presenting the 8th annual . . .

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Mission Church Fall Fest!  It’s hard to believe that this was the 8th year that we’ve done this event, but it’s true!  It gets bigger every year.  Our people are faithful to volunteer and invite their friends each time.  And it all results in a fun evening where people who don’t come to our church can connect with the Mission Church family in an easy going environment.  Plus, it’s just a whole lot of fun.  How can you go wrong with hay rides, inflatables, and a beautiful and crisp Central Oregon day?  You just can’t!

Our friends, Tim and Julia, were the ever-gracious hosts again.  They let all of these hundreds of people enjoy their beautiful property.  And give people and opportunity to have a wonderful night with their families.  Plus it gives the church leaders a chance to get to know people without having to worry about a church service or be under any kind of time limit.  The Taylors’ generosity has been a huge blessing!

This year we had a few changes.  We finally put any and all parking out to pasture, literally.  Everybody, not just the volunteers, parked out in the back field.  I think that’s a sign of growth when you know that the cars won’t fit out in front of the house anymore.  It’s a good problem to have.  Another change was the food.  Sadly, we ended the annual tradition of a chili cook-off.  It was a bittersweet decision.  It was always a fun competition to be sure, but changing the food situation also meant that we ended the annual tradition of running out of food and having people, especially volunteers, leave the event hungry.  Not good.  So instead, we outsourced.  And what was the solution?  Food trucks, of course!  It was pretty cool seeing the food truck owners come out with their families to enjoy the festival.  They not only had a good evening of work, but also enjoyed all the fun stuff with their kids.  I think it was a win-win!

And now here is where I get a little bit nostalgic.  Sorry, but it just can’t be helped!  Back in 2007, the Fall Fest started out as something we came up with so that when Mission Church had our very first services we would have some kind of event to invite people to.  We wanted a chance to get to know people outside of a weekend service setting.  It was actually very strategic.  But honestly, we had no clue that we would still be doing it all these years later, and that the event (and the church) would have grown so much in that time.  I realize that we’ve been doing this awhile, but every time we do this thing, or even on the weekend services, I still look out at the cars and think to myself, “People came!  Woohoo!  People actually showed up!”  I’m hoping that I never stop having those feelings when someone walks through our doors and decides to give church a chance.  Even if the first time they do it is out in a pasture on a ranch at Fall Fest.

Pastor Scott, the welcoming committee

Pastor Scott, the welcoming committee

face painting

face painting

You're never too young to have some fall fun!

You’re never too young to have some fall fun!

a couple of cuties

a couple of cuties

the riding bull

the riding bull

The beautiful Rachel and her trusty horse giving some pony rides.

The beautiful Rachel and her trusty horse giving some pony rides.

Are these inflatables big enough?

Are these inflatables big enough?

This last picture I just put in so I could show you my new toy, the iPhone6.  You can see it’s shadow as we’re taking the selfie pic.  It’s a lot of fun.  I do have one complaint, though.  It’s so slim and skinny that it disappears into my purse too easily and now I’m having a hard time finding it when I need to dig it out to make a call or take a picture, which is really about the only two things I do with my phone anyway.  Brent could run the world with his phone, but I’m still trying to keep it simple.  Happy fall!

Superman and me

Superman and me

summer summary- part 2

Labor Day was our last big hurrah before the beginning of school.  So we took advantage of the beautiful day and packed as much into every minute as possible.  It’s the best kind of busy:  with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, exercise, and fun!  Not too mention some yummy food.

We began the day on the annual All-Church Labor Day Hike.  This year we went to the world famous Smith Rock State Park, home of Misery Ridge and world-class rock climbing.  The scenery is gorgeous!  And watching the many rock climbers that were at the park that day was amazing.  They are some pretty brave and daring souls!  I kept telling the kids that it was the first day of school and we were starting the year with a field trip to Smith Rock.  I don’t thing they believed me, though.  After hiking, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and then headed into Redmond to do some antique shopping.  We know where all the good spots are for antiquing in Redmond.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but we had fun with it either way.

