Using the Right Tool for Discipleship

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When it comes to tools, Sears has a longstanding stamp of approval regarding their Craftsman brand. They are high quality, and yet for the everyday man. The Craftsman pitch of “The right tool for the right job” has for years pushed many into Sears to purchase a tool which will help them succeed.

When it comes to relating to other Christ-followers, we too need to carry the right tool for the right job, and be skilled to use it. Today’s discussion revolves around this thought: How do we implement high quality, yet for the everyday man, tools of outreach and inreach to strengthen our relationships with believers and the lost? Read more…

How to Get Ministry and Vision Buy-in

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2015_may_1_omi_visionVision is of little value unless it is adhered to. I may have fantastic goals for the team I am leading, but if I fail to move them to a new stage—all I did was spout ideas. The challenge of translating vision to reality faces even the best leaders, leaving us with today’s question: How do you motivate unmotivated people to buy into ministry and vision? Read more…

Parenting Resources in the CE National Lending Library

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Parenting Your Adult Child by Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell More than 10 years after Parenting Your Adult Child was published, much has changed - including young adults themselves, as well as their parents. Economic upheavals, challenges to traditional values and beliefs, the phenomenon of over-involved "helicopter parenting" - all make relating to grown children more difficult than ever. Yet at the same time, being a parent of an adult child can bring great rewards. This revised and updated version of Dr. Gary Chapman's and Dr. Ross Campbell's message will help today's parents explore how to really love their adult child in today's changing world. The book includes brief sidebars from parents of adult children and adult children themselves with their own stories. Bound By Honor by Gary Smalley and Greg Smalley This book discusses the difficulties of parenting teenagers, offering advice on solving conflicts, transforming situations, and helping children with their Christian beliefs. Visit cenational.org/library to check out these and other titles at the CE National lending library.

Parenting Your Adult Child</strong> by Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell <br />               More than 10 years after <strong>Parenting Your Adult Child</strong> was published, much has changed - including young adults themselves, as well as their parents. Economic upheavals, challenges to traditional values and beliefs, the phenomenon of over-involved "helicopter parenting" - all make relating to grown children more difficult than ever. Yet at the same time, being a parent of an adult child can bring great rewards. This revised and updated version of Dr. Gary Chapman's and Dr. Ross Campbell's message will help today's parents explore how to really love their adult child in today's changing world. The book includes brief sidebars from parents of adult children and adult children themselves with their own stories. <br />               <br />               <strong>Bound By Honor</strong> by Gary Smalley and Greg Smalley<br />               This book discusses the difficulties of parenting teenagers, offering advice on solving conflicts, transforming situations, and helping children with their Christian beliefs.<br />   <br />               Visit <a href="http://www.cenational.org/library">cenational.org/library</a> to check out these and other titles at the CE National lending library.

Parenting Your Adult Child by Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell

More than 10 years after Parenting Your Adult Child was published, much has changed – including young adults themselves, as well as their parents. Economic upheavals, challenges to traditional values and beliefs, the phenomenon of over-involved “helicopter parenting” – all make relating to grown children more difficult than ever. Yet at the same time, being a parent of an adult child can bring great rewards. This revised and updated version of Dr. Gary Chapman’s and Dr. Ross Campbell’s message will help today’s parents explore how to really love their adult child in today’s changing world. The book includes brief sidebars from parents of adult children and adult children themselves with their own stories.

Bound By Honor by Gary Smalley and Greg Smalley

This book discusses the difficulties of parenting teenagers, offering advice on solving conflicts, transforming situations, and helping children with their Christian beliefs.

Visit cenational.org/library to check out these and other titles at the CE National lending library.

Congratulations to National Institute Graduates

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Rothen Bedford

Congratulations to The National Institute graduates who have been studying youth ministry as their field of study at Grace College!  Students graduating in 2015 include:

Rothen Bedford
Kyle Bloomster
Jordan Butler
Christopher Chapman
Savannah Hadden
Jessica Hoffman
Benjamin Hutton
Kellen Lemler
Abby Ruble
Megan Schmucker
Alessa Smith
Cari Trowbridge
Kellam Venosky

Rothen Bedford

Rothen Bedford

Congratulations to Rothen Bedford–the Grace College 2014-2015 Youth Ministry Award recipient. Rothen is an Operation Barnabas alum and a graduate of The National Institute, the youth ministry major supplied by CE National for Grace College. TK, the director of TNI, says, “Rothen is well deserving of this award. He has excelled in the classroom and taken advantage of many opportunities in area schools as well as church to serve the next generation. May God bless him as he continues to make a difference for Christ in the next generation!”

