Have you heard about our Kids’ Camp???
This year, we’re offering a 1 week camp for elementary school kids that will take place in the evenings. It’ll be very similar to our former Day Camp ministry, just with a new time and without the field trips. The camp will take place Mon – Fri, June 20-24 from 6:30-8:30pm. It’s only $20 to register and you can do so online at http://acchurch.org/grow/children/kidscamp. Please contact the church office with any questions.
I’m excited about this ministry. I’m hopeful that it will allow more children to participate due to the lower cost and the evening format.
Last weekend, (5/20-22) I was in Colorado for the first of my four weekend retreats in my 2 year leadership development program. We were at a Christian camp up in the mountains. I love the mountains…it was a huge blessing to do this retreat in that setting. The rest of the weekends will be in IL & WI…not as exciting scenery wise, but still equally powerful experiences.
I’m still processing all that I learned on the weekend, but wanted to share with you something that was particularly impactful for me. This retreat was on life mission/purpose. There were 40 participants – various ages and careers. A number of men came into the weekend wondering if they were going to end up changing their careers after discovering their mission/purpose. During the course of the retreat, we discovered that mission and purpose has more to do with what kind of person you are than with what kind of job you have. I think this is an easy mistake to make. We often find our identity in what we do for work. The reality is, that’s something we do, not who we are. Granted, there are times where who we are and what we do are very similar, but even still the job doesn’t define us…we just happen to be in a job that is aligned with our gifting/abilities/passions/etc. What am I getting at??? Understanding who we are, how God has shaped us, and what gifts/abilities He’s given us, provides us with the opportunity to live on mission every moment of every day. Mission is about what kind of person we are at a core level. So, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we have the opportunity to be that person and as a result to fulfill our mission/purpose.
I love this stuff! For me, understanding what kind of person I want to be has an impact on every area of my life. It affects how I interact with my wife and kids. It affects how I interact with my fellow church staff members, lead our student and children’s ministries, teach, etc. I’m excited to continue to unpack this and explore the mission/purpose that God has created me for. Thank you for your financial support that has made this journey possible.
“Thank you!” doesn’t even begin to express it. I’m overwhelmed at the response of our church for the Invest in Pastor Chris special offering. We had a goal of raising $5,400 to fund a 2 year leadership development program that I’m beginning this month. In 1 week, you exceeded that goal! Your generosity has made it possible for me to do this program that I would not be able to afford otherwise. Thank you! Thank you for believing in me and thank you for investing in me.
The program is through a Men’s Ministry called The Crucible Project. I’ll be doing their 2 year transformational program. I’ve been involved with this ministry for 1 year now and I absolutely love it. It’s been life-changing for me! The 2 year program is a choice to intentionally go after my personal growth as a husband, father, and pastor. Here’s what the program involves…
- 4 Weekend retreats (first one is next weekend, May 20-22)
- Weekly small group meetings to continue to learn and grow
- Monthly coaching calls to refine what I’m learning and set goals
I’m excited about the journey ahead and look forward to what God has in store.
For the past year, I’ve been mentoring a college student from our church. We meet weekly to talk about life, discuss a chapter in a book we’ve chosen to read together, and pray together. I look forward to these meetings every week. It’s exciting to walk alongside someone in their faith development. We’re currently reading through the book Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving.
Here’s an excerpt from the book that really stuck out to me this week.
In response to Moses’s second question (“Who are You?”), God said very simply, “I AM WHO I AM.” This is not a dismissive statement. It is very significant, and there’s much to be learned from this declaration. God was explaining that He cannot define Himself by pointing to anyone or anything else. The name I AM speaks of His eternality. Where as an appropriate name to describe us would be “I became” or “I was brought into existence,” God’s name is “I AM” because He has always existed. He is who He is, and that is who He will always be. This is a statement of absolute being, absolute power, absolute importance. God is who He is, and He never changes. (p 177)
So much meaning packed into this short statement. So much that we can easily miss. God cannot define himself by pointing to anyone or anything else. We do this all the time. Consider how you answer the question “Who are you?”…Our family name identifies who we are based on our lineage. Our address identifies us based on where we live. Our career, hobbies, interest, etc are ways of defining ourselves. God doesn’t need to do this. He is the All-powerful creator of the universe who has always existed and always will.
