The Alumni Blog . . . RHEMA Alumni sharing what works, reaching the world with the message of faith!
Greg (’80) and Debbie Varney say . . .
Help Schools. There is an elementary school close to our church, so we worked with the principal and hosted a “Back to School” event in August. The principal announced to parents in May that we would be providing school supplies, and he sent them a reminder during the summer. On the day of our event, many volunteers helped us give free haircuts, pass out backpacks, and serve refreshments. The backpacks contained a DVD and printed information about our church and our children’s activities for interested parents. We even found a doctor willing to give kindergarten physicals, an optometrist to perform eye exams, and a dentist to offer checkups, all free of charge. The event lasted four hours, but if any attendees couldn’t get their hair cut in that time, a local cosmetology school provided them with coupons for free haircuts later. We were able to bless about 340 children.
About . . . Greg and Debbie Varney pastor Light of the World Christian Center in Topeka, Kansas. www.lotwcc.org
Lisa Cooke (’80, ’01) says . . .
Get Kids Thinking of Others. Have your children write to U.S. soldiers who are fighting for our country overseas (see online resources such as www.soldiersangels.org and www.americasupportsyou.mil). Another option is to have them send letters and
care packages to wounded soldiers in hospitals (www.noanie.com). Other ideas include sending clothes, school supplies, and other donations to areas hit by disasters (www.redcross.org), helping local charities, or stocking an inner-city library with
About . . . Lisa Cooke and her husband, Tony (’80, ’81), are founders of Tony Cooke Ministries. They travel extensively around the U.S. and overseas. www.tonycooke.org
Sam (’79) and Denise Hinkle say . . .
Bless the Community After High School Football Games. For 12 years now, our youth group has done an outreach called “5th Quarter” on Friday nights after the local football games. We have hosted it at the school gym and at our church, and many volunteers get involved. The event is announced at the games; we begin at 9 p.m. and end at midnight. We give away door prizes, have inflatable games and guest bands, and serve refreshments such as nachos, chili, hotdogs, and cookies, charging a small entrance fee of $3. Each week has a different theme, such as Mexico Night, Carnival Night, Sports Night, Hawaii Night, or Karaoke Night. It’s a safe, fun alternative for teens, and it also offers opportunities for one-on-one ministry.
About . . . Sam and Denise Hinkle pastor The River Church in Warsaw, Missouri. www.riverchurchofwarsaw.org
Ty (’87, ’88) and Connie (’87) Loyd say . . .
Reach Out to Teens. The high school is right across the road from our church, so once a week on Wednesdays, we offer a free lunch to students in our building. We call it “The Lunch Rush.” Church volunteers serve the food, act as crossing guards, and minister to the kids. In the youth hall, we have music with a live DJ, video games, pool tables, and foosball. Our teams also witness to the students, pray with them, and give away Bibles and Christian CDs and DVDs. About 300 students typically attend. Since we started this outreach, close to 3,500 students have come, and many have started showing up for our youth services on Wednesday nights.
About . . . Ty and Connie Loyd pastor The Church Triumphant in Las Cruces, New Mexico. www.churchtriumphantlc.com
Financial Tips For Churches
Tony McKinnon (’98, ’99) says . . .
Wipe Out Church Debt. We only owe $105,000 on our current building and land, so this year we’re aiming to pay that debt off. We printed some number 10 envelopes that looked like money, in increments of $5,000, $2,000, $1,500, $1,000, $500—a choice of the total amount our congregants could pledge to give this year. Inside each envelope were 12 giving envelopes, breaking down the dollar amounts so they could give once per month. Then on Vision Sunday in January, I challenged the congregation: “Let’s all sow something above our regular tithes and offerings, and pay our mortgage off this year.” It gave everyone a way to hook up, and the response was great.
About . . . Tony McKinnon and his wife, Kimberly, pastor Family Worship Center in Williamstown, Kentucky. www.fwcgc.com
Sam Smucker (’77) says . . .
