4 HUGE “What If’s” For Any Church

Football is ALMOST here.  I am totally excited because I love watching my TEAMS in action.  I love the strategy, possibility and anticipation of cheering for a winning team.  The excitement of being at a game, watching my favorite players, fantasy football, competition, and to top it all off, fall is my favorite time of the year.  The team works when EVERY PERSON PLAYS THEIR ROLE.  I have been on championship teams AND losing teams and I DO NOT LIKE LOSING, neither do you.  Here is the good news: When you join a church team, you have WON.  The idea of church is PURE GENIUS of God.  Jesus died for the church so we would serve it.


hands in 8-21-15


And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:11-12

Let me tell you about Frank and Annette, friends of mine at 217church.  I’ll never forget the day Frank introduced himself to me and described how you, the church, were so friendly to complete strangers, them.  You have accepted them and changed their life.  You have prayed for them in their sickness.  They love you so much, they moved back to New Jersey recently just to be a part of our church.   Now they are a part of the family.  Frank’s and Annette’s story is one of amazing transformation.  They found Jesus, forgiveness, a church family, and a place to serve and an eternal purpose.  You might meet them this Sunday at our Hamilton Campus.  It is so easy to forget the work we are doing in the church is ABSOLUTELY life altering.  On just ONE Sunday alone the possibility in our community is staggering.  When you the church, greet, set up equipment, play your instrument, run the sound or video, smile, hug, it ALL MATTERS.  There is no unimportant role on the church.


4 “What If’s” That Will Change Our Church

1.  What If…You Get in the Game – Do you serve on a regular basis?

Countless times I have watched people go from sideline spectators to valuable team members seemingly overnight.  We have people preparing to go to minister in prisons, people setting up equipment and signs on the weekend, working with children and youth, greeting people, working in the office organizing the church, counting offering, leading small groups, visiting those in the hospital, praying diligently for those in need, delivering food and clothes, counseling an engaged couple.  The list goes on and on.  You have a gift and it’s time to be used of God.

2.  What if…You Play Your Role Well – Are you in the right spot?

Let’s face it, there isn’t much worse than getting STUCK in some role that you really don’t like and really aren’t cut out for!  Maybe you are in a role and you need a change?  Or maybe the only change really needed is in your attitude?  Which of these gift sets best describes you?  Whichever one it is, use it for the building up of the church.  It’s time to maximize your contribution.  And one more thing, it’s ok if it takes some time to find the “perfect fit”  don’t ever give up!

  • Apostle:  Blazes new territory
  • Prophet: Tells God’s heart and the intent and future of the church
  • Evangelist: Gathers people for the sharing of the Gospel
  • Shepherd: Organizes structure of caring for people
  • Teacher: Makes plain the principles of the bible

3. What if…You Invite Others  When was the last time you asked someone to serve with you?

Serving alone makes no sense.  We have teams of people that do things, almost everything!  The next time you do any ministry, invite someone to come with you.  This is going to take some intentionality and forward thinking, but you can do it!  How many people are just waiting for a personal invitation to serve?  Lots I imagine.  A healthy team is attractive, you are that attractive force.  When they see you serving, it acts like a magnetic pull for people into the body of Christ, the church.

4. What if…You Forgive Others – Is it ok to disagree with you?

Do you work and play well with others?  You know what I mean.  Are you a “HM Christian?” (High Maintenance)  If it always has to be your way and you have to be the center of attention, and you have trouble forgiving, Now is the time to forgive.  I can almost guarantee you someone in our church will offend you at some time.  But let’s choose to forgive.

IF we do these things, the possibilities are limitless.  it’s up to you church.

This weekend we will renew our covenants as vision owners of 217church together.  235 baptisms later, we are still going strong.  The church will endure!



