A Family Ministry

Promiseland, Faithweavers, and Circle Drive Students are ministries to the family. Sometimes they are perceived as a "glorified babysitting service," where it is a time to drop children off so that parents can have a break. Some may volunteer in these ministries with the same mindset. 

That mindset is not what we desire out of our children's ministry, nor is it what God wants! We long to see our next Generation come to know Jesus as their Savior, to grow in their walk with God, and to see them become contagious in their faith! 

We are here as a resource to share the Gospel and to provide God's Word into their lives during these programs. However, these ministries are in place to equip the parents in training their children to grow in their walk with God. 

Parents I want to remind you of the big job that we have to raise our children so that they love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, Matthew 22:37, and to encourage you to do this by spending time with your children and talking to them about God. 

Here are some ideas to help you. In Promiseland we provide activity pages that show you what we have talked about, the key verses for the story, discussion questions, family activities, and a memory verse. Seek time each day with them to ask them the discussion questions, read the story to them again from the Bible, help them memorize the verses, and explain to them the meaning of it. Ask the teachers and leaders what your children have learned in Faithweavers. They would be happy to share that with you so that you can continue the conversation with your child. Seek engagement with your child, ask them genuine questions, have them paint, draw a picture, or act out the story, whatever makes them tick and helps them retain what they have learned. 

For your teenagers, ask them questions based on what we talked about in youth group, if they had any small group questions, or how they plan to apply what we talked about to their life. Email, text, or Facebook message me if you would like to know what we talked about or a copy of the small group questions. Pray with them over meals and talk to them about God over the dinner table. 

I want you to know that I write this to you as a parent and not perfect when it comes to this by any stretch of the imagination. I try but sometimes get "too busy," "tired," or "home too late" to do this with my children. Teaching them every day is something I fail at occasionally but will always continue striving to achieve because I know it is critical for me to take the time to engage my children and to raise them up for the Lord. 

God has given us that job as parents! Let me encourage you not to give up if you miss a day, but instead seek the Lord for His help in this area and talk to your children about God the next day. 

Life is Change!

We live in a day and age where change occurs very rapidly. Technological innovations are occurring each and every day to the point where my IPhone 6S will be considered old and obsolete in a couple of years. We see the air of change in the political climate in the United States and around the world. There are also social changes occurring all around us, as well as a change in the way that people treat others. We only need to look around us and notice that change is taking place all over—some of it is good and some of it is bad. 

When we look at the changes that I mentioned above, most of these really don’t have a dramatic impact on our lives, making the effects of the changes on our lives a little less dramatic. But there’s one thing about change—it does affect us at a very deep, personal level sooner or later. As I’m writing this article, my life is in a tremendous period of change, and I can honestly say that I really don’t like some of it. I’m writing this article just after receiving news that my grandpa has just passed away. This is a huge change for me, living the first moments of my life without my grandpa being here. I don’t like this change. As a pastor, I’m also grieving over the change of my partner in ministry being called to a new venture in Alabama. While I know that this is God’s will and a great opportunity to be stretched for them, I don’t like the fact that someone I’ve joked with, fought the battles of ministry with, and saw great things happen here at CDAC with won’t be in that relationship with me anymore. These changes are tremendously difficult for me. 

Changes always bring a time of uncertainty. The status quo is now different, and this impacts all facets of life. For me, I now face the uncertainty of what will it be like not to celebrate holidays and milestones of life without my grandpa? I don’t know how it will be! What will God call us as a church to do with a new ministry partner? I don’t know! And if you know me at all, this is a really big deal for me. I hate uncertainty, and life is full of it. 

But as I spent time praying this morning, I was reminded of a very important point from Scripture. When we face times of uncertainty, we can trust in the certainty of God. Even though these changes impact us, they don’t have an effect on God. He is far above these issues, changes, and feelings. Friends, God is the fortress that we can run to and rest in. 

As we face change in our lives, remember that God is our fortress of rest, stability, and reassurance. You will get through change. God’s plans and purposes will continue to accomplish His will no matter what. Even in this time of uncertainty, there is no one more sure than God Himself. 

