Gatherings @ Hope – An 11 Week Series on Sunday Mornings

In the area where I live, I am surrounded by many different churches, each with their own way of doing Sunday morning gatherings. I imagine you may experience a wide variety of music, size of bands, lighting effects, instruments, and much more. Walk into a church down the street and you may see a choir, an organ, pews with hymnals and the KJV, while across the street, at the local high school, you may find a full size band, lights and smoke, tv screens, etc.

Here at Hope Church, where I lead the worship band, we doing things our own way.

I don’t think we do everything right, by the fact that we frequently have blunders, like falling mics, breaking strings, when to dismiss the kids, and other things. I know we don’t do things perfectly, simply by the fact that I am leading us. I believe that we can continue to grow, both in numbers and depth.

But what I do hope is that our gatherings on Sundays are an authentic place where the unbeliever can be welcomed by a loving community as they come to know the love of God, where the believer has an opportunity to hear the preached word and be moved to grow in love for the Lord, and where both can be free of burden, expectations, and the need to hide from being broken people in need of freedom in Christ.

So, starting next week, I will walk through what we, at Hope Church, do on a Sunday morning. I’ll go through a “typical” Sunday, highlighting the elements of our service so that we can grow to better appreciate those elements, but more importantly, to push us to a greater knowledge and love for our Lord, Jesus Christ. Here is where I’m going:


1- Pre-service: Is it okay to show up at 9:35 or later? Do I need to show up before the service begins? 

2- Call to Worship: Scripture sets the tone for Worship

3- Songs: Singing … because emotions do matter and music an emotional response

4- Prayers of the People: Prayer is important and we all stink at praying. So teach us to pray like you taught your disciples

5- Confession: Do I really need to be reminded how sinful I am? 

6- Assurance: “Hear the Good News” 

7- Sermon: We must always preach grace … because the Law prescribes good works, but only Grace can produce them.

8- Communion: Bread and Wine Juice are good for the soul. 

9- Offering: You’re probably saying, “Of course he is going to talk about money.” 

10-  Benediction: A word that you probably couldn’t define but should be very thankful for. 

11- Doxology: Why do we always end with the same song? 


Check in over the next 11 weeks as we walk through a Sunday morning gathering at Hope Church. If you have any questions you would like me to address in this series, please feel free to comment below or email me at

May you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18




This is to 2014 and everything (that I can remember right now) that happened in the Youth Ministry [if I missed anything, feel free to add your own “to” in the comment section.]

To Sunday nights. To shifty shorty. to flash lights. to splitting your shorts on the subs in the sanctuary. to attempting to turn off all the lights in the church and failing. to eating lemons in two bites. to pull apart and slam together. to weird skits. to doctor kayoicech. to conjoined twins. to wrecking ball, radioactive, say something, since you’ve been gone, rollin in the deep, but not one direction. to small groups and lessons on the gospel. to note cards and buckets filled with questions. to over time and donut runs. to ritas and christmas parties that never happened. to open mic night. to 105 minutes of forced family fun every sunday night. to rule 1. to Soft-sylvania and you guys never having school because it rains or itis a sunny day.

to maine, philly, ligonier, the retreats. to to 5-hour energy at 4am. the 14 hours in a van ride and the 14 hours back. to “what are you doing here?”. to bill and linda glass and super al. to carrie underwood, her youth group, and the application process of becoming her assistant, to almost losing lyle on the way back from the lake. to the rock jumping into a black lake with the most beautiful background. to a weird movie we made in the woods in maine. to tossing wood in a basement. to VBS. to an accordion dance party. to “my bed,” “my head,” and my friend named ted. to the Solas. To those times of conversation in the barn.  to the East Sumner Congregational Church. to those hard conversations over scripture and life. to finally getting the gospel and being so deeply moved by its beautiful reality. to the goodbye Maine feeling. to filming everything I could on the way back down. singing songs in the van.

to philly. to Ray Garcia and the Philadelphia Project. To Pats and Ginos. to the yellow shirts. to digging a ditch in the front yard. to cleaning out a basement and scrapping a front yard. to quiet times in the park and community dinners. to late night group times in a tiny room. to “guys, i like to break the rules and do what I want … WE KNOW!” to painted hands pressed on a banner, to washed hands and prayers. to worshipping with believers. to playing with kids outside. to monday morning glory pictures. to Joe sleeping walking and jumping into my bed with me … to gagaball and wawa trips. to kyle fulks and Hope Community Church. to setting the alarm off at 5am running for it. To seeing the police drive past us in the opposite direction. to breakfast at Chick Fil A. to deep talks with the girls in the van. to rule 3, 5, 6.

to ligonier. to earthqaukes and bed presses. to falling out of the raft three times. to saving madison spangler. to lauren rinker not paddling at all. to rock wall, vomit comet, and other adventures at camp. to the beach and spurlunking. to mustache mondays. to #mexie (how’d that one turn out?). to clutch. to lyle’s hair cut. to dance parties at 10pm. to epic steal the bacon. to belly flop contests. to selfies and card games.

to retreats. to chris craddock. to green eggs and ham. to guys and make up. to air horns. to peanut butter on my face and smashed tacos. to monkey bread. to bacon monkey bread. to double taps and fumble. to CTF. To LRC. to small group time. to king of the box. to beauty and god’s creation. to american bald eagle. to megan and priscilla. to rex. to the mickelsons.

To the Seniors. to new comers and old vets. to the tall and the petit and everything in between. to growth and lasting friendship. to becoming a family. to the gospel making sense and living it out. to friday nights. to gotem. to where’s sarah? to the high school guys small group and logan’s contagious laugh. to strength and honor. to b-rad and the manly things he can do. to micaela joining us. to giggles and juurrsica talking in front of people and helping to lead the middle school girls. to laura always being late but always ready to go. to DRB. to the places you will go. to how far you have come.

To the Student Leaders. to 530pm. to speaking at youth group. to leading in small groups. to taking the next step and truly growing in your faith. to making my “job” easy. to that back corner office. to moving all the bibles down. to planning out events. to cleaning the youth room. to the 80/20 rule.

To Tim. to four minutes and fifty-one seconds of your life that you’ll never get back. to matty-roo. to RTS and classes with you. to being stuck in traffic and wondering what the people on the bridges were doing. to ethics class. to post youth group talks. to monday morning planning. to tuesday staff meetings that are never on time. to me leading everything sooner than expected. to the multiple “offices” we/you have at the church. to #mattandtimshouldsharearoom. to our new “office” that will probably never happen. to koine things. to websites. to pounding your desk on tables. to blogs. to bugs. to almost setting your house on fire. to chopping wood on the 4th of July. to tuxedo tshirts. to my favorite tshirt ever. to future plans. to you taking me seriously. to hanging up on each other. to your 15 years of ministry. to JoJo, Alyse and Adam.

To Hope Church. to the past that brought us to this point. to the future that is held in God’s hands. to your constant support. to your friendship. to your leaders. to the elders. to the worship team. to my fellow staff members.

To God. To the ways you work. to the ways you use me. to the ways you use these leaders, student leaders, and the students. to working in us. to making us grow. to saving us. to sending your Son. To Jesus, my Lord, my friend, my Savior. To the Holy Spirit working and moving and growing me to become like Him.

Thank you. I am blessed by all the things that has happened over this past year. As I now prepare for vacation and the summer, I will think of all of this and more. I can not wait to see how God continues grow us.