Aaron to Zach (CCC Staff Team)

As I get ready to leave Christ Community Church, I’m looking back on my time here. I’ve talked about baby dedications, my time as the Art Director, China, multisite, and now the staff team I worked alongside.

The local church is supposed to be a community. A family. When you work there, you spend a lot of hours with your coworkers. Sometimes, you can spend more time with your coworkers than you do your actual family. You get to know them really well. If you work at a place for a long time, some of your coworkers might be closer to you than your own family.

My last day as a part of the Christ Community Church staff team is today, September 1. On that day, I will have been on staff the ninth longest out of all the current staff. Over twelve years. Recently, I wondered how many personnel I had overlapped with during my time. Full-time staff, part-time staff, interns, full-time non-paid staff, those considered part of the “team”, residents, and more. I started typing names I could remember, alphabetizing the list by first name. I pulled old church directories from 2004 and 2008 to jog my memory. I looked at old interoffice phone directories. I asked some fellow long time staff for names.

As of now, I have 246 names. People I have overlapped with while working at CCC. I am glad I can recall a majority of these individuals.

One of the things I’ll miss is the little moments with coworkers. Moments in the hallways, behind the scenes, in meetings where we aren’t paying attention…so many unseen moments that really come to define your relationship with them.

A number of these individuals are like family to me. Below, a shoutout to various members of the team. It would be nice to write something about everyone, but that would take a lot of time. If you or someone else is not listed below, please don’t be offended. I only got to a third of the list. It was hard to be concise. So many on the list deserve their own post celebrating who they are and what they’ve done. (And, I’ve written about some of the staff in other posts.) You may not understand all that is written, and that’s part of the point. Some inside jokes and offbeat memories. Definitely some inside jokes.

Thank you.

3. Adam Anderson – You are an incredible artist. Fun to be around. I wish our times on the Comm Team would have overlapped. Your story about your hummingbird tattoos still makes me laugh.

5. Alex Ehly – I guess I should say something about you so I don’t have to read a passive aggressive tweet later. I’m glad you endured your internship, and subsequent exile, to boomerang back to CCC. I’m hard pressed to think of someone else I’d want to be a pastor to my boys when they’d reach middle school. You are so much more than the stereotype of a student pastor, and I hope the rest of CCC sees that as well. Meetings were always going to be good with you nearby. You are a good teacher as well (except for that one time), and I look forward to hearing your next Sunday message. Keep it Christian.

6. Allison Dykhouse – Do you feel like a profiler now after Connelly’s Pastoral Counseling class? “Hmmm, that student crossed their arms when I asked them about sin.” Maybe it’s just me.

8. Amanda Riley – Pugs!

13. Angela Robinson – The boys (and friends) are still enjoying all those LEGO bricks! Thank you for the gift. Thanks for all you did around here. Hope your current job is going well for you and your family.

16. Ariana Koch – I know who you are! I didn’t have to look at anything to remember your name. Excited to see where God takes you.

18. Ashley Jasso – It’s been cool to watch the journey you’ve been on since you were helping the Bridge Team so long ago. Inspiring in many ways. You’ve been making a difference in the lives of people around the world. Keep up the good work!

20. Austin Asay – I don’t care what anyone else says, you have a real job at CCC.

22. Ben Hawley – (Pass.)

26. Bob Livingston – Shalom.

28. Bonnie Borgum – Thanks for your commitment to helping visitors get connected, leading groups, serving all over the place, and stressing the importance of Arena. Really, I should of told you all this in the subject line of an email.

31. Brandon Beed – It’s crazy to think it’s been over ten years since we worked together in Comm. You are a great artist, and I appreciated the thought you put into the tiniest details with your work. Don’t forget…Superman>Batman.

32. Brent Bradley – Can you help me put Christmas lights around the roof of my house? No? Okay. Thanks for doing all sorts of random projects around CCC, and for being a great Boys Club leader on Wednesday nights. Keep it real.

37. Carlos Cruz – Los! When we cross paths in the hallways, I always enjoy the conversations. Thanks for your service, and the cheerful way you go about it. Thanks for sharing some of your story with me as well. I’ve been blessed by you a lot, which is amazing since you’re a Lakers’ fan.

