Opportunity Beyond My Ability

By Pete Grimm, Leesburg Presbyterian Church, Volant PA

My story starts off like this. My name is Pete Grimm and I thought I was just an ordinary teenage boy. Key word being thought. My testimony starts off from when I was going into the sixth grade, the day of open house where I could meet my new teachers and get a feel for my classes. It was this morning that my grandmother died. My grandmother was my life, she was the person who cared for me the most. My Mom and Dad were the best parents I could ever ask for; they worked as hard as they could to provide for me and my three brothers. Even with all of that hard work, they had to rely on Grandma Nana. During my young childhood I was extremely reliant on her. She did everything for me from order food for me when we went out to eat, to fighting my battles with other people. So when she passed away I was devastated. I couldn’t grasp why she was taken from me.

Fast forwarding a few years and I am sixteen at the time. I was riding a four-wheeler through the woods and it was dark out on a trail I didn’t know so well, going way too fast. Then bang. I hit a tree. I felt my head touch the tree lightly. If I would have hit it harder it would have killed me. I don’t know how or why I walked away from the accident without a scratch. I asked God why. There are thousands of people in this world that made dumb mistakes like I did and they didn’t walk away, thousands of people that I thought are both better than me and deserve life more than I did. I kept asking God why, I kept praying for an answer.

It was a few months later at the World C.E. convention in San Diego California that I found my answer. I was approached by an individual and was told I was volunteered to be a small group leader. What is a small group leader? A small group leader was a leader of Devotionals. Now how does this all tie together? The first day of small group session I had a list of eighteen people who should have been there. Six showed up. These were the key to my testimony. So I went on with my lesson and we started to go off course from the questions. We started to talk more about everyone’s life and how God works through their lives. The next day I noticed that a few new people showed up and then the next a few more, and the second to last day it was only the original six. Then at the end of the devotional I turned around and saw about twelve more people sitting in the pew behind me just listening. I was obviously making an impact.

And that is when my life puzzle fell into place. The reason my grandma died and the reason I didn’t die that day was because God had His plan for me from the start and He was going to make sure I filled it. My Grandma Nana died when she did so I could build my confidence in myself and to make me able to stand in front of a group and talk to others and not be scared about it. God took her to build my self-esteem and become an independent person. The reason I didn’t die that day in the accident is because God had already begun to make me the person I needed to be to stand in front of people from other countries and who know the Bible more than and better than I do. Standing in front of that group, I was the least qualified to be doing what I was doing. But, with God’s help He made me the person I was that day and gave me the opportunities I had to spread His word to people I didn’t even know. God works in mysterious ways and as humans we might not realize that. I didn’t. But that day I was there for one reason and one reason only, and that was God’s plan for me.

2 Ways How November 10th Could Change Your Life

Saturday November 10, 2018 at 9AM in Ephrata, Pennsylvania a five mile race begins, followed by a one mile walk starting at 9:10am.  “For God and Country” describes why we invite you to invest your time as a runner or your finances as a sponsoring partner in this event. “For God” refers to the sponsoring organization, Christian Endeavor. This ministry is Unleashing Youth for Christ and Church in several U.S. states and thirty countries through its powerful but simple youth development approach. “and Country” explains that a portion of event proceeds directly assist some of the 100 veterans and their families living below the poverty line in the three municipalities covered by the Race (Akron Borough, Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township). Come race the PATRIOT WAY and make a difference “for God and Country.” Click on the following link for more information or to register for the event: bit.ly/5mileCErun

5 Steps to Creating an Effective Youth Ministry

by Dave Coryell

Observing youth ministry on five continents (don’t worry Australia, I’ll get to you at some point, Antarctica- not a chance!) provides a kaleidoscope youth min perspective. So many options, so many opportunities, but I have also recognized five key steps that make youth ministry effective across cultures.

