On The Move Again

Please join us at our new location. This Sunday, June 27, New Venture is moving to its third location. It all started at Carmike Cinema on Alverser drive back in October of 2004. Carmike was our home for about four and a half years.

Then Chesterfield County constructed two new middle schools, one in our vicinity and we applied for Sunday rental at the one closest to us and got the nod. So in January of 2009 we packed it all up and moved to Tomahawk Middle School. TCMS is a tremendous facility. It has much of what a church could want in a meeting place. It’s only drawback—location-location-location. It is at the end of a ¾ mile dead end street. We felt that we could overcome the location issue with other means of marketing but have just not been able to do so. Our visitor flow has dried to a trickle.

So, a few months ago we began a church wide prayer emphasis for God to lead us to a new and better location. About six weeks ago the door opened. Located on courthouse Rd is a 7th day Adventist church building that sits empty on Sunday, since they worship on Saturdays. At the suggestion of my wife, I checked into it and was told to put together a proposal for its use. So I did, and after being considered by the facilities committee and voted on by the congregation, our proposal was approved, to the surprise of some of the Adventists themselves.

So this Sunday we move into our new and shared venue at 530 COURTHOUSE ROAD. The building is located between Lucks Lane and Smoketree Dr. We have devoted several hours to personalizing the facility to our needs without interruption its current use.

We are so excited about this move. The auditorium is more than adequate for our current needs as well as considerable growth. The downstairs provides individual classrooms for our KidVenture Department. And the set-up and take-down will be cut by about 60%.

On top of all that, we move from a facility that gets about 200 cars a day by it to one that gets about 30,000 cars a day of traffic. Our sign has been announcing our move on Courthouse Dr for over a week now.

However, locations and signs are not the best means of bringing in new seekers, people are. People inviting people is what draws new people. So with the tremendous benefit of the new and improved location we are still depending on people.

If at all possible, I would like to invite YOU to join us for our first Sunday at our new location, 530 COURTHOUSE ROAD.

And if you think three moves is getting to be pretty much, Saddleback Community Church, in California, moved sixty-seven times during their first fifteen years of existence. Three down, sixty-four to go.


An Applause for Spanking

I have to admit, I was totally blown away with the response. This past Sunday I addressed the subject of discipline in our morning church gathering. About two-thirds of the way into the message is said, “I am just going to lay it out there. I can feel the negative emails coming. Oo oo doo do doo dum doo doo do. I can feel them now. I can sense them coming into my box. At our house, we spanked.”

I fully expected to hear this gasp go up across the auditorium. But instead, there was applause. That’s right the people clapped for spanking. There was an ovation supporting the disciplinary act of spanking. I was shocked, to say the least. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was so surprised by the response I got from something I said in a message.

Now, so that you get the full text on the spanking subject, these are the remainder of my comments. “I just want to tell you that, and I tell you that, knowing up front that that is a very politically incorrect stance. I know that, but I am going to tell you. Until the day I die, I am going to stand by the fact that it is a Biblically correct stance, and it is one of many effective ways to discipline.

Now, I hope you know I didn’t use my hand. The Bible word for “rod” I understand was club. We didn’t use a club either. I am a wood craftsman so I put my craft to work. We use something like this (handmade paddle) or a spoon. It had a name “Henry.” “Do I need to introduce you again to Henry?” Their little buns tighten up. “No,” It was a very effective little tool that we used when other means didn’t get the point across or result in the right attitude and action.

More recently we have asked our three sons if they resented us for spanking them or if they felt it made them angrier. Their response was basically, “No, that was sometimes the only thing that got our attention and got the right actions and attitudes out of us.”

Here’s the best process to follow, whatever the means of discipline. If your children disobey, take them into their room alone so there’s no humiliation or embarrassment, and decide on discipline. It may be a loss of a privilege. It may be an added responsibility. It may be a spanking. It occasionally was, and then we would spank if that is the case. We would hug them. We would love them, and it was very effective. Not politically correct, but Biblically correct and very effective.

Now, those of you who are angry right now, “Oh, my pastor abused his children. Laaa da da da …” You know, part of your argument would be this, that spanking develops angry kids, rebellious, violent kids, and so if you believe that, just go ahead and look at one of the first generations that wasn’t spanked. We went to school, even those in their 30’s and 40’s, you acted up, the coach or principle would get out the paddle this stinking big with holes in it and bust your butt until you were singing soprano. The more recent generations didn’t get that, so current kids and those in their twenties, we should argue, should be, if that principle works, the most compliant, peace-loving, gentle generation who’s ever lived. Need I go on? What generation is shooting up schools, has less respect for authority than ever in the history of this country, and is more out of control than any generation in recent memory?

Okay, at our house we spanked. If you choose to at your house, if that’s the direction that God leads you, never, ever do so in anger. You strike out and hit your child, let me just tell you right now, you need to repent before God. You need to repent to your children. You need to get help. And if you do not, one day you will answer to God and you will wish you had never, ever harmed one of His little ones. You never, ever, ever discipline in anger. Is that understood?”

Now, how about another applause for spanking?

The message in its entirety can be found at relaxedchurch.com, online audio messages, the discipline factor.

A Tribute to My Mom

My mother passed away on Monday of this week at the age of eighty two. How can I begin to explain the mark my mother has had on so many people as she has walked her way through life. She was born in Chester, PA to the daughter of a printing missionary. After spending a few years in Burma (now Myanmar) on the mission field, as a child, the family returned to the Chester area where they lived for the rest of her childhood and teen years.

As a young teenager she met my dad, who lived just a block away from her most of their lives. Even before graduating she married him and a couple years later they packed up everything they owned and moved down the Delmarva Peninsula to begin a life of farming. Dad always wanted to be a farmer so he gave it a shot, for a couple years. That’s all it took to convince him that farming was not for him. So they decided on a little different direction that still included farming, just a different kind, chicken farming.

For more than thirty five years mom and dad were involved in the chicken industry in some way, even raising 36,000 chickens at a time of their own. You have to understand the setting. Sussex County, DE, where they lived, is the #1 chicken growing county in the world. But it is not with farming that mom or dad most left their mark on life.

Now, mom was the one, from the very beginning, who brought God and church and Christ into the marriage. Dad grew up going to pubs more than churches. Dad’s uncle was actually a pub owner. So it was mom who introduced dad to God and the church. Dad loved mom so much that he was willing to follower her wherever she wanted him to go. So most often it was to church. Eventually God became real to dad and he took the spiritual lead in the family, but it was always mom that most kept the presence of God alive in our home.

Over the years the results of her love for God began to multiply with exponential results until today she leaves a legacy that few can match. I was the first in our family to decide to take the Christian college direction, as a result of a love for God my mother implanted in me from the very beginning of my life. Then there were others to follow. This is a list of her children and grandchildren that attended Roanoke Bible College (Now Mid Atlantic Christian University) and the years they attended or graduated.

Steve Thornton ’72, son
David Thornton ’85, son
The late Michael Thornton ex’73, son
 Marsha Mitchell Hitch ex’86, granddaughter
 Chris Thornton ’96, grandson
Jason Thornton ’99, grandson
 Angela Thornton Rodkey ’02, granddaughter
Jenny Thornton Herbst ’07, granddaughter

Four of the above are in ministry leadership today while two others are married to ministers.

The legacy goes on and on indefinitely. We are never living for just today. What we do today affects generations and generations to come. My mom is a positive testimony to that fact. May her influence for Christ continue until He returns.