Category Archives: Church Planting


Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

What an incredible day!

Last Sunday was our Grand Opening service as a church and I am excited to report that we had between 140-150 people there. We never got an accurate count, but this is how we came up with those numbers:

  • 24 Elementary School Kids
  • 6 Babies in the Nursery
  • 9 Children’s Ministry Workers
  • 100 Bulletins handed out (when we ran out)

I’ve tried to be conservative and stick with 140, but my wife is pressing me to say 150! and I’m usually the one who does the exaggerating!

If you want to hear the message I preached or watch the video, it will be posted here soon or you can get to it by visiting our church audio page.

God is bigger than we imagine.

My coach told me a couple of months ago, “Remember, Jeff, no one loves this church more than you and Jesus.”

I was getting kinda frustrated because of the number of people I had been trying to recruit and the slim number of people who were responding. He told me that to remind me that no one would care about the church like I do, but that Jesus cared about it more than even I did. That really helped to encourage me.

And Jesus does care about this church.

On March 18, we had our final preview service and I had the joy of preaching to a crowd of about 15 adults. The very next week, I had the privilege of preaching a message to a crowd of over 100. It was utterly mind-blowing to me!

If you were there on Sunday…

I just wanted to say that if you were there on Sunday, I am so grateful for you. You could have spent your Sunday morning in many different ways, but you chose to come out and be a part of our Grand Opening Event, and more than that, you chose to take a risk and see what God might be doing in this brand new ministry.

God has something really great in store for us, and I believe he wants us to experience it together, but that isn’t all. I think the biggest thing he has in store for us is for us to find our identity in the process of helping other people to discover how much God loves them.

We are just beginning a journey together. It will be a bumpy ride at times, but it will certainly be an adventure.

If you have been praying for us…

You also deserve a special thanks. There have been so many of you praying for us and supporting us financially, that I really am humbled. I’m afraid I will miss someone here, but I just think you all deserve thanks. You know why:

Thank You

Jennifer Asinugo, Mike Atwell, Nellie Aujero, Alexandrina Balanean, Charlie & Lea Battleday, David & Carole Beckwith, Jim & Deb Cartwright, Brian & Melissa Chupich, Sonlife Community Church, James & Katheryn Cross, Herb & Paula Frost, Gloria Greene, Jodi Hanson, Gerald Hawthorne, Dorothy Herschelroath, Rynn Hill, Mark Jacobsen, Mike & Jill Kaminski, Rhonda Kerr, Gary Krebs, David & Stacy Laneve, Chuck & Amy Larish, Larry & Claudia Lasiter, Dan & Mary Martin, Mark & Linda Mikels, Keith & Marian Mikels, Sadie Mikels, Jason & Brooke Miller, Dr. & Mrs. Tom Miller, Marion Mockler, Tom & Chris Nalian, Rob & Chris Nelson, Mark & Amy Peterson, Stephen & Jill Puett, Ken & Cheryl Reynolds, Gary Rohrmayer, Dorothy Samorajski, Greg & Laura Shackleford, Jim & Wendy Sheely, Austin Smith, Jeff & Debbie Spencer, Lorraine Spencer, Joel & Becky Sutton, Josh & Valerie Thomas, Grant & Betty Tregay, Tommy & Bonnie Troup, Zack Turner, Mike & Tammie VanDeripe, Cindy & Rick Veith, Gloria Walker, Richard Wollard, Meadowland Community Church, Tim and Lisa Beavis, Bethany Baptist Church, Community Reformed Church, Tony Suitor, Kathy Abretske, Northwest Baptist Church, Irene Portokalis, Merrill Avenue Baptist Church, Hannis & Kim Thompson, First Assembly of God in Lafayette.

If I’ve forgotten someone, just send me a reminder email or post a comment, and I’ll put you on the list too.

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Report on our Final Preview Service

030 What's So Great About God? Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

Southside Church Directional Sign
Sunday was our final preview service! On the one hand, that really excites me because it means that months of preparation are finally coming to a culmination. On the other hand, it makes me nervous because now I can’t hid behind the “We’re still in preparation-mode” excuse. Also, I now have to get back into the mode of preparing weekly messages and worship services. I think it is going to be really hard work for a while. But I’m looking forward to it. It should be exciting.

Anyway, we had some really neat things happen Sunday and we learned some more good lessons.


Because our Grand Opening is this coming Sunday (the 25th), we didn’t market last week as much as we had last month. I did send out a cool postcard to all those on our mailing list.

Here, you can see the postcard we mailed out.

Opening Soon Card Front

Opening Soon Card Back


Also, because of how long the signs took to put together last time, I had our signs professionally printed, and I set them up the day before. Here’s what one of them looked like.

