Christmas Card Outreach Roundup


Volunteers filled over 340 handwritten Christmas cards with Gospel tracts and restaurant gift cards for the Christmas Card Outreach tomorrow at Walnut Creek Downtown.
Erin Youngblood of Walnut Creek Downtown knows what it's like to struggle.

"I went through a time in my life when I didn't have money for food or to pay the bills," said Erin Youngblood. "A person who knew the Lord reached out and shared Christ with me, took me to church, then she and the church began helping to meet my needs. The Lord became my provider and has shown me that He will always be my provider."

In 2012, Erin and a group of her friends were brainstorming ideas about how to reach the city of Des Moines with the Gospel. She wanted to help people just like she had been helped when she needed it the most. Their idea: Christmas Card Outreach.

For the last two years, the group has visited homeless camps, bus stops, and other places around the city to pass out their handwritten Christmas cards. Each card included a gift card to a local restaurant for a warm meal and a Gospel tract explaining God's incredible gift to them, allowing the group to talk with people and pray for them.

This year, instead of going out into the city, Erin wants to welcome the homeless and anyone in need into Walnut Creek Church. Erin has partnered with The Thankful Leper, a non-denominational ministry of former homeless helping others out of homelessness, to help bring people in.

On Sunday, December 14, Walnut Creek Downtown will host a roundup at 2 p.m. to celebrate Christmas and hand out a generous gift to each person in need who attends. Erin says anyone is welcome to attend the roundup to help love and meet the community members who come.

For the month of December, Erin collected cold weather gear and monetary donations from Walnut Creek members to purchase restaurant gift cards and other cold weather items.

"I have seen the Lord in this ministry from the beginning," said Erin. "Every year we have grown bigger and bigger, and I have seen how God is changing lives. He will get the glory!"

Join us in prayer as we work to meet tangible needs and share the hope of Christ in our community:
  • That the Lord would bring in people with soft hearts and ears to hear. That seeds would be planted and that people will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
  • That the people who come would feel welcomed into the church, and that we would come together as a church to show them a love that can only come from Christ.
  • That enough funds would be raised so we can hand a generous gift to each person in need that comes to the event.
For more information about helping with the Christmas Card Outreach, contact Erin at erinmichelle012@gmail.com. 



By Jackie Wallentin 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

‘Tis the Season for Giving

Volunteers packed 125 boxes for Operation Christmas Child during the East Village Promenade on November 21.

As the East Village kicked off the holiday shopping season with the annual East Village Promenade on Friday evening, Walnut Creek Downtown hosted a gift-packing event for children in need.

Part of the church’s ongoing partnership with Operation Christmas Child, the event gave holiday shoppers and passersby an opportunity to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while packing a gift for a child in an impoverished, war-torn country. More than 100 people came through the church’s doors Friday evening and packed a total of 125 boxes.

When combined with all congregations, Walnut Creek donated more than 250 gift-filled shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child this season. This year, all boxes packed in Des Moines will be sent to children in one of five countries: Tanzania, Uganda, India, Belize or Trinidad and Tobago.

Earlier this year, Walnut Creek’s annual Christmas in July event resulted in 1,000 gifts being sent to children in countries with limited access to the Gospel.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ/.



By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown 

Record Number Attend Women's Coffeehouse

Peggy Kenoyer shares her testimony of God's redemption in her marriage and family at the 2014 Women's Coffeehouse held Friday at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. Photo by: Jen Engdahl
The ninth annual Women’s Coffeehouse brought over 600 women to Walnut Creek Windsor Heights on Friday evening. The Women’s Coffeehouse aims to encourage women of all ages in their faith through fellowship, music, and personal testimonies of God’s great love and faithfulness. 

The verse of the night, stamped on bookmarks that were given to all attendees, was 2 Timothy 4:7-8: "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of the righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day." 

The first speaker of the evening, Peggy Kenoyer of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights, shared how God woke her up as an 18-year-old bride. What seemed like a huge mistake to Peggy turned out to be the best blessing the Lord could have given her. Her husband Larry and three sons have greatly impacted her life, causing her to cling to the Lord and mature. 

Chelsie Towne of Walnut Creek Downtown unpacked how God healed her heart after a destructive high school relationship. She was eventually blessed through the opportunity to share that healing with young women in Cambodia. 

Dena Bennett of Walnut Creek Downtown was the last speaker of the evening. She revealed her story of a broken home and a life ruled by relationships, atheism, and worldly pleasures. After reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Dena admitted that belief in God was not only logical, but that God was now the only one she wanted to chase.

Tables overflowed with treats donated by women of the church, and over 100 door prizes were donated by local businesses as well. The evening was a way for women to invite their friends, neighborhoods, coworkers, and family members to hear about the power of the Lord.

The night began with worship music led by Laura Brill, Jillian Aurelio, Hannah Wright, and Dayna Meyers. Between speakers, Allie Crummy, accompanied by Ricki Meyer and Liz VanderSchel, performed two original songs. 

“It was good to be reminded that God is looking out for me in all the steps I take, big or small,” said Jen Cameron of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. I loved Allie’s song about God being our refuge, a place where we leave the battle outside and come in to safety and rest. It’s not often how I choose to quiet my heart.”



By Brigitte Haugen 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Five Financial Tips from the Money 101 Seminar

D'Angelo Johnson presents helpful financial knowledge at the Equip Class, Money 101. 
As part of the Equip Series, Walnut Creek Downtown hosted a free financial seminar, Money 101, to introduce basic financial principles and share knowledge about wise financial stewardship.

The Saturday morning seminar was geared toward families and individuals interested in learning how to have more control over their finances. Luke De Vries, D’Angelo Johnson, and Greg Altmaier, all of Walnut Creek Downtown, lead the audience through ways to engage wisely with money. For those unable to attend the seminar, below are their top five financial tips.

1. Consider Your Goals and Make a Personal Financial Mission Statement

A personal mission statement toward your finances can guide you throughout your life, no matter your financial circumstances. Describe your purpose as it relates to God, family, friends, and service to others. Summarize your purpose in a few sentences and choose a Bible verse that reflects that purpose. “Christ talks a lot about money and investments,” said Luke. “My mission is to be more like Jesus and bless others with the abundance He’s given me.”

