Thursday, September 8, 2016

The God of Jane, of Julie, of Joe

   "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" is one of the fundamental names by which God was known. It probably had something to do with the fact that the first believers would not pronounce the name of God, understanding it to be too holy. This name also caught on because God was first encountered because of the people who shared about their knowledge and relationship with the One Above All. Think about it; when you encounter God because of a person, like Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, you are encountering God because of that relationship. Because of your witness, people have come to know God through you. They might not use the name, but some people have come to know the God of Terrie, or Melissa, or Chris, or John.
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   This truth should apply to how we 'do church' today. Every person has been created by God. Every person, of every age, needs Jesus to overcome the separation caused by sin and restore us to right relationship with God. As a church, we share Jesus with the young and no-longer-young, every Sunday. But, the earliest years of a person's life are the most critical. A Barna Group study indicated that 43% of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do so before reaching the age of 13, and that 64% of born again Christians made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. We need to be for all people, but we really need to be 'all in' for some people.
   One of the most powerful ways that a church can reach and raise up children and youth is through placing committed Christian adults in their lives through small groups. This is where we teach that the God of Connor, or Trish, or Taylor, is also the God of the teenage boy or elementary-age girl. It is exciting to know that this Fall our Youth Ministry is introducing small groups for Middle School and High School that start next week. Meeting in homes, they will be another place for committed adults to share the God they know and follow with receptive ears and hearts. Our Kids Ministry actually started its first small group for girls a couple of weeks ago! This happens when people generously share their gifts and their time.
   Our church is committed to sharing the Good News in ways that work. Small groups are one way to reach one group in need of the Gospel. In the coming months, we are will be finalizing and offering church-wide training on how sharing the Gospel happens most effectively through individuals in order to reach people outside the church.
   Grace and peace, Scott

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