Gain a Realistic View of Your Ministry

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Ed Short

Failure to see an accurate picture of your ministry results in low impact and ultimate frustration. Ed Short’s consultation process will enable you to gain a realistic view of how effectively your ministry is functioning. You will then be led through a process that will help you discern what God desires to do in your ministry. The culmination point of the consultation process is a fully developed plan with strategic steps designed to see your ministry become what God desires it to be.

Learn more about CE National’s coaching & consulting services.

Operation Barnabas and City Life are Accepting Applications

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City Life 2014 Team

Both Operation Barnabas and City Life are still accepting applications on our 2015 teams! A number of students have already been accepted for these summer ministry tours for high school students, but applications are still being received so it is not too late for qualified applicants to apply. If you know of high school students who want to spend part of their summer in a meaningful way by learning more about Jesus and how to share Him with others, becoming equipped in ministry skills, and developing life-long relationships with like-minded peers, a ministry team experience is a great way to accomplish that goal!

To find out more about Operation Barnabas and download an application, visit operationbarnabas.net.

Those interested in City Life can go to citylifetour.org for specifics about this year’s teams.

If you have further questions about either Operation Barnabas or City Life, please contact Sherilyn at obmail@cenational.org.

Transferring Youth Leader Conference Insight into Your Ministry Culture

Posted in: Featured

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I recently attended CELS –CE National’s leadership summit for youth pastors and leaders. I came away with encouragement, practical methodology from top  leaders including Kieth Minier, Kurt Johnston, and Knute Larson. It was keen, it was fantastic, and it was somewhat like drinking from a fire hydrant. With so much great information and inspiration to go around–I realized on my drive home that I had plenty of thoughts to wade through. Read more…

3 Keys to Life-on-Life Evangelism

Posted in: Featured

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Evangelism is often an abstract and misunderstood word. We think of the end result and not the journey towards a life reconciled to Christ. Today, we are going to look at that journey and how placing value on authentic relationship is the center of life on life evangelism. Here are three facets of that pathway.

By Ed Short

The Latest Two Teams To Visit The Urban Hope Training Center

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Watch Shawna’s and other testimonies on the Urban Hope Facebook page.

Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, brought a team of seven people to Urban Hope the third week of March. Six individuals are in the undergraduate program and one is a resident director at Huntington.

Waldorf Grace Brethren
Church
in Waldorf, Maryland, brought a team of three students and two adults the weekend of March 21-22.

Throughout Huntington’s time in Philadelphia they had the opportunity to learn about the city and community of Urban Hope, about what it means to live ON MISSION, how to share their faith, about social justice vs. evangelism, about the uniqueness of Urban Hope, and about how to take home the skills they learned there and apply them in their own homes, schools, and communities.

The group also got to do prayer walks around the community, build relationships, and share the gospel. Homeless ministry took place in the subways beside Love Park and the students were broken for the people and did an awesome job of initiating conversations and sharing the gospel. At Urban Hope we emphasize FISH: F- Friendly, I- Initiate, S- Story/Serve, H- Hope. They got to apply this acronym and method of evangelism on prayer walks, near local schools, in Chinatown, and around the community. They helped with Kingdom Kids on Sunday and had a great time with the kids from the community learning about God through the story of Moses. They specifically got to help orchestrate and take part in sharing with the children about the 10 plaques.

It was a great time that deeply impacted the kids. Throughout the week, the leaders at Urban Hope emphasized the importance of “taking it home” and applying the things they learned to their own context and community. They also partnered with Rock Ministries, a local ministry where they got to help with both the boxing ministry and after school program. They helped at the Faith Thrift Store and Boys and Girls Club as well. They also had the opportunity to help at Friday night youth group, called Rock!

Three testimonies from Huntington University.

Matt Tracy: [My time at Urban Hope] taught me how to really love people and to have a heart for the lost.

Nicco Ravena: I was forced to initiate conversations, which is something I’ve never been comfortable with. God has used this trip to prepare me for a life in ministry.

Becki Smith: God revived a passion for evangelism, blessed me with opportunities to see growth [in my teammates], and encouraged my desire to work in the inner city again!

Waldorf was made up of a youth group team of five individuals, two of whom were leaders. During their weekend they learned what it meant to “live ON MISSION” through a ministry training session and by being actively involved in outreach. They took part in ministry through outreach in the Cambodian neighborhood in South Philadelphia, through homeless ministry in Center City, through being a part of our Sunday morning celebration service, and through helping with our Sunday afternoon kid’s program, Kingdom Kids!