Record Numbers at Two Day Away Events

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Underlining verses in the Bibles given to the homeless

Underlining verses in the Bibles given to the homeless

The two Day Away–North of 55 events for 2015 are now in the history books. The first one was in Hagerstown, Maryland, at the Maranatha Grace Brethren Church on Thursday, April 23. The following day, one was held at Shady Maple Smorgasbord in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Many new and familiar faces were in attendance at both. It was an all-time high for Hagerstown with 87 in attendance and a recent high in Lancaster with 237 in attendance.

The programs were similar with the theme of “Exercising Our Faith.” Larry Weber from the Hagerstown area led both groups in hymns of the faith and he joined on his trumpet with many of the songs. In Hagerstown, Dan Thornton, pastor, and sound man for the day, joined in playing with his trombone. Nancy Messner was pianist in both places and also did solo work and shared her testimony.

Hagerstown showcased Faithful Men, a men’s quartet from Myerstown, Pennsylvania, and Shady Maple spotlighted the Men of Grace, a male quartet from Penn Valley.

Illusionist Mike Catanzarita joined for a time of audience involvement and laughs and a challenge to “keep on keeping on” in the faith.

Knute Larson was the featured speaker and he addressed each group twice on the issues of living a meaningful life and staying active in ministering to others based on Psalm 92 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.

Ed Lewis, director of CE National, was the emcee and he concluded the day by sharing about the ministries at Urban Hope Training Center. The final part of the day was doing a homeless project. This included filling bags with items a homeless person would find helpful (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, crackers and other things), a New Testament and a note card. The people worked in groups of three to complete the project with one filling the bag, one writing a personal note to the one who would receive the packet, and one underlining verses and writing verses or a personal note in the front of The New Testament. Then the three of them prayed for the person who would receive the packet. The packets were taken to Urban Hope where they will be distributed.

Visit cenational.org/dayaway to find out more about Day Away – North of 55.

1,500 Crowd Streets for the Urban Hope Spring Carnival

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People crowded the streets around Urban Hope

People crowded the streets around Urban Hope

On Saturday, April 25, four blocks surrounding Urban Hope were closed so the people of Urban Hope Community Church could bring the love of Jesus Christ to the streets for the annual Spring Carnival. For four hours that afternoon the blocks were filled with 1,500 plus people!

Two hundred volunteers for the day from seven different groups helped with the event: Urban Hope; Lititz Grace Brethren Church, Lititz, Pa.; Grace Brethren Church, Waynesboro, Pa.; Valley Grace, Hagerstown, Md.; Grace Brethren Church, Waldorf, Md.; Maranatha Brethren Church, Hagerstown, Md.; Winchester Grace Brethren, Winchester, Va.; and D-Trex Dance Team from Liberty University in Virginia.

Volunteers of all ages and different walks of life were challenged to be friendly, pray with people, and share the love of Christ throughout the day.

“It was incredible to have new believers from Urban Hope sharing their faith and praying with people!” said Amber Richardson, carnival coordinator.

“We were able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in many ways during this carnival!” continued Amber. “There was a team of people who were going around talking and praying with people throughout the day as well as a prayer and Bible reading booth.”

A main stage was setup where the Good News of Jesus was proclaimed all day long through D-Trex dance crew, Salt & Light kids puppet performance, and testimonies of changed lives from people in our church.

D-Trex is a talented dance crew from Liberty University who came to perform. The group is not only passionate about dancing, but using dance as a ministry to impact lives for the Kingdom of Christ.
Salt & Light is Urban Hope’s discipleship group. “It was encouraging to see kids from our neighborhood sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ,” said Amber. Men and a teen girl from the Urban Hope Community Church shared testimonies of how God changed their lives. Many people were encouraged and challenged from their stories.

Many new families attended church at Urban Hope Community Church the next Sunday morning as a result of being invited during the carnival.

Urban Hope was able to get names and addresses of every person who came to the carnival. Over the next few weeks, the Urban Hope Community Church members will follow up with a visit or a phone call to talk with each individual about Jesus.

“God is busy changing lives in our neighborhood!” said Amber.

