Scott's Thoughts: Sun, Jan 2, 2022

Tons to cover today at the beginning of a new year so I’m way over my 5 mins goal. Total Reading Time: 27 mins 38 secs. (J/K, it’s "only" a smidge over 9 mins long, merely one-third of what you just thought it was!)

Christmas Candlelight Services – What a wonderful time we had worshiping the coming of Christ together! We had a great turnout of 575-600 different people over the 5 candlelight services on Fri, Dec 24 and Sun, Dec 26. Thanks to so many of you who made a point to invite friends and family to join us!

Wow, Lots of Campus-Specific Holiday Outreach! – Special thanks to so many who pitched in to help make 17 different #ForGreene outreach activities happen in the last 5-6 weeks! Wow. I hope you’ve gotten a taste for this in recent Pulse Videos and during Campus Pastor moments at the end of our services. Well done, y’all. We’re praying the Lord uses our faithful service to help reach people for Christ and keep Greene County strong.

Dec 2021 Elders Letter (and a Small Correction) – Make sure you read the latest Elder Letter just sent. You can find it at, which will always list all the Elders Letters posted on our news feed, (which is available on the “Pulse” tab on the App, under “Latest News,” or at Also, when it went to print, we accidentally forgot to finish a sentence! So, on the hardcopy version, where it said, “Looks like we are getting?!”, it should’ve said, “Looks like we are getting close?!”, as in, (for the 3rd time now), we’ve gotten fairly deep into conversation with a few good candidates we like so far. Please keep praying with us for a new Students Director soon.

January is Spiritual Health Survey & Membership Renewal Month – As a way of regularly reconsidering our commitment to the body of Christ and assessing our spiritual health, at the end of every year we take our membership roll down to zero. Then, during each January, we ask all FCCers—members and non-members—to fill out a 7 Habits-based Spiritual Health survey. On that same form, those who were active members the year before can also renew their commitment and those who are not-yet-members can indicate interest.

Now, just to be clear, every member must renew every year and there is no ongoing active membership status from year to year without renewing one's membership. If you fail to renew one year, you are no longer an active member.

For more teaching and resources on why we place so much emphasis on membership and for the link for the survey, go to the top of the Home tab on the app and swipe to “Membership Renewal” or go to If you need a hardcopy, they’re available in The Hub on Sundays or the Church Office on weekdays. Now, for pens and pencils, you might be on your own.

2022 Sermon Series Plans: The Gospel of John – This Sunday and next, Jan 2 and 9, we finish the last two weeks of our 15-week Daniel series. Then, starting Sun, Jan 16, we begin a series on the gospel of John. I haven’t quite nailed down all the details, but it will be a fairly daggone long series, with 3 or 4 long sections broken down into something like the following, perhaps? I like how Chuck Swindoll ( broke it down when he preached it.Or maybe I’ll go with A. W. Pink’s 72ish weeks plan where every sermon started with “Christ…” and we’ll call it something like “Christ, the Word Embodied”? I dunno, still working on it and looking at some 3 dozen commentaries/books to see what smarter and/or dead people taught through John. But whatever the case, don’t worry, we’ll break up the 40ish (or 70ish?!) weeks represented above by doing a shorter series here and there, taking a break for Easter, other occasional one-offs, etc. Btw, in case you’re wondering, I usually try to do about one-third OT and two-thirds NT, in terms of total amount of series content. Anyway, you might wanna spend some time reading John to prepare and you needn’t wonder or worry about how we’re breaking it down because wherever we left off one week is where we’ll pick up the next week.