46. Chris Brooks – I enjoyed talking numbers and analytics with you. It made me smile to see your passion with it, and how it revealed trends/deeper meanings. You are thoughtful on a variety of things, and a caring individual. Nebraska Basketball could use your influence.

48. Christine Christophersen – BAY-BAY!

52. Craig Walter – I am grateful for your approach to our international partnerships. A lot of common sense, listening, and collaborative effort with other professionals. When it is time to adapt, make a change, or stop something, you do it. You value our partners, and those that give toward them and their work. You keep your focus on what it should be with each partnership. Your steady work has been key to impacting thousands around the world. I may have introduced CCC to my missions contact, but I could not have orchestrated what the partnership is today. You did that. Yes, so many volunteers and staff played a part, but you were behind it. What the partnership is today is beautiful. I am grateful for your work.

55. Dan McClannan – You are good dude. Good man, husband, father. I appreciate the way you went about your work. It always seemed you know when to be serious and when to be fun. Glad to have worked alongside you for a time. Hope our paths cross more often!

60. Dave England – Like so many on your team, I am grateful for how you went about your work. Faithful. Professional. Thanks for your service.

63. Deb Beck – I’ve never really worked with an admin before I came on the Adult Discipleship Team. Always seemed strange to ask you to make fifteen copies of some document, when it only takes me five minutes to do it. The more I got to know you, the less I wanted you to do those kind of tasks. Why? You have tremendous insight into what the local church should be, and what CCC needs to do to keep being the church God wants it to be. I wanted you in on some of the planning and strategy. I appreciated listening to you share about the Church, discipleship, caring for people, and more. It’s people like yourself (and Greg) that are the heartbeat of the local church. You two seem to serve everywhere, and to do it joyfully. You meet with people, love them, and help them as best you can. You do all sorts of tasks, with excellence, around the church, and still make time for others. And, goodness, how you stay knowledgeable with Arena is beyond me! Thank you for all you do.

66. DJ Hornacek – If I have a project where I need someone to shoot and edit video, build a backdrop from scratch with no budget, create life-size lego bricks, and perhaps remodel a bathroom, all while dealing with my boys? I know who I’m calling first. And, can we get you to change some light bulbs in Comm?

67. Doni Gregory – Faithful. You are faithful. Faithful to a lot of people who come through the doors in need, and to many within the church. You care for those less fortunate. You care for CCC. The word “care” might be an understatement when it comes to your loving commitment. Your faith shines through in your work, in so much of what you do. When it was announced I was leaving, I was moved by your kinds words to me. Thank you. And now there is one less Red Sox fan to deal with, which is probably nice for you. (Don’t forget, while I was on staff, the Red Sox won more World Series than the Yankees!) Keep playing Christmas music!

68. Drew Billings – We’ll see you soon.

71. Elizabeth Bartz – The Student Ministry secret sauce. Gold medal.

74. Emily George – It’s been fun getting to know you. Thank you for all you do around CCC. Maintaining the facility, and maintaining IT. You do it all!

76. Eric Carpenter – ‘Bout that oil! Ready to roll, Josh! You know, before I write anything else, I need to make sure I have a clean heart.

77. Eric Wendt – I look forward to seeing where you take social media, and how you influence other projects with your creativity. Rest in who you are, and do what you were hired to do.

84. Gavin Johnson – That prank you pulled on me right before I opened the Sunday service was good. Real good. I haven’t forgotten. Just sayin’.

86. Glenn Lawson – Good job of execution.

87. Gloria Brohimer – Thanks for your loving and faithful service with the Deaf Ministry.

88. Graham Frank – Grateful to know you. It’s a treat to hear what God is doing in and through you and your family. I love the work you are doing to serve people in India and elsewhere. It may not get notoriety like some missionary works, but you are making a difference in the lives of many. Those who benefit from your engineering work, and those that come to realize they can serve God with their professional skills.

90. Greg Nunamaker – (I move away my frontal breathing vent from the mic to respirate.)  No. The answer is no. No. Seriously, it’s no. Really? Fine.

91. Ian Vickers – Grateful that you and the rest of the Bridge Team (99. Jaimie Cogua, 117. Jill Ramirez, 153. Lee Westphal) welcomed Jana and me when we first decided to volunteer at CCC. You all were helpful as we started out at CCC.

