VOLUME 15 NUMBER 4
connection volume 15 • number 4
A quarterly publication, © 2013 Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, Texas. The material within this publication may not be disseminated without permission.
All inquiries, comments, suggestions, and story ideas should be directed to our Communications Department by e-mail to email@example.com.
Five words appear at the end of one of the hymns our congregation loves to sing. Each stanza builds to the same magnificent climax as those five words resurface: “. . . Great things He has done!”
senior pastor chuck swindoll senior director of resource ministries carol spencer
communications director sandi garrett creative director kenny courtenay writer townsend keller editor olga ball
great things He has done........................................................... 1
designer sarah scherdt
growing up with stonebriar .................................................... 2
communications coordinator amy hyles
YES!—youth engaged in serving......................................... 4
volunteer photographer phil bruce volunteer editor shelly king
encouraging all people to pursue a lifelong,
I would also have to say, all the things
new midweek spanish prayer service............................. 7
7/20/98: Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the state of Texas 9/28/98: 62 acres of land purchased for site of current campus 10/14/98: First public meeting at Stonebriar Country Club 12/6/98: First worship service at Collin County Community College 1/99: First meeting of Adult Fellowships 1/17/99: First communion service
The blend of genuine worship, great music, a strong pulpit, and prevailing prayer is great.
The harmonious, joyful fellowship we experience as a flock of God’s people is truly great.
The reputation of compassion and care we have cultivated in our community is great.
marathon: in for the long run.................................................. 8
Looking back to when we first began— mid-October, 1998—I realize that no individual or group could possibly have caused this to happen. Great things come from our great God. Everything we might list about our church falls into that category.
The facilities we have built in which people gather every week are nothing short of great.
fall calendar of events .......................................... back cover
The magnetic appeal of grace, as we lift up the fallen and offer hope to the lost, is great.
The relationship that exists between our outstanding staff and excellent elders is great.
giving: an act of worship............................................................ 6
joyous relationship with Jesus Christ
Now that we have arrived at this significant milestone in our history as a church, those words best describe these 15 years. They have not simply been good years, they have been great years!
that have transpired through the past decade-and-a-half represent great things He . . . our great God . . . has done.
The commitment we sustain to nurture and teach our children, youth, and adults is great.
7 Fall 99: SoulCare ministry established
10/3/99: First anniversary celebration 12/99: Contract signed for construction of first building (building B) 10/99: 12/19/99: First Christmas service Reflecting God’s Glory 1/00: Construction began on first building (building B) campaign 2/20/00: First child dedication service began 4/2/00: First baptism service
The balance between taking God seriously while not taking ourselves seriously is great. The accountability and mutual concern for everyone’s growth toward maturity is great. The consistent growth in numbers mixed with our healthy financial condition is great. The testimony we have as a church that welcomes those with special needs is great. The love for each other, evidenced among those of all ages and stages in life, is great. When I look back on 15 years: “To God be the glory, great things He has done.”