Then it was time for some dinner!  Mission Church’s Redmond campus hosted a family BBQ, so we had some fun hanging out with some more of our church family.  Lots of people, lots of food, lots of fun!  It was a great way to finish the summer and move on to the school year.  Happy hiking!

a beautiful girl in a beautiful place

a beautiful girl in a beautiful place

You know it's serious climbing when they have crutches and a stretcher at the ready.

You know it’s serious climbing when they have crutches and a stretcher at the ready.

Gimme some burgers!

Gimme some burgers!

Jump!

Jump!

The teaching team as targets for the water balloon launch.

The teaching team as targets for the water balloon launch.

This was after they had been properly drenched.

This was after they had been properly drenched.

My buddy, Holly

My buddy, Holly

 

backyard party

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This week we hosted the music and tech teams from church for a bbq in the backyard.  The weather cooperated, there was almost enough space on the street for everybody’s cars, and we had a great time relaxing together.  We packed everybody in the house and backyard and just had a great time hanging out.  And this wasn’t even everybody from the teams.  We were missing a few families.

It’s a lot of fun for Brent and me to look at these amazing teams of people that God has given us.  We remember well the beginning days of Mission Church when the music team was about 3 people and the tech team was about 1 person.  My oh my, how times have changed!  We don’t have to look hard to see God’s blessing and favor.  He has been faithful beyond what we deserve and we are grateful.  Amen!

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off to camp- round 2

This week is Blake’s turn to go to summer camp. On Monday, Emma and I got to be a part of the road trip team and drop off everybody at Camp Kellogg. It’s a long drive, but thankfully it’s a pretty drive along the MacKenzie Pass. This isn’t Blake’s first time so he thinks he’s an expert. He wasn’t anxious about anything, just ready to get the fun started! There’s something pretty special about friends, games, funny camp songs, and adventures out at the campground. I hope these great memories last a lifetime.

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picnic in the park

Sunday afternoon was Mission Church’s family night at the park. It was everything a picnic at the park should be: relaxing fun. Sometimes too many of us are busy and task-oriented during our weekend services, so it was great to have an event with no other agenda except to have fun. I think that’s a task we can all embrace.

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multi-site church

Over the past year, Mission Church has been working on becoming a multi-site church. That means, simply, that we have more than one campus. So far there is Bend, Redmond, and online. And we’re working on Madras (more on that another day). It’s incredibly exciting for us to watch this multi-site idea take shape.

This morning for Sunday services we got to visit the Redmond campus. Brent facilitated the service, but the sermon was done by video by Ryan Emerick, one of our teaching pastors who is actually the official Redmond campus pastor.

I got to sing some harmonies on the worship team, which was a lot of fun. But the best part was watching people interact and engage in worship. I admit that the first time I was ever in a “video venue” church, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. But after awhile I realized that the teaching was just as good and just as valuable even if it was on a screen instead of in person.

Sometimes Redmond is a video venue, sometimes Bend is. And the online campus always is. But the message is the same. It’s definitely a new model of doing church for us. But we’re willing to follow God’s leading wherever that is, even if it involves a whole lot of technology.

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summer camp- day two

Entering God's construction zone

Entering God’s construction zone

 

After getting totally rained out yesterday, we were so grateful that the weather cooperated today.  It wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold, it was just right!  One of the best parts about these kind of church events is watching a diverse group of people work together for a common (and wonderful) cause.  I think that’s a great definition of the church.  Not just my local church, but the general and universal church.

We couldn’t have been successful without our many student (jr. high and high school) volunteers.  For my class, the preschoolers, we needed all the hands we could get since we were working in  an outdoor space.  That means NO WALLS which makes containment of all those energetic little bodies a lot more challenging.  But because we had great helpers, we didn’t have to worry.  What a blessing!

If you have ever worked a summer camp or vacation Bible school before, you know that when it’s all over you have two clear feelings:  satisfaction and exhaustion.  Which means that after I finish writing this post, I’m going to bed!  And I’m sure I’ll sleep soundly with sweet dreams about legos and camp songs and stories about Jesus.

Blake is ready for his role in the skit.  He played the part of God, so we had to make sure he knew it was only for the skit, and not real life!

