Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Touching Base! Part 54

Upon Request...

Some have been asking for a list of the names of God we studied over the summer months so here is a quick review.

I want to encourage you to use the names of God as you pray. These names remind us of His character and how we are to respond to Him. One thing I do in my prayer life is speak out a name and then pray in a way that reflects the will of God reflected in the name. For example one day as I was standing in front of the Church looking down Johnson Street I prayed “Today Lord I acknowledge You as Yahweh Sabaoth - the Lord God Almighty. Do a mighty work in and through Bethel that will touch the surrounding community. As Yahweh Sabaoth, come up against any powers that resist greater expressions of your Kingdom work here in downtown Kingston.”

Take the names of God and expand your vocabulary in prayer and worship. Take the names of God and be reminded that the name of the Lord is a strong tower! (Proverbs 18:10)

Abba Father. A name that not only speaks of intimacy, but of obedience and acknowledgment of authority and roles. Read Mark 14:32-36. Jesus used this name when his obedience was being challenged. He uses this name to express His contrition to the will of the Father.

Cornerstone. This is a name of God (Jesus the incarnate Son of God) that reminds us of His authority but also His ability to overcome public polls, waves of resistance and words of put down. Read 1 Peter 2:4-8 and Mark 12:1-12. As we face resistance we know that we have a High Priest who has walked in our shoes.

Yahweh Sabaoth. This is the name David used when coming against Goliath.
Read 1 Sam 17:45-47. It is a name that means all created agencies and forces are under the leadership or dominion of Yahweh, who made and maintains them.

Yahweh Maccaddeshcem. Read Lev 22:32-33. Can you spot the name of God? He is the Lord who makes you holy. The Lord who sanctifies, and sets you apart for a special purpose. God desires to work in you, and through you to shape you and transform you.

Yahweh Rapha. This name originates in Ex 15:22. It means, the Lord our Healer. As we search the Scriptures we understand that the greatest disease He heals is sin. However, he also heals us emotionally, physically, and mentally. There is great mystery in this name but thank God He is the Lord our Healer.

Jehovah Jireh. In Genesis 22 we read of Jehovah Jireh. You can be guaranteed that from this moment on Abraham never forgot Jehovah Jireh his provider.

Yahweh Nissi. This name means the Lord Our Banner and it originates in Ex 17:15. Our lives unfold before the banner of God in which His truth inspires us and directs us as we engage in daily activities. As you read God’s Word what truths, does God want you to see on the banner?

Yahweh Rohi. In Psalm 23 David refers to the Lord as his Shepherd. Yahweh Rohi refers to the shepherd like qualities of God. David points some of them out in this Psalm. David is well acquainted with shepherds seeing he was one before becoming King.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Touching Base! Part 53

Saying it Again and Again

Ok you have heard me say it before and I am going to say it again- “We all must take responsibility for building community at Bethel.” It doesn’t happen......

• As a result of the elders planning it
• Because we preach sermons about it
• When people tell stories illustrating the value of it
• As a result of articles being written about it
• When we hang banners announcing it

It happens when you and I realize that regardless of our gift mix, personality type, or years at Bethel, we can and must contribute to Bethel being a place where people find a home, go beyond the crowd and engage in deeper community life together. This is an attitude we must live out, a value we must embrace, and a responsibility we must take seriously. It must be something we are conscious of, that we own and desire to see in every context at Bethel. It requires great commitment because community takes time, trust, knowledge, and repeated actions of engagement with people. Persistence can eventually break through the many cultural and personal barriers people put up that resist community.

So let me suggest some ways you can champion community at Bethel:

Be a networker. That means when you meet new people be aware of what ministries you should connect them with. Introduce them to the appropriate leaders. Also take time to introduce new people to others you know. Networking is for some a tremendous gift they have that can deeply enrich the church as we build community.
Be a pew slider. Nothing worse than coming into a church on a Sunday morning, and not being able to find a place to sit. At Bethel this is a common problem. When regulars sit motionless in their pews, looking like they have been somehow glued to their pew, it can make it awkward for others looking for a place to sit. Slide over! This is a skill that can be mastered very easily. Just watch out for slivers.
Be a team player. Many of us are involved in ministry at Bethel. The best, safest and smartest ministry takes place in the context of a team. Thus if you are on a team, be sure to be contributing to the community value on that team. Attempt to get to know some of your ministry partners in contexts outside of Sunday morning. As we have said in the past, pursue the story behind the face. One way you can do this is by coming to Together being held Sunday the 13th from 4-6 p.m.. This event is for all volunteers at Bethel.
Be prayerful. This is God’s church and it is His desire more than it ever could be ours for the church to experience rich community together. With such diversity at Bethel it will take nothing but a miracle for community to be built.
Be willing to cross over. If you are going to contribute to community at Bethel you must be willing to cross over. Move from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Shift from the same old crowd to embracing new people of a different generation and even persuasion. I am not saying bail on all your long time friendships but I am saying we must be willing to spend time with the new, and the different, helping them find where they can experience community at Bethel.

So...... let’s get at it! Growing in intimacy with others changes lives!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Touching Base! Part 52

Family Ministry Update
Fall 2009

Well fall is here, and with it we have some new and exciting changes in our children’s Sunday morning programming.

