Category: Announcements

Men’s Ministry Brainstorming

Men’s Ministry Brainstorming

As many of you know, David and Erica Richards recently moved to Dallas, Texas. David and Erica both served at PVCC in numerous ways, and we miss their entire family – but we’re also happy to hear that they’re settling in well to their new home.

One of the areas of service where David left his mark is our Men’s Ministry. For several years, David did the lion’s share of the work of our Men’s Ministry, mainly through leading a monthly Men’s Breakfast. We met on Saturday mornings, starting at Hardee’s, and then ended up at Panera Bread. Along the way, we read “Disciplines of a Godly Man” by R. Kent Hughes, as well as “Visual Theology” by Tim Challies. Most recently, we studied the Book of James. From there, we took a brief hiatus over the summer.

But as fall quickly approaches, we’re ready to start back up. Our next Men’s Breakfast will be Saturday, August 4. However, we’d like to try some different things as we turn the page:

1. Instead of starting at 8 AM, this Men’s Breakfast will start at 8:30 AM. It might not sound like a big change, but an extra 30 minutes of sleep is always welcome!

2. In addition, we’ll be meeting at the church, and providing coffee, milk, juice, and donuts. We’ll have more privacy that way – and even better, you won’t have to pay anything!

3. And finally, we’re excited that our own Joe Fenimore has agreed to share a short devotion with the group.

When we meet on August 4, we’d like to have as many men present as possible – mainly to hear how we can better serve the men of our church in the future. Is the traditional monthly breakfast the best option, or are there more helpful resources we can offer? Are there better days or times to meet together? Are there books of the Bible, doctrinal questions, or practical topics that would be particularly appropriate to study? Do we need to focus less on studying, and more on simply spending time together and building friendships? What about conferences, outings, or retreats? This is your opportunity to share your thoughts, that way we can strive for more effective ministry this fall and beyond.

Of course, many men in our church have benefited greatly from our past Men’s Ministry efforts. However, we also want to know if there are adjustments we can make to benefit even more of our brothers in Christ. That’s the main goal of this event; so we hope you’ll join us!

Contact Ben Halliburton for more information.

What’s an “Associate Minister”?

What’s an “Associate Minister”?

If you’ve been around PVCC for the past several months, you heard the news that Zach Ellsworth, our part-time Youth Minister, would be full-time starting April 1. Well, it’s April 12 – and so far, so good! Zach is now full-time, settling in well to his new routines, and slowly but surely assuming more responsibilities than he had before.

In addition, you may have heard Zach recently refer to himself as PVCC’s “Associate Minister”. Why did we choose this title? Why didn’t we just keep calling Zach the “Youth Minister”? What exactly are Zach’s duties and tasks as an “Associate Minister”?

As he prepared to start full-time, Zach and I discussed his job title, and agreed that the “Youth Minister” title is too narrow for the responsibilities he’d be taking on. Zach is still the “Youth Minister”; overseeing Gravity Student Ministries (grades 6-12) is still one of his primary passions and duties. However, in addition to grades 6-12, Zach is slowly assuming oversight of our Kids Kingdom ministries (nursery-5th grade). I have no doubt Zach will put the same level of thought, effort, and prayer into Kids Kingdom that he puts into Gravity.

On top of that, there are other ways Zach will be serving PVCC that go far beyond children and students. He’ll be preaching on Sunday mornings from time to time, offering pastoral care, and eventually leading a Small Group. And of course, working in a church the size of ours means one must learn to be a “jack of all trades”; various and unexpected needs regularly pop up in the day to day life of our church, and I’m confident Zach will step up when those needs arise.

After Zach and I agreed on the title of “Associate Minister”, I shared our idea with the Elders. They agreed with our thought process, and just like that, a new job title was born!

To sum it all up, Zach is no longer simply a “Youth Minister”; nor is he simply a “Children’s Minister”. Zach’s ministry will be relevant to everyone who walks through the doors of PVCC, regardless of whether or not they have a child in some particular age range. Thus, he is our Associate Minister – and his godliness, example, and leadership matter greatly to all who call PVCC home.