  1. Equip People- A Youth Worker-Centered approach does not work long term. Finding a lead volunteer or hiring a youth pastor can be effective when this person develops a discipleship process the overall church embraces. The person also needs to see leadership development among young people and adult leadership as primary. In summary, LAY DOWN THE PRIDE AND BE BIBLICAL.
  2. Consistency- Effective youth ministry programs do not meet once a month or every other week. They meet every week and are not cancelled due to holidays, major church functions, or anything short of cataclysmic natural events. People are too distracted to remember which date is which. They need to meet every week without fail to find a rhythm and eventually invite others to come with them.
  3. Christian- Duh! The youth ministry meeting must be Christian. Seems common sense, but incredibly some well-intentioned youth workers water down their gatherings and eliminate or diminish the very substance that young people need to grow closer to Christ. Make your gathering unapologetically Christian- always with prayer, always with a Bible reading or study component.
  4. Socially Acceptable Atmosphere- Burn the moldy couches please! Never again should I enter a youth room that reeks of musty furniture. Play welcoming music that connects with young people. Create a socially acceptable setting for the youth you are serving in your setting being aware of all five senses! This can be in a home (that is cleared in advance), a church room, a park, or whatever works for the young people in your area; however, it must be socially acceptable TO THEM.
  5. Loving Atmosphere- Communicate all are welcome. All are valuable. All are affirmed. Eliminate favorites, put downs and sarcasm. Turn ministry over to the young people for effective welcoming and follow-up ministry.

Want to learn how to take these steps well? Desire to establish an effective discipleship plan that builds young people as leaders? Reach out to us info {at} CEworks.faith

The Founder

Riding home on a plane from a whirlwind tour, I came across a movie released about a year ago called The Founder. The story unfolds the McDonald’s franchise empire and how Ray Kroc made this happen. At first I was connecting myself with Kroc. He saw an organization with incredible potential and dreamed of what it could become. I felt the same way about C.E. He worked tirelessly during his early McDonald’s years. My investment of time and energy to Rebirth C.E. and expose more people to this ministry has also been challenging. However, that is where the comparisons end. Ray Kroc became obsessed with building the McDonald’s empire. He coveted control, power and even another man’s wife. Scripture tells us, “What good is it if a man gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?” Mark 8:36

Let’s contrast Ray Kroc’s life with Truett Cathy, 1967 Chick-fil-A founder. Cathy centered his life on biblical principles. He enjoyed sixty-five married years to his wife Jeanette. He also built his restaurant into the largest fast food chicken restaurant in the USA. Some people want to vilify businesses as if they are inherently evil. God allows us the ability to do business so we can work. We work just as He did when He created the world and does as He continues working in and through us today. Kroc and Cathy are two visionary business men who knew what they wanted. Kroc wanted a fast-food empire and all the fame that could come with it. Cathy wanted to honor His God and do this to the best of his ability while he worked hard and loved his family.

May God help us to test our motives against His Word as we consider the steps we should take. After doing that, may we build His Kingdom instead of creating our own version of a McDonald’s empire.

More Amazing Service in New Castle PA

Week 3 of Christian Endeavor Mission Weeks was AMAZING!

This week was amazing. We had such a big group here this week in New Castle and the community was so excited to see us. Five churches served with us this week and each one was so unique and fun to have with us! Our five churches were; Central Schwenkfelder Church Lansdale, Chapel Church Red Lion, Sanctuary UMC North Wales, St. Mark’s UMC Mount Joy, and St. Peter’s UMC, Emerald. We were able to get so much work done on a bunch of different sites this week because we ended up with a total of about 105 people here including staff which was so cool!

This week was a bit different than the last two weeks because of so many different factors. Not only are we in a different place this week and we have more people here, but our work sites were a bit different. This week was used as an outreach to this community. Prior to our being here, our speakers for the week, Pastor Chuck and Pastor Brett, went out into the community to ask homeowners what we could do for them. This gave us a lot of work sites and a ton of work to get done!

Each day we had a different number of sites and groups were getting work done so incredibly quickly that we were able to move some groups after only one day (and sometimes less) of work! It was so awesome to see these groups divide and conquer so well! St. Mark’s and St Peter’s were our smaller churches for the week so they stayed together. But since our other three groups were a bit larger, we were able to split them into groups and send them to multiple sites. We had three groups from Chapel Church, two from Sanctuary and four from Central Schwenkfelder!

