WordServe Kids Focus for June: Harmony

This past year, we’ve enjoyed taking kids through a contextual look at God’s One Big Story. We’ve traveled through the Bible covering the familiar stories of Abraham and Joseph, Moses and King David. We made it all the way to Jesus, Paul, and the start of the early church.

As the church started, no longer were these just a handful of disciples. These were growing congregations filled with people from all walks of life. And needless to say, they didn’t always get along. They disagreed and argued. They had a hard time forgiving and serving each other.

Several of the apostles began writing about how to live together as believers. These writings are not presented in the form of a story. They are letters. They are sermons. Delivered by people and for people, they are historic, but they are not really a story. But we think it’s important that kids experience those letters and sermons too. So to help illustrate these important truths, we’ve wrapped them in a summer-long story about friendship. We’re taking the summer to look at what the New Testament letters have to say about friendship.

Friendship is treating others the way you want to be treated. Each week, we’ll take a look at a “one another” principle that gives us a framework for loving others the way God loved us. Because these verses are short, we suggest that you take this summer to memorize each one.

In Week 1, we take a look at what John says about loving each other in 1 John 4:10-12. Kids will learn that because God loved us first, we should also love one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends love each other.

In Week 2, kids learn from Peter’s teaching on hospitality found in 1 Peter 4:9. When it comes to welcoming others, we need to do so without complaining. Our Bottom Line is: Friends welcome each other.

In Week 3, kids will start talking about what they know that they could teach others. InRomans 15:14, Paul tells the church that they have what it takes to share Jesus with others. Our Bottom Line is: Friends teach each other.

In Week 4, we take a look at an important principle about patience. It’s hard to be a good friend when people can be frustrating. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should put up with one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends are patient with each other.

Finally, in Week 5, kids talk about an important part of friendship: service. Life isn’t all about us. Paul shares with us in Galatians 5:13b that relationships aren’t all about us. Our Bottom Line is: Friends serve each other.

Our summer widget, the Friend Pix Chain, was created to help kids memorize the verses each week. This simple chain comes with nine guitar-style picks, each one listing a Bible verse reference to go with the nine weeks of our summer Friendship series. Kids can add a new pick each week as they memorize the verse and wear the chain to remind them to treat others as they want to be treated.

We’ve also created a nine-week devotional book called Over the Fence: Adventures in Friendship. The book details the summer adventures of four unlikely friends through nine episodes. Each stand-alone story is followed by four days of devotional thoughts and activities to spark kids’ imaginations with God’s design for friendship. This book will be available for purchase at The Orange Conference or in our online Orange Store in May. (http://www.whatisorange.org)

We pray this will be a fun start to the summer for kids to learn more about how they can show friendship to everyone.

By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

To download a printable copy of the Parent Cue, click here!

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Spotlight on Serving–Admin/Communications/Prayer

As Nolan pointed out in one of his recent sermons, sometimes our gifting finds itself a very obvious place in which to serve, and other times, we serve primarily because there is a need that must be met for the body of Christ to function properly.  This week’s Spotlight Servant, Cindy Haas, uses her specific, God-given talents and abilities not just because the duties of her areas must to get done, but because she’s really, really good at those jobs!  Cindy wears many hats at WordServe:  she serves in the areas of Administration & Communications, coordinates the Prayer Team, and also sings on the Worship Team.

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1)      Why do you serve (in general)?

I have had a passion to serve the Lord in whatever way possible for years. It  was a “dream” to do so after recommitting my life to Christ in September of 1983. What better way to serve the Lord than with the talents He gave me that I used for my vocation. When our children were in Junior High and High School, I was a busy stay-at-home mom – doing the chauffeur thing and all that – but I was also involved with serving in the church we were attending by doing the weekly newsletters and also serving as the Rank and Advancement Chair with the Boy Scout Troop affiliated with our church.

2)      Why do you serve specifically in Admin/Communications/Prayer Team?

I worked as administrative support in the secular world for years and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to learn new skills. I give God the credit for all that. In 1999, we moved to the Katy area and a career opportunity presented itself. I was employed by our church we were attending. It was wonderful–using my social skills, along with my administrative skills–to be where I knew I was performing tasks for the Lord as I had always wanted to do. Due to various factors, I decided to retire. Since making that decision, I have begun to serve our church, continuing to do the things I have always enjoyed. And along the way, God has added a new passion to my list as a part of the Prayer Team, and more specifically the Prayer Altar Team of WordServe. God has been so good to me over the years, the least I can do is serve Him however He sees fit.