If you have any questions about Zach’s transition, don’t hesitate to ask. And of course, we ask that you keep Zach, Hanna, and Theo in prayer as they get used to this new way of life. And finally, be sure to thank Nancy Kinsey for her years of overseeing Kids Kingdom. She’ll still be involved with that ministry on a volunteer basis, and I’m sure all her experience will make her a great resource for Zach as he learns the ropes. Nancy remains a blessing to our church in her role as Administrative Assistant, even as she passes the Kids Kingdom torch to Zach.

Sermon Planning, 2018: Make Your Voice Heard!

Sermon Planning, 2018: Make Your Voice Heard!

Each year (usually near the end of one year, or the beginning of the next), I spend time in thought, study, and prayer about what to preach in the months ahead at PVCC.

Thinking that far ahead is always challenging; you never know when significant, unexpected events may cause you to toss even your best-laid plans to the curb. That being said, I think there’s great wisdom in preachers patiently, intentionally, and prayerfully thinking through what their congregation needs to hear, when they need to hear it, and how to communicate that message most effectively.

As I plan ahead for sermons at PVCC, there are all kinds of factors I take into account:

1) I want to give our congregation a balanced and generous helping of Scripture (reading different genres of Scripture, spending time in both the Old and New Testaments, and examining both well-known chunks of Scripture, and often neglected portions). It’s true that sermon series on more topical concerns can be incredibly beneficial for God’s people; they certainly have a place on the plate. But in the long run, I’m convinced that Scripture is the main course of a Christian’s filling, strengthening, and sustaining meal.

2) On top of consistently presenting Scripture, I feel a responsibility to address many of the big questions and challenges the people of our church are regularly wrestling with from a Biblical perspective. On the one hand, I don’t think it’s wise to let our secular culture constantly dictate what I do and don’t preach; but on the other hand, it would be foolish to not take the more pressing issues and debates of our current day and age into account when preaching to God’s people.

3) And of course, there’s the calendar to consider! Easter and Christmas are the two major Christian holidays, so I think it would be silly to not give them their due when it comes to planning sermons each year. But on top of that, other holidays can have an impact on sermon planning as well (you probably don’t want to start an important series of sermons on a holiday weekend, when many people may be traveling).

As for this year’s preparation, most Sundays already have their assigned sermons. That being said, there’s still a handful of weeks waiting to be filled. That’s where you come in, people of PVCC:

What would you like to hear preached on Sunday mornings in 2018? What passages of Scripture, topics, and questions can we address on Sunday mornings to best aid in your growth in Christ?

Are there passages of Scripture you’ve always found confusing? What challenges are you currently facing that you’d like to hear discussed from a Biblical perspective? What topics have you found churches far too shy to talk about, to the detriment of God’s people? It’s easy for me to assume I know what my congregation wants and needs to hear each Sunday morning; but no matter how well I know Scripture, our church, and the cultural climate in which we live, it’s more than possible that I could miss something.

Of course, I can’t promise that every suggestion you offer will come to fruition; but I’d still like to hear what you’re thinking as I continue another year of the joyous, yet heavy responsibility of preaching.

Feel free to contact me however you see fit.

Men’s Breakfast 2018 Kickoff

Men’s Breakfast 2018 Kickoff

If you Google “men and friendship”, you’ll come across numerous studies – most of them suggesting the same thing. According to the experts, men are not good at friendship. Men usually have fewer close friendships than women do, and report higher feelings of loneliness. This can have a significant impact on a man’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing – especially as the ups and downs of life wear us down.

For the past several years, PVCC has offered a monthly Men’s Breakfast. Lately, David Richards and I have taken turns leading the group; Joshua Walker has led a time or two as well. We meet at Panera Bread (State Route 37 in Noblesville, in front of Meijer) at 8 AM. This is a great atmosphere for the Men’s Breakfast, and the coffee and bagels are good too.

