Eight years ago, Matthew and I found ourselves quietly slipping into the seats of a new and somewhat intimidating church. Coming from a Baptist background, I looked around at the greeters and ushers and wondered why these people were dressed so casual at church. Most people’s attire consisted of shorts, overalls or leather motorcycle jackets. (Weird, right?)
When the music started, the familiar “Nothing But the Blood” made me feel a little more at home with my church-hymnal roots… UNTIL the lead-singer broke into the chorus with a rendition that would make Mick Jagger seem like a mellow performer.
Just a few minutes later, instead of a well-dressed pastor gracefully approaching a stand, the entire staff was introduced as they ran up on stage… all to the theme music of Monday Night Football.
As we were leaving the parking lot, it took us both a few minutes to express our thoughts. However, when we finally found the words to describe our experience at 12Stone, we agreed, without a doubt, we had found our church home! We love this church for so many reasons. One of my favorite things is the incredible music. It’s loud. It’s powerful. It’s moving. (To me, it’s a great sign when there are free earplugs by the doors of the worship center!) We also love the way Pastor Kevin’s teachings are so honest and transparent in his own life and struggles. And, just like the church believes and the greeters demonstrate, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)
With 10 services each weekend, it’s no wonder 12Stone was listed as the sixth fastest growing church in America. And with a church this large, it is SO important to find an area where you can serve. There are a million reasons to serve, but one of my favorites is the feeling that you are not just ‘showing-up’ each week. It feels great to feel like you are giving your love, time and hugs to ensure the parents can focus on the service, while the kids can learn and have fun. Another great thing about serving is the wonderful people (and, in my case, kids) you will get to know. I have been serving in some type of children’s ministry at 12Stone for six years. It’s one of the highlights of my week, so when I was asked to photograph some of the staff and volunteers for 12Stone’s website, I was so excited!
Here are just a few of the crazy and wonderful people who teach, guide, help and entertain the kids each week…
Here are a few of the kids…