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 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor 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, we would love to have you join us.  Don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information. or watch a weekend message here

Easter is Tomorrow – But Today Was AWESOME

Tomorrow marks the largest celebration of the year for most churches, EASTER!  We look forward to this day all year because it is when we get to celebrate HUGE our resurrected savior.  But the reality is, Monday is just as important as Sunday, and as Friday and as, well you get it, Today!  That is why I am so pumped today.  TODAY we served over 800 people in the Bromley Neighborhood in Hamilton and at the Grace Rogers School in East Windsor.  For those of you who were there, you know it was absolutely incredible seeing all of us connect with the people we love so much and were called to plant 217church for.

Today was AWESOME because it was our largest serving event we have ever pulled off.


Even our own 217kids were getting into the act of serving by face-painting at our free Egg hunt events.

Today just felt right!  This is what we are about, who we are as 217churchSERVING RELENTLESSLY and rebuilding lives one person at a time.  It was exciting on so many levels because we saw the fruit of 4+ years serving the Bromley neighborhood and the relationships that have been built as well as the possibilities that are before us in East Windsor.  But How do we make the most of this Easter?

Here Are 5 Ways To Make The Most of Your Easter –

#1 Serve Someone – You’d be surprised how easy this is.  My friend Matt’s wife did an egg hunt in for all the neighborhood kids.  You could still probably pull that off!  Maybe no one will see your act of service, but nevertheless, Just do it because JESUS IS ALIVE!

#2 Leave a HUGE TIP – If you go out to eat on Easter Sunday and call yourself a Christ Follower, TIP LIKE JESUS HAS JUST BEEN RESURRECTED!  Tip like Jesus owns your money.  Tip because most likely, that person serving you tomorrow, had to sacrifice time with family.  How about a 100% tip.  Make them smile when you leave. JESUS IS ALIVE!

#3 Make Things Right With JESUS – You’ve been attending church for years for once a month.  You know stuff about Jesus.  Truth is, most of us are educated far beyond our level of obedience.  But today, it’s time to make things right.  YOU NEED FORGIVENESS.  Guilt, gone.  Shame, done. Pain, healed.  Discontentment, smothered by the peace of Jesus.  JESUS IS ALIVE! 

#4 Focus on Monday – One of the biggest mistakes we make is blowing by Easter and changing NOTHING, ZERO, ZILCH in our behaviors.  Don’t just get caught up in the emotionalism and the crowd worshiping Jesus.  Have a plan for your Monday transformation.  Start a new habit, write a letter, forgive your family, release the grudge.  JESUS IS ALIVE!

#5 Tell Your Loved Ones How You Feel – Don’t let this Easter pass by without reaching out and grabbing the hand of that Dad, mom, husband, wife, daughter, son, or friend, and tell them how much you LOVE THEM.  This may be a HUGE act of courage, but JESUS IS ALIVE!  It’s worth it.

Easter Celebration WILL BE INCREDIBLE tomorrow.  For my out of town family and friends who read this, I love and miss you all, BUT I know I will see you again SOON!  Here is an excerpt of My preaching text tomorrow.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. ”  Matthew 28:1

In Just 12 short hours, we start setting up the theater…This is going to be fun.



Join us at 217church for our Easter celebration and for our new series Live Differently…

April 20 – Easter – A Life Transformed

April 27 – Spiritual Health

May 4 – Financial Health

May 11- Family Health

May 18 – Physical Health

This Easter Sunday April 20th 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 9:30 & 11am and Grace Rogers School in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new East Windsor 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.




Four HUGE Prayers To Pray

217church has existed for 4 years now and we have baptized 191 people! 4 years isn’t a long time, but we have an unprecedented opportunity and favor to be a church that makes an incredible difference in the lives of those in this community.  We are now as a matter of fact meeting in TWO communities where we are seeing people #livedifferently.  Both Hamilton and East Windsor are being impacted and this has all happened because of a move of God.  He has placed the vision of His church inside of a group of vision owners who are carrying out the call to be a “restored family sent on mission!”

four series_web24 years of ministry in central New Jersey

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

But we aren’t finished yet.  We aren’t even close to being finished yet.  We will need God to move like never before in the life of our church and townships if we are going to accomplish what he has for us.  This means we are going to need to PRAY like never before.  As I was praying this week, I asked God to give me specific direction on how to pray for our region and our church.  I asked Him for his heart for the community and how he wanted me to intercede for the people.  Here is what he revealed to me through his Word.