2. List Tangible Short-and Long-Term Goals


  • Spiritual Goals
  • Personal Goals
  • Ministry Goals
  • Financial Goals

Adding your “bucket list” can also help you approach your finances in a more practical, manageable formula. To achieve your goals, make sure to account for financial, time, and energy costs. “Getting these goals in mind will help put your finances in better perspective,” said Luke.

3. Be Disciplined and Responsible 

Develop a detailed financial strategy beginning with a budget. Many organizations offer financial help like this free personal finance budget guide. Find someone that you trust to help you stick to your goals.

“Overcoming financial obstacles is attainable, but a lot of times we have no one to hold us accountable to the goals we made,” said D’Angelo. “People don’t plan to fail, they merely fail to plan.” Unexpected hardships like illness or death can be especially catastrophic if you’re unprepared.

4. Consider Financial Philosophies and Develop Your Own Convictions 

Ask people what they do financially and why. Gather ideas to help make an informed decision about what’s best for you. Take a greater level of ownership over your finances and remember that even small steps will eventually lead to great results. Don’t wait to plan ahead–be proactive with your finances. “You won’t get fit by watching a workout video. The same goes for finances.” said Greg.

5. Aim to Get Out of Debt

Utilize financial tools provided by your banks and lenders or visit the U.S. Department of Education for help on consolidating loans or finding programs that could save your family money or forgive debt.



By Brigitte Haugen 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Double the Trunk-Or-Treat Fun

Lily and Nora Cornell 'fish' for candy at the Under the Sea trunk at the Windsor Heights Trunk or Treat event.
Photo by Glen Cornell. 

Young Spidermen and Princess Elsas gathered candy and other festive treats at the Trunk-Or-Treat events held at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights and Johnston Thursday evening. More than 125 families came to both events to celebrate Halloween the Walnut Creek way.

Trunk-Or-Treat is a family-friendly alternative to traditional Halloween trick or treating. Parents brought their children in full costume gear to the church parking lot for a safe night of fall fun as their children went from car to car collecting Halloween treats.

At the Windsor Heights location, nine Community Groups volunteered to host a trunk and decorate their car with a theme. Trunk themes included: Candy Land, Monster's Inc., Frozen, pirates, sharks, camping, under the sea, and Hall of Fame athletes.

Making their scariest or silliest faces, guests took pictures at a photo booth inside. Children also enjoyed face painting, a bounce house, games, and festive treats.

"Our first annual Trunk-or-Treat went extremely well. The volunteers did an excellent job decorating their trunks and even having a few interactive games for all the kids. It's going to be quite the challenge to come up with better trunk ideas for next year," said MaryBeth Meyer of Windsor Heights, who organized the event.



By Jackie Wallentin  
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Couples Attend Love & Respect Marriage Conference

Couples attend Love & Respect Marriage Conference at Walnut Creek Downtown on October 10 & 11.
One way Walnut Creek Church supports strong, Christ-like marriages and families is by hosting a couple’s conference every year. This year, the conference hosted 115 couples for a Love & Respect video conference on October 10 and 11.

Based on the groundbreaking principles taught in Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ best-selling book Love & Respect, the conference taught couples how to achieve a brand-new level of intimacy as they learn to stop the crazy cycle of conflict, initiate the energizing cycle of change, and enjoy the rewarded cycle of new passion.

“My car needs a tune-up every once in a while. So does my marriage,” said Russ Cross of Walnut Creek South, who has been married to his wife JoDee for 32 years.

“It’s good to refresh,” JoDee added. “The Love & Respect conference is wonderful; very enlightening.”

Jeremy and Ashlyn Oberg of Walnut Creek Downtown have been married for three and a half years. They agreed that it’s important to set aside time to focus on their marriage, especially with having two young children and a hectic lifestyle.

“It’s good to listen to someone walk through examples and experiences who is well rooted in scripture,” Jeremy said. “What he’s writing about isn’t some secular author’s or psychology’s new fad. It’s God – the author of life and marriage – what he’s said the whole time.”



By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown

Tom Short Addresses "Five Crucial Questions" at Fall Conference

Campus evangelist Tom Short challenged students to believe God and live lives of faith at the 2014 Fall Conference.

Campus Fellowship welcomed campus evangelist and pastor Tom Short to speak at the 2014 Fall Conference held this past weekend at Jordan Park Camp.

Tom spoke five times throughout the weekend, addressing the questions from his book, "Five Crucial Questions about Christianity." Tom ministers full-time to students, traveling around the country to evangelize and engage in conversations on college campuses. The week of the conference, Tom spent a few days at Iowa State University doing just that.

"There is something more important to God than for us to be perfect–to receive His love and love Him back," said Tom. "Discover what God says and by the grace of God live it."

Campus Fellowship students from Drake, Grand View, DMACC, and AIB attended the Fall Conference as well as students and young adults from Ames and Cedar Rapids. The three-day conference offered students an opportunity to take time away from work and school and focus on hearing from God and His word.

"Since I have been involved in Campus Fellowship, I have really been able to see what it truly means to live out your faith and what the life of a Christian looks like," said Stephanie Gaub, a sophomore at Drake University. "The Fall Conference was the climax of all the growth that I have experienced since coming to Drake. It got me so pumped for Jesus."

The conference challenged students to think about who God is and strengthen their foundation of faith. Students also enjoyed bonfires, a flag football tournament, sand volleyball, and free time to fellowship with one another throughout the weekend.

"At the Fall Conference we saw a lot of new people–Christians and non-Christians. Tom Short did a great job answering the questions that come to Christians on a college campus. People were strengthened in their faith," said Jacob Van Sickle, Campus Fellowship Director.

Visit tomthepreacher.com to learn more about Tom Short and view his resources on faith, apologetics, and evangelism.



By Jackie Wallentin 
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Busy Weekend at Walnut Creek South

Walnut Creek South welcomed many new visitors and families during Party in the Parking Lot on Saturday, an event to begin the fall season and bless the Southside community. 




On Saturday, Walnut Creek South hosted Party in the Parking Lot as an opportunity to invite the Southside community to an afternoon of free fun. The event also fell on the same weekend as "National Back to Church Sunday," which presented an opportunity to invite people to come to church that same evening.

