Our New Worship Environment

One of my greatest passions is creating worship environments. I love creating those “encounter moments” where people find themselves drawn closer to God in worship. Last week, we launched the“Worship Cafe'” here at Sunnybrook and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The Cafe’ features table seating, free flowing coffee, new lighting and more of an “unplugged” musical atmosphere. The purpose behind the Cafe’ is really two fold:

1. We wanted to create a more intimate atmosphere for people to pursue God in worship

2. We wanted to create a smaller environment for those who struggle with the big crowds in the main auditorium.

So far, the crowds have been incredibly diverse. Young, old, traditional, contemporary, visitors, seekers and regular attenders have all been joining us in the Cafe’. Here are a few pics from yesterday’s gathering.


The “Patton” Promo

Well…here it is… in all it’s glory. The “Patton” volunteer promo video!



Back in the day, before I was in arts ministry full-time, Christine and I had the chance to serve as youth directors at a small church outside of Tacoma, Washington. It was our first time working with High School kids, but we loved every minute of it. Among those kids was a gifted teenager named Jake. I came across this article about Jake from KOMO News in Seattle…Life is quite a bit different for him today. Please read his story and add him to your prayers…thanks!


By Elisa Jaffe

Watch the story

PARKLAND, Wash. – Overweight and overwhelmed, a 22-year-old student at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma is afraid that without intervention, he’ll die. But his mother’s health insurance won’t cover gastric bypass surgery – a pricey procedure that the family can’t afford on its own. And now he’s hoping that the generosity of the community will help where insurance won’t. Jake Paikai weighs more than 600 pounds – but since he doesn’t own a scale big enough to handle his weight, he doesn’t know how much more. His best guess is 650 pounds.

His mom, Mimi Sprinkle, says he’s always been a “chunky little monkey.” “He never had a chance, never had a chance,” she says. Jake can’t reach his own shoes, sit in most chairs or fit behind a steering wheel. “I can’t drive, I can’t go on planes, I can’t step on a bus – very few cars I can ride in,” he says. Jake’s mom drives him to class at Pacific Lutheran University.

Mimi says she knows what it’s like to be morbidly obese – she weighed more than 500 pounds before her stomach stapling. “Every night I go to sleep, and I wonder if he’s gonna be there tomorrow,” she says. Jake also worries that tomorrow might not come for him. “You know, I really can only go about 20 feet before I’m completely winded,” he says.

Together with his friends, he’s asking for the public’s help. They’ve launched a Web site called mybypasssurgery.com, which they hope will help raise tens of thousands of dollars to help Jake and others who need similar surgery. “I need help. Others need help. Let’s do something about it,” Jake says. His mom told KOMO News, “We’ve got great insurance, and it’s not covered.” At college, Jake has a 3.9 grade point average, but weight stands in his way of bigger dreams. He doesn’t just want to walk – he wants to run, with the same kinds of hopes and dreams other folks have.

Most patients pay between $50,000 and $80,000 for a gastric bypass. So far, Jake has raised about $2,800.

Summer Serve 2009

Here are the highlights from an incredible weekend!

The Art of the Handoff


Handing off ministry duties and leadership is a tricky thing to navigate. Just like in football, everything needs to come together just right for the hand off to be successful. If you let go of the ball to soon, the “runner” will never secure the ball. If you let go too late, you’ll run into each other and the ball could be dropped. If you don’t call the play clearly, the “runner” may go one way, while you turn to the other, making the hand off impossible. There is always a risk anytime you place someone in authority. To minimize that risk and set your leaders up for success, you MUST learn to run a smooth hand off. Here are a few thoughts:

Leadership gifts aren’t enough – Just because someone is gifted to lead, doesn’t mean they’re ready to lead within your team. Until they know the play book and have established trust with the “offensive line”, handing them the ball would be risky at best.

Being talented isn’t enough – Someone may have all the talent in the world, but if they aren’t relational and can’t lead their way out of a paper bag, they aren’t qualified to lead on your team. Just because someone is athletic, doesn’t mean they’re ready to be a “running back”.

No one is a perfect leader – Sometimes even the best “running backs” fumble the ball. If you can’t be patient in developing your leaders, you probably won’t develop many. If you let go of the ball to soon, you’re not giving the “runner” a chance to be successful.

Not everyone pans out –  Every once in a while things just don’t work out. Be ready to make a switch if needed. Don’t pull the trigger too soon, but don’t keep the struggling “runner” in the game so long that the team suffers.

In the end, developing and empowering leaders is a huge ministry challenge. WE won’t always get it right and THEY won’t always live up to expectations, but remember…the season is long. Be patient with your leaders, invest in them heavily and, when the time is right, make sure they have the tools needed for a successful hand off.

FAQ Pt.4 – Do All Religions Lead to God?

Here’s Pt.4 of our “FAQ” Series at Sunnybrook. Do All Religions Lead to God?

FAQ Pt.3 – “Why Does God Allow Suffering”?

Part 3 from our “FAQ” Series at Sunnybrook. Why Does God Allow Suffering?