The Simple Christian Life
Our thinking about the church has been SIMPLE:
We want everyone to have opportunities to worship, fellowship, learn, and serve. To do this, we have maintained that Sunday is the Lord's Day. So, we have not expected you to be here several nights a week like most churches of the past generation. We just expect one day—the Lord's Day.
We also encourage everyone to be a Plus One Member.
Morning Worship + One Class + One Ministry
We want everyone to be here each Sunday for Morning Worship at 11:00 AM. Then, you have two options for classes- The BLEND at 10:00 AM or Evening Ministries at 6:00 PM. Lastly, we want you to serve in a regular, ongoing ministry capacity- kids ministry, nursery, communion preparation, grounds keeping, greeting, praise team, missions team, The BLEND set up/clean up, property maintenance, building projects, community outreach, sound room, music, office help, visitation, and many, many other opportunities. So, we would be happy to see you at all three Sunday times and Tuesday Bible group, and we would be glad to have you serving in multiple ministries, but we encourage everyone to be a Plus One Member at the very least.
The motivation for the SIMPLE scheme is to honor the Lord's Day, but also to free you from the burden of planning, stressing, feeling guilty, etc. about coming to the building several days a week. However, this SIMPLE model is not meant to make us lazy Christians the other six days a week. On the contrary, we should use this freedom to meet folks for lunch, visit a nursing home, invite people over for a meal, help others out on your off days, host a small group in your home, disciple and be discipled, reach out to others intentionally with the Gospel, and on and on and on.
Of course, we should also use the other six days to work, rest, spend time with our families, go to little league games, and volleyball, and soccer, exercise, read some books . . . you know. . . .
All in all, we want to be a church that Gathers and Scatters with purpose. We Gather for worship, fellowship, learning, and to serve our church. We Scatter to live, to work, to rest, to nurture and serve our families, and to reach our communities in Christ-centered, Gospel-grounded ways.
Let’s be SIMPLE.
Simply loyal. Simply faithful. Simply serving. Simply loving.
A Pastor’s Note to a Young Family Considering a “Bigger” Church
Guest Article Written by Will Jacobs
I want you to know that I sympathize with you and your wife’s situation. I also appreciate you being honest with me about your struggles and potentially seeking another church with a better equipped and vibrant youth program. Your child is definitely at an age where he is most vulnerable to either positive or negative choices, and seeking a community of peers that will help him in the right direction is not only wise but biblical (Psalm 1)! As you wrestle and pray through this very important decision let me offer some helpful insights/suggestions/observations, for what it’s worth.
1. No matter the vibrancy and health of a church youth program, nothing will transform your children’s lives more than you and your wife.
The Bible greatly emphasizes the important role of the parents in the lives of their children. Deuteronomy 6:1 and following speaks of the parents as the primary teachers of their children. Proverbs, for example, is an entire book where a father seeks to pass on godly principles to his son. The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:1-4, admonishes dads to “instruct their children in the way of the Lord.” Along with that, Titus 2:4 speaks of the importance of the mom loving her kids. One of the major confusions among Christians today is that many understand churches to be the primary spiritual teachers of their children. But, in actuality, the church is simply meant to equip the family (see Ephesians 4) and supplement the parents so they can train their children well themselves. The parents are supposed to be the primary spiritual leaders and teachers of their children.
2. If you and your wife are not 100% devoted to the local church in attendance and service, it doesn’t matter how great of a youth group you find for your child—he will most likely leave the church after he is out of the home.
One article has shown that “82% of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home attached great importance to their beliefs. It also found that children who were active in their congregations while growing up tended to be religiously active as young adults. It was parents engaging with their children about their faith that made the difference.” Thus, a constant self-examination of both you and your wife’s devotion to Christ is very important. You must ask the questions: If the kids were not in the picture would this still be a major concern for us—would we still have a hunger and desire to be committed to Christ and His church? I believe if you and your wife’s devotion to Christ is primary, then your children will follow. Discipleship is “caught” as much as “taught.”