Moving from head to heart…this truth offers me a tremendous amount of comfort. Knowing that God is constant and unchanging helps me to be at peace in the midst of the unknown. Knowing that I can depend on God to be who He says He will be and to do what He says He will do makes me feel secure. Like a child playing at the playground feels safe knowing that Mom or Dad is there watching over them, I feel safe knowing that my God is who He is, and He never changes.
Today is Good Friday. The day that we remember the death of our savior. I hope you’ll join us for our service at 7pm tonight. Here’s a powerful video to help prepare yourself for worship.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” -Matthew 3:17
To belong is a fundamental human need. It’s the way God created us. Genesis says, “let us create man in OUR image”…which of course points to the trinity. That God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are in perfect harmony with one another…that they belong together. It’s from that place that God created us. He’s placed in our hearts a longing to belong. However, our need to belong has been tainted by sin. As a result we often look for belonging in inappropriate ways. We might exclude others or hold prejudices which helps us belong by feeling superior. We might hide our true feelings or change things about ourselves for fear of rejection. I believe there is a better way. I believe that God alone can redeem our need for belonging and heal our brokenness in this area. We were created to be in relationship with God and our deepest sense of belonging will be fulfilled when we find our satisfaction in Him. I believe the verse listed above are words that we all need to hear. These words, spoken to Jesus after his Baptism, are words that I believe God wants each of his children to take to heart.
- This is my son. Family is perhaps the deepest sense of belonging we have. To be adopted into God’s family is a powerful thing. It speaks of having an inheritance (salvation) and intimacy.
- Dearly loved. God loves his children with a love beyond understanding. A love that we can do nothing to earn and nothing to negate. That kind of love offers security.
- Brings me great joy. God enjoys his children. He is pleased with them. To know that God is pleased with us creates a welcoming environment. We can go to Him unafraid.
Let me encourage you to look to God to meet your need to belong. Allow His words to sink into your heart – You are my dearly loved child who brings me great joy.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – 1 Peter 4:10
Do you believe that? I do! I believe that each and every person has something to contribute to the church. I believe that YOU have something to offer and I believe that our church will be a better place because of what you contribute. The truth is, we’re better together. When we combine our efforts we produce something far greater than what we can accomplish alone.
I want to invite you to join our team. Our goal is to match people up with serving opportunities that align with their interests and abilities. We want to find the right fit for you. To help us accomplish that, we’ve created a 4 step process.
- Converse – Let’s talk about you. What are you passionate about, what skills do you have, what kind of things do you enjoy doing? Understanding you helps us begin the process of finding a ministry opportunity that’s right for you.
- Observe – Come check it out. Like trying on clothes at the store, this is a chance to try out the ministry to see what you think. We’ll have you shadow an experienced team member and get a feel for what being a part of that team is like.
- Evaluate – Consider your experience. What did you like about the ministry? Anything you disliked? Could you see yourself being a part of that team? Ask yourself some good questions so that you can make an informed decision.
- Commit – Make your decision. Is this the right ministry team for you? If “yes” and you can commit to the team member expectations, it’s time to join the team. If the answer is “no”, that’s fine! You found out something valuable and potentially avoided a bad experience. Time to go back to step 1 and explore another ministry opportunity.
If you’re interested in finding a place to serve, I’d love to talk with you. Please feel free to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me and we can get the process started.
I was looking back through some old notes and rediscovered a couple quotes from the book The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George C Hunter III. The ACC leadership team read this book several years ago and we recommended it this year as a resource in our Each One Reach One challenge.
“For most people, belonging comes before believing.”
“Recent studies indicate that most people experience the faith [Christianity] through relationships, that they encounter the gospel through a community of faith, [and] that becoming a Christian involves a process that takes time.”
Rereading these quotes reminded me of the importance of my continued efforts to reach the people I listed on my Each One Reach One card. It’s a process that takes time and often they need to experience community and belonging before they’re ready to believe. This tells me that my time spent building relationships, praying, and inviting is well-spent. Progress may be slow, but I’m laying the foundation of relationship and belonging that hopefully paves the way for belief.
