Investing in Youth for a Better Future

By Charlotte “Spider” (Keenon) Fish

My name is Spider Fish and I run a gap year program at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado for youth that are between the ages of 18 and 24. People frequently ask me, “Why do you do what you do?”

I cannot answer this question without giving credit to the fact that back when I was just a young, punk of a kid, people stepped into my life to support, encourage, and invest in me.

They opened their homes to me, shared a meal around a table, came to my soccer games, took me with them on errands, gave me responsibilities, asked me hard questions, held me accountable, inspired me to dream bigger, introduced me to Jesus, showed up, and were present in the moment.

They shared life with me and taught me that life is not always perfect. In fact, life can be ugly and messy and sometimes hurts, but they showed me that, in those difficult moments, I didn’t have to go it alone.

They believed in and saw something of value in me, and that made the difference for this misfit that was trying to find my place in the world. And now, because of the blessing those adults were to me, I can be a blessing to the youth that God brings into my life.

With all that we are seeing in the media these days, I am inclined to believe that perhaps now, more than any other time, adults need to be pouring into the lives of youth by coming alongside them, asking those hard questions, holding them accountable, and loving them where they are in the moment.

Even though I grew up in Texas, many of the adults that poured into and encouraged me were people I met through Christian Endeavor in Pennsylvania. I spent 14 summers traveling to PA to attend Summer Assembly and many of these adults invited me into their homes before or after the conference. I have no doubt they had their own busy lives to live, yet they still made time for me.

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to: Jeff and Geralyn Peiffer, Bob and Barb Wurgley, Dave and Janet Wenker, Charlie and Esther Popjoy, Greg and Jan Trievel, Bruce and Cheryl McMordie, and so many others.

My question to you would be: Why do you do what you do? Are you living a life of purpose that has a lasting impact? If not, what are you waiting for?!!!

Thank You Patriot Way Participants!

Celebrating our Successful First Annual

Patriot Way 2018 logo

Patriot Way
C.E. 5 Mile Run & 1 Mile Walk
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Ephrata, PA

run banner
Thank you to all of our event participants: runners, walkers, volunteers, business sponsors, sign sponsors & donors! We appreciate your partnership in helping to make our event a huge success.

  • Sponsors: Windsor Christian Academy, Koller Chiropractic, Beers + Hoffman Architecture, Arrow Plumbing & Mechanical, Chikes Orthodontics, WebTek Computer Company, Fulton Elementary School, Four Seasons Produce Inc.
  • Donors: Chester County Run Store, Dairy Queen Ephrata, Dennis Kreitz, Domino’s Ephrata, Four Seasons, Giant Ephrata, Inside Track, Javateas, LA Fitness Lancaster, Planet Fitness Ephrata, Redner’s Ephrata, Sharp Shopper Ephrata, The Historic Smithton Inn, Udder Choice, VFW Ephrata, Weis Markets Ephrata, Wendy’s Ephrata, Ephrata Area Education Foundation
  • Sign Sponsors: Carole Ashby, Dave & Jen Coryell, Nancy Coryell, Robin Greenly, Lori Henne, Nancy Kremm, Colleen Ossman, Mindy Sheaffer, David Simpson, Jon & Karen Stewart, Carla Weitzel
  • Results: click to download PDF file
  • Top Female Winner (video): Sarah Delia
  • Top Male Winner (video): Andrew Fetter
    DSC 0176 winners
  • Link to More Photos: in our online album

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, November 9, 2019

 #5mileCErun  #run4CE

3 Early Warning Signs for the American Church- and why there is hope!

by Dave Coryell

On Monday, October 8, Florida State Governor Rick Scott issued a mandatory evacuation for all people in the path of Hurricane Michael. Most people heeded the Governor’s warning and fled to safety. Michael carved a multi-billion dollar destructive path through parts of the Caribbean, Florida and neighboring states. Sixty people lost their lives from the storm’s cataclysmic impact; many died because they did not heed the Governor’s warning. Around the world, several natural disasters occur each year. Modern technology from brilliant scientific minds allows for early warnings to come for most situations. Inevitably, a few people will chose to ignore the early warning signs.

Imagine a situation where 99.9% of the population ignored the early warning signs instead of the other way around. The death toll would be catastrophic! I contend that the American Church has been given three Early Warning Signs. Currently, the masses are choosing to ignore these signs. God’s work is never in jeopardy. His purposes will be accomplished whether or not the American church decides to open its eyes. However, my hope is that by pointing out these Early Warning Signs that God will use this information to motivate His people to rise up and Commit so they can Engage. God, please make it so.

