A 60-Hour Party at Church

Installing local elders at Encounter Church was a celebration, like a 60-hour bar mitzvah. The young church has taken on the full range of spiritual duty and responsibility. It was a joy, and it lasted for a full weekend: men’s breakfast, games night, installation service, potluck feast, Sunday night teaching, finally closing at a Monday breakfast with the newly installed elders.

I drank in the weekend, satisfied in knowing that we started with the vision for Encounter Church late in 2014 with smaller than small things. We had a devoted Andrew and Kathryn DeBartolo as planters and the smallest group of the wondering curious. No one knew whether this idea of a new work would become a local church.


We smiled at Monday’s breakfast when Andrew DeBartolo and Steve Lappala recalled that they were certain FiveStone wouldn’t take on this insignificant crew in Kingston, Ontario. No money, no name, no fame, no way. But we did it anyway.

And today, there it is. Encounter Church is flourishing in its youth, bearing fruit as a life-giving, disciple-making work of Christ. The church’s best days are ahead with a devoted congregation and two good men as shepherding elders.

Thinking about Zerubbabel this morning. He re-built the Lord’s temple in the face of those who despised his vision and mocked his devotion. The Lord wanted it done. So Zerubbabel did it, using so-called small things. And even those who despised the work rejoiced when it was accomplished. Zechariah 4:6-10.

See photos from the installation service on the FiveStone Churches website, under the About Us tab and the Media option.