Four HUGE Prayers for our community…

#1 Faith of the People – Jesus takes convicts and turns them in to converts.  That is right, this is what we are all about, restoring people in their relationship with Jesus.  He came that we would have faith and that He would die and be the ultimate sacrifice so we would have eternal life and know and follow HIM.  RESTORED!  This is our word.  Jesus rose from the DEAD and while pointing to Jesus, we baptized 16 more people last week!  Many of them were youth and teens. Why?  Our church is investing people, time, energy and love in the next generation.  Join me in praying that the faith of the people would INCREASE in Jesus!

#2 Finances of the People What we invest in we value.  We just concluded our Next Generation offering and you gave $82,000 towards the vision!  I have talked with more people these last two weeks that have lost their jobs and my heart goes out to them.  When you can’t provide for your family there is uncertainty, fear, confusion and even insecurity.  We need to continue to pray for God’s provision for the people of our community.  Especially the elderly, the disabled, the widows and the single moms.  When we begin praying these prayers God will move us to realize that we are to be generous and help one another through difficult times.  I love being a part of a church and community that believes in taking care of those who are going through rough times.  We do this because it is an example of the Gospel of Jesus in action.  Giving is not about a legalistic percentage, but a heart that is transformed as a reflection of the Gospel. A FAMILY takes care of one another and advances the Gospel with its finances.

#3 Focus of the People Be more afraid of missing an opportunity than failing.  We as a church are to be SENT ON MISSION as carriers of the DNA of the Gospel of Jesus.  It is what matters and what we are to be pursing as our FIRST priority.  We are to renew the community through serving it relentlessly!  This starts with the church.  Who has Jesus sent you to?  The most logical place to start is your own nuclear family, your co-workers and your neighbors.  These are the people we are to be inviting into our lives to share experiences with.  It isn’t about arguing or convincing them, but about loving them, having conversations, and showing them the good news of the Gospel of Jesus.  The church is at it’s best serving the community, loving people, taking care of one another, pursuing the common good, sharing meals together and speaking out as a peaceful voice of reason.  We have to focus on the right things. 

#4 Favor of the People – We are HIS children – Let me say that again.  You have a seat at the table with Jesus and he calls you, “brother, sister and friend.”  I tell my children they bear my last name and they need to act like it!  When you realize whose family you are in and that the Father has lavished the greatest gift of love and favor on your life, It changes how you PRAY.  Through forgiveness of sins, repentance, privilege and honor to be called the church and a life in heaven with HIM, he has given us favor.  This changes our perspective.  We need to pray for the favor of God that he would be merciful and gracious, especially with those who don’t know Him yet.  We are the church for people who aren’t here yet.

Starting March 9th, 2014 our church will begin a 40-day prayer focus as we approach the celebration of Easter.  The primary work of God in my life this year is PRAYER.  My prayer is that as a faith community, He would teach us how to pray and we would be willing to learn.

It’s been 4 years 217church!  I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years will bring!



Josh is the lead pastor of 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ planted in 2010.  217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Grace Rogers School in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15.  Our new East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday.  If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.




Four Keys To Preparing Well

As of today, our countdown to becoming a multi-site church is down to 16 days!  On October 13th everything changes for 217church!  Preparing for this change has taken a long time, (2 years to be exact) a ton of energy and it’s FINALLY HERE.  This got me thinking about our vision to reproduce everything including teams, groups, worship venues and most importantly disciples!  In order to reach our goals we MUST be diligent in preparation.