Facing Discouragement: Confessions of a Lead Pastor

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Looking over my twenty years of pastoring, I recognize that I have faced plenty of discouragement. As I reflect on it I can see three distinct avenues for it to creep into my life and my ministry:

  • Emotionally Depending on High’s and Low’s
  • Direct Attacks
  • Weariness

The Highs and the Lows. Part of the ebb and flow of ministry is that there are highs and low. The key is learning how to ride them with balance and grounded expectation. Read more…

By Ed Short

“Jesus on Every Page” Book Review

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“Jesus loves you.” “You are accepted by Jesus.” “All you have to do is be in relationship with Jesus.” These messages and similar entry level sermonettes make for great starters–but they must continue beyond an opener if we want our students to grow in the Word. I fear that at times, as a youth worker, I stay in the comfortable zone of “Jesus loves you” instead of, for example, providing the full grasp of God’s wrath met and poured out through the love of Jesus. When was the last time that I worked through the minor prophets with my students? Have I ever touched Revelation? And how does Jesus, His love, acceptance, grace and fullness of God and man in one Divine Being pour forth across all pages of the Bible? Read more…

By Cassandra Smith

A​ryanith’s Story From Urban Hope

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Four of the girls from the "Cake Crew."  Aryanith has her arm around Shalia

Four of the girls from the “Cake Crew” Aryanith has her arm around Shalia

Aryanith started coming to Urban Hope‘s student outreach, ROCK, about one year ago. She was a girl who came to hang out with friends, God being the last thing on her mind. In February Aryanith joined Jessica Conley’s cake crew at ROCK. Jessica’s crew was focused on learning the skills to make and decorate cakes. Each CREW does three things: Pray with the students, read from God’s Word, and share stories of how God worked in their lives. Jessica’s desire for these girls was to explain to them what it means to follow God. The conversations went anywhere from what love is to how to handle anger.

Aryanith would ask questions each week and started to faithfully read the scripture Jessica gave them. I noticed a huge change in Aryanith during this period of time, she was more open to the word of God and began to come to Celebration Service on Sunday and Family Group on Tuesday,” said Jessica. Eventually Aryanith wanted to make the decision to follow Christ after hearing a guest speaker’s testimony at Family Group one night.

The next day (Wednesday, April 8th) Aryanith and Jessica met up with a girl named Shalia who had already made a decision to follow Jesus as a kid through Kingdom Kids. Shalia helped explain the gospel to Aryanith and she made the commitment to follow Jesus. Since making this decision she has been reading her Bible consistently and bringing her family to church with her each week.

CREWS start again May 8th. Please pray for an effective two-month segment with the new CREWS!

City Life Team Leaders Announced

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CE National’s director of youth leadership training, Timothy Kurtaneck (TK), is pleased to announce that Margaret Olmedo and Amy Kendrick will be serving as the administrative leaders for City Life, CE National’s 15 day ministry experience for high school students. Both of these women bring a vast amount of experience working with students to their City Life leadership positions.

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Margaret Olmedo

Margaret Robison Olmedo has been involved in CE National ministries since 1985, attending BNYC/Momentum, participating in Operation Barnabas (with TK and Ed Lewis as leaders), leading Operation Barnabas three times single and once with her husband, Max. She has two grown children, one child attending Great Commission Bible Institute in the fall, a junior higher, and three grandchildren.

Margaret and her husband are both teachers and attend the Grace Brethren Church in Norwalk, Calif. Margaret has worked with all ages from nursery to adults, both in an educational and church setting.

She recalls asking Jesus into her heart at age four and rededicating her life at BNYC 1986. She is always amazed at how God works and teaches even her, “a seasoned Christian,” and how He never ceases to amaze her.

She is excited to work with the students God has chosen for her to lead this summer in a culture and environment that is very familiar to her, a native Southern Cal gal, that will stretch and grow each of the team, including herself. Margaret will be the administrative leader for City Life West, which begins June 23 in Norwalk, California.

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Amy Kendrick

Amy Kendrick, who will be leading the City Life East team, was raised in California and lived most of her life there, but recently the Lord opened the door for her to move to Winchester, Virginia, where she is overseeing the youth program at the Winchester Grace Brethren Church. Amy has worked for Trader Joe’s for almost nine years, but working with students is her love and passion.

Amy has served for the last 10 years as an Operation Barnabas leader, led an international OB team, and is excited to see what City Life will also bring to her life. She has a passion to see students grow in their faith and learn to understand what sharing their faith is all about and how it can look in our day-to-day life.

This will be Amy’s first year leading a City Life team and she is ready for what the Lord has in store for each student that will be a part of the team. City Life East will start their orientation in Waldorf, Maryland, on June 29.

K says, “The two City Life teams are in for some incredible opportunities this summer. I am excited for each of the students who will be participating. They will be visiting great cities in the US, with so many people who need the Lord, and there will be opportunities EVERYWHERE in Southern California, NYC, DC and Philly. These students will see vibrant church ministries, serve needy people in the name of Jesus, share their faith, and pray with and for people for TWO WEEKS—all with the idea in mind of returning home to better live ON MISSION for Jesus.

