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|Welcome to our house: A
with Eric Pickerill | Interview with
Michael Gallaugher | Testimony]
"Welcome! Joshua House is the Young Adult Ministry at
Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Columbus. There are four other main
services that we would like to invite you to check out: meeting
Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 8.30am, 10.15am, or noon. If this is
your first time here please come to our Visitor Welcome in room 18
after The Service." And so starts the introduction of our
announcements for every Sunday evening’s service. I would
personally like to invite you all to take a little tour of our
house. Although I can’t physically bring you to room 18 to have
you meet our pastor and other leaders, I do hope to give you a
picture of what Joshua House is all about. So sit back, relax, and
let’s get on with it!
The Blueprints and The Foundation
Before I show you around the
house, let’s take a brief look at the blueprints and the
foundation. Before Joshua House there was Koinonia. Before Koinonia
there were two guys sitting on a couch. Before there were two guys
sitting on the couch there were ten people sitting on a deck. Before
there were ten people sitting on a deck there were those same two
guys, wondering and praying about what God had for them now…high
school grads and not really ready to fit into an "adult
kinship" ( i.e. co-ed groups) at the church. Those two guys,
Chris and Isaac, sought after God and earnestly asked him where they
should go. God answered. His words were "fill the gap and start
something for people just like you." As the beginning of this
section showed, there are fits and stops when diving into ministry.
The first meeting had an attendance of eight, the second week a
different group of eight came, and in the following weeks the
numbers dropped to five, three, and finally it was (again) Chris
& Isaac sitting on the couch. These two guys once again sought
after God. This time God answered by slowly adding to the group one
person at a time. A name was chosen for this group, Koinonia. There
were at times fifty people who were attending this group and during
this season, many people were giving their lives to the Lord. The
outgrowth from Koinonia was women’s groups and the start of
The Service. God continued to bless this ministry by increasing our
numbers, multiplying our kinships, bringing Mark Tindall to pastor
us, and finally giving us a name…Joshua House (from Joshua
24.15, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the
A Peek Inside…
So where are we today? We have fifteen kinships, two men’s
groups, and eleven women’s groups that are meeting throughout
Columbus every week. The culmination of the week is The Service
(with an average attendance of 450). So what happens at The Service?
Let’s take a look from May 2, 1999:
6.30pm Intercessory prayer for The Service
7.00pm People start arriving.
The Vineyard Café is opened. The café consists of a
stage, a stone fireplace, wood tables and chairs,
overstuffed couches, and at the present time artwork on the
walls done by members of VCF Columbus. The Café is a
non-threatening place to bring visitors who are coming to
church for the first time. During The Service, the café is
closed, but is reopened at the conclusion.
The coffee bar is open before
and after The Service....
Snacks are set out in the main auditorium. This usually
consists of vegetables, cookies, and coffee.
The Info Table is set up. This table is where you will
be able to find the maps for the various groups, turn in
sign up sheets, sign up for conferences, and just about ask
anything you want to about Joshua House or VCF Columbus.
The lights are dimmed. During main services, the
fluorescent lights pretty much blind us….during The
Service, we turn them down. I’ve read that others do this
because it helps in intimacy during worship. Honestly, I’m
not sure why we do it…other than we like the way it looks.
7.31pm *Worship begins. Tonight Jeff Anderson is leading
worship. Presently, we have two worship leaders for The
Service. The other is Michael Gallaugher. Tonight the songs
we worship to are:
"Come, Now is the Time to Worship"
"Show Your Power"
"In the Secret"
Jeff Anderson leads worship.....
When worship begins most people are in their chairs. On
the other hand, it can still be pretty chaotic at the back
of the church. Some people choose to worship at the sides
and in the back where there are no chairs set up. During
worship many people raise their hands, many people don’t.
Some kneel, some don’t. Musically, I’m not able to give
either Jeff or Michael a fair review (namely because I know
nothing other than the fact I end up meeting Jesus during
these times and that worship at The Service is something I
look forward to every week)…so I won’t.
8.05pm Teaching. Tonight by Jay Pathak (intern to the
Senior Pastor of VCF Columbus, Rich Nathan). Tonight is the
first from a series in Philippians. Jay explains what The
Service is about. He says, "We’re not about creating
a performance here. We’re here to participate in God’s
kingdom." Jay shares that his heart is "that we
would be real, get to know each other."