3)      How do you stay joyful in serving?

The Word says in Ephesians 6:7-8 that we should Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do. I have always followed this text as encouragement to honor my bosses as I would with the Lord as my ultimate boss. It is truly a joy to serve Him, being a part of the functioning church body, doing His will according to His plan.

4)      How do you see lives being made different in your area?

As I take inventory of the tasks that I am performing at WordServe, I know that these are vital components in the scheme of things. 

Using my administrative skills, I offer support in posting attendance, writing notes to prospects, making weekly copies of programs, as well as mailings and other things deemed as necessary. These things offer support to the staff and allow them to be focused on more pressing matters. Besides, it allows me to serve on behind-the-scene tasks that I enjoy doing to keep WordServe functioning as necessary.

Communication through the weekly E-news is a great way to allow everyone to connect with what is happening at WordServe. It gives important information and connects viewers to links to obtain in-depth information and to sign up for events. The compassion events can be life-changing for everyone – for the recipients and for the person signing up to serve. Other events can be growth-focused and can help us become joyful servants of Jesus.

The Prayer Team and Prayer Altar Team shows compassion for others by going to God regarding the concerns and needs of others.  After all of the praises and prayer requests from the week have been compiled, they are distributed to our Prayer Team to be prayed over for the week.  Prayers for the team include personal praise reports and requests, as well as prayers for the Church body.  The Prayer Altar Team is available to everyone on worship service days.  Of course, all prayers, whether written or spoken, are handled in confidence and are not discussed with anyone, even on these teams.  As a team, we encourage others to grow in their faith and draw closer to God, and we can see Him work in their lives, making them different.

Cindy certainly gives God all the credit for the incredible ways she is being used at WordServe.  Without her willingness to use her skills and talents, communication between WordServe and its congregation would fall short.  If you feel that you have a similar skills-set as Cindy or have a passion for prayer , sign up for the Administration/Communications Team or Prayer Team today!

Spotlight on Serving–Welcome/Greeter Team

Meeting someone for the first time can be awkward.  Both people involved probably have all kinds of questions and insecurities running through their minds:  What do I say?  What if I forget his name?  Will she like me?  Do I have a piece of food in my teeth?  Moreover, going to a new church and meeting a whole bunch of people for the first time can be intimidating and uncomfortable.  Thankfully, awkward and scary first introductions are non-existent at WordServe, largely due to our awesome Welcome and Greeter team.  These hospitable, friendly folks  lovingly ensure that guests and members of WordServe feel like they belong every Sunday morning.  Chris Roberts, one of our faithful greeters, never fails to offer a smile, an encouraging word, and a big ol’ bear hug–only if you want one, though!
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Why do you serve?
It’s part of what we’re called to do–to give of our time and resources.  
It helps to connect two pieces of WordServe’s overarching strategy:  the Serve element of Compassion and the foundation of relationships that make up Community.
 Why do you serve on the greeter team?
I serve on the greeter team because God has given me the gift of hospitality.  While I don’t possess the skills to operate”our Mike’s” set of power tools, I feel I have something to offer in this area.  At a high level, I enjoy the challenge of building relationship bridges.  I also enjoy the camaraderie of the Team and the selflessness that everyone exhibits.   That selflessness is prevalent in the challenges of coordinating pretty dynamic schedules, but always done with a lens of grace, and a “let me help” attitude. Pretty amazing group.
How do you stay joyful?
Even though I fall short of “staying joyful” 24/7  or even 12/7, I think greeting someone with a smile, or better yet a hug, has a tendency to help us focus on the positives every day.  I also want to be sure that we’re putting our best effort toward making a warm and genuine first impression to those who may not know WordServe (especially if their default positions may lean toward cynicism), to show them genuine transparency, and demonstrate how Life is Different at WordServe.  I might also add, it’s easy to stay joyful when the leadership of this committee, past and present, is so committed to making it a success.
 How do you see lives being made different by what you do on the Greeter team?
I ultimately hope I’m making a small difference, but how I quantify that is really not up to me to fully understand or measure.  By the way, there are lots of folks at WordServe doing much more, especially from a time commitment.  At the end of the day, I want to do my part.  Some days, that means one more link towards building a vibrant relationship. Other days, that’s somebody walking up to me and giving me a hug first!
Thanks to Chris and our other greeters for welcoming every person with kindness and a smile!
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Spotlight on Serving–WordServe Youth

This week’s portrait of a servant features Bill Beck, who serves the WordServe Youth Group.

