Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ministry Update - Summer 2017

I do believe summer is my love/hate season at church. LOVE because there's time to do stuff; the kids are out of school, the weather is gorgeous, people are out and about. HATE because so many people are absent from church due to vacations.  It's a busy, fruitful, and odd season.  Here's what we've been up to this summer in Pike County.


June began with Vacation Bible School.  We had a wonderful week.  In total, we had 53 children/teens registered with 28 workers.  I was the lead 1-3rd grade teacher and James was the assistant Youth teacher.  Together, we ran the second church van which picked up kids in the Feds Creek area.  Our van was always over-filled and so much fun. We had 15 children express interest in learning more about following Jesus. In following up on that interest, about 6 of them were unchurched kids so we're slowly discipling and encouraging the kids in their burgeoning faith.  One teen boy has already been baptized and joined our church, which we are super excited about.

In May we started MOVE: Monthly Outreach, Visitation, and Evangelism.  The third Saturday of each month, we go out intentionally to share the gospel with our community.  For June, we followed up with unchurched VBS kids.  We had 4 adults and 4 children present to serve. 

In March, the Moms in Prayer group started at our local elementary school.  Not to lose momentum, we met at the park in June for a time of prayer, fellowship, and play for the kids.  We had 3 moms and 4 children.

Towards the end of June, we took the kids to see Cars 3 at the movie theatre.  We had 14 go, which was super fun!  Plus it ignited a LOVE for all things Cars in Hudson.  We saw the movie 4 times this summer and have started slowly acquiring all the Cars cars - like he doesn't have any toys already.

Our local association participates in LoveLoud each summer.  This is basically a local mission trip.  For a week, church members in SBC churches in our county get together to do construction projects, car washes, and other forms of outreach and service in our area.  James served as a gopher, basically delivering supplies to different construction groups.  I served in the kids club, providing childcare for the children of the LoveLoud servants.  Through the week, we had 5 come to faith in Jesus.

July was almost as busy as June.

And just like that, it was July!

It began with VBX at Grace Baptist, a sister church in our association.  It was a special VBS just for teens.  James and I took 4-5 teens from our church each day.  They had a great time being with other teens and growing in their faith.

For the July MOVE, we handed out Bibles and prayer driving.  There were 4 adults and one child present.  We've been praying that more of our church members would participate in this ministry.

The third week of July, we had our family vacation.  We stayed in-state, simply going about 5 hours west.  It was very relaxing, even if it was 100+ degrees outside!  We enjoyed plenty of pool time, afternoon naps, and family fun at various touristy things.

The week after vacation, 5 adults and 1 teen from our church went on a mini-mission trip to Love Packages in Decatur, Alabama.  It was a whirlwind trip, driving 14 hours round trip in basically 48 hours.  Love Packages is a ministry that recycles out of date Bible study curriculum, Bibles, and other faith-based literature by sending it to churches overseas that can use it.

I don't have many original ideas, but I do know good ideas when I see them!  We not-so-subtly stole Parkland Baptist's idea way back in '08 for Silly Sundays in July!  Each Sunday night, we had a Bible Study, songs of praise, and prayer plus crazy fun days!  We had game night, movie night, karaoke night, art night, park night, and water-play night.

And that brings us to August.

The Mini-Mission Trip Team reported on their trip the first Wednesday night at church.  We shared a video of pictures, gave an overview of the ministry, and shared testimony of what we learned.

The first weekend in August, we took several children/teens from church to the Breaks Interstate Park for a water park trip.  To go, the children had to earn it by either memorizing a passage of scripture or retelling a Bible story (for those that struggle with straight memorization). Hudson recited Psalm 23 which was such a blessing to me. Jesus has gifted him with an amazing memory that I am praying he will use for his glory.

For several years, the church has taken the regularly attending kids on a school supply shopping trip.  Each child got a big bag of general supplies, then we went to Wal-Mart where each child received $20 to buy special things they'd like. We then returned to church and had a pizza dinner.  The church's generosity towards the children is a huge blessing.

We've been very intentional about building a relationship with our local public elementary school this past year.  It's slowly (maybe not-so-slowly) paying off.  James was asked to bring a short devotion and time of pray for the faculty their last day of inservice before school began.  Then later that day, my Mom's in Prayer group hosted a prayer walk. We had a great turn out for the prayer walk - 11 adults and 5 kids!  Our first Moms in Prayer meeting was the last Wednesday in August and we had 6.  It's slowly growing and proving to be an encouragement to the moms who attend. We're very thankful for this open door for ministry in our community.

Our August MOVE focused on the families that have received moved into homes in our neighborhood.  We identified 4 new families and went to each one with a smile, offer of prayer, and a small Welcome to the Neighborhood gift.

