The Alumni Blog . . . RHEMA Alumni sharing what works, reaching the world with the message of faith!
joe and julie overholt (’95, ’96) say . . .
Plan a Wintertime Vacation Bible School. During the “cabin fever” months of February or March when kids are tired of being cooped up indoors because of the cold, we have great success with our Beach Bible School VBS. It’s a summer theme and everyone wears shorts. We convert the whole sanctuary, bring in motorcycles, wading pools, and real fish to decorate. We play with water guns and do all sorts of beach games. The kids have a great time, and many are saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit.
lizetta crittle (’95, ’96) says . . .
Children’s Witnessing Tool. In the Philippines, we teach our children to share the Gospel by using the five fingers on their hand. We call it “Give Me Five.” The thumb is: (1) “I have sinned.” The pointer finger is (2) “God loves me.” The middle finger is: (3) “Jesus died for me.” The ring finger is: (4) “I accept Jesus as my personal Savior.” And the little finger is: (5) “I have eternal life.”
about . . . Lizetta Crittle is a missionary in Samar, Philippines.
dwight collins (’95, ’96) says . . .
Bless the Children. At the beginning of every summer, we hold a free fair. We give away food and donate prizes for contests like the Hula Hoop and Football Toss. There are less than 100 people in our church, but over half the adults get involved. Our goal is to touch the lives of children and attract families who don’t attend church. Our best tip: set up a registration table to collect follow-up information and issue name tags children must have in order to eat or participate in contests. Our follow-up is conducted through phone calls and home visits.
about . . . Dwight and Jean Collins pastor Risen Christ Family Church in Duncanville, Texas. www.risenchristfamily.org
john edwards (’97, ’98) says . . .
Hold a College Outreach. My son, Lee, attends the University of Alabama and another one of my church members, Matt Collins, plays football there. So every Monday I go to Matt’s apartment for a discipleship group. Over the school year, different kids started coming until the apartment is now full. It’s my favorite ministry of the week. It may even grow into a second church.
about . . . John and Connie Edwards pastor Hillside Church in Trussville, Alabama.
doug and laura foutty (’87) say . . .
Prom Dresses and the Gospel. We have an annual prom dress event. People donate their once-worn prom dresses or wedding dresses, local shops donate brand-new dresses, and right before the high school prom, we have a big party. Girls start lining up at 6:30 in the morning. A Christian boutique owner in town holds a fashion show, comments about modesty, and introduces the Gospel. We staple the plan of salvation in teen lingo on every dress, and sell the outfits for $10 each, including shoes and jewelry. Last year, 400 people attended—about 220 girls with parents and boyfriends, too.
john brady (’81, ’82) says . . .
Men’s Ministry. How do you get men to fellowship? We use paintball! On six acres donated to the church, our guys got together and made a rugged paintball course, complete with a picnic area. The church sold memberships to men ($40 a year), bought some guns and insurance (not hard), and now, at least twice a month, we have guys out there playing. It has allowed for ministry to take place individually and corporately.
about . . . John and Terry Brady pastor Church of the Good Shepherd in McAllen, Texas. www.cotgs.com
andy white (’89, ’91) says . . .
Bring the Church Into People’s Homes. People don’t have time to read a lot anymore, so we send out news flashes to our congregation on e-mail, maybe two or three a month. An e-mail can be simple or graphically advanced. It could have the pastor’s picture and a quick note of encouragement, and be sent to different groups like youth or leadership or families. You might send out a message to families, such as “Here’s a family idea for this week” or “Remember the special meeting.” Or you could go through Ephesians one verse at a time, and send it to everyone. These communications bring your church into your congregation’s homes during the week.
about . . . Andy and JoAnn White pastor Faith Family Church in Chandler, Arizona. www.faithfc.org
mary lasarski says . . .
Outreach to Young Mothers. We use a curriculum called “Earn While You Learn” (www.atcmag.com/v4n3/article2.asp). It’s designed so that young mothers can meet one-on-one with a mentoring mom once a week or so. There are video lessons covering things like fetal development, good nutrition, car seat safety, etc. As the girls do these lessons or attend church, they acquire points that they can use to buy things at our church store, from baby clothes and formula to toys, car seats, and cribs.
about . . . Mary Lasarski is a member of Contact Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK. www.contactchurch.net
jack yurus (’92, ’93) says . . .
