Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Day of Ministry Excursion

Wednesday, February 20

Today was a day of ministry exposure. After a continental breakfast at the hotel, which included a waffle shaped like the state of Texas, we headed toward Plano Texas to tour Prestonwood Baptist Church (auditorium pictured) and Prestonwood Baptist Academy. What an amazing facility with over 1 million square feet. It is not only expansive, it is excellent from start to finish and is very family based. Some have arrogantly called this ministry "six flags over Jesus" but the truth is that it is a top notch ministry that is very traditional in style and is effectively reaching thousands for Christ with excellence.

Prestowood sits on 140 acres and has 34 pastors with over 500 additional staff members. There are 28,000 on their membership roles and an average weekly worship attendance of 14,000 with 8,500 attending Adult Bible Fellowship Classes. The worship center is magnificent and seats 7,000 plus an additional 500 in the choir loft. They also have a chapel that seats 600 and a children's building which is 160,000 square feet and has 6 playgrounds. The Main Street Cafe inside the church us oopen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. Prestonwood Christian Academy has has more than 1,400 students. It really is an amazing minsitry that we were excited to tour and learn about. Out tour guide was so passionate about the school...that was very enjoyable for me to see her passion. By the way, Susan Auld, our Children's Director here at Grace, has a sister and brother-in-law that live in Texas. He is on staff at Prestonwood Christian Academy in the area of development.

After our morning at Prestonwood, we went to lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant in Plano called Abuello's. It was fantastic. If you are even in Texas, I reccomend their fajita trio! Man, am I going to have to get back on the diet when we get back to Lititz. I enjoyed pricking the brain of Susan's brother-in-law regarding fund-raising as we ate. It was quote the education.

After lunch we headed down past Texas Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys (BOO! HISS!) play and over to The Potter's House pastored by Bishop TD Jakes. It was really interesting to compare these two facilities which run approximately the same in weekend attendance. I asked the tour guide if I could get my picture taken behind TD Jakes pulpit. She thought that might be a little inappropriate but allowed me to get it taken in front of his pulpit. Matt McElravy took the shot with his camera so as soon as I get him to download it for me, I'll post it for you to see. It was amazing to see juts how much the auditorium is designed for their TV audience. It looks quite a bit different live than it does on television.

We then had a little bit of time before tonight's opening celebration at the Creative Church Conference at Fellowship Church. Some napped but Pastor Tim; Pastor Whitie; Andrew Norton adn myself went down into historic grapevine and found a coffee shop to grab a cup and debrief a bit about what we had experienced throughout the day and how it relates to Grace Church. It's those initmate times of discussion with staff members that are the highlights of the trip for me.

Bad news...our GPS system bit the dust so who knows how many times we will get lost without out. After all, we got lost several times with it!!

We'll be leaving in a few minutes for Fellowship Church. I'll post more later.

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