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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach

(March 31, 2002)

Family Community Church in San Jose, Calif., is a techno-savvy church located in Silicon Valley, the world’s hotbed of computerized innovation. Virtually every major high-tech company is based or has offices in the Valley. Situated among the dot-com and computing giants — such as Apple Computer — is Family Community Church, known as much for its cutting edge, multi-media ministry as its mission to introduce dot-comers and computer executives to Christ.

Power of music: Family Community’s contemporary praise and worship team ministers to visitors from off the street.

Family Community’s Spirit newspaper, a 16-page full-color publication, is mailed to 200,000 homes each month to reach the unchurched with information and programs that interest them. More than 200 new households visit the church monthly.

"Our goal is to make the person who’s coming in that’s not a Christian impressed with how we love and care for them," says Bill Buchholz, senior pastor. "When people have a chance to make a decision without pressure, we’ve found they’ll be more honest with you."

Regulars and first-time visitors are on equal ground when they enter the church. Visitors are directed to a table where an instant snapshot is taken of them for a visitor’s card. The picture helps church staff remember visitors by name. Information tables with advertisements invite worshipers to get involved in one of the congregation’s 18 ministries. At other tables located throughout the fellowship hall, free doughnuts, coffee and juice are offered. The aroma of freshly brewed espresso and lattes draws handfuls of people to an espresso cart before every service. "Each week we give away more than 1,500 doughnuts," Buchholz says. "People can hide behind their coffee cup. It tends to make them linger and connect with new friends. As long as people are making friends and growing in Christ, we’re happy."

Beyond the foyer, ushers dressed in golf shirts with embroidered church logos greet the casually dressed attendees as they enter the main auditorium – coffee and pastry in hand. The sanctuary is equipped with simulcast capabilities. Technicians at the back of the auditorium control state-of-the-art digital cameras with joysticks. A streaming operator monitors video as it is streamed live on Family Community’s Web site.

On this Sunday, the service begins with contemporary worship filling the auditorium. "My goal is to use music to reach out to the community," says Todd Brown, music pastor, noting that most attendees have little church background. While the contemporary service gets under way in the main sanctuary, the Video Café in The Upper Room, an upstairs auditorium, is filled with those preferring traditional praise and worship. "He Touched Me" and "The Old Rugged Cross" are songs of choice here. Thirty minutes later, the services become one via live closed-circuit television, which allows those in the Video Café to hear the same sermon Buchholz is preaching downstairs. "If our people can acclimate themselves to receiving the preacher’s message on screen," Buchholz says, "then it will be easier for us to expand in our current facility and other rented facilities throughout Silicon Valley without having to build entire new worship sites."

The church’s ability to stream video to its Web site allows people around the world to listen to Buchholz’s messages weekly.

Phil Nicholas began attending the church more than a year ago and recently joined Family Community’s singles ministry leadership team. "Pastor Bill’s messages are perfectly tailored to meet the Silicon Valley population," Nicholas says. "While he speaks our language, he still tells the truth."

Family Community’s innovative approach to ministry has been the catalyst for its growth. In 1983, Buchholz started the church in his living room. By 2000, attendance reached 800. Today, Family Community’s attendance has swelled to more than 1,800 congregants. "God is doing a work much greater than any of us could have imagined possible," Buchholz says.

— Isaac Olivarez

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