But sometimes preparation IS NOT fun and most of the time as we prepare, we have to patiently wait to reach our goal.  A test, opening a business, a major project, a wedding, a move, an athletic event, financial planning, are all examples.  As a matter of fact, the vision to start 217church was written almost 4 years before ANYTHING happened!

chef finished product 9-29

Diligent preparation leads to excellent execution”

My wife and I recently visited an incredible restaurant.  We made reservations and planned to be in awe of the amazing food.  The presentation was impeccable, the service was over the top and the preparation was celebrated with every savory bite of dinner. The next time you are preparing for a major project, remember these things:

4 Keys to Preparing Well

1. Get Clarity – Is the vision/goal clear?

The more clear the vision is in the long run, the better you can prepare and know what you need and don’t need.  This is the principle of “beginning with the end in mind.”  Once you have a clear picture, you should be able to run forward and implement a well thought out plan.  The times I have felt least prepared in public speaking are the times when I was unsure about the big idea I wanted to convey.  Preparation demands clarity.  If the goal is unclear, I will be unable to prepare well.

2. Stay Focused – Have you eliminated distractions?

I can’t emphasize this enough.  The best example of preparation and focus I can think of is when Jesus was in his final days on his way to the cross. He knew EXACTLY what he was preparing for which gave him extraordinary focus.  One thing we must remind ourselves of, we have limited time to prepare.  Use it wisely, stay focused and the end result is sure to be more successful.

3. Double and Triple Check – Are you inspecting what you expect?

This is where people tend to fall off the “preparation wagon.” Hasty preparation leads to HUGE and costly mistakes and sometimes damaged relationships.  “Winging it” is my personal pet peeve!  Discipline and attention to detail lead to excellence.  If there are other people with you, this is even more important.  In addition to having a great team to work with you, you need to make sure they are preparing with diligence.  When doing a big project, laziness leads to apathetic performance, but if everyone is doing quality control, your product will be flawless.

4. Take the Long Approach – Do you have a realistic view of how long this will take?

DON’T RUSH IT!  One thing I am constantly reminding our team of is, procrastination WILL inevitably lead to more mistakes.  People think they are better than they actually are.  Another question I always ask is, how long do you think this will take?  The longer you have to sit with an idea or a project, the more you are able to see what will work and not work with a realistic view.  ESPECIALLY if you are involving other people, your timeline for preparation gets even longer.  An example:  Some people ask us how our graphics for 217church get to be top notch.  I tell them, People, Preparedness, and Perfectionism.  Get the right people, enough time to open up the creative process with your team, then adopt ruthless attention to detail.

Preparation is a blessing.  Do you enjoy preparation?  What else would you add to this list?



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.

Why 217church Is A Multisite Church

We are happy to announce the 2nd campus of 217church has landed in a semi-permanant location at Sharon Elementary School in Robbinsville, NJ.  Our Robbinsville / East Windsor Campus is doing great work and we are excited about the possibilities that exist in this community.  217church became a multisite church and launched in East Windsor with over 100 people on January 12, 2014!  We have been in six different locations and we finally feel like we have landed!  WE NEED YOU TO PRAY!

An incredible team of people are continuing to reach out to the Robbinsville/East Windsor area, as we take more steps in our vision to reach 10,000 people, start 1,000 small groups, plant 100 churches, in the next 10 years, 1 person at a time.  I want you to be a part of either our Hamilton or Robbinsville/East Windsor campus team.  In order for a multisite church to work EVERYONE needs to be on a TEAM!  

erica baptism

Erica was our very 1st baptism from our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus, now she serves and is in a 217group!

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  Romans 12:10-11

Most of us have NEVER been a part of a multi-site church.  A multi-site church works when we all DO SOMETHING.  This means each one of us has a role to play, this includes implementing weekend services, and serving the community as a part of a small group.

If you have been at 217church for more than one week, we INVITE you to be a part of serving on a weekend team and catch the vision.  You don’t have to be baptized, you don’t even have to be good looking.  You just have to want to create an incredibly safe environment where people are loved, built up, inspired and encouraged to LET JESUS HEAL THEM!  So I wanted to take this time and communicate some answers to some questions people are asking and provide some clarity about what a multisite 217church will look like.