8.57pm Ministry Time. Jay’s call is for: 1)
individuals who feel like they are alone. We pray that they
will get knitted into this place. 2) Individuals who are
self-focused. 3) People who served and got slapped in the
face. We pray for their hearts not to get hard.
9.00pm "Official" ending time of The Service.
The parents are reminded to pick up their children from kids’
ministry. At this time, Eric or Jay will give the final
blessing and we are dismissed. Many people are still at the
front of the church participating in ministry. People will
continue to hang out for about 60 or 90 minutes afterwards.
Clean up begins. The chairs are stacked. Garbage is picked
up. Lights are returned to their full force of brightness.
Good-byes are said.
So there you have it. A brief description (albeit…a biased
one) of The Service. Every week is the same and at the same time
poles apart. I guess that’s what happens when you ask God to
show up…you expect the unexpected.
expressions take many forms at Joshua House, whether lifting hands,
or kneeling, or standing or sitting, participants are invited to
enter into God's presence.
from our House
Eric Pickerill is the young adult
pastor of VCF Columbus. I had a chance to ask him some questions
regarding Joshua House and it’s future. Here is the result:
LR: "We talk a lot about ‘young
adults’ here. We are a ‘Young Adult Ministry.’ We are trying
to reach ‘young adults’, etc… Can you define what your picture
of 'young adult' is?
"What I usually tell people who ask me about who are young
adults, I usually answer them by saying that we’re aiming at
individuals who are from 18-30, or twentysomethings. Although at The
Service, we have people come who are children and also others with
LR: "What is your vision for
Joshua House, in terms of the recent transition in leadership, in
our goals, values, and outreach?"
EP: "Over the past year,
Joshua House has been in a transition of leadership. Before Mark
left last June (to plant a church in Philadelphia), I began praying
about the future of JH. We knew that God was going to continue what
he had been doing. Mark described it as, ‘over the past few years,
God has dumped a big bucket of grace on us.’ As I prayed for
future vision, it was clear that God wanted to continue to pour out
In terms of vision...it's a three
"In terms of vision, the way we have been describing it is as a
three stage rocket. We believe, by God’s grace, that as Mark was
leaving, that we had finished the first stage of the rocket. Our
vision in the first stage was ‘to offer truth and hope to a
generation by gathering a congregation of young adult Christians.’
Thankfully, we believe that we have accomplished that vision. Over
the past year, we’ve been seeking God to see what stage two is all
about. In the past month, I think that we’ve come to some sort of
a conclusion. During this season our vision for JH will be, by the
power of the Holy Spirit, to be transformed from a congregation of
young adults into a missionary – minded community that will have
local and global impact.
"What does community look
like? We’re not exactly sure what that means yet, but I have a few
ideas that come to mind. I think it will affect the way people feel
when they come into a Joshua House context. I think people feel a
couple of things when they come in. First, they think that this is a
place that they can feel comfortable to remain anonymous. I don’t
want people to come in and feel comfortable remaining that way. I
want them to have a feeling of ‘I need to be known here. I want to
be known here.’ My second thought of what people might think when
they come here is, ‘Wow, this is so cool! Cool band; cool people;
cool café; cool young speakers.’ How about this for a feeling—‘I’ve
never felt such an overwhelming love?’ ‘Something is different
about this place. These people love each other in such a deep and
meaningful way that I can’t stay away.’ I think that if we can
be more of a community, people will be inclined to stay. They’ll
be swooned by the love of God.
"In terms of values, we will
continue to focus on those that we have always had, but as we have
grown have started to become fuzzy… such as reality, transparency,
the presence of God, etc. These are the heartbeat of community.
These are the beginning point. I would like to grow to be more than
these. I think that people will be radically committed to the
concept of community, and adopt other values and actions, such as
sharing our possessions and our money.
