Sunday, February 3, 2008


Well it was my first Sunday where I didn't play drums, and it was.. well umm different.

Our NEw Drummer did a great job and the service itself was wow.

To conclude the C4 series (this was the fifth message the bonus disc so to speak)

It was a vision casting service and part of it included a look into the future of lifepoint. The creative team wrote a narrative of how that might look and then Pastor took it and used parts of it for his message. I managed to snag a copy of the original script and a page of notes regarding it (Though the narrative itself swtiches from first to third point perspective).

First the Outline:

Monday: 4:00pm Creative Team meeting, led by Alice , a single mom who used to make our signs back when we were at Parkside; John, her former manager from Kinko’s leads the graphic arts and video department

Tuesday: 5:30 am Foyer meeting

Lucy: Freshman at UMW, volunteering with videography—came to Lifepoint through the Downtown campus

Carter: Media Team/Technical Director; formerly production engineer for Channel 7 news

7:00pm Lifegroup
Eric: Brought to Lifepoint by his wife Melissa when their marriage was suffering; Recovering from alcohol and other addictions-now a Lifegroup leader

Wednesday: 10:00 am Kidspoint meeting: Sarah—Director of Children’s Ministries—came to Lifepoint while in grad school, accept Christ and was baptized; had a few ideas that turned into emails to the pastor, which led to her full time job after earning her master’s degree in early childhood education and administration

7:00 pm The Source: Maria: Came to Lifepoint after losing a baby—heartbroken and angry with God, her husband dragged her there—they ended up adopting a teen and her newborn sister who had just lost their parents and now together with her husband, Maria leads the youth ministry of over 100 students.

Thursday: 6:00 pm Worship Team practice—worship leader Alex—worship, not performance—secular songs mixed in for relevance and recognition

Friday: Another Lifegroup—this time for the younger crowd. Meets at the college in a meeting room at one of the dorms. This one was born out of the downtowm campus and has multiplied and “birthed” about twenty other lifegroups of its kind, all over campus. After the bible study, the group usually decends upon Hyperion for latte’s and fellowship.

Saturday: 10:00am to Noon: Annual Lifepoint Gas Buy Down—multiple volunteers—Carlos runs it because this is the event that brought his family to Lifepoint—he was drawn to the idea of the fact that Lifepoint is not here just to build a church, but to church a city, a state, and a country.

Sunday morning! 5:00am-Set up at the Stafford High School campus: Bob Jordon, age 65, leads the set up team. Bob was invited by his son, Carter (the media team director) to the main campus in Spotsy for years but started coming when the Stafford campus opened up. Bob has been helping with set up every week, but just got saved last Sunday. He finally understands why he’s been doing this all this time, and why his son is so passionate about his job as media director for the main campus. Bob is excited because today is the first day of the simulcast from the main campus.

And now the narrative:

It started out like any other week at the office, the editor called all of us in on Sunday afternoon to discuss the upcoming week's interest stories. Having just returned from a fairly long oversees stint as a foreign correspondent I was given first pick from the pack.

My eyes widened in surprise as I saw the third lead into the stack, Church opens doors to a new 10,000 seat auditorium. Okay, having covered some of the so called mega-churches in my career 10,000 didn't seem so large, what caught my eye was the name, Lifepoint Church, before work took me out of state and then out of country for the last several years I had attended a few services there, and most of family were there. Eager to see what had been going on since my departure I snatched the story and headed for my office to make some phone calls.

"Hello Pastor? This is Frank Marzetti, I don't know if you remember me... yes that's right! It's been a few years for me too. Well I just got back in country and we're planning on running an article on Lifepoint, yes it's about the main campus's opening next week, I was wondering if I could get some of your time? Great! Same place as always? Great!"


One thing I had learned in my early days at the paper was the reporters lived off coffee, and apparently this rule applied to pastors as well as I walked into Starbucks. I saw him chatting with one of the girls behind the credenza and quickly ordered. Once we both had our cups we sat down at one of the tables.

After chatting about a few random issues I pulled out my notebook and got serious. "Tell me Pastor, how does it feel to be opening a church that seats 10,000?"

He smiled back at me, "Well Frank to be honest with you this is just another step along the way."

I blinked in surprise.

He saw my confusion and then decided to clarify. "Frank Lifepoint's not about a building, it's not even about a huge congregation. Lifepoint is a movement of God to make the name Jesus famous across the world, along the way he's just been very good in blessing us. How does your week look?"