With so many groups and so many sites, it was difficult to keep track of who was where and what was being done there, but some of our highlights were:

Central Schwenkfelder had a group at Ms. Lopez’s house and they did a bunch of painting indoors and out with her. It was such a pleasure for them and the staff to get to know her and her three birds, two dogs and cat! CSC also had teams working at a group of three houses all on the same road. They were cutting down trees, helping in the destruction of one house and the building of one right next door. They did such an amazing job working together and ministering to the construction workers in the area!

Sanctuary killed it this week as well! One of their groups moved to two or three different sites throughout the week and got so much work done so well at each home they were at! The other group from Sanctuary was working on a similar project as what BBC and Hopeland had done at the King home in weeks one and two! The washer and dryer in the home was leaking and causing the floor to rot. Sanctuary went in and moved the washer and dryer and pulled back the carpet so that they could replace the floor underneath. They also replaced the steps into the home that were no longer safe to use. The group also developed an awesome relationship with their homeowner that we think will last even after camp!

Chapel Church was so amazing this week as they were at so many different sites it was hard to keep track of them! They got so much amazing work done at so many different homes and it was so cool to see them work together on so many different projects. Towards the end of the week they worked on clearing out trees and weeds from a home that was being taken over by them. They were so patient with this job. Initially they had placed some of the branches outside of the property line and they had to move it uphill to get it back on the property which took a lot of work. But they did a great job and kept a positive energy the whole time!

St Peter’s had a lot of work to get done this week. They had a lot of paint to scrape from their homeowner’s porch and replace some trim then repaint it. They did such an amazing job and worked so well together! We were so honored to have them here and they were so excited and enthusiastic all week long! They told us how excited they were to get the opportunity to meet the entire family of homeowners! They told us that this is something that they haven’t had the chance to do in the past and they were so excited to get the chance to do that this year!

St. Mark’s was at our farthest site this week. Melody’s home was all the way out in Mercer, PA which is about half an hour from where we were staying at the Sankey Center in New Castle. They did so much work for Melody this week and it was awesome! They started in the front yard by scraping, sanding and painting the front porch purple! Then they moved out back and the hard work began. Some of the group worked on doing the same thing to the back porch, some group members were replacing a wall that had rotted out and one group was working on setting up a platform for a shed that was on uneven ground. They did an amazing job at Melody’s and it was such an honor to watch them work so hard!

Pastor Brett and Pastor Chuck were awesome this week. They took turns speaking this week and touched our hearts with God’s word every night! So many lives were changed this week and we had such an amazing week, it was hard to see everyone leave! We are so excited to come back to New Castle again next week as a summer staff, and the see what God has planned for Mission Weeks 2019!

Above: A group photo of our lovely kitchen staff for Week 3 in New Castle, PA.

Amazing Times Continued during 2nd Week in WV

This is Ally, Mission Weeks worship coordinator, coming to you from Week 2 of C.E. Mission Weeks, which was a huge success. We had a ton of fun as we grew closer to God and got a ton of work done around the community. This week we had two groups with us: Bible Baptist Church (BBC), Breinigsville and Faith EC, Temple. It was such a pleasure to have them with us and we got so much done this week!

BBC was our bigger group this week. We sent them over to Mr. Grey’s house one day so they could finish up Hopeland’s awesome work from Week One. They started by getting the trim finished on the outer windows and getting the inside painted. They also finished installing carpet. We were so impressed with them as they finished everything that needed to be done there by the end of the day Tuesday!

Faith EC went to the same house in Boomer that Honey Brook was at during Week One. They did an amazing job. The jungle that HBC had tackled in the front yard Week 1 also continued into the backyard and Faith EC started to get that cut down. They also worked sanding and staining the floors upstairs. It took them a lot of hard work and teamwork but by Thursday when I went out to give them popsicles, things were looking so great!

Above: A camper scrapes paint from the porch ceiling.
Above: Our videographer Nathan captures a camper hard at work painting the siding at the house in Boomer, West Virginia.
Above: Camper poses for a fun picture.

BBC’s second job for the week was to go to the King home to replace a few floors that had been rotting out and were unsafe to walk on. They crushed that job so quickly and got it done by the end of the day Thursday, and on Friday we all had such a blast.