Southside Church Directional Sign


Also, you might be interested to see the banner I set up on the corner of the school’s property.

Southside Church Sunday Banner


I got all the signs put up on Saturday including an additional banner on some columns in front of the school.

Also, on Saturday, Josh came over and helped me load up the truck so that we didn’t have to do any loading on Sunday morning. It made everything go so much more smoothly in the morning.

Morning Preparation

Because last month’s morning got off to a slow start, I asked everyone to be at our house at 8:30am this time. Everyone was there by 8:45 and we were able to pray together before loading up the truck.

Yes, I did say truck! This was our first day to use the truck, and it was also our first time using the equipment that came from Willowbrook Community Church. Their sound equipment is much more elaborate than what we had been using.

Somehow we did get a little delayed at our house. I think the prayer time took a little longer than I had thought it might, but that’s not a bad thing. Anyway, we got to the school at about 9:15, and then unloaded everything.


Our total numbers weren’t much more than they have been for any of our other services, but something about it felt really good. It especially felt good because between last month’s service and this one, three members of our worship team stepped down. However, we made up the loss in numbers with quite a few new faces.

The coolest story of the morning was one family that was on their way to visit another church when they saw our signs and recalled our TV spots. So they decided to stop on in and check us out.

Here our numbers:

  • Children – 12
  • Adults – 20
  • Total Attendance – 32


My morning message was entitled God Is Love and the best part of the message is when I took the “love passage” from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and asked people to consider substituting “God” for every instance of the word “love.” Here’s the verse from the NIV:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I then asked people to consider which of those promises was God’s promise to them for that morning. Try it yourself.

However, I failed to get my MP3 recorder set up properly, so I didn’t get a recording of the service. I’m kinda bummed by that, but what are you going to do?

Lessons Learned

During our debrief lunch following the service, we discussed some lessons learned for the next time. Here they are:

  • We need to get some extra equipment
    • 1/8″ stereo mini plug cable
    • 3 Speakon cables (2×25′ and 1×50′)
    • smaller box for AV cables that can fit in the cabinet
    • a mobile cart for our computer and projector so we don’t have to use the microwave stand from the cafeteria.
    • Latex Gloves for the Nursery
    • a hand truck / dolly for getting stuff off the truck better.
    • Trough or cooler with ice for water bottles
    • Bread bags for people to take the donated bread home
    • More water bottles
  • We need to darken the room (the screen was getting washed out by the light coming in the back windows)
  • We need to make up some cards for nursery workers to easily communicate to parents what happened with their kids (what snacks they got, if they took a nap, if their diaper was changed).

Well, that’s about it. Next week is our Grand Opening. I’ll write another post on our plans for that.

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Answers to Prayer

Front Page Lafayette

PrayingSo I was praying last week and asking God for a miracle or two to confirm that he was really in this church planting effort of ours, and then on Sunday I asked the people there to pray specifically about two things.

First, we needed the school board to approve our usage and specifically, we needed some clear guidance on how far into the future they would let us meet there.

Secondly, we needed something to happen with regard to the truck so that we could drive it around legally. The other church that donated it to us lost the title, and the plates had expired, so we couldn’t actually take the truck on the streets.

God moved in some big ways to answer these prayers.

Closed door, open window

I was so concerned about the title for the truck, that I had been calling Larry, the representative of the other church, to find out about the title, and he offered to look into what it would take to get a duplicate title. I was worried that it might end up being a couple of weeks, and I had internally just committed myself to thinking we would drive the truck to the school this Sunday anyway and run the risk of a cop seeing us.

However, Larry and his wife figured out a different solution. When she went to get the replacement title, she found out that she could just pay the registration fee to get new plates for the truck and thereby make it street-legal again! She did that, express mailed the plates to us, and we got them today! The truck will be drivable in an hour or so when I get around to putting the plates on it! Also, the duplicate title should be arriving in about 3 weeks. And if that weren’t enough, they also found the missing amplifier for the sound system. We should be able to go down there some time this week to go get it. Praise God!

God Uses Secretaries

The other answer to prayer completely shocked me. I got a phone call on Monday from Cheryl, the secretary of Gary Jenkins who is in charge of maintenance for the Tippecanoe School Corporation. I called her back on Tuesday and she wanted to know if we needed to use the school at any point in March or April.

Apparently, the principal hadn’t gotten our paperwork into them by the deadline and this lady thought she would call me to double-check that we didn’t need the school! Praise God! If she hadn’t called me, our request would not have made it to the school board on time. The school board was to meet the very next day (yesterday), and if our request didn’t get on the agenda, we would have been WAAAAAYYYYY up a creek with no place to meet, $4,000 out of our pockets for the postcards advertising our launch and no way to reprint them in time! As it was, our request made it onto the agenda and was approved! We are good to go all the way through April! I just can’t stop using exclamation points!!!!

