Blog : community

Web Updates: Points of Interest

We’re making improvements and updates on our website. Here are four recent updates, points of interest you may not be aware of.



On our Calendar page, we’re now highlighting a current or recent event.  Sometimes we have the direct link to our Facebook event.  Right now, our Fall Family Festival is being highlighted.  This is a major outreach every year offering a safe environment for hundreds of children and families.

We use a combination of iCal and Google platforms to ensure quick updates to the calendar.  We also utilize the “Agenda” view because this is easily readable on mobile devices.  The view can be changed to suit your preferences.  Keep an eye on this page to see what’s happening or what’s just around the corner at MtZ!


The Blog

The blog helps us highlight our experiences and our leadership.  People from our congregation regularly speak in our venues.  We want to use the blog to recap their thoughts and get our community acquainted with these fantastic locals.  Their influence cannot be overstated.

On a couple of recent posts from our leaders, we set new records.  Two consecutive posts from leaders each broke the record for most views in a day.  One helped set the record for most views on our entire website in one day, and helped push us over the 2,000 views mark.  That’s not bad for a website that has been around less than a year.  These numbers don’t include all of the hits and reach on Facebook . . . just some fun milestones our leaders have helped us reach.

Thank you all for your continued interest in our people and what we offer.  Our audio sermons are available for approximately one month, but our posts are always available.  In tangible ways, the blog is reaching people as we participate in the ministry of evangelism.



We now have online giving.  There are a few points of interest . . .

Planning Your Giving.  Select one time donation or recurring donation.  This simply means that you can give a gift (whenever you like), or set up a giving plan.  A recurring donation is like online recurring bill pay or automatic withdrawals.  For some, the recurring donation is an excellent way to plan in advance for their week, month, etc.

Options For Giving.  On the dropdown menu, there is TitheGift [offering], and Other.  If Other is chosen, simply jot a note in the Comments box so that we know how to designate the funds.  For instance, our Fall Family Festival is a major outreach each year.  Everything designated toward the Fall Family Festival will make the night a little sweeter for every child craving candy.

How to Give.  Connect to our site and pay from your computer, and of course, your smartphone.  We also have The Square, which is a highly efficient way of swiping a card, for those who would rather pay that way during services.

Tracking Your Giving.  Like all of our giving, our Elders are the only ones with access.  We maintain your confidentiality, use only secure giving solutions, and maintain your records for end of the year giving notices.

Partnering in Giving.  We work with Swipe Away Poverty, a Prolific company that donates a percentage of its proceeds to Compassion International.  We are excited about this because, in effect, you are giving twice with every contribution!


Contact & Map

Our contact information updates include our phone, Facebook page link, and an email dropbox.  If you would like to write us a note, submit a prayer request, ask questions, or give us feedback, please use the email dropbox so we can connect a little easier.

You can also find us on Soundcloud and iTunes if you would like to subscribe to our podcast.

On our Leadership and Refuge Student Ministries pages, you will find ways to connect with many of us through social networks.


. . . and so it continues.  There is a team of six of us who bounce ideas off of each other to make our website better, with a heart for using it as a tool of evangelism.  We’re thankful for every voice and contribution.


We’re also extremely grateful to members of Solo Pine for all that you do for us.



Prayer Focus: Help Us Pray

Prayer Focus: Help Us Pray

We recently committed three weeks to prayer.  Every day of the calendar was covered as our people began to pray.  At a Midweek Gathering during that time, we cried out together in specific ways.

First, we focused on two Big Picture ideas, areas of vision where we are being challenged.  Secondly, we focused on one specific way to pray in each area.  So with this post, would you take a moment to pray for us as we serve the Grand Traverse Bay Area?

Big Picture: Souls

We are experiencing one of the busiest times in America for churches (Back-to-School).  During this time, we hosted two world-changing ministers, Jean-Paul Engler and Per Akvist.  We’ve heard God’s Word and seen God’s wonders!

For these services, as well as others during this time, our congregation has been reaching out and welcoming people.  We’re praying about new ways to connect.

We are being stirred to the core, seeking God for souls, seeing seas of faces . . .1)These pictures are from Fall Family Festival last year, some of the people attending.  Fall Family Festival will be on October 27th this year.


Luke 10.2: He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (NRSV)

In new ways, we’re considering the fields, looking to the Lord of the Harvest.  Pray for us, especially as we fulfill our assignments and reach souls!

Specific Souls: Back to School Backpack Giveaway

We planned a backpack giveaway this summer.  Earlier this year, some of us attended a leadership seminar by our District and Rural Compassion, a sister ministry of Convoy of Hope.  We were challenged in new ways to connect with those around us.  The backpack giveaway is one of the outcomes.

In a letter to MtZ, Angie Camp, the Principal of Silver Lake Elementary says: “This is the perfect way for students to start the year off right!  New things like those backpacks give such a sense of pride and it truly affects the way they feel and perform at school!”

We’re extremely grateful for the organizational efforts of Haley, Sharon, and our 50+ group.  Pray that we discover practical ways to touch lives in our region.  Furthermore, please pray for young families in our neighborhood as we forge new connections!

Big Picture: Church, Kingdom, ekklesia

How do we compare to the way the first church was started and intended to be?

Matthew 16.18: . . . on this rock I will build my church [ekklesia] (NRSV)

What did the Early Church look like?  Where are we now?  Are we a product of centuries of progressing Western culture?  Are we experiencing all that God intended?  How do we reach a pluralistic society?  Is the church of the New Testament still effective?

Cyprian: “He who hath not the church for his mother hath not God for his father.”2)Robert E. Webber, The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 113.

