Children’s Ministry Big Focus

Check Out Our Target Wish List!


Okay, it’s the last two weeks before the big launch day, and WE NEED YOUR HELP! Whether you are part of The Orchard Church or not, YOU can be a blessing to children and to families as we get started in the next couple of weeks. There are still some resources that we just really need to get our Children’s Ministry going. Will YOU be willing to help us out with one, two, or three of these items?

Summer Gilliam, our volunteer Children’s Ministry director, has set up a Wish List at Target.com for our Children’s Ministry. You can log on right here, and be a blessing by ordering something off the list! It will be shipped RIGHT to us, so you won’t have to worry about it one bit.

We’re looking at a pretty short turn-around time, so have a look at it, and invest a little into our children and families. Our launch date is coming up VERY SOON! This thing is going to be awesome!

In The Final Stretch

It is hard to believe that we are in the final TWO WEEKS before the official LAUNCH! Man, things are busy these days. It seems that my “to do” list is longer than my days can handle.

I have to give a big shout out to the entire worship and tech teams… Man, there were quite a few curve balls thrown at us at the last minute, from Casey’s finger getting sliced, to the words being switched up in the computer. BUT, these guys (and girls) all handled it like pros! It all worked out, and GOD was glorified!



I was really encouraged by everyone’s response to the second preview service. SO many positive words of excitement about what lies ahead. Thanks to all who stayed afterwards for our first ever “Orchard Orientation.” I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how we were going to pull off some of the stuff we were hoping to do… But after talking with you guys, I am ready to run screaming at the enemy! (Judges 6&7… Okay, maybe you had to be there.)

It was great to see some familiar faces on Sunday. What a blessing to see many new ones, as well. Cool new kid of the week: Haley. Anyone who draws exclamation points with big hearts is cool in my book.

In The Final Stretch

It is hard to believe that we are in the final TWO WEEKS before the official LAUNCH! Man, things are busy these days. It seems that my “to do” list is longer than my days can handle.

I have to give a big shout out to the entire worship and tech teams… Man, there were quite a few curve balls thrown at us at the last minute, from Casey’s finger getting sliced, to the words being switched up in the computer. BUT, these guys (and girls) all handled it like pros! It all worked out, and GOD was glorified!



I was really encouraged by everyone’s response to the second preview service. SO many positive words of excitement about what lies ahead. Thanks to all who stayed afterwards for our first ever “Orchard Orientation.” I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how we were going to pull off some of the stuff we were hoping to do… But after talking with you guys, I am ready to run screaming at the enemy! (Judges 6&7… Okay, maybe you had to be there.)

It was great to see some familiar faces on Sunday. What a blessing to see many new ones, as well. Cool new kid of the week: Haley. Anyone who draws exclamation points with big hearts is cool in my book.

21 Days of Prayer

We are in the final phase before the Launch! It is coming up really quickly. Most of the technical pieces are now in place, our team understands their roles, and we’ve sent out the flyers and run the ads in the newspaper. For the most part, the logistics are handled. Now, the REAL work comes… Our group launched into 21 days of prayer beginning yesterday, March 22. We are going to be crazy praying people over the next few weeks as we head into this HUGELY important time!

Why don’t you join us? You can download the Orchard Prayer Calendar right HERE.

Ways to be connected to the Orchard in PRAYER:

  • Daily Twitter Prayer Updates: @orchardprayer

to get text updates on your phone, just text follow orchardprayer to 40404.

  • Twitter your prayer requests TO @orchardprayer


  • Send email prayer requests to prayer@orchardellijay.com

Please partner with us in prayer during these 21 days. We would love for you to pray with us. Also, we will pray for YOU and your needs when you send us your requests online!

Preview Was GREAT!

Wow. I have GOT to say a big thanks to everyone who worked hard to pull off this weekend’s preview service. It was really awesome. What a great kickoff!

Here are my quick thoughts on the morning:

  • It was awesome meeting new friends and seeing new faces.
  • The tech stuff was really hard and time-intensive during the week to set up, but it was SO worth it!
  • The message was consistent from the opening video, through the songs, the “Meant to Live” theme song, and the message
  • Our team seems to have an unlimited amount of drive and ability to pull stuff off
  • Conner did a great job with the lights
  • So glad we went with the “Meant To Live” theme.
  • “Dare You To Move” is going to be GREAT on March 29th!