“It will be eye-opening and we are praying that it will also be LIFE CHANGING. I am excited that Margaret and Amy will be serving these CL students this summer. They are wise, kind, and spiritually mature people and I am confident these students will grow in their personal faith because of the investment of their leaders in their lives. Join me in praying for the spiritual and long-term impact of City Life 2015!”

Please Pray for Urban Hope’s Annual Spring Block Party This Saturday

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Urban Hope’s annual spring block party will be this Saturday, April 25. The streets around Urban Hope will be blocked off for games, an obstacle course, prizes, dunk tank, basketball, free food, face painting, and moon bounces.

The gospel will be shared both publicly and privately through Christians from Urban Hope interacting with guests. Please pray that
God will work throughout the day and that many would come to know Christ.

Get the Summer Edition of OnTrack Devotions

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2015_apr_24_otdThe Summer 2015 OnTrack Devotions Print Edition books are in stock and ready to ship. Whether your subscription just ended or you have yet to integrate Bible study skill development to your ministry mix, you can kick off the new ministry semester with the most effective devotional tool for growing self-feeders.

Get more bang for your ministry investment with automatic volume discounts. Add more savings with an annual subscription!

The Summer 2015 issue is a 4-month book that covers May (Genesis), June (Exodus), July (Joshua) and August (Judges & Ruth).  The cover price is only $8.95 per book.  That’s only $2.24 per month… or 7.5 cents per day for the opportunity to grow Bible study skill and discipline individually and as a biblical community.

New From CE National – ON MISSION Insights

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2015_apr_17_OMI_promoAs part of our CE News family, we know that you are invested in connecting missionary living into everyday life. We value and appreciate your local church involvement, ministries, and heart to spread the gospel.

We also know that staying ON MISSION and maintaining focus in a busy world can be difficult. That is why we want to come alongside of you with one goal: to make ministry simple.

This spring, CE National is launching OnMissionInsights.com, a ministry resource portal for lead pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, and ministry volunteers. Church leaders and ministry veterans have combined to address key areas of keeping ministry simple including:

  • Missional Outlook
  • Leadership Development
  • Building Teams
  • The “How-To’s” of Ministry
  • Professional Development
  • Personal Encouragement
  • And more…

Readable articles and practical resources are delivered direct to your inbox on a weekly basis and are also available via Facebook and Twitter. To join the movement to make ministry simple: click here.

Four Teams Visit Urban Hope From Western Pennsylvania

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Four churches from western Pennsylvania sent teams to Urban Hope April 17th-19th: Liberty Grace, Johnstown, Pa., Singer Hill Grace Brethren Church, Johnstown, Pa., Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church, Martinsburg, Pa., and Community Grace Brethren Church, Everett, Pa. In all, there were a total of 32 people who came to serve and be involved at Urban Hope.

The teams learned about the culture and community around Urban Hope and practiced outreach by engaging people in conversation at local parks, talking with homeless people, and various other ministries.

Throughout their time they had the opportunity to learn about the city of Philadelphia and community of Urban Hope, about what it means to live ON MISSION, about how to share their faith, and how to apply the skills they learned back home.

Two testimonies for the visiting teams are:

  • Tommy Opdenhoff- [My time at Urban Hope] just kept a burning in my heart to seek the lost, and [gave me] more of a want to do that back home.
  • Benjamin Kurtz- [My time at Urban Hope forced me to] step out of my comfort zone and [reminded me] that I shouldn’t be afraid to share His Word with others because He is always with me.

If you would like more information about visiting Urban Hope visit urbanhope.net.

Kids Telling Kids About the Good News of Jesus!

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Amber Mallow, children’s director for Urban Hope, led SALT & LIGHT on an outreach trip to Mifflin Park in South Philly April 18. SALT & LIGHT is made up of 20 children who have decided to follow Jesus and are working together each week to learn how to perform with puppets to tell others about Jesus.

The group of Urban Hope kids went to share Jesus with other children in Mifflin Park. Most of the people in the park are from countries in Southeast Asia.

Here’s what Amber wrote about the incredible day.