Both groups went to Boomer to tackle what needed to be finished there and the way the two groups worked together was so incredible. I got the opportunity to drive out to the site for the morning and they had been working so hard and they had all bonded so well together during the week that it became hard to tell which camper came from which church. If someone had come in on Friday to observe, they would have thought that it was only one church there for the week.

God did some amazing work in the camper’s lives this week as well. Doc Maddison was our speaker for this week again and he did amazing as always. We were so happy to have him with us for another week! All of the campers had great reviews of his messages. We all loved his object lessons and we learned a lot from him. Friday night at our decision service we were so lucky to have such an amazing response and so many campers commit to living 24/7 for Christ.

Above: Two campers attempt to unravel a frozen t-shirt before the other in a pre-session game.

Overall, we had an amazing week and it was such a pleasure to have each and every one of the campers in Oak Hill with us for the week. We as a staff have so many stories to take away and we really enjoyed this week and we hope that every camper felt the same! God is doing some amazing work in Oak Hill and we are so excited to see what he has planned for our third and final week in New Castle, PA!

First C.E. Mission Weeks a success in WV

The first of three C.E. Missions Weeks for 2018 is in the books. We were joined in Oak Hill, West Virginia by three churches: Honey Brook Presbyterian, Grace Community Church Willow Street, and Hopeland United Methodist Church Lititz. With forty-five total volunteers, a lot of progress was made at the four job sites.

Grace Community Church started their week at a local residence’s house where they painted the front porch and stained the back deck. For the second half of the week, they worked at another house, tearing up rotted flooring and replacing it with new flooring. They also worked on the exterior of the house, replacing trim and mowing the lawn.

Above: Grace Community students paint the porch at their first site of the week
Above: Two paint splattered campers from Grace Community pose for a picture

Honey Brook Presbyterian spent their week at an unoccupied house, preparing it for the next owners. On their first day, they removed the jungle of weeds from the front yard. The rest of the week included weeding and replanting the garden, replacing trim around the windows, and fixing the drop ceiling and backsplash in the kitchen.

Above: Honey Brook student works to remove roots from the front yard after it has been cleared
Above: Honey Brook students cut trim for the windows
Above: Honey Brook students in the final process of removing weeds from the front yard
Above: Honey Brook students take a picture with staff members Ally and Jonathan

Hopeland United Methodist spent their week working at another local residence’s house, installing new drywall in multiple rooms, painting, replacing trim on the exterior, tearing out and replacing installation, and removing old carpet.

Above: Hopeland students carry old carpet from home
Above: Hopeland camper sands drywall
Above: Hopeland campers work on framing windows

When campers were not working or enjoying popsicles on their job sites, they could be found back at the school, hanging out in the lounge, shopping in the camp store, playing in the gym, or worshipping during nightly group sessions.

Leading the nightly sessions was Doc Maddison, an opera singer and teacher from New Jersey with a heart for Jesus. In his messages, he explored this summer’s theme of “Upward, Inward, and Outward”.

From newly formed friendships between campers, to the all the hard work done by all of our churches, the first Missions Week 2018 was a success!

Best intentions for VBS: 3 Ways to Make it Worth your Time, Money and Resources

Great time and money are invested in your church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS). Did you ever ask if it is worth it? Your best intentions for these programs take hundreds or thousands of dollars with countless volunteer hours. Take these intentional steps and see your VBS be worth all the resources you put into it!

Intentional Relationships: Make a REAL contact following the event- Children attend your VBS that do not go to your church. You may not know their family, whether the family goes to another church, or if these people have any connection to God at all. Form a team that will call and then stop by homes (addresses collected at registration) with a simple gift. Be prepared to thank the families for allowing their child to come to the safe and uplifting environment of XYZ church. Explain that you enjoyed having their child at VBS and that they are invited to attend a regular worship service. Have the team prepared to ask if the family has any questions about the church or faith in Christ. In a relationship-starved society, this extra step can pay huge dividends.