"I'm free just about all week."

"Then I'd like for you to see what a week at Lifepoint looks like, why don't you start tomorrow, our creative team has their weekly programming meeting."

"I think I'd like that pastor." I offered him my hand and he gave me a firm handshake. Perhaps I would see what my younger sister found so amazing about this church.


"Hi are you Frank?"

"Yes I'm Frank Marzetti."

"Well come in and join us, we haven't started yet there's a couple more people still coming and.. oh where are my manners I'm Alice."

I pulled out my ever present notebook and decided to ask a few questions. "So tell me Alice where do you fit into this movement thingy?"

She laughed, "I see you've been talking to Pastor, but that's what we are, a movement to bring those who are far from God into a place where they can experience his plan for their lives."

I nodded and she continued. "I lead the creative team, wait till you see our planning room." The way she smiled made me feel a bit apprehensive as I followed her into the room and then stopped, I heard several people chuckle apparently I wasn't the first person to react that way. The walls were multicolored and very bright, there was a whiteboard in one corner, stacks of blank note cards, lego's and play-doh on the table, with a easel set up with a large pad of paper and some paint sitting underneath. Off to the side I saw a keyboard and a stereo.

The meeting which ran a couple hours was interesting to say the least, ideas flying around the room people working off each others thoughts and some really interesting ideas came out of it. At the end of the meeting I sat down with Alice to ask a few more questions.

"So what happens now?"

"Some of the ideas will go to productions the rest we'll refine at the next meeting."

"So how did you get started here?"

"My first introductions to Lifepoint was several years ago when I worked at the fedex/Kinko's on route 3, at the time they did the print work for Lifepoint. So every couple weeks or so they'd be in there looking at proofs, or dropping off some new things for a rush job and they'd always invite me to one of there services. Being a single parent raising a daughter on my own, I always shad some excuse until they ran some print material for their kidspoint service."


"It's a church service designed to reach the younger generations, I thought my daughter would enjoy it so one week we finally went. It was amazing, and Lucy enjoyed it so we started coming regularly. I started volunteering to help with the kids and then they asked me to join one of the planning meetings, I had so much fun and then I ended up running them. Oh my look at the time, I have to pick up Lucy from the folks at the care center. Oh let me introduce you to someone else before I go."

She led me to a room filled with cubicles. "This is our graphic and video department. John you there!"

"Alice! Got something you need designed for the next series?"

"No this is Frank Marzetti, he's running a story on the new launch."

"Hey Frank. Bye Alice."

"So John, tell me how'd you get involved here."

John smiled and pointed to the receding figure of Alice. "I was her manager at fedex/Kinko's. After she started here she started inviting the whole store, my wife and I had given up on church, we were both so disillusioned you know?"

Frank nodded, and John continued. "Well after a long time we finally attended. It was unlike the church services we both grew up in. the people were actually friendly and open and we really enjoyed ourselves. Eventually Linda, my wife started working with Alice at the programming meetings and I took a position here as a graphics designer. Everything is done in house here too. We've got our own print and copy center downstairs. We're also part of a resource network for new churches. We've partnered with several other churches and we share resources as needed."

"I'm confused John, what do you mean by sharing resources?"

"Well, take this for example." He pointed to his screen well there was a half completed flyer for the egg drop. "Let's say that one of the other churches that we're partnered with is planing to do an egg drop like we do, instead of starting from scratch we can send them our graphics and flyers and they can customize them as they need, for a new church starting up it saves them a lot of work."

"How much do you charge for that?"

John laughed outright. "Charge? Not a dime, it's just our way to help preach the gospel."

"Now I'm really confused."

"Well take me for example. I can't get up there on the podium and preach on Sunday, heck I can barely talk at the staff meetings without breaking out in a cold sweat, but what I can do is graphics that we can use in our outreach programs. And in the same way if another church can use our design and save time they can put that time to use through prayer, or preaching or whatever. It's one of the foundations of Lifepoint, everyone brings something to the table, no matter who you are there's something you can do to help preach the gospel."

"I see, thanks for your time John it's given me a lot to think about."

"No problem are you invited to the staff meeting tomorrow morning?"


"Than I'll see you there, have a good evening."


That Tuesday morning at the eye popping hour of 5:30 found the Foyer Leadership team plus one reporter at their weekly meeting at Starbucks.

