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Grow June 11, 2015

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This week’s command:
First, take the plank out of your own eye.
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Dear Forever Family:

We are back in the SHAPING study, looking at relationships in the Body of Christ. This is a key issue for Jesus because he knew our relationships would be central to our witness in the world.

If you missed, watch here:

In John 17, Jesus prays that we will be one as he and the Father are one, so that the world will recognize he was sent. As the song goes: “They will know we are Christians by our love”.

Easier sung than done!

Jesus uses very colorful irony in Matthew 7:3-5, forcing us to imagine a bunch of critical disciples walking around with planks colliding as we compare and correct one another.

He simply says take your plank out first. He is a master teacher and he knows us better than we know ourselves. It’s a call to humility. He knows that is the key for us to see clearly!

Looking at Jesus’ command and the wisdom of the Proverbs, we looked at four practical steps for relationship repair:
1. Get rid of all superiority and self-justification.
2. Release your right to the repayment of the debt.
3. Go beyond evil – overcome it with goodness and blessing.
4. Then, and only then, gently confront from a healing heart.

Paul brought all these ideas together in Romans 12:14-21, a visionary call to Christ-centered community living. So much love that we would melt the hearts of those around us. Quite a vision!

I look forward to investing the next several weeks in relationship building and repair as we seek to be a community that truly reflects and glorifies the Risen King we serve.

Love – in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – Denis


Outpouring 2015 – City Wide Praise and Worship – Cincinnati Gardens
Sunday May 31 – 3:00-4:30 PM

Congregation Meeting – Sunday June 14 during worship services – 9 & 11 AM

Grow June 11, 2015

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Brothers and Sisters,

After nearly 5 years of service, Jasmine Swann will step down as our Director of Children’s Ministry.

Jasmine and Ben and their family are moving to Atlanta where Ben will take a news anchor position with CBS.

We expect the Swann’s to transition somewhere around August 1. Plans to farewell the Swann family will be announced separately.

As a result, our part-time Director of Children’s Ministry position is open. We are giving priority to applicants for this key staff position from within our congregation who know our culture.

The latest job description is provided below. We will open this position to those outside MCC in a few weeks if we do not receive applications that fit the job requirements.

If you are interested in being considered, please send your resume and cover letter to me by June 15, 2015.

In Jesus, Denis


Reporting Relationships
– This position reports to the Director of Ministry
– Nursery Director reports to this position

Links with position – (internal and external)
– Staff Team (weekly/biweekly meetings)
– Children’s Ministry Team (monthly meetings)
– Sunday school and nursery team volunteers (as needed)
– Parents of Children (as needed)
– Pre-School Parents (opportunities to invite)

Responsible for (duties, processes)
– Building and stewarding the vision for spiritual growth of our children
– Communicating with stakeholders so that the church embraces and serves the vision
– Evaluating and selecting curriculum and content for Sunday and for any special programs
– Recruiting, selecting, coaching, motivating and evaluating teachers and children’s workers
– Ensuring the Sunday morning experience is safe, welcoming, joyful and conducive to growth
– Equipping volunteers with the necessary tools to optimize their serving commitment

Accountable for (outcomes, results, measures)
– Care and growth of people and resources to match ministry needs
– Manage the volunteer schedule and communication for volunteers
– Determine how to measure and then increase volunteer satisfaction
– Measure spiritual growth of children versus agreed goals

Capabilities of the ideal candidate
– Mature Spirit-Filled believer who demonstrates strong relational skills with kids and adults
– Spiritual gifts of administration, serving, leadership, and communication
– Passion to see children develop spiritually
– Passion to engage parents in vision and serving
– Experience in Children’s ministry at MCC and/or elsewhere

Other factors/considerations
– Proven success in team environments
– Approximately 20 hours per week average
– Time required in the office can be flexible

Grow May 20, 2015

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Last Sunday we wrapped up the Brave Journey. We heard powerful stories of God at work in our midst. I always love to hear stories of what God’s been doing in your life!

If you missed Sunday, catch the Brave series finale right here:

Next week, we will resume our SHAPING study in the commands of Jesus. If you are new, SHAPING is an acronym for 7 different qualities of how Jesus operates. (Strategy, Humility, Authority, Purity, Integrity, Needy, Generosity)

We chose SHAPING because it is the term vintners use to describe how they train a vine to produce more fruit. Think of Jesus’ teaching in John 15! Each part of the study includes 10 commands of Jesus for us to obey – to be more fruitful.

We are about mid-way in the Integrity portion of the study. The next 5 commands of Jesus are all about relationships – especially repairing relationships. Jesus will teach us how to keep the Body of Christ united – a key dimension of integrity.

On June 14, we will have Vision Sunday – our worship services will include our annual congregation meeting. You will get an update from the chair of our elder council and my annual pastoral report.

We will look at our vision, and share staff changes and priorities for the next year, including a renewed focus on inviting friends and neighbors to follow Jesus with us. We will also have time to cover any questions you may have about our church!

This summer, we will focus on the Neediness of Jesus before his Father and his call for us to depend completely on him. Our children and youth ministries will shift into summer rhythms as we give our regular teachers a break.