10/00: Forward In Faith campaign began 10/1/00: Sunrise prayer service on grounds of future campus 10/15/00: Second anniversary barbecue 2/4/01: First worship service in new building (building B)
www.stonebriar.org | 1
s a child, I didn’t enjoy change. Even at a young age I had already settled into as much of a routine as a third-grader can have. So you can imagine my displeasure when my parents moved our family to Frisco in 1999, uprooting the comfortable life I had carved out for myself at the ripe old age of 10. Already incensed from being torn away from my friends at my old school in Lake Highlands, consider my irritation the first time I pulled up to Collin County Community College to attend Stonebriar. I remember stepping out of the family car, giving Quad C a disapproving look and thinking to myself, “This isn’t even a real church!” It was a sentiment that would only be reinforced as I sat in that white lawn chair to hear Pastor Chuck speak and looked up to see a basketball wedged in the rafters. If I could have only seen the role that this, at the time small, not-even-real church would play in my development as a Christian and a person in the coming years. Both Stonebriar and I were just starting to find our way. Despite my initial condemnation, my pre-Junction 56 Sunday school class allowed me to warm up to the idea of making Stonebriar my church. I started to make new friends, some that remained until we graduated high school, and I even won a contest held by Children’s Ministries to draw the cover of a recipe book they sold for a
3/9/01: Building dedication (building B) 6/01: Hispanic Bible study established (precursor to Hispanic Ministries)
6/01: First meeting of Men’s Wednesday Night Bible Study with Steve Farrar 11/01: Season of Thanksgiving 7/9/01: First Vacation Bible School campaign began 9/11/01: Prayer service 12/24/01: First Christmas Eve service for our nation
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fundraiser. Meanwhile, Stonebriar became the fastest growing church in America. Maybe we both had something good going here. A couple of years later we moved from Frisco to Celina, but this time around, Stonebriar was a constant in my life that I desperately wanted to keep. Roughly around the same time, Stonebriar moved from Quad C to what is now Building B. We were both growing up. In those days students graduated to the junior high group in sixth grade, which marked my entry into Student Ministries. Current Pastor of Student Ministries Jason Stevenson and I had already become friends in his time as an intern with the group, but for six years of my life he became a mentor of such conviction that I’ll be inconceivably lucky to find another like him. He guided me through God’s Word and laughed with, and at, me. Most importantly, he gave me a swift kick in the pants when I needed it, which was often. Like the time I stuffed a huge cart for transporting tables into his office or chased deer with a whittled spear on a backpacking trip in Colorado (he fed us nothing but ramen noodles and oatmeal for three days on that trip, I was getting desperate). While I went on mission trips, became part of the youth leadership team, and expanded my understanding of God, Stonebriar began to come into its own as well. The weekly attendance now necessitated
4/02: Hispanic Ministries established (precursor to Stonebriar En Español) 6/24/02: Vacation Bible School attendance grows to more than 500 children
three services, and the sea of folks coming in and out made the halls a gauntlet to navigate. A focus on ministry in India complemented an already rapidly growing local outreach. More expansion was already looking very probable while I was getting ready to expand my own horizons. Just about the time Building A was completed, I left home for college. We were both grown up now. Every time I visited my folks I would come back to a church that was still home, but just didn’t feel quite right. It was one of the first times in my life where something so significant to me seemed to have chugged right along without me. I attended several churches around my school in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, but I never truly found a home like I did at Stonebriar. But my how the Lord works. I was hired in February to be a writer in the Communications Department here. As a full-fledged adult that has no idea how I’m supposed to go about this whole “being grown up” thing, I can’t imagine another place I would want to start my new life. I’ve only been employed here a short time, but I marvel every day that even as I gave this church a disgusted first look over a decade ago, the Lord knew the role it would play throughout my life. I’m home again, and I thank God every day for it.
5/7/03: Special needs ministry sponsors first community fun day 10/31/02: First Fall Festival 11/2/02: First mission trip to India
8/03: Preschool Pals established 9/10/03: Awana program began at our church
1/04: Women’s Leadership Team established
www.stonebriar.org | 3
his is a big church, and we have a lot of visitors. We need to serve them and the regular people so they can worship freely and get closer to God,” said junior high student Victoria Patterson. Victoria is one of over 230 youth who serve in our YES! Ministry (Youth Engaged in Serving). Jennifer Withers, preteen ministry leader, and Heather Tinkle, YES! assistant coordinator, have done an amazing job this past year in placing youth volunteers in positions of service at our church. Someone who desires to serve in YES! must be a born-again, baptized believer in Jesus Christ, provide references, and be a mature, responsible 6–12th grader. Applicants must also complete an application and interview process and attend a general training session in addition to the specific training he or she will receive in the assigned area. Youth must also sign a commitment statement, which includes “I agree to serve wherever I am assigned,” and “I understand that if I don’t follow through, I may be asked to step down.” They understand they will be held to a high standard, including prompt communication with their supervisor, faithfulness, responsibility, and a dress code. Nicholas Anderson understands faithfulness and responsibility. When asked “What’s the most difficult part of serving on Sunday mornings?” He responded with a smile, “Waking up.” Once he’s leading a small group of fourth graders, he enjoys serving. “It’s cool to see them grow and mature throughout the year.” Bryan George, another eighth grader, added,
“It was kind of hard to keep them in control the first year, but this year is better. I’m more in the swing of things. It’s easier to lead a table now. And I think kids will listen to someone closer to their own age, sometimes more than an adult.”