 

The Missing Ingredient

If you've ever tried to bake a cake you have come to understand that having all of the ingredients is a very important thing. For instance, when I was in 7th grade I had to take a home economics class that required us to bake a cake. Our group was tasked with finding a recipe, gathering the ingredients, mixing and baking a chocolate cake. Once we found the recipe we added all the necessary ingredients, mixed them together and popped it in the oven. As we waited our group thought that everything was going to plan, but we couldn't have been more wrong. As we pulled our cake out of the oven it didn't take us long to realize something went horribly wrong. We forgot an important ingredient. As we stared down at our cake that failed to rise we came to the conclusion that we forgot the baking powder. It was quite delicious in flavor but did not have the consistency a cake should have. 

I believe that in ministry there are a couple of ingredients that we often leave out and it leads to burnout and disaster. The first ingredient is a burden. When doing ministry of any kind whether it be youth ministry, children's ministry, poverty alleviation, international missions you have to start with a burden. A burden is a heavy weight. When we have a burden for a specific group of people it weighs so heavily on our hearts that it prompts us to action.  If I have a burden for the lost teens in my community it will spur me on to do something about it. If I have a burden that the people in my church family should live healthy, God pleasing lives then it will cause me to take charge and make a difference. If the burden for people is not present in our hearts we will never truly find purpose and meaning in what we do. If we serve out of obligation, we won't be motivated to press on when it's difficult. In ministry, we need to have a heavy heart for the people we are serving.

The other ingredient that is often missing from ministry compliments our burden. Joy helps us carry the weight of the burden we have for the people around us.  We can only find joy in one place and that is in Christ. "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!"  Philippians 4:4.  The lack of joy in a ministry is often what leads to burnout and resentment. This all to common problem can be remedied by simply being watchful as to where God is working. Look for evidences of God moving in people's hearts. These moments can often go overlooked because they happen over time but when we see God work, it gives us a means by which we can carry the burden for those around us. 

Remember not to leave these two ingredients out of your ministry and it will be long and fruitful. 

Connect with Christ

“Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?”  This question has been asked of me before and I’ve also posed it to others.  I’ve heard many interesting answers, such as “God’s instructions to us so that we can live,” or “God’s plan for the redemption of mankind from their sins.”  These are some of the better answers that I’ve been given—some weren’t thought out very well, so I won’t share those.  I want to give you an opportunity to answer this question before you continue to read this article.  Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?

So what was your answer?  When I answer this question, I see the Bible revealing the heart of God to connect with His people.  When we start in Genesis, we notice that God created Adam and Eve in order to have a relationship with them.  Even after the fall, God continues to give people opportunities to connect with Him, and even paying the price Himself for this connection to take place.  God longs to connect with you!

We spent time in the month of June dealing with the steps that are necessary to take in order to accomplish our vision of “Living for God: Loving His People.”  We need to understand that our greatest purpose as a church is to make sure that people connect with Jesus.  While this is a simple phrase, we need to understand what this looks like, and how we plan to connect people with Jesus.

First of all, we connect people with Jesus through the message of the gospel.  A.B. Simpson, the founder of The Alliance, spent incredible amounts of time reaching for the disenfranchised and outcasts of society on the boat docks of New York City.  We need to be a people who are doing the same things. 

We are working with our ministries to develop strategies to equip people to talk about Jesus.  We also realize that connecting people with the message involves getting the message to the masses.  We do this through personal relationships (talking about Jesus with your friend or coworker).  We also use the benefits of technology to share the truth of Christ with our community, and even the world!

We also connect with Jesus through our worship services.  We are working hard to make sure that the music, Scripture passages, preaching, technology, and other creative outlets are leading people into the presence of our Lord Jesus and helping them connect with the Savior!

Jesus longs for a deep relationship with the people He created.  Some know Him, some do not.  My friends, we need to be in the business of seeing people connect with Jesus in deep, meaningful ways.