Celebrating BIG WINS! 7 Years of 217church

I can’t believe it!  This Sunday we will celebrate seven years of worshiping together as a church family in Mercer County, NJ. This Sunday I am speaking about what is called a DOUBLE BLESSING!  God is in the business of replacing our burdens with blessing!  It’s right in front of us, waiting for us to reach out in faith and realize it as a church.  So many people sacrificed so much so we could pursue the vision to Rebuild Lives one Person at a time.  Realize our church never would have happened without those who have believed FROM THE BEGINNING!  Our mother church – Princeton Alliance Church believed in the vision first!  You are an incredible congregation doing impactful ministry here and around the world!  Thank You!


“Instead of your shame there shall be a double portiontherefore in their land they shall possess a double portion.  Isaiah 61:7

Many of you who read this are a part of another local church family in another community.  We have always viewed our local church as a kingdom building church.  This means that even if you won’t be with us for our 7 year celebration, take these seven action steps and appropriately implement them in your life and in your local context.

7 Ways To Celebrate Our 7 Years Together…

1 – Renew Your Commitment – How committed are you to your local church?  Let’s DOUBLE DOWN on our commitments!  We have the privilege of being the ones in this season who are preparing the church for the NEXT season.  Going forward, I am looking for those who will stand with me to be rigorously committed to our church family as vision owners.  Here is a short version of our vision ownership covenant:

  • Spread the Vision of the church – By being baptized and get sent
  • Share the Responsibility of the church – By immersing yourself in small group community
  • Serve the Ministry of the church – By using your gifts and be a regular part of a ministry team
  • Support the Future of the church – By giving regularly to the mission of the church

2 – Get Baptized – We have celebrated 250+ #BIGWINS through baptism!  Some of you have never taken this step to be baptized.  You have personally committed to Jesus but you have never publicly proclaimed and encouraged those around you with your story.  Our next baptism is Saturday February 25th at 6 PM in Robbinsville.  email doug@217church.com to sign up.  #BIGWINS

3 – Join A Small Group –  Hundreds of people have grown strong through our small groups! #BIGWINS  happen every week as people come together to pray, encourage, study the word, and serve.  I have been personally impacted as over 50 people from small groups came to my home two years ago and did 20+ different projects to prepare my home to welcome in our 3 adopted children from Uganda!    We are seeing dynamic ministry and people in our community are being helped with so many basic needs.  Our small groups are the simple building block of our church that bring people in, build people up, and send people out.  email matt@217church.com to connect with a group.

4 – Use Your Gifts and Abilities – We have had over 18,000 Serving moments during Sunday worship services alone in the past seven years!  Since the beginning of 217church we have averaged over 40 people serving a week!  Are you one? That’s a lot of #BIGWINS!  Every week people serve as greeters, ushers, parkers, camera operators, media support team, audio visual support team, worship team, and dynamic 217kids leaders.  This is just on Sundays alone!  Your church, schools, youth ministry and neighborhoods are waiting for you to create some #BIGWINS and serve!

5 – Make A Sacrificial Gift – In the past seven years we have had $4.7 Million in #BIGWINS given towards the vision!  We have used those resources to build a strong church that is rebuilding lives, and now we have just put a down payment on a 10 acre piece of land to build a permanent facility.  I believe the best is yet to come and we have around $500,000 to go in order to pay off this land.  Over the next two years we anticipate completing the site plan and beginning the building process. You can make a secure sacrificial gift online here.

6 – Pray and Be Prayed For – All of the above is made possible through prayer.  Answered prayers have accounted for all of the #BIGWINS for our church!  Some of you have deep prayer needs.  before we started 217church, we prayed long and hard for the foundation to be strong through prayer.  I want to encourage you to make your requests known to the church family and allow others to come around and pray for you.  No matter what the need; physical, financial, relational, or emotional, God is in the business of answering our prayers and drawing us together through it.

7 – Let’s Come Together and Worship –  Sunday is going to represent another #BIGWIN for our church.  We would love for you to experience our historic 7 years celebration!  We will sign the land contract, here from some special guests and cast vision for our future #DOUBLEBLESSING!

I would love to hear of your stories of #BIGWINS through 217church below!  Or respond on Facebook Here

Can’t wait!


Josh Conn is the founding pastor of 217church, a contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church meets Sundays at 10:30am at Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ.  Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here 

10 Reasons You Need To Worship This Sunday

As I am writing this it is Saturday night. You may have a lot of reasons/excuses why you won’t be at a gathering of the body of Christ tomorrow.  Very few of them are legitimate however.  The gathering of the church on the sabbath is one of the most important practices you can have if you claim to be a Christ follower.  People turn to Christ and are restored in their relationship with Jesus, below is one example.

Worship services produce this… 

Nicole Baptism

24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together…”   Hebrews 10:24-25

I know there is a group of people who are Christ followers who speak out against corporate worship.  Criticizing a group of people worshiping God through the presentation of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit is ridiculous.  There are so many great reasons to worship together with a church tomorrow.  Don’t miss out on what God has for you tomorrow.

10 Reasons You Need to Worship This Sunday

#1 The Church Needs You – When you aren’t there it isn’t the same.  If you aren’t there who will pray for others?  Who will greet the person coming for the first time?  When you don’t feel like it, is probably when the church needs you the most.  Remember that day you came and prayed for someone?  If not, maybe it’s time tomorrow.

#2 God Has Something to Say To YouThis is such an simple idea.  I know people will say, “Jesus can talk to me anywhere.” True, but powerful Holy Spirit driven teaching will transform you.  Or maybe someone sitting beside you will say something to you that will change your life.  Think of the most powerful moment you have had in a worship service on a Sunday.  What if you would have skipped that week?  Enough said.

