The Alumni Blog . . . RHEMA Alumni sharing what works, reaching the world with the message of faith!
Devin Kroner (’03, ’04) says . . .
Start a Children’s Worship Team. When I was children’s pastor at Living Word Church in Roberts, Illinois, we were looking for something to increase the children’s partici- pation in our children’s church without increasing workers. We had several kids who played instruments and sang, so we put together a music team. There were about 20 kids in all. They practiced every week, and when they ministered during service, the Holy Spirit moved in a wonderful way. It wasn’t professional, but the kids worshipped with their whole hearts. When adults lead kids in worship, there isn’t the same level of participation as when kids do it. We promoted the kid-led worship heavily, and our children’s church grew as a result. '
About . . . Devin Kroner is currently the assistant children’s pastor at Cornerstone Church, Nashville, Tennessee.
Don (’04, ’05) and Denise (’97, ’98) Burns say . . .
Update Your Children’s Ministry to the 21st Century. Today’s children are bom- barded with multimedia, and we want to make children’s church an exciting place where kids want to be! Here are three simple ideas: (1) Do an extreme makeover on your children’s church. Paint each wall a different, bold color. Add beanbag chairs, a television, and a game cube! For more inspiration, visit www.wackyworld.tv. (2) Get teenagers involved in your children’s ministry. Kids want someone they can look up to, someone closer to their age who can show that it’s hip and cool to love and serve God. (3) Go multimedia with your curriculum. A television and DVD player are must- have items. One great video-based curriculum for smaller churches is “Elevate.” Go to www.creativepastors.com and click on the “Elevate Children’s” option under the Resource menu.
About . . . Don and Denise Burns pastor The Harbor Church in Austin, Texas.
Lynn Schaal (’82) says . . .
Reach the Unsaved Youth. Our youth group organized “Battle of the Bands,” a huge secular concert in a park featuring 10 local bands that competed for a grand prize of $1,000. Thirty bands auditioned, and we advertised heavily. Our goal was to get as many unsaved young people as we could to the event, be able to minister to them, find out where they’re at, and get our name out in the community as a place that teens can come to. At the end of the concert, our youth pastor delivered a five-minute sermon, and for the altar call, his youth leaders raised their hands so that anyone could go talk to them. Many people responded and asked questions about God. Tips: Get several Christian bands involved (not all secular). Be sure the judging process is well organized; we used local DJs. Have enough security, and make sure the police know about the event in advance.
About . . . Lynn Schaal and his wife, Dorette, pastor Amazing Grace Fellowship in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Toneia Mayes (’00, ’01) says . . .
Teach Abstinence to Youth. It’s vitally important to talk to youth and their parents about the importance of healthy relationships and abstinence until marriage. The Faith-Based Initiative instituted by the Bush administration in 2001 gives government funds to faith-based organizations, such as churches, to teach the message of abstinence until marriage to youth groups and public school students. We’ve been taking advantage of this resource. Contact your local pregnancy centers to find out about community-based abstinence education programs in your area. These programs train you to speak to your youth and their parents, teaching them how to have healthy relationships now so they’ll have long-lasting marriages in their future.
(Visit www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci for more information.)
About . . . Toneia Mayes served as worship leader at Journey Christian Church in Fairbanks, Alaska. She now lives in and ministers out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Steve and Mamie Ogle (’93, ’94) say . . .
Let People Try Ministry On. We have a program in our church called “First Serve,” which allows people who are interested in getting involved in a given area of ministry to “try it on” first. They sign up to work in a certain area and are assigned a time to go help. The workers already active in that area of ministry are available to greet the “First Servers” and answer questions, which makes the visit enjoyable for everyone. After the visit, our First Serve coordinator contacts the first-timer to see if they liked what they tried, or if they would like to try something else. We’ve been surprised by how many people enjoy the first thing they try and can be added into the regular schedule right away after training.
About . . . Steve and Mamie Ogle pastor Community Life Church in Butler, Pennsylvania.
Burnard Scott (’91, ’92) says . . .