FunZone can only be successful if each special needs person has a “buddy.” “At least a third of our classrooms would have to be closed if we didn’t have YES! volunteers,” noted Linda Wylie, early childhood ministry leader.
Victoria, Nicholas, and Bryan have all served well at Level I in the program and were promoted to Level II. Level I volunteers wear lime green t-shirts, and their duties include talking and playing with children, serving snacks, handing out materials, cleaning up, and helping with craft time.
Aaron Eastin, an adult who volunteers Sunday mornings in a toddler classroom, said, “They’re very helpful. It would be much harder to serve if they weren’t here. When they’re on vacation, it’s definitely more difficult.”
Level II volunteers are those who have served one or more years in YES!. They wear black t-shirts. Their duties involve more responsibility and independence. Volunteers at this level serve with little or no direction. They can teach Sunday school or help lead worship, supervise craft time, and more.
Alexandra Liberis and Taylor Rogers are teens who serve with Aaron. Alexandra said, “I used to work with the older twos, and now I’m with the younger twos . . . you can definitely see a difference in their maturity.” When asked what some of the challenges were, Alexandra replied, “Getting them to listen, and they might miss their parents, and sometimes they try to sneak toys into J.A.M. Time.”
Level III volunteers are the cream of the crop. They are selected by the adult ministry leaders to serve as mentors. Having served faithfully for six or seven years at our church, these experienced and welltrained young adults can now train other youth who are just beginning the program. Typically, less than a dozen high school juniors or seniors are chosen for this honor. When you see a teenager wearing a black polo shirt with the YES! logo, you’ll know he or she is a faithful, well-trained servant of Christ!
by joe harms preteen pastor Beth Cook, Gracie Carl, and Alex Withers are some of this year’s Level III mentors. Meaghan Wall, special needs ministry leader, calls them her “Team Big.” “We have one major training session each year, and for an hour afterwards, these youth train younger YES! volunteers how to serve in special needs,” Meaghan said. “They’ll lead various activities involving being blindfolded for a while, teaching communication, and working as a team.”
2005: First meetings of DivorceCare, Griefshare, and Cancer Encouragement groups 6/23/04: Additional 25 acres of adjacent land purchased 1/2/05: New church logo/branding introduced 7/4/04: First July 4th parking lot party
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Meaghan watched Alex, Gracie, and Beth start out as fifth grade volunteers eight years ago. “They were just learning the ropes, and now they’re ready to go off to college, where I believe they’ll find a local church and either help out in special needs or start a special needs ministry . . . and that’s the cycle we want to continue.” “Three-fourths of our [Sunday morning] volunteers are youth,” Meaghan said. “And the same is true for FunZone.” (A Saturday evening ministry designed to enable special needs parents some time for themselves).
Taylor said, “It’s exciting to come in and serve every Sunday. Some might think it’s a chore, but it’s not at all!” Alexandra added, “It’s amazing to think you can change these kids’ lives.” Children’s Pastor Dave Carl believes strongly in training young people to serve. “I believe the YES! Ministry to be one of the most
12/05: First Sweet Celebration
9/05: Greeter Guide ministry established
10/2/05: Impact building campaign began
12/3/06: Groundbreaking for our new Worship Center and Atrium (building A)
9/06: Junction 56 (preteen) ministry established
important ministries we have,” Pastor Dave said. “We have created a culture of service in our kids. They are ready and eager to serve. YES! trains them to be servant leaders for Christ. What can be better than that?” Through YES!, young people can discover their spiritual gifts. We rotate them through various serving opportunities through the years, and as they serve, they begin to identify how God has specifically designed them to serve within His body—the Church. John-Michael Stapleton, an eighth grader, said, “I’ve learned that I really like stage and sound ministry.” John-Michael runs the sound booth in the Junction 56 ministry on Sunday mornings. “It’s not that difficult to learn, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing—it’s an important job.” We’ve all heard the multiple survey results that indicate young people are leaving the organized church. The YES! Ministry may be the most important key to turning this trend around. Youth who know they are needed in the church have a much greater chance of remaining with the church. YES! volunteers do not come to church for what they can get out of it. They come for what they can give. The verses on the back of their shirts remind them each week, “Serve one another in love,” and “It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Galatians 5:13b and Colossians 3:24b). When you see YES! volunteers in the hallways or serving somewhere, please send up a quick prayer for them and give them a word of encouragement or thanks. After all, they are the Church of tomorrow!