#3 You Need To Serve Greet, pray, be an usher, help set up and tear down, work with kids, come early and pray.  Serving transforms you like nothing else.

#4 You Need This Priority –  Jesus deserves to be worshiped!  He died on a cross for us for the sake of our salvation.  Isn’t it time to set your priorities straight?  How would your life be different if you prioritized the church over everything else?  I am amazed how the church is at the bottom of the priority list for many people.  If you show up once a month don’t expect to be known and don’t expect to have community.  Many of us are more committed to our kid’s sporting events than them being taught the priority of worshiping Jesus.

#5 Someone Might Get Healed –  When the Holy Spirit shows up you never know what will happen.  Many times I will be telling someone about God healing someone, someone coming to Christ for the first time, or an incredible, indescribable moment the church had together, AND they MISSED it.

#6 Communion Matters –  Celebrating the Gospel through the breaking of bread together is foundational to understanding who Jesus is.  

#7 You Need To Give –  That’s right, giving money is a worship response to a life totally surrendered to God.  You are telling God, “You own it all.”  Determine before you come what you will give out of how God has provided for you this week.  It’s what we are supposed to do.

#8 Singing is Healing For The Soul  I have heard some people say, I don’t sing.  Well, try it.  What other place can you belt out at the top of your lungs praises to God?  It’s time you came, opened your mouth and proclaimed how incredible God is.  Trust me, God hears you.  There is nothing like at 217church when 200+ people belt out worship together in unison during a worship service  This may be the thing holding your spiritual growth back.

#9 Every Sunday Matters –  If you are a Dad or Mom, get your family out of bed and make a statement. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)  There is nothing more powerful and influential than a father and mother who takes personal responsibility for his or her family worshiping together!  If you are single, start practicing for when you have a family. 

#10 I Want to See you! –  This one is very personal for me.  I love seeing people every week.  I love learning new names, I love when you bring your neighbors, I love when you take the church seriously and interact.  I love when people don’t want to leave.  I visited a sick woman who will most likely NEVER be in a church again.  She told me she missed it and wished she could go.  You have legs, you are able, you belong with the church tomorrow!



Join us at 217church this week for Faith and Practice, week three of our #ExtraordinaryFaith series  – 



Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10am and Sharon School in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.  Celebrate A new season with a new habit.  We would love to see you.

5 Keys to Strategic Thinking

My five year old daughter is learning to master the art of strategic thinking.  The other day she asked me to go to Toys ‘R’ Us to get a toy.  When I told her we couldn’t today, every day after that for one week, she was relentless about asking.  She continually prodded me until, one day, she figured something out.  I am a sucker for a little girl who does the dishes.  She put all the dishes away and off we went to get a brand new $10 Hello Kitty make-up set.  (I’ll post the video later of our makeover session).

But strategic thinking isn’t just about getting what you want, it’s about aligning yourself with the ultimate strategic thinker.  His name is Jesus. Over and over again Jesus took strategic, wise steps on His way to the cross.  What He answered, how He answered, it was all a part of a larger plan to die, spend three days in the tomb, then raise from the dead and redeem us from our sin.  God’s plan is always well thought out and thorough.  Our thinking, unfortunately, is easily corrupted with wrong motivations, incorrect perspectives, and a lack of insight.  What was Jesus’ advantage?  He was able to align Himself with the Father.

Thinking 10-6

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13

Strategic thinking is all about preparing your mind, but that isn’t easy.  Got a Problem? Here are 5 keys to help you become a more strategic thinker:

5 Keys To Strategic Thinking

1. Find A Place – Do you have a place to talk to God?

Many times, people don’t think strategically because they simply fail to plan the time to think things out!  They wing it, shoot from the hip and end up making all kinds of errors in execution.  If you are going to think something out, you need to get away!  I often schedule time to think about the issues I am facing.  I go away on a long walk down a trail, carry a voice recorder and a small notebook with a pencil and put my phone on silent!  Then I listen to God.  When was the last time you did this?

2. Gather Your Information Do you have all the information necessary?

Do you have the CORRECT information?  Do you have a plan for your financial health? Your spiritual health?  What about your marriage or even your physical health?  In order to make good decisions you have to have all the information necessary to go forward.  There is nothing worse then having a distorted view of current reality when you are trying to make progress.  This is especially true if you are having a conflict with someone.  Unreliable information just leads to more hurt!

3.  Shut off the Distractions – Are there times when you are unreachable?

The more responsibility you have, the more you have to prioritize being unreachable.  If you aren’t unreachable at times, you will become unbearable.  Sooner or later all the stress from always being ‘on’ and never having time to process, will wear on you and the people around you.  If you think you can burn both ends of the candle, the wick will catch up to you.  GET AWAY FROM DISTRACTIONS!  This means, the phone, the TV, The Internet, annoying people, ANYTHING that leads you to an unclear focus.

4. Begin With The End What is the big picture?

Are you clear about what the end needs to be?  If not, you have a vision problem.  Start by asking God to make the vision clear, then ask for a strategy.  A person with a clear vision and a proven strategy is a dangerous man!  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

5. Get the Input of Others Are you relying on just one perspective?

Say this slowly out loud, “I – NEED – HELP!” Good!  Now that we have that settled, realize the input of others will almost always lead you to a better decision and a clearer pathway.  This is because people see things differently than you.  If you are in an organization, get someone with outside perspective to help you see what you don’t see.

You got this!  Now get thinking!



217church is a multisite church in Mercer County NJ with small groups for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater.  Our new East Windsor Campus will meet at Grace Rogers School beginning October 13.  If you are looking for a church in Mercer County NJ, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services in Hamilton at 9:30 or 11 am! Visit www.217church.com.