All posts by ceworksf

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!

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!