Robert E. Webber spent his career chasing questions like the ones above.  In one of his books, The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New WorldWebber rethinks the modern church in light of the Kingdom of God and Early Church.  He declares:3)Ibid., 112-113.

  1. The church is a “Spirit-formed community” – the Holy Spirit is at the helm.
  2. We are a people who witness renewal and God’s victory!
  3. We do NOT have a mission – we ARE mission.
  4. We’re prophetic . . . eschatological!  We offer real glimpses of Kingdom Come!

Is church only a place we gather? . . . Or an ekklesia, a local Kingdom gathering?

Is our building the church? . . . Or is it the HQ for our mission to the GT Bay Area?

Our Specific ekklesia: Flow of Ministry and Grace

Business models are often pyramids with a CEO on top calling the shots.  That’s not the way it is in Ephesians 4.  God does reveal vision to His leaders.  But the Spirit also dreams for all of us to reach and disciple others.  Our leaders are not “glory hounds,” but men and women who operate in a spirit of true humility.

Ephesians 4.16: Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly.
As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow,
so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NLT)

Five-Fold Ministry

Lead Pastors Jared [PCG] and Crystal Ingle serve in this office.  Others are becoming more involved in vocational ministry.  Ministers are called to empower those in their congregation to minister!

for the equipping of the saints for the work of service . . . Ephesians 4.12 (NASB)


Elders serve in various capacities [i.e. physical facilities and finances], but there is some overlap with ministry.  They approve of those who seek to start a ministry and those who desire to become members.  They serve as advisors to the Pastor.

Engaged Workers

We have many who serve in a variety of ways, and there is simply no way to track all that they do.  Because they’re consistently committed, they know what is going on, they know our people, and they often serve in multiple arenas.  Some lead groups.  Others serve in ministries of helps.  For a listing of a few key players, see our Leadership page.


Some members simply cannot commit to ongoing positions.  However, they offer support for our ministries consistently.  Our members help with projects of all kinds.  They are already co-laborers, the same as leaders, and their support helps us thrive!

Thank you for praying!  Everyone knows, there’s always room for more souls in the Body.  Everyone knows, there’s room for more engagement from parishioners.  We’re excited to see new faces around here, and blessed with high percentages of engagement.  Thank you for taking time to pray for the souls we’re reaching and for our church!



Footnotes   [ + ]

1. These pictures are from Fall Family Festival last year, some of the people attending.  Fall Family Festival will be on October 27th this year.
2. Robert E. Webber, The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 113.
3. Ibid., 112-113.

Ruth Buell on Encouragement from Hebrews

Ruth Buell is an Elder, our Bookkeeper, and the Director of S.I.S.T.E.R.S.  She is an avid student of the Word and ministers a couple times per month to our women.  Ruth preached for us recently during a Midweek Gathering (01.25.17).  God gave her an encouraging Word for our congregation.  Here are some excerpts from that message.


My topic is about encouragement.  We’re starting a new year.  Start fresh with the Lord.  We are to encourage one another in the Lord.  Hebrews 10.23-25 was our memory verse two years ago.  In S.I.S.T.E.R.S.  we have a Scripture and we meditate on it for the year.  There’s a few of us who memorize it, but we glean from it and chew on it all year long.


Hebrews 10.23-25: Let us hold fast to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day of Christ’s return.


I like to dissect this so here we go.  “Let us hold fast,” unswervingly, always strong, never weakening, “to the hope we profess,” the Gospel of Christ, our salvation.  “For he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider,” think about doing something about it, “how we can spur,” encourage on, provoke one another, “toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day of Christ’s return.”  We hear people talking about “Christ is coming.”  We need to encourage each other to continue this race we’re on.

Hebrews 3.13 says, “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today.’”  We don’t know about tomorrow.  We just know about today.  I love the fact that God is “I Am.”  He was in our yesterday.  He will be in our tomorrow.  But He’s a God of today.  “So that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  We need encouragement so we aren’t hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  The enemy doesn’t waste time, doesn’t take a vacation.

Encouragement is vital to the life of a church.  It keeps us in step with the unity of the church.  Hearts and minds are focused, being one, one voice and attitude of mind.  People are inspired to serve, because we’re on the same page.  We’re on the same page with the Lord and what God is doing among us.  Encouragement is so important and vital to the church that God commands it.  He tells us to, “encourage one another daily.”

So what is encouragement?  The King James uses the word “exhort.”  Many other translations use the word “encouragement.”  Exhort and encouragement come from the Greek word paraklesis, which means to call to one’s side, to summon, encourage, admonish, entreat.  Admonish is to warn and rebuke, correcting, teaching, instructing.

So to exhort is to develop relationships with other believers, community of faith, for the purpose of encouraging them in their spiritual growth.  It is through the Word of God that we encourage.  It’s not pep talks.  For pep talks you need to be there lifting that person up, and then they fall when you leave the room.  But it’s through the Word of God, because it doesn’t return to us void.  It encourages, strengthens the inner man, comforts us, and guides us.

“Let us hold fast,” stand strong church, unswervingly, always strong, never weakening.  Holding on, “to the hope we profess;” what are we claiming?  “For he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider,” think about, “how we can spur,” encourage and provoke, “one another on to love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day of Christ’s return.”

So may this New Year be one for our church, our community of faith, because we have to bring it home . . . May our church be the hands and feet of Christ to create a strong environment of encouragement among us through the Holy Spirit, as we continue to grow in unity and mature in the Lord.


[Previous audio sermons are archived, but still available, and may be ordered at our Welcome Center]