Highlights of the afternoon included free face painting, cotton candy, and Hickory Park barbecue for lunch. Drivers could see the crowd and castle bounce house from down Army Post Road, bringing in many visitors and families. Walnut Creek South members welcomed new friends, played games with kids, and worked hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

"We passed out over 1,500 door hangers in the surrounding neighborhoods to promote the event," said Pastor Jon Schreiner of Walnut Creek South. "Many people said they wanted to come back to church with us some time."

Party in the Parking Lot helped Walnut Creek South members begin new relationships as they try to make themselves known in the community and lead people to Christ.



By Tyler Johnson 
Walnut Creek South 

Party in the Parking Lot Welcomes Windsor Heights Community

Following the Sunday services at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights, Party in the Parking Lot kicked off outside.


Walnut Creek Church Windsor Heights hosted Party in the Parking Lot on Sunday to celebrate the beginning of fall and the new series, "Revealed: The Image of the Invisible God," through the book of Colossians. Sunday morning marked the first message in the new 17-week series.

Over 200 people enjoyed the sunny afternoon of free food, games, inflatables, and kids activities. Windsor Heights members were able to meet and welcome many new couples and families. Earlier in the week, Community Groups passed out hundreds of fliers in the surrounding neighborhoods to invite people to the event and church.

"Party in the Parking Lot is a positive way to open up to the community. The event gave people a chance to have a good time, see the body of our church at work, and hopefully meet people and have good conversations," said Lauren Jacobs of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. "I think it went well, and I know God will use it!"



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Movies in the Village Offers a Fun Evening for All Ages

Following dinner and games, families settle in to enjoy the double-feature.
Friday evening’s cool 50-degree weather didn't keep people away from Movies in the Village, an outdoor movie night at Walnut Creek Downtown double-featuring The Lego Movie and Remember the Titans.

The evening also offered a free dinner, popcorn, cotton candy, and activities for kids – including a bounce house. At dusk, as The Lego Movie appeared on the big screen attached to the church building, families cozied up next to heaters and under blankets to enjoy the show. Following The Lego Movie, late-nighters had the opportunity to stay for Remember the Titans.

“It’s a great way to get the community involved,” said Mackenzie Burke of Walnut Creek Downtown. “I enjoy seeing friends and meeting new people. It’s a fun way to spend a Friday night.”

Allie Crummy, also of Walnut Creek Downtown, added, “It’s nice way for all the services from Saturday night and Sunday morning to do something together.”



By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown

"Revealed: Image of the Invisible God" Message Series Begins this Weekend


A new message series – “Revealed: The Image of the Invisible God” – begins at Walnut Creek’s Downtown, South, and Windsor Heights congregations this weekend. The 17-week series through the book of Colossians will continue through the beginning of January.

One of the series’ primary passages is Colossians 1:15-20, which describes the authority of Jesus and how He is the image of the invisible God. Over the course of the next 17 weeks, we will take an in-depth look at who Jesus is and how He can and will transform our lives. Free study guides for the series will be available at these locations within the next few weeks. You can also follow the message series through our mobile app or online.

Colossians 1:15-20
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through  Him and for Him.

He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.

For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Over $76,000 Raised for Adoption Through Mustaches That Matter

The Ekwall family of Walnut Creek Johnston spent five weeks in Columbia this summer. Mustaches That Matter helped the Ekwalls adopt Jose (13) and Maria (11) from Columbia and bring them home to Iowa. 

Mustaches That Matter launched July 25, and within the first week, we met our goal of raising $25,000. In one month Mustaches That Matter raised $76,300, which will help families in the adoption process bring children home.

Throughout the campaign, 206 men participated by growing their own mustaches. The men passed out business cards and engaged in conversations throughout the month to ask family, friends, and coworkers to financially sponsor their mustaches. Although the mustache contest ended August 25, donations can still be given through the MTM website.

Mustaches That Matter leverages the power of mustaches to help families in the adoption process cross their financial finish line, whether adopting internationally, domestically, or through the foster care system. All the funds raised go into our adoption assistance fund to help multiple families, like the Ekwalls, each year.

Mustaches That Matter also received media attention and was featured on both WHO TV Channel 13 News and Great Day on KCWI 23, raising further awareness about adoption.

The 2014 Mustache That Matters Award recipients will be displayed at the Walnut Creek Downtown and Windsor Heights locations. Jordan Harlow won the Most Valuable Mustache award for raising $4,050. The Most Macho Mustache Award was given to Kyle Kurtenbach who earned 2,402 votes. Lucas Vander Weerdt won the Most Magnificent Mustache Award with 164 votes, and the Most Meager Mustache Award was earned by Alex Crittenden with 1,707 votes.

Visit www.mustachesthatmatter.com to learn more about the campaign and the Ekwall family.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Competition Heats Up on the Court

The Jordan Park Volleyball season brought hundreds of people to Jordan Park Camp each week.

The highly anticipated final Jordan Park Volleyball tournament brought players and spectators to the camp for fierce competition and the annual hog roast on Friday evening.

A total of 92 teams participated in this year’s season, which ran from June 2 to August 8.

"It's extremely encouraging to see teams made up of Community Groups, coworkers, old friends, and new acquaintances build one another up and get to know each other better through the league both on and off the courts," said Amelia Gibson of the Jordan Park Volleyball staff.

Along with Gibson, other Jordan Park Volleyball staff members include Kaden Bronzynski, Adam Nordaker, and Josh Smith.

Congratulations to the champion teams in each league:
  • Division A sixes: Orville Ready Blockers (Marc Vander Velden, David Venass, Jason Eisenga, Kate Kostek, Jamie Ziegler, Ashley Roney)
  • Division B sixes: Digs for Days (Jake Thompson, Liz Miller, Emily Albrecht, Josh Novey, Cheyenne Proudfoot, Caitlin Proudfoot, Niren Shrestha) 
  • Division C sixes: Southies (Jon Schreiner, Jenny Schreiner, Molly Deutmeyer, Alicia Grandstaff, Hollie Butler, Nate Firkins, Jason Ostergaard) 
  • Competitive fours: Checks and Balances (Josh Smith, Greg Altmaier, Beth Discher, Mollie Coffman)


By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Central City Soccer League Celebrates 10th Season

Central City Soccer players and coaches celebrated another successful season at the awards ceremony. The Evelyn Davis League hosted their ceremony on July 27 and the Lovejoy League on August 3. 









College students volunteered as coaches this summer as part of Epicenter summer leadership training.




