“God has been working in the hearts of many of the children in our neighborhood, and it was obvious that we needed to develop a way to disciple these new followers of Jesus. SALT & LIGHT is a performance-based, discipleship group. Currently 20 children who have decided to follow Jesus are working together each week to learn how to perform with puppets to tell others about Jesus. They are also being challenged weekly to be SALT & LIGHT at home and in school. They are given a “Light Up Your Life” booklet each week which gives them three challenges a day to read the Bible, pray with or for someone, and talk to someone about Jesus. At the same time, a group of about 10 moms and ladies are working together to create props and costumes for the children and are learning how to be godly moms.

“SALT & LIGHT has performed Christmas and Easter puppet shows. For both of those performances the kids were asked to invite family and friends to come see them perform. However, they were also challenged to tell those same people about the love of Jesus by sharing the gospel with them. We saw over 300 people at each of those outreach services. Many of the people at those services were family and friends of the kids in SALT & LIGHT.

“On Saturday, April 18, we took the kids from SALT & LIGHT at Urban Hope to a completely different community to share the Good News of Jesus. Thirteen of our 20 kids loaded onto the Urban Hope bus and went to Mifflin Park in South Philadelphia. Mifflin Park is located in the Southeast Asian neighborhood of Philadelphia. Each child in SALT & LIGHT was given a gospel bracelet before arriving at the park, and it was their job to share their faith and their bracelet with one other child in the park. The park was full of people because the largest Buddhist temple in all of Philadelphia is located on the corner of the park. On this particular Saturday they were having a huge festival for the Cambodian New Year.

“About 70 children from the park attended our program, which featured SALT & LIGHT’s puppet show. Then, the kids from SALT & LIGHT, along with a volunteer from a visiting team, talked to a small group of kids about Jesus. They shared that God is holy and perfect in heaven. We have sin in our hearts because of the bad things we have done, but Jesus died on the cross to clean our hearts from sin. So, we need to decide to live for Him and grow with Him.

“On the bus ride home, all 13 children had stories of kids from the park that they talked to about Jesus. The kids from Urban Hope were so amazed by how different the kids from Mifflin Park looked and how different their language was from Spanish or English. They each shared their experiences of talking with the kids in their group about Jesus. Each of them had stories of how they were able to pray for their new friends.

“Many people often wonder whether it is possible for a child to understand the gospel and share it with others. These images are some of the most precious and powerful displays of the Holy Spirit’s power in kids’ lives. Kids can tell kids about the Good News of Jesus!”

 

Shying Away from Evangelism: Confessions of a Youth Worker

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2015_apr_17_omi_evangelismPresident and Founder of Dare2Share Ministries, Greg Stier, spent time at the Momentum Youth Conference in Chicago last summer. Getting a few moments to hang out with Greg backstage, ON MISSION Insights asked, “Why do youth workers shy away from evangelism?”

Read more…

 

By Cassandra Smith

Developing Godly Confidence

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2015_apr_17_omi_confidenceConfidence is an often-overlooked but important aspect of any ministry endeavor. It is paramount for someone who would lead others in any direction, and this holds true for those who desire to lead others toward Jesus.

For better or worse, many of us do not naturally exude confidence. Such was apparently the case for Timothy, one of the apostle Paul’s most prominent disciples. The books of 1 and 2 Timothy record the counsel that Paul gave the young Timothy for pastoring the church at Ephesus. In his first letter, Paul urged Timothy:

Read more…

By Beau Stanley

Summer Ministry Trips Have a Lasting Impact

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Operation Barnabas student shares the Cross Illustration while on tour

“Thank you, CE National team, for all you do to promote summer ministries like Operation Barnabas! It was one of the huge tools that Jesus used to change and mold my two daughter’s hearts.  I am forever grateful for you!”

Notes like this one that came to the home office this week are great reminders of the lasting impact of a summer ministry trip.  We are gearing up now for our 2015 summer teams, Operation Barnabas and City Life.

The two 2015 OB teams will spend their tours in the Midwest.  Following orientation, which is being jointly hosted by CE National, Grace College, and Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, teams will travel in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.  Serving communities through local host churches in such activities as homeless ministry, day camps, nursing homes, therapy using animals with special needs children, and jail ministry are all part of the planning for the itinerary this summer.

City Life will also have two teams this summer as they serve for 15 days in different locations.  City Life West begins in Norwalk California, with ministry opportunities in downtown Los Angeles, as well as San Diego, and greater Orange County.  City Life East will start in Waldorf, Maryland, with community service in downtown Washington DC, New York City, and Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia.  High school students who will have at least completed 8th grade by this summer are still eligible to apply for limited open spots on either City Life team.  Go to our website for more information and applications.

Please pray with us for these four summer ministry teams and the potential impact they can have, not only on those they minister to, but also on the team members themselves!