In February, my friend Eva and I began a Girls' Day Out ministry. We've done an event each quarter and it's slowly grown from 3 girls in February to 8 girls in May.  For August, we hosted Girls Night In - a slumber party at church!  We had a spa theme with painting nails, DIY lip balm and bath salts.  Then we learned how to use the SOAP (Scripture-Observation-Application-Prayer) model of a quiet time.  We all spent the night at church and got up to make a muffin breakfast for the congregation on Sunday morning. We had 4 girls come. At first, I was a bit discouraged - I always hope for *this* many. Sometimes the Lord allows them to show up, sometimes he doesn't. The 4 turned out to be perfect! They were able to pair off with no one a third wheel.  So much giggling!

Other events this summer, that I didn't capture on my phone include two Church dinners which are always tasty and a good time for fellowship.  We continued in our monthly ministry to the nursing home.  Frequent hospital visits, including a drive to the hospital in Bristol.  One funeral for a sweet church member's husband.  Various conversations about Jesus, intentional counseling, building of friendships, and living life in community.

Other news:

Way back in April, we took photos at church for a new church directory.  We used it as an outreach event, opening it up for families not necessarily connected to our church to get a portrait made.  The Church Directories arrived mid-August.  I'm happy with how they turned out, though it has been a very long process to get them. 

After several people mentioning it, we decided to get church t-shirts.  The purpose is double-fold.  First, it helps identify us: whether at a youth event or a church event, wearing the shirt helps us (and others) know who we are.  Secondly, it's free publicity - wearing the shirt out and about in your normal day can serve as a silent reminder that our church is there, open, and active.  I designed it with the help of Suzanne at Bob's Sports Shop in Elkhorn, City.  I am super excited about how the design turned out and we're looking forward to getting them mid-September.


In our personal lives: Hudson started K at the end of August. So bittersweet. It's a blessing to see him healthy and growing, but sad that it is happening so darn quickly!  Slow down time, please.  James has been struggling with some health issues. Particularly he is having some vitamin and mineral deficiencies which are affecting his energy level. The doctors are still tweaking medicines and trying to get him regulated.  He is also meeting with a knee surgeon for a possible patella realignment.  Exciting and somewhat scary.  My health has been fairly good overall.  The one year anniversary of my dad's passing is coming up and I can already feel the lump in my throat just thinking about it.  We've been here a year, which is unbelievable.  It's been a very easy transition.  My second year in MO was one of a struggle with depression due to feeling very lonely.  I don't expect that here as I'm not home alone with a baby and have been so blessed to make good friends here.  Friends are such a blessing from the Lord!  We're looking forward to another year of ministry in Pike Co - praying for more to be reached for Jesus, continued and improved ministries at the church, and falling in love with Jesus more and more everyday.

- One year in KY!
- 8 Baptism this year
- 3 Transfers of letter this year

- James' health
- Hudson in Kindergarten (he gets a little teary when I drop him off)
- Church ministries to be strengthened
- More participation in our MOVE outreach ministry
- Wisdom for James and other church leaders

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Discipleship via an Alarm Clock


It's tough.  It requires time, commitment, and lots of patience - on the part of the discipler and the disciplee. (Pretty sure I just made up those words)

Recently, James baptized a teen boy at church.  This boy had faithfully attended MBC's VBSs in the past year but never got plugged into "normal" church.  This year he professed faith at VBS and asked to be baptized.  His parents are unchurched so James has been very intentional about trying to reach out to them.  They say they are supportive of his faith, but aren't interested in Jesus or the church for themselves.  The truth is, they are not supportive.  Support involves doing what it takes for a person to be successful in whatever it is you are supporting.  They refuse to wake him up on Sunday morning, feed him breakfast before church so he isn't hungry, or even attend his recent baptism.  It breaks my mama heart.

So yesterday, while at Wal-Mart buying some of H's remaining school supplies, we purchased this young man an alarm clock.  All in all, he's done a good job of being up and ready for church on Sunday mornings to catch the church van.  One Sunday, he even left his sleeping BFF in his bed and came to church without him which showed real maturity.  But he does miss some worship services because he's asleep and with no phone or clock in his possession, it's hard to just get up in time. He is a teenage boy, afterall, and it is summer read: no schedule.

Purchasing this alarm clock got me thinking about how we need to support each other in our discipleship walk.  Sometimes that support is great; requiring much from us.  Sometimes, it's a $5 alarm clock.  May we be the church - be people who see a need and fill that need so a fellow follower of Jesus can follow his or her very best.

Image result for walmart mainstays alarm clock
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but encouraging one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25