Brown Bags & Bibles Plans – First, in the next couple episodes, which come out biweekly, we are completing our BB&B(&B!) plans to read and discuss The Rise of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman. (The “B!” stands for Books!”) We have only released one of the three episodes, so there’s still time to join in on our discussion of this important book. If you want to know how Western culture became the moral mess it is, put in the time and effort to read along and think with us about these important issues. As I’ve said before, this is one of the most important books you will ever read on our current cultural moment. For some intro to the book, here’s a link to some YouTube vids of Trueman discussing and hawking it: Again, Paid Staff, Friendly Reminder that, as part of y/our continuing education, you are required to read/follow along with BB&B(&B!) Copies available at,, etc., or in The Hub at any campus. Second, in case you’re unaware, on BB&B, we rotate between a systematic doctrinal/theological study, unpacking our Elders Position Papers (, and reading and discussing a book of cultural and theological import. Usually the systematic doctrinal/theological studies are longer than the other two. I tell you all that because our next study, after Trueman, will be Part 1 of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, “The Doctrine of the Word of God”. This will dovetail quite nicely with our study of the gospel of John, btw. Hmm… it’s almost like somebody plans this stuff. ;o) So if you wanna learn some classic theological categories for reading the Scriptures well, buy Grudem (available in The Hub (and on for my fellow Bible software nerds–get the 2nd edition)) and follow along!

Pillar Young Adults go to CrossCon! – Word is the conference was great, and we’ll be hearing more from them soon, but special thanks to a few of you who initiated some financial help for the 20 or so 18-25 year olds who attended this 4-day conference in Louisville this past week! ( to see more.) Quick heads up… While I’m not yet sure of the totals, I *think* we’ve got a bit more in the way of a few students needing financial help, (meaning a couple thousand bucks or so?) So if you are willing to help with some of that, talk to me, a Campus Pastor, or David Bowlin, or just let us know on your Connect Card, and we’ll contact you and provide an anonymous way for you to help pitch in soon, if needed. I’ll letcha know in the next ST.

So Apparently the New Year is a Good Time to Jumpstart A Buncha Stuff?! – Without time/space to reiterate the importance of all this, suffice it to say you should pay attention to the Pulse Video, Email, and Campus Pastors at the end of each service for ways to get meaningfully connected during 2022.
  • Annual Spiritual Health Survey and Membership Renewal (below).
  • Next Steps is where to learn about how to best engage.
  • Team Bash is at the end of the month. Details forthcoming.
  • Life Groups forming now. Husbands, your wife wants you to initiate this.
  • It’s a natural time to check out going deep in your relationships with God and others in a Re:generation small group. For more, go to Husbands, your wife wants you to initiate this.
  • Re|engage, our 18-week marriage enrichment small group, kicks off really soon. Go to for the latest info and sign-up. Husbands, your wife wants you to initiate this (or at least one of these last 3 options!)
  • Indicate interest on the Connect Card and we’ll follow up!

What’s All This About Husbands Initiating? – Super unpopular cultural sentiment here, but who cares if being unpopular is at the expense of being unbiblical. For years I’ve felt the Lord impressing upon me the idea that the #1 problem in the world today is a lack of male integrity that manifests mostly in spiritually weak husbands, fathers, and church leaders as well as in a general cultural weakness of leadership. It’s a way more complicated issue than space here allows, but I am looking to work hard(er) on us becoming a church that trains and raises up good men/fathers/husbands (and that also trains good young church leaders), so I’m going to start unapologetically working toward that end in a way that may occasionally feel/sound like I’m/we’re unfairly leaving out others. But I don’t care about flimsy notions of fairness based on secularized power norms. I care about confirming our lives to God’s design for holiness and community flourishing. Just letting ya know.) Btw, Dads, your wife and kids need to see you worship Christ as King.

Random, I Know, But I’m Personally Done w Socials – I mentioned this a couple times some 12-16 months ago, and I do so again because I know quite a few folks have tried to message me on social media platforms, but I don’t do personal social media anymore. I just cannot practically nor emotionally manage what had been 7-8 different comms inputs in my life, so I’m 86 all the socials. If you’re trying to contact me,’s best way, (theoretically. I mean, I’m still a few hundred emails and almost an entire year behind, but theoretically that’s the best way!) While we’re on it, contacting any Staffer ( is as easy as the person’s So, you can contact me or your Campus Pastor with tyson@, tommy@, or scott@. Or, if you’re like 75% of the population and you’re so “over” so many comms inputs that you’ve barely kept your eyes open while I blather, use a Connect Card,, or the Contact Us form at the bottom of every page.

