CE National’s missions experience for youth workers and their ministry-minded students, StreetWise (formerly Crosswalk), is coming to the Urban Hope Training Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) next summer. This week-long event, July 4-10, 2016, will provide training in building relationships in cross-cultural settings, methods of starting conversations with Muslims, Buddhists, the LGBT community, atheists, rich, poor and the apathetic. Worship and challenge are part of the morning sessions as well. Find out more at cenational.org/StreetWise
Many new children at Urban Hope made decisions to follow Jesus this summer, and that means Salt & Light has grown this year. Salt & Light is a performance-based, discipleship group. Twenty-seven children, ages 6-12 who have decided to follow Jesus, have worked together each week for the past four weeks to learn how to perform a black light hand mime to tell others about Jesus.
To prepare for the performance the group was challenged weekly to be Salt & Light at home and in school. They were 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 moms and ladies were working together to create props and costumes for the children and were learning how to be godly moms.
The kids worked together for the month of October to prepare for their first performance this past Saturday, October 31st, at Urban Hope’s Fall Fest. The week before the performance, the children were encouraged to hand out invitations to family, friends, and teachers. The children performed confidently for three different shows to a packed audience. When the tickets were counted, there were over 250 people in attendance at their three performances. Praise God that many of the people in the audience were the family, friends, and teachers that the Salt & Light kids had invited!
“Something unexpected, yet amazing happened during our first performance to show that the Spirit of God was moving and working in these kids,” said Amber Besson, Urban Hope’s children’s director. “The sound system stopped playing for no apparent reason in the middle of the performance, and there was no music for the group to perform to; however, all of a sudden the sound of 27 voices singing the song filled the silence. The kids sang together and continued their performance. God must have heard their voices and the prayers of the leaders because the sound system started playing again, and the words of the song matched the words that the kids were singing! After the performance, people asked, “Was it planned for the music to stop?” Others said, “I really enjoyed the part where you stopped the music for the kids to sing.” What an amazing testimony to God’s faithfulness to the kids in Salt & Light and what an amazing example of the work that God is doing in these kids hearts and lives!”
Here is a link to the video of our third performance. Enjoy!
Last Saturday night, on Halloween, the block around Urban Hope was lit up and filled with over 800 children and adults laughing and enjoying time together! This was Urban Hope’s 5th annual Fall Fest.
The event began five years ago to intentionally be a light for Christ in Urban Hope’s neighborhood on a very dark night. Halloween is the day the Santeria religion celebrates the dead. Santeria is a mix of Catholicism and witchcraft and is one of the most prevalent religions in the neighborhood.
But at Urban Hope that night, families enjoyed a fun, safe night playing carnival games, getting their faces painted, eating food, sipping hot chocolate, and jumping in bounce houses. Not only did many volunteers from the church help but students and leaders from the Operation Barnabas teams helped.
Urban Hope’s Salt & Light Children’s Discipleship group shared the gospel through a black light performance. Many families of these children aren’t following Jesus but they came out to watch their kids perform.
The following day at Urban Hope Community Church’s celebration, 10-12 new families came and some of those individuals made decisions to follow Christ. Please pray for these new believers as the Urban Hope staff is excited to follow up with them.
CE National is rejoicing with Grace Church, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, on the completion of a large addition to their facilities. The dedication and 35th anniversary celebration is this Sunday, November 8. Ed Lewis, executive director of CE National, is the featured speaker. Kim Robertson, pastor of Grace Church, says he hopes others will join the church in this special celebration!
Jeff Arthurs’ relaxed, warm style came across well as he gave Pastorpedia Live attendees practical tips for bringing creativity into preaching.
The next Pastorpedia Live will be March 9, 2015, when Knute Larson will talk about assimilation and groups in the church. Visit mypastorpedia.com to find out more and to register. See more pictures on the CE National Facebook page.
Youth pastors and leaders want to make a difference in the next generation of young people. Youth pastors and leaders want to make a difference in the next generation of young people. At CE National we appreciate Dr. Tim Elmore and use his resources and research.
In a number of the youth ministry classes that CE National teaches in the National Institute for the Development of Ministries to Youth at Grace College, we reference Dr. Elmore’s work and find it very helpful in understanding students and how best to minister to them in the name of Jesus.