93. Irving Malm – Your love for Mae challenges me in my love for Jana. Keep chugging along.

100. James Connelly – See you at the gazebo. (cough)

102. Jared Jensen – When I was new to staff, you were good in welcoming me and making me feel a part of the team. Thanks. And, you introduced my family to Carcassonne!

107. Jay Castillo – You are one of the best individuals I’ve worked with on projects. I miss that. And, you aren’t as annoying about your team like our mutual Jayhawk friend.

108. Jed Logue – TOM BRADY!

109. Jeff Kalasky – (BAH GAWD, IS THAT KALASKY’S MUSIC?) El Jefe. Thank you for your diligence with your work and security. Miss having you around these past few months, but I’m glad you are doing well in your new gig. You deserve it.

110. Jeff Neely – Your love for kids is great. Your love for life? Even better.

111. Jen Johnson – To oxford comma or not to oxford comma.

115. Jess Hawley – The conversations. The meetings. The fun. Thanks for your work in making visitors feel welcomed and appreciated. Now, tell Ben to get me some coffee.

124. John Dunkin – Enjoyed our lunch conversations. Hope you and your family are doing well, and that God continues to work in and through you as a pastor.

125. Jon Randall – GO SAWX! Glad to have you and your family back in the area.

127. Jonathan Norton – Which steeple is better? Be honest.

129. Jordan Johnson – So. Many. Memories. Thanks.

130. Jordan Kelly – Hopefully your lasting memory of working here isn’t lugging around all sorts of stuff to and from Middle School events while Alex drinks coffee. Thanks for your service! It was fun watching you from afar as you went through your internship. Glad I didn’t scare you away from my time at Scooters. And, you are an amazing chef!

131. Josh Vang – We need to get some Amsterdam soon.

132. Josiah Abernathy – Thanks for sharing your story. It’s cool to see what God has done, and continue to do, in and through you. As well, thanks for always taking some time to engage with my boys.

134. Julie Moesnner – Grateful for how you always championed the Sarpy Campus.

139. Kathy Sell – Thank you for all your countless hours working with CityCare. I hope you get a break soon. I also know there are numerous people who have found hope and healing because of your service. Thank you.

140. Kaun Johnson – All your good staff imitations…makes me wonder what your take on me would be like. Hope you are doing well.

141. Keagan Blancke – You are relatively new here. I don’t know you all that well, but from what little I do I like you. I like your spirit, your approach, your presence. Keep it up. I’ve watched from afar you and your fellow residents. It’s like that in the local church, someone is always watching you. It’s a good thing. You can impact people when you don’t even realize it. I like how you talk about your family. Real love and care. Set good habits and boundaries now with your family. At times, it may seem ridiculous and that you are missing out on something, but it’ll pay off down the road. Travis and Birkey will take care of you. If not, just let me know. I’ll come and yell at them.

142. Keith Holmes – No matter how many times I had seen and heard it, it still made me smile watching you, as a shepherd, during Morning in Bethlehem every year. Love your commitment.

143. Kelly Potter – Thanks for all you did as the receptionist! You sometimes have to field difficult calls and individuals, but you did it with joy. Glad I also passed the test Sue and you administered when you would randomly call staff to see who would receive a pastor on-call!

144. Kelsey Janda – I’m watching you.

145. Kevin McClure – Love ya, bro. Keep being faithful in everything.

146. Kip Nanninga – It was good for me to randomly cross paths with you earlier in the year at a conference in Las Vegas. Thanks for sharing a bit of what God has been doing. Glad to hear you and the family are doing well in Austin. You are remembered well by a lot of people here.

147. Klint Bitter – Strat. Ops. (Like sitting through all three Hobbit movies.)

148. Koob Vang – Thank you.

150. Krystal Sibley – I know it was a draining experience at times, but thank you for all the work you produced while here. I hope you are loving life with your family.

152. Larry Hovorka Jr – I know we are more sensible now, but it was still fun to go up to the roof and look at the clouds, during the tornado warning, way back in the day. Keep living life to the fullest, and keep being personal (with) Jesus.