Mini-Great Questions Answered (GQA): “Is ‘Xmas’ Instead of “Christmas” Offensive or Sacrilegious? – (GQA can be found at This has come up every one of the last 19-20 years, so I figured I’d address it a smidge.
While some in the wider culture  may indeed try to use “Xmas” to ‘take the Christ out of Christmas’ and there’s no doubt that there is a worrying larger trend toward secularizing culture to deny God, (a problem with which I personally very much sympathize), basically the answer is no, “Xmas” isn’t nearly as offensive as the memes claim.

Since the Greek word for “Christ” begins with the letter chi, X, as in Χριστος, and the very first Christians began using the letter X as a stand-in for “Christ” in their worship liturgies and Christ-based symbolism, the X stood for Christ, as in “Xmas,” and not instead of Christ. In other words, long before “Leave the Christ in Christmas” started showing up on church signs as a form of cultural war, the “X” in “Xmas” most literally means “Christ.” It isn’t “X’ing” Christ out; it’s no less keeping Christ in Christmas. And while we’re at it, you might just be a “Xn!”

It seems to me that the “problem” Christians have with “Xmas” comes from seeing other Christians memefying “Don’t take the Christ out of Christmas” and reading it on a church sign or bumper sticker more than any real problem with people using “Xmas” as if it can undo Christ. That’s like modern historians insisting we use BCE and CE instead of BC and AD–changing the verbiage doesn’t automatically change the significance. For example, if a commercial, which airs at Christmas, uses “Xmas” because the company doesn’t want to use the word “Christ,” it ironically doesn’t actually sidestep the significance of the season on which they want to capitalize! And frankly, the many ways secular cultural forms dechristify Christmas nowadays makes “Xmas” seem extremely tame.

If we as a church send a txt msg with “Xmas,” I promise it’s merely so we don’t spend more money on txt msg’g than we need and not because we’re afraid of saying “Christ.” So yeah… Christ, Christ, Christ. Christmas is about Christ. In fact, we believe so much in Christ as Lord over all that even “Xmas” is about Christ! :o)

So next time someone Jesus Jukes you for “Xmas” as if you’re secularizing Christmas, confuse and Jesus Juke them right back by boldly declaring, “Actually, I’m keeping Christ in Xmas!” and then pontificate until their eyes roll back in their head with learned facts of Christian history. (Actually, no, you shouldn’t do that. In the vein of Proverbs 19:11, just smile and nod in agreement that the secularization of our world is not helpful, because that’s enough common ground.)

But while we’re on it, no, we do not allow Santa or elf hats in our worship and our symbolism at Christmas is probably best kept at manger scenes, trees, presents, and lights that point us to Jesus.

