Kids Korner: resources for children’s ministry

[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="137"] Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their lives. (Proverbs 22:6)[/caption] Got extra time and a room full of kids — but you’ve used up your teaching material for the day? Children's Ministry Magazine offers assistance in an article titled "13 Ways to Turn Extra Classtime Into Extraordinary Learning Time." To read it, click here. Also note that there is a treasure trove of children's ministry resources posted on the Pinterest children's ministry pages: click here and here. Read the article

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Community outreach resources

A significant aspect of our renewal as congregations is developing "healthy habits" related to reaching out to and engaging the unchurched community. For help, read Sam Butler's article in this issue on community assessment, and check out these articles on various related topics: The Hospitable Gospel by Ed Stetzer 7 Reasons Churches That Want To Reach Unchurched People…Don’t by Cary Nieuwhof 4 Ways to Increase Missional Capacity by Daniel Hyun Seven Situations Where Your Church Should Not Have Greeters by Thom Ranier. Read the article

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How to conduct a community assessment

In order for a congregation to participate actively in what Christ is doing in the community where it meets, it must get to know that community well. There are multiple ways to do so with a particularly effective one being the nine-step community assessment process detailed in the article below by GCI pastor Sam Butler who draws on his ministerial experience and relevant literature. [caption id="attachment_39" align="alignright" width="150"] Sam and Denise Butler[/caption] Conducting a community assessment is a great way for a congregation to get to know and engage its community---vital first steps in advancing a balanced and thus effective disciple-making (Great Commission) ministry process. In my experience, an effective community... Read the article

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Forward in 2017!

Through the articles and sermons linked below, the March Equipper addresses various issues relevant to GCI's journey of renewal in 2017 and beyond. From Greg: Trends for churches in 2017 GCI Vice President Greg Williams looks at ten trends likely to impact the ministry of our churches in the year ahead and beyond. [caption id="attachment_3316" align="aligncenter" width="427"] Used with permission from "Leadership Journal."[/caption] How to conduct a community assessment GCI Pastor Sam Butler outlines a nine-step process congregations can use to assess and thus engage their community. Community outreach resources Here are links to articles that helpfully address various aspects of community outreach, engagement and... Read the article

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Sermon for April 16, 2017 (Easter)

Sermon for April 16, 2017 (Easter) Scripture readings: Acts 10:34-43 or Jer. 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Col. 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matt. 28:1-10 THE DAWNING OF THE NEW DAY (John 20:1-18) By Ted Johnston (drawing on commentary by Michael Card) Biographies usually end with the subject’s death. But John’s recounting of the story of Jesus is not merely a biography of Jesus. Rather, it’s gospel—the proclamation of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection. Its purpose is to help us believe---to help us place our trust in Jesus as God’s Son. A central focus of John's Gospel is the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, which is the principal evidence that Jesus is indeed God’s Son, the... Read the article

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Sermon for April 13, 2017 (Maundy Thursday)

Sermon for April 13, 2017 (Maundy Thursday) Scripture readings: Ex. 12:1-4, 11-14; Psalm 116:12, 12-19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 WHOLEHEARTEDLY FOLLOWING CHRIST (John 13:1-17) By Cathy Deddo In this Maundy Thursday sermon we'll look at the account in John's Gospel of Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet. In doing so, we'll see what it means to wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Let's begin by reading our Scripture passage: John 13:1-17. This passage begins a long section of Jesus’ teaching at what is referred to as the Last Supper and then following. It occurred on Thursday evening, the night before Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, then resurrected on Easter Sunday. In Jesus' day, foot washing was part of the... Read the article

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Sermon for April 9, 2017 (Palm/Passion Sunday)

Sermon for April 9, 2017 (sixth Sunday in Lent---Palm/Passion Sunday) Scripture readings (Liturgy of the Passion): Isa. 50:4-9, Psalm 31:9-16, Phil. 2:5-11, Matt. 26:14-27:66 On this, the last day of Lent, the RCL has two liturgies---one for the liturgy of the Palms and one for the liturgy of the Passion. The sermon below is related to the latter. As to why the RCL has two liturgies for this day, click here. THE END OF GRACE (Psalm 31:9-16) By Lance McKinnon Today is Palm/Passion Sunday, which begins Holy Week, which includes Good Friday when we focus on the crucifixion of Jesus. As we do, there is a question that may rise up in our souls: Does God's grace come to an end on the cross? And if Jesus is the Son of God, what assurance... Read the article

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Sermon for April 2, 2017

Sermon for April 2, 2017 (fifth Sunday in Lent) Scripture readings: Ezek. 37:1-14, Psa. 130:1-8, Rom. 8:6-11, John 11:1-45 WAKING THE DEAD (Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45) By Linda Rex Here's a question for us all today: Where is our life? Asked other ways: From where do we draw our life? What is it that we build our life around? What is it that is at the depths or core of our life? What has captured our heart? On what is our mind set? Today’s Epistle reading from the Lectionary (Romans 8:6-11) addresses these questions, and we'll also look at this week’s Gospel reading (John 11:1-45), which tells of the time Jesus' disciples and dear friends, Mary and Martha, sent our Lord a desperate message: “Our brother, the one you love,... Read the article

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From Greg: Trends for churches in 2017

Dear pastors and ministry leaders: [caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="150"] Greg and Susan Williams[/caption] LifeWay Resources President Thom Rainer is pretty good at predicting trends in the North American church. He's been analyzing those trends for years, and recently shared his take on what lies ahead in an article titled "The Top Ten Major Trends for 2017." I've reproduced his list below (with minor edits) and then provided comments concerning how these trends might impact us in GCI. I encourage you to discuss these with your leaders as you consider together how they might impact the various ministries in your congregation. [caption id="attachment_3316" align="aligncenter" width="496"] Used with "Leadership... Read the article

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Sermon for March 26, 2017

Sermon for March 26, 2017 (fourth Sunday in Lent) Scripture readings: 1 Sam. 16:1-13, Psalm 23: 1-6, Eph. 5:8-14, John 9:1-41 THE MIRACLE OF SEEING JESUS (John 9:1-41) By Ted Johnston Jesus performed many miracles by which he met human needs while conveying truth concerning his identity as Son of God and Messiah. One of the biblical signs of the Messiah was the healing of blindness, and in John 9, Jesus fulfills that sign. John also is using this miracle to say something about the human condition, for in John "to see" physically is a metaphor for understanding spiritually. And so John 9 is about spiritual blindness as well as physical blindness, and about how Jesus heals both. The man we meet in John 9 was both physically and... Read the article

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