Sunday, November 20, 2011

Relevant Worship

As seek out the place God wants us during this transitionary period, Andrea have been considering putting together a worship set like these guys. You know how much we feel it's important to stay relevant to the culture around us.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Adventures For The Powells!

As you may have recently read, we've been in the process of bringing Encounter Church to a close.

We've been encouraging and helping our friends get involved with other churches in Helena, and at the same time, completing the administrative tasks needed to legally dissolve Encounter Church.

But what about the Powells, you may ask! We've been busy as well. I've been networking with fellow church planters all over the nation. From Boston and Virginia, to Texas, California, Utah, and Seattle. That means a lot of phone calls, Skype video chats, and a few trips here and there.

With our recent experience leading a new church plant, we have a unique perspective and experience to join in with a new church planting team or vibrant ministries. I am are seeking out the new adventures that God has for us, and playing to my strengths in worship, arts, and media — but also adding in my experience in leadership, spiritual formation, and community outreach.

In early August, we visited One Community Church in South Jordan, Utah. Just about 25 miles South of Salt Lake City, these guys have planted and will be planting more churches in a place where no one wants to plant a church. We enjoyed leading worship there and offer a "shout out" to Charles, Tony, and Josh!

In the middle of September, we met with three different church plants in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington. God is doing some amazing things through these people.

Bobby and Kelli are making a difference in an inner-city, high poverty area of Tacoma through The Pathway. Keith and Kristine are doing a similar thing just north of Seattle at Epic Life Church.

Finally, Gary and Molly are leading a church plant that is reaching the suburban area of Woodinville and Bothell through Emmaus Church in North East Seattle.

We've also been busy here in Montana in October. We led worship at meeting for pastors and missionaries two weeks ago. Last Sunday, we led worship at a new church plant in Bozeman called Crossroads Church. View the video below if you want. Sean and Lydia are just having their first preview services. We are also helping out with worship at Big Sky Fellowship on Sunday, October 23. Big Sky was our church sponsor for Encounter, if you remember.

There is also a great church in ... better sit down for this one ... Richmond, Virginia area that we have also just started the beginning steps of being considered for the Worship Pastor position. At this time, I cannot yet share the name of the church, but I have personal friends that have attended this church – actually friends of friends. Here is what one friend said...

"It is the most creative bunch of people truly living out the Gospel. They have a heart for the city, and are in an artsy, VCU area of the city... AMAZING talent in worship, all heartfelt. I couldn't recommend a place more highly."

For now, we are excited to visit the Seattle area again. Andrik and I are driving out to Emmaus Church and I will be leading worship this Sunday.

We would appreciate your prayers for safety, but also for connection and clarity.

We've been pursuing this position in Bothell, but there are some things we feel God need to bring together regarding the cost of housing and acquiring a second job.

So while we seem to have a number of opportunities available, we are looking for the one that God has planned for us. It needs to be a fit for our personalities and gifts, how we are most effective in ministry, and for us to achieve a balance between family life and ministry.

Please be praying for us.

View the video above or on YouTube here.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A New Post? Amazing!

So after nearly three years focusing our attention and effort on the Encounter Helena blog, that effort is coming to a close. And with the big life changes going on with the Powells, we will be posting here again on the e|Something blog.

So along with new posts, we are in the middle of overhauling the entire look and feel. We're adding some integration with social network like Facebook and Twitter. You will also find some links to my worship profile and the Encounter website as I look for the next adventure God has in store. We hope you like it.

Oh yeah, if you received this update via email, we would like to know. Please send a quick reply.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bringing Encounter Church To A Close

Some of you have partnered with Encounter Church from the very beginning. Others have come along later, and still some have just begun to pray or support this new church plant in Helena, Montana.

Please take the time to read through our journey and find out why we're bringing the Encounter ministry to a close.
As you know, we have been following God, and praying impossible prayers from the very beginning almost three years ago. God gave us this vision for Encounter Church when we had no funding and no assembled team. We sought this support from a variety of sources and began building a new church plant from scratch.

With the help of ARC, SBC, and NAMB, we received assessment, confirmation, and encouragement to reach people in Helena that no one else is reaching.

We're talking about those, who like us, are a bit outside-the-box, and do not fit into the traditional approach of churches in Helena. We sought to change this community, working alongside other churches, to reach people for the Kingdom helping them truly Encounter God and Jesus in their everyday life.

From the early days dreaming in our living room about a this church, to Discussions at the Staggering Ox, Friday Night FWDs, the Encounter Grand Opening, and finally meeting on Sunday mornings at the Pattern House — we have shared a long and challenging journey.