450 kids. 42 teams. 10 weeks of soccer. Over 90 coaches put in hundreds of hours of volunteer time this summer to organize, schedule, and run the Central City Soccer League.

Both the Evelyn Davis League and the Lovejoy League hosted Central City Soccer awards ceremonies to celebrate the hard work and progress of both the players and coaches. The Evelyn Davis League hosted on July 27 at Walnut Creek Windsor Heights, and the Lovejoy League celebrated on August 3 at Walnut Creek South.

Each player was recognized on stage and received a certificate for their participation in the league. Coaches also prepared a meal for the players and their families as well as fun games to entertain everyone throughout the evening.

"What I know is that a lot of seeds have been planted, and I’m not quite sure how God will use them or grow them, but my prayer is that people will really dwell on the Gospel and think about God," said Tiffany McCarthy of the Central City Soccer staff.

This summer marked the 10th season of Central City Soccer, a league that both promotes character and personal success in every child while sharing about the love of Christ. For the first time, Central City added a second summer league at Lovejoy Elementary on the Southside of Des Moines to allow even more kids to play soccer.

"One thing that really encourages me is to see the same families come back year after year. It makes me think that we are doing something right. God is really using this league to get the Gospel out to families," said McCarthy.

Walnut Creek will host its second fall Central City Soccer League from September 2 through October 18. Registration for the league costs $35 and is open for children ages 5 through 12. Visit www.centralcitysoccer.org/towerpark for more information.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Leveraging the Power of Mustaches for Adoption



Why grow facial hair for your own selfish gain? Beginning July 25, men are unleashing the power of their mustaches to raise $25,000 to help financially support families in our church who are in the adoption process.

Although the United States is the leading adopting country, international adoption has dropped nearly 50 percent since 2004. Last year, Americans adopted 7,092 children. However, children in Iowa and around the world are still waiting.

Mustaches That Matter assists families adopting internationally, domestically, or through the foster care system. All funds raised go toward our adoption assistance fund to support multiple families each year.

You can join the cause in two ways: by growing your own mustache and raising support as you grow, or by financially sponsoring someone else's mustache. Each man participating is responsible for inviting friends, relatives, and coworkers to vote and financially sponsor his mustache. Once they reach their fundraising goal, they can shave.

Visit www.mustachesthatmatter.com for information, or to register your mustache or sponsor a mustache.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Christmas in July Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Volunteers packed 1,000 shoeboxes filled with gifts and the message of the Gospel for children around the world at the Christmas In July event on Friday evening.  Photo by Graham Gardner

In just over an hour, hundreds of people from Walnut Creek Church and the Des Moines community packed 1,000 shoeboxes with gifts for children in poverty. In addition, the fourth annual Christmas in July event at Walnut Creek Downtown raised more than $4,500 to pay for shipping the boxes overseas. When combined with the money raised prior to the event, a total of nearly $9,000 was raised – exceeding the fundraising goal by almost $2,000.

“It was incredible seeing the Lord come through and answer our prayers so specifically,” said event organizer Bo Laehn of Walnut Creek Downtown. “We were a little nervous about our ability to pack 1,000 boxes in two hours. But then God thought it would be funny if we could get it all done in one.”

Each year, Walnut Creek partners with Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, for the Christmas in July packing party. New this year, the shoeboxes are being sent to special-access countries, which are closed to the Gospel. The goal is for the boxes to make a way for the Gospel to get to children who would have little to no access to the truth otherwise.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be the only church in Iowa throwing a special-access packing party this year,” Laehn said. “It’s an even greater honor to know 1,000 kids will experience Jesus’ love for them and have an opportunity to hear the Gospel because of the Lord’s work through Christmas in July.”

The event closed with a concert featuring Christian hip hop artists Beautiful Eulogy. Proceeds from the concert contributed to the $9,000 that was raised. “The concert was a great way to end the event and celebrate what was accomplished,” Laehn said. “It was also a great way to bring new people through the doors to learn about Operation Christmas Child.”

The event organizers would like to thank everyone who participated in and contributed to Christmas in July. They’d especially like to thank Operation Christmas Child volunteer Heather Rowley for her support and the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen for donating the Dilly Bars that were served with the meal.



By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown 

Join Walnut Creek for Christmas – Tonight

Attendees of last year's Christmas in July event packed more than 300 boxes and raised more than a $1,000 for Operation Christmas Child.

Members of Walnut Creek Church are teaming up with Operation Christmas Child to throw a Christmas party for children all over the world. The event, dubbed “Christmas in July,” will take place tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Walnut Creek Downtown. The fourth annual event is free and open to the public.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, partners with local churches worldwide to deliver gift-filled shoeboxes to hurting children in impoverished and war-torn countries. Walnut Creek Church’s Christmas in July event will provide attendees with an opportunity to pack shoeboxes for children around the world. A meal will also be served to help defray the cost of shipping the shoeboxes overseas. Each shoebox costs $7 to ship.

The event will close with a concert featuring Christian hip-hop artists Beautiful Eulogy, who will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Proceeds from the concert tickets, which are on sale now, will also go toward the cost of shipping the shoeboxes.

“Our goal for this year’s Christmas in July event is to pack 1,000 shoeboxes and raise $7,000,” said event organizer Jed Johnson of Walnut Creek Downtown. “This is a significant increase from years past because our boxes will be going to limited-access countries, which have an even greater need.”

Christmas in July attendees are encouraged to bring items to include in the gift boxes, such as school supplies, small toys, and hygiene items (no liquids or gels). Attendees are also encouraged to consider a cash donation to help cover the cost of shipping the boxes they pack.

Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ/.



By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown 

Spy Academy Vacation Bible School Begins Today

Walnut Creek Windsor Heights will host Vacation Bible School July 13–17. 

Grab your secret decoder ring and put on your rearview mirror glasses because this summer, your kids are heading to the International Spy Academy where they’ll train to become special agents for the one true God! This exciting Vacation Bible School program is filled with fun mysteries your kids will love and the Bible-based apologetics you trust to teach them truths they won’t forget.

The program begins today and will run through Thursday, July 17 at our Windsor Heights location (900 64th Street) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

There is no cost for participating in Vacation Bible School. Children 3 years old through 6th grade are welcome to participate. Please register your children through our church website, https://walnutcreekchurch.org/vbs.