You may or may not have noticed that our new signs are up indicating where are preschool and elementary programs are taking place.

Our Nursery is for our little ones ages 0-2 years. It is in the same room as always. Simone Wylie is our Nursery Coordinator and continues to do a great job organizing the schedule, and we have some changes that we are planning to implement in the near future.

Waumba Land is the new name for our “Juniors for Jesus” program.
“Waumba” means Creator in Swahili.
So, Waumba Land, means the land of the Creator.

We want the children coming out of Waumba Land to understand that:
God made them,
God loves them and
Jesus wants to be their friend forever.

We have begun the transformation in this room but it is still not finished so you will have to bear with us as we complete it this fall.

This Sunday morning environment is for our JK/SK kids (4 and 5 year olds). Please note the change in ages…..the Juniors for Jesus program was geared to our 3 and 4 year olds…Waumba Land is geared to our 4 and 5 year olds. Children in SK this year will continue stay in the Waumba Land room.

So if you are following along…you are probably wondering well what about the 3 year olds?

Age 3 is a “flex” year: those kids who are ready for a structured program can join the Waumba Land program, and those who aren’t ready for a structured program and would rather play can stay in the Nursery.

The vision is to be able to offer a separate program for our 2 and 3 year olds. Numbers and the availability of new volunteers will dictate how soon we begin to implement this vision.

I’m really excited about the teaching team we have in place for our Waumba Land program. They are a group of competent women and 1 man who are really interested in teaching our preschoolers about God. Please encourage them and pray for them.

And of course we want to be intentional about empowering parents because we believe that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church so every month we will be emailing our parents a resource that will help you to reinforce and continue teaching throughout the week what we will be teaching on Sundays.

Next up, UPSTREET!
Upstreet is the new name for our Sunday morning environment for our elementary aged children in grades 1-6. When you come to the UpStreet area, you enter a “city street”, creating the feel of a neighborhood where children learn biblical truths in an engaging, age-appropriate way, and build quality friendships with other kids and adult leaders.

Upstreet is built around three primary biblical virtues:

We are also making the grade 6 year a “flex” year. If your child is in grade 6 this year, they have the option of participating in our program or they are also free to join Doug and Maureen Brown’s Sunday school class.

We have been busy redecorating our downstairs to have a ‘street-like’ feel.
And have also been trying to build and strengthen the structure of what the previous interim children’s ministry director Pam Briand has put into place.
We are continuing to use the same curriculum but are hoping to be more strategic and intentional with it. So we have divided up the responsibilities for this ministry into Large Group and Small Group. We are looking for volunteers in both of these areas.

Caroline Cuthbert and me are the current Large Group coordinators and Candice Laframboise is the Small Group coordinator. We are looking for volunteers for both of these areas.

Our Large Group teaching time is looking for volunteers who like to teach in a large group setting. They enjoy doing drama, being upfront and don’t mind memorizing moderate amounts of lines. It requires varying amounts of commitment.

Our Small Group time is looking for volunteers who have a heart for mentoring a small group of children. In order to deepen the level of intimacy and ministry, we are trying to set up 2 leaders per 6-8 children which requires a commitment of every other week.

We realize that this is a big commitment but let me explain why we think this is crucial: as children move more towards independence in their elementary and high school years, it is very important that there be other voices speaking into their lives that are saying the same thing that their parents are saying. In order for that to happen, there needs to be relationships and building those relationships take time.

We live in a culture that is fighting for the hearts of children…we need to fight back and I believe that strengthening our small group ministry in the elementary ages is a powerful way to do that.

If you would like to make an eternal difference in the lives of a handful of children please talk to Candice Laframboise. We are still looking for small group leaders.

This is a wonderful ministry for our teens and university students. We are praying that our September 13th ministry fair will inspire this age group to get involved. We do need more mature leaders as well because our students are only here for part of the year.

Of course, like the Waumba Land ministry, we want to be intentional about empowering parents because we believe that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church, so every week we will be emailing our parents a resource that will help you to reinforce and continue teaching through the week what we are teaching on Sunday. If you would like to take advantage of this resource, make sure we have your email address.

If you have any questions about our Upstreet programs, or would like to volunteer in our Large Group or Small Group areas, please talk to myself, Caroline Cuthbert, or Candice Laframboise.

If you are interested in volunteering in the Nursery, speak with Simone Wylie.

If the emerging vision of having a program for our 2-3 year olds in Waumba Land interests you, please contact me.

I’m really excited about the teams we have so far for our Sunday morning children’s programs. We have some excellent leaders at Bethel with some great organizational skills and a real heart for God. Please encourage them and pray for them.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to those who have already given countless hours of painting, redecorating, and volunteering in leadership roles. Without them, I just wouldn’t be able to tell you about these exciting changes.

As we head into this year, I really covet your prayers for all these new initiatives. I believe there are some exciting days ahead, but I also know that we are in a battle. The enemy wants the hearts of our children and is looking for ways to destroy families. This kind of spiritual war can only be fought with the powerful prayers of God’s people.

Because children and families matter,
Jamie Stinson
Family Ministries Director
Bethel Church