They learned what it meant to build relationships, see people the way God sees them, and how to effectively share the gospel in a variety of contexts.

Michelle Keyser: I was struggling [before my time here] with how to tell others about Jesus and I learned [how to do that]. I also learned that it is important to get to know the people around me [and build relationships]. I can’t wait to go back and share with my youth group!

Visit urbanhope.net to find out how you can bring a team to Urban Hope.

Day Away Events Coming in 2015

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2015_jan_16_day_awayCE National respects those who are North of 55 and encourages them to continue in ministry long into their retirement years. The North of 55 ministry exists to initiate and stimulate Bible-centered, mature adult ministries in the local church. CE National endorses local, day-long conferences called Day Away-North of 55.

Day Away Dates:

April 23 – Mid Atlantic

Maranatha Brethren Church

19835 Scott Hill Drive

Hagerstown, MD 21742

301-733-1717

Speaker, Pastor Knute Larson, Special music–Nancy Messner on the piano. Faithful Men, Magic Mike doing illusions.

April 24 – Shady Maple

Speaker, Pastor Knute Larson, Special music–Nancy Messner on the piano. Men of Grace, Magic Mike doing illusions.

June 1 – Roanoke, VA  At Patterson Memorial Grace  Brethren Church

Special music by Evelyn Conner.

All of these events are open to anyone who is “north of 55.” Invite your friends and associates to join you. CE National is working on Day Aways in other regions of the country so keep watching for other locations and details.

October 16 – Northwest Chapel in Dublin, Ohio

Special guests are: Knute Larson – speaker, Nancy Messner – pianist, Mike Cantanzarito – illusionist magic.

“Branding Faith” Book Review – Phil Cooke

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“Branding Faith” Book Review – Phil Cooke

In a world full of digital clutter, mass-media marketing, and Commercialism where does the church fit into the noise of our culture? Phil Cooke tackles that very issue in Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Non-Profits Impact Culture and Others Don’t.While it might seem awkward ranging to a level of taboo to talk about “branding”; when it comes to the beauty of the gospel, Phil argues that as messengers of the greatest story of all time–it is our job to clearly articulate the message of Christ in and amidst a noisy world. Read more…

New in the CE National Lending Library

Posted in: Uncategorized

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan

Marriage is great, but it’s not forever. It’s until death do us part. Then come eternal rewards or regrets depending on how we spent our lives. In his latest book, Francis Chan and his wife, Lisa, address the question that many couples wonder at the altar: “How do I have a great marriage?”

Reunion by Mark Cahill

Ever wonder what life holds in store for you? If you have wondered, has the script gone according to plan? Join four close friends as they encounter the unthinkable in high school and find themselves doubting they will ever be the same again.

Visit cenational.org/library for these and other available titles.

Visiting Teams Come to Urban Hope

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Watch Alex and others share how God worked in their hearts at Urban Hope

Watch Alex and others share how God worked in their hearts at Urban Hope

Visit the Urban Hope Facebook page to watch more testimonies.

Two campus ministry leaders brought 23 college students from N.C. State, Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn cross-cultural ministry at Urban Hope recently.

Throughout their time at Urban Hope the group had the opportunity to learn about the city and community around Urban Hope, about what it means to live ON MISSION, how to share their faith, about social justice vs. evangelism, about the uniqueness of Urban Hope, and about how to take home the skills they learned there and apply them in their own homes, schools, and communities. They also got to do prayer walks around the community, build relationships, and share the gospel. Homeless ministry took place in the subways beside Love Park. The students were broken for the people and did an awesome job of initiating conversations and sharing the gospel.

At Urban Hope we emphasize FISH: F–Friendly, I–Initiate, S–Story/Serve, H–Hope. These students got to apply this acronym and method of evangelism on prayer walks, near local schools, in Chinatown, and on South Street. They also helped with Kingdom Kids on Sunday and had a great time with the kids from the community learning about God through the story of Moses.

Throughout the week, the leaders at Urban Hope emphasized the importance of “taking it home” and applying the things they learned to their own context and community. They also partnered with Rock Ministries, a local ministry where they got to help with both the boxing ministry and after school program.

Six testimonies from students who came from N.C. State.

Joel Shuford: “God used this experience to remind me of the urgency of the gospel. It is the good news that saves, heals, and empowers, and it should not be pushed to the side. The gospel is life changing truth that saves the lost of this world and I need to be reminded of its power.”

Alexandria Bruns: “I have realized from this past week that I am very selfish with my faith. I haven’t shared it with those I live around or work with. I hope that with the practice of sharing [the gospel] this week that I can have boldness to share with [others] and [build relationships].”