154. Leslie Feeney – Love your heart for people, and your attention to detail with policies that benefit the staff. It’s nice to see another parent on staff bring their kids into the office. Especially since you’re HR. That way when I get yelled at for my kids being kids I can just point to you. And then people back down because they are scared of you. I think you should hang a gun rack in your office, but that’s just me. Add to the intimidation. “Yes, please step into my office. Sit under my gun rack. So, I noticed you didn’t fill out an out-of-office request.” Problem solved.

155. Lisa Ashton – I admire how you have gracefully handled a difficult situation these past few months. I hope people can see what so many of us staff see with how you live your life and approach your work. You deserve a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.

162. Lori Eccleston – Made it.

164. Marc Birkey – When I think of some of the hardest workers at CCC, you are one of the first individuals that comes to mind. Even when I first met you in high school, when you were volunteering with Student Ministry, you got the job done. It’s been cool to watch you come into your own and assert yourself because you are extremely knowledgable and skilled. You aren’t prideful about it, you just know who you are in Christ. Grateful to be friends with you.

165. Marc Montanye – Dude!

166. Margie Alford – The Christmas service you oversaw is still one of my favorite services. It was representative of a lot of your work, merging traditional with the modern…with your own dash of creativity! Appreciated your passion with your work, and for your volunteers.

167. Marie Dufour – You are a talented artist. Nathan and you are great. Still waiting on those cupcakes, though.

175. Merna Abernathy – Thanks for all you do with being the first person so many in need of a pastor talk to. It is a difficult job responding to a variety of questions and needs without any idea what is coming, and you handle it well. It’s been good working with you with on-call scheduling. It took some time, but we got it done.

176. Micah Yost – Hustle.

177. Michael Born – It’s hard working at a church that your family attends. Glad to see you working in a role that is a good fit for you and your family, and allows you to feel disentangled on Sunday mornings. Now, I need to talk to you about why we still have to change our passwords every three months.

181. Miles Yang – Nice. I hope you’ve seen Die Hard by now.

184. Nancy Fager – Noted. (Seriously, thanks for hiring me way back in 2005!)

188. Nick Kelly – One of my favorite work projects you asked of me was to go around to all the work computers and covertly remove Comic Sans. You did an amazing job of empowering and maximizing people’s skills within the Comm Team.

191. Nick Swanson – One of the thankless jobs at CCC is being the caretaker. Thank you to Erinn (80.) and you for doing this. Every day, unlocking the doors early in the morning and locking all the doors in the evening. It’s a huge service to the church that goes unnoticed. Thank you.

192. Nick Wackerhagen – Grateful to see where you are in life. I hope your story gives hope to many and draws them closer to God. Enjoy your family!

195. Paul Gedden – This pic sums you up so well. Your work is inspiring. Who you are is endearing to all. Thank you for being there for everyone. Especially those who are often not the target demo for most churches today. Thank you for always sharing what God is doing in and through you. Being around Irving and you is great, and reminds me my best years are still to come!

197. Phil Human – If you need someone to write a fantasy football recap, email me.

199. Rachel Bebee – It seems you are flourishing in your Comm role. Glad to see that. Keep up the good work!

200. Randy Hager – I didn’t fully appreciate all you did when I first started. You embody a lot of what makes the local church the hope of the world. Thanks for being willing to share your story so others can find hope and draw closer to God. It’s great to see you on stage during the Traditions service. Recently, I loved it when you were sitting on the piano, getting ready for the service, and Jenna was there as well leaning onto you. Lot of love in your family!

207. Ron Wright – Your crew Ron Ron Ron, your crew Ron Ron!

208. Ryan Shields – Whenever we are in a conversation, it is good. You listen. You are thoughtful. You ask tough questions. You give people respect. When I was going around and talking to staff about leaving CCC, I knew it was not going to be a quick talk with you. I looked forward to it. Officing near you I see all the work you put into the services. The work you put into your craft. You are a professional. Maybe not with how you dress sometimes (I can relate), but you are a pro with your work. Now, get some Easter songs.

209. Sandy Carroll – What you do on a weekly basis is awesome. With loving precision, you enter into people’s grief and help them navigate the difficult process of planning a funeral. You provide such care and love. Pastors…Christians should take note of how you love individuals and families during difficult times. Thank you. You love and serve CCC.