"Finally, while we grow into a
community, I want us to become even more mission minded both as a
group and as individuals. That means that we are always thinking of
others as God’s mission fields and ourselves as ambassadors. I
want us to be even more committed to being a community with a
mission, both here locally and ‘there’ globally. Locally, this
means that people will be getting saved, will come into community
and be radically discipled and become lights in their former and
current communities. It’s the ‘mission-mindedness’ that will
keep us intentional and focused on producing fruit. Globally, this
means that we will send missionaries and church planters around the
world. We’ve seen one church plant. This summer we are taking our
first international mission trip to India. Hopefully, there will be
LR: "Can you explain how
Joshua House functions in VCF Columbus?"
It's one of our values to operate
as a family....
EP: "It’s one of our values to operate as a family with VCF
Columbus. There are a lot of different ways to slice it. You could
be a youth church, you could be a church within a church, or you
could be a young adult ministry. We’ve chosen the latter. Choosing
YA ministry is saying that we desire to be more a part of the whole
and less a separate entity. We exist to serve the whole church. They
don’t exist to serve and feed our ministry, although both of those
things happen. My feelings on the matter are that the church in the
NT and Israel in the OT were multi-generational. I think that
multi-generational is the fullest expression of God’s heart. In
many ways, I wish that we didn’t have to have Joshua House. I see
it as something that has arisen out of a need, not out of the way it’s
supposed to happen. I think that if it were to happen in the best
way, young adults would feel totally comfortable with older adults
and likewise in the other direction. But, like parachurch ministries
have arisen out of a need in the church, Joshua House has arisen.
That means that the main service is more important than the JH
service. The positives of being together are the resources—financial
(they have the money), relational (they’re cool to be with),
wisdom (they’re smarter—and they can teach us and train us), and
structural (they give us a building to meet in). The negatives are
there, but fewer. Mainly, I think we have to risk less. It’s more
comfortable, or at least it feels that way. The other negatives are
stylistic differences in leadership and in aesthetic. I think we
would do it a bit different if we were on our own in both of these
"There will always be
differences, but I feel great about where we are in relation to VCF
Columbus. Rich really has gone far out of his way to bless us and
what he sees God doing here. We are in the best possible situation
with having such a supportive church that releases young leaders and
cares about leaving a legacy. We have plenty of room. In many ways
we are a separate entity. We’re separate enough that we have our
own service, small groups, and other ministries. At the same time,
we’ve found many points of connection and the relationship has
been very symbiotic.
"To sum, it’s more important
to us for young adults to be involved in the whole church than it is
for them to be involved in Joshua House. That is, if they have to
choose. I don’t like it when they have to choose, but that’s the
counsel I give."
LR: "Recently you spoke
regarding ‘biblical Christianity vs. American Christianity.’ How
do you see Biblical Christianity playing itself out in JH?"
EP: "I see many, many young
adults who have given their primary allegiance to Jesus over
materialism, careers, family, significant others, etc. Not that the
two are always in tension, but sometimes they are. When they are,
Jesus tells us to choose him. I think that we are producing
Christians that will follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. I
think that they’re growing and are on a path of growth for their
lifetime. What else could I ask for? I want to see a church of
people who follow Jesus and model their lives on his. Being a ‘biblical
Christian’ is kind of loaded with a lot of baggage and can mean a
lot of things (What Christian thinks that they aren’t biblical?) I
believe that there is an evangelical grid that comes through the
Bible. I also believe that the Bible has an empowered grid. I think
those two things are very important. To steal from John Wimber,
being a biblical Christian is sticking to ‘the main and the
plain." That means being Spirit-led, empowered,
kingdom-oriented, and changing from ‘glory-to-glory’ in our path
of holiness. It means being like Jesus."
LR: "Any challenges?"
EP: "Our challenge will be to
continually be transformed from a congregation of young adults into
a community while maintaining a growing edge on our mission focus.
If we focus on that, the fruit (local and global impact) will work
itself out. It’s especially difficult to do this the larger we
get. But that’s what vision is for. It’s something that should
take you to the edge of belief and almost push you over. But it’s
not. It’s unreachable apart from God. That’s why we believe it’s
Michael Gallaugher is one of our worship leaders at Joshua House.
Here’s what he had to share re: worship.
