebook. She described to me a campaign where students would film there story’s (testimony) and put them up on the same day with the same look/feel/branding so it would be obvious they were connected, but they wouldn’t say you need to come hear this speaker at this conference or anything like that, but they would simply said this is me, this is my story, and I want you to know about it, you can even talk to me if this stirs your heart.

I loved the idea. I called it an outreach 2.0 event. It was simply about the gospel and people sharing their stories that obviously glorify God…and nothing else.

We decided to name the event storytellers, because it captured the heart of the event and because Elevation church had a logo, bumper and some other great stuff available on their resources page for free.

What I love about the event is that a great outreach (dodgeball in our world) will have 60% of the people in the room who don’t know Jesus, but this event can have 80-90% easily. We have all read a friends Facebook status update, or checked out a picture or video that they posted. It is easy to get your captive network to watch your stuff because they love you and want to support you. I told our students that if only 10 people did this event and they each got their testimony to be viewed 20 times we have shard the gospel 200 times. Having a youtube video that you promote and link to viewed 20 times is very conservative, so the exponential potential of the event is through the roof.  That coupled with the fact that in this day and age people might argue the existence of God or the validity of God in their mind, but they will rarely argue with someone’s story.

You have now heard what I think is the genius of the event and why it really can’t fail.  I will not tell you how it was executed, the successes, the failures, and what my expectations were going in and coming out of the event.

The Wednesday night before the event, we themed the whole night around Storytellers. I taught on the gospel and the importance of sharing our faith and than bridged this being a simple opportunity. We than guided students through how to write/frame their story and than I showed them a video I created that would be similar to the one they would film.

The sheet said things like 1) tell us about yourself (family, background, who you were before Christ), 2) what was going wrong in your life or what woke you up to the fact there is more in life 3) How did God find you? 4) How is your life different with Christ? 5) We than had students explain the gospel and possibly share a favorite verse.

We have four values as a church and a ministry. I have always said that when we are healthy, we want 100% of our people worshipping, 75 percent in groups, 50% serving, and 25% sharing their faith. I think I thought this outreach was accessible and somehow took the maturity that it takes to share your faith. I thought that more students would engage in this, but the reality is in most groups only 25% are ready to share their faith.

Here are some things I would do to try and make the event something that more students took part in.

  • I thought if we did it on a Sunday during church and after 9am-4pm we would have everyone able to do it and already at church, not at sports/work, and able to sign up for a spot. That wasn’t the case, we still had people avoid it. There is no time you can get that makes people want to share their faith better.
  • I wish I would have built Wednesday so the first part would be the explanation and promotion and the second part would be filming videos. That would take a lot of cameras but I think it would have given a few more the encouragement.

Having said those things, the event is a guaranteed success because we define success as people sharing Jesus. We had around 20 students do videos and they shared their faith. They didn’t just share their faith, but the videos on average were viewed over 100 times, so they shared their faith to a whole lot of friends and family.

HERE ARE THE VIDEOS ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL IF YOU WANT TO CHECK THEM OUT.

I hope to see some other ministry get to morph this idea and watch it spread.

KALAHARI 2012 MIND DUMP

Seven years ago two churches came together for a retreat at the Kalahari Resort.  One year later we (HSM and The Zone) jumped in.  In the last six years we have grown to 1475 people and 25 churches.  Every year I love the Kalahari retreat more and more because of the way I see God move in my students and the overall weekend.

Sounds like a reason for a mind dump…

 