Free Guitar Given Away at 80/35 Music Festival

Walnut Creek gave away an electric guitar at the 80/35 music festival this past weekend.  Photo by Jill Dykstra





80/35, the annual Des Moines music festival, took over Western Gateway Park this past weekend, bringing over 30,000 music fans into the city.

Since the festival's first year in 2008, Walnut Creek Church has partnered with 80/35 to handle all of the event's recycling and trash clean up needs. About 100 Walnut Creek members volunteered for this year's event, July 4-5.

Walnut Creek also hosted a booth at the festival featuring an opportunity for one lucky winner to receive a free electric guitar. Within the two-day festival, 943 people entered to win, giving volunteers opportunities to engage in conversation and sow seeds for the Gospel.

"It was so good to serve the city in ways that make sense to different people, and it was a good chance to get to know some new friends in our church," said Katelyn Kiehl of Walnut Creek Downtown.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Walnut Creek Hosts Kids Craft Activities at the Des Moines Arts Festival

Families visited the Walnut Creek booth at the Des Moines Arts Festival for fun craft activities for kids. 

Braving the wet and muddy weather, volunteers from Walnut Creek Church hosted a booth with craft activities for kids and families at the Des Moines Arts Festival held June 27-29.

The multi-day festival brought thousands of people to Western Gateway Park in the heart of downtown for visual and interactive art, live music, and food.

Throughout the weekend, volunteers had opportunities to share about Walnut Creek services, meet families, and serve the staff and guests of the festival.

"It was a great opportunity to serve our community with no strings attached, we just wanted to serve and be a blessing to people," said Greg Altmaier of Walnut Creek Downtown.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Medicine Sent to the Nuba Mountain Region in Sudan

Idris from the Nuba Mountain region presented about the genocide in Sudan during Mission to the City. 






When Nolan Scott went to a leader of the Nuba community and asked how Walnut Creek could help them during Mission to the City, their response was a little surprising. They did not need help–no food, shelter, or jobs. They wanted Nolan to help their people in the Nuba Mountain region.

Daily bombings force many to flee and seek refuge in the Nuba Mountain area of Sudan, where there is little food and water. It is estimated that more than 500,000 people have died, and even more are still trapped, unable to escape. Humanitarian aid and journalists are banned from the area.

While most of the Nubas in Des Moines fled from Sudan over five years ago, they have not forgotten their family and loved ones there.

"During college we met many refugees from Sudan who worked in the Drake cafeteria, and we became good friends with them upon our graduation. Before meeting our Sudanese friends, many of whom are refugees from the Nuba Mountains, we didn't know much about the situation," said Rebecca Scott, Nolan's wife.

After praying about a way to help the Nuba people, Nolan and Rebecca knew they wanted to send aid. They ordered blue wristbands that said, "Pray for Nuba, Proverbs 24:11-12," and people were given an opportunity to help by purchasing wristbands for $5 each at the Walnut Creek Windsor Heights services on Sunday, May 18.

On Sunday of Mission to the City, eight Sudanese paired up with 25 Walnut Creek members to canvas to local neighborhoods asking people to help in one of three ways:
1. Support the cause by purchasing a bracelet, or donating money
2. Signing a petition (www.savethenuba.com)
3. Giving a voice to the situation

They also invited people to an event held at the Windsor Heights location that same evening where Idris, a man from the Nuba Mountains, shared about the situation and answered questions. Each of the nine Sudanese present at the event had lost family and friends in the genocide.

Many people were more than generous, and the Scotts raised $2,720 to purchase medicine, over $200 more than they had prayed for. The medicine will come from Kenya and be driven to Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains through an organization called the Persecution Project.

"Looking through the New Testament we see Jesus drawn to compassion, and then move. Whether it is giving food to the hungry or healing the sick, He gets involved," said Rebecca. "These are real people made in the image and likeness of God that are in danger on a daily basis."



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Central City Soccer Kicks Off Season

Over 460 kids are participating in Central City Soccer this summer. 

Donning their signature pink shirts, Central City Soccer coaches begin setting up goals and painting lines on the grass every Saturday at 7 a.m. In a few hours over 460 kids and their families will arrive.

Central City Soccer, an inner-city soccer league, began its 10th season the first week of June. The league is completely directed and run by about 100 Epicenter students from Drake, Grandview, DMACC and AIB. Epicenter is a summer leadership program for college students.

Coaches plan and run practices, attend and referee games, and set up and tear down the goals and fields. Members of a Windsor Heights Community Group also help coach. This summer, Central City has over 30 teams with kids ranging from 1st grade to high school.

The league promotes character and self-esteem in every child and many opportunities for both personal and athletic success. But more than that, these families hear about the love of Christ through this faith-based league.

"Central City is unique because it provides an opportunity for lower income families to get their kids involved in sports when they might not otherwise be able to play," said Tiffany McCarthy of the Central City Soccer staff. "I've heard some of the parents say that our league is like a 'family' because we care about their kids just for who they are."

With the number of registered kids increasing every year, Central City added a second league this summer at Lovejoy Elementary on the Southside of Des Moines.

McCarthy said as a league they are praying for players and their families to attend games regularly, and for the players to love talking and hearing about Jesus.

Games run through August 2, with the awards banquet as the season finale on August 3.



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Summer is Volleyball Season at Jordan Park Camp


Teams play on four nights throughout the week at Jordan Park Camp. 

Competition is heating up at Jordan Park Camp as 92 teams get their feet in the sand for the summer volleyball league.

The Jordan Park Volleyball League began June 2 and will run through August 8, with over 500 people streaming in and out of the camp Monday through Thursday for games. The league added a fourth night of games this year and a new middle division to allow for more evenly matched play on the court.

A weekly opportunity to invite coworkers and friends to, the league brings new people into fellowship and provides a fun way to meet more people. The unity of teams extends beyond the courts, too. Many teams grill out after their games and spend time sharpening their bump, set, spike skills outside their regular game nights.

"I pray that relationships within current community groups would grow and mature as people play together for one purpose and also that friends and coworkers would come and see what fellowship looks like outside of the workplace," said Amelia Gibson of the Jordan Park Volleyball staff.

Along with Gibson, other Jordan Park Volleyball staff members include Kaden Bronzynski, Adam Nordaker and Josh Smith.

Mark your calendars for the annual hog roast and tournament on Friday, August 8 to end the summer volleyball season.




