Angus McKinley's blog | website

This summer Elevation Church hosted nearly 100 volunteers who helped us offer two weeks of kids camps in four locations.  It was a blast to see soccer fields and basketball courts teaming with kids running around, laughing and having fun.  The Elevate Kids Sports Camps were offered to kids – K-6th grade.

Each morning the campers got to choose between volleyball, soccer, basketball, flag football or crafts to fill up their two “Track Times.” In between the “Truth Track,” where a daily Bible Story was told, retold, and acted out.  The big fun happened on Wednesday.  Wednesday is the day for our annual “Wet & Wild Kickball” game.  Wet & Wild Kickball uses kiddie pools for the bases and a slip & slide from 3rd base to home!  You can check out a video of the action here >> Wet & Wild Kickball

At Elevation Church we love to serve our community.  We love seeing the love of God transform kids and their families.  That’s why we exist, to see people filled with new life in Christ! It doesn’t take long for kids to realize that life gets harder and harder and more and more complex.  But we trust that each child who experienced the Elevate Kids Sports Camps will remember the “Big Idea” of the week;

We can trust God no matter what!

And that’s a truth we trust you will rely on too!

Special thanks to our partners at LPBA; FBC Belton, TX; FBC Durant, OK; Pinelake Church, Brandon, MS; Mike’s Mission, and the Venezuelan Team. We couldn’t have done it without you!

By Amber Cassady

Loveland, Colo.- Elevation Church in Loveland, Colo. is living proof that you do not have to be a giant congregation to go out and serve a city. As they minister to families and singles in southeast Loveland, core members of Elevation Church strive to live missionally in their own neighborhoods. Missional Life Pastor Sergei Yepishin says,

”We have learned you don’t have to be 10,000 strong to make a difference.”

Since its first preview service in October 2011, Elevation Church, lead by pastor Angus McKinley, has sought to serve Loveland in a variety of ways with the attitude of Christ Jesus. For example, a group of people from Elevation spent a day helping single moms and widows struggling to take care of their homes. One widow had been unable to touch her yard in the five years since her husband’s death. As they cleaned out, trimmed and cleared her yard the woman said, “As the garden becomes more alive, I am becoming more alive.”This simple act of service helped to heal the sadness of a woman’s broken heart. McKinley believes that the rejuvenation of this one woman’s garden represents the story of restoration that the church is supposed to be telling through all that they say and do.

Most Sundays during their gathering time, McKinley will give out what they call “life rhythm” assignments to those in attendance that will challenge them to see the mission field all around them. The assignments are simple such as inviting a neighbor over to share a meal or asking a co-worker how they can be praying for them. “If we could get everyone at church to share a meal or do a hobby with someone who doesn’t know Jesus, we would begin to transform the community,” says Sarah Yepishin who is married to Sergei and currently the director of family ministries for Elevation. These efforts to practice living life with outsiders could help address an apparent problem of individuals trying to live on their own in a town full of people that need one another. “People just don’t know how to interact with one another here,” Sergei explained. “One guy I know told me that I am the closest friend that he has here and he has been living here for four years.”

Beginning Elevation Church has not only brought lessons in servitude but also in having faith in God’s faithfulness when things do not look like they will go according to plan.

“This whole journey [of church planting] has been a faith awakening,” says McKinley. “I was on church staff in Kentucky for 12 years. I was comfortable there but not always on fire. Stepping out and doing this new church is a total faith ‘walk on water’ kind of thing.”

After not even a year on the ground, McKinley was planning a sermon about baptism and borrowing the baptistery from The Pursuit Church in Fort Collins because five men had accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized. When things did not go as planned and all five men had to reschedule their baptisms at the last minute, McKinley decided he would have to take a step of faith and continue on with the original service unsure if the baptistery would even be used that day. God interceded in the hour of uncertainty and just before the service began McKinley was approached by a woman named Jen Schroeder who asked if it happened to be baptism Sunday. She had become a Christian two months earlier while finishing up cancer treatment. Schroeder was baptized that morning (pictured right)- cancer free and brand new in Christ.

Outreaches like sports and music camps in the community have also involved unbelievers in what God is doing through Elevation Church. A couple who does not yet claim Christ has been helping with sports camps, bringing their friends to church and offering to pray for Elevation. This has opened up the door for individuals to see the Gospel first hand as they serve along side believers to reach the community around them. This is putting into practice the life rhythm assignments even in ministry- doing what they normally do and inviting outsiders to join in.