8 Common Multisite Church Questions

1. Why Are We Becoming a Multisite Church? – A Restored Family Sent on Mission

217CHURCH IS ABOUT THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW JESUS YET!  We will ALWAYS be the “church for people who aren’t here yet.”  You have heard me say this over and over again.  Our vision from the beginning has been “to create environments where people can meet and follow Jesus.”  This means our our goal is not just to bring people in, but to build them up and SEND them out.  If our church stops sending, we aren’t fulfilling the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”  This is an incredible opportunity to send people to SERVE the community for Jesus.  We anticipate our growth curve to increase.  This means, more baptisms, more small groups, more people reached and sent!  We are a restored family sent on mission.

2. Why Don’t We Build A Building First?

Let me start by saying buildings aren’t bad, they are to be used for good.  Having a building you own as a church can be an incredible asset to accomplish the mission.  We are actually in the process of exploring a permanent facility for our Hamilton campus.  One thing I am extremely proud of about our young church is that we have never paid a penny of interest to a bank for a mortgage.  We are light on our feet and mobile, literally.  We have many decisions to make regarding worship spaces and my prayer is that we will have a building given to us one day!  Why not?  Will you join me in prayer for this?  I know that sounds crazy, but crazier things have happened.  Young churches cannot be saddled with heavy mortgage payments.  Our church can NEVER, I mean NEVER will be about a building.  The church is NEVER defined as a building in scripture.  We are a dynamic group of people.  Will we build or purchase a building someday?  Probably as we are led by the Spirit.  We are almost five years old.  One thing I do know, as long as we focus with clarity on what our vision is, HE WILL PROVIDE OUR EVERY NEED.

3. Who Will Be Teaching And Will It Be The Same Message At Both Campuses?

My role will not change as the lead teaching pastor at 217church.  I will be doing the bulk of the weekend teaching LIVE, IN PERSON, at both campuses preaching the same message.  Our new service times will be Hamilton 9:30 am, Robbinsville/East Windsor 10:15 am, and Hamilton 11:00 am.  For now, the teaching pastor for the week will be driving back and forth and teaching at ALL 3 services.  We are however developing a teaching team as we add more services and campuses.  Imagine a weekend a few years from now when we will have 4 campuses with six services and three different teachers all teaching the same message at the same time!  Who knows!  As my dad used to say, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

4.  What Is A Campus Pastor?

A campus pastor ensures the needs of the people are cared for.  They also empower every ministry leader to build teams to implement the ministries of a particular campus.  This includes everything from set up and tear down, to youth and kids, small groups, you name it.  If it happens at that campus, it is their responsibility.  They are also there to help ensure our 1st time guests experience the 217 VIP treatment.

5. When You Say “Weekend Team” What Do You Mean?

Every week we want to see between 70-100 people serve on a weekend.  We try to keep this simple for people to understand so people can be quickly connected to serving on a team.  We have 4 main teams that everything flows through: Worship & Media, 217kids, Hospitality and Set-Up /Tear Down.  After setting up and tearing down 217church almost 200 times over the last 4 years, we now have some proven structures that help us execute with excellence.  This makes serving on a team a great experience.  It still amazes me that at 7:45am the trailer pulls up and 2 hours later, with 50+ people helping at each campus, hundreds of adults and kids walk in the doors to two buildings transformed into a house of worship. This means that everyone has the power to Invite.   Our question for each other should be, who did you bring along with you?

6. What is A Launch Team?

This a group of people sent from our campuses to launch another campus.  The launch team responsibility is to make sure we launch a new healthy campus and every launch team member has a specific role and serves on a team.  As we add new campuses, a launch team is formed and it takes about 9-12 months to successfully launch a new campus.  We are constantly inviting new people from the weekend services from the community to be a part of the launch teams of new campuses.

