Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A bridge story

This summer I began making visits in our community to new homeowners
and new movers. I have been delivering fresh Panera sourdough bread
bowls. I'd like to share with you how God has used those visits to
impact a family...

This summer as I was making those bread visits, I came to a home off
of Groce Meadow Road. A guy named John Williams came to the door. I
told him who I was and that I was from Ridgeview Church. I told him
our church wants to be a bridge of God's love to all people and I
brought his family some bread as a way of blessing them and as a way
to let them know God loved them. He was appreciative of my visit.
Well, the next day (Sunday) guess who came through the doors of our
church? John and his family! They have been coming faithfully ever
since! Pictured above is John and Lisa on the right with his two
daughters and their newest family member: John Thomas Williams. John
Jr was born Monday night at Greenville Memorial hospital weighing in
at 7 lbs even. He is adorable!

I was talking with John recently about how we met, and he told me he
and Lisa had been talking about getting back involved in a church .
And then I came to their door. I don't believe that was by accident.
As I shot some video footage of their baby in the hospital room Monday
night, John shared that his son would be a "church going son." You
see, all it took was for me to step out, show a little kindness, and
their family is now connected to the loving care of a church like
Ridgeview. John shared how touched he was when some ladies in our
church presented them with some baby gifts in a large basket Sunday.
They have been blown over by our church's kindness.

I believe there are opportunities every week to be a bridge of God's
love to all people. All you have to do is make yourself available. We
provide every Monday night an opportunity to go out and take bread to
new movers, new homeowners, first time guests, people we've touched
through sports camps, single mom free oil changes, etc. Unfortunately,
many people in our church are missing that opportunity. I'd like to
invite you to give of your time to make a difference in the lives of
people by coming Monday night to our "Bridging with Bread" visitation
night. All I'm asking is that you give one Monday night a month. We
will pair you up with a partner and you can go out and bless people.
If everyone in our church came once a month, think of the impact that
could make! We would have bridge stories every week to celebrate. I
don't know about you, but I like celebrating.

If you would like to get in on this amazing opportunity, please call
or email me (630-9459, with the Monday
night you'd like to come. Is it easy for everyone to do this? No!
Nothing worth doing for the Kingdom is always easy. But the rewards of
seeing a family connected to Christ and His Church are always worth

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chris Crist to speak this Sunday on "What are you afraid of?" A don't miss event!

Exactly one year ago Chris Crist received the worst news of his life
at the doctor's office. It was discovered "almost" accidentally he had
kidney cancer. I'll never forget the day I found out. Many who know
him remember exactly where they were as well. I was out of town
sitting in a McDonalds. My wife Tanya was with me when I received the
call from Erin Wilson. I was in shock. News quickly spread not only in
our community, but literally throughout the southeast. Chris and
Tonya's life had intersected with many people and many people began to
pray. Surgery was scheduled in November at Duke. Still more and more
people prayed and read the journal updates from the
website. God answered those prayers!  The surgery was a success!

Fast forward to about two months ago. Chris and myself got together to
have lunch. In our conversation, Chris shared with me that God had
laid on his heart a message that he wanted to share at Ridgeview. I
told him I would be glad for him to speak. As I went back to look at
my preaching calender to find a date that would work, Sunday,
September 27, was a good date. Little did I know at the time the
significance of that date for Chris.

Chris will be sharing a message entitled, "What are you afraid of?"
Chris has a message God has laid on his heart. It will be a powerful
Sunday because he has a powerful story of the power of God at work in
his life. I would like for you to do two things before this Sunday.
First, pray for Chris. As he jokingly stated on his journal blog,
"come and watch me crash and burn." Please pray not that he would
crash but that he would burn with the passion of God's Holy Spirit
speaking through him. Secondly, I would ask of you to invite someone
to church this Sunday that does not know the grace and mercy of Jesus
Christ. Andrew brought his brother Peter to see this Jesus everyone
was talking about. Who can you bring this Sunday? I believe lives are
going to be changed by the power of Christ!

Expectantly looking to Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Sunday Morning Growth Groups Underway!

Pictured above are two of our Growth Groups from last Sunday (Cauble Group and College Group). Notice the smiles on their faces. I am happy to report to you that we had a great start to this experiment of having our Growth Groups meeting on Sunday morning. Many people shared with me they liked the change. In fact, I received an email this week that stated, "I just wanted to let you know how much I loved being at Ridgeview last Sunday. I really liked having the growth groups before the service – I felt so much more connected to the others in our group and to the sermon." Another person shared with me after the service Sunday that she had been attending Ridgeview for five years. She shared that she had gotten to know more people on Sunday because of attending the Growth Group than she had gotten to know in the previous five years. That's awesome to hear!
Many thanks go out to those who showed up at 7:30 am to help set up "church" due to the new schedule. Because of your commitment to come early, 76 total people were involved in Bible study groups from preschool to adults. Because you showed up early our people were able to connect with one another in fellowship, grow closer to God and one another in the study of His Word, and have an opportunity to pray for one another- all before the 10:30 am worship service! Special thanks go out to Paul Eill who has been working with me to form these Groups. He called many families on Saturday reminding them of the new schedule. Paul and Paula Eill are the newest members of our church and have been a tremendous blessing to our church family. I would also like to thank Shelley Thompson. She lined up people to come and help set up at 7:30 am. She made it possible for a stress free morning for all of us and allowed us to focus on the main thing.
Where to Groups go from here?
This Fall semester (September 13 - December 13) our Growth Groups will meet each Sunday morning at 9:30 am - 10:15 am. They are open Groups and if you were unable to attend Sunday, then rest assured we have a seat waiting for you! Each Growth Group will be asked once a month to serve on Sunday morning with set up and take down along with participating in our Greeters ministry on their Sunday. We are also encouraging each Group to get involved in our various Bridge projects by serving once a month in these incredible opportunities for outreach (i.e., Bridge for Bread, Single Mom's Free oil change, etc). Just because we have moved our Growth Groups on Sunday morning in no way means our vision has changed. We have always stressed that small groups are incredibly important. We are just moving them to Sunday mornings as opposed to during the week. If you would like to get involved in a Group, please call or email me or Paul Eill (, 630-9459 or, 877-6227).
I am looking forward to this Sunday as we open Psalm 51. We will examine it not only in our Growth Groups but it will also be the text I will be preaching from. I will be sharing three things to do for restoration when you have sinned. My guess you will have dealt with that sin thing before Sunday, so come prepared to hear what God's Word has to say and receive some help.
See you Sunday,