Some simple changes are coming for the Men’s Breakfast in 2018. David Richards returns to leading each month, rather than alternating with me. In addition, we’re starting a new study, reading straight from the Book of James. This would be a great opportunity for you to jump in if you’ve never attended the Men’s Breakfast before, or if you haven’t attended consistently in some time. I’d especially encourage men who are newer to Prairie View to consider participating.

I think the Men’s Breakfast has many benefits, but it can be particularly useful to men whose schedules don’t allow them to participate in a weekly Small Group. Saturday morning may be easier than a weeknight, especially if you’re married with kids; and once per month is much less demanding than once per week.

If you’ve never attended before, don’t be intimidated! We usually have a wide age range present, and we all have unique personalities and contributions. The Men’s Breakfast ends by 9:30 AM, and consists of time for catching up, discussion of our study, and prayer. Whether you’re a new believer looking to learn more, or a mature Christian who’s attended countless events like this, we’d love to have you. I’m sure there’s much the men present can teach you, and much you can teach them.

Will attending the PVCC Men’s Breakfast solve the complex challenges men face when it comes to developing lasting friendships? Probably not. However, it certainly won’t hurt. We need each other more than we realize or admit.

I hope you’ll join us on Saturday January 20; you may be surprised by just how encouraging and edifying it can be.

Christmas at Prairie View

Christmas at Prairie View

For most of us, the month of December is a mixture of shopping, stress, excitement, joy, a little more stress, travel, and general busyness. At PVCC, we try to be respectful of peoples’ calendars; we know it’s easy to get overwhelmed at this time of year. However, we also try to offer God’s people meaningful opportunities for service, fellowship, outreach, worship, and teaching.

Here’s a general outline of what Christmas looks like at Prairie View Christian Church:

1. Last Sunday, we took our yearly trip to NorthRidge Gracious Retirement Living to do some Christmas Caroling. The people of NorthRidge love when we come to visit; one resident even gave me a thank-you card saying our carolers were “wonderful”! Caroling may not seem like much to many people, but a simple act of service to our neighbors – a small reminder that the church down the road cares for them – can be especially heartwarming on a cold December night.

2. Following our trip to NorthRidge, we gathered back at PVCC for a catered dinner. PVCC provided the food, mainly as a showing of gratitude to our congregation for another year of ministry together. We even had two strangers come in and join us for the meal! What started out as a fellowship event ended up serving as an opportunity to show hospitality.

3. This Saturday, December 16, our Men’s Breakfast will be devoted to inviting neighbors to join us for worship services on Sunday, December 24. We’ll be passing out simple invitation cards, praying that even just one person might come – and knowing that many people are more open to church attendance at Christmas than they are at other times of the year. We also ordered plenty of extra invitation cards, that way you can take some home on Sunday to share with your neighbors, coworkers, classmates, family – whoever you want!

4. And finally, we look forward to worshiping with you on Christmas Eve. We’ll worship at 10 AM that morning like usual, finishing up our “Christmas in the Psalms” sermon series. We’ll worship again that evening at 5 PM, ending our time together with a candlelight singing of “Silent Night”. These two services will not be identical, so we hope you’ll join us for both. And out of respect for your plans with family and friends, our 5 PM service will last no longer than one hour.

Again, we know how exhausting the month of December can be; however, we encourage you to take time for the things we mentioned above: service to your neighbors, fellowship with your fellow believers, outreach to those who may not recognize the birth of Jesus as something to celebrate, worship of the God who has saved us, and teaching from Scripture. And every year, we hope and pray PVCC is a place where you have the opportunity to do all of those things.

For more information about any of the events listed above, don’t hesitate to ask one of our Staff or Elders.

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

Presumably, you’ve already seen the devastating reports out of Houston, Texas, as well as smaller surrounding communities.

Last weekend, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Houston. The storm hung over southeast Texas for several days, dumping the largest single recorded rainfall in the history of the 48 contiguous United States. Naturally, this has led to massive destruction, heartbreaking loss of life, and immense suffering. Thankfully, there have also been countless stories of heroism in the face of great danger, and even worship in the midst of pain.