7. When We Launch A Campus Will We Be Doing More Than Just A Weekend Service Once A Month?

Absolutely!  We launch small groups simultaneously so we already have a presence.  in East Windsor for example, We have delivered school supplies to a local elementary school for kids in need, did a fall family festival at Etra Lake Park and we provided food to families in need on Thanksgiving.  Between the monthly preview service we had opportunities to serve the community, invite people to small groups and invite them to the launch.  Serve Relelntlessly!

8.  I Want To Be A Part, How Do I Get Connected?

Join A Team.  Here is the beauty of this, no matter if you are currently at Hamilton or Robbinsville/East Windsor, you are an integral part.  Our teams are thriving and healthy and this Sunday will be an incredible opportunity to join a team.  To be a part of the Hamilton team contact Dan@217church.com and for Robbinsville/East Windsor it’s Doug@217church.com.

“And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” Nehemiah 2:18


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 9:30 & 11am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 10:15.  Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor 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.

3 Years of 217church – Every Story Counts

This Sunday is a HUGE day for our church.  We celebrate three years of being a church “creating environments where people can meet and follow Jesus!”  This has been our vision statement from Day 1.  Where have these three years gone?  I could tell you story after story of lives transformed because of Jesus and His tangible acts of love shown by our 217church family.  I could tell you about a single mom who was baptized at our first baptism in the Washington Crossing River and sensed new hope in Jesus.  I could tell you about a young woman who has recovered from an abusive past, discovered the grace of Jesus and is now pouring her life into young teenagers so they don’t have to endure the same struggles she endured.  I could tell you about children who have found a relationship with Jesus.  I could tell you about our Children’s and youth ministry that is ministering in places in Trenton that need to hear of Jesus.  I could tell you of business owners and entrepreneurs who are now using their influence to bring people to Jesus because of 217church.  We are a church where Every Story Counts!

“Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall.”  Nehemiah 2:17

 Here Are Some of The Ways God Has Used You

#1 141 Restored Lives – We like to say, we are the church for people who aren’t here yet.  Here is the list of 141 names of people who we have baptized into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Starting a church is a covenant building experience.  Revealing a sign of hope and love from a savior, who never leaves and always extends the hand of grace, is what we are about.  When you read their names, it’s just print on paper, but truly they are lives and families transformed.  I can’t wait for the next 141!

Phil Robertson, Christine Johnson, Crystal Morgan, Lynda Ferguson, Laurie Robertson, Sandy Rivera, Amanda Kline, Stephen Constantinou, Andrew Constantinou, Michelle Watson, Danny Baumann, Butch Hamilton, Josh Rivas, Jill Larsen, Melissa MacCollum, Caitlin Condit, Lisa Flores, Lily Mahaney, Liza Vargas, Jamie Vargas, Arlynet Tovar, Steven Gotthelf, Kyle Graf, Diana Garcia, Sharon Geiger, Natalya Rivera, Juan Rivera IV, Howard Anderson, Brandyn Lichtenstein, Laura Shapanus, Bill Shapanus, Alyse Canciello, Monica Quiroz, Cristiana Galang, Becca Solis, Krista Galang, Andrew Albert, Joe Corso, Lilly Conn, Titus Conn, Kathryn Nieves, Mimi Kabia, Chad Nelson, Kristi Costanzo, Keith Cline, Katie Johnson, Terri Svecz, Sean Gordon, Alex Svecz, Collin Spurgin, Matt Spurgin, Lonzetta Rush, James Rush, Jason Kingsley, Gary Jakubicki, Sally Hutchings, Josh Schmalbach, Leonard Simon, Denise Stremlo, Mike Kirk, Chrisha Kirk, Mark Forman, Kevin Cordas, Shelly Cordas, Steve Cosenza, Debbie Cosenza, Dione Springer, Gabrielle Cobb, Luis Valdivieso, Toni-Ann Rotondi, Cristina Cobb-Adams, Anthony Anglin, Jason Flintosh, Nicole Jemine, Jason Parker, Gina Sparacio, Flynt Tuller, Flynt Jr. Tuller, Jill Brown, Jay Rodriguez, Pete Ruffini, Allie Guerrero, Jaime Vargas, Patti Ann Ridgway, Lauren Velarde, Corrine Hunsher, Sonny Esteron, Derek Sander, Deb Stewart, Willie Rivera, Cindy Chavez, Jhoi Ortiz, Katie Hawver, David Robertiello, Nick Labella, Lindsay Clayton, Sandra Lupo, Devon Smith, Michael Ettinger, Pollorn Sayasack, Jessica Rivas, Tiffany Rivas, Nick D’Mauro, Jeanie Leung, Cathy Szymanski, John Baldino, Racheal Jones, Eve Green, Maria Cobena, Liz Perez, Cathy Szyanski, Kathleen Contreras, Christian Servellon, Christina Baranowski, Daniela Vinci, Naylon Larane, Adrien Ong, Racquel Smith, Brittney Blackburn, Alcmenia Dunbar, Natalia Hernandez, Santina Hernandez, Corina Hernandez, Courtney Arbitell, Joclyn Hernandez, Dania Hernandez, Miriam Hernandez, Tsunami Martinez, Johanna Martinez, Kimberly Hopkins, Linda Monforte, Maria Rodriguez, Yolanda Drislane, Kristen Moore, Janet Russell, Trevor Jones, Sixto Irizarry, Shanera Hampton, Jessica Suessegger, Sherenne Simon, Alfredo Marin.  Every Story Counts!

