by Don McGarvey
Years ago I heard a story about a pair of brothers. One was tall enough to see over the wooden fence while the other was only tall enough to see through a knot-hole. One day the circus came to town and the boys viewed the circus parade from their respective positions. One enjoyed seeing the circus parade while the other only got to see snap shots of lions and tigers. One came away with a great sense of excitement while the other came away fearful. Both saw the same thing, but their perspective changed their reaction.
If we’re not careful, we can go through life with a knot-hole perspective rather than seeing the big picture. It’s easy to do, especially living in the Midwest. It’s easy to think the rest of the world is like us. It’s easy to think every community is like ours and every church is just like we are. But that’s just not true. We need to change our perspective. We need to get up on our tip toes and look over the fence and change our perspective.
A look over the top of the fence will show that out of nearly 7 billion people in the world, there are: 1.5 million Muslims; 1 billion Hindus; 600 million Buddhists, and 7,000 people groups with no indigenous community of believing Christians. Many of these people have never heard the name of Jesus. They don’t even know anyone who knows about Jesus. Now that’s a little different perspective.
Before last January’s leadership conference, Tom and Heath sat down to talk about leadership.
Make plans to be part of this years leadership conference January 27-28, 2012.
Why do you think investing in the next generation is so important?
If you’re a girl, you’ll understand that one of the most exciting and fun things you can do on a Friday night is sleep on the floor of your church fellowship hall surrounded by friends (old and new) and and leaders who care about you. Although anyone who grew up in church can tell you there are few places on earth scarier than an empty church at night, a dark, uninhabited church can also make for one of the best places to play Hide and Seek, Underground Church and maybe even Truth or Dare. Sleepovers like this can create an environment perfect for building long-term friendships, making great memories and forming deep spiritual roots.
National Girls Ministries understands that these sleepovers are not only great opportunities to gather girls in your church, but also to reach out to girls in the community. Each spring, they release a sleepover planning guide complete with games, snack ideas and great devotionals.
The 2011 Sleepover theme is Themba Safari to correspond with this year’s Coins for Kids project. Pronounced TIM-BA, it’s the Zulu word for hope. These packets are available for download here or can be obtained by contacting the National Girls Ministries Department (417)862-2781. Traditionally, the sleepover is held the fourth Friday of September, but it could be hosted any weekend that works with your church calendar.
This event is perfect for churches big and small – all it takes is a handfull of girls and a couple of ladies to make the night a success. It can be a great event for churches who don’t already offer ministry specifically for girls. And, if you’re thinking of starting something like Mpact Girls Clubs, this could be a great launch event.
Although it’s been 10 years ago this week that I started my first day of my senior year of high school, I can still remember the feeling of walking around Target making sure we got the right kind of drumsticks, wearing a slightly damp swimsuit under my sundress, enjoying my summer when… BAM! There it was. The school supply aisle. The official signal of the end of summer. The one section of any store that can still trigger the specific combination of anxiety, dread, anticipation and excitement that comes with the beginning of a new school year.
Reaching your campus. Youth Alive has tons of great resources for you as you head back to school. There are helps for campus clubs, becoming a Campus Missionary, and even help with praying for your campus. If you have questions about any of these resources or would like a little help getting started, contact Matt Loomis (515)276.5493.
Helping your friends. Everybody knows that it can be a jungle out there. Bullying and dealing with meanness in school can be really tough! But don’t worry – you are not alone! You can go here or read any of these great books!
Getting ready. NYM has so many great resources for you to get ready for school this year. Plus, Teen Girl Ministries just released this great magazine. Or, you could get ready with one last sleepover with your friends.
by Don McGarvey
For many years when someone would talk about Mission, the thoughts of those listening would turn towards the efforts of men and women in foreign countries. The idea of reaching the lost across the street really wasn’t considered. Recently though, there has been a shift.
