by Elkhart Campus Pastor Gene Troyer

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).”

When I am generous with my time, my treasure and my talent, my focus becomes “other” centered. It opens the eyes of my heart and I find myself looking for Jesus around every corner, under every rock, in the eyes of the face in front of me. Perhaps I’ll find him there, perhaps I won’t.

But in the graveled mixture of life’s pebbles and rocks and the boulders that I can’t move, The Everlasting encourages me to breathe in, breathe out. To live with open hands and an open heart trusting that:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies, You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23, NLT).”

And then this quote from Dr. Jon Morrissette in reference to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:

“Just as faith is never about what we say, so love is never about what we say. The substance of faith, the substance of love, the substance of mercy, is generosity! Love is tangible. It’s the bandages, the oil and wine, the donkey, the inn, the caregiving, the two silver coins, the instructions to the innkeeper, and the extra expense. Words are cheap. Generosity is costly.”

Generosity acts, it risks, it involves itself, it gives of itself, and it follows through. The good Samaritan was good because he was generous—financially, personally, and sacrificially generous. This is what Jesus commended—not love in the abstract, but the Samaritan’s hard-core, tangible, costly acts of generosity.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. It’s not even pastorally profound. It’s pretty common sense stuff. I want people on our guest services teams who are people-people (Definition: People who love people). There was a time in our church when greeters just needed to be able to brush their teeth and smile. Those days are long gone. They must bathe, too. Oh, yes, and they must like people. No, they must love people. Our guests and the guests in your church will intuitively know when our teams don’t care. You know it when you experience it. You have experienced the supermarket clerk who gives no eye contact, doesn’t speak to you until she tells you the total amount of cash you owe, and scowls to her associate in the next lane about how long she has been at work. You have bumped into the church greeter who brushed his teeth, but hadn’t smiled since 1952. And today he can’t remember why. We know when people really love, and really care.

If your teams aren’t built of people-people, your guests will know. They’ll know when someone on your team:

  • Complains about what’s wrong
  • Can’t leave soon enough
  • Rigidly performs the tasks of their role without connecting relationally
  • Shows signs of fatigue
  • Is indifferent or even rude

But when your team is made up of people-people, your guests will engage. They will know they matter. And when they know they matter to us, they'll be more open to hearing and accepting that they matter to God. And isn’t that the point?

Excerpt taken from Mark Waltz’s Blog.

Have a baptism celebration coming up? Here are some handy resources for you:

  • Why Baptism? Video | Have you ever wondered things like, “why should I get baptized” or, “what does baptism mean?” This video helps to explain the origin of baptism, and the reasons for following this commandment from Christ to His followers.
  • Going Public: Understanding Baptism Ebook | This is a 22-page, downloadable PDF ebook that you can purchase for digital distribution at your church. We use this as a guide for those who are interested in learning more before they decide to be baptized. It walks people through the meaning and Biblical basis for baptism.
  • Watch Granger’s recent baptisms, along with stories of people recently baptized.

We recently celebrated over 7,000 baptisms in just under 30 years as a church, and we love to celebrate stories of changed lives! We hope these resources will help your church as you prepare for your next baptism celebration!

At Granger Community Church the goal is that every guest who walks in the door will get this above all: You matter to God. Of course it’s much easier to share when those guests first realize that they matter to Granger Community Church—right where they are.

Executive Pastor Mark Waltz shares insights gleaned from his ministry experience, from his “previous life” in retail management and from his observations of the churches he has visited over the years. He notes that the first impression philosophy of Granger Community Church brings with it a lofty, but not unattainable, goal: “If our guests can’t say, ‘Wow! I’m impressed!’ within their first 10 minutes on campus, then we have failed.” Somewhere between parking the car and checking their kids into the Children’s Center, says Waltz, those 10 minutes pass. “Ten minutes of opportunity for us to make an impact, to create a reason for our guests to at least think to themselves, ‘This is not what I expected’—in a good way, of course.”