By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights 

Party in the Park Serves Windsor Heights Community

More than 450 people gathered at Colby Park on Friday, May 30 for Party in the Park. 
Walnut Creek Church hosted a Party in the Park on May 30 to celebrate the end of Mission to the City. During the weekend mission, hundreds of fliers were passed out for the evening of fun, which was an opportunity to bless the Windsor Heights community.

Throughout the night, which was held at Colby Park, over 450 people came to enjoy free food, an outdoor movie, lawn games, face painting and a castle-themed bouncy house.

To end the night, friends and families gathered on blankets to watch Disney's newest animated hit "Frozen," while the kids sang along to their favorite songs from the movie.

"Our neighbors came and it was fun introducing them to our closest friends. It was a great way for us to invite our neighbors without pressure," said Sam Karaidos of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. "It was just a relaxing evening with great people and great food."



By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

Local Artists Featured at Arts in the Village


Music artists Jenny & Tyler perform while artist William Butler completes a live painting.

Hundreds of people from Walnut Creek Church and the Des Moines community experienced an evening of art, music and fellowship during Arts in the Village on May 30. The event, which was free and open to the public, featured music from special guests Jenny & Tyler, live art from William Butler and displays from several local artists.

“I liked the diversity of people who came,” said Sara Burrier, a Des Moines illustrator whose work was featured at the event. “I also liked the concept of it being an outreach event and that it was about Christ. It made it easy to talk about my art because it relates to Christ.”

In addition to Burrier, other featured artists included Candace Camling, Bryan Coons, Austin Day, Graham Gardner, Nic McDougal, Mhuka Designs (Ginger Meadows), Tia Rodemeyer and Amy Wood Thomas.



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

Des Moines Resident Blessed by Mission to the City

Mission to the City volunteers get ready to repair a garage for a Des Moines resident.

Every year, Walnut Creek Church hosts Mission to the City in an effort to bless people, organizations and other churches throughout Des Moines. The below email from a Des Moines resident who was blessed through this year's Mission to the City, May 22-26, is a good example of what the five-day mission trip to Des Moines is all about.

Praise the Lord!

Yesterday a total of four men worked on repairing (really replacing) the front of our garage. I met two of them at Menards at 7:30 am to get materials and we were at our home at about 9. They removed the old trim, well worn out siding and metal edges on the front of the garage. They left and took the old removed material to unload it. They returned that afternoon to reside the garage.

Today a crew is coming to do painting, caulking, garage repair, windows on the house, the soffit and trim by the gutters on the roof. A sincere thank you to Caleb Thompson who organized this project for us and the men who worked at our home. Two of their wives brought some pizza and their kids to see how it was going.




By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

Walnut Creek South Celebrates Memorial Day at Door of Faith


For one of their Mission to the City projects, members of Walnut Creek South hosted a Memorial Day barbeque for the men living at Door of Faith, a Christ-centered, long-term life-recovery center for men.

“Sometimes the hardest times are the holidays,” said John Teeter of Walnut Creek South, who previously lived at Door of Faith for 10 months. “We thought it would be nice to have a barbeque for them. We brought the whole crew so we could mull about and talk to the guys – like they’re at a barbeque with a bunch of friends.”

Teeter and the rest of the crew from Walnut Creek South grilled pork chops and brats and served potato salad, baked beans and dessert. “Everything was homemade,” Teeter said. “Guys in group homes tend to get a lot of canned and processed foods.”

According to Teeter, the men they served were very appreciative. He said they heard a lot of sincere thank yous, and several of the men stayed to help them clean up afterward.

“The thing that Door of Faith offers that very few others do, they give you a year, they pay for your food, clothing, room and board. They won’t kick you out after you’ve graduated until you have a job and a place to live,” Teeter said. “They give you a year. If you use that year to seek God and get involved in a church, your success rate is extremely high.”

Partnering with organizations like Door to Faith to serve people of Des Moines is what Mission to the City is all about.

Mission to the City Goes Global

Mission to the City volunteers pack meals for Meals from the Heartland. Photo by Stephanie Brandstatt.

The work of Mission to the City reaches beyond Des Moines – as far South Africa, Haiti, and the Philippines. Mission to the City groups from Walnut Creek Windsor Heights teamed up with Meals from the Heartland to pack meals that will be sent to those three countries.

“We packed 20,000 meals just this morning,” said Joel O’Dell, hunger fight manager for Meals from the Heartland. “The need is great. One in six people in the world is starving. It’s biblical to help them – we’re called to take care of our neighbors.”

Brigitte Haugen of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights said the experience was very eye-opening for her. “There are a lot of people who need food,” she said. “I’m thankful we can be part of this because it demonstrates how much we as a church care about people.”

Jon Touchette, also of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights, said he was impressed by the efficiency of Meals from the Heartland’s system, which allowed them to pack the most meals possible in the time they were there. He added that feeding the hungry is really about following Jesus’ example. “Jesus did what he taught,” he said. “It’s important to live the gospel – not just speak the gospel.”

Pancakes with a Purpose

Come and get all-you-can-eat pancakes at Walnut Creek Downtown on Sunday, May 25, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The pancake brunch is one of the many activities happening at Walnut Creek Church this weekend as part of Mission to the City.

The proceeds from the pancake brunch will go to support Operation Christmas Child and Walnut Creek's annual Christmas in July party on July 18. This year's Christmas in July party will be bigger than ever because it will be a "special access" packing party.

Shoe box gifts packed at a special access party are sent to countries that are especially spiritually dark and resistant to Operation Christmas Child's efforts. Agreeing to host a special access party means committing to pack 1,000 boxes and raise $7,000.

"It's a huge honor to be asked by Operation Christmas Child to consider hosting a special access party," said Sarah Johnson of Walnut Creek Downtown and one of the event's organizers. "It's a big goal, but I'm confident in our ability to come together as a church to support this great cause."

Last year, Operation Christmas Child had requests for approximately 400,000 shoe box gifts from special access countries, and nearly 300,000 were collected. This year, the number of requests has grown to 500,000.

For $5 per plate, you can help Operation Christmas Child meet those 500,000 requests  and fill yourself with delicious pancakes.

Mission to the City Kicks Off

A worship and prayer night marks the start of this year's Mission to the City, May 23-26.