From that very first April in 2009, we have focused all of our intent and effort to selflessly serve our community showing them the unconditional love of Jesus in a real and tangible way. Encounter has become known in Helena as a church that serves its community. It is known as a church for people who don't like church. We have truly become a church that is FOR Helena, rather than just a church IN Helena.

I am so proud and thankful of all the hard work, time, effort, and more — that individuals have put into God's vision for Encounter. These people have been, by far, the most important and significant part of our journey.
We want to share that at this time, that Andrea and I are currently praying through the process of seeking God's leading in a new season of ministry. From the beginning of the new year, we've been seriously evaluating and assessing the survivability and sustainability of Encounter Church.

While we've seen many victories and successes through the ministry of Encounter, while we've seen lives changed and the community touched, we have NOT seen a few crucial elements come to pass that will see Encounter survive in the long haul.

A decision such as this is never easy. As we have continually assessed the Encounter ministry, it was an especially difficult and painful decision knowing that Encounter has made a difference in Helena.

At the same time, we've communicated our needs and prayers all along. It has become clear in recent months, that God is giving us new direction. Still, the loss of Encounter Church will leave a void within the Helena community.

Andrea and I have been blessed by the experiences and lessons God has granted us through this journey. And most importantly, we've been blessed by every relationship we've formed. This journey has been richly rewarding and also spiritually draining. We've learned that joy and heartbreak can occur together.

And so we are deeply saddened to announce that we are gracefully bringing the Encounter Church ministry to a close.

In the next month or two, we will continue to serve Encounter Church just as hard as we have. There are many loose ends that need to be tied up, both ministry-related, financial, and administrative. If you have been touched by the Encounter ministry, we invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to get together with us and debrief, if needed.

Please know that we are in the process of meeting with a numerous people in the coming weeks. One of our main concerns now, is to help each of person make a smooth transition toward continued spiritual growth, beyond their time with Encounter.

While this last Sunday, July 24, was our final worship gathering, we will continue our one-on-one discipleship and we will continue to meet together at our home for LifeGroups until Andrea and I transition to a new phase of ministry.
While Andrea and I continue to minister here in Helena over the next month or two — discipling those who have connected with Encounter — we are looking for open doors into our next phase of ministry. If you know of any ministry opportunities or positions, please let me know. The key for us is to find the next spiritual adventure that God has planned for us.

Church planting is now engrained upon our hearts. At this time, Andrea and I are not emotionally prepared to launch and lead another church plant effort immediately, but we are not ruling it out for the future. Risking it all for Jesus and embracing uncertainty for Him is in our DNA now.

We are longing to fit with some other church planting effort where we can be the part of the team that Encounter so desperately needed. I most likely will continue to pursue ministry in worship arts, still knowing that my skills and experience now cover a broader spectrum that include preaching, graphic design, leading small groups, discipling individuals, coordinating successful outreach efforts.

Please know that we are in the process of meeting with a numerous people in the coming weeks. One of our main concerns now, is to help each of person make a smooth transition toward continued spiritual growth, beyond their time with Encounter.

Above all, we are seeking God's leading in this. As with the personality and vision of Encounter, we are called to a ministry with a vibrant and audacious vision. A vision, that if God isn't in it, it will utterly and completely fail. We are called to reach those who otherwise would never know Christ and never set foot in a church — to minister to out-of-the-box people in unconventional ways. As Pastor Craig Groeschel says, "To reach people that have never been reached, you have to do things that no one has ever done."

We are praying for some audacious, lion-chasing opportunities and ask you to pray with us as we embrace the uncertainty that lies ahead.

In His Hands,
Eric & Andrea

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Easter Sunday Egg Hunt @ The Pattern House

Easter Sunday, April 24, was Encounter's very first Easter Sunday Worship Gathering. Despite snow and rain throughout the week, Easter was a beautiful, sunny day — and it was the picture perfect day for a Super Fun Egg Hunt outside!

We had over 24 first-timers on Easter with lots of kids. We explored what it means to "Come Awake!" and how we are called to "rise up from the grave" of the broken things in life through Jesus. Listen to the podcast here.

After the great music and discussion during the worship gathering, we held a drawing for the "Biggest Easter Basket Ever!" It was certainly the biggest Easter basket in Helena with items donated from individuals and businesses throughout Helena.

Special thanks to Van's Thriftway, Lasso The Moon Toys, Montana Book & Toy Company, Panhandler Plus, GamePods Jr. Downtown, Capital Fret, and Great Harvest Bread Company.