God will surely use this openness and faithfulness to expand His kingdom in the Loveland community. McKinley remarks about how excited he is for Elevation Church, “I have been in ministry for 25 years but I have never done anything like this before!”

*Photos courtesy of Angus McKinley*

Amber Cassady is the missional correspondent this summer for Colorado Baptists. She is a senior communications and journalism student at Texas A&M University.

a page torn from my journal…enjoy! <*(((((><

Title: Exchanging The Worthy for the worthless Text: 1 Sam. 12:20-25 //Topic: Faith, Obedience
Read: And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.” 1 Sam. 12:21
Observe: In his final words to the nation of Israel, Samuel indicted the people for casting off God as their King and for choosing an earthly king, Saul, in God’s place. To prove their wickedness, Samuel called on God to send thunder and rain, which God did. What an miraculous event that must have been.

The fear of God fell on the people as they realized their sin. They feared for their lives and asked Samuel to pray for them. He did; And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.” Then he admonished them not to turn aside to empty things. Basically anything in all creation except God is an empty thing. Things don’t deliver. Things don’t profit my soul [even all the things in the world]. Things don’t last. So Samuel’s final word was – don’t exchange the Worthy for the worthless. The beautiful truth tucked into the middle of this story of national adultery is [v. 22], “…the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.” Though the people had substituted a man to lead them instead of God, He still pledged His fidelity to them. Amazing!!!

So, what is the antidote to keep us from exchanging The Worthy for the worthless? The answer is found in [vv. 24-25], “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Apply: God, You are the High King of Heaven. You are the only Leader I’ll ever need. I refuse to turn aside to worthless things. They are powerless, unprofitable and empty. You are the One I fear. Your Works I call to mind and consider. I commit to wholeheartedly serve Your purposes.
Pray: God, I praise You for Your incredible faithfulness in the face of my cheating and exchanging. Have mercy on me and change me by Your Spirit. Make me a new man. Empower me by Your steadfast Spirit to follow You faithfully all of my days! Fan this passion to flame! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

March, 2012

The other day I listened to the most amazing message I’ve ever heard. A man I’ve never met left it on my cell phone. It went something like this;

“Hi, my name is, Juan*. I just listened to a sermon you gave in 2006. And like you said on the sermon, you said I could either make a “Deal or no Deal” and… I decided to take the deal. Well…Just give me a call anytime you want, again, my name is Juan, and I hope I can talk to you soon. Thanks, Bye.”

When I hit the “call-back” button on my phone I had no idea how the impending conversation was going to go, but I was filled with a sense that this wasn’t going to be just any ordinary phone call. After a few rings man with a distinct hispanic accent picked up. We had a great conversation that lasted about 20 minutes and ended with me praying for him.

When I hung up the phone I was overcome with a sense of amazement and heartfelt joy. As it turns out, his girlfriend who attends the church I served in KY gave him a CD of a message I’d preached in 2006 entitled “Love Story.” It was the first sermon I preached after my wife of 20 years passed away unexpectedly. At the close of the message I wrapped up by referring to 2 Cor. 5:21. There God offers you and me a great exchange. 2 Cor. 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I closed the message that day by saying…”So, here’s the deal. God offers you a GREAT EXCHANGE. Your sins in exchange for Christ’s righteousness. Have you seen the game show, DEAL or NO DEAL? Twenty-six shiny aluminum cases containing dollar amounts ranging from 1 penny to 1 million dollars. You pick one and try to deal your way to as much money as possible. The other night, I watched a guy with $250 in his brief case walk away with $690,000. That was a good deal. A really good deal!

But here’s the thing…God offers you and me an infinitely better deal.

  • Your best efforts, which the Bible says are filthy rags [Isa. 64:6] For His perfect righteousness [2 Cor. 5:21]. Deal or no Deal?
  • Your sins – which deserve death and hell, for His free gift of eternal life and a home in heaven forever [Rom. 6:23]. Deal or no Deal?

As a man who has walked in the joy of the decision I made to trust Jesus way back in 1981, I beg you. Take the Deal! With the love of Jesus beating in my chest, say “Yes!” to His wonderful offer to forgive you and save you. Take the Deal!”

Well, nearly 6 years after I preached that message live in 2006, God used it to draw another soul to faith in him in 2012. Which made me treasure the truth of Isa. 55:11 all over again. “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

What a message!

