Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Serving Helena at the Fall Art Walk

What an amazing way to serve the Helena community last Friday!

The Encounter crew set up just outside of the Capital FRET music store on Last Chance Gulch in the heart of downtown.

Serving FREE gourmet hot chocolate as people walked the downtown area for the 2010 Fall Art Walk, we saw and talked to so many people.

It was packed downtown this year and we served nearly 250 cups of hot chocolate using 12 pounds of chocolate mix!

This is just another way to demonstrate that Encounter is not just a church IN Helena, but we are a church FOR Helena. Here are some photos and a small video clip from the evening.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

View the video above or on YouTube here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Christmas Decorating for Downtown Helena

This last Sunday, we partnered with local businesses and Downtown Helena to usher in the Christmas season a little early.

We called it Christmas Decorating & Coffee Downtown.

Encounter's group of nearly 22 people came out to help put up Christmas wreaths and decorate street lamps in Downtown Helena. What an awesome turn out!

We had about three groups climbing ladders, fluffing the wreathes (there were some expert "fluffers" there), and snipping cable ties along Last Chance Gulch! After it was all done, we took a little time to share some coffee and fun conversation at Starbucks.

Why do we do it? For us, it's just another way to be a burning bush for our community — to be a church not just IN Helena, but FOR Helena. It's our way to make an impact in our community by giving ourselves away.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Awesome Encounter Grand Opening!

What an amazingly successful launch of the Encounter Church worship gatherings at our Grand Opening this last Sunday on 10-10-10!

We saw twice as many people as the three Sneak Peek Worship Gatherings we've been having since July. It was our largest attendance ever and I am super excited to follow up with those who indicated they want to know more about trusting in Jesus.

The musicians were some of the best in Helena and really did a great job bringing an edgy and slightly loud feel to the worship. The message was called "Ignite: A Burning Bush" and we talked about being a "Burning Bush" to those friends and neighbors around us helping them to encounter God.

We're very excited about what's God is doing through Encounter, and are looking forward to being a church that "ignites" Helena for years to come! The Grand Opening was really awesome thanks to the many people behind the scenes who helped make it a reality. If you missed it, we invite you to check out our next worship gathering.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Kid's Fall Fest 2010 at Pioneer Park

Encounter partnered with Downtown Helena again this year to help bring some Fall fun to the Helena community at Pioneer Park.

There was a pumpkin patch, wagon rides, needle in the haystack game, and more — all organized by DHI and various Helena businesses.

In the four hours of the Kid's Fall Fest, we went through over 300 popcorn bags, 700 cotton candy cones, and 350 Tootsie Pops. We estimate nearly 1,000 kids and their parents had a great time throughout the event!

As part of our effort to a "burning bush" in Helena, we at Encounter came alongside Downtown Helena to provide for FREE two kid's inflatable bouncers, cotton candy, and popcorn for the event. What a awesome time and great opportunity to let people know about our Grand Opening the next day!

The Encounter team of volunteers did an awesome job serving our community and sharing God's love in tangible way.

You can find all the great photos on Facebook here.
Check out a Picasa slideshow here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Join Us for "40 Days of Prayer & Impact"

The Significance of Forty
The number forty (40) is seen throughout the scriptures as a period in which God has made major changes and transformations. To name a few...
  • It rained for 40 days and 40 nights during the flood of Noah and it took another 40 days for the water to subside.
  • Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days ... twice.
  • The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the desert wilderness.
  • Jonah warned the City of Nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. The people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city.
  • Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days before He began His ministry.
  • After Jesus was crucified and was resurrected, He spent time with His disciples for 40 days before He ascended to the clouds.
It only seems appropriate as we get closer to the Encounter Grand Opening on 10-10-10, that we recognize we are only 40 days away. That's right, we are only 40 days from our public launch and we are stoked! These 40 days are an opportunity to build excitement and to ask God to again bring major transformation in our hearts, in the Encounter community of faith, and in our city.
Join Us In 40 Days of Prayer & Impact
As we count down these last 40 days before the Encounter Grand Opening, we will be focused on the prayer and impact God desires to make in our hearts and our community. We will posting and emailing one prayer a day with a practical way we can make a positive impact in those around us for that day.

So we are asking you to join us in what God is doing and is going to do in these next 40 days. Pray with us. Act with us. Imagine the impact we could have in Helena if each one of us is individually involved in making Helena a better place. Imagine the lives that could be touched. Imagine how the spiritual landscape of our community could be changed even BEFORE the grand opening.

Join us on the Encounter Helena Blog each day at here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Fun & Concert at Memorial Park

The Summer Fun & Concert at the Park on July 14 was an amazing success in reaching out to our community!

With the help of our friends at Big Sky and Kingsland, there were two loud and edgy bands (including the Encounter band), a rock climbing wall for all ages, kids bouncy jumpers, and free cotton candy, snow cones, and popcorn.