Haley Payne: “I didn’t know how to talk to people about pain in my life and in their lives. I didn’t have the desire to relate to others through shared experiences. Now I do, and [I] realized that there is no shame in my faults because of what Christ did for me.”

Melissa Pressley: “God really opened my eyes to the power and importance of prayer through my time at Urban Hope. By praying with those in the neighborhood and surrounding community, I began to see how transformative prayer can be, both in my life and in theirs.”

Madeline Bone: “I’ve always felt that God was tugging on my heart to experience inner-city ministry. Seeing the hope of the staff and ministry [at Urban Hope] was something I want to live for all my life!”

Zach Meyer: [I was] challenged in my complacency, and exposed about how much I care about offending others more than about telling them about the good news [of Jesus Christ].

Team from UPJ
A team of 13 college students and two leaders came from the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown (UPJ). Ben Long was their leader and has been to Urban Hope several times.

Throughout their experience at Urban Hope, the group received ministry training from different members of the staff at Urban Hope and then put that ministry training into practice through various outreaches.

The UPJ group learned about the city and community of Urban Hope, about what it means to live ON MISSION, how to share their faith, about social justice vs. evangelism, about the uniqueness of Urban Hope, and about how to take home the skills they learned and apply them in their own homes, schools, and communities. Some of the ministries they helped with were: 1) Kingdom Kids, 2) Prayer walks, 3) Fire prevention/smoke alarm installation, 4) Homeless ministry, 5) Boys and Girls Club, and various other ministries. They also partnered with Rock Ministries and the Faith Thrift Store which are like-minded ministries with which Urban Hope regularly partners.

Three testimonies from UPJ students:

Hunter Galley: “This experience [at Urban Hope] has helped me to get out of my comfort zone in order to talk to people and show them that they are loved. Also to just pray for others and relate our conversations to Jesus Christ. There is nothing more important than knowing Christ and people need to know.”

Becca Smith: “The biggest way I grew [at Urban Hope] was by learning how to be intentional with people. It is easy to start a conversation, but I learned to actually build a relationship with others.”

Chloe Borier: “God opened my eyes to things I didn’t see or used to ignore. Through Urban Hope I have learned to better love people. This experience also reminded me to take pleasure in [God’s] Word.”

Visit the Urban Hope Facebook page to watch more testimonies.

CE Leadership Summit For Youth Workers a Success

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Kurt Johnston interacts with youth workers during CELS 2015

Those who attended the 2015 CE Leadership Summit for Youth Workers enjoyed  Kurt Johnston, pastor of students at Saddleback Church, Keith Minier, lead pastor at Grace Fellowship in Pickerington,  Ohio, and  Knute Larson, pastor coach and former lead pastor of The Chapel, Akron, Ohio.

Kurt shared about what has changed in youth ministry in the last 10 years and what never changes. We were challenged to make sure there is a relational thrust in our ministries.

Keith Minier along with his youth pastor, Travis Smith, shared about the importance of pulling students into the whole of the church and gave practical suggestions of how to do that.

Allen Weed, co-founder of Interlinc, walked the youth workers through their new website, showing how the site can help youth workers take the songs of today’s generation and use that music to show students how foolish the world system is and how to be a devoted Christ-followers.

There were plenty of discussions with other youth workers, lots of fun, and times of relaxation as well.

CELS is designed to be practical and insightful for any youth worker!

Operation Barnabas Provides a Legacy of Discipleship

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Tim Wright, Eric Miller, Alex McCue, Ian Berger are all connected with Operation Barnabas.

Tim Wright, Eric Miller, Alex McCue, Ian Berger are all connected with Operation Barnabas.

At the recent CE Leadership Summit, it was great to see a number of youth pastors and youth leaders from across the country fellowship together.

Four of those who attended have a special bond as leaders and students on Operation Barnabas, our summer equipping ministry for high school students.

Tim Wright, who is now the youth pastor at the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, was a leader on the 1998 Operation Barnabas Southern team. One of the students on his team was Eric Miller, who is now the youth pastor at Grace Community in Frederick, Maryland.

Eric was an OB leader on the 2008 MidAmerica team and Alex McCue, now the youth pastor at Delaware Grace Brethren, was a student participant on that team. In 2013, Alex led OB Team 123 and Ian Berger, whose sending church was Frederick Grace Community and who now is a youth leader there, was on Alex’s team!

These types of discipleship relationships are one of the main reasons for the strong and far-reaching impact of Operation Barnabas. We are thankful for these and many others who are continuing the legacy of equipping others in ministry to live ON MISSION!