“Why not the office?” asked an inquisitive reporter?

“When we do a full staff leadership with all the campus teams we meet there, these are just the leaders of each team. For one it helps with people who have to commute and also at this hour you just have to have a strong cup of coffee.”

“Before we get to far into the meeting, I had a joy I wanted to share with the rest of the team.”

“John this is Carter, he’s the media team director for Lifepoint.”

“I got a call from my dad Sunday afternoon, he accepted Christ at the Stafford Campus service.”

There was a few moments of congratulations and some heartfelt thanks, before the Foyer pastor got down to business.

John sat and watched and listened as the group outlined discussed the previous week and outlined upcoming events. Then the real shocker was right before the end of the meeting when everyone pulled out a pen and began writing from a stack of cards.

"What are you doing?" he asked pulling out his notebook.

"Something that we strive to do at Lifepoint is to recognize excellence, every week the team leaders sit down and write a thank you card to someone they noticed really going that extra mile here..." Carter flipped his card over for John to read.

'Yo Lucy, awesome job with the videography this past week, God has blessed with you amazing talent, keep up the good work, ~CJ'

"Lucy is a freshman at Mary Washington she joined Lifepoint through the Downtown campus, when she found out we were looking for video staff at the main campus she volunteered."

As the cards were turned in to be mailed he was chatting with the media director. "How did you get involved in Lifepoint?"

Carter smiled, "Well it's funny you should ask that, two years ago I was the production engineer for Channel seven news, and my crazy neighbor came over on Super Bowl Sunday with a bag of chips and a bottle of coke."

"I never was a church guy, but I thought hey this is cool, just in time for the big game too, it's embarrassing to say, but I remember asking him to pray that my team won because I had a couple hundred riding on the game and I needed the money."

The two men shared a laugh and Carter gave the reporter a slap on the back, "Speaking of money I need to head to the office so I can make some, have a good day."

The foyer pastor looked over at John "Any questions? Comments? Snide Remarks?"

That prompted a smile but he shook his head, "So how does a church go from a handful of volunteers to a large staff and a huge army of volunteers?"

The Foyer Pastor smiled back at him, "It's simple first, we keep creating empty seats and God keeps filling them, when you get a chance I suggest you read about the widow's oil, it's something Pastor shared with us at a meeting severals years ago, it's in 2 kings (Chapter 4), Second we cast the vision of where we believe God is leading us and then we give people the opportunity to take part in it." He glanced at his watch, "Whoops I'm running late to another meeting, if you're going to the worship practice on Thursday I'll see you there!"

John waved goodbye and then went back to his hotel room to see exactly what that scripture said.


Several hours later and now armed with a better understanding of what helped he made his way to a lifegroup that was meeting.

"Hi you must be John."

"John Marzetti, and you are..." he glanced down at the schedule that Pastor had given him, "Eric?"

"You got it, come on in!"

John was pleasantly surprised. When he had heard about lifegroups he had assumed that it was some kind of boring bible study, and while they did crack open there Books, a good part of the time was spent talking about how to relate it to their lives, and just sharing stories of life. Then afterwards they went out and played football for an hour before it wasn't light enough. A panting reporter finally sat down with Eric as people began to filter out and head for home.

"Here John have a drink, take a few minutes to catch your breath before you pass out."

"Not as young as I used to be, thanks." Composed he began the interview, "So Eric what's our story? and what's with this lifegroup thing, I expected some kind of boring bible study like what I went to when I was a kid."

Eric laughed, "I thought the same thing when I first heard about the lifegroups. I guess my story is more embarrassing then some of the other people here, before this I was a mess. My wife and I had only been married a year and a half and we were on the edge of divorce. I was having problems at work and it carried over to my home life, I started drinking really heavy and then I got into some other stuff. It was actually Melissa my wife who started to come to Lifepoint first, a friend of hers who knew we were having problems invited her to go. I'm not even going to tell you what I told her. It's a wonder she didn't leave me then and there. When she finally got me to start coming I felt so out of place, now don't get me wrong I felt accepted there, but I didn't feel like I deserved acceptance."

