Just wanted to let you know about some new study resources on the subject of baptism that have been published on Community's website. The first item is a brief article titled: Community's View of Baptism. At the bottom of the article there are two downloadable files. The first is a "Baptism Study Guide" which contains self-study materials for both teens and adults. The second download is a recent message on baptism titled: What's the Skinny on the Dip. We hope these resources will (1) help newcomers know what we believe about baptism; (2) encourage others to commit their lives to Jesus through baptism; and (3) help Christians remember and cherish their own baptisms. You can find these resources at the following link: Baptism Resources
I just had a very timely article drop into my inbox from the Externally Focused Church Network. It contains some research finding that might surprise you. The article is fairly brief. I hope you'll take the time to read it. I highlighted in red the text that jumped out at me.
Survey Says Families Want to Serve Togetherwith Family and Community Ministries Journal
In the Jan/Feb 2008 edition of Rev! Magazine executive editor and good friend of EFN, Alan Nelson, predicted 12 trends in ministry to come by 2018. One trend he predicted was that the classroom approach to learning will lessen and people will begin to learn through active service-like community service projects and mission trips. ″Connecting Scriptures with these experiences will increase…Bono and others are causing us to realize that faith without the fruit is dead,″ he writes.*
Alan also predicted that the emphasis on Family Ministry will grow. He writes, ″There is a felt need to pursue family unity and intergenerational worship and spiritual formation. Family Pastor is currently the fastest growing new ministry title and this will continue into the next decade, as churches strive to equip and empower parents to assume their responsibility.″
Well, Alan, it looks as if those two predictions are already coming true. The Family and Community Ministries Journal, published by Baylor University School of Social Work didn't just predict service learning would be important to the future church, they found that families are asking for it. In 1993, Diana Garland, Dean of Baylor University's School of Social Work, and Dr. Pam Yankeelov, professor at the University of Louisville, developed a tool called the Church Census to help church leaders understand how they are reaching families and what church families want and need. 150 churches have used this census for 12 years.* (For a full review of survey findings, see the Summer 2007 edition of the journal).
While the survey has exposed a number of insightful connections to today's church families, discovering how consistently churchgoers expressed a desire to serve was one of the major surprises for Garland. Among all denominations, socioeconomic and age groups, the most common answer to ″how can the church help,″ was ″give us ways to serve others outside our family.″
Parents must be sensing what Garland is already sure about: ″We know that children who grow up serving next to adults are more likely to attend church as young adults. It makes it more meaningful,″ she shares.
She admits that finding families wanting more service opportunities came as a bit of a surprise. Garland shares, ″We didn't expect that. Even families who are struggling themselves want to serve others. The opportunity to help others was the single most requested thing of church families, across the board. They want help living their faith. These families are telling us that the focus of church need to be centered on ways families can minister to the world. We've tended to see service as an add-on to worship, with worship being the main focus. Families are saying we need to turn that around.″
I want to ask you a question. I hope you'll either email me your answer or post a comment, for others to see, at the bottom of this article. Here's the question...
Today, if you found out that you had 30 days left on this earth, what would you do?
What items would immediately shoot to the top of your personal "to-do" list? How would your life be different after receiving the news? Take some time to mull this over and let me know what you came up with.
CCC has historically offered more in-depth adult Bible studies on Wednesday evenings. That tradition will continue because we see that value of studying God's word so it can serve as the foundation for our lives. Dave Pfingst will be teaching an in-depth study titled "Beginnings" this Wednesday evening at 7PM. As leaders we are committed to CCC being deeply rooted in God's word.
Yet, we also hold strongly to another biblical mandate for leaders. A huge part of our calling as leaders is to equip God's people for works of service. Ephesians 4:11-12 it says: "It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." We are not fulfilling our calling as leaders if we are not also providing opportunities for our members to be equipped to follow Jesus into ministry.
One way we will try to to that is to offer an additional equipping class each Wednesday night, which will run concurrently with our in-depth Bible study. Our first equipping class is a six-week study titled: "Go Fish." Brent will lead this equipping time. It is designed to help us explore God's heart for those who don't know Him and the role we can play in introducing others to Him. Along the way we will be equipped with tools that will help us make sharing our faith a natural part of our lives. The sessions include:
Week 1: We Were All Fish Once! Week 2: Why Fish? Week 3: Fish Guts! Week 4: Fishing Buddies! Week 5: Muddy Water! Week 6:The One That God Away! I hope you will take a chance, offer God an evening a week, and dare to be equipped for the most significant investment of your life. Those who experience an eternity with God because of your sacrifice will be worth it all.