To find out more visit operationbarnabas.net.

Urban Hope Was Truly An Amazing Experience – Thomas

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Part of the group of Grace Students that visited Urban Hope

Part of the group of Grace Students that visited Urban Hope

Each spring break, Grace College students spend a week at the Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia for a cross cultural field experience to fulfill a graduation requirement. They have the opportunity to spend a week of ministry investing in people all over the fifth largest city in the US. This past week, a group of 34 were able to:

  • Have an orientation & ministry training session
  • Do prayer walks in Kensington
  • Visit cross cultural areas–Southeast Asian, Chinatown, Italian market
  • Eat ethnic foods—Puerto Rican, Soul food, Philly Cheesesteaks and more!
  • Feed the homeless and do homeless ministry
  • Visit churches with different cultures (An African American church, a Latino church)
  • Help with children’s ministry on Sunday afternoon at UHTC
  • Visit Reading Terminal Market
  • Attend a 76ers professional basketball game
  • Serve at Whosoever Gospel Mission Shelter and Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
  • Help at the Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia
  • Do a Scavenger Hunt on South Street
  • Eat at the world famous Pat’s (Or Geno’s) Cheesesteaks
  • Visit Love Park, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall
  • Climb the art museum steps like Rocky Balboa!

What were the results? Hear from four students who talk about the impact God made on their lives:

“It was truly an amazing experience and helped me to grow spiritually.”
-Thomas

“Got home last night from one of the greatest weeks of my life! I am so thankful that I was able to go to Philly with people I barely knew and now I can call great friends!! This week Philadelphia became far more to me than a place to hear about history and cheer for a football team. It’s a place where God is working in amazing ways in the lives of all kinds of people. God has taught me so much through this trip that it’s overwhelming. God definitely went before us and prepared the way for our team this week! I’m sad that the week is over but I would not have traded the past week of teaching people about Christ for anything!!”
-Daniel

“I have never had a more physically, emotionally, or spiritually draining week. But it was also one of the most fulfilling, revealing, and rewarding weeks of my life. I loved learning how to serve God and others better but also all of the wonderful memories and friends made. To God be the glory!”–Kara

“Love God, love others, and be open to God’s will. That was the important lesson that I was able to learn from our trip to Philadelphia. It was an amazing week working with Urban Hope but I wish we could have stayed there longer.

“God was doing amazing actions through our ministry team and I was blessed to be a part of it. Philadelphia is a very populated city and it was overwhelming at first but God allowed me to become a part of the city a few days into the trip. I was able to bring hope to many people that were feeling hopeless in a city where thousands of people are rejected and living on the streets, in the subways, in the parks, and in shelters. The weather may have not been the best but that did not prevent us from feeding the homeless, praying for them, listening to their stories, and allowing God to receive all the glory.

“It was encouraging to speak with Alex, Dawn, Bruce, and Lena in the subways and be able to provide them with food to eat and pray with them. It was also honoring to provide food and speak with Tyrone and Cookie at the shelter. I will never forget these strangers that God had allowed to come into my life and turn my heart fully towards Him.

“This experience did drain me physically but it has allowed me to grow spiritually more than any other experience in my lifetime. God allowed a group of over 30 college students that were only acquaintances before to become a sort of family. This occurred because we all had one goal in mind and that was to become totally selfless and love everyone we came into contact with during the trip.

“This trip has allowed me to truly understand the two greatest commandments that Jesus spoke about, to love God with everything and to love others. I was blessed to have these college students become my friends through this entire experience.”
-Zach

“As I am sitting at home over 800 miles away from Urban Hope, the place I called home for the past week, the weight of everything that God has done is sinking in.

“I chose to travel to Kensington Philadelphia for my Grace College Go Encounter trip for three simple reasons: It was cheap, in the states, and it was actually a missions trip. Not knowing what to expect other than the fact that we would be doing missions work, my eyes were opened to how God loves and sees people.

“I was pushed way beyond my comfort zone as I not only had to get to know the people on the trip but then also serve along side them and learn how to love, serve, and pray for strangers. I learned that EVERYONE has a need for Jesus, a need for love, and a need for community. The five days we were there felt more like five weeks. They were saturated with opportunities to converse with others and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Urban Hope and other ministries that we had the privilege of serving with are doing a fantastic job at loving the people in their community and meeting not only their physical needs but their spiritual and emotional needs. I am so very thankful to have been a part of what God is doing in Philadelphia, and I am grateful for how God used it to show me how I can serve no matter where I am–even at home or at Grace. God has grown my compassion for the lost and has blessed me with 33 new friends in the process 🙂 To God be the Glory!!!”
-Brittany

Each year, over 1400 people learn and experience ministry through the Urban Hope Training Center in Philly. What group are you going to take to the City of Brotherly Love to be a part of a life changing experience that has at its focus making a difference when one returns home?

