Friday, July 17, 2015

A prayer request from Pastor Rick

Dear Argyle family,

We were in Chattanooga just a few days ago to attend a college reunion and visit some very special friends.
I grew up there during 1965-1979. Donna and I met there 41 years ago. It's a special place to us.

Charleston has always been one of my favorite cities. We have a niece in college there. A beautiful city.
The atrocity committed in place of worship recently is beyond comprehension.

There's a problem on the inside.

"Above all else, guard your heart. For everything in life flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Praying today for the families.
Praying for Charleston.
Praying for Chattanooga.
Praying for our military and first-responders.
Praying for America.
Praying for life-change.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Partnering With Parents - Part 2

What partnering means to me as a parent.

I have two teenage boys. Andrew is 16, Jake is 19.

Everything I said in my last post, Partnering with Parents - Part 1, is not just something I believe in because it is my job, or even because I love working with children and am passionate about helping kids know Jesus.

I also believe in partnering with parents because I am a parent who has been partnered with here at The Church at Argyle.

Before I was ever on staff, I was the Mom of two precious boys, and I needed help with this parent thing. Parenting is hard. I love being a Mom. It is the one thing, all of my life, that I was certain I wanted to do. But when you actually have a precious, helpless, living, breathing, human being, completely dependent on you... well, for me I realized very quickly, I needed help.

One of the ways God answered my prayer for help was when I found Argyle Christian Preschool and Kindergarten. My oldest, Jake, was four. I did what I saw as my duty and researched preschools in the area. I narrowed it down to four places based on research and word of mouth. I'll admit I was drawn to the schools that had brand new buildings and security systems with bells and whistles.

ACPK did not have either at the time, but I walked in the building and met the director. I can only describe it as a peace coming over me. I knew this was the place. I had never had that happen before.

I still looked at the rest of the schools on my list. However, I came back to Argyle. Here, I began to learn what it looked like and felt like to not just drop my child off at school but to be supported, encouraged, cared about - partnered with - as a parent.

I could do a whole blog about ACPK, but if you need a wonderful preschool for your 2, 3, 4 year old or Kindergartner, I highly recommend you call 904-778-4838 and talk to Terri or Sharon, or go to ACPK's website.

We had a church home before coming to Argyle. We loved it and loved the people, many of which I had known since I was a little girl. It was Jake asking about going to church at his school that brought us here for a visit. That, along with prayer that took me out of my comfort zone for what my children needed, turned into regular attendance and eventually membership.

The partnership has continued to grow throughout the lives of my children. First, children's ministry small group leaders in Kindergarten who made Jesus real, not just by the stories they told and activities they shared but by the way the treated my boys and the way they treated everyone. In the small group of a wonderful married couple, first Jake and two years after him, Andrew, accepted Jesus as their savior. From our conversations at the time I know that in their young minds and precious hearts, they knew exactly what they were doing.

They were not doing what they were told.

They were not following an alter call that 20 of their friends followed.

They had been taught about Jesus' love for them in a way that was so clear and real it gave them the childlike faith to say, this is what I want and I am ready.

They each prayed the prayer of salvation and were baptized here at Argyle. Each event was one of the happiest days of my life as a Mom! To this day I get emotional when I talk about these leaders and the impact they had in the lives of my children.

That impact has not stopped. Even though my boys moved out of that small group and into the next, each leader here has invested in my children. There have been student leaders along the way as well, who have given my child someone to look up to and want to be like while they are still young and still learning. This showed them that they have a purpose right now, not "someday". They went from elementary to junior high and their leaders took them out into the community to serve and encouraged them to find a way to connect right here. Jesus is as real to them and His love is as clear for them now as it was then.

With the guidance and encouragement of our High School Pastor and his wife, as well as that of our Senior Pastor, they both began serving in our church. Jake serves in our worship arts tech department and Andrew in our Youth worship band. Of course, both are serving with me in children's ministry. They are stuck with me! They honestly do a better job because I'm not the only one who holds them accountable. They serve with our Worship Arts in their areas of passion and giftedness because someone, besides me, believed in them and gave them a chance.