Intentional Programming: Develop clear events that can be publicized so families have additional easy entry points into your church. Examples are a Kick-Off Sunday as the school year is beginning, Harvest Parties in October, and Christmas parties. Working ahead on your planning will allow families to be informed about these events occurring throughout the rest of the year. Use your VBS contacts and inform people about these upcoming events.

Intentional Development: Most churches believe they have a plan to develop young people as Christ-followers. They come to this conclusion because the church uses a set curriculum or has developed age specific objectives. Unfortunately, these items are not sufficient. Finding children’s workers and raising the children’s ministry budget is not the answer either. Churches lack an equipping plan that puts ministry in a child’s daily life. We do not live in a program driven culture any more but churches continue to act this way. Christian Endeavor (CE) exists to help churches implement an intentional growth process that impacts kids, teens, young adults and entire families. A church that uses CE across all ages recently was shocked when asking their children at VBS how they could live for Christ daily- the young children articulated the Simple, Biblical, and Relevant CE principles.

May your church’s future VBS event intentionally build God’s Kingdom! Peace!!

Planning A Positive Pandemic

Last post said, “Warriors, Suit Up!” What steps have you taken to more deeply fall in love with God? What steps have you taken to align yourself with building God’s Kingdom in every part of your life?

December 2017, I played the collaboration board game “Pandemic” for the first time. Players work together in Pandemic to pool their intellect and strategic planning as well as the resources they have from their game cards. The objective involves curing four viruses before they proliferate. Sometimes, no matter what a team does, the game will win. Other times, with solid planning and teamwork, competitors experience victory!

The last time I looked at a Pandemic board layout, instead of being drawn to view where impending disaster could strike, I started picturing C.E. on the board. Knowing C.E.’s origins as a movement, I asked what needed to take place so this attitude and experience could be witnessed again? There are several possible answers to this question, but one involves young people learning about and picking up local church Mission objectives. Next, the young people begin carrying out these objectives.

Soon the children, teens and young adult ministries will begin to be seen and felt as if they are the pastor’s right arm. They will receive this reputation as they build relationship with the pastor, learn about the church’s local mission focus, and carry out tasks to tangibly advance the vision.

Two obstacles exist. First, many pastors abdicate their responsibilities as true front-line ministers of and with the young people. C.E. won’t be the right arm for anyone who forwards any messages about young people to other staff or volunteers without considering the relationship he or she has with young people. Second, the church actually needs a mission focused identity (this can include items such as a clear mission or purpose statement, written values, programming objectives). Extreme difficulty ensues when passionate young people cannot take growth steps because the adult part of the church lacks focus and urgency.

So, ask whether your church’s lack of organized mission planning is preventing a positive “Pandemic” from out-breaking through God moving in young people. Get focused, and set the young people free!

Warriors SUIT UP!

Sixteen days pouring my life into lovely godly people from India and Lebanon (as well as one dear brother from Jordan) leaves me with this message: Warriors . . . SUIT UP!

Those who have known C.E. for some time have started to notice a change. A few of you will attempt to say I’m just being optimistic; those close enough to front-line Ministry know better. I’ve felt this before. I know what it is, and I know where it comes from. Sure, God moved and allowed powerful Biblical leadership training and C.E. equipping to take place. But during the breaks there were heartfelt confessions, soul-searching, identification of gifts available for God’s use and excessive encouragement. Along with this, strategizing for growth was taking place so young people can come to Christ and mobilize local church Mission.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have felt this before, and it comes from when the Holy Spirit begins to move. Godly, talented, passionate, humble leaders were all over the room in both Shillong, NorthEast India and Beirut, Lebanon. Warriors are suiting up because a spiritual battle is taking place, and lately our hind parts have been getting kicked hard by our three fold enemy: Flesh, World, and Devil.

The Biblical book of Matthew tells us the Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and forceful men take hold of it. It is time to suit up. I need Warriors who want to make a difference for the Kingdom from every corner of the Earth. I need US Warriors longing to crush Christian complacency. Hear me, WARRIORS, SUIT UP!! Now! Today we advance. Begin! Release young people for action!!

Next month you will see where this begins. But as you SUIT UP!!!!! I’ll give you a clue: you will need to check your pastor’s right arm.