They may discover their “wow” moment in the restroom. (Seriously, when was the last time you visited a public restroom you could describe as pristine?) They may find it in the fact that they are neither pounced on nor left to flounder when they walk through the lobby, not knowing exactly where to go or how to get there. They may smell it in the aroma of their favorite cappuccino wafting through an inviting café area. No matter how your guests find that “wow” experience—before the music starts, before the “real message” of the service is delivered—they will have received a clear message already. They are valued.

Excerpt taken from Mark Waltz’s Blog.

Figuring out a way to include important announcements in your service can be tricky. There’s no one right way. At Granger, we do a short video weekly that hits the top 2–3 things we want people to know for that week. We call it “The Feed.” Check out an example here.

Want to create your own? You can use Granger’s graphic bumper video to get you started.

For one week only, get 15% off purchases of downloadable resources at Why? Because it’s spring and it’s time to fling yourself into your next project. Maybe it’s hunting down graphics to help with an upcoming summer message series. (Like these.) Or maybe you’re looking for message audio to inspire your weekly gatherings. (Try these.) Or maybe you need just the right video for this coming weekend and you’re in a bind. We’ve got you covered.

Get 15% off your purchase from until June 9 with coupon code SPRING16.

by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

This really happened to me.

I walked into a restaurant with my family early in the lunch hour. Like, 11:00 a.m. On the dot. As in, we were the first customers of the day. Surveying the place, I saw—well, nothing. Lots of open tables. And still I was told “give me just a couple of minutes and we’ll have a table for you.” I could see at least 12,000 seating options. But I waited.

As I sat down I intuitively wiped bread crumbs from the table onto the floor and thought, “This doesn’t make sense. There’s no way there have been other customers in here for lunch already.” Of course, the mess had to have been left over from the night before. We then learned that the coffee and tea were still brewing. It would have been okay if the posted opening time was 11:16 a.m. If they needed a few more minutes to prepare the place, I could have waited and shown up then.

Bottom line? This staff wasn’t ready for us. They weren’t really expecting customers—not this early anyway.

How about your church? Is it apparent that you’re expecting new people? Do first-arriving guests catch you by surprise? Here are some simple ways to communicate “we’ve been expecting you!”

Continue reading on Mark’s Blog...

Granger just finished a 5-week series called (you guessed it!) Because It’s Worth It. We have God-sized dreams for our community. The opportunities before us are tremendous. Just a few years ago, Saint Joseph and Elkhart counties were among the “Worst Places to Live” in the country. Things are changing. St. Joseph and Elkhart counties are growing again.

We just spent five weeks talking about our vision and strategy for the next two years. There are five things we focus on, five strategies that get our time and the best of our resources.

We gather on the WEEKENDS to worship
Strengthening the ways we worship Jesus and inviting our friends to join us.

We SERVE our neighbors
Reaching our neighbors: here and there, in Michiana and around the world.

We make DISCIPLES for God’s mission
Helping each other pray, study, care and live on mission as Jesus’ disciples.

We teach our KIDS
Partnering with families to train up children to trust, love and serve God.

We train our STUDENTS
Investing in the next generation as we worship, group up and serve—together.

What could happen in Michiana and around the world if we all came together and did our part? What if we all give to one mission out of which all the work of the church is supported? One fund that will provide everything from maintaining the beautiful campuses we already have, as well as provide for kids and students, groups and more. One bucket of resources that, if filled, gives us the opportunity to turn all our what ifs into realities. Because God says we’re worth it. Because our community is worth it.

Catch up on messages from this series and watch the trailer for free here. Download your sample copy of the notebook Granger handed out on the weekends to help walk guests through the Because It’s Worth It journey.

Learn more about Granger’s process for planning, promoting and executing weekend series at our one-day workshop! There’s still time to sign up for the Creative and Communication Arts workshop, or any of the other four workshops happening next week, May 18 and 19. Choose from First Impressions, Groups, Kids or Students. Register today and bring your volunteer and staff leaders. See you next week!