3. Youth DO need good and godly people around them, even peers.
While I believe youth programs are not necessary for kids to grow in their Christian faith, I do believe surrounding them with Christian influences is necessary. The apostle warns us in one place, “Bad company corrupts good character.” So, your child needs Christian friends and acquaintances rather than being out on his own or wandering into a bad crowd. However, if kids have godly parents who exemplify and emphasize holiness, and they are involved in a church where the people surround him with love and support, I truly believe this is a sufficient influence for his Christian development. Yes, Christian peers of the same age can be beneficial (and they seem to naturally come given time), but what is necessary is the example of godly parents, a godly church, and peers to show your child how to live.
4. As long as you and your wife are devoted to a Bible-believing, God-honoring, Christ-exalting local church (and find one with a youth program you feel is more beneficial to the growth of your children), then you have my full blessing to go to that church (not that you need my blessing).
The selfish part of me would obviously desire that you stay with us, but I ultimately want to see the spiritual growth of your family. I understand that at our current stage as a church we are unable to provide families with some of the options other churches have available. I am confident that as we grow numerically we will be able to offer more opportunities for our kids, but as of now we simply do the best we can with the resources we have. Thus, if you prayerfully decide to devote yourselves to another local church in order to help your child in his Christian walk, then, by all means, do so. We will be 100% on your side and praying for God to use whatever church you join to assist you in training your kids in the instruction of the Lord.
Over the summer, we have shared in three gatherings--Ladies Night, Guys Night, and The BLEND--the information that will follow. In case you were not present for these discussions, we wanted to share the message again, here, in the Midweek eBulletin. We want you to be encouraged and empowered to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Speak to the Lord and experience Him working in your life!
We all know that one of the best spiritual disciplines is prayer, and yet many of us do not pray enough. We all will probably admit that we fall short in our devotion to a life of prayer. Maybe one of the main reasons that we do not pray is because we do not know how to pray. How do we even get started? What should we include in our prayers? What shape should our prayers take? How do I get into a routine? Am I good enough to pray? What does the Bible say about prayer?
Well, we can’t answer all of these questions at once, but we can talk about some basics, and we should start by saying that any and all of us can pray. As a matter of fact, we must pray!
When a little girl starts to take dance lessons, she starts out by learning the basic forms, but, of course, the basics are something you use for the rest of your dancing career. A young ballerina learns good posture, tip-toeing, how to curtsy, and first, second, and third positions. These are the basic forms that she learns when she is first starting out, but she will certainly do them even if she becomes a professional dancer. Likewise, when a little boy learns to play basketball, he learns basic forms life boxing out for rebounds, triple-threat position, and following through on his jump shot. And, again, even if he becomes a professional, he will continue to do these basic things throughout his playing career.
In the same way, prayer can take basic forms. We could look to certain verses like Philippians 4:6 for the basic components of prayer. Or, we could consider the form of the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Yet, these parts and forms may be hard to remember. Let me recommend an acronym that may help: A-C-T-S. The Bible teaches us in several places that we should do certain things in prayer, and this acronym pulls a lot of them together: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Tips for using the acronym:
(1) Read a psalm or some other passage to begin your prayer time
(2) Quote the Scriptures in your prayers and claim God's promises
(3) Be specific for each of the parts (A-C-T-S)
Why should we adore the Lord? For what are things to praise God?
>>> He is our Creator, Provider, Defender, Redeemer, Loving, Gracious
What sins or weaknesses do we need to confess?
>>> We should name our sins plainly and specifically. Ask for help.
For what can we thank our Heavenly Father?
>>> Salvation, His Goodness, Family, Church, Work, all specific blessings
Is there anything we need God to supply for us or those we know?
>>> God cares for all. Ask him for daily bread, jobs, reconciliation, etc.