Our church asks that you pray for those suffering. Most of us cannot fathom the hardship these people are facing now, and will be facing well into the future. Pray for those who have lost so much; pray for those risking their lives to save others; and pray that Christians near and far would step up to the plate with service and generosity – for the good of those who are hurting, the spread of the Gospel, and the glory of God.

We also ask that if you are able, consider giving generously to relief efforts. If you’re looking for ways to give, but don’t know where to go, here’s a suggestion:

International Disaster Emergency Services (IDES for short) is the missions organization we partner with for our annual food-packing event. IDES is a competent and reputable resource for disasters such as these, and they are working hard to partner with Houston churches to best help those affected. If you’d like to give, but also want to make sure your finances are actually going to Hurricane Harvey relief, I’d encourage you to give through IDES. For more information, see this link.

We worship a God who is good, holy, and sovereign. We know that he is still on his throne, even when the world around us looks chaotic. And whether pain and suffering results from a natural disaster, human wickedness, or even the evil forces of Satan himself, Christians are called to pray and serve fervently.

Fishers Freedom Festival Outreach

Fishers Freedom Festival Outreach

Every summer, PVCC offers several outreach events. These events are designed to help us get to know the community our church calls home – and that God has given us to serve.

Our next major outreach event is at the Fishers Freedom Festival. On Sunday, June 25, our church will offer a free game for children attending the festival. All children receive a candy bar as a prize, and we have the opportunity to meet their families while they play. These are always great chances to tell people about our church, and invite them to join us on a Sunday morning. We also like that because our game is offered on a Sunday morning, we’re meeting people who might not have a church at all, or might not be believers in Christ.

The game booth will run from 10 AM – 2:30 PM; however, we’re asking for volunteers from 9 AM – 3 PM. The extra hour at the beginning, and 30 minutes at the end give us time to set up and tear down our booth. Volunteers serve in two hour shifts: 9-11, 11-1, and 1-3. Your whole family can serve together!

The Fishers Freedom Festival draws tens of thousands of visitors every year. Last year, we gave out over 500 candy bars! There aren’t many opportunities for us to meet this many people in a single day – so our church looks to make the most of it. Who knows – the family whose child received a candy bar might just come to church a week later, a month later, or even a year later. That may be the first time they’ve stepped into a church building in decades, or it may be the very first time they’ve heard the Gospel preached. It can all start out with a friendly face, a simple game at a community festival, and an invitation to a church.

If you’d like to help with this event, sign up at the Welcome Desk. If you’d like more information, talk to me. I look forward to serving our community with you!

Our Own Backyard

Our Own Backyard

“Remember, ministry for Jesus was often the person standing right in front of him.”

This is a quote from “Listen, Love, Repeat” – the women’s study we did this spring – by Karen Ehman. In her study, we looked at several ways to put others first (which is not always easy to do in a world that promotes “me first”). Each week we read Scripture and discussed what it looks like to let our lights shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

During our last session, we were challenged to drop a “love bomb” in our community. It sounds scary, I know! The idea was to go out and scatter kindness in your community in some way, shape, or form.

While it might look like we’re taking the easy way out, we decided a great way to do that would be to provide treats for the Happy Feet Soccer families. Looking at the example of Jesus, we thought it would be good to start with those who set up camp each Saturday morning in our own backyard!

This week’s forecast FINALLY looks perfect; praise God! If you would like to join us in scattering kindness to our community, we’ll be here from 9-11:15 AM providing Goldfish, bananas, and water to the littles ones playing soccer. They have two groups of soccer times: one from 9-10, and another from 10:15-11:15. You can come for the entire time, or for just a bit. Either way, we would love to have you. You won’t even need to bring anything!

We are thrilled to have this opportunity! It’s so refreshing to be outside on a Saturday morning in a community like ours, hearing the joys (and yes, some cries) of little people learning to play soccer with a bright yellow ball whose name is “Mr. Bob”. What makes it even better is doing it all in the name of Christ, for the glory of God.

We hope you can join us! Contact Dawn Mulder or Olivia Halliburton for more information.

