March 19, 2014
Did you know Hallmark takes in more money during the Easter season than just about everyone else. Ever wonder why? Because Hallmark has a plan. As a privately held corporation, the public doesn’t get to see the plan’s specifics or how many millions it spends developing/executing that plan. But you can count on seeing tons of Hallmark Easter advertisements, cards and all sorts of associated products sold again this year. They are really good at it!
Did you know that this year in America the average consumer will spend just over $120 on Easter related products? (Did you also know that the average annual church giver in America last year only gave about $200?) But Hallmark will get a huge percentage of that $120 per person this year with cards and plastic Easter eggs because it put together a plan and then executed it.
That is why we have been busy preparing the Whitewater plan for Easter on April 19/20 because the message of Jesus and the Gospel goes far, far beyond plastic eggs. Our special guest that weekend at all our gatherings is Joe Castillo, Sand artist for God.
We will be hosting six Easter services that weekend: Saturday at 3, 5pm and Sunday at 8, 9:30, 11:30, and 1pm. Will you help us prepare for our largest Easter weekend yet? Opportunities to serve are everywhere. We are asking you to attend at one gathering and serve at another. Let’s make this a Hallmark Easter!
Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Fish Fry on April 11, too. Tickets are available at the Info Desk or online. Buy one for yourself and one for a friend/family you can invite.
Speaking of serving, I made a special appeal at the Sunday 10 am service last weekend. We have an awesome problem at that service (and soon to be at the 11:30). If you attend then, could you help us be good hosts by making a habit of moving to the front rows when you arrive and even more important – move to the middle of whatever row you sit in? It makes it so much easier for our ushers to seat people and for our late arriving guests. We exist for outsiders. The reason you love this church so much is why we are asking you to do this. Let’s just make this a part of our collective DNA no matter what service you attend. Remember – it’s rude not to move!
This weekend at all our services we will also have our brand new Prayer Teams serving! I am so excited about this! These teams have been carefully selected/trained to pray for you and your needs after every weekend gathering. Whether your needs are spiritual, emotional, physical, or relational; they stand ready to pray with you. Beginning this weekend, if you need prayer or just want to talk, simply come up to the front of the worship center at the end of the service and a prayer team member will assist you.
We continue to add excellent staff members to our leadership team. They help us not only be prepared for Easter, but for every weekend and environment that helps people find hope in Jesus and a home in His church. I am pleased to announce several new staff additions.
Micah Odor will be joining our staff full time in April as our Director/Minister of Community Groups (replacing Susan Humbert). Micah has served on staff at larger churches leading small group ministry and is very well read in the theory/practice of small group ministry. Micah is 33 years old and married to Judi who is completing her Ph.D. in New Testament studies.
Anna Lee has been hired as our part time Preschool Ministry associate (replacing Melanie Sizemore). Anna is the daughter of Gary and Stephannie Lee, is one of our own, and a very sharp young woman!
Janice Rohrer has been hired as our new AP associate/Adult Ministries Admin assistant (replacing Kara Gray). Janice is also a member of Whitewater and was working as a supervisor with the Hamilton County School Employees Credit Union. Very talented.
Jody Burgin (our current part time Minister of Recovery and Support) will be going full time with us this month picking up the duties of staff member Gary Coleman who is retiring this month (more about Gary and the awesome job he has done in coming weeks). I am thrilled for Gary to go ride roller coasters full time and for Jody to be here full time on the day-to-day roller coaster of ministry! We’re blessed in so many ways to have Jody.
And last, CCU student Curtis Hahn will be joining us for a 7 month internship (beginning in May) as part of completing his general ministry degree. He will be involved in a number of areas learning about how healthy churches function. (We are looking for some no cost/low-cost housing for Curtis too, so if you can help with this, please email the office).
A big welcome to these new staff. Wow, are we blessed! It’s not only gonna be a Hallmark Easter, but a Hallmark year at Whitewater!
P.S. We are known at Whitewater for reaching out to others far from God, investing in a relationship with them, and then inviting them to a weekend gathering. Great tools and advice on how to do this better will be shared at the next REACH seminar we are hosting tomorrow night (Thursday), March 20 (6:30-8:00). Sign up to learn how to ‘invest and invite.’ Click here to see me discuss this with REACH leader Vicki Schwertman.