January 27, 2014

Great Mission Opportunity

Perhaps you've already heard of the Shoebox Ministry also known as Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritans Purse, started and organized by Franklin Graham. You can check it out by going to this link:

This ministry involves collecting and sending items to children--some in this country and others across the world--and putting the items in a shoebox. You may ask: why talk about this now? Christmas is long gone.

Our church has participated in this ministry for about 4 years. The main reason is that this ministry ignited passion in one of our members. The first year our church did do this shortly before Christmas and we completed about 50 boxes. This past year our church member started earlier and we sent over 180 boxes. Someone even donated a large amount of money for soccer balls, and we found a way to package them too. Now it's a year-round effort. Kids not only receive toys, tooth bushes, flashlights with extra batteries, but Samaritans Purse also sends materials to teach kids about the love of Christ. The boxes from our church are just now headed toward their destination. Kids will receive them in March.

Sure it feels good to send something tangible to children in need, but this ministry has also helped create a spirit of generosity in our church and helped motivate and inspire our kids, even the very young children. Before the boxes are completed, a person writes a note to the child who will receive the box, then each box is prayed over. There are just so many stories of how our children have written and prayed for kids they'll never even meet. Sometimes the child receiving the box responds with a written thank-you. These letters are great gifts for our children.

If you are looking for a way to get your church involved in outreach, this is a simply way to start. The benefits will extend far beyond what you'll believe possible.

Grace, Kathy

January 13, 2014

The new year is underway but some things remain the same.

While this story doesn't surprise me, it's still pretty sad.

This story is about an otherwise healthy church that strives to live out its biblical mandate to be the family of God. One my friends noticed that several active families left their church for no apparent reason, at least from the pastor's point of view. Although my friend was told that there were reasons, she wasn't free to say what they were. The pastor called these families and was told that their children had friends going to another church and just preferred that one. While the stories sounded lame, we all know that people leave a church for less.

Time went by when it was discovered that one of the volunteer staff had made a serious error in judgement. It was in no way unlawful, but it was a dumb and potentially dangerous mistake. As a result, some parents had concerns for their children, which, when the pastor found out, made perfect sense. From the volunteer's point of view, it was all a big misunderstanding. But some of the families involved just left the church; and when asked by the pastor about why they left, they clearly did not tell the whole truth.

What absolutely floors me is that these parents never said a word to the pastor or even the lay leadership. They just left. Not facing an issue and running away is bad enough when it's just about your kids, but they left knowing that other kids might be affected too. In my mind, this is not how the family of God should operate.

So while I still believe that the volunteer did something unwise, I have no sympathy for the families that left the church as a result. They left turning their backs on the rest of their church family. They decided to take the easy way out and say nothing.

How did the pastor finally find out? My friend said that the pastor found out by accident. One of the children mentioned it in passing. No adult (and there were other adults present when the incident occurred) came forward. I guess they thought it would all magically go away.

Here is a case where a mistake that could have been easily handled was blown out of proportion, resulting in secrets, lies, and evidence of bad character by a lot of folks. How should the family of God, the body of Christ act? Certainly not like this.

Grace, Kathy

January 7, 2014

What Is the Number One Spiritual Issue at Your Church?

While our church is growing, we seem to have entered into a phase of malaise. So our spiritual issue is that we again need an infusion of the Holy Spirit.

What is the number one spiritual issue at your church?

Blessings, Kathy