  • This year we finally were able to book Clayton King as our speaker.  I first knew of Clayton through his connections with Steven Furtick, Elevation Church, and Perry Noble and Newspring Church.  He is also a campus pastor at Liberty University.
  • I loved Clayton’s style.  He is a seasoned communicator and connected when he joked and in his teaching. I think he gave the best presentation of the gospel I have ever heard in a corporate setting.  We saw many commitments including around 85 first time decisions and more recommitments and students deciding to not date for a year. We have already booked Clayton for next year.
  • As has been the case for the last 3-4 years, we had Exodus also from Liberty University lead worship. They lost everyone but one guy from there team last year but totally reloaded and were just excellent.
  • If you haven’t noticed a trend Liberty University is pretty awesome and also puts great effort into networking themselves with top notch people and also providing ministry teams at a fraction of what they should cost.
  • Because of Liberty’s arsenal, we also brought in their trampoline dunk team Soar Dunk. It was just as cool as it sounds. It brought out my inner 10 year old and my mouth was hanging open most of their show. I also may or may not have snuck in the room when no one else was in there but me and the trampoline and hoops and recorded myself dunking on my phone.
  • Sessions went great this year. Ben Framstad worked his butt off and did a great job at coordinating everything from concept to execution. There were so many creative elements and great flow.  I loved the testimonies, choir and art involvement, and games he planned.
  • We flipped the room and went horizontal for the first time ever. It had some drawbacks and but it gave us the law of immediacy and put every close to the stage and Clayton as he spoke. I know it lead to greater engagement.
  • The tech this year was one of my favorite upgrades. The lights were just incredible.  Zack Pinkerton brought in some great lightbox concepts that took our stage to great heights.  I am glad to be in the LED light era.
  • I have been blessed to be apart of Kalahari’s planning but Wooster Grace (Nick Cleveland, Ben Framstad, Rachel Snyder, Dave Rhoad) does easily 80% of the work…and it might be closer to 99%.  They birthed this thing, have grown his thing and handle the finances, administration, and legal liability. I just want to publicly say thanks to their staff and church for that unsung investment in my students and the other churches. That is kingdom minded.
  • I know I already mentioned a ton of stuff but the thing that makes Kalahari work is that on top of all this it is a top-notch hotel and the biggest water park in North America. I enjoyed my usual time of water basketball with my brother Danny and some time in the Lazy River.
  • I got to host with my friend Jordan Muck this year. He is a great thinker on his feet and reminds me of Ashton Kutcher so of course he made a great emcee.
  • Kalahari is close to my heart because of what it represents. I love seeing the Church come together and be the body of Christ. I love seeing growth in ministries of my friends and breakthroughs. I love seeing Marysville’s youth group grow and have to get a bus for the first time, I love seeing our students connect with people in our backyard at Heritage over in Westerville, and I love seeing people come to know Christ because of the efforts of many.
  • If you want to check out the hashtag #kalahari12 on twitter you can track all that went on HERE.
  • Next years Kalahari retreat is Jan 4-6, 2013.

 

 

ARTRIP LIFE UPDATE – WE ARE PLANTING A CHURCH

This past week has been the public communication of something that has been happening in our hearts for years and now even behind the scenes for months.  The communication timeline has had me tell our My lead pastor, our church administrator, our pastoral staff, our Elder’s, our student leaders, Student Ministry volunteers, my small group, and finally our students and parents this last Wednesday.  It’s a bittersweet time for us that has been tiring to navigate, but I am excited to finish well and look forward to what God has called us to. The letter below is the best way I could consolidate and communicate all the information about our transition. It won’t answer every question, so I’ll do my best to tie up any other loose ends at the bottom

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Friends, Family, and Grace Church,

 

I recently notified the Pastors, Staff, elders, and adult volunteers that this will be my last school year on staff at Grace Church.  This summer Kristin and I are transitioning to plant a church in Hilliard, Ohio.  This is not a rushed decision or one that we take lightly, but rather the public announcement of something God has been doing in our hearts for years.

We moved to Powell seven years ago and have been blessed to minister among a truly great church family and staff.  We have made wonderful friends and a home that existed only in our dreams.  Grace Church has treated our family with the utmost honor and we will always view on our time here with fondness. You have cared for us as individuals, a couple, and a family more than we deserved and you are to be commended for it. Professionally, personally, and financially we could have made this our home forever, were it not for the Holy Discontent God has stirred in our hearts.

Since I was in middle school I have felt a strong draw to church planting.  Before I started dating Kristin at age 17 I told her that I intended to be in full time ministry first as a student pastor and then as a church planter to make sure we were passionate about the same direction.  We first met with Grace Brethren church planting coaches when we were in our second year of college to educate ourselves on the process.

It has been a blessing to be in an environment where church planting was always talked about.  We haven’t had to hide it. As I interviewed at Grace Church I shared with Pastor Rick and the staff that I was excited about ministering with them and also expected to someday plant a church. It has been exciting to be in a context where other churches have been planted and to watch that process give birth.  Over the years we have talked through this with the staff and Pastor Rick has even mentioned it to the elders.

Those closest to us know that this has always been on our hearts, and we now see God’s confirmation to take action.  It wasn’t one specific event, but just the culmination of prayer, time in the Word, blogs, books, conferences, and conversations.  Everywhere we have looked we have seen God calling us to plant a church.