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With WordServe Church being a relatively new young church, many might be surprised to find out that we have a vibrant, growing youth group!  WordServe Youth meets at Guardian Taekwon-do in Fulshear every Sunday night from 5:00-7:00 pm.  A typical Sunday night includes dinner, ridiculously fun games, praise & worship, a relevant, Bible-based lesson and discussion, as well as a time for the youth to pray for one another.  Without servants like Bill, WordServe Youth would look very different–God has definitely gifted him for this kind of service.   Bill, father to Hannah and Charlie, geology guru, and all around cool guy, is the epitome of the patient, wise, and creative leader needed to shepherd a bunch of energetic teenagers.   If you have ever had the pleasure of having a conversation with Bill, you know that he is never at a loss for beautiful words.  Here is a short snippet of his heart for WordServe Youth:

1.  Why do you serve?

I serve because I feel God calls us all to serve and He has blessed me with the ability and the means to serve.  I feel blessed by serving and experience a deep joy that seems to come from a fulfilled sense of purpose as a joyful servant. 

I believe that Jesus first served me well before I was born; the price He paid, I can never truly payback…but I can at least serve joyfully in full gratitude.

2.  Why do you serve on this team (WordServe Youth)?

I find that probably the most fulfilled sense of purpose I experience is with WordServe Youth. I grew up without any real male role model – except Robert Reed who played the role of Mike Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” but I doubt his character truly sustained me.  Also, he couldn’t answer my questions, he couldn’t affirm me when I doubted myself, and most certainly, he didn’t know me or the enormous fears I had.  That said, I believe God specially built me to minister to today’s youth.  I enjoy a similar role as an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts.

I also like to hear how the younger generations think about and solve problems and how they pursue their faith in their highly dynamic junior high school and high school lives.  I like to help them access God through His printed Word, shared experiences, and mentorship.  In short, I like being a positive role model for them because I so missed it as a young man and fundamentally, I guess it’s like me saying that our youth will not be absent a positive male role model on my watch!

3.  How do you stay joyful?

I simply think about how awesome God’s been in my life through His sacrifice, compassion and forgiveness, and His perfect provision of my needs.  Why wouldn’t I be joyful.  Don’t get me wrong, I have “my moments/days”, but when I’m able to just think about what Jesus endured while walking with us and I think, “WOW!  How stinking cool is Jesus!”

I also like to pray quietly.  I find that as my relationship grows with God, I am fulfilled and joyful.  I’m not sure if it’s confident faith as I sometimes feel like I struggle with being confidently faithful, but maybe I’m more confident than I think?  Hmmm.  Hadn’t really thought about that too much.

4.  How do you see lives being made different because of what you’re doing (via WordServe Youth)?

I think about the love the guys share with me as we get to know one another.  I think about this past Winter Retreat, when we all grew a bit closer together.  I think about an example I shared with my Retreat Family–that like a character we studied from historic England who claimed he would “crawl across eastern Europe” to lead non-believers to Christ, I pray that I’d be so strong that I’d do that for them.  I’d do it not so much because I’m that dedicated and committed to their faith, but because God set the example by reaching out to me, having sacrificed infinitely more for my salvation.  How could I not do the same and call myself a positive male role model?  The answer is I cannot with any degree of integrity.

So, my life is different in that I’m actually able to be a physical manifestation of a positive male role model for the One who was my only true role model.  And that is a VERY different life, indeed!

Perhaps you feel a similar calling to be a positive influence in the lives of youth or desire to teach them how to apply faith to their everyday lives.  WordServe Youth would love to have you!  There is always a need for Supper Servants (responsible for setting  up dinner and collecting money), Small Group leaders (who lead discussions based on the evening’s lesson and pray with the students), and chaperones/drivers for various special events.  Maybe you are gifted in leading silly, messy games–if so, God can use you even in that!  As we can see from Bill’s example of service, all it takes is a willing, open heart to truly demonstrate Christ’s love to teenagers!  If you would like more information about serving in WordServe Youth, contact Nolan at ndonald@wordserve.org.  We would love to have you!