Mission partners from Africa, Asia, and Israel will visit MCC throughout the summer, and they will share unique global Kingdom updates with us – as we partner in bringing the Good News of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

This fall, we will conclude our two-year SHAPING study by looking at the Generosity of Jesus. This will challenge us to deeper stewardship of our resources and pull together Jesus’ commands into a renewed Kingdom mission for our congregation in 2016.

I’m looking forward to a restful and stimulating summer with you as we follow Jesus together! Love, Denis

Grow May 14, 2015

BRAVE Journey – Week Five

Grow May 13, 2015

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Beloved Brave Journeyers,

I’m thankful for Zeke’s message last week, and how the story of Peter in Acts 10 is still playing out today.

We have amazing opportunities in front of us, and I’m glad so many of our families – like the Robyn’s – are following God’s call to bring the Gospel – even to Israel!

How did the message help remind you or inspire you about your “heading”? How do you stay encouraged on your Brave Mission?

I really hope you plan to attend the Ascension Celebration tomorrow night – Thursday May 14 at 7 PM at the Parish center. The service will be less than an hour, mostly a worship-filled tribute to our Risen King Jesus. Free child care!

This coming Sunday we will wrap up the Journey – looking at Peter’s proven plan for perseverance in the ever-challenging adventure of following Jesus.

It will also be a time to share testimonies and to celebrate all that God did. May these new areas of growth and community become a permanent and encouraging part of our lives together.

Let’s persevere with Jesus! Denis


SHAPING – Integrity Week 4 – Sunday May 24 – We will return to our study in the commands of Jesus – all dealing with relationship repair.

Outpouring 2015 – Sunday May 31 – 3:00-4:30 PM – City-Wide Praise and Worship – Cincinnati Gardens

Grow May 06, 2015


Last Sunday was special — on at least five counts:
If you missed here’s the video –

1. It all started with a creative bacon outreach to the Flying Pig marathon by Rob Seetin, David McMillen, Brock Lusch, and many family and youth group regulars. God blessed the effort with unexpected response and popularity – way to “leap” guys!

2. Dell’s 95th birthday testimony and cake fest was also a huge blessing. Kudos to Shy Stolarski and the Gladstone community for beautiful decorations and to Burr and Terry Robinson and the elders’ wives for fantastic cakes. It was wonderful to celebrate as a multi-generational community and hear some of Dell’s leaps with Jesus.

3. Celebrating three baptisms and hearing the story of how God brought each one to obedience was really encouraging – in the midst of community worship and celebratory cheers for Jesus.

4. Giving thanks to dozens of special servants who have given themselves lavishly to our children, youth, and to making Sunday mornings run smoothly. Your servant hearts bless everyone who comes to MCC. (Great video Briana!)

5. Seeing how God used Peter as he took a leap with Jesus in the fullness of the Holy Spirit in Acts 3 and 4. We shared testimonies and biblical examples of the many ways we can bring God’s Kingdom into our daily lives. May that be our prayer this week!

Let’s be Brave, and take leaps with Jesus! Denis

Grow April 30, 2015

Grow April 30, 2015

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Brave Journey Compadres,

Last Sunday we looked at the Power of God released on Pentecost Sunday, and the powerful preaching of a transformed Peter. If you missed, here is the video:

Peter’s transformation is especially encouraging because it came in the wake of spectacular failure – his threefold denial of Jesus. So whatever failure you may be carrying, give it to Jesus!

In Acts 2, the response to Peter’s message was visceral. People were “cut to the heart”. Have you ever been cut to the heart?

Jesus invites us to repent (turn from sin, think a new way) and believe that our sins will be forgiven in the name of Jesus. He then asks that we be baptized and that we receive the Holy Spirit.

Have you completed these steps of initiation into the Kingdom of God? If not, why not obey and act now? Plan to be baptized this Sunday. Seek the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Peter lived through these steps and experienced the awesome transformation that only Jesus can bring about. It’s real folks!

Let’s go for it together with Jesus! Denis


Flying Pig Outreach – Sunday May 3 – 830-1030 am

Brave Journey Prayer Experience – City Link Center daily until May 10

Ascension Celebration with Gladstone – PC – Thursday May 14

Outpouring 2015 – City-Wide Praise and Worship – Cincinnati Gardens Sunday May 31 – 3:00-4:30 PM

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Grow April 28, 2015

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Brothers and Sisters,

Please mark three special services in your calendars:

1. Brave Journey Prayer Experience – Until May 10: A journey highlight – an interactive 3-D prayer experience at the City Link Center – 800 Bank Street in West End. Monday to Friday 830 am-830 pm, Saturday 10 am- 8 pm, Sunday 2-8 pm. Allow an hour plus transit time. Plenty of free parking. No child care.

2. Ascension Worship – Thursday May 14 at the Parish Center. We will join Gladstone to honor the ascended King Jesus. There will be a meal served at 615, worship and communion at 700 and dismissal to small groups by 745. Free child care!

3. Outpouring 2015 – Cincinnati Gardens: Sunday May 31 from 3-430 pm. We will join with thousands of fellow disciples from every neighborhood, every race, and every denomination – to unite our City in prayer and worship asking God to transform us and our community. We will also take an offering to bless the poor. Children who can participate and enjoy the time are welcome!

Please plan to enjoy these opportunities to honor King Jesus.

In Jesus, Denis

Grow April 23, 2015

BRAVE Journey (Week Two) – Storm