Check out all the Summer Countdown photos here.

We saw between 700 to 1000 people come out — which is really awesome considering we had to hold the event during Alive@Five at another park at the very same time! Furthermore, I overheard a lot of great comments from people surprised that a church would do such a thing for FREE.

I mean, we had some great music and everything was free. We probably handed out another 300 flyers for our first Sneak Peek Worship Gathering during the event and there were a number of people asking where and when we meet.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Servolution in Helena 2010

Servolution 2010 is a effort of churches and organizations around the world to "Share God's Love and Change Lives Through Simple Acts of Kindness" from March 26 to April 2.

Realizing that many ER nurses and doctors work crazy long and exhausting hours, we wanted to thank them, bless them, and let them know God cares. So "Servolution at Encounter" focused on faculty and staff of St. Peter's Hospital Emergency Room.

The gift basket was a big hit in the ER. As we brought in the collected items one nurse said "It's like Christmas!" We we able to collect donations of home-made goodies, mixed snacks, chocolates, energy drinks, waters, lotions, gourmet bread and of course, our signature Tootsie Pops.

To take an active part in helping, a group of us from Encounter also volunteered for the largest Easter Egg Hunt & Carnival in the North Helena Valley. In assisting our sponsor church, Big Sky Fellowship, we were there especially setting up the the large and small kids' bouncers. The final report is that nearly 800 people had an awesome time!

To finish off our efforts for Servolution 2010, we delivered more baskets. We've previously put together YWCA Hospitality Baskets for new women staying at the Helena YWCA Home for Women.

This Monday after Easter, we delivered as many additional baskets as we could collect and put together, and the YWCA was very appreciative and stressed how special the baskets have been for their new residents since October!

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Good Friday FWD at Encounter

Wow, what an amazing night! Our very first Good Friday gathering called Good Friday FWD was both an "impactful" and "meaningful" evening according to those who attended.

The live acoustic-style set featured violin, guitar, and piano with songs like Nothing But The Blood, Love Is Here, and Mighty To Save.

The focus of the evening was the power of forgiveness and cleansing in the blood of Christ. More specifically, we described how the blood of Jesus Christ flowed from seven places.

Jesus bled from His head.
There are thoughts thoughts that we might not want to face up to, because of what we've seen or heard. We asked people to touch the crown of thorns and imagine how His head was beaten. His blood cleanses you of those thoughts.

The blood poured from His back.
There are times when we’ve turned our back and walked away from Jesus. At this station, we asked people to turn their back to the cross on the wall and imagine how Jesus was whipped with shards of bone and metal until His back was raw. His blood covers the times when you've turn your back on Him.

Spikes were driven through the bloody hands of Jesus.
There is stuff that you ought not to have handled and things you ought not to have done. We asked people to place your hands in the red paint and leave their mark on the wall. Imagine the spikes driven through Jesus’ hands and know that His blood cleanses you.

Blood and water poured from Jesus' side.
There are times when you harbor sins such as bitterness and anger in your gut. At this station, We asked that people write a sin, challenge, or struggle on a slip of paper and slide it into the bowl of thick red liquid. Imagine how the spear was thrust into Jesus’ side and give thanks that even our deepest sins are cleansed and forgiven through the blood of Christ.

Jesus bled as the spikes were driven through His feet.
There are paths you ought not have walked and places you ought not have been. At this station, people followed the lighted path outlined on the floor. Knowing that the spikes were driven through Jesus’ feet and into the cross, we can give thanks that He continues to draw us back to His path through forgiveness and grace.

His Body, His Blood, & The Resurrection
The evening included communion – an examination of how Jesus' body was broken and His blood was poured out. And because Encounter will be focusing on "being the church" on Easter instead of gathering for a service, the evening concluded with a look at the resurrection – that Jesus is the Light of the world. We each lit candles and from the Christ candle to represent how Jesus’ light spreads from Him, then to us, and then to all the world.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View all the photos on Facebook here

Monday, January 25, 2010

Serving at God's Love Homeless Shelter

What a great turnout yesterday at God's Love Homeless Shelter! About 12 people arrived to help prepare a Scalloped Macaroni & Ham dish for those staying at God's Love.

It was crowded — a real case of "too many cooks in the kitchen." So several of us found ways to talk to and encourage those stating at the shelter as well as root on our favorite football team (insert Colts or Jets here).

As usual for God's Love, a line began to form about 4pm and we prayed for the meal as a group. We served up around 80 helpings of the Scalloped Macaroni dish and still have some left over to serve another lunch meal this week.

We just want to thank those who came out to help and to make a difference in our community. Thanks to Aaron McNay for heading up the "chef" duties and those that purchased items for the day. We also want to thank Vann's Thriftway for donating near half the food items for the recipe.

You can find all the great photos on Facebook here.
Check out a Picasa slideshow here.