#2 People Finding Deep Relationships – In one of our 17 small groups that meet in 11 different townships, you will find people who are serving the community.  On any given week, we have over 250 people meeting together, caring for one another deeply.  We visit each other when in the hospital, we pray for each other, study the bible together and we take care of each other.  We even have one group who paid off a person’s credit card debt to give them a fresh start financially. (Now you are saying…”I want in!”)  Every Story Counts!

#3 Over 2 Million Dollars Worth of Generosity – In these three years over Two Million dollars has been given to the vision of 217church!  Through generous hearts you have given to church planting, the next generation fund, provided for practical needs of countless people hurting in our community, provided a place for us to meet on Sundays, sent kids to camps, provided for all our equipment and empowered our pastors and staff to live and do ministry in the community.  Your generosity is proving Every Story Counts!

#4 An Incredible Youth & Children’s Ministry – Each week 140 kids and youth hear about the love of Jesus through our dynamic 217kids and 217youth ministries.  Psalm 46:13 says, “tell the next Generation this is God.” We have taken this to heart and are serious about making the next generation our #1 priority.  We now have a partnership with Urban Promise in Trenton and are working hard to bring the Gospel of Jesus to students in Trenton through after school programs.  It’s just the beginning of seeing our influence soar.  They will write the story after we are off the scene and we are empowering them NOW!  Their Story Counts!

#5 Over 430 People Every Weekend in Worship – Every week we celebrate big and our celebrations just keep getting bigger and BIGGER!  We started planning this church in a living room with 20 people and now every week over 400 gather!  We preach the word, worship passionately, pray boldly and we make it a HUGE celebration.  We make a big deal of the Gospel of Jesus and every week over 50 people serve to make these celebrations happen.  Our 217church co-worker team is nothing short of incredible!  Week in and week out for 150+ Sundays, so many have heard about Jesus and are following him because of these celebrations proving Every Story Counts!

One Final Note:

I am humbled and privileged to serve as your pastor.  I couldn’t have scripted it better.  You are what I am proud of.  You have made my life and the life of my family richer and full of meaning. We love you all!

Josh & Summer Lilly, Titus & Lydia


Join in The HUGE CELEBRATION This Weekend…

1) Two Huge Weekend Celebrations 9:30am & 11am at the AMC 24

2) Our 3rd anniversary party at our Youth Center at 3pm. (yes it’s 2/17 day!)

3) Finally, end the day with an evening baptism with our sister church, Element Church at Princeton Alliance Church.

This is going to be AWESOME!

Just Do It!