Walnut Creek Church’s fourth annual Mission to the City kicked off Thursday evening with a worship and prayer night. During the four-day long event, church members will serve the city with thousands of hours of community service and reach out to many with the Gospel – or, as the name implies, take a mission trip to Des Moines.

Nearly 500 people are participating in Mission to the City this year. For the first time, all Walnut Creek congregations are holding Mission to the City over Memorial Day weekend.

During the worship and prayer night, Pastor Dan Rude shared two principles that have motivated the church to do Mission to the City each year.
  1. Christians are to be the light. “Mission to the City is all about being a light to the city,” Pastor Dan said. “It’s our identity as Christians, and this is an intentional time we set aside to serve Des Moines.”
  2. The good news about Christ is too good to keep to ourselves. “There will be opportunities to share your faith,” he said.

Pastor Dan also shared the five key things we do during Mission to the City:
  1. Serve other churches
  2. Serve ministries
  3. Serve organizations
  4. Serve the city of Des Moines
  5. Serve people

Join the Conversation

Join the Mission to the City conversation by posting on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and using the hashtag #m2tc. For a live look at the Mission to the City activities happening around the Des Moines metro right now, go to walnutcreekchurch.org/m2tc.

Walnut Creek Church Launches Mobile App



During weekend services on April 26 and 27, Walnut Creek Church officially announced the launch of the new Walnut Creek Church mobile app.

The app contains several resources, including weekly sermon videos, upcoming events, service times and locations, posts from this blog and more.

"One of the goals of the app is to help people stay connected," Pastor Luke Hukee said. "For example, if you miss a message, you can catch up on the app while driving in the car. Not only is the message available, but so are the notes for the sermon." 

But that's not all the app is for. "Ultimately, we want to reach more people with the Gospel." Hukee said. "Young people in particular are on their mobile device using apps all the time. This is another way to put Gospel-centered content into the hands of more and more people."

For more information and to download the free app, click here.

Also, be sure to check out our 30 second ad featuring the new app.



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

A Focus on Fatherhood

Pastor Rick Whitney shares important parenting principles with attendees of the Fatherhood Seminar.

More than 160 men gathered together for a half-day Fatherhood Seminar on April 12 at Walnut Creek Downtown. They were joined by Pastor Rick Whitney of Vintage Faith Church in Manhattan, Kansas, who spoke on “The Importance of Fatherhood.”

“I’m just one father sharing with you some things God has taught me over the years,” Whitney said. He shared seven principles of parenting he and his wife held to as they raised their seven now grown children.

“I thought it was a good time to be together as fathers and learn from those who have gone before us and raised godly children,” said Jason Wicks of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights. Wicks said the most important thing he learned had to do with prayer. “It was good to be reminded of the value of praying and praying often and developing that habit with your kids as soon as they learn to talk,” Wicks said.

Following Whitney’s talk and a Q&A time, breakout sessions divided by their children’s age ranges gave fathers the opportunity to gain deeper insight. The three breakout sessions were:
  • 0-7 years old, led by Pastors Mike Bourland and Tim Rude
  • 8-12 years old, led by Pastors Terry Amann and Bruce Crane
  • 13+ years old, led by Pastors Bob Joy, Joel Swanson and Rick Whitney
Following the breakout sessions, a free lunch provided attendees an opportunity for fellowship and to discuss what they learned.



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

All Sons & Daughters Provides Night of Worship, Worship Leader Roundtable at Walnut Creek

All Sons & Daughters leads worship at Walnut Creek Downtown on March 11. Photo by Graham Gardner.

As part of their “A Night of Worship” tour, popular Christian band All Sons & Daughters made a stop at Walnut Creek Downtown on March 11. Worshipers from around Des Moines filled the church for not your typical concert.

“I thought All Sons and Daughters did a fantastic job of leading worship, and not putting on a show,” said Darrin Miedema of Walnut Creek Downtown. “Honestly, I expected it to feel like a concert. And while the quality of music was professional, the flow and feel of the event was that it was a worship service.  It was a very enjoyable and refreshing time.”

Alex Mentzer, also from Walnut Creek Downtown, said it was unlike any concert she’s ever been to. “I appreciated that they recognized people worship differently – there were communion tables, a table with sketchbooks for people to write or draw, a table for people to give financially to an organization called Feed One. If people needed space or a place to kneel, they encouraged us to find some space,” Mentzer said.

The worship duo, David Leonard and Leslie Jordan, were joined by their pastor and friend Jamie George. Between songs, George gave a message on Luke 7 in which he shared the gospel and talked about how God meets us in our loneliness.

“I sat in the front row and got to watch people take communion,” Mentzer said. “It was beautiful knowing they were all taking time to remember what God had done in their lives, and it was a great time for me to reflect on how God redeemed me and revel in the deep love God has for me.”

Miedema said one of his favorite parts of the night was seeing so many Christians from different churches in Des Moines worshiping together at one event. “Different churches have different visions, different stances on certain issues, and different cultures, but ultimately we should look for opportunities to love and serve one another and be united in the advancement of God’s Kingdom,” he said.

Worship Leader Roundtable

Worship leaders from Des Moines area churches were invited to take part in a roundtable discussion with All Sons & Daughters at Walnut Creek Downtown prior to the show on March 11.

“It was encouraging to see other people’s passion for music and leading their congregation into greater affection for Jesus,” said Miedema, a worship leader at Walnut Creek Downtown. “It was also encouraging to know that there are many other people faithfully serving in this area and managing the sacrifices that it requires.”



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

Upward Season Ends With a Spin

The Crevier family performs their Spin-tacular Basketball Show before attendees of the Upward Awards Ceremony on March 8. Photo by Audrey Van Lohn

Another successful season of Upward basketball through Walnut Creek Church closed Saturday with an exciting awards ceremony. The Crevier family, who travels the world with their unicycle-riding, basketball-spinning Spin-tacular Basketball Show, performed and presented the gospel before a packed gym of Upward basketball players, cheerleaders and their families. Also during the ceremony, all the Upward players were announced, and all cheer squads performed a cheer or dance.

More than 650 basketball players and 100 cheerleaders from grades kindergarten through eighth participated in this year’s season, making it the biggest season to-date. “The season went very well for us,” said Kyle Kurtenbach of Walnut Creek Downtown, who serves on the Upward basketball board. “The Lord provided all of the volunteers we needed,” he said, adding that there was more emphasis placed on lining up community groups to provide volunteers for refs, concessions, and scoreboards at weekend games.