Early Warning Signs:

  1. Diminishing Biblical World View- In 2007 the Pew Research group conducted a survey studying the beliefs of Americans and of Evangelical Christians across several age groups. The study was conducted a second time in 2014 to see what results had changed. Between 8 and 9 percent of American young adults aged 18-24 and aged 25-34 have a Biblical world view. The number improves slightly for those 35 and over to 13 percent. Overall, numbers continue declining for Evangelical Christians and are declining even faster for mainline church attenders. Bottom line, many Christians do not understand or truly own the beliefs of the faith they claim to hold. A steady rise in Christian behavior conforming more and more to the world’s cultural norms can be seen in almost every challenging arena.
  2. Disappearing Teen Responsibility- I know, some will be quick to say that teenagers and young people in general have always been challenged in this area. Others will rush to pull out quotes from Aristotle and others who wrote of adolescents’ irascible behavior. I found it interesting, however, to read Leslie Patton’s Bloomberg Business post on November 5th that explained how fast food chains are now hiring an increased number of senior citizens. Two reasons this trend has occurred include, 1) older people are found to be friendlier than the younger generation and 2) they have a more dependable punctuality. The older generations have soft skills that far surpass the raw soft skills found in teens and young adults. The obvious conclusion, teens and young adults need to sharpen their interpersonal skills. Once upon a time this transpired in school classrooms, at church youth group gatherings, and in public arenas like entry level jobs (fast food, etc.). Today, less opportunities exist for teens to grow their responsibility. What happens when young people who have not been challenged to make and keep commitments, lead small groups, or speak publicly are suddenly asked by a church to make a financial pledge, join a leadership team, or (pause to shudder) become a church member.
  3. Catholic Priest Tragedy- It started in Pennsylvania as priests from 300 different parishes were found to be involved in the sexual exploitation of young people. As expected, state prosecutors have been coming forward one by one to share the grim results investigations have uncovered. Those in Protestant Christianity cannot sit back for a minute and think that this tragedy will not have impact beyond the Catholic Church. A distrust for what some call institutionalized or organized religion has already been climbing for decades. The Catholic Priest Tragedy has allowed people to feel justified in the anti-established religious beliefs that so many people already held. How long will it be before even more people come forward to share about impropriety that occurred in their Protestant churches beyond the few stories that have emerged?

These cultural Early Warning Signs send a message. This message causes me to stop and say well, is there any good news? Absolutely! First, we must never lose hope as our trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Proverbs 3) Second, I am thankful to serve with Christian Endeavor, a kingdom ministry daily making a small impact to help young people Commit to a deeper following of Christ and Engage to build God’s kingdom while having accountability on the journey. God, help Your church to Awake and Arise by heeding these Early Warning Signs.

Tired of the Division . . . 3 Steps to Build Unity

by Dave Coryell.

Even as people prepare to go to the election polls in the US, the World lacks exactly what God expects of His people . . .  UNITY! Here are 3 steps that can begin to make a difference.

  1. Pause before you React– people’s statements inspired by media will begin to create anger or confusion in your mind. Before you fight back with a post, speak out in a conversation, or use your T-shirt, picket sign or bumper sticker, take a mental Time Out. Remember Unity! Think about the broader audience you might reach with your message. Consider who actually wins if you make your comment. Proverbs 15:1 explains that a “gentle answer turns away wrath.” Before you speak, consider whether your desire is to turn away wrath or pick a fight. Remember Unity!
  1. Everyone is Not Like You– This is Coryells’ First Law of Leadership. My kids can quote it to you as well as many people close to me. If everyone was exactly like you, the world would be boring. Understand, God has made you amazing with brilliant talents, gifts and experiences all rolled into the incredible package called YOU! What makes you incredible, however, is that you are unique: “Fearfully and wonderfully” made as Psalm 139 explains. Because everyone is not like you, you are going to encounter numerous people who look at life extremely different than you do. The next time you meet someone with a religious, political or social view extremely different than your own, instead of shaking your head in disgust or anger, thank God for the brilliance of His creation. This can build Unity! Use these encounters to make your image of God more magnificent and frame your life encounters through this lens.
  1. Build Bridges– Through my work I have traveled thousands of miles by plane. I frequently meet people with views different than my own. At the same time, my family has many neighbors who also have views different than ours. My goal is to love whomever I come in contact with. I want to show genuine concern for these people and their stories. I will attempt to share about Christ because He has been such a meaningful part of my story. However, I will attempt to do this in a manner that is gentle and shows respect (1 Peter 3:15). It has been so much fun receiving business cards from people on airplanes who think differently than me but appreciated my attitude. We enjoy taking Christmas cookies and other things throughout the year to neighbors. God has placed them next to us so we try to do little things to kindly reach out and build Unity! Being divisive is easy and takes little effort. Building bridges of Unity requires intentionality over time. Invest in Unity!

Enough people, committed to these three godly steps, can begin to change the world. Maybe, just maybe, we will see UNITY!