Tommy Hargrove
864 630 9459

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday School Versus Off-Campus Groups
This Sunday we kicked off our Fall Growth Group semester doing something we've never done before at Ridgeview Church: Growth Groups on Sunday morning. Okay, call it what you want- we have Sunday School for adults at Ridgeview Church now. You know what? I really liked it! For the last 5 years we have had our Growth Groups meet off campus in homes. I've enjoyed those times too! But, we thought we'd try an experiment for the semester. There was a buzz in the air Sunday as people made there way into church an hour earlier and found a Grouth. One advantage I saw was it allowed us to fellowship with another, study the Scripture text that I would preaching from together in a smaller setting, and pray for one another- all before worship. I'm really not an either or guy- Sunday School small groups or off-campus groups. Actually, I'm a both/and. I'd like to see our church offer them both this coming Spring. Would love to get your thoughts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Positive Attitude!
I've read a little over the last couple of months on attitude. I had noticed that mine had begun to drop a bit. I didn't like that at all! Over vacation this summer I read Jeffrey Gitomer's book entitled: Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to find, build, and keep a Yes! Attitude for a lifetime of success. I also read some weeks ago Wayne Cordero's book entitled Attitudes That Attract Success. Then, I came across two excellent podcasts on itunes (which are also free) from Zig Ziglar and Jon Gordon. They are packed with great advice on keeping a positive attitude. I have numerous quotes I've collected over the years and a few pertain to attitude. Two of my favorite are, "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% on how you react to it" (Chuck Swindoll) and "The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude (William James).
One thing I've begun doing is something Zig Ziglar highly recommends called "self talk." Before I go to bed and when I get up I speak positive affirmations. He actually has a self talk card on his website ( Life will always be filled with challenges and there is always something that we can gripe and complain about. Many of those things we have no control over. But, there is one thing we do have control over and that is our attitude to the stuff of life. So, get up out of bed and say, "It's going to be a great day!" It's amazing when you speak positive affirmations you actually start believing them and it changes your whole day. Try it. It's made a difference in my life.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fall Growth Group Schedule

Dear Friend,


I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. I also hope for many of you the new school year has gotten your family off to a great start! I am excited about the fall season at Ridgeview Church and some upcoming changes I would like to share with you.



Last Spring, our Advisory team began to dialogue on various areas of our church ministries. Out of those meetings I felt led to implement some changes in our small group ministry. We have always emphasized that small groups are important at Ridgeview. That hasn't changed. What will be changing is when we offer those groups (we call them Growth Groups). Changes coming this Sunday will be that all of our Growth Groups will be meeting Sunday morning before the worship service.



There are several reasons why these changes are being made:


1) Connection/Fellowship- this opportunity will enable us to meet for Bible study and worship for a longer period on Sunday morning. Built in to this schedule will be opportunities for connecting with your church family. I also believe this provides an easier way for newer people in our church to get involved in a Growth Group.
2) Unity- This schedule allows for more of our church family to meet together during the worship service. I think this allows for greater unity when more people are able to attend worship and hear announcements, and just "be together."

3) Discipleship- Was discipleship happening off campus in Growth Groups? Yes! But, one advantage of Sunday morning Growth Groups will be the opportunity for you to find a Life Transformation Group (LTG) partner during the week for greater spiritual growth. I know you are busy and this maximizes your time on Sunday morning.




This is an experiment. If we find it isn't working for us as a church, then we will look at other solutions. The key to all of this is flexibility. So, here is the plan of action:


9:30 am -10:15 am - Growth Groups (parents to sign kids in to Ridgekidz that meet during this time).

10:15 am -10:30 am – Break (coffee, restroom, fellowship, etc).

10:30 am – 11:00 am – Worship (Ridgekidz will attend worship in cafeteria and then go back to gym for second half of their program).

11:00 am – 11:30 – Worship (message, invitation, offering).

11:30 am – Worship service over. Parents sign out kids in preschool and children's areas of Ridgekidz.

*Preschoolers will stay in their classroom for the entirety of the morning.


This is the schedule our church felt they were most comfortable. Please let me know if you have any questions about these changes.


What now? Get involved in a Growth Group!


Okay, now that all of our Groups are meeting on Sunday morning, why don't you give Growth Groups a shot? Here are the Growth Group leaders for the fall.
*Students Group - Tim Camilletti & Milo Wilson
*College Group - Alison Kernell & Brandon Graves
*Women's Group - Paula Eill
*Eill Group - Paul Eill
*Cauble Group - CJ Cauble
*Pastor's Group - Tommy Hargrove
These Growth Groups will have discussion questions on the Bible text for the morning's message. Most of the Groups will meet in the cafetorium. Please report to the cafetorium and we will find you your Group.


We will have a few adjustments this Sunday. It will take a Sunday or two to get used to but I believe it's going to go well. I will see you this Sunday!
Pastor Tommy