The late John Stott was quoted as saying, “His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us with no other choice.” (taken from an article posted on www.christianpost.com )
God was concerned with reaching His “Chosen People” the Jews. But as you read through the Old Testament, you begin to realize that He was just as concerned with reaching Gentiles. It was His Mission.
Recently, I discovered that 25 chapters of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel deal with Gentile nations. Many believe the first Messianic Prophecy (Genesis 3:15) is also the first mandate to reach the lost. For certain God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 was a mandate to bring all the Gospel into all the world. God was determined that “none should perish.” Are we?
The Assemblies of God was established as a “Missions Sending” agency. The governing documents of the Assemblies of God repeatedly call for a great effort to reach the lost around the world as well as at home. The second General Council of the Assemblies of God in 1914 adopted a resolution that called for the “greatest evangelism the world has ever known.” This mandate has remained at the heart of our fellowship.
Every church should have a clearly understood and easily repeatable Mission. It’s why we meet together, determines our ministries, forms our budgets, and influences how we use our facilities. Mission is our plan to reach the lost in our community and around the world. The statistics are staggering: half of the world’s population has not had an adequate witness. The same is true in many of our communities. Having a clearly stated Mission and holding true to it will help change this.
No matter where we are or who we are, our Mission is to reach the lost – across the street and around the world!
by Carol Pilcher
Open doors of faith and hope in young girls’ lives with powerful ministry that meets girls where they are. Girls encounter many difficult situations as they grow up, but by intentionally fostering relationships between girls and leaders you can create a safe place for girls to discuss issues they face and get godly counsel. Through Girls Clubs each girl can hear that God loves them and wants a relationship with her.
In other places of the world imagine 10- and 11- year-olds taking care of young siblings because their mother is too sick to help. Imagine a place where everyone is touched by HIV/AIDS.
This, too, is girls ministries. Through this year’s Coins for Kids missions project, Girls Ministries are providing cooking kitchens for families in South Africa who are in dire need of sanitary food and water preparation spaces.
These are called A Place of Joy South African Cooking Centers.
Each kitchen will have a stove, refrigerator, and cookware. The families will also experience support from local churches in their community. This will be a safe place for children to get a hot meal, ministry, tutoring, activities and counseling. Each child can hear that God loves her and wants a relationship with her.
To inspire your girls to raise money for this important project and to provide an opportunity for girls to invite friends to a fun event (with a clear gospel message), consider hosting a sleepover this year. For more information or to download this free sleepover resource, visit here.
Whether in our own churches or in a far away country Girls Ministries is there to help each girl. Her heart…her world…his purpose.
The fields are ripe for the harvest. I’ve heard it. I’ve preached it. Without understanding we all have a responsibility to go into the fields there is the risk of allowing a crop to rot in the field. Once that occurs, it becomes suitable for nothing but the fire. A horrible waste of the commodity of the heavens: people. Unfortunately I often find myself thinking months in advance about… well, things. Things relating to the field, but I can easily forget that the field is ripe now.
Jesus deals with my tendency to plan ahead of Him and my procrastination in one statement. He pointedly says, “Do you not say four more months and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes… they are ripe for the harvest!” The harvest is now. I have to remember to stay focused on the harvest: people. People at the store, in the car next to me, in my community. They may not be aware of the times, but Jesus lets us know. It’s time.
Jesus actually said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” Jesus’ sustenance, the thing that kept him going, was doing the work the Father had called him to. Again that work’s focus and purpose is people. I know that there are times, too many I must admit, that His work is hard, long and draining and because of that, all I want to do is sit on the edge of the field. I find myself at times simply ignoring the field, and other times I think if I tell others to get into the field thats good enough.
As pastors and leaders we do have to plan, we do need rest and we definitely need to call attention to missions. But we can never allow those things to remove us from the very field that Jesus died for. My attention, somehow my food, must be on what sustained and propelled my Master: the masses, the individual, the friend, the enemy, the church attender, the loner. People.