"I guess what I’ve always
tried to do in worship is to make it fun and relevant. The live
bands were one of the things that attracted me to Vineyard, but the
more I got into worship I realized that I didn’t want an outdated
sound. One Christmas I was coming back home and I was listening to a
Radiohead tape, and I was overwhelmed by how they were able to take
a simple relatively slow song and make it very rhythmic. I really
felt God inspiring me at that moment, and I thought this is how
worship should be. I am fortunate to have a band that caught that
vision and several key folks who have spent time and money to make
worship more modern and relevant.
"When planning a worship set,
I really have to hold back a lot from doing tons of new songs
because there are a lot of good songs out there. My main sources
are Vineyard, Delirious, Matt Redman, and myself. I’ve made a rule
for myself to only introduce one new song per month, and to use one
‘older’ song per set. Generally, I try to let God direct the
song list and order. I let him show me what He wants to happen and
specific songs that will bless people and Himself, and allow people
to enter in. If I have done a new song recently, I will try to do it
at least 3 times in a row so people will get familiar with it. A lot
of the times, I will try and make worship sets as seamless as
possible, by placing 2 or 3 songs together that are in the same key
or perhaps the same tempo, so that we don’t have to stop and start
a new song. I’ve noticed that it really allows the Holy Spirit to
move more freely if we just keep going. I’ve also cut back from
each set from 5 to 4 songs. This allows for times of spontaneous
worship and singing. I’ve felt for a long time that 30 minutes of
worship was not long enough and that we had to stop right as things
are getting going. So, I’m doing less structure and more freedom
in the sets, in order to let God be blessed and to bless us with His
presence in touching people, breaking sin off people, healing,
empowering, and really just turning worship into a ministry time.
I try to be very sensitive to the
"I try to be very sensitive to what the Spirit is doing, and I’m
fortunate to have a band that really follows where God is leading me
and also is musically proficient enough to lead the congregation
during spontaneous times. Often God will put a song into my head
during worship and really hint that He would like to do that one, so
that He can minister to people and draw them into worship more. For
ministry time at the end, I try to keep it extremely loose and
unplanned and unpracticed as much as possible because following the
sermon there may be something completely different that needs to
happen. God has been faithful to speak songs, either to me or to
members of the band, that would really take the sermon and nail it
into peoples’ hearts.
"Regarding our practice times,
I’ve learned that if practice is really going badly to laugh it
off. God is in control and if practice is going bad He is still
going to use it for His glory. This takes all the pressure off of me
and gives me freedom to worship. I can’t force anyone to sing and
I don’t have anything that is going to guarantee good worship. All
I can do is be faithful in what He’s given me and let Him do the
rest. God has been extremely faithful during the times of bad
practices…I’d say almost every time He has blessed it more with
His Spirit. Whenever we have a bad practice I expect God to show up
more than He normally does.
"What I would like to see is
more of God in worship. More of His power, more of His touch, and
more of His freedom. It would be great to see people open up more
and to be able to worship in reckless abandon. I would love to see
more dancing and singing. But as always, He has his timing, and I
must rest in that."
God is shaping lives through
Many people, including myself, have had our lives shaped by God
working through Joshua House. One couple who God worked on first
individually and then together is Ron and Jamie Anderson. They have
been married three years. Ron is a tobacconist and manages a cigar
shop. Jamie is the secretary for Joshua House and Eric Pickerill.
Here’s their story, in Jamie’s own words.
"In the early fall of 1995 I
was about as far from God as possible. I was a punk kid, with a bad
attitude who spent all her time partying, going to shows, and
getting high. I had poured my soul into my boyfriend and raving with
a couple of bi-sexual girls who were dance classmates at the
performing arts high school I attended. I lived a dark life,
surrounded by people who thought living hard was the answer because
life had nothing else to offer but music, sex, and drugs. The world’s
pretty packaging deceived me, but I was utterly miserable.
I violently hated myself and
"I violently hated myself and in two years I had
self-destructed in a way I never thought possible. Ron, on the other
hand, had spent his summer gutting out everything in his life that
appeared worldly. He did not know how to become a Christian, but had
decided that God could save him from his demons. He had spent his
life consumed with his artwork and women. Once he got to what he
thought was the top he felt empty. Being a sought after artist,
having lots of money, and a woman who shared his interests did
nothing for him but isolate him more. He recognized that his
pursuits could not fulfill him.