Puhraise Jesus, Kelly Radank’s Now Full-Time Admin/Comms Guru/Director! – This is good news (and also a smidge of sad news.) It’s good news that Kelly has agreed to come on as our Full-Time Communications/Administration Director (because I have TONS of additional work and responsibilities for her! She’s very excited about all that, of course. Who wouldn’t be?!) Kelly will work under me in Comms/Admin, as I am “in charge” of Staff/Admin (or are they actually in charge of me?!) and I am currently functioning as fill-in “Creative Team Director” (till we figure out who/what post-Covid digital/physical comms/creative world looks like, i.e., will we ever?!) She has previously been at 30 hrs/wk and has done a great job, learning from Alicia Gourley, who has been our Admin/Metrics Queen/Guru/Dir for the last few years, but… (and here’s the sad part…) she has been experiencing long-term almost-debilitating physical struggles that have kept her from being able to do what she had been. We’ve missed having Alicia around, but she will continue to be in the loop a bit at a couple hours a week, as she is able, maintaining our nerdy 7 Habits Dashboard that tracks things like attendance, serving, small group participation, giving, etc. It’s actually a pretty cool setup, but requires some specialty knowledge of our vision and software and Alicia’s just the person to maintain it since, well, she took the spreadsheet we’ve had for years and developed it to make it what it is today. So for the last few months, Alicia (and Kendra and me) has (have) been training Kelly in preparation. She’s doing a great job. And so is Alicia. Please pray for them both, that Kelly can survive working for me and that Alicia and family will continue to adapt well, in faith, to her new baseline physical and emotional challenges. We love you, Alicia (and Gourleys), and are sorry it has been so hard.
The following 4 blurbs are all repeats from recent ST, but they’re repeats worth repeating. (And given that they’re repeats, I am not counting them in the Total Reading Time at top. “Aha! That’s how he gets around his supposed ‘goal’ of 5 minutes!”)

A Repeat Worth Repeating > Areas We Need Help – Though I said all this in the last Scott’s Thoughts, it’s worthy of further mention… Because of our multisite campus-and-people-launching strategy, which emphasizes asking people to both Worship and Serve, pre-Covid, on average, 70% of our Sunday morning attendees served, (which is awesome! According to Barna, the national Pre-Covid average had been 40%.) But now, that nationwide number is 15% and ours is more like 40% (and it feels like it’s been less than that the last month.) So, there are 4 places we need badly need some help:
  • Youth Ministry Small Group Leaders/Assistants
  • Kids Small Group Leaders/Teachers/Assistants
  • Afton Campus Trailer Puller
  • Tech Crew
  • Online Shopper and Inventory Keeper
If you wanna know more, let us know on the Connect Card and we’ll follow up with you, let ya know what’s involved, give you a test drive, try to make it work with your schedule, etc.

Another Repeat Worth Repeating > Couple New Weekly Blog (“News Feed”) Features: Tell The Story Ministry Spotlight and Prayer List – You may not have yet noticed, but we now have a couple new weekly features on our regularly updated Blog. You can find them on the “Pulse” tab on the app, under “News Feed”. You can also get there outside the app by going to or you can see a curated feed of content:Two more things: (1) The Prayer List never includes confidential requests. Those are only shared with Elders, Staff, and key Volunteers (i.e., usually only Care Team leaders). (2) We’ve already had 3 Tell the story. posts about one of our family’s experience Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, a number of our youth sharing during a recent 180 Worship Night, and one of our FCCers from re:gen talking about how much she loved “Friendsgiving” and what re:gen means to her!