God was looking out for us this week and has caused all these things to come together. I’m so thrilled and encouraged to see how He has confirmed just this week that he is watching over this whole process. Keep praying for the turn out at our launch service on March 25!

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TEAMM Pastor’s Prayer Summit

Front Page Lafayette

TEAMM Pastor

Here in Lafayette, there is an association of ministers that is far more significant than some “ministerium” that many communities have where pastors of various churches get together to try to demonstrate some unity but never really get anything done.

TEAMM is the Tippecanoe Evangelical Association of Ministers and Ministries which has a couple things going for it that get me excited:

  • They are committed to the core beliefs of “evangelicalism” which are basically the lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible as God’s Word.
  • They are developing a strong sense of unity among churches that have traditionally been at odds with each other in this town.
  • They are being noticed both locally and nationally for their accomplishments in social programs and community prayer efforts.

This last weekend, TEAMM hosted its annual pastor’s prayer summit and I had the opportunity to go. It ended up being a very refreshing time, and since most of the pastors there were coming from a charismatic bent, it was spiritually uplifting as well.

Our two days followed a process of talking about what God is doing in Lafayette, what it’s going to mean for us and our ministries, and what he’s saying to us individually. We had significant times of worship through music before each session and long prayer sessions after each discussion.

On top of that, I had a great time getting to know a couple other pastors and allowing them to get to know me a bit. They were very encouraging and a few of them gave me some prophetic words that seemed quite authentic.

I also had the joy of playing my guitar as Randy Skidmore of Elston Family Church led the worship music.

All in all, I came away from that meeting with a deeper respect for the other pastors here, a deeper sense of the promises of God for Southside Church and some inklings of a more vibrant life of faith God is laying out for me.

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Reflections on Our Second Monthly Service

030 What's So Great About God? Front Page Lafayette

We had a great service this morning. It was our second monthly service and here is a brief rundown of how it all went:


We really ramped up our marketing efforts this time. Here’s what we did:

  • We sent out our “New Movers” letters this week. (We send a letter welcoming them to their new home and giving them a coupon to a local bookstore and one for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich.)
  • We sent out a postcard to everyone on our mailing list inviting them to come to our service.
  • We put an ad in the newspaper.
  • I sent out an email to everyone on our email list.
  • I made a bunch of phone calls.

Monthly Service #2 Postcard
|Newspaper Ad

Continue reading

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Indiana Snowstorm

Family Stuff Front Page Lafayette

Jeff Shoveling Snow

I thought some of you might be interested to see some pictures from our house of the Indiana snowstorm that hit us yesterday, so I’m posting them in a little gallery here

You should have seen the huge pile of snow that the snowplow left at the end of our driveway. I was out there shoveling from about 8:30 until 11:00 when a couple neighbors came by with a snowblower and made short work of the rest. Praise God for nice neighbors!

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Switch To Sunday Morning

Lafayette Prayer Requests

Two weeks ago, we switched our weekly gatherings to Sunday morning instead of Sunday night. There was one major motivating reason for doing so. As we move toward our public launch, we need to feel a strong sense of building momentum, and we just weren’t able to do that with the low attendance we had on Sunday nights.

I’m not sure why it was such a struggle to get people to come to our house for a meeting on Sunday night, but Sunday morning seems to work out a lot better. We now gather for breakfast followed by a time of worship songs and interactive teaching, and for the past two weeks we have had pretty good attendance.

Another benefit has been that we are able to have a second meeting each week to focus on planning. For some reason, having two weekly evening meetings also seemed like a hardship, but now, having the morning gathering on Sunday, we can have another meeting to focus more on the planning end of things.

I’ve been feeling pretty good about it all.

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Update: Our First Preview Service

030 What's So Great About God? Front Page Lafayette

Last Sunday was our first sneak preview of “day one at southside church.”

Our Sunday morning service is based on the mindset that worship is what people should be doing with their lives throughout the week. As a result, we aren’t calling our Sunday gatherings a “worship service.” Instead, we call our Sunday Morning gatherings, “day one.” The purpose of our Sunday gatherings, then, is to motivate people toward living a life of worship, putting God first in all things, for another seven days.

There are three things we are doing to keep things unique and motivating, and each is an answer to a specific problem we have seen in a number of churches today.

Continue reading

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Hot Chocolate Day was a success!

Evangelism Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

southside mug on table

Last Friday, we experienced a great success in ministry. We served people free mugs of hot chocolate and coffee in front of Wal-Mart. It was a great experience.