Overall, I felt like the preview was a great start to what will be an awesome, growing, vibrant ministry. I expect we’ll see God change a lot of lives as a result of all this. Wednesday night is our “Orchard Orientation,” and even if you didn’t sign up, we’d still love to have you. Shoot me an email (from the CONTACT page) or give me a call to let me know you’re coming.

Why A Preview Service?

I am getting so pumped about our first PREVIEW SERVICE coming up this weekend! All the little parts and pieces are starting to fall into place. Man, putting together a rockin’ sound system is a lot more work than I thought it was! When it is all together, it will raise the roof! Doug, Zac, and I spent some time in the movie theater today reworking and adding lighting. Larry built a makeshift “tech table” that fits over the bolted-down movie theater seats! It is really cool.



Someone asked me this week, “Why a ‘preview service?’ I’m not familiar with that term.” SO, I thought I would try to answer that question two general ways…

First is an external purpose… We want to build a little momentum before the launch. We hope to create something of a buzz about what we’re doing. I don’t expect that we’ll blow the doors off the movie theater this week, but I do hope that we will get people talking. I am hoping that people will try us out for the first time and tell their friends. Hopefully, this momentum will build for our March 29th preview, and really explode for our April 12 Launch!

Second is an internal purpose… Engaging people in the Body of Christ. Let’s face it… If this is important to Ellijay, it is going to take a lot of people to pull it off. And I mean a LOT. People with ALL KINDS of gifts and abilities. We want to serve people on all kinds of levels in this, from parking, to greeting, to children’s ministry, to singing, to tech… You name it. We are going to blatantly ask people to jump in and start serving!

Our first preview is going to KICK. The theme for this one is “Meant To Live,” which is a popular Switchfoot (iTunes link) song from a couple of years ago. Chad, Casey, and the band are working hard on the song, and I know it will be cool. We’ll use the message of the song as a tool to reinforce Jesus’ purpose of coming so that we could have life, and have it abundantly. We also have other creative things planned that I think you’ll really like. You’ll definitely want to be there if you can. Hope to see YOU on Sunday!!

Why A Preview Service?

I am getting so pumped about our first PREVIEW SERVICE coming up this weekend! All the little parts and pieces are starting to fall into place. Man, putting together a rockin’ sound system is a lot more work than I thought it was! When it is all together, it will raise the roof! Doug, Zac, and I spent some time in the movie theater today reworking and adding lighting. Larry built a makeshift “tech table” that fits over the bolted-down movie theater seats! It is really cool.



Someone asked me this week, “Why a ‘preview service?’ I’m not familiar with that term.” SO, I thought I would try to answer that question two general ways…

First is an external purpose… We want to build a little momentum before the launch. We hope to create something of a buzz about what we’re doing. I don’t expect that we’ll blow the doors off the movie theater this week, but I do hope that we will get people talking. I am hoping that people will try us out for the first time and tell their friends. Hopefully, this momentum will build for our March 29th preview, and really explode for our April 12 Launch!

Second is an internal purpose… Engaging people in the Body of Christ. Let’s face it… If this is important to Ellijay, it is going to take a lot of people to pull it off. And I mean a LOT. People with ALL KINDS of gifts and abilities. We want to serve people on all kinds of levels in this, from parking, to greeting, to children’s ministry, to singing, to tech… You name it. We are going to blatantly ask people to jump in and start serving!

Our first preview is going to KICK. The theme for this one is “Meant To Live,” which is a popular Switchfoot (iTunes link) song from a couple of years ago. Chad, Casey, and the band are working hard on the song, and I know it will be cool. We’ll use the message of the song as a tool to reinforce Jesus’ purpose of coming so that we could have life, and have it abundantly. We also have other creative things planned that I think you’ll really like. You’ll definitely want to be there if you can. Hope to see YOU on Sunday!!

Transforming Power

The Church Planters Conference in Cumming, GA on Monday and Tuesday was great. Mountain Lake Church simply does an awesome job at what they do.


The worship times were unbelievable, and I learned a whole lot. Summer, Doug, and I really loved hearing from Bob Roberts, who really encouraged us that God leads through broken people. He asked 500 church planters, “Is the Gospel powerful enough to transform your community?” Of course, the resounding answer all over the auditorium was an enthusiastic “YES!” We’re church planters… Planting the Gospel in a new, different way in communities is what we are all about! These are people of vision and drive. They dream of what God can do in a community through the power of the Gospel.