Five players from CCC's softball team were fortunate enough to play in the Rec. League's All Star softball game last night. We had a great time. Our team won the game 10-9 by scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th inning. Very cool.
The best part of the evening for me happened after the game. When we got home Patti recounted a conversation with a player from another team. He was waiting to bat and asked our crowd who they were cheering for. They said: Community Christian Church. He replied: "Oh, Community Christian, the church with the big heart." And he wasn't just talking about our logo. Let's keep focusing on things that matter most. Let's keep sharing God's big heart with others. They are noticing.
Just wanted to pass on the good work our volunteers are doing in Heartland. Following is a copy of an email from a parent...
Dear Jean and Nancy,
I called Millie this morning to find out who was in Heartland with our son, Eli. Although he is not 3 yet, he has been enjoying meeting with Heartland for the past month and we see him opening up in many areas. I shared with Millie this;
You two made such a huge impression on Eli with the Bible story David and Goliath. We could barely get in the van after church because he was insistent that we look at "Big Bad Guy, Yellow, Giant" on his Map Book he was holding...which was the best way he could find to describe Goliath...lol. He takes pride in hanging up his Map Book on the fridge so that we don't forget to finish it. And since it is hung at Eli's height, he is reminded of what he was taught that Sunday every morning he enters the kitchen. Last night, although it was getting late, he went on and on about Goliath. So Rick and I decided to view "Greatest Legends and Heroes of the Bible" David and Goliath Movie. Again, he watched it this morning and later at lunch he just had to hold his 'homework'/Map Book while he watched the movie once again. Although his vocabulary is still just a few repetitive words he uses big expressions and acts out whatever you taught him. It brings us great joy to see Eli's excitement for the Lord and bible heroes!!! Even as we headed to the church this morning to meet some friends, Eli had to go get his paper plated basket you made with/for him and take it with us. He loves going to Heartland and learning. We just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you THANK YOU FOR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CHILD'S LIFE THROUGH THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST!!!
I tried to write this last night. I wrote about six paragraphs and hit the “send” button and, since my computer had disconnected from the internet without my knowing it, everything was erased. I turned the computer off and went to bed. Tonight I’ll give it another shot.
We are working in the little town of Pearlington, Mississippi. Before the hurricane there were over 850 homes standing, after Katrina there were 30. Only five houses did not have standing water as the result of the storm. The eye of the storm made landfall here, the devastation is amazing.
We went on a tour of the most devastated areas Sunday afternoon. One sight that will stick with me is of a small stick-built home, maybe 1000 square feet, in the immediate area where the levy’s broke. Every window was broken out of the house, the front door was broken. Trash littered the yard. It was, for all intents and purposes, an abandoned home. But as we drove by I look through the broken front door and saw an old man sitting in a chair looking outside. It was a normal day at home for him. Most of the places where houses stood are cement slabs. We’ve heard some incredible stories we’ll be able to share with you when we get home.
The one thing that has impacted all of us is that the three year anniversary of the storm is approaching and there is still so much to be done. Precious few of the homes lost in Pearlington have been rebuilt. We are presently working on four. Our group has been subdivided into four teams, each working on a separate project.
One team painted the interior of an entire house, over the last two days. They are in close contact with the elderly homeowner. He is so excited about moving into his new home. Last night, after our crew left, he came in and primered three rooms so our team could finish their painting today. He is excited to move into his new home in the next few days. It will be his first new home.
One team spent the last two days finishing the kitchen on another home. They installed cabinets, countertops, appliances, and finished the interior trim. Another team has sheetrocked an entire house.
My team spent the last two days finishing the upstairs of a home that will house a new preacher and his family. He is coming to plant a new church in Pearlington. So many seeds have been planted here for the kingdom, and those who have been blessed are responding. Ron (our supervisor) told me today that “Pearlington is on fire for the Lord.” This young ministry family is the next step in creating a long-term presence for the kingdom here. He and his family are planning to move in within a month. They will be sheltered by a home that we helped build. They will be surrounded by passages from God’s word we wrote behind the drywall. They will be blessed by a ministry made possible by YOU. Thank you for making it possible for us to be here – we’re doing our best to be a blessing while we are here. Keep us in your prayers. More later…