Epilog | *I have deliberately altered the name of the caller who left me the message to protect the identity of my new brother in Christ. But, I’m sure he would appreciate it if you would say a prayer of praise for the power of God’s Word to effect salvation in his heart through a 6 year old message preached by some guy he’d never met. Finally, I encourage you to pray for his spiritual development. Pray he will grow into a courageous laborer in God’s Kingdom who will live strong and finish strong. Thanks!!

February, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012, was a good day! On that day a new church was born and any day a new church is born is a good day.

ELEVATION Church in Loveland, CO is officially underway with weekly gatherings as of 02.12.12! We kicked off our shift to meeting every Sunday with a verse by verse study of Ephesians entitled, “Relationship Rehab.”

Over the next three weeks we are going to examine what God’s Word has to say about;
>How To Make the Most of Your Marriage
>How To Raise Righteous Kids
>How To Be an Exceptional Employee

God was gracious to send us 75 folks to celebrate Jesus with us on our birthday. What a joy to have my Mom there! She reminded me of the phone call I made to her back in the Spring of 2010 when I told her I was stepping out of my stable staff position to go and plant a new church. She asked me where I felt led to plant this church, and at the time I said, “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Eventually God led us to beautiful Loveland, CO. So, for her to be there for our “soft-launch,” was almost more joy than I could stand.

And then, when the room became so full we were scrambling for extra chairs, I felt so much excitement I thought I was about to come out of my skin! One of the Launch Team memebers who moved out here with us to help plant Elevation Church said with tears welling up in her eyes, “It’s really happening.” Indeed…it’s really happening!

Epilog | Stay tuned for the rest of the voyage…follow us on twitter @elevationlife

January, 2012

Having just completed our 5th and final preview service it is appropriate to reflect a bit on what God is doing and has done. We hit the ground running back in July of 2011 with our very first outreach effort to the city of Loveland the week after we arrived. Through our, “Kids Week sports camp” we were able to impact the lives of roughly 50 children from 25 families with the love of God and the truth of the gospel. Oh Yeah, we also had some super fun times playing sports, making crafts, and eating snacks!

We started met monthly for worship in October, November, December, and even threw in a gathering on Christmas Eve! Each service was led by a different worship leader, which made the Elevation church experience kinda like a box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re gonna get!” The best news of all is that 3 adults have turned in Response Cards indicating their desire to begin a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. Hooray!

As we rounded into the new year, we served the community with a Teacher’s Appreciation Breakfast at the High School where we meet, and a Gas Buy-Down just down the street [I'm a poet and didn't even know it]! We’ve had a blast blessing our community with the love of God expressed in practical ways!

The latest development is that we have opened up our missional communities [we call them Life Groups] to our congregation. In doing so we have instantly tripled our small group attendance and drastically increased our relational connectivity and our serving capacity. Life Groups represent the place in our church where faith-filled disciples of Jesus are developed.

Epilog | As we have come to the place of being just days away from launching into weekly services, we couldn’t be happier with what God is doing through the passionate Christ followers of ELEVATION Church!

December, 2010

Merry Christmas’s from the McKinley’s!  We hope this Christmas finds you loving the LORD and loving the life that He makes possible.  Jesus invented Christmas.  So, our sincere desire is that your celebration of the holiday would include acknowledging the one known as Jesus, the Savior, who is Christ the LORD [Luke 2:11].


Here is our 2011 Christmas Card picture showing how grown-up the McKids have become. My girls get more beautiful every year, and my boys more handsome. And after growing 6 inches in the last 18 months, my youngest is now the tallest!

Last year at this time we still did not have a location nailed down regarding where God wanted us to plant a church. What a difference a year makes! This year we will celebrate our family’s first Colorado Christmas and due to the 8 inches of snow that fell on 12/21 it will be a white one!

I’m encouraged by what God is doing to establish ELEVATION Church in Loveland, CO.  A solid Launch Team is gathering around the vision “to see people far from God filled with new life in Christ.” We have held three “monthly preview services” so far and have seen 50 or more folks gather with us each time for worship and encouragement from God’s Word.  The best news is that one young man has placed his faith in Jesus for salvation, and 2 others are considering baptism. Yayyy God!  If you are ever in the Loveland area we would love to have you join us at one of our worship gatherings [More information and directions]. We are also growing to love our new community. What a joy it is to make friends as well as reach out to total strangers as we bless our city with practical expressions of the love of Jesus.  As we round the calendar into the new year we are really looking forward to “birthing” 3 new Life Groups to open connection points to dozens of folks seeking deeper levels of relational connection and discipleship.