This summer, for the first time, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to our high school camp, BigStuf. This trip motivated me to write these blogs. Watching our leaders spend a week with our middle and high schoolers. Seeing existing relationships grow as we spent 24 hours a day together for five days straight. Watching them listen, laugh, cry, wait, eat, get tired and get grumpy together. See our kids understand that they are loved - no matter what. Watching them worship with their whole selves, get excited about how much God loves them and hear them say in their own words what they learned from the speakers, whether they were 12, 15 or 18. Watching them support and encourage each other as they shared their sins and fears with humility and courage. Watching them give and receive grace, trust and lean on each other as God's word teaches us.

My overwhelming emotion during the whole trip was gratitude.

I am grateful as a leader to know that when the children in my ministry leave UpStreet (K-5) and go to Crave (6-8) and then Impact (9-12), they are loved and led.I know their families have a group of leaders to help them know grace, forgiveness, courage and truth so they learn to trust in the One who created them.

I am grateful as a parent to have a family of leaders we trust, who will pray with us and pray for us. Leaders who have shown up faithfully and consistently in my son's lives, and earned the position of mentors and Godly leaders that my kids will talk to when they have questions. Leaders I can go to if there is an issue I need help with as a parent and who will come to me if my teenager has an issue that I need to know about. These are the people I will invite to their graduation. These are the people I will call when we need help.

Please don't miss this - we all need help. We are not meant to do any of this life alone.

I'll talk about some ways we can partner together in my next and final post in this series, Partnering with Parents - Part 3. If you're a parent at Argyle and have a story of encouragement for our leaders, please post it in the comments here. If you're a parent who wants to partner with us, email me at and I'll get you connected with the right information and leaders.

You are not alone. We are better together.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Partnering With Parents - Part 1

Children's Ministry Director Amy Gieger discusses our approach to Children's Ministry.

Partnering with parents.

We use that phrase in our children's ministry. 

What does it mean?

I can tell you what it means as our Children's Ministry Director. 

It means having consistent small group leaders, the same hours, every Sunday for the entire school year.

We do this because this is the best way for our children and parents to feel safe, to connect, to feel welcome and accepted, with a leader who is faithful and invests their heart and their time to care about each child and family in their small group. 

It means using curriculum that meets each child where they are, at each age and developmental level.

We do this so that they don't just adopt their parents faith, then lose it along the way.

Instead, they transition from believing what they are told, to understanding, choosing and living out their own, authentic faith and relationship with Christ.

It means providing environments where kids are allowed to move, play,be loud and ask questions.

We do this because this is how they are made and this is how they learn and grow.

It means finding and training and inspiring leaders to understand that EVERY child is made in the image of God.

We do this so that for at least the one hour per week they are here, they have a place where 

  • they see and are shown God's love for them
  • they are welcome and accepted
  • they learn to give and receive grace
  • they are valued and cared about

It means being intentional and consistent as parents and leaders about letting our middle and high school students serve alongside our dedicated adult leaders now, so that they realize they can lead and make a difference today, not someday when they are "grown up".

If we show them how and let them lead in areas where they are gifted now, they transition seamlessly from student leaders to adult leaders because they already know how.

They learn that they are important and capable, that God can work through them just as they are. If we wait to utilize their gifts until they are adults, they have been on the outside waiting to get in for so long that the steps they need to take to be a leader are overwhelming. The memory of being kept out is more vivid than the momory of wanting to serve.

This all works best when small group leaders and parents make the effort to communicate,
pray for each other and their children. It works especially when they reach out to each other in a crisis or significant change in the life of the family, good or bad, so that they can comfort, pray with, encourage and celebrate together with the child.

The final end of our Children's Ministry is when small group leaders and parents recognize their children's interests and gifts, then reach out to get them connected with a leader in that area of ministry as they enter junior high so they learn what it feels like to serve. They learn to think and care about someone besides themselves, 
to stop thinking about their own needs and problems for a while, and instead care about the needs and spiritual growth of their small group, their church and their community.

As a leader I am passionate about this philosophy because as a parent I have proof that it works.
I will share those examples in my next post, Partnering With Parents - Part 2.

Until then - if you are not already bringing your kids consistently during the same hour each Sunday I encourage you to change that starting this week.

If you have not reached out to or met your child's small group leader, I encourage you to make that happen this Sunday.

If you or your middle or high school student is not serving already, call or email me and I will help you find where there are opportunities in our church and community to start now.

