Tag Archives: #CEworksFaith

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?!!!

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.

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

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!

Somebody is Watching

Walking alone through your neighborhood at night and suddenly you get that feeling. Strolling from store to store on a shopping trip with some friends and you feel it again. Jogging as the sun rises in the wooded park near your house and once more the hair stands up on your neck. Many times when you experience this sensation there is no one around. Other times, somebody is watching you! This is not a blog to cause worry as Halloween approaches and people scurry to buy pumpkins to carve and candy to distribute. Our media does a fine job in the worry creation department. My purpose is to reflect on a trend I have witnessed in many teenagers and young adults today. Increasingly, there seems to be an attitude that says, “I will do what I want and if others don’t like it . . . IT DOESN’T MATTER TO ME!”

I have heard variations of this phrase such as:

  • I don’t care what they think
  • I can do whatever I want
  • Why should I care what they think?

Contrary to popular opinion, IT DOES MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK!!!!!

Paul writes a letter to mentor Titus as he guides a church. The second chapter of the book that bears Titus’ name specifically begins explaining how people should be taught in order to lead godly lives. Paul addresses older men and women, younger men and women, and finally slaves.  “Slaves” is a word most people tend to avoid. However, slaves were a normal part of New Testament times. Slaves were owned by a master and were subject to this person’s authority. To slaves, Paul gives Titus these words in Titus 2:9-10, “be subject to your masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

Somebody’s watching!! The principle Paul unveils here connects attitude and actions with a believer’s ability to influence others with an “attractive” gospel. Let me interpret- God is our master and we are all subject to His authority. When people say it doesn’t matter what other people think, they are normally trying to justify their right to do whatever they want to do. The world loves us to have this idea because it moves us toward worshiping ourselves instead of honoring God as our master. People make choices about what to say, eat, wear and do based on whether it feels good to them. Those looking to follow God will humble themselves and consider what people who do not know Christ are thinking. Will those people see something “attractive”? Live your life well and remember . . . Somebody’s Watching!

Do Not Miss This Powerful and Timely Workshop!

You’re Invited to

Learn the C.E. process with this Simple, Biblical, Relevant training event

Sept 23, 2017  *  9 AM – 12 PM
     Lancaster Bible College, Sebastian Academic Center (SAC101)
901 Eden Rd, Lancaster PA 17601

Sept 28, 2017  *  6-9 PM
     Honey Brook Presbyterian Church
4331 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook PA 19344

Sept 30, 2017  *  9 AM – 12 PM
     Central Schwenkfelder’s Community Center
2067 Steelman Rd, Lansdale PA 19446

(This is one identical session being held in three different locations for your convenience)

CLICK HERE to register. Use the comments box with location date and names of those attending.

Only $20 if you register in advance
If a group of 4 signs up, 5th person is FREE
Cost at the door:  $25
(covers training booklet & event expenses) 

Meet workshop presenter Josh Good
Josh Good
has been serving as Youth Pastor at Trinity E.C. Church in Terre Hill since 2008. He has a deep passion for unleashing teens to pursue, live and work for Jesus. He holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Lycoming College and is in the midst of Masters of Divinity studies. Since 2011, Josh has been using Christian Endeavor as the framework for the youth ministry at his church and has seen it yield powerful results for the Kingdom & God’s glory. Because of the way C.E. unleashes teens to live out their faith, he has a heart for sharing C.E. with other churches. Josh is very excited to equip churches to utilize Christian Endeavor in their local settings.
In addition to his ministry role, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife, Justine, and four small kids (dinosaur and princess reenactments are a daily occurrence), drinking coffee and smiling like crazy.