Keep up with all the latest at www.elevationlife.org, or www.facebook.com/elevationlife.

Until ALL Have Heard,

Lead Pastor // ELEVATION Church

10.31.2011

When all was said and done, we had well over 200 kids and parents take part in our first ever “Halloween In The Park.” We went ‘multi-site’ and met in 2 neighborhood parks in 2 different subdivisions where our members live.

We set up inflatable bounce castles that drew kids and their parents in like moths to a flame. As folks walked up, quite a few asked us, “How much does it cost?” What a delight to be able to say, “Nothing, It’s all FREE!” We gave away FREE popcorn, FREE hot chocolate, handfuls of FREE candy, and FREE information about our church to anyone who asked – “Why are you doing this?” We even revved up the snow-cone maker and yes, gave away FREE snow-cones to kids who ate ‘em up on a chilly Colorado night! One mom said, “WOW, I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

The highlight of the evening was that we were able to have several good conversations with folks like Nigel and Cara, a young couple with sweet preschoolers who showed interest in learning more about ELEVATION church.

The other joy was seeing the ELEVATION Lead Team crank out the extra effort to pull off this service project. I loved watching the missionary flexibility of our team as they threw their hearts and hands into the night with joyful attitudes and genuine love for our neighbors. I can’t tell you how happy I am to pastor this great church!

One affirming outcome was hearing kids ask, “Are you going to do this again next year?” The cool thing was that the kids who asked were the children of an HOA board member who had questions about what we were doing and why.  Looks like this could become a tradition.

Epilog | …I know there are a lot of believers working hard to take back Christmas. I invite Christ-followers and the Churches they attend to consider ways to invade the darkest night of the year with as much light as they can muster. The strange thing about this Halloween for me was that at one point, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the devil pass by. The thing is, he wasn’t much more than 3ft. tall, and he was being escorted by his mother. My first thought was, ‘Hmm, I always imagined he would be bigger.’

October 9, 2011

‘SNEAK Preview’ Update


The first gathering of ELEVATION Church was a sweet time of praising God through worship and hearing from God through His Word.

We met at Mountain View High School on Sunday Oct. 9, at 10:30am. Many Church plants send direct mail cards to thousands of households in their city to promote their preview services. For our first preview, our focus was word of mouth invitations to people we’d already connected with to join the Lead Team for an intimate time of worship [hence we referred to it as our “sneak preview” service]. We were hoping to see 30-40 people show up. Imagine how thrilled we were when God brought 50 people together for our very first worship experience!

Parker said, “I thought the Sunday Service was awesome and it far passed my expectations. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere (it was not stuffy).”

Allyson said, “Angus’ speaking style is incredible, he really has a way of relating real life stories and bringing humor to the sermons, which I enjoyed. I liked the contemporary style of the music and atmosphere.”

We thank God for a great start.  And we are already looking forward to our next gathering; November 13, 2011 @ Mt. View High School, 10:30am.

For more info about what’s going on, surf on over to: www.elevationlife.co

September 22, 2011

Today was a good day. I found my “More journal.” A good friend gave it to me in August of 2009 with the most encouraging note on the inside front cover. The conclusion reads, “I don’t want the best for you, I want the MORE. The more than you can ask for or imagine!”

I lost my More journal in the move [65 days ago now]. I’ve searched for it on 4 or 5 different occasions. Each time I got more and more frustrated [I'm sure that's not the “More” my friend was praying for]! Finally, today, after another round of searching through the same boxes of books I’d torn through before, I paused to pray. I felt a strange urge to check the luggage…

Check the luggage? God is that your idea or mine? But, since I’d checked everywhere else, I figured it was worth a shot. It wasn’t in the first bag I checked, or the second one either. But, then, inside the front pocket of a carry-on bag, zipped inside a bigger bag, stored in a downstairs closet I found it, waiting to be re-discovered.

You see, my More journal tells the story of my faith adventure of planting a church in Loveland Colorado. It’s the story of my growing trust in “…Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21

As I read through the stories contained in my More journal my heart was encouraged and my faith was strengthened. As Francis Chan said in one of his recent blog posts; “Don’t believe Satan’s lies. You who know Christ possess immeasurable power through Him. Let’s live like it.”

Epilog | If you haven’t been inspired to start a More journal of your own, I encourage you to get started today. And don’t lose it!

Tag Cloud