401 Class Starts Sunday
Emmanuel’s 401 class for adults, “Discovering My Mission,” begins this Sunday morning at 9:00. I hope you’ll be there. A nursery will be available, and Pastor Jeff will lead children ages 3-11 through another great session on the Parables.
A couple questions from the last two pages of “Discovering My Mission” :
What are you going to live for for the rest of your life ? (The best investment : Getting people into Heaven !)
Will anyone be in Heaven because of you ?
Good questions, especially in light of the Resurrection celebration we experienced last Sunday. They should give you an idea of the direction our class will be going.
Of course, we know that if anyone will be in heaven it will ultimately because of the work God has done. But, God chooses to use you and me to be the tools by which people are reached with the Good News of eternal life. Before leaving the earth, Jesus said : “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
Do you remember the commitments we said that we’re making this year as members of the Emmanuel church family ?
I am committed to a relationship with Jesus Christ and a local church. (membership, or belonging)
I am committed to the habits that foster spiritual growth. (maturity)
I am committed to using my God-given gifts and abilities to serve God and others. (ministry)
I am committed to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with other people. (mission)
Let’s sharpen our commitment and our skills as witnesses for the Lord ! You’re going to be glad you did !
National Day of Prayer : Join others from Emmanuel and the area to pray for our nation, state, and cities this Thursday, May 1, from 12:00 – 12:30 pm at the Gasconade County Courthouse. For questions or more information, please contact Dan Engemann at 573-690-2324.
Emmanuel Half-Day of Prayer : On Monday, May 12, the church building will be shut down except for prayer from 4:00 – 8:00 pm. Come join others as we commit some focused time in prayer. Specifically, in conjunction with the “Discovering My Mission” class, we will pray for people in our lives, community, and world who need to know Jesus personally as Savior and Lord. Our Days of Prayer have been a powerful source of contact with the Lord ; please mark this one on your calendar.
Echoes from Iowa
I had the opportunity this week to attend a retreat with about twelve other pastors from our E-Free Central District. It was a good time, and I met some great pastors from churches similar in size to ours. Here are some random notes from that time :
— I was struck by the Evangelical Free Church culture of devotion to the Scriptures as the center of our study and lives. As we went around the circle and each pastor told what he was in the middle of preaching in his church, these are the kinds of answers that were given : Matthew, Genesis, Ephesians, 1 Peter, Genesis, Matthew …. Doesn’t sound all that exciting, does it ? Not like, “I’m preaching on ‘Heaven is For Real,’” or something like that. Just a steady diet of the very thing our souls long for – God’s precious truths and instructions that guide us through this life.
— Most pastors and churches are dealing with similar issues and have similar questions. Pastors feel inadequate and wonder if their work is bearing spiritual fruit. Churches wrestle with how to make disciples and how to integrate people into the church who are new to the faith or are as yet not believers. More than one church had a vibrant Wednesday night youth outreach but was struggling with integrating those kids and their parents into the body of the church. Other questions were raised and discussed, such as how to develop strong church leaders. A principle of “indirectness” in God’s ministry was discussed – the fact that, for example, in the Lord’s work we rarely raise good leaders by trying to raise good leaders. Good godly leaders are raised indirectly as we make disciples and help people grow spiritually.
— Small fellowship groups in homes, such as our Sticky Groups, are still one of the most effective means in these churches for developing relationships and for carrying out ministry. A small group should have, from the start, the intention of dividing once it reaches a certain size so more people can integrate into groups.
— Some creative methods of reaching out into the community are being used in these churches : One church shuts down its Sunday services twice a year for a “Faith in Action” Sunday in which they simply go out and serve people in their town who have needs in their homes, yards, etc. Some do the work ; some visit with the homeowners about the church and/or spiritual issues ; others stay at the church to prepare a meal for the workers. A second church raises money through a pie auction in order to send public school middle-school students to camp at Hidden Acres, our Central District camp. Some of the school systems have found that children who attend camp do well in school, so they’re looking for opportunities for students to go to a camp.
— If we desire to serve in ministry in a church, four things need to ring true :
competence : I should be able to do what I’m being asked, or am asking, to do.
chemistry : I have to be able to get along well with the other people on my ministry team.
capacity : I need to have the time to be able to commit to the needs of the ministry.
call : I should definitely sense a call from God to be involved.
Hope to see you Sunday !