We are relentlessly practical in our lives with "to do" lists and work "goals and objectives." In such a fast-paced world, we can lose our sense of wonder – our ability to appreciate the beauty of what God has done for no other reason than it IS beautiful. When we live for the "life of the world," art and beauty and wonder matter – and how we encourage others to see that becomes part of our ministry.
Dear Journey Leaders,
First, I want to thank you for your willingness to heed God’s call to leadership. The task of helping others along the JOURNEY of discipleship is not easy, but so vital to the mission God has given us.
Second, I want to share with you the three-fold purpose of this monthly communication - cast vision, communicate relevant information about upcoming events and opportunities, and share resources:
- VISION: This monthly communication will keep you connected to our larger vision of discipleship. You see, we believe our distinct calling as the Church of Jesus Christ, is to make disciples or followers of Jesus and this entails facilitating an ongoing, intimate, and growing relationship with Jesus. All of our efforts, regardless of the group or educational opportunity, should be toward that end.
- COMMUNICATION: This monthly communication will - get ready for this – communicate any upcoming events we of which we want you to be aware. Specifically, we will keep you up-to-date on events we would like to you to share with your group/class.
- RESOURCES: We further want to help you in your efforts at teaching and leading be giving you access to additional resources (including Right Now Media and possible curriculum) you might consider.
My hope and prayer is that you will feel supported and connected in your efforts in leading others in the JOURNEY of discipleship.
This fall, we will begin utilizing the language of “journey” as we talk about discipleship. The metaphor of “journey” conveys dynamic movement and growth toward a desired destination. Our hope is that the people of our congregation would progress through and grow within that journey. As a leader in our congregation, your task is to help the people under your care in their respective journeys and, hopefully, we are all journey-ing toward Jesus!
When we speak of discipleship, we explicitly mean an ongoing, intimate and growing relationship with Jesus. Thus, this journey entails becoming “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) as we are “conformed to the image of Christ” (Romans 8:29). When I think about the awesome responsibility of leading others, I know that I cannot ask of others what I am not willing to do myself. Consequently, leading others in the journey is as much about my own transformation as it is about others’ transformation. As I strive to lead, two specific questions keep me on track. My hope is they might help you in the same way they help me:
Am I closer to Jesus today when compared to yesterday?
Are the people I lead closer to Jesus today when compared to yesterday?
Here is a little something to ponder - If the answer to either of these questions is no, then something needs to change. What might that be for you and the people you lead?
Our next church wide study will begin on January 15. The sermon series title will be “Once Upon a Time” and the study guide is called Reframe. Stay tuned for more info…
So how do you help the people you lead get connected to the journey?
This fall, we unveiled several tools to help the people of First Pres. The first is our Journey Assessment. The Journey Assessment is our trail map. It gives you an opportunity to self-assess and reveal to you that “You are here,” and will provide a starting point along the map of your journey. You can find it at fpco.org/journey.
Second, we have created a Journey Catalog. The catalog presents various opportunities to help facilitate spiritual growth and development. From in-depth studies of the Bible, to classes that challenge you to think about how your faith fits into your work, to how to raise your children as Christians, the catalog includes all opportunities within the church including, but not limited to, Small Groups, Sunday School, School of Discipleship, The Collaborative Orlando, and Congregational Care Ministries.
As you have opportunities to lead the people under your charge, please know these resources are available to you!
On the JOURNEY with you,
by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
Have you ever come home from vacation, hauled all your stuff through the front door and have your family collapse into a heap on the floor because everyone was so hangry? You then proceed to the kitchen to find the only thing in your fridge is the previous Wednesday’s leftovers and out-of-date milk.
It’s a hard place for a mama to be. If only there were something, anything--a Ritz cracker, some apple juice, even a Pop-tart would do right now
It wouldn’t be a stretch for me to admit that I’ve found myself in this situation many times—and not just after a long weekend away. If I’m truthful, my spiritual fridge is often empty too.
I’ll read something great, or listen to a sermon, and I’m feeling rather fat and happy with how Jesus and I are doing. Then I might go a few days, deal with some difficult situations, or even just plain ol’ everyday wear-and-tear, and I find myself famished.
This is when I must be reminded that Jesus invites me to His table all day, every day. There is never a shortage with Him, never a moment when His pantry is empty. He is never unable to satisfy the deepest hunger within me, for whatever it is that my soul is lacking.
In John 6, right after miraculously feeding 5000 people, Jesus makes a bold claim: “I Am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” He had just taken five loaves and two fish from a child’s lunch box and satisfied the hunger of thousands, and now puts a spiritual truth into the context of everyday life.
Jesus knew what He was doing when He connected the basic necessities—water, bread, light—to Himself. With these common elements, He reminds us that He is not only the Creator, but the Sustainer of life –both physical and spiritual. A day without Jesus is a long day indeed.
Not only does He sustain us, He fills our kitchen to overflowing that we may feed others with our surplus—and for parents, this is especially good news. What parents can feed their children from an empty refrigerator? Only when I am nurturing my own soul with the Bread of Life can I give that bounty to my children.
In SHINE Children’s Ministry, we want to feed children spiritually. But more importantly, we recognize that your children eat at your spiritual table every single day. We want to help you stock your own kitchen, that you may feel equipped to feed and nurture your children in the faith. The Breadbox is one way that we intend to offer encouragement and practical application, while keeping you informed on the ways that SHINE is endeavoring to partner with you in this wonderful challenge of helping children be nourished by the Bread of Life.
So pull up a chair (and a high-chair), and let’s begin the meal.
The Breadbox is our new Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.
Even as we are grateful to God for the eastward move of Hurricane Matthew, sparing many of us in Central Florida the very worst of the storm, we are painfully aware of the realities for many other who were in a more direct path. Read more on how you can help.CONTINUE READING