I hope you’re encouraged to stay the course and continue your efforts. Easter is just around the corner. Easter provides a great opportunity to invite (or re-invite) someone to church.
Do you find yourself getting off track spiritually? It’s easy to do. I’ve found in my life that it’s not usually a conscious decision to get off track…it’s usually a series of small, seemingly insignificant, decisions that add up over time.
If you find yourself off track, I want to suggest 3 steps to getting back on track.
- Confess. It’s important that you take responsibility for our choices. You need to be honest with yourself, God, and someone else. Tell God you’ve gotten off track and acknowledge your poor decisions before him. Sharing this with someone else can help “make it real” and provide some support for you as you seek to get back on track. 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. God is ready and willing to forgive you for drifting away. He’s ready to welcome you back home.
- Receive. Accept God’s forgiveness. Believe the words of 1 John 1:9. Know that our God is loving and gracious (Psalm 103:8-10). You may know in your mind that God forgives you, but it needs to sink into your heart as well. An important part of getting back on track is recognizing that Jesus paid the price for that sin and He’s not asking you to pay for it.
- Adjust. Just as a GPS reroutes you when you get off track, you need to make the decision to change your course. When Jesus interacts with the woman caught in adultery he tells her he doesn’t condemn her, but then tells her to go and “sin no more” (John 8:10-11). Identifying where you went off course and why is an important step. As you gain clarity around that, you can identify new habits and patterns that can help you get on track and stay on track.
Whether you find yourself way off track, or just a little, I hope you’ll take time to consider these 3 steps and how you can get yourself back on track.
In honor of my 10 year anniversary as an ACC staff member, here are 10 things that I love about ACC
In no particular order…
- Our staff team. Such a great group of gifted people who love God and love our church. We have the amazing blessing of having a lot of history together as many of us have been around for a long time.
- Our Elders. One of the reasons for such longevity of staff is our outstanding Elder team. These men care deeply about our church, take care of our staff, and lead our church in a way that honors God. So thankful for this group of Godly men.
- Our people. In the role of pastor, work and social life are inherently intertwined. I’ve always said that a pastor should want to attend the church he serves at even if he wasn’t on staff. That’s never been a problem for me. I’ve developed so many quality friendships here at ACC.
- The variety of things I get to do. I’m a Youth Pastor at heart, but I so enjoy the opportunities I have to be involved in other areas in our church. Children’s ministry – we have a great team of adults who love Jesus and love kids. I enjoy working with them and getting to know the children of our church. Teaching ministry – love the opportunity to work with Pastor Dave on teaching series and fill in on Sunday mornings (more on this one in the next point). Helping people get plugged into serving opportunities – love getting to know people, their interests and abilities and helping them find the right place for them to contribute to our community.
- The opportunity to teach. I’m a teacher, have been as long as I can remember. It’s the way God wired me. I love the opportunity to teach at our youth ministries each week and the times I get to teach in “Big Peoples” church on Sunday mornings.
- Spending time with students. I have SO much fun with our middle school and high school students. Youth ministry is a challenging gig for sure, but it’s super rewarding. The conversations I get to have with students, the chance to walk with them in some of the most difficult years of their lives, and the joy I experience as I see signs of spiritual growth in their lives…it doesn’t get any better than that!
- Creativity. We look, feel, and operate, like a church with a much large budget and staff team. We have many talented people who volunteer their time and energy to make ACC a better place and our staff are committed to excellence – doing the best we can with what we’ve been given.
- That my kids are cared for. This is something that wasn’t even on my radar 10 years ago. The fact that my 3 kids LOVE being at church is huge! They feel at home here and are cared for and ministered to by so many.
- The generosity of our people. From baby shower gifts, to pastor appreciation gifts, to “God laid it on my heart to give this to you” gifts, we have been so blessed by the generosity of ACC.
- That we have a shower. :). I’m serious! As a triathlete and distance runner, I spend a lot of time working out. I’ll often squeeze a run in before youth group, during my lunch hour, or on a Sunday morning before church. Having a shower here allows me to fit in the training I need to do and not be stinky for the ministry that I need to do.