Then, he asked them, “Is the Gospel powerful enough to transform YOU?”

A hush fell over the crowd. Everyone paused, as the question sunk into our minds and hearts. Dr. Roberts said that church planting is not about our ability to speak, build teams, or put systems into place… It is about the ability of the Gospel to TRANSFORM ME into HIS image. Nothing else really matters.

What he said really lined up with the words of John the Baptist, who, toward the end of his ministry, verbalized the process by which we all glorify God: “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30) That’s what our process is all about. At The Orchard, we’re all about engaging in the process of CHANGE, GROW, and SERVE. When we do that, it results in less and less of us, which allows for more and more of HIM to consume us. It is a lifelong endeavor that will result in our being transformed into HIS image. (Romans 12:1-2)

Transforming Power

The Church Planters Conference in Cumming, GA on Monday and Tuesday was great. Mountain Lake Church simply does an awesome job at what they do.


The worship times were unbelievable, and I learned a whole lot. Summer, Doug, and I really loved hearing from Bob Roberts, who really encouraged us that God leads through broken people. He asked 500 church planters, “Is the Gospel powerful enough to transform your community?” Of course, the resounding answer all over the auditorium was an enthusiastic “YES!” We’re church planters… Planting the Gospel in a new, different way in communities is what we are all about! These are people of vision and drive. They dream of what God can do in a community through the power of the Gospel.

Then, he asked them, “Is the Gospel powerful enough to transform YOU?”

A hush fell over the crowd. Everyone paused, as the question sunk into our minds and hearts. Dr. Roberts said that church planting is not about our ability to speak, build teams, or put systems into place… It is about the ability of the Gospel to TRANSFORM ME into HIS image. Nothing else really matters.

What he said really lined up with the words of John the Baptist, who, toward the end of his ministry, verbalized the process by which we all glorify God: “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30) That’s what our process is all about. At The Orchard, we’re all about engaging in the process of CHANGE, GROW, and SERVE. When we do that, it results in less and less of us, which allows for more and more of HIM to consume us. It is a lifelong endeavor that will result in our being transformed into HIS image. (Romans 12:1-2)

Sunday Random Thoughts

Okay, I just felt like doing a little bit of a brain dump on how Sunday went. (I’m sitting at Starbuck’s on Monday morning, waiting to meet with someone, so I have a few minutes to get some thoughts down.)

First, I just can’t get over the wilingness and generosity of Tracy, Kenny, Chad, Summer, and Sherry. All of you guys just keep giving and giving. Man, it is HARD to motivate yourself to head to the movie theater to clean up and set up BEGINNING at 11PM on Saturday night. But you guys just keep giving and giving each week. You rock.

I also have to give a shout out to Angela Langley, who brought the food last week.

Chad and Sherry didn’t have a chance to practice this week, for whatever reason, but I thought worship went well. The song set was great… I really love doing songs that we know… Once I really know a song, I feel much more free to worship with it. Sometimes I think learning new songs is what CDs are for. When is the new Passion CD coming out?

Speaking of that, if you want to clue in to where we get a lot of our music, you can just click one of these iTunes links to Passion, or this one to Chris Tomlin or David Crowder Band. There are plenty of others, but those will get you started.

I don’t know if my message even made any sense to anyone yesterday. I kinda felt like even though I had a specific direction to go in, I sort of mixed two thoughts together, almost trying to get two messages out at the same time. I’m sorry if it was messy, but I really felt like some things needed to be said. In a good way. You know, we’ve spent several weeks now really laying the foundation of who and what The Orchard Church is really going to be all about. I really get the sense that, at least in concept, everyone gets it. Seeing how that works out in practice may be a completely different thing… Who knows? We will see very soon. Our first preview service is JUST a few weeks away. I think this will really be a big test for us. No more sitting and watching. We are going to have to get all in and fight together like those soccer players we talked about on Sunday.

The best thing about Sunday was cleaning up in and around Chad’s house. You know, when a member of our body has a need, we should jump in there to meet it however we can. It was a great feeling to be over there, spending time with brothers and sisters just helping some of our church family members out. Chad sent me an email to let me know what a blessing you were to him, and how much he appreciated the help. Jesus said to love as we have been loved. One of the things we like to say at The Orchard Church is that “love comes out.” What a great way to see some love demonstrated. Thanks so much… Not just for showing that love to Chad, but for showing it to me. I was blessed just to be part.