210. Sarah Buettenback – Thank you for your faithfulness at Sarpy. I remember some of our Facebook messages back and forth about multisite, Rob Bell, and more. I enjoyed it. Thanks for staying true to who you are in Christ. Thanks for not compromising your faith, and your call, for the sake of attendance numbers. Cool to see and hear what you are involved with now at Citylight, especially with refugees.

223. Steve Walters – Go eat some nachos. You…You’ve earned it.

224. Steve Yost – I’ve worked at CCC twelve years, and I’m not even halfway to how long you’ve worked here! (I think Steve Yost with the ‘stache worked here longer than me.) You are the man. My family thinks you are awesome, and you are. So many people look to you as a pastor, and I understand why. I’ll miss going to your office, or you coming to mine, and talking about all things 24, Huskers, family, CCC, and more. (Yes, 24. Jack Bauer. When we wondered if my days were numbered because when we visited Mark Ashton, at Willow Creek, and I told him how much I liked the show. And Mark didn’t like that.) I’ll miss watching you lead Sunday services, especially a song like “Lord You Are Good”. I’ll still sneak in from time to time to watch you lead rehearsals, because that’s even more of a treat. Watching you love and serve the choir and orchestra while conducting a rehearsal. If I had to lose to anyone in the fantasy football championship game, I’m glad it was you.

225. Sue Beed – Thank you for all you do in serving people in need of counseling. Listening to them, and getting them connected with a counselor or pastor. Plus, you help with weddings which can have their own ups and downs when it comes to people. Thank you. And, my boys thank you for all the candy you provided them over the years!

228. Terry Carpenter – Unknowingly, you stepped into chaos when you started working at CCC. I admired from afar how you handled yourself, and served the Student Ministry. Not too many individuals could have handled what you did. You not only survived, but thrived.

229. Thuy Compass – I miss those 3000 calorie strips of bacon. More importantly, I miss the care and cheerfulness you embodied. Thanks for your love and service to many.

233. Tim Marsden – Ah, George Bailey. I miss riffing on whatever the topic of the day was. When Jana and I moved from our apartment to our house, you were there to help us. Thanks. Representative of the kind of friend you are. Glad you are doing well in Red Oak. (To be clear, It’s A Wonderful Life was my favorite Christmas musical performed at CCC!)

234. Tim Perry – Sometimes things don’t end the way we would hope and it can stain the entirety of something. I hope Cheryl and you see all the good you did, all the lives you impacted here at CCC. For ten years, you served faithfully and stepped into difficulty. Difficult conversations. Difficult projects. Difficult people. You never shied away from it. You embraced it. You loved people and were willing to walk alongside them in their own faith journeys. Thanks for welcoming my family into your family. You are not forgotten. How could you be with your family’s loving and faithful service and presence? You are missed. I even miss the one-liners you’d mutter during staff meetings that often had me trying not to laugh out loud. I’m excited to see what God does in and through you at InterVarsity. Keep CCC people in the loop. They will want to support you.

237. Travis Williams – Yep. It’s on you now to hold down the peach milkshake fort.

240. Vicki Hancock – I always enjoyed crossing paths with you in the hallways and talking. Thanks for your hard work around the church. Not just with your job, but also volunteering with kids! Hope you are doing well.

243. Wendell Nelson – Our Samwise Gamgee. The hero of the fellowship.

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

Thank you for helping me to see that my “darkness must pass”.

246. Zach Lahm – When I handled tech, and was the Online Campus Pastor, I would sometimes get annoyed receiving any tech-related question from people in the church. When I had recent issues with my MacBook Pro, I almost didn’t want to bother you because of my own past experience. However, you were gracious and glad to help me out. This isn’t surprising. You are always happy to help out.

Again, this is only a third of the list of names. As I post this I know there is a whole lot more I could be saying about the team. People who aren’t listed above that serve and love in great ways.

It’s been a blessing to have worked with so many artistic, compassionate, faithful, loving, and wonderful individuals. I am grateful for them. I look forward to seeing how God continues to work in and through the team, and what the team will look like in the future.

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