A Repeat Worth Repeating and Updating > 2022 Budget – During Nov and Dec 2021, the Elders and Staff have prepared our church budget for 2022 with a view toward accomplishing a number of important vision-based priorities. Here are a few of the most important highlights. (These numbers are updated from the Scott’s Thoughts posted Dec 5, 2021.)
  • Our total budget goes from $1,033,099 in 2021 ($19,867/week) to $1,097,188 in 2022 ($21,100/wk), an increase of $64,089 ($1,232/wk more), or 6.2% more in 2022 than 2021. (Last ST reported an increase of $47,929 total ($922/wk, or 4.6%, more), but we hadn’t yet decided on a few items here and there. I think they were a couple 3rd-campus expansion items and how much to set aside each year for a new roof, parking lot, or van, to build up a small reserve for each when the time comes. Also, after further study, a few operations items are, surprise, surprise, costing us more than they used to.))
  • The overwhelming majority of that 6.2% increase was due to (1) missionaries and staff receiving modest increases and (2) scaling for a 3rd campus.
  • New Note: The 2022 Budget will make it look like our ordained Pastors/Ministers got huge increases. Actually, that is simply a change in how we pay them based on outside financial advice, to no longer pay some of their taxes up-front and leave 100% of that to each ordained staffer. As tax codes and best practices change, methods of paying/not-paying dual-status self-employed folks like ordained church staff have to sometimes change. Anyway, this change is not additional money added to the budget, but a realignment from a “payroll expenses” line item to the individual’s salary line item. So, for example, my total salary package, which is the only one we publish publicly, goes from $77,408 in 2021 to $85,652 in 2022. (Just to be clear, because how church staff are paid confuses a lot of people… We do not offer staff health insurance nor retirement, but we do have a cell phone allowance and a “Professional/Convention/Continuing Education Expenses” for full-time ministry staff, so that “total salary package” is 100% of what a staffer is paid and is ~95% of the total amount the church expends to have someone on staff.) Also, FYI pt 2, we do a yearly “soft” audit and a once-every-three-years “hard” audit. If you’ve got questions, talk to me, an Elder, or Campus Pastor, or email Beth Anne Liebert, Financial Secretary, at
  • Because we are consistently whittling down unused items and refining efficiencies so that our budget and finances are always ready for launching a new campus, not only have we steadily increased our total financial holdings since going multisite, but the foreseen additional cost to our budget for adding a 3rd campus only amounts to $52,000! That’s only 5% more than our 2021 budget. How cool is it that we have continued to safely and wisely adapt our staffing and ministry structures toward multiple campus ministry so that, other than the large one-time expense of 2 trailers of supplies,
  • Beginning in January, we’re welcoming Samantha Hinkle, our fourth homegrown young leader, onto the Kids Team as part-time staff! She’ll be doing Kids Ops, helping especially on Mon nights and with Preschool children. More on that in the next ST.
  • Relative to their 2021 amounts, we also significantly increased Kids (45.4%), Facilities (22.5%), and Outreach (9.5%).
  • Another Update: Don’t have final 2022 numbers for a bit, but we are very much in the black (to the good, in the positive) when it comes to inc v exp. Will letcha know more when we know more.
  • Yet Another Update: Wanna wait till final 2022 numbers are in so we can put it all together for you, but we'll soon be posting digital and hardcopy versions of the 2022 Budget and 2021 Finals so you can see 'em. 

One Last Repeat Worth Repeating > Update re 3rd Campus Launch & Students Dir Search – I’ve mentioned versions of the following a few times here and there, but just wanted to let y’all know the latest. Long and complicated story short, we are most definitely consistently working toward 3rd campus readiness, but a few key components need to be in place, some of which have been beyond our control. The most recent Covid surge of the delta variant slowed previous momentum considerably. The finalizing of hundreds of items that go into the 2 trailers that make portable church happen has been increasingly frustrated by supply chain issues. Plus, we need to hire a new Students Director to free a couple existing staffers to go back to doing, well, more of what they’re hired to do, much of which has to do with going to 3 campuses. While all of this has been incredibly frustrating, God continues to grant us the favor of new folks, healthy finances, community cred, staff unity for mission, young and sold-out leaders from within, and a team of people ready to implement Next Steps, which will quickly show itself to be a critical piece of our multisite structure working well for Helping people find and follow Jesus at more smaller campuses. Btw, we’ve had a few good recent discussions with potential Students Directors. Feels like we’re closing in on someone. (But, again, we’ve felt that way before with this specific search!)

In a future ST post, I will soon give an overview of the entire process, what we’ve done, what we’re working on, and what it looks like when we announce the 3rd Campus Pastor, continue doing outreach, begin gathering a launch team that will meet to do more outreach and launch-prep scheming, inundate Greene County with promo like yard signs and billboards, “retrolaunch” existing campuses, and have ‘how-to-be-a-portable-church’ training and preview services. So, yeah, we’ve got plans. We’ll get there in God’s timing. Please pray about… finding a new Students director, supply chain issues, sociopolitical drama dividing people, and more people willing to serve.
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