It came to me on Black Friday

The whole idea came to me last year on the day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday” as it has been called) while I was standing in line at a Best Buy store in the bitter cold of November in Chicago. Continue reading

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Church Planting Evangelism Front Page Geekery

A new website has recently been created by Justin Carboneau called with the primary purpose of giving people a place to share their personal testimonies online. It’s an interesting concept, and his web design isn’t half bad, but I’m personally unsure of the value such a site might have. From the website:

This site was started to encourage people to share their testimony about how they came to have faith in Christ. It is also meant to inspire people to grow in their relationship with God, by seeing how God has worked in the lives of people across the world. My hope is that every Christian who visits this site will share their testimony, because everyone who accepts Christ as their savior has an incredible story to share with the world.

What do you think?

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Low Cost Print Houses: Postcards, Flyers, Business Cards

Church Planting

Online Print Companies (Updated in 2017)

Here are some other online print companies that I have discovered and/or tried along with my brief comments.

Personal Recommendations

Other Sites

Some sites have paid me to consider adding their link. The ones that seem legit get linked here, but I’m not endorsing them specifically. If you have a problem with any of these companies, let me know, and I’ll remove them.


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“Thanks for being obedient”

Front Page Lafayette My Spiritual Life

I was driving around today running an errand for the church, so I decided to make some phone calls to try to connect with some people. There’s one fellow that I have been trying to get in touch with for a while, and as I was going through my address book, I saw that he was the next one on the list.

I wasn’t interested in calling him at that moment, though because I had been thinking about getting in touch with the head of Purdue’s Campus Crusade ministry, and that was on my mind, but this fellow was the next one on my list, so I just decided to call him anyway.

He picked up the phone and as always seemed very excited to hear from me, but this he was even more excited and told me about a couple guys he’s been sharing his faith with. One of those guys was there with him and wanted to talk to me! I talked with him for a bit and suggested that he go through our Bible 101 program. He seemed interested, and I said that maybe all four of us could get together sometime to start it.

He passed me back to the first guy who then asked me, “So why’d you call me? Were you just thinking about me or what?” I told him that actually I had been calling to see if he would be willing to let me lead a Bible study at his house for him and some of his friends, and that it seemed like he already had some guys who would be interested. He said, “Well, that seems like something God wants me to do!”

Then, just before we both hung up, he said, “Thanks for being obedient.” There’s no way he could have known what an encouragement those few words are, but they were. I hadn’t really felt like making that call at that time, but it was just about the perfect time for the call, and he knew it, so he said, “Thanks for being obedient.”

So let me be the first to say to you, if you have been struggling with something and you aren’t sure whether you should follow God’s promptings or not, do it, tell me, and I’ll say to you, “Thanks for being obedient!”

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Our Information Meeting

Church Planting Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

It has been a while since my last post here, but that’s been for a good reason. For the past month, I’ve been working on getting ready for Southside Church’s first public information meeting. We held it last Sunday evening at McCutcheon High School here in Lafayette.

For the past month, we have been putting together marketing materials, soliciting donations, securing the location, and organizing the service. We passed out by hand maybe 800 invitation postcards and mailed about 100 to our mailing list. We put flyers up at local businesses, we sent out email invitations, and we talked about it to everyone we knew.

It ended up being a really good evening. Here are the details:

  • It was September 10, 2006, 6:30pm – 8:00pm in the choir room at McCutcheon High School.
  • Tarah Kitchell of Tender Loving Childcare (TLCC) provided the children’s program.
  • Doug Griffin, Kurt Kincanon, and Chip (?) provided the music.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings donated 250 wings.
  • Euro Cafe II donated about 6 thermal carafes full of gourmet coffee.
  • LA Fireworks donated table coverings and such.
  • Chick-fil-A donated 150 brownies.
  • The Carpenter’s Son bookstore donated at least $100 worth of merchandise!
  • One count had over 40 (43 I think) people in the main meeting room and we also had 11 kids and 3 workers outside with the children’s program. That put our total at nearly 60 for the evening which was exactly what we wanted in terms of numbers.
  • Special guests were Brad Bush, pastor of Maple Ridge Community Church and chairman of TEAMM (Tippecanoe Evangelical Association of Ministers and Ministries), Gregory Hackett, pastor of First Assembly of God, Justin Hutts, associate pastor at Battleground Bible Church, and Gary Rohrmayer, director of Midwest Church Planting. My coach Rich Wollard wasn’t able to make it so he sent us a video clip that got lost somewhere in the tubes of cyberspace.

We sang some songs, some guests spoke for a few minutes, I gave a vision message, and then I entertained some Q&A. After that, everyone filled out a “level of interest” survey, we had a closing song, and Greg Hackett gave some final encouraging words and a closing prayer.

All in all, it was a great evening! I plan to post some video of it soon.

Thank you for your prayers.

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