Host a Financial Seminar. We’ve had overwhelming response to Dave Ramsey’s course called “Financial Peace University” (www.daveramsey .com). We’ve offered that course twice in our church to anyone who is interested, and both times we haven’t had enough space for all the people who registered. We’ve noticed that a lot of young adults take the course and enjoy it. Among other things, it teaches people how to set up a budget to guide them in their finances.
About . . . Sam Smucker and his wife, Sherlyn, pastor The Worship Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. www.worshipcenter.org
Ted Milian (’85, ’86) says . . .
Help People Learn How to Handle Money. I can’t say enough about the small group financial study offered by Crown Financial Ministries. This program helps people tackle their financial issues through budgeting, listing and ranking debt, and general investing. By remaining faithful to the principles learned in this program for just three years, the average couple can eliminate $20,000 in debt while putting up to $10,000 in savings. When people have financial struggles, it’s rarely an income problem. It’s almost always a spending problem. Often, this class is the first time that husbands and wives get on the same page about their family finances, which has a huge impact. It’s simple to become an instructor, obtain teaching materials for your church, or attend one of Crown’s events around the country (www.crown.org).
About . . . Ted Milian is Senior Associate Pastor at Mount Hope Church in Grand Blanc, Michigan. www.mhcgb.com
Kelly Cates (’98, ’99) says . . .
Hit the Streets.Every Friday night, people who are interested in learning to witness meet at our church for a short training session. Everyone gets a simple “Soul-Winning Card,” and we do role-playing to practice using it. Then we pray and go out to a predetermined area of town. When witnessing, we go two-by-two, and we always stick to the card. We don’t debate theology or religion; we just share the Word of God in love, let the Word speak to people’s hearts, and then give people an opportunity to pray. If they pray with us, we obtain follow-up information and invite them to church. On average, we pray with 150 people every Friday night.
Kevin (’90, ’91) and Adrienne (’93) Cooley say . . .
Finance Your Outreach Projects. We conducted a series of advertising outreach projects called “Soul Surge Campaign”—TV ads, postcards, billboards, and so on. We paid for it by rallying church members to sow; we put 120 chairs in the hallway to represent 120 new people we wanted to add to the church. A chair could be sponsored for $50. Every time a congregation member “purchased” a chair, we moved it into the sanctuary to make room for the new person, and we used the cash to pay for our outreach projects. We have grown from about 255 on Sunday morning to 330, and we now have momentum to grow even more!
About . . . Kevin and Adrienne Cooley pastor Harvest Church in Mobile, Alabama www.harvestmobile.com
Tom and Sylvia Parker (’98, ’99) say . . .
Encourage Study. On Wednesday evenings, we’ve started using RHEMA Correspondence Bible School curriculum at church (www.rhema.org/education/rcbs.cfm). Each person pays for his or her own materials. We meet weekly and take turns reading the books. Then we do the chapter reviews. People get to ask questions after each chapter, and the interaction has been great.
We take the exam, which we send off to Rhema, and everyone is excited to get the results back! We’ve found that this is a great way to encourage people to study, especially if they will never get to go to school.
About . . . Tom and Sylvia Parker pastor Spirit and Truth Christian Church in Bedford, New Hampshire.
John (’81, ’82) and Terry (’81) Brady say . . .
Disciple and Grow People. On Wednesday nights, we have a discipleship program called Pathways. It is held in six-week blocks, with four classes offered in each block. Then we take three weeks off and meet together for church services until we start classes again. Topics and resources include:
∙ Parenting (Effective Parenting in a Defective World by Chip Ingram, www.lote.org)
∙ How to Be Led by the Spirit (www.isom.org)
∙ Contagious Christianity (www.contagiouschristian.com)
∙ Financial Health (www.crown.org)
We’re also planning to offer a class on Divorce Care. All the classes run for one hour, which includes a 25-minute DVD (with workbooks), and then time for discussion and questions, facilitated by a staff member or volunteer.
About . . . John and Terry Brady pastor The Family Church in McAllen, Texas. www.tfcmcallen.com