12/22/06: Additional 1.5 acres of adjacent land bordering Lebanon Rd. purchased 5/7/07: Church website launched
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an act of worship
by sam mathai, finance committee chairman Every decision becomes a spiritual decision when we acknowledge God’s ownership. Joyful giving becomes second nature to us. We believe that God has established the principle of giving, whereby believers should give regularly and cheerfully to support the Church, bring relief to those in need, and spread the Gospel. Giving is about gratitude and generosity. Generosity opens up the soul. When we give away what we worked so hard to earn, we begin to understand the Gospel. He is the most generous Giver of all in giving us His Son. In the past 15 years, we have grown from humble beginnings to more than 4,000 members and more than 10,000 regular attendees while only 20 percent participate in regular giving. Infants to elderly fill our classrooms every day of the week. From missions to Preschool Pals, our focus has always been on people and helping each one pursue a lifelong, joyous relationship with Jesus Christ. As chairperson of our finance committee, I am pleased to state that we passed another audit by our external auditors with flying colors. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in regular giving, for his or her generous and, at times,
sacrificial contribution. We pledge to be good stewards of your gifts, taking great care in how we manage and track the resources entrusted to us. We have given more than one million dollars in benevolence, compassionately serving others financially in their hour of need. The generosity of our congregation was recently amplified when we raised double the amount of monies for the special needs ministry this year and were able to minister to people with disabilities and their families. Our fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, and due to the generosity of believers, we not only met all our obligations this past year, but we are also able to add additional parking spaces. We continue to set aside monies to retire our current debt without compromising operational or pastoral needs. Our average weekly needs are $265,385 to meet current commitments from ministries to missions. When we give to a church, a ministry, or a needy person, it is considered charity. However, if it is given to the Lord, it becomes an act of worship, as evidenced in our community of believers at our church.
by townsend keller, staff writer Prayer is the foundation of maintaining our relationship with the Lord. It is an integral part of any Sunday worship service at our church, and the leadership of our Hispanic ministry, Stonebriar en Español, recently felt a need to emphasize that with its members. This led Stonebriar en Español to start a new midweek prayer service that has deepened its connection with its congregation.
appointed the member who pushed for the service, Soraya Marin, to begin laying the groundwork for the initiative. She took 20 facilitator candidates through a 13-week Bible study on prayer and how to pray. After successful trial runs with Saturday morning and midweek prayer meetings, they began to meet regularly on Wednesdays in The HUB. They now meet on Thursdays in the Multi-Purpose Room.
Associate Pastor of Hispanic Ministries, Pablo Monroy, said the leaders of the church felt they did not have a good gauge of their congregation’s needs on a day-to-day basis. They prayed about starting a prayer service for over a year before launching it in June.
A facilitator will usually follow a succession of worship, thanksgiving, confession, petitions, and intercession, ending with a word of encouragement and closing prayer by either Pablo or Pastor of Hispanic Ministries Carlos Zazueta. While the facilitators guide the prayer through the service, anyone present can pray out loud. “There’s no real agenda. Everything is spontaneous,” Pablo said. “We need that; we’re missing that element because Sunday morning is so structured.”