He stopped even now a bit choked up about it and after a few uncomfortable minutes he continued. "I didn't know where to go or who to turn to, you know? i felt like I had screwed up so bad, but Melissa got us going to one of these small groups, it took several months, but you start looking at your small groups as family and I finally talked to our small group leader about what I was going through. He had opened his home to us and told us anytime we needed to talk to give him a call. I had couldn't take the guilt anymore, he read me that passage where it talks about how God cast our sins from us as far as the east is from the west, I guess that started the healing process. After a while I accepted Christ as my savior and got Baptized. It wasn't an overnight process, if anything it was a long uphill climb, and I haven't arrived either, but I enjoy every day now, Melissa and I have a better relationship now then ever and now I'm here with my door open because I know someone out there is going through the same thing I did."

John nodded not trusting himself to say anything, the story had gotten to him as well.

"So John, how do you feel about getting a cup of coffee? I need to pick up Melissa from her college class tonight and I'd like you to meet her."


John had sat down to begin drafting his story he was only midway through his week, but just the stories of the lives change were inspiring, he looked at his next meeting as he began to toy with titles for his article and then giving it up until he had more of an idea where his story was going.

"Hi John, welcome the the Source."

"Hi you must be Maria?"

"You got it, we're just finishing up here give me a few minutes and I'll be able to sit down and chat."

He nodded and watched as she went back to the rec center they were in. There were ping pong tables on one end and a couple basket ball hoops on the other, right now though, there were a couple hundred teens laughing as several of their numbers were on stage messing around in some kind of game.

He watched as Maria gathered them in and then said a prayer and then they dismissed some kids heading for the parking lot, some sticking around.

"So what is this source thing anyway?"

"The Source is our Youth program, it's kinda like a lifegroup for the teen-age generation, I'm one of about 5 program leaders, the others are helping outside at the moment."

"How'd you get involved in the Source? Your Pastor didn't tell me but he did say it was a powerful story."

She nodded, "Well it actually started because I was pregnant and then there were some complications and we lost the baby, but because of the complications I couldn't have anymore children. I was heartbroken, and just felt lost. I had prayed and begged God for this child and I felt like he had let me down. My husband, bless his heart finally dragged me to Lifepoint. It was a bit tough because there were several people there who were pregnant and the wounds were just so fresh. Our first week there they were doing a volunteer drive and they mentioned a nursery. Philip immediately signed us up. At the time I wanted to strangle him, still do on occasion. Thankfully they had us interview before they let us start, when they heard about our story you could see that they were excited about something." She paused to get a drink of water leaving John at the edge of this seat.

"You're very good at that."

"At what?"

"Keeping someone's attention."

"When you try to work with a couple hundred teens you learn to real fast. Now back to our interview, when I asked them what they were so excited for they invited me to come to a Source meeting. You see one of the girls in the source had just started to bring her friend, she and her newborn sister had lost their parents in an automobile accident, they were currently staying with their grandparents, but they were to old to take care of a newborn. Now at that meeting I fell in love with all the kids there and so I ended up volunteering to work with the teens at the Source, and adopting both Katie and little Rachel. Loosing a baby hurt, but if it hadn't happened Philip and I wouldn't have been in a position to adopt in the first place, sometimes it's hard to see what God is doing when you're in the middle of a storm like that but..." she stopped as a teenager broke into our meeting.

"Mom Mrs. Floyd is on the phone for you."

"Okay sweety, tell her I'll be right there." She turned back to John, "If you'll excuse me."

"Of course," he stood up and shook her hand, "I appreciate your time and your story."


"Just what do your duties entail anyway?"

"For the most part I help select and write the worship music for our different services and events, I also oversee the musical department, we have one for vocals and another for musicians. I also fill in as needed in the worship lineup, but we've been blessed with such amazing teams at the different campuses that it's usually not a major issue."

John was sitting once again in the Lifepoint office building with a tall man dressed in jeans and a shirt bearing the phrase, "If my music is to loud than you're too old"

"I was impressed with your rehearsal it was very moving."

"One of our aims is to Worship, not just play music. When I first started here a buddy of mine invited me as another musician, I immediately jumped at a chance to get up and play on stage, after a few weeks the music director invited me to lunch. He complimented me about my talents and then asked me a question that his me right here!" He thumbed the spot between his eyes.

"He asked me if I knew what the difference between worshiping and playing was, I told him no. He then told me when your play you do it for the people listening and for yourself. But when you worship you play for the Lord God Almighty, you want to bring a room of people to a place where they can experience that. Those simple words had such an impact on me. I took some time off the band to really understand what he meant, but during that time he didn't let it go, he still invited me to practices and I began to understand more and more what he meant. I actually accepted Christ as my savior at a practice, you know I heard about making those decisions on Sunday morning, it it just all came together, they were working on a song and I just felt the Lord pressing on me. I've never looked back either."

