20,000 Leagues Under the Levee


Before Netflix & Amazon, there was (and is) Redbox.

Before Redbox, there was Blockbuster.

But...before Blockbuster, there were privately owned little video rental stores.  I'm not sure what yours was like, but the one we went to as kids was very small.  It was a narrow store with two aisles that maybe went 100' deep.  There were videos on the wall that were organized either according to genre, or wherever the last person left it after they were done looking at the case (kinda like what you do when you're done looking at greeting cards and don't put them back where they belong.  Yes...yes you do).  At the risk of dating myself, I'll even admit to remembering a small section that had Betamax movies to rent...all 9 of 'em.I think the store was cash only, and I don't know if we even had a membership card.  I think Mom just used her license. We'd take them home, watch them, rewind them, and return them the next day.  Good times. As a kid, I had my regulars, one of which was (get ready for this) 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  I loved that movie and basically had it memorized.

It had explosions.

It had Kirk Douglas, who dove into the ocean to rescue Captain Nemo from a giant squid by carrying a knife in the cleft of his chin (not really, but he did use a knife).  

James Mason smoked a cigar made of seaweed.

Peter Lorre whined...a lot.

And, the vast majority of the movie took place on a submarine.  Not a yellow one.  An epic, black one that was mistaken for a sea monster by so many as it blasted ships to smitherines.  Oh, and it also had a pipe organ.


I am a "submarine planner."  There.  I said it.  I think it comes from years in youth ministry where you rarely went public with plans until you could anticipate questions students and parents might ask so you could have answers that would inform, as well as put their minds at ease.On the surface of the water, it just seemed like another calm day at sea.  Not much to report.  But I was below, in my submarine, praying, planning, researching, making phone calls, sending emails, praying some more, and ultimately working on something that I think was God-honoring and helpful to students and parents.Then out of nowhere, I'd take my submarine to the surface and explode with a plan, or a project, or a theme for camp, or a trip, or whatever.  That's how I rolled.  If I breached the surface too early, there would be more questions than I had answers to, and that wouldn't build trust with parents or students.  Timing was key, so I tried to be wise in how I prepared, planned, and went "live" (public) with things.  Sadly, I left youth ministry before I ever had the chance to kill a giant squid.

Broaching the Surface
There's SOOOOO much going on at GFC Newport, but only a handful know about any one thing.
  • There's a Small Group birthing to Cincinnati, but the only people that know the details behind that move are those in the Small Groups involved. That's not a sin, but it's exciting news that ought to be shared.
  • Most people aren't good at judging attendance at a quick glance, especially in a dark movie theater, and with kids and workers spread out over 3 different theaters. What's our average Sunday morning attendance? I know, because I have the data and can run the numbers. What do you think it is? I wonder how close you are. :)
  • GFC started meeting in a Cinergy conference room in downtown Cincinnati. Since then, GFC has been a suburban church. Now we have a campus that is, once again, in a more urban setting. With this comes unique opportunities for outreach. We have some opportunities that are in the works...some of our own, and other opportunities to partner with existing ministries and outreaches in the area (meeting with people from the Salvation Army in Newport next week, actually). I know about this....and some others do...but most do not.
  • What about our meeting place in the theater? On the one hand, there are a ton of reasons it's an ideal meeting place. On the other hand, it presents a unique set of problems as well. Is the plan to overcome the obstacles as they are, or seek a new place to meet that may not have those obstacles (but will present ones of their own, of course)? I don't have all the answers, but I have some...and I can definitely give you things to add to your prayer lists.

These are the things I think about. These are the things my meetings revolve around. These are the things I talk about when I meet with different people within our church, our staff, and in the community. But you don't know that because we all live busy lives and have submarines of our own.
Soooooooooooooo here's the deal...
Save the Date
First, remember this date: July 17th. This will be our first GFC Newport Forum. I'll give you a financial report similar to the one that was given at the most recent Church Business Meeting (I say "similar" because I'll give you numbers that are current to that date). I'll then go through the items that I presented above to bring you up to speed on stuff, as well as answer questions you may have about our GFC Newport past, present & future. I think it'll be a good time. Start time will be 7 PM. Location TBD, but will be somewhere in the Newport area. Hope to see you there!
Stay Tuned
Secondly, I'm going to be using our blog to try to keep you in the know more often on things that are going on at GFC Newport. They may not be polished, clean, spic & span, shiny and ready to go. However, I want you on this journey with me, and that means I need to communicate with you while things are in process, not necessarily when they're done. Therefore, I'm going to be using this thing more often to give you quick updates on things as I'm able, as God brings them about, so you can be thinking about them and praying for God to continue to move...just as He did when He brought us to the theater we've been calling home for the past 6+ months.
Thanks for reading, thanks for praying, thanks for serving, and thanks for being a part of what God is doing at GFC Newport.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Peter (Image Creative Commons licensed via Flickr)
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