“It really started off as a dream that one of our members had,” Pablo said. “We felt as pastors a need to really be aware of the needs of our church spiritually.” Stonebriar
9/14/08: First service held in our new Worship Center 9/7/08: Special crossover service began in original Worship Center then transitioned into the new Worship Center to close
8/08: Connecting Ministries established
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10/24–26/08: Tenth anniversary celebration/building dedication (building B)
12/08: Construction began on children’s building (building C)
The service has attracted those who
regularly attend Stonebriar, as well as a significant number who do not. The service has had an especially heavy influx from the Catholic and Presbyterian communities, as well as those who come from more charismatic churches. “Those types of environments are great expression-wise, but there’s no real structure to it. Here we have structure, and we have participation, which is a good balance,” Pablo said. Overall, Pablo says he is pleased with the response he has seen in the congregation, especially on a spiritual level. “We’ve had an excellent response as far as the commitment people are seeing and the changes they’re seeing in just their own families,” he said. “Spiritual objectives are being fulfilled, leaders are being encouraged.” The services are held every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room.
3/09: Community Care ministry established
10/10: Tenth anniversary of Men’s Fall Retreat 11/09: First Thanks for Giving
5/09: First meeting of Reach Up Reach Out
6/10: Special Needs playground opens 5/10: First Go and Be
1/10: Children’s building occupied 2/10: First meeting of MarriageCore
10/10: First Cetnerstage concert
aying groundwork for the Marathon Fellowship began in the fall of 2000. Pastor Taylor Gardner was instrumental in organizing 12 new classes, including a fellowship for adults 50 years old and older, which became the Marathon Fellowship. Future class members met at Bill and Peggy Rawlinson’s home to make plans to move into the new building. The Rawlinsons were key in getting things started. They suggested naming the class “the Marathon Fellowship” because “Marathoners are in for the long run,” and they want to finish strong! The first class meeting was held in the new building (now Building B) on February 4, 2001. Bill Rawlinson was the first administrator, and Bill Barnard was the first teacher. In the summer of 2003 Marilyn and Bill Barnard began making plans to move to Atlanta, Georgia to be closer to family. On September 7, 2003, Dr. Stan Toussaint became the second teacher. Pastor Gardner had heard that the Toussaints were moving from East Texas back to Dallas so he asked Stan to teach the class.
the deep fellowship and love that the class had for each other. As the class grew, Stan became concerned that this esprit de corps would be lost. But in God’s providence it has not. When asked what contributed to this spirit of oneness, Stan replied that there are at least seven factors. First: The work of the Holy Spirit and the love of the people for the Word of God. The class is diverse, yet God the Holy Spirit has molded the members into a fellowship with a sense of oneness. The class appreciates a deeper and more detailed study of the Scriptures. Besides the Sunday morning study, Marathon has both a men’s Bible study and a women’s Bible study, led by Dr. Ralph Ehren and Jimmye Gardner, respectively. Second: Dr. Taylor Gardner. Taylor and Jimmye have been genuine caretakers of the members. If someone has surgery at 5:30 in the morning, Taylor will be at the hospital.
The class has enjoyed excellent leadership—Bill Rawlinson, followed by Nick Petelski, Avis Johnson, Bob Maier, Ed Faulkner (who served two terms), Dick Kiger, and Floyd Thiessen. When Stan began to teach, he and his wife Max immediately sensed
4/12: Tenth anniversary of Stonebriar en Español (Formerly Hispanic Ministries)
In addition, the class also takes on occasional projects like providing care boxes for the military.
Marathon class charter members. Third: A commitment to praise and prayer. Each Sunday, time is devoted to expressing thanks and praise to God, followed by a time of protracted prayer. This is reinforced by prayer warriors, headed up by Darlene Randall. Prayers are emailed to people who are committed to praying for these requests. Fourth: An emphasis on missions. Marathon supports six missionaries who are constantly emphasized. This is done by prayer requests and personal appearances. Additionally, the class supports two organizations—Child Evangelism Fellowship and Evantell. Fifth: Service workers. Under Bob Maier the class was carefully organized so that around 50 people are involved in areas of service: correspondence, delivering flowers to members in hospitals, bereavement ministries, providing meals, and other opportunities. This process still works like a well-oiled machine. Sixth: Koinonia groups, socials, and projects. Members join small fellowship groups, called Koinonia groups, which are primarily for socializing, although prayer is an important part of meetings. Throughout the year, socials for the entire class are held at the church. These are carefully planned and well attended.