Keep Church Members Informed. We have around 100 people in our church, and we use a virtual office called CommuniKate (www.katebww.com). The price is $25 a month. It has a lot of features, but basically, I call and leave a verbal message I want to send to people. CommuniKate can send an e-mail out to everyone in my church, or receive messages from them. It’s how they can keep in touch with me. I can send to different recipients like the youth group or women’s ministry. When the members open their e-mail, they hear my recorded voice, and I remind them of services or
special events. I try to do it at least once a week.
about . . . Jack and Marilyn Yurus pastor Hudson Valley Family Church in Elmsford, New York. www.hvfc.org
john guffin (’95, ’96) says . . .
Itinerant Ministry Outside the Box. With a church in Memphis, we held an outdoor service on a Saturday morning. We set up outside the church building and had music and preaching. Many people in the neighborhood sat in their driveways to listen. On the Saturday before Easter, we went to a busy intersection and held signs that said, “Don’t give up. Your miracle is on the way” and “Jesus loves you.” The idea was to get people’s minds on God right before the busiest church day of the year, Easter.
dennis michael (’95, ’96) says . . .
Use Your Passion. We use radio-controlled model airplanes and the story of the Wright Brothers to promote education and faith. We travel the country, conducting non-religious air shows during the day in public
elementary schools, thrilling the kids with acrobatic airplanes and high-speed racing jets. Then, in the evening, our team opens up the free air show to the community, where we incorporate a story about the Wright Brothers and how their faith in God and their Christian upbringing
instilled in them high moral values.
about . . . Dennis Michael is president of Godspeed Flight Demonstration Team, Inc. www.goGodspeed.com
buddy bell (’78) says . . .
Live Broadcasts on the Internet. We’ve been doing live streaming on the Internet, and sermons can be uploaded to any Web site, all for less than $40 a month (www.SayItBetter
Live.com). Powerful Web-based video creation tools can do everything from creating original video content to coordinating and broadcasting a live event. It’s a great way to share the Gospel using today’s latest technologies.
about . . . Buddy and Kathy Bell travel full-time as Ministry of Helps Intl., Inc. www.mohi.org
bob and bobbie cook (’00, ’01) say . . .
Make a Place for Fellowship. Our church is in a strip mall, so we’ve made the whole front of it into a café that’s open to the public. We have Christian entertainment there on Friday nights and Christian karaoke every couple of months. The whole idea is to make a place for fellowship and inviting people. You can go to church and sit in a pew but never develop relationships unless there’s fellowship. We plan to expand, and our goal is to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
about . . . Bob and Bobbie Cook pastor His Place For You in Canton, Ohio. www.hisplace4u.com
gwyn and dot waycaster (’82, ’83) say . . .
Reach Out to People in Need. We did several outreaches to people in our area who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, but these outreaches can be used anywhere that people are in need. After we helped people get shelter and furniture for new homes, we also had a “Love Your Neighbor” Sunday, with a worship service and potluck meal for everyone. Afterwards we played games together and just loved on people. We will probably continue that activity annually. We also had a “Wrap Sunday,” where everyone in our congregation brought nice coats to give away, and a “Whatnot Sunday,” where we brought things that evacuees could use to decorate a house. We gave Christmas gifts to teens and kids, telling them, “We’re here to help you because God loves you.”
about . . . Gwyn and Dot Waycaster pastor Storehouse Church in McComb, Mississippi. www.storehousechurchusa.org
ron stauch (’87, ’88) says . . .
There’s Help for Praise and Worship. We don’t have a music minister or musicians right now, so we have started using praise and worship DVDs from Integrity
(www.iworshipnow.com). We run the DVDs through a computer and project the video and words on a screen. You can use the DVDs with vocals, with a split track, just the background vocals, or just the instrumentals. There are several sets, even for shorter or longer services. This system is very versatile, and our people are entering into worship more than ever. They’re excited about it.
mark boer (’88, ’89) says . . .
Work With Other Churches. We’re part of “Mission Media,” 80 local Christian churches united to get the Gospel out through TV, radio, print, etc. (www.missionmedia.com). We present a unified front, not just promoting our own churches. In each commercial, the pastor invites people to his church or “any of the other Christian churches in the valley.” The past two Christmases, we have held The Grace Gift Parable with a budget of about $10,000 donated by churches and businesses. First, we paid for people’s parking tickets at City Hall. Last year, we gave a free tank of gas to single parents. Both these outreaches received national news coverage.
about . . . Mark and Amy Boer pastor Life Church in Boise, Idaho. www.lifechurchboise.com