The first question people will ask is where this leaves our student ministry, so I want you to know a few things from me personally. We are not a student ministry of one person. We have multiple programs and ministries that happen consistently without me every week and they will not skip a beat with faithful servant leaders involved. Our church has always had a strong youth ministry before me and will continue to have one after me because it is the heart and vision of our pastor and leadership.  I also want you to know that I care very much about our student ministry and I intend to work alongside the group that has been named to find my replacement and give input into the process.  I am very confident in the direction that our student ministries are headed and know that with the right hire, things are positioned for growth and breakthrough

I will remain on staff until August 1st or earlier in the summer if the elders find my replacement, but in the coming months we will be moving and transitioning to Hilliard so that we can begin to build relationships.  We want to selfishly ask for your prayers. This is an exciting, joyful time one minute and a terrifying faith walk the next.  We need the support and encouragement of our church body to do this.  We know this will come as a surprise or letdown to some, but we want our lives to be about what God has called us to, so we hope people will see that and celebrate it with us.

Many will ask what the next steps in this process are, so let me outline the months ahead.  I will remain fully engaged in ministry at Grace Church until the transition date this summer.  We will not start meeting with our launch team until next fall and hope to publically launch as a church on Easter in 2013.

We are in the process of putting together the foundation of our new church.  Our mother church and accountability through this process will be Encounter Church and its elders. We will gather a launch team of people who are passionate about reaching Hilliard with the gospel and seeing a church birthed. This will be done by living in and building relationships in the community.  We are also raising one time startup funds and monthly commitments from organizations, partner churches (one of which is Grace Church) and individuals.  Those things along with administration (documents, tax free status, websites, PO Box) and continuing in student ministry here will fill my days and weeks.

If you want to talk more and/or stay connected with us, we would love to sit down and share what God is doing in our hearts.  As always, you can do that through my blog markartrip.com, facebook, and twitter (@markartrip).  I could never begin to tell or show you this side of heaven what Grace Church has meant to the Artrip family, so I hope you know the love and sincerity behind my THANK YOU. We love you.

 

 

 

God Bless,

Mark, Kristin, Malachi, and Canaan Artrip

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

FAQ’s

 

1) How did you pick Hilliard?

I will elaborate on this more later and will publish our proposal we will be presenting to people, but the short story is that we see great need there and have research showing that Hilliard is spiritually hungry and ripe for the church we intend to be.

 

2) Who will take my job? Where does that leave Grace Church’s student ministry (THE ZONE and HSM)?

I answered that above but the short version is that I have spoken into that process with a very capable search committee and they are already contacting, meeting with, and looking for the next person. The job description is posted here if you or someone you know might be a fit.

 

3) What has God been up to in the last couple months?

I can’t even tell you how we have seen God affirm this since we finally stepped out on faith.

 

August – We were assessed as church planters in but didn’t know the when or where. We just prayed that God would open doors and make it obvious.

 

September – We were approached by Encounter Church with a timeline that was the ideal one Kristin and I had privately dreamed of. That was the first sign that God was waiting on our obedience.

Two days after deciding to do this we were given a substantial financial gift toward our new church.

 

January – We put our house on the market knowing that we wanted to move and it would take a while in this economy to sell a home. We sold our house in 8 days and it only took that long because the couple was traveling and wanted to walk through a few times. The couple who bought it walked through the first day and told us they would buy it.

We have found another great home in Hilliard which will make a great house to plant a church out of and we can see God’s fingerprints guiding both transactions. We will sell/buy on February 17th.

 

4) Who is overseeing this and sending you?

Encounter Church is a church that Grace Church planted in 2008.  That have a hyper Canadian-American pastor named Sean Spoelstra. Encounter has had a goal to plant another church since they started. We will be that church that they have wanted to reproduce themselves in and invest their DNA into. Grace Church will be involved relationally, prayerfully, and financially as well as other churches and organizations and individuals.

 

5) What is the name of your church? The name will be Movement Church.  Our vision is to be a movement of people finding their way back to God. I love the word movement and the double meaning of a person taking steps toward God and also a group of people acting out contagious, intentional action.  I will put much more up later in the proposal I already alluded to and will link to our website and all the social media stuff, but today is just about the transition….more to come.

Please pray for our family, Grace Church, and the many pieces of our new church still coming together.

 

ACTS 2-4…COULD IT HAPPEN TODAY?

My pastor recently did a staff devotion in prep for teaching on Acts 2-4 and the early church. I was challenged to say the least and thought I would just echo some of the things he said and bullet point them.  I am stealing, but giving him credit because Jesus will be back before Rick Nuzum has a blog.

It all starts in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit comes moves and Peter stands up and explains it and shares the gospel.

Acts 2:41 – Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The next verses are the famous ones that people always use to talk about small groups and what the church should look like day to day…

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Other great things were happening too.