We are better together,


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Guest Post From Anita Sullivan...

The Church at Argyle rocks. Literally and figuratively. If you’ve ever worshipped with us, you know that. But last week, we had the chance to rock even more than usual, as we welcomed Kristian Stanfill to TCAA. Kristian is well known in the Christian music community, as a Dove Award winner, a worship leader for BigStuf youth camps and Passion conferences, leading as many as 40,000 in Worship at once. Bringing Kristian to Argyle was kind of a big deal, just ask the almost 700 people who packed the house.

Kristian’s music is not intended to be a performance, but simply a worship experience, intended for all- as he called it, just one big sing along. And it was, with heartfelt lyrics such as “You are light, you are light when the darkness closes in.... You are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling... I'm running to your arms, I’m running to your arms, the richness of your love will always be enough…” and “I will not fear the war.... I will not fear the storm... My help is near…”

So much of the music he shares is about finding refuge with God in times of trouble that I asked Kristian why that was. He said that a lot of their newest music came out of a rough time in the life of his family, a rough time for his wife and he, and a rough time for their city. But he also understands that a lot of people are going through dark times and many of his words come straight from Psalms. The cries of people today are the same as cries of people for all times, and God is here now just as He was then. Kristian always knew that he wanted to be a musician, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he knew that leading worship was what God was calling him to do. And since that time, he could never have imagined where God would take him, but says it’s so much more and so much better than what he could have planned.

Through the show, the music took us through the experience of baring our hearts to God, but then the song “Put a Smile On” led us in celebrating all He has done. We sang “with a shout of a heart set free” and danced as we sang “dance, dance, dance in your freedom forever more.” It was a reminder that though we may be in a storm, we can still dance in His freedom and that even if our hearts hurt today, the same truth remains. But Kristian then circled back, closing with “This One Thing Remains” where we sang with the heartfelt belief that God never lets us go. It seemed to be a reminder from Kristian that our days of dancing and celebrating may be sandwiched between times of needing to run into His arms, but we’re never left there alone in the darkness.

After the show, when I had a chance to ask Kristian what he wanted people to walk away with, it was a simple answer. He wanted us to see Jesus more than anything. That is the reason the whole band does what they do, why he leaves home and misses his family (and wife due with their third baby just a few days from now). Because at some point, each of them had an experience that made them decide to follow Jesus, and that’s what they’re doing. We had people from many different backgrounds with us, and his prayer was that those who walked in knowing Jesus left rekindled, and those who didn’t know about the cross left knowing that something happened.

I’m thankful that Kristian and his band answered God’s call, and thankful for a church and a pastor who create experiences that allow us to welcome all in and create environments like this. Years ago, God called another man to lead worship, and he also answered that call, and then answered another call to become our Senior Pastor just a few years. He still rocks today. Literally and figuratively.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pastor Rick speaks to our Worship Team...

Dear Worship Team,

Thank you for sharing your time and talent as a singer, player and technician.
We are SO blessed at Argyle. God is awesome. You are awesome. Thank you.

It's very important that you guard your heart.
It's very important that you have personal guard rails in place.
It's very important that you pray and study your Bible every day.
It's very important that you remind yourself of exactly why you play, sing and tech
and who you play, sing and tech for!

When we forget that, 
then we show up late, unprepared, with a heart far from being open to worship...
We'll be tempted to complain, be jealous, feel sorry for ourself and develop a bitter spirit.
We might even begin to think it's all about us!

There is too much at stake for our efforts to be misguided.
There is too much at stake for us to be complacent.
As worship leaders, it is our calling and our responsibility to lead our people into the very presence of God.
We can't lead where we haven't been.

Each week, spend quality time with God. Acknowledge His greatness. Confess your sins.
Pray for God's anointing on our worship.
Pray for your pastor (God knows he needs it.)

Each week, spend quality time with your music. Rehearse on your own. Listen to the mp3's online.
If you're confident with the music, that will allow you to worship freely.
Come prepared to offer Him your absolute best. He's worthy. He's so worthy.

God has blessed The Church at Argyle.
This Sunday, we will begin two worship gatherings to allow us to minister to more people and allow our Children's Ministry Team to attend our worship gatherings every week.

This opportunity will require greater commitment from all of us. I believe we are up to the task.