Connect People to God, Family, and Community. We do “Operation Connect,” a program that focuses each month on a particular community service in our town (such as foster care, elderly services, and so on). We have a representative from that organization come to share a few minutes on Sunday morning, telling what their organization does and how they need help. After service, our members can sign up to help, and the church gives money to that organization. As a result, we’re helping the lost, our church is known in the community, and our members think like helpers. Another benefit we hadn’t foreseen is that some of the representatives have never been in church, and they get to see that the church cares about what they do. Some have actually come back to attend church.
About . . . Burnard Scott is currently on the pastoral staff at The Crossing Church in Tampa, Florida.
Doug (’95, ’96) and Debbie (’96) Crumbly say . . .
Wage War Against Drugs. In this area of the country, crystal methamphetamine is ruining lives, and as the church, we’re doing everything in our power to break its hold. We work with the sheriff and city police departments, and twice a year at the church, we hold an educational night for parents and teens on meth and its effects. We advertise the event through local newspapers, Web sites, e-mail blasts, blogs, and other methods. About 300 to 350 people come. In addition, we work with and pray specifically for meth users all year long, and every single week we have at least one (sometimes more) come to church and get born again. On Sunday mornings, we bus in addicted girls from group homes, and they get saved. The word is getting out that our church is a place that can help people trapped by this demonic drug.
About . . . Doug and Debbie Crumbly pastor Cornerstone Church of Rome in Rome, Georgia.
Andy (’89, ’91) and JoAnn (’90, ’91) White say . . .
Help Young Girls to Build Their Self-Image Early. In today’s world, young girls need to know what God has to say about beauty and being accepted in Christ. This year, we put on our first “Princess Tea Party.” Girls from ages 5 to 11 attended with a significant woman in their life (such as their mom, aunt, grandmother, or neighbor). They came all dressed up, had a lovely tea party, and heard a message about God’s love for them and His view of beauty and purity. We made them each a crown and gave them a bag of jewels. We called it an outreach and an “in-reach,” inviting people both inside and outside of the church. It was a huge success, and we plan to do it every year.
About . . . Andy and JoAnn White pastor Faith Family Church in Chandler, Arizona.
Terry and Terri Young (’84, ’85) say . . .
Minister to Senior Citizens. We hold what we call “Vitamin Club” meetings, where we invite and also bus in senior citizens. There is a concert, plus a time when the seniors can hear advice from doctors and other professionals. We also give them gifts of much-needed dietary supplements. Many people have attended our meetings, and we’ve seen great results. (In the photo, Terri is handing a vitamin packet to a Russian grandmother wearing medals that she earned fighting the Nazis in defense of Moscow.)
About . . . Terry and Terri Young are associate pastors with Rick Renner Ministries in Moscow, Russia.
John (’95, ’96) and Susan (’93, ’94) Guffin say . . .
Reach Out in Hospital Waiting Rooms. We help a pastor friend of ours in south Memphis by reaching out to people in hospital waiting rooms. It’s basically a ministry to families and caregivers. Working closely within the hospital’s guidelines for ministry, we go into the waiting rooms associated with ICU, the emergency room, and surgery, and we meet with people there. We bring care packages filled with items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, facial wipes, hand lotion, crossword puzzle books, change for vending machines—just natural things that can be a blessing. We also include a card with some information about the church. It opens the door to be able to minister to them if they so desire. So far, we do this outreach once a month.
About . . . John and Susan live in and minister out of Olive Branch, Mississippi.
Larry (’88, ’89) Bjorklund says . . .
Mobilize the Church to Invite People. We made up “invite cards,” which are like a folded-over business card, for everyone in the congregation to carry around and use to invite people to church. On the front, the card says, “You’re invited.” Inside it says, “Are you searching for a friend . . . someone who truly cares?” Then we list our church’s name, service times, childcare information, phone number, and so on. You can include the pastor’s name and picture too. On the back is a map with directions. The invite card puts a tool into our people’s hands to help them reach out and invite others to church.
About . . . Larry and his wife, Judy, pastor Abundant Life Christian Center in Joplin, Missouri.