Contact info@urbanhope.net for more information about scheduling your ministry trip to Philadelphia.

What Will You Do This Summer?

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Whether it’s on campus options like the Color Fun Run, basketball, Hantis, dodgeball, the game room, soccer, cornhole and so much more OR off campus options like canoeing, high ropes course, and outreach, Momentum offers a lot of fun things to do!

What will you be doing this summer? Don’t miss out on the #bestweekofsummer and the opportunity to spend time with your youth group, learning amazing things about Jesus, being challenged, and having a phenomenal experience!

Get the best rate for the best week! Register and pay your $75 deposit by March 31 at buildmomentum.org/register! After March 31, the price for Momentum will increase $50, so don’t miss out on these savings!

Integrating Volunteers into Planning Successful Youth Outings

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Integrating Volunteers into Planning Successful Youth Outings

As the lead youth director, I admit that I often have a plan in place for how I envision an outreach, event or outing to occur. But the fact of the matter is that there is a possibility for me to overrun my volunteer team with the plan in my head if I don’t communicate. But beyond even that, I have come to discover that communication isn’t about simply recounting a plan—but listening to a team.

In all of my endeavors, I have realized these three keys:

Have a plan that starts with the end goal. What is the purpose of the event and how should it impact students?

Read more…

By Cassandra Smith

Confessions of a Lead Pastor – Busyness and Me

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Confessions of a Lead Pastor – Busyness and Me
Busyness destroys a person on so many levels. As a lead pastor, I have often given into this slave master. But it isn’t worth it. Here is what I have realized:

Busyness eats emotional energy. It drains life out of you. It makes life so much harder because when you are busy, you are easily emotionally empty. Tasks are harder. To do lists seem bigger. We stop dreaming – which has been the biggest detriment for my own life. When I am busy, the last thing I want is one more thing to do. This trap of an over packed schedule fills me with cynicism, an overwhelmed outlook, and the sense is that no matter what I do I will never get out from under it.

Read more…

By Ed Short

Involved With Hands, But Affecting Hearts!

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Students gather in their CREW

Students gather in their CREW

Urban Hope Community Church has an outreach to students called ROCK. The purpose of ROCK is to motivate students to follow Christ and provide a safe environment for them to hang out on a Friday night. For awhile about 45 students were consistently coming every week. This was good, but Logan Conley, the staff member in charge of ROCK, felt the group could have a bigger impact into the community.

“I would go to bed at night thinking about how many students we have in our community. It bothered me so much that it kept me up most nights thinking.” said Logan. Logan joined Ed Lewis, executive director, and Jason Holt, director of Urban Hope, in praying through the program and God pointed them to a mentoring idea. The three realized that teenagers were wanting constant change and they needed to change what they were doing to keep the program updated and fresh.

The idea came to them to start two-month segments, where each leader would lead a specific group. They desired to have various areas students could become involved in. “I asked the students what to call the groups and they came up with CREWS,” said Logan. These are the first two-month CREW segments.

  • Art CREW
  • Media & Arts CREW
  • Music CREW
  • Kitchen CREW
  • Carpentry CREW
  • Bible CREW
  • Dance CREW
  • Crafts CREW
  • Cake CREW
  • Basketball CREW

The revamped program began February 6th and will go to the end of March. ROCK now has about 75 students coming regularly and the leaders are hearing conversation after conversation about students loving their CREW. ROCK has become a mentoring program that is producing great relationships. In the end, there is much more discipleship happening!

“Its getting them involved with their hands, but affecting their hearts!” concludes Logan.

To find out more about Urban Hope visit urbanhope.net.

Students enjoying time with their CREW

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Round-table Discussion For Children’s Workers

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Round table discussion for children's workers

Round table discussion for children's workers

CE National is hosting a round-table discussion for Children’s Workers on March 20th at Pickerington Grace Fellowship Church in Pickerington, Ohio, from 10:00 to 3:30.

This is a time to share ideas, encourage one another, and pray for children and children’s ministries.  Lunch and snacks are provided. There is no cost to participate, but space is limited. Please register by contacting either Lois at lois@cenational.org or call 574.267.6622 or contact CE National board member, Jon Rauch at jrauch@gracecommunity-church.com. Jon, along with Ed Lewis, CE National executive director, will be facilitating the discussion.