Summer Adult Small Group

Summer Adult Small Group

Outside of Sunday morning, Small Groups are the primary means of discipleship at PVCC. After all, do the math:

  • Most of our Small Groups meet during the spring, fall, and winter, taking a break for the summer. So, assuming that each Small Group discussion lasts one hour, and a Small Group meets 30 times in one year – that’s 30 hours of learning.
  • Compare that to 52 sermons per year, each lasting roughly 30 minutes – that’s 26 hours of preaching (assuming perfect Sunday morning attendance!).

In other words, just as much (if not more) Christian education occurs in PVCC Small Groups as in our weekly sermons. It’s safe to say that Small Groups are important here.

That being said, we know that not everyone can participate in one of our usual Small Groups. Perhaps you have young kids with an early bedtime; maybe you work second shift; health concerns could prevent you from making it out in poor weather; or you simply can’t get away once per week for multiple weeks in a row. That’s a big reason why we offer other Small Group options, such as our Women’s Study and Men’s Breakfast.

But this summer, we’re excited to offer another Small Group option while many of our regular Small Groups are on break. You’re invited to attend our Summer Adult Small Group!

This Small Group will be different than most others we’ve offered. We’ll be meeting on four Sunday evenings over the summer: June 4 and 18, and July 9 and 23. The first week will be a fellowship dinner, giving all participants a chance to get to know each other better; the remaining three weeks will consist of Francis Chan’s “Basic” study. The study examines God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This Small Group will meet from 6-7:30 PM, and I’ll be leading our discussion.

Part of why I’m excited about this Small Group is who I hope it will appeal to. This Small Group would be a GREAT option for someone who’s new to the Christian faith, someone who’s never been in a Small Group before, or someone who can’t commit to a longer study.

If that describes you, we pray you’ll consider this opportunity. If you have any questions about this Small Group, don’t hesitate to contact me, or Mike Davidson. Don’t let cost get in the way; you won’t have to pay a dime. Don’t let kids get in the way; we can discuss childcare options if needed. And don’t let fear of commitment get in the way; it’s only four weeks!

Again, Small Groups are a major part of discipleship and education at PVCC. If you haven’t participated in one, you’re missing out – but perhaps this is your opportunity to get plugged in. We look forward to learning with you this summer!

Maundy Thursday Prayer Night

Maundy Thursday Prayer Night

This Thursday, April 13, PVCC will be hosting a Prayer Night from 7:30-8:30 PM. Traditionally, Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’s washing of his disciples’ feet, and the Last Supper before his arrest.

This isn’t the first Prayer Night we’ve had; in fact, we offer them quite regularly. Our Prayer Nights began in the summer of 2015, and we’ve continued offering them periodically ever since.

Prayer can be difficult. It’s very much a discipline; and for many people, more challenging than other Christian disciplines such as Scripture reading, worship attendance, and even financial giving. Many of us struggle to consistently pray quietly in private, and shudder at the thought of praying out loud in public. However, prayer is a vital aspect of our relationship with God. As author Tim Challies writes:

“Prayer is a foundational practice of the Christian life, and it is impossible to imagine a healthy Christian who does not or will not pray.” (“Visual Theology” pg. 58)

But prayer is not only vital to the health of an individual Christian; it’s also vital to the health of a local church body. That’s why we make a point to regularly offer Prayer Nights at PVCC. We want to practice prayer ourselves, teach those who call PVCC home how important prayer is, and send a message to those around us that, yes, – we REALLY do believe that prayer matters.

So what exactly will this week’s Prayer Night look like? Here are a few things to know if you’re debating whether or not to attend:

  1. You will not be forced against your will to pray out loud.
  2. We don’t spend the entire time in prayer – we often start off with discussion. In this case, we’ll be discussing what the Gospels tell us about Jesus’s final week before his crucifixion.
  3. We make a point to pray for personal requests, as well as concerns in our church, community, state, nation, and world.

We’d love for you to join our group this Thursday evening. Don’t let insecurities or excuses hinder you from speaking with the Creator of the universe, in the presence of your brothers and sisters in Christ. And I’ll tell you from experience – whether you’re one of three people, or 20 – you won’t leave feeling like you’ve wasted your time.