Throughout the nine-week season, games were held at three different Des Moines area locations: Merrill Middle School, Walnut Creek Downtown, and Walnut Creek Windsor Heights.

As in previous years, a devotional video was shown during halftime of each game. The theme of this year’s devotionals was “The Validity of the Bible.” Each week, a Walnut Creek pastor provided a brief video presentation on topics such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The pastors also used the opportunity to share the gospel with the kids and their families and to tell them how much God loves them and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

“Upward brings a Christ-centered league to Des Moines and a major opportunity to reach kids and families with the gospel,” Kurtenbach said. “It also teaches kids the fundamentals of basketball while keeping in perspective the role sports should play in comparison to God.”

In addition to Kurtenbach, other Upward basketball board members include Dave Rude, Chrissy Bloom, Rachel Bohacek, Becca Close, KayDee Cross, Jen Engdahl, Jordan Harlow, Blake Kruger, Ricki Meyer, Leah Wake, Joel Winters and Marc Wright.



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

Rend Collective Comes to Des Moines

Rend Collective performs before a full church on February 14 at Walnut Creek Downtown.

Rend Collective, an eclectic Christian band hailing from North Ireland, and Christian rock band Bellarive, performed two sold-out concerts at Walnut Creek Downtown February 13 and 14.

“Rend Collective had a lot of great energy. They seemed really genuine, and I appreciated their emphasis on community,” said Brett Stewart of Walnut Creek Downtown. “I loved the music, atmosphere, and people. It was great seeing so many people from our church and so many people not from our church.”

Part of their Campfire tour, the two concerts provided the more than 1,200 attendees with upbeat, new-folk music reminiscent of worshiping God with a group of friends around a campfire.

“I thought what they said about the campfire and what it symbolizes was very meaningful,” Stewart said. “We’re all God’s children and equally important. It doesn’t matter if we’re musicians, pastors, or missionaries. We’re all equidistant from the fire – no one is in the center.”

Audrey Van Lohn of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights said she has experienced the campfire atmosphere before and thought it was a great concept for the concert. “It really is a time to be real and share what is going on in life. To have that not only with the Lord but also with close friends is so important, because we can do so much for each other,” Van Lohn said.

Van Lohn added that her favorite part was when Patrick shared about the band’s partnership with the child sponsorship ministry Compassion International. “I think it's fantastic that they support children all around the world,” she said. “He brought to reality how blessed financially we are and how much we have to share.”

The following excerpts are from an Integrity Music review of Rend Collective:

With Campfire, a 12-track collection recorded live on a beach in Northern Ireland, Rend Collective Experiment dares us to re-imagine worship and community.

As Rend's Gareth Gilkeson states: "There are no outsiders in the Kingdom. That's part of why we chose to record around the Campfire. Worship is not exclusive or confined within the walls of a church. It's a flame for everyone to gather around."

Sonically, Campfire is a fresh and innovative take on the new-folk and indie genres, an acoustic project by virtue of the fact that there are no electrical sockets on the beach. The album is entirely driven by classic, retro folk instruments that could be played by the fireside and by the ocean. The result is an album that captures the raw, rootsy, foot-stomping energy of the Irish worshippers, which has been infectious among audiences across the globe, as well as the vulnerability and intimacy of home group worship.



By Tim Laehn
Walnut Creek Downtown

Walnut Creek Windsor Heights Throws Community Super Bowl Potluck Party



Walnut Creek Windsor Heights hosted a Super Bowl party as a unique opportunity to unite members from across congregations and invite people in to enjoy community and a meal together.

“This party was a great opportunity to fellowship across services and locations, and reach out with your kids,” said Jessica White of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights.

The focus wasn’t only on the game. Instead of watching the Superbowl halftime show, Pastor Terry Amann introduced a video produced by the Seattle Seahawks called, “The Making of a Champion.” In the video, numerous Seahawk players and coaches share their testimonies and the gospel in a clear way.

Jessica said her favorite part of the party was its goal, to reach out to people together: “The party offered a door to meet new people who might not come to church for any other reason,” Jessica said. “You tell people there’s food and football, and they’re interested.”

While most of the kids spent the evening jumping in the castle-themed bounce house, Superbowl fans gathered around the full food tables throughout the game. Guests were asked to bring a side to share, and Jon Touchette of Walnut Creek Windsor Heights was encouraged by everyone’s willingness to contribute. He made his own crowd favorite, fried spinach.

“We were concerned about not having enough food, but as always, we had more than enough,” Jon said. “It was a cool reminder of the generosity of people. People always want to come together to help with events like this.”

To watch the video, visit makingofachampion.org.


By Jackie Wallentin
Walnut Creek Windsor Heights

“How to Change the World” Message Series Begins

How to Change the World study guide

A new message series – “How to Change the World” – began at Walnut Creek’s Downtown and South congregations on January 25. The 13-week series based on the book of Acts will continue through April 20, and we invite you to join us.

“The question we’re going to answer throughout this series is: How can I be part of changing the world? How can I join God in his plan to impact the world?” Pastor Dan Rude said in the first message of the series. “In the book of Acts, God lays out his plan for the church. We see a pattern, we see principles, for investing our life.”

One of the series’ primary passages is Acts 2:41-47, which describes the incredible community experienced by the generous and growing Acts church. Over the course of the next 13 weeks, we will take an in-depth look at the early church, the substance of their community, and how God uses discipleship to transform the world by the Gospel. To download a free "How to Change the World" study guide, click here.

At Walnut Creek, community groups continue to be the heartbeat of our church. With nearly 50 groups meeting at homes throughout the city for bible study and fellowship, community groups offer an opportunity to live out the example set by the early church. As part of the kickoff of the new message series, cards with prayer requests for our community groups were given out at church. Each week there will be a new list and a different area of emphasis. Here is this week's list:

  • That each believer would be encouraged and grow in their relationship with the Lord (Ephesians 4:11-16)
  • That we would have genuine friendships as we grow and pursue the Lord together (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  • That God would raise up more leaders (Mark 10:42-45)
  • That God would raise up more laborers (Matthew 9:35-38)
  • That our community groups would grow and multiply (Acts 2:47)
  • That our community groups would be united (John 17:21)

Acts 2:41-47
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.

Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.