Blake is ready for his role in the skit. He played the part of God, so we had to make sure he knew it was only for the skit, and not real life!

At the beginning, every class had a blanket with blocks to play with until it was time to start.

At the beginning, every class had a blanket with blocks to play with until it was time to start.

Emma helped lead the songs and motions.

Emma helped lead the songs and motions.

Keeping little bodies busy:  popping bubble wrap!

Keeping little bodies busy: popping bubble wrap!

 

summer camp- day one

Today was the first of three days of summer camp for Mission Church.  We had so much fun!  Thinking creatively, we didn’t do it at the church building like we normally would have. Instead, we had it at a local park, with the intent of pulling in kids from the community that wouldn’t normally attend our church.  And I think it worked because I saw quite a few faces that I didn’t recognize.

We are calling it “God’s Construction” and teaching about how God is the creator of the universe and everything in it.  We’re also taking this opportunity to use a bunch of legos and blocks and other building materials.  So cool!  I get to teach the toddler and preschool class this week.  This was kind of last minute because my friend (who is more of a preschool expert than I am) had to go out of town last minute.  But I’m enjoying the process of selecting lessons and activities and supplies.  Of course the best part is getting to know the amazing little kiddos in the class.  What an amazing age!

In the middle of today’s camp, we had a serious rain delay.  But everyone took it in stride and now we have a fun memory to tell everybody about when they ask us what we did.  Most of all, the kids had fun, they felt loved and valued, and they learned more about God.  You know, the really important stuff.  Hooray for summer camp!

 

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    bins of activities waiting for eager campers

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getting set up. The canopy came in handy during the rain delay.

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The big kids had some fun too.

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You gotta love camp songs!

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making a maze. In case your wondering, I did NOT steal the stop sign. We bought it at a flea market in Texas about 15 years ago.

photo booth fun

Every year on Mother’s Day we try to do something at church to honor moms.  The trick is doing something creative without it costing a whole lot of money.  So this year we set up a fun photo booth so people could take pictures with their moms or take pictures to send to their moms.  I thought the whole set up turned out to be pretty cute.  And we had a lot of fun posing for some pictures.  Brent and the guys did a great job with it.  It helped to set a fun tone for the weekend.  You’ll notice some of the clothes are different in the pictures.  That’s because we posed for some pics at the Saturday night service, but then we couldn’t resist doing some more on Sunday morning.  Happy posing!

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having church in a snowstorm- part 2

Well, we made it!  The online campus of Mission Church has been successfully launched!  Whew!  After a long night of post-production (something having to do with videos and seams and downloads), we got a little bit of sleep before the sun rose Sunday morning.  We all stayed in our pajamas, ate a little bit of breakfast, and nervously waited for church to start.  Brent got the computer all ready and we just watched the countdown on the screen and prayed like crazy that everything would work.

Then, lo and behold, it worked!  Woo hoo!  There were a few little delay bumps here and there, but it was still a great success.  The songs could be heard, the lyrics could be read, the announcement videos played, and the sermon was great (as always, in my completely biased opinion).  All the rest of the bells and whistles passed the test, too.  There were chats, and prayers, and responses, and sermon notes, and communication cards, and an offering.

My favorite part was singing along to the worship team with the kids and parents all snuggled on the couch.  I also liked reading some of the comments from our online hosts.  I thought they did a great job of moderating the whole event.  Brent showed me a lot of comments on Facebook about attending online.  People seemed to be excited about this new project.  It will be fascinating to see what God has in mind for it.

the snow on Friday morning

the snow on Friday morning

The snow on Saturday morning, can you see the difference?

The snow on Saturday morning, can you see the difference?

ready for some church!

ready for some church!

the supplies are ready: a notepad and some hot tea

the supplies are ready: a notepad and some hot tea

up and running

up and running

a mom and her boy

a mom and her boy

sermon notes

sermon notes

Now this weekend we get to see how it all works when we don’t have the entire church family watching from home (including the staff and leaders).  We’re making it one step at a time.  Some steps seem bigger than others, but we just keep stepping in the direction that God is leading along the path that he has created for us.