Friday, April 1, 2011


"Don't be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams" -Ancient saying

Have you ever dreamed dreams so big that their fruition seem so far away that you may never see them? I do, but I am a dreamer and am used to seeing many things from the sky of unlimited thought and possibilities that a dream frees our creative minds to think from. So I have many dreams, some small, but many that are big. My simple mind can sometimes question whether it is sane to dream like I do, yet God has given me a creative brain for a reason, I believe. Anyway, I say all of that to share that a dream came true tonight for me. It was an incredible, confirming night. One that helps me realize I am on the right path and that I translated what God put into my heart some years ago in a way honoring to God. Tonight we had the funeral for our friend, camper and Able Church member Phil. You might say well that sounds completly crazy... you dreamed of having a funeral??? Well not exactly, let me explain... We started Camp Daniel 15 years ago with a basic concept of seeing campers get saved. So many did in those first few years that the problem of where they would go to church came about. Most did not end up getting connected to a church after they left camp. So became the opportunity to dream a new dream. We started a monthly program called PowerHouse Fellowship in Crivitz. My friend, brother, and fellow dreamer, Pastor John Koch, was instrumental in getting this rolling. Together, we are a dream machine; in fact, people would laugh at many, many of the conversations we have had over the last 10 or so years. We have dreamed up ministry after ministry, one idea leading to another and then on to the next. We have had the opportunity to act on some of these and see them lived out, and that is exciting; and others well, are better left being dreams! So we started PowerHouse Fellowship and eventually dreamed of starting a church for people with disabilities where everyone's gift would be valued and used to grow a family or community of people serving and growing together. During that time we also started Firehouse Fellowship in Green Bay with the help of Nancy List and then started The Able Fellowship in Green Bay. 4 or 5 years ago I really felt that God was pushing us to begin to live out this dream of a church as I described above and we consolodated our fellowships into a church called The Able Church. The concept burned strongly in me, enough so that the push towards it, even though incredibly hard, was worth pursuing. It took its toll; two good friends and board members left as they saw it as something that would only serve to sidetrack me from getting Camp Daniel finished. That was a very painful time of great questioning. Why would God put this dream in my heart and the opportunity to see it through? Why would he take the people closest to me away as I began to pusue this dream? We have pushed ahead with the dream and God has blessed it, and brought along many, many people into my life to be part of it. I began as it's Pastor and God brought Pastor John on full time so I could hand it off to him. From there, John handed its leadership over to Pastor Tim Mandich, whom God has annoited as His servant to lead the church. We have Jen and Marceaux, Molly, the Weidner family, the Woods Family, Wendy, and so many others who work hard in service with their Able Church Family. So even with all God has provided in this pursuit of this dream, I still at times would feel lingering doubts, as the words of my friends who left at the front of this dream would ring in my mind. So all that brings us to tonight's funeral. A historic day in the life of our church family; one where we became a full fledged church, experiencing God in way only a church family can. This is the fulfilment of a part of this big dream of having a church that was recognized as being whole, as being filled with the worlds definition of weak people, and as being a community that would celebrate life and death together. So tonight well over a hundred people joined togther to celebrate Phil's life, His faith, and his chruch. People with disabilities greeted Phil's family and prayed for his friends, worshipped God together, preached about heaven and led us in saying goodbye to one of our own. It was a night I will never forget, one that confirmed the first part of a dream so big only God will be able to see it through. I look foward to how it will all unfold. I stand with my heart full of confidence that God's purpose will prevail, yet I know my doubting mind will question if it was just a dream. Father God, I am thankful for the dreams you have given, and for the patience to help me grow into what you want me to be. Thank you for The Able Church and all that you have done to bring it to where it is today. Amen


  1. The scriptures say that the young men will have visions and the old men will dream dreams. So welcome to my world of the old(er) having dreams. Never stop dreaming, Tony. You inspire me and others to dream bigger than we would ever be comfortable with. I love, need and appreciate you. The best is yet to come!!

  2. you wrote: "Why would God put this dream in my heart and the opportunity to see it through? Why would he take the people closest to me away as I began to pusue this dream?"

    'That was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead . . . Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart . . . But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us . . . For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison . . . So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord . . . So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him" (2 Corinthians 1:9;4:1,7,17;5:6,9)

  3. Tony answered the question beautifully if you would read it carefully.

  4. "I stand with my heart full of confidence that God's purpose will prevail, yet I know my doubting mind will question if it was just a dream."
    Thank you Tony, for reminding me of what my heart tells me. I love that you dream big! I know I have a place to go and share my dreams. You amaze me!