Monday, August 27, 2007

Kville Night at the Park & Main Street Baptist Church Block Party

Check out the cool pics from the block party. Did I ever mention that I won first place for the hula hoop contest at field day in elementary school?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Article about our church!

Mike Gianopulos of The Refinery (left) and Mike Willard of Main Street Baptist Chrurch.
(Journal Photo by Kelly Bennett)

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Fused Spirit: Churches say God guided merger and new church's best days are ahead

By Melissa Hall


The members of The Refinery, a local nondenominational church, have met in the pastor’s home, a movie theater and other locations around Kernersville since Mike Gianopulos started the church about four years ago.

The Refinery started with about nine people, Gianopulos said. Its membership has grown to about 100. Gianopulos said that about four out of 100 new churches make it past two years.

The Refinery was healthy and growing, but it was at a crossroads.

Gianopulos realized that if it got much bigger he would be spending less time with pastoral duties and more time doing administrative things. He met Mike Willard, the senior pastor at Main Street Baptist Church, at the movie theater and the two struck up an immediate friendship.

“God had something up his sleeve,” Willard said.

Members of The Refinery and Main Street Baptist started working together on such community activities as the Spring Folly and the Christmas Open House.

Last spring, Gianopulos had an idea.

“What if Main Street and The Refinery become one,” Gianopulos asked Willard.

“I wish I had kept count of the number of times I asked him if he was crazy,” Willard said.

Willard said that building bridges between the generations is a primary mission at Main Street. The Refinery uses contemporary worship, and Main Street uses a more traditional form.

“We can do more together,” Gianopulos said.

Gianopulos started looking for other churches that had merged, and what he found was that most of the time a dying church merged with a healthy church or two dying churches merged. He could not find any cases where two healthy churches merged.

Willard and Gianopulos talked and prayed about Gianopulos’s vision and could find no negatives. They took the plan to their respective leadership teams, and they approved it.

Both congregations voted in June to approve the merger.

The Refinery had to move from its previous location by July 29. They started worshipping together Aug. 5. The church has three worship services on Sunday mornings.

There is a traditional service at 9 a.m., a blended service at 11, and a contemporary service in the fellowship hall, also at 11.

“I’ve been excited,” Gianopulos said. “Our best days are ahead of us.”

■ Melissa Hall can be reached at 996-6601 or

Friday, August 17, 2007

Call Me Professor

I am really excited about a new opportunity that I have! Salem ( asked me to teach the business law class as an adjunct professor for the fall semester. I think the only way that you grow as an individual is by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. I will teach the class one night a week so teaching will not interfere with my job. I am really excited!

Also, the Kernersville news paper interviewed me and some other women for an article about being a pastor's wife. I think the article (which was in yesterday's paper) was really well done.

Mike and our church were also in the Kernersville News, and an article about the church will be in the Winston-Salem Journal. We have researched to try to find two healthy churches that have decided to merge and have not found any other such churches. So far, the merger is going great! The newspaper articles focus on the merger of the Refinery and Main Street. I am still doing the prayer ministry, book club, and I am also teaching the young adult sunday school class with John. I am excited about continuing to meet the folks at Main Street.

I've been reading a lot. You can see many of the books (which we read for book club) listed on the side of my blog. We just read and discussed Tales from the Bed (a story about a woman with ALS). Our next book is Water for Elephants. I have also listened to a large number of audio books while I work out at the gym. I am still trying to go to the gym at least 4 days a week. I do one hour on the elliptical, usually interval training and try to do weights too. I have listened to and read a number of young adult books, many by Lois Lowry (The Giver, Gossamer, Number the Stars, the Messenger). I love Lowry's books because they are quick, but they give you many themes and things to ponder. I also listened to Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. I read Seventh Son in High School and loved it. Enders Game was entertaining, but not my favorite book. I listened to Light on Snow by Anita Shreve and really enjoyed it. I also listened to a great book, The Goose Girl. Drop me a line if you know of any great books that I should read!

The Refinery through the years

As many of you know, the Refinery has recently merged with Main Street Baptist Church in Kernersville. Over our 4 years, the Refinery has met in the movie theater in Kernersville, in an office building in the Hart Complex, and in a leased church building on Forrest Drive. I tried to capture many of our great moments in pictures, which I am sharing below in slideshows. I hope you enjoy these!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A good time

My idea of a good time:

4 kids under the age of 4, five adults, sharing one 2 bedroom condo - good times!