Growing up playing sports, I played my way through many pairs of shoes.  Countless layups, jump shots, drills, laps around the track and trail runs led me to a desire for excellence on the playing field and around the track.  There was one shoe company that coined a slogan that most of us remember, ‘Just do it’. When I say, ‘Just Do It’ most of us immediately know the brand, the shoes it represents and the mega company that emerged.  I love this slogan.  When God tells you to do something you have to go and DO IT!

“Do not merely listen to the word, and deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

Last Sunday we revealed 217church will be opening a 2nd worship site for 217church on Sunday mornings.  This means in October of 2013, our Sunday morning worship environment will be as one church, in two locations, three worship services.  We know many of you are asking, so what do I do now?  I want to be a part, but how? We will be sending a team of 50-100 people from our Hamilton Campus to go and start this work, but I wanted to share a few simple ways you can participate in this vision NOW.

Five Things You Can Do NOW…

#1 Pray – Prayer is the primary work of the people of God.  Our motivation in starting this new campus in East Windsor is to help people meet and follow Jesus. My family used to live in East Windsor and it is time for us to extend the vision of “Serving Relentlessly” to these neighborhoods.

  • Pray for the Community-  We will be doing prayer walks in the near future, but immediately you can begin to pray for the people who will be a part and don’t even know it yet.  Prayer is the true pioneering work of the Holy Spirit.  Make this a part of your daily conversation with God.
  • Pray for Your Part-  What will you do? Will you go and be the first response team on the ground in this new work?
  • Pray for finances – We believe God will provide everything we need for this work, for some of us, this new campus is a perfect time to get in the game with our giving.  You can start right now and give here.
  • Pray for leaders – We will need at least one pastor and a small support staff.

#2  Serve Now – We will be multiplying every team we have at the Hamilton Campus to the new campus.  We are building teams strong here so we can have a healthy multiplication there.  Contact kelly@217church.com to serve once a month.  Here are the current weekend teams you can connect with:

  • Set Up & Tear Down Team-  Theater arrival time 7:45 AM or 12:30 PM.  This is the most “hands on” of all the teams as we put up outdoor and indoor signs, stuff bibles, set up the platform, sound equipment and create a welcoming environment.
  • Hospitality Team-  Theater arrival time 8:15 AM.  These are the people that create a welcoming environment.  From helping people find a parking spot to greeting and assisting to make sure people are seated comfortably, our hospitality team smiles and welcomes people to the family.  They are the front door to the church!
  • 217kids & Tots TeamTheater arrival time 8:15 AM. We don’t do childcare!  We set the stage for children to feel accepted, loved and have fun while they learn about Jesus and His love for them.  These co-workers are driving character anchors deep in the hearts of our children.
  • Worship & Media Team Theater arrival time 7:45 AM.  This is the team that facilitates the service.  From serving on the worship team to running a camera, sound boards, and setting up lights, this team makes the service happen!  We just launched a new high quality video/audio available on our web and podcast because of the selfless serving of the media team.

#3  Spread the Word – A year will pass by faster than you know it and we believe the hard work of prayer, organizing and communicating now will lead to an incredible launch of our first ever multiplication.

#4  Help Start a Small Group – We have over 20 groups meeting in the Central Jersey area and we want to have even more groups in East Windsor.  If you live there, consider using your home / apartment to Host a small group.  Contact Dan@217church.com to make this happen.

#5 Keep your Eye on the Vision – Can you see it?  We can already see week one of our East Windsor ministry!

  • People getting Restored in their relationship with Jesus, getting baptized and “Pursuing God Passionately.” We see a change in the eternal destiny of people in our community.
  • People actively Rebuilding the church one life at a time through “Caring for One Another Deeply.” We see our church giving purpose and meaning through belonging to a mission bigger than any of us can even fathom.
  • The church Renewing the community through Serving Relentlessly.” We see those who feel abandoned, alone and helpless, gaining dignity, experiencing love, and being empowered through having their basic needs met.

Do you see it?