"I noticed you played some secular music, can you explain that to me?"

"Sure, what we aim to do every week is to create an Environment conducive to hearing and understanding the message of Salvation. At Lifepoint we want to make sure that someone walking off the street will understand what going on and we've found that using songs people are familiar with can help people connect to Pastor's message. That's not to say that we only do it with secular music, but truth is truth. And you can find truth in a song played on a top 40's radio station the same as you can find truth in the old hymns."

John nodded, he didn't know what the message was on that week but he had to admit he had recognized the one song from the radio. "Well thanks' for your time I look forward to hearing your work."

The music director smiled, "I appreciate that, I write music and play to worship, it's a way I've fond that I can preach the gospel."

John nodded, "Everyone bring a different part to the body?"

"You Got it right in one."


John spent most of Friday outlining his story, he only had two more appointments on the schedule the pastor had given him. The first brought him to a Gas Station looking for a man named...

"John! Carlos, Pastor asked me to keep an eye out for you."

"Thanks, So what's going on? All I had was an address and a time?"

Carlos let out a booming laugh, "This is the annual Lifepoint Gas buy down."

"The what?"

"We knock of, in the case of this one, 20 cents off every gallon of gas for the next four hours, here suit up."

Looking at the smiling man who would have intimidated a linebacker in sheer bulk John quickly pulled on the bright vest and was pointed to an empty pump.

An hour later someone arrived to relieve him and he met with Carlos who had just handed his own vest to Carter the media director who had just arrived.

"So what's the point behind all this?"

"We just want people of the community to experience God's love in a real way. There's a lot of people in this city who wouldn't understand or care if we were praying for them, but to fill up their tank for them? That's something the people can understand."

"So how'd you end up running this... this..."

"We call it an outreach. And I'm running it because this same event is what brought me and my family to Lifepoint a year ago."

"Really, so you've only been at Lifepoint for a year?"

"Yeah, it's amazing to see what they're doing here. We were looking for a church to attend and after that we wanted to see what they were about. Our first Sunday there the Pastor talks about how we're not here to build a church but to church a city, a state, a country. It was a movement of God and it was something I wanted me and my family to experience as well."

"Well I must say it's got my attention."

Carlos nodded and then pointed to his watch. "Time for another shift change."

John stood up "Then let's go."


Coffee really was a gift of God, especially at Five in the morning. Thought John as he stood outside one of the area High Schools.

"Good morning, John welcome to Lifepoint Stafford Campus setup team."

"Thanks, I'm sorry I didn't get your name."

"Oh I'm Bob Jordon,"

"So tell me Bob what are you doing here at 5 am, and what brought you to lifepoint anyway?"

"Well I'm here to help preach the gospel by making sure that there's a room setup for people to worship and learn in. I mean I'm 65, I can't play an instrument, you wouldn't want me to sing and I can't stand talking in front of groups of people, but I can set out a chair, or connect a wire. It doesn't seem like much but I'm proud that I can help where I can."

John understood, it was preaching the gospel in a way that he could.

"As for how I got started my boy started working at the main campus and began inviting me, I told him it was to far to drive all the way from Stafford. Imagine my surprise when one day he called and said, that's fixed anymore excuses? I couldn't come up with anything so I started attending, but things just came together last week. I've been helping out in the mornings for a while now, but last Sunday I finally understood why I'm doing this."

"And now that old-codger has forever changed his eternal destination."

"CJ! What have I told you about picking on your father!"

"Hey dad, good to see you, John I see that you've met my father."

John grinned as the two verbally spared for a bit. "Well I can't stay long I was just checking to make sure all the hookups are set for the simulcast. Sometimes we'll have one of the other pastors preach at the other campuses, but as this is kinda a big day for us we're going to simulcast from the main campus."

"All this new fangled gadetry, why in my day..."

"You walked to Church..."

"Through the snow..."


"Both ways..."

"With no shoes on your feet."

All of the men in the room joined in with amusement as they finished setting up the room.


That night John polished off his article and emailed it to his editor, complete with pictures compliments of the lifepoint's staff video/photography people.

He smiled at the Title taking from one of his earlier interviews. "Lifepoint, Beyond building a Church and into Churching a City."

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