 

Spotlight on Serving–WordServe Kids

Some of the most beautiful sounds that can be heard on a Sunday morning are the enthusiastic voices of the children singing next door to the Worship Center.  One of the most beautiful sights that can be seen on a Sunday morning is the loving interaction between those same kids and the WordServe Kids servants.  Serving in this area can include:

  • greeting families and checking in children
  • playing with the kids and making them feel comfortable
  • singing praise & worship songs
  • teaching or assisting with Bible stories
  • arts & crafts
  • praying
  • providing a safe and loving environment for kids to learn about Jesus

Craig Brandenberger is one of our faithful WordServe Kids servants who regularly helps out in the toddler/preschool areas.  He graciously shared a little bit about why he loves serving in WordServe Kids.

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Why do you serve?

I serve partly because I feel an obligation as a Child of God to train others in a Christian manner.  I also serve because I want to become integrated into the church in a functional way.

Why do you serve on this team?

I serve on this team because I enjoy the energy and overabundance of joyful attitude from the kids.  They are so enjoyable to work with!  Also, the team itself is very open and willingly accepts new servants.

How do you stay joyful?

I stay joyful because I feel like a part of a team– like I belong there–working with the kids.

How do you see lives being made different because of what you’re doing?

I see lives being formed and molded rather than being made different due to working with kids; I see the changes from how the preschoolers worship to how the toddlers interact with each other.

The servants who give their time and energy to WordServe Kids make a real difference.  There is so much fruit that can be seen in WordServe Kids–from children learning to pray, to reading the Bible for the first time, to developing a lifestyle of service and heart for people who don’t know God. There are five different age groups in which to serve:  Nursery (birth-walking), Walkers and Toddlers (1-2 years and walking), Preschool (3 to 5 years), Kindergarten and First grade, and 2nd-5th grade.  We also need servants to greet and check-in children at the Welcome Table.

The foundation these kids are building in WordServe Kids is of eternal value.  Will you join in?

Spotlight on Serving – WordServe’s Setup and Tear Down Team

Franjo - a joyful servant!

Franjo – a joyful servant!

This week’s portrait of a joyful servant is Franjo Prpic.  Franjo is originally from Croatia and is a spritely 70+ years young.  He chooses to serve in the WordServe Setup and Tear Down team.

WordServe is a portable church, which means everything one sees on Sunday morning has to be brought out of a storage shed and setup before anything else can happen.  Without this vital team, there would be no service, no WordServe kids, and no place to put donuts!

Similarly, the team stays after the service to take down our portable church, put it back in the trailer, and store it away until next week.

There are two things you can always count on when it comes to Franjo’s service:

  1. He will be there in the morning before anyone else arrives
  2. He will have the biggest smile and warmest greeting of anyone on the team!

We asked Franjo the following four questions to get a glimpse of a joyful servant of Jesus:

1.  Why do you serve?

The first word that comes to mind for Franjo is “fun!”  Franjo truly enjoys getting together with other members of the team, seeing the smiles on their faces, and of course, going for donuts together after setup is complete!

2.  Why do you serve on this team?

Franjo started serving with setup and tear down because he was invited to served and because he recognized a need.  So he asked, “Why not me?”   Franjo realizes the importance of this team: if setup doesn’t happen, nothing else happens on Sunday morning.  After joining the team, he has found joy in serving, and knows that the team is excellent at what they do.  He is glad to be a part of it, especially as he sees others coming to church on Sundays.

3.  How do you stay joyful?

Franjo says, “It’s not hard to stay joyful in our living church!  I am only a reflection of what I see around me!”  In this regard, Franjo is the ideal portrait of what happens when people who love Christ come together for a common task.  In other words, it’s not just about the job… it’s about a joyful community.

4.  How do you see lives being made different because of what you’re doing?

Franjo is quick to point out that lives are being made different because of one thing only: Jesus.  He describes Christ as his guidance, inspiration, and leader… for ever and ever!

There is one final thing Franjo would like you to know: he loves you all!

Thanks Franjo, for your dedicated and joyful service.  You truly guide others to grow as joyful servants of Jesus!