If I schedule music at the end of the worship gathering, it will be a solo.
That will allow you to leave, if you choose, after the music at the second worship gathering.
Please always attend at least one of the complete worship gatherings.

This is our new schedule:
8:00 am       Arrive/warm up/tune
8:15 am       Downbeat of the first song
9:00 am       First worship gathering
10:30 am     Second worship gathering

6:00 pm       Christmas rehearsal

Please invite people. You are our most effective outreach opportunity.

Here we go.
God's up to something good. It's exciting to be part of it!
I'll see you Sunday at 8!

Love you all,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pastor Rick announces 40 Days in the Word...

Thank you for your response to "Do Something Now"!

Soon, The Church at Argyle will begin "40 Days in the Word".
It's my prayer that during this series we will all grow to
Love the Word
Learn the Word
Live the Word.

All of our existing LifeGroups will put their current study on hold for six weeks as we do "40 Days in the Word" together.

We will form new LifeGroups for the series for those who are not currently in a group. It's our prayer that all of our attenders will be in a LifeGroup during "40 Days in the Word".

I am asking for some of our current LifeGroup members to host a new group for the "40 Days in the Word" series. This would be in addition to your current LifeGroup for the six week series. If you would like to host a new group, please contact Hal at

If you are not currently in a LifeGroup, would you please prayerfully consider joining one of the new groups for the six week series. Please contact the office or sign up in the Welcome Center on Sunday.

"40 Days in the Word" schedule:
March 18, Sunday, 10 am, LifeLink to help everyone find a LifeGroup
March 24, Saturday, 6 pm, Prayer Gathering
March 25, Sunday, 10 am, "40 Days in the Word" Kick-off
March 25, all week, new Lifegroups meet to get acquainted
April 1, all week, studies begin in the Lifegroups
May 13, Sunday, 10 am, "40 Days in the Word" Celebration

Please pray for God to do great things in the Argyle family through "40 Days in the Word".


Friday, October 28, 2011

Some thoughtful words from Amy...

As Children's Ministry leaders we all know that safety and classroom management go together.

It is most important in children's ministry to keep our kids safe. A large part of keeping children safe is maintaining control of our small group environment. I realize that this can be a challenge because not all kids want to sit still and listen. Some seem to look for every possible way to be loud, or seem to find a way to throw whatever you give them, or get physical with whomever they are next to.

Some of the best ways I have learned to prevent this is to get to know your kids and figure out what they like, keep them busy and show them they are important. If they like to help, find ways to let them help (pass out supplies, be the first to find the verse in the Bible and show everyone else where it is, or be a friend to the new visitor). Show up on Sunday prepared to lead.  Read over your curriculum and check over supplies before the children arrive. This lets you go straight into the activities when they come to small group and allows for very little unstructured time for them to get distracted or out of control. Create a small group environment where they all know they are welcome, cared about and respected. We know that each child is loved and created by God, and you may be the only person all week that shows them this truth.

Relationships with each other as leaders, and as the church to visitors, attenders and members alike are important too. We should all be conscious of how we treat and respond to each other wherever we are.

I read a blog this week by marketing guru Seth Godin, and I want to share it with you. It is from a business perspective, and I realize as leaders and followers (not fans) we are not exactly marketers but I was struck by how much this does apply. I know I have had this experience, in business as well as in church. Unfortunately, I have been the reason someone else has had this experience too.
"I don't like that guy," she said.
"Why not?," I wondered...
It turns out that she had done some business with him years ago and it hadn't gone well. When pressed, though, she couldn't actually recall what the problem had been, or how much financial or project damage had been done. All she remembered was that she didn't like him.
That's the way it usually is.You read those letters to the complaint columns in the paper or online, and the actual facts are often pretty trivial. What we remember isn't the financial hit, we remember the injustice, the disrespect, the way we felt at the time.Your accountant might care about the facts. You, the marketer, need to care about the conversations and the memories.
As leaders we should focus more on the relationships (conversations and memories) with our kids and their families, fellow leaders and whomever God puts in our path. We are not just communicating words and rules, we are communicating love and life to them! We have less than an hour, once a week to do so. Being able to keep order alone does not win hearts and minds for Jesus, and He is why we do what we do.

Grace and Wisdom in Christ,
Amy Gieger
Children's Ministry Director