When we're all done, we went outside for a Super Fun Egg Hunt boasting over 600 eggs filled with chocolate goodies. It truly was an Awesome Easter, by all accounts, and an awesome way to connect with the community — to be a church that's not just IN Helena, but FOR Helena!

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Temple Veil Concert & Encounter Meet & Greet

As part of an Awesome April on Good Friday of Easter weekend, Encounter was pleased to host the amazing musical duo, recording artist Temple Veil.

The Evening Concert also billed as an Encounter Meet & Greet at our new Pattern House location, was a complete success.

Subway sandwiches, chips, and drinks were on the menu as well as some great conversation before the free concert. It was also a blessing to see 11 new guests come check out the concert and Encounter.

This was the second time Temple Veil played for Encounter, and we were again blown away by the raw acoustic talents of Brysson on the acoutsic guitar and DeRock on the violin, keys and vocals. Seriously awesome stuff!

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kid's Spring Fest 2011 at Pioneer Park

This last Saturday, Encounter helped Downtown Helena usher in Spring at the first ever Kids Spring Fest at Pioneer Park.

A group of volunteers primarily from Encounter hosted a free kids bounce house. and gave away over 250 bags of popcorn, nearly 400 servings of cotton candy, and around 350 Tootsie Pops.

An estimated 600 kids and their parents came out for the event!

What an awesome way to serve our community. As part of our effort to a "burning bush" in Helena, this is just another way to be a church that is not just IN Helena, but FOR Helena!

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Prayer Walk & Meeting Neighbors

At Encounter, we are an outward-focused church. As we grow together inwardly, we must never forget that we are here to help others know Jesus.

On April 10, we cancelled our Worship Gathering specifically to pray for and walk the neighborhoods near our new gathering location, the Pattern House.

On Saturday, April 9, we prayed over nearly 70 households giving away small flyers and free Tootsie to individuals. And then on Sunday, April 10, we covered even more of the neighborhood with over 200 more households.

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Now Gathering Sunday Mornings!

We are super excited to announce that our worship gatherings have moved to 11am Sunday mornings at the historic Pattern House.

Built in 1897, the Pattern House served as pay master in the early days for the Northern Pacific Railroad, to a pattern building workshop for the foundry that ran next door.

In the 90's, the Pattern House became a popular coffee house in Helena, but has been vacant since 2005. Encounter is now excited to use the space to connect with the Helena community and provide a unique environment in which to Encounter God, Experience Community, and Engage Culture.

We held our first un-announced gathering this last Sunday on March 27 as a "trial run" to determine the logistics of how to setup for worship, areas for kids, and refreshments. It was a success. The Pattern House is a perfect intimate environment that is warm and welcoming. View photos of the setup below.

Centrally located in Helena, just go east from Malfunction Junction (where Montana Avenue, Helena Avenue, and Lyndale meet) on Lyndale, the Pattern House is the first building on the right at 1229 E. Lyndale Ave.

Click here for more details, map, and directions.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Serving the Helena Food Share Again

This last Wednesday, March 23, a group of us from Encounter Church gathered to serve the Helena Food Share and support the awesome difference they make in our community.

The Helena Food Share does an outstanding job providing emergency food assistance to families experiencing economic difficulties.

There was something for everyone to do. We took on whatever projects they assigned our group. We were able to bag over 1,000 pounds of potatoes, assemble 4 crates of eggs, 36 bags of rice, and stack almost 100 cans of potato chips.

We are always eager to serve and share God's love in tangible way. It's why Encounter is known as a church not just IN Helena, but a church FOR Helena.

View the Picasa slideshow here
View the photos on Facebook here

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MLK Youth Music Splash 2011

On Saturday Jan 15 from 4-8pm, Encounter Church partnered with other community organizations to foster young musicians in Helena.

It was about diversity and community service, and featured 2 solo artists and 4 bands of local youth musicians: The 33 Cent Bet, High Lonesome, Summer Downpour, Last Minute Men, Sarah Frazier, and Stephanie Zarling.

Encounter was privileged to be involved in the early planning stages with representatives from AmeriCoreVISTA, Lewis & Clark Public Library, Youth Connections, Rocky Mountain Development Council, and others. Later, we were able to also partner with the Staggering Ox, GamePods, and Capital FRET to make the evening a huge success!

The event was held at the Staggering Ox and we had about 11 volunteers from Encounter come out to help setup, run, manage, and tear-down the stage and sound equipment. The performances were pretty awesome. Plus, the Staggering Ox was more packed than I've ever seen it! It was an honor to serve the community in this way and to be a part of the Youth Music Splash this year.

View the Picasa slideshow here