We thought you would enjoy this video clip that shares some basic and important information about the next wave of young people—those that sociologists are referring to as “Generation Z.” Thanks for taking a few minutes and learning more about the younger students who are starting and will be involved with your youth ministry!
Each year CE National honors faithful servants for the cause of Christ. We’ll be introducing the winners over the next several weeks. Thanks to these who have served others so faithfully in the name of Jesus!
Walt Fetzer – Grace Church, Wooster, Ohio
Walt has faithfully served behind the scenes for 40 years. He is one of the first guys in the building and one of the last to leave each Sunday.
Walt understands the vision of the church and works incredibly hard to accomplish that mission with excellence. Watch his video here…
Sexual violation was not your choice, but recovery is. As a survivor of sexual trauma, you’ve likely experienced feelings of shame and confusion, as well as a weakening of your faith and trust. It may feel as if no one understands. And each day you’re simply trying to survive.
But the reality is that you are meant for much more than survival. You have the right to use the pain as a point of power and reclaim what was taken without your permission–your true identity.
A Horse Called Bear: a DVD
A heartwarming story about forgiveness. This is a delightful redemption-themed family movie that will appeal to children, teens, horse-lovers, and people of all ages.
The Old Testament Bible Stories for Children: Moses – The Ten Commandments
This DVD includes three Bible stories about Moses: Horeb, Mount of the Covenant, The Shattered Calf and Moses, the Last Victory and Jericho.
To check out these titles and more visit cenational.org/library.
Over 40 Operation Barnabas 2015 team members gathered together in Philadelphia at the Urban Hope Training Center on October 30th for the start of the annual OB ministry reunion. Andrea Farren, an OB leader on Team Indiana, shares her recap of the gathering.
This past weekend marked the annual Operation Barnabas reunion in Philadelphia. Students as well as leaders traveled from all around the country, gathering once again to serve at Urban Hope. We arrived Friday afternoon after picking up students and leaders in Indiana and Ohio. Just like the good old days on tour, the OB 2015 alum hit the ground running. We met with some of the staff at Urban Hope to learn about the ministry and what God is doing in Kensington:
Soon the alumni were given an opportunity to help serve as they prepared sack lunches and then went to distribute them to the homeless at a nearby park. To many of the students this was a highlight of the trip. “We met this one man that lost everything after his divorce.” said Emily, a member from Team Ohio. “He gave up everything to make sure his kids were provided for.” Many more stories surfaced as, after the homeless ministry, we took part in a scavenger hunt on South Street which is a central gathering place for all of Philadelphia.
On Halloween we started the day the best way we could think of; an hour with God! Refreshed after time in the Word we met with Ed Lewis, who lives at Urban Hope most of the year. He spoke with the OB students about their lives since returning home and challenged them to see things like Jesus does and serve whenever we see the need.
We soon had another ministry opportunity as half of the alum went up and down the streets to hand out fliers about Fall Fest, the annual Halloween block party for the community. The other half of the group went to work across the street at the SUM building, This is a facility that will be used for the students of the urban ministry program at Grace College. We helped clear out the basement and set up bunk beds in a few of the rooms as well as a few other jobs that needed to be done. Needless to say the alum were willing to help in what area they were needed in.
As night hit and the street lights came on, Halloween night became more treats than tricks as the festivities began and the block was soon filled with everyone in costumes. Both the students and leaders got to work running carnival games, taking pictures and handing out food. Even though the night was fun and plenty of candy was to be found, the sweetest thing was that there were many opportunities for the gospel to be shared.
After a speedy cleanup we split up into our previous teams to see how God has been working in our lives since we went home.
As a fun way to end the night, we piled into the big blue OB bus to see the Liberty Bell and then a chance to run up the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum like Rocky! After one final meeting in the gazebo we headed back to Urban Hope for some shut eye, and did we need it!
The next morning, students had the opportunity to attend church before we started to go our separate ways and head home.
For one weekend we were able to come together and serve, not as two separate OB teams but as one body of Christ. Sharing the gospel, being an encouragement, having some laughs and coming together one last time made for a great weekend at the OB ministry reunion. See pictures on the CE National Facebook page.
Staff from the Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia and a number of Pennsylvania churches will meet together at the Grace House in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday November 7 to canvass the area and run a children’s program.
Grace House is a ministry location that has been under the shepherding of the Hope Grace Brethren Church in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Please pray for wisdom to know if there’s potential for expanding the ministry.