Seventh: Executive Committee. The Executive Committee meets monthly to discuss various aspects of the class. This helps maintain direction and unity. This class has been a blessing to many people from the beginning. Martha Ashworth, a charter member, wrote “As a recent widow I was welcomed into the Marathon Class where I developed many long-term friendships, including the Women of Worth group for single women, which has been a special blessing in my life.” Another charter member, Darlene Randall, wrote, “Marathon Adult Fellowship has blessed my life greatly through its great caring, great teaching, and great fellowship.” Bobby McCommas, who joined the class about three years ago said, “This class is the highlight of our week as my wife and I look forward to attending every Sunday. Jesus told us to love one another; the friends and leaders in this class are a great example of that teaching.” The entire class is a testimony of God’s grace. To Him be the glory and praise.
9/12: YES! Ministry (Youth Engaged in Serving) established
10/20/13: 15th anniversary celebration
2/19/12: Pipe organ dedication in honor of Dr. Howard Hendricks and Dr. Stanley Toussaint 4/11: Reduce the Debt campaign began 3/11: First meeting of Frisco Connect
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2/12: Widows’ ministry established 6/11: Anthem (Special Needs) Art Class established
5/13: First meeting of Men’s Summer Bible Study 9/12: Connecting Ministries launches Next Steps discipleship program
8/13: Tenth anniversary of Preschool Pals
1st & 3rd sundays, 9–10:15 a.m., A211–A213
1st monday of the month 7–8:30 p.m., B192
cancer encouragement group
tiempo de oración y testimonios
in His time
3rd monday of the month 6:30–8 p.m., B182
wednesdays, 9:30–11 a.m. & 6:30–8 p.m. [keyword: womensbible]
frisco connect (employment networking)
men’s wednesday night Bible study with steve farrar
sundays, 9 a.m., multi-purpose room
servicio en español
sundays, 10:30 a.m., multi-purpose room
1st sunday of the month 5–6:30 p.m., A129
junior high retreat
10/5, 12, 26 clothe a child shopping days
10/6 celebration of the Lord’s supper 9 & 10:45 a.m. 10/7–11/12 stonebriar community sports girls’ volleyball school 10/11
preteen girls’ fun night 6:30 p.m.–midnight
men’s fall retreat
junior high/high school baptism lunch orientation
10/27–11/13 thanks for giving collection
1st & 3rd tuesdays, 9–11:30 a.m. [keyword: friscoconnect]
anthem art class (special needs)
tuesdays, 10 a.m., B151–B152, B156
11/3 adult baptism class
tuesdays, 6:30 p.m., B241 [keyword: marriagecore]
women’s fall Bible studies
wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., worship center
reach up, reach out job-loss encouragement
fridays, 7 a.m., B151–B152 [keyword: ruro]
11/8–10 preteen father/son & mother/daughter retreats
12/7 high school girls day out high school guys paintball 12/7 junior high girls color me mine 1:30–3:30 p.m. sanctuary choir & orchestra Christmas concert 2:30 & 5 p.m.,
11/9 high school operation Christmas child project
12/8 celebration of the Lord’s supper 9 & 10:45 a.m.
12:30–2:30 p.m., A211–A213
11/3–17 operation Christmas child collection 11/8 junior high x-factor night 6–10 p.m., B181
11 a.m.–1 p.m., B181
11/10 child dedication 9 & 10:45 a.m.
11/15 thanks for giving food sorting 6:30 p.m., atrium
11/16 thanks for giving packing 10 a.m., atrium
4801 legendary drive, frisco, texas 75034
12/11 sweet celebration 12/15 children’s & youth choirs Christmas concert 6 p.m., worship center 12/17 high school Christmas party 7–10 p.m., B181
12/18 junior high Christmas party 6:30–8:30 p.m., B181