Peter and John were boldly proclaiming the gospel and people were astonished with the way they talked. They could tell they were talking about something bigger than themselves and their own strength, they could tell they had been with Jesus.

Verse  31 – After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The believers being the church wasn’t just a one time occurrence in the previous mentioned verses, it gets says again..

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Here are the questions that Rick asked that started to mess with me and have had my mind swirling about “church”.

  • Was this an anomaly? Was it a one-time occurrence that God made happen to jump start the spread of the gospel?
  • Could God do this sort of thing today?
  • Do I believe, act, and lead as if I believe God could do this sort of thing today?
  • It is plain to see the Spirit was moving through people, in people, and in their town. Is it possible that the Spirit was moving because people acted boldly in faith with an expectation that God would surround their very literal obedience?
  • Is it possible that the Spirit moves in relation to the level of sacrifice, commitment, and faith that a church shows?

Two weeks later and I am still chewing on this. Some simple questions and I am sure the application doesn’t take much reading between the lines for any believer in their context. Happy thinking…

SLIGHT JOB CHANGE (NEW TITLE)

I recently had a slight change in my job title and will now oversee Middle School Ministry along with High School Ministry. Its not a shift that is rocking our church and I think many saw it coming.  It will be a test of my leadership and oversight to be able to zoom back and coach coaches even more than I have been. I just thought I would put an excerpt on here of the letter I sent my staff a while back so my friends and family know and can pray for myself and our church.

This Sunday Dustin and I are meeting with the Middle School parents and students to let them know that at the end of this school year my job description and his job description will be changing.  Dustin will be transitioning to Family Ministries, meaning that he will oversee children and parents (the role that Sean Spoelstra use to have).  I will be transitioning to oversee all of student ministries (middle school and high school).

I am sure many of you know this as it has been out in our culture amongst leaders for some time, but I wanted to honor those who may not have known and tell you. It isn’t a huge change for us as HSM, but for the middle school students and families it is a bigger step.

Dustin was asked to take this role, and he and I are in full support of this change. To be a church that is doing what God wants us to do we must have a staff member focused on kids and families and no one is better than Dustin. I believe financially right now as a church it is wise to prioritize the search for a worship pastor ahead of the need for 2 student pastors, and so for now we will have one.

As you know our church has formed a committee (of elders, deacons, and leaders) to work with every ministry.  Student Ministry has a committee that will be helping oversee and manage the direction and week to week happenings. This committee is Dale and Cindy Dunn, John and Vickie Darrough, Jim and Kim Heffner, Steve and Becky Irwin, Mark and Kristin Artrip, and Sarah Knepper.

Next year will look different in some ways to us insiders, but honestly in many ways it will still look the same. A healthy ministry isn’t built on one person and so our middle school and high school ministries from the beginning have used tons of people with their gifts and personalities. Everyone who is reading this email does weekly ministry and is more important than me! The members of the committee will be active in shepherding volunteers and helping to lead and train people. I think in some ways this is a necessary and healthy step for us as an organization and will help our systems.

YOUR SECRET NAME – A NEW BOOK BY KARY OBERBRUNNER

I work at Grace Church with Kary Oberbrunner.  Kary is a great friend, pastor, and author. He has a new book that just came out and I wanted to take a second to let people know about it. Not because you should listen to me, or because my blog is where you find direction in life, but because I believe in his writing and because I am passionate about the subject matter.

Here is a quick bio on the book..

Do you know Your Secret Name? Author Kary Oberbrunner believes that until you do, you’ll just keep feeling homesick for a place you’ve never been. The Bible explains that each of us has a Secret Name (Revelation 2:17), but only those who overcome will discover theirs. Kary’s new book (September 2010, Zondervan) reveals how you can discover yours and experience life change. Check out the video or take the free test to learn more. Many people are experiencing hope and freedom after reading Your Secret Name. Listen to just some of their Secret Stories.

Your Secret Name is a book about identity. Our identity should be found in Christ. Who He has made us and what He has called us to do should direct what we think, how we act, and how we live. Unfortunately many times it doesn’t and we let the world and our past failures, experiences, relationships, etc. decide who we are and our life’s course. I think this is the biggest area that so many people fail in and Christians have wrong. If Christians understood who we are in Christ and what that means we wouldn’t have to spend so much time telling people what to do because their actions would come as a second nature of their identity. I have already seen this book help our church in a worship setting, in outreach, in small groups, in counseling and the impact continues. I speak from experience as someone who has seen friends and people I love ministered to by this book so I would regret if I didn’t share what I consider a great resource and a book God can use in others lives.