I couldn't stand being with people
who loved God...
"A mutual friend of ours was helping out with the first college
age Bible study at the church I grew up in (VCF Columbus). I ended
up going to the Bible study the first or second time it met as a
favor to him. During the entire evening I felt a great sense of
uneasiness. I couldn’t stand being with people who wanted to love
God. I had prided myself on being open to whatever people wanted to
believe, but that night I couldn’t handle it. I had run for
several years from the call of Christ, but He had not relented. His
conviction was so powerful that night, I recommitted my life to Him.
"Ron was attending Cleveland
Institute of Art during this time. He decided to come to our
meeting. Though he grew up with little exposure to Jesus, he wanted
badly to connect with God. He had stopped sleeping with his
girlfriend early that summer (who in turn broke up with him), threw
out a lot of his music, and started praying. After coming to Bible
study, at once he was enamored. Every Wednesday he drove from
Cleveland, Ohio to Columbus for kinship. He couldn’t get enough of
Jesus. He started driving down on the weekends for the main services
at the church and to hang out with everyone from the group. Because
of the Lord’s prompting, he left art school after Fall quarter and
moved home to Columbus.
The next year was the most amazing
year for us...
"The next year was the most amazing year in both of our lives.
God came so powerfully upon our group of 7 to 8 people that we spent
every waking hour doing everything we could for the kingdom. We
spent time on campus praying for the homeless, buying them food,
prophesying over each other, praying all hours of the day and night
and eating together. We met after Bible study in what came to be
known as the "red carpet apartment," a dingy one-bedroom
apartment two of the girls in our kinship rented on campus. We would
wash each other’s feet, pray for one another, and eat spaghetti.
The passion we had, consumed us so much that every moment we spent
together, we ran hard after God. The group began growing that
winter and soon there was about 40 of us.
"The core group of us stayed
fast friends and Ron and I fell in love. He proposed to me that
summer and we were married a year later. We look back and realize
how fortunate it was that God extended so much grace to us in those
days. None of us had any idea what was going on, but God was in
control of it all. In the beginning we were seeing at least one
salvation a week. It was contagious. The Holy Spirit changed our
lives in a radical way; we’ve never been the same. We’ve learned
how to become disciples of Christ together. It was a glorious time,
a season of birth and passion. Ron and I feel more grateful than
words could ever express that God met us where we were with His love
and allowed us to be the beginnings of His great work through Joshua
A couple is blessed during
At this point it’s
time to say goodbye. You saw the blueprints, saw the house,
and met some cool people. I hope that you got an idea of what
Joshua House is all about. Rich Nathan said to me once,
"grow where you are planted." God planted us in
Columbus, during this time, for a reason only He fully knows.
It’s my prayer for JH and our generation that as we follow
God, to continually ask if what we’re doing pleases him, and
to grow where we are planted…whether that be in a place like
Columbus, Ohio or London, England or Wichita, Kansas, or…
Hanging out following The
Service at Joshua House
holds a B.S. in Business Administration from DePaul
University, Chicago, IL. and a
M.A. in Personnel Psychology from The
University of Akron, Akron, OH…but she still can’t hook up
her VCR and she just learned how to make a great pan of
lasagna (Her tip..follow the recipe!! It works!). Currently,
she is a Financial Aid Advisor at DeVry Institute of
Technology in Columbus, OH. She’s excited about what’s
going on in the lives of young adults and can’t wait to see
what else He has for us. She can be reached at: email@example.com
This article was written back in May of this year. As of today
(October 4, 1999), Joshua House has grown to approximately 550
people coming every Sunday evening. Also, there is a birthday
to announce. Joshua House turns five! Part of the time last
night at The Service was spent remembering where we came from.
If you’ve read this far, thanks! It was great to be able to
share what God’s doing in our little part of the world.
Chris Kay, who
wrote down the beginnings of Joshua House in September 1997
and didn’t think they would be used here. Melissa
Kay, who took all the pictures. Eric
Pickerill, for thriving on deadlines. Michael
Gallaugher, for having good, practical advice. Ron
& Jamie Anderson, for sharing their story for all to see.
to respond to this article.
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