Created on Monday, 21 September 2015 15:11
Written by Christie Marangi
I have to admit, I love change. For those of you who haven’t heard, Children’s and Youth ministry here at Element are going through some changes. Our beloved Youth Director, James, is flying out of the nest and spreading his wings (like one of his many animal t-shirts, he has to own an eagle one, right?). He will be heading to Washington, and as a result of that flight, we are taking this time to do something that we’ve been contemplating for a long time, merging the Children’s and Youth ministries under one heading:
This is an exciting time, and the best decision for our church (in my humble opinion), but I’d be lying if I didn’t say change is hard and nerve wracking. First of all, who wants to try to fill James’ shoes? Certainly not me, that’s why I’m not even going to try. We have amazing leaders in the youth program, and that isn’t changing. The relationships your kids have developed will stay constant.
And the Junior High? They’ll still get to do all those weird youth games on Sunday morning just like always (even the ones I don’t understand, like the Goldfish Game). There will still be service projects, Music, and Youth Trips. ? Check. Thursdays? Check.
The things that are changing are all for the better. We want to turn ministry to families on its head. We want you, as parents to be empowered to teach your kids spiritual truths, and then turn to Element for support in that job. That’s how God laid it out in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
As Element itself focuses on Gospel Communities, eFamilies will be placing a large emphasis on Student Communities. At Element we want to, "transform community into Gospel Community"
as evidenced by our mission statement. The understanding of GCs will start from the youngest child up. We want our students to experience community at their level, and then transition from student community to a contributing member of a church Gospel Community upon graduating from high school.
Our hope is that our student communities relationships will flourish and grow with the leaders they already know, and that will give the students the confidence to start new relationships with those outside of their circles to show Jesus to the people around them.
My hope is that I can serve as a resource to you as parents. I trust that with the Youth leaders’ help, we can add on to the foundation that Jesus has laid through James, and continue to see this ministry flourish and grow (to a point that we have trouble fitting the students into classrooms). My desire is to equip the leaders that are working with your kids to build relationships with them that model the love of Jesus as a supplement to the relationships that you hold with your children. My desire is to work with you to lead your kids to love Jesus, and your kids in turn to lead others to love Jesus as well.
I do love change, but I love change with purpose. The best change of all is to see people come to Christ and to witness that magnificent transformation. I’m excited to take this journey with you and see what changes Jesus has in store in the lives of the students at Element.
If you want to sign up and get involved from the beginning, sign up here
. We have lots of ways to be involved, both on the front lines, and behind the scenes.
Created on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 16:28
Written by Aaron
Today I did something really bad, actually I did something bad a couple of weeks ago and I was confronted on it today. I hurt someone’s feelings because of my own short comings and issues of trust. Essentially, I asked someone to do something and didn’t trust them enough to follow through and stuck myself into their business.
As this person sat across from me and said, “you don’t trust me,” my honest answer was that he was correct. As much as I wanted it to be untrue, it was true, but the fault was not in the other person, no, the fault was in me. This person has never done anything, that I have seen, that could be construed as untrustworthy (and even if he had, there is a graceful presence about him that has been shown over and over in how trustworthy he is). As I processed his statement I started to look at my own life and see why it was that I couldn’t let go of control.
As I grew up, I felt abandoned at times by my father. I grew up with a fear of being left alone and not trusting anyone. Today this translates into me having a hard time letting go of all of my hang-ups and letting other people do what needs to be done.
Now, why do I write this blog to tell you all this? Because I, as one of your pastors, am not perfect and need grace; it comes down to issues of the Gospel and community lived in the Gospel.
First off, the other person valued relationship enough that they sought me out to talk about it. They didn’t run or let it fester inside of them, they came and talked about the issue and we were both better off in the long (and short) run. In Matthew 8:15 Jesus tells us, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” This is exactly what happened.
The second thing (really this is the first thing) is that the Gospel changes people; it changes me, daily. God is my Father. When I cease to rest in the fact of who God is (His character and His actions), I begin to respond in ways that are inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am reading this book by Tim Keller and he writes, “I continually observe that ministry amplifies peoples spiritual character. It makes them far better or far worse Christians than they would have been otherwise, but it will not leave anyone where he was!" I wish my character was better at times, but with all of us following Jesus together, living the Gospel in each others lives, we will be better.
As Hebrew 12:2 says, we must look to Jesus “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Our hope lies in Jesus and Him alone. We are not undone by the shame of our own failure, but use it to grow to be more like Jesus.
Let us all become people who live and speak the Gospel into one another’s lives and have it spoken into our own. This will most often happen during difficult conversations that we will naturally want to avoid.