Earlier this year, I was scrambling. We were hitting crunch time to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to send the kids in our congregation to church camp. I had only become Children’s Pastor in November and I decided right away that camp needed a priority… but with a small church, how could we get all these kids there?
While for most churches, things like t shirts, calendars, wrapping paper, big dinners, and things of that nature are an obvious option, we did not have the luxury of a budget to go that route. I needed an idea that would be free or cheap to start up, with no overhead so that in the end all that was raised would go directly to the fund it was being raised for.
We were going to need something different than the usual. I had a few of the girls in our church over one day just to hang out and we got to talking.
What else could we do?
One of the girls mentioned a Jog A Thon that her school had just done. It had been successful and raised quite a bit of money for science camp. I replied, “Yeah, but I don’t think we could do much with that in this situation… Those are fun though. I always liked read a thons when I was a kid.” Then it was like the light bulb hit us both at the same time:
Um, I would list cons except, well, there aren’t any!
I know you’re saying it because before I decided for sure myself to approach the leadership of my church with this idea I wrestled it all out.
Then I realized… We’re not actually PAYING the KIDS. Yeah, they benefit by what the money is raised towards, but no one is actually handing them money. In fact, we are teaching them to build a habit of reading the Bible every day. We are helping them plant those seeds in their hearts. The elders and families of the congregation are encouraging the kids and youth to build a stronger relationship with the Lord!
Two months later, I FINALLY decided to go through with our Bible Read A Thon. I drew up forms and handed them out. Shani put information in our church bulletins that the kids would be looking for sponsors to pledge towards an amount per scripture/chapter/book and that the amount could be capped out. (For younger children, we did per Bible story from a Bible story book. (And that could be read to them by a parent or older sibling.)
Now for the tricky part… There had to be proof that they actually did the reading they said they did… There were options…
Spiritually speaking? Of course! Bibles were being read and hearts were growing! I believe it paid off more in what was read than what was raised. You can’t go wrong with Bible reading!
Financially? Considering how small of a group we had that participated, yes. Definitely. In fact, most of our money for camp was raised in a short amount of time from this fundraiser!
The timing. Because we were in a time crunch and had so many different projects going at one time, I was too distracted to realize I ran this fundraiser during finals. Believe me, my oldest son let me know plenty of times that my timing was terrible. The kids were still reading, but had it been done during a different time they could have read a lot more.
I also would have made better forms. At the time, I was trying out a different Office software than the usual good ol’ Microsoft. I didn’t realize all the formatting issues I would have when it came to print. Simpler would have been better as well. The forms I made were printed on card stock, and I am still very happy with that decision. Those forms went through a lot by the time the fundraiser was over.
Feel free to download this template for your own church’s Bible Read A Thon. You will still have to attach cover letters to both your pledge form and reading logs to explain them, but maybe this can cut out one step for you or give you some ideas to format your own… Speaking of which, if you have any ideas to add to this, please let me know!
Faithfulness. We have come to expect God to be faithful to us. To bless us. To keep us. To protect us. To provide our needs. He is always faithful. I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.
But what do you do to show your faithfulness to God? We live in a day and time where everything is in a “hurry up” mode. More and more people are forsaking the assembly of each other in a church setting. I know that our church is not the only one who has several so called “members”, who seem to only come when they “feel” like it, or need something. I’m sure Jesus didn’t “feel” like going to the cross for me or you. He knew what He was going to go through. But His love for us out-weighed His physical situation.
We go to movies, ballgames, parties, etc., and sit for hours sometimes, but then say that church takes too long? There is something terribly wrong with that picture. Then there are those who show up just to say they went, then leave early. Sometimes before the preacher ever begins his message. To me, this is rude. Disrespectful to God, the pastor, and short cutting your spirit. I know that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, but it helps to feed your spirit and get a renewal of His Spirit.
“Lord, forgive me and help me to not forsake You and Your presence. I don’t want to take for granted the opportunity that You have given me to come before You, with my brothers and sisters in You. Help me to be faithful to You as You have ALWAYS been faithful to me.”
I believe that he knew what he was talking about, because you can not come up with a statement like this without first, going through some pain.
Anyone who knows me, knows that once I start crying, I can not stop. I’m a crier… Not little cries, but the sloppy, messy, runny nose, ugly cries. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I put up a wall so that others can’t get close enough to hurt me. I don’t deal with it very well.
Anyone who has been a Christian very long can tell you that Christians are mean. Plain and simple. Most of the time, they mean well, but don’t realize that actions speak louder than words and the hurt and pain is very real. Church hurt is the worst hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ deeply. Sometimes, they have no clue what they have said or done. That is why we must forgive quickly. If I held a grudge, God would hold me accountable.
When I feel hurt or disappointed, the tears come. Not because I’m mad or angry, but because it has to cleanse my heart of the pain it felt.
It was once said, “Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
If I’m able to help someone else who is hurting or has been hurt, it will be worth it. It’s all gonna be worth it in the end anyways…
So, it’s OK to cry. I always feel better after it’s washed away anyways…
Psalms 51:10 says, “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Let God wash away the hurt so that your spirit doesn’t suffer. The feeling of renewal is refreshing.
I visited a local church last night for a benefit singing (I had a wonderful time!) and the congregation was made up of people from many different churches, all gathered under one roof. There was a sweet presence of the Lord in that place and a friend of mine (also from my church) looked at me and made the comment, “Ya know, if all the churches would just come together in unity, there wouldn’t be a devil in hell that could put a stop to us.” So true! The Bible calls for love and unity, one mind and one accord.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”- Psalm 133:1
But here’s the problem, we can’t even find that under one church roof alone, much less expect it from more than one congregation of churches.
When it comes to one church, the members within don’t live in true unity as they should, creating discord and division through backbiting/gossip/etc. And instead of supporting fellow Christians through love and encouragement, churches tend to separate themselves and have a “We’re better than you are” mentality. Meaning, if you don’t go to our church, you might as well not even be a child of God. No, this isn’t how we want to be, but how the devil wants us to be. Satan would love to drive a wedge between all of God’s children because he knows what we are capable of if we live in one mind and one accord. It scares him (and it should!).
In reality, we should be able to all come together with pure worship for the God that created us all . When we get to heaven, the church that we went to will not matter, but our relationships with the Lord and others will. Once we become determined to unite as the body of Christ (like He called for us to) within our own church, it will be natural for the Church in general to join together as the body of Christ. And there really wouldn’t be a devil in hell that could put a stop to us!
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”- Ecclesiastes 4:12
Ready to challenge the devil? Embrace your brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where they choose to attend church services. Go even further than that and embrace those who have not yet entered in to the salvation and freedom of Christ, and encourage them to do so. Satan really, really hates that!
Okay…you’re sound asleep and the phone rings. As you roll over to answer it, you see that the clock says 2:17 AM. The phone call is from a scruffy sounding man who doesn’t share his name. He says, “At 2:43 AM I will set your neighbor’s house on fire.” Immediately after he completes the sentence the line goes dead.
You’re still groggy and sleepy, but you know that you’ve just been warned that in 26 minutes someone will be setting your neighbor’s house on fire. You know that your neighbor is over there sound asleep and it’s up to you to save her. All you have to do is run over and wake her up, get her out of the house and call the police…yet time is short. You have enough time but only if you hurry.
Your body is tired, begging you to roll over and close your eyes. You think to yourself, “I could just call 911 and then go back to sleep. They can save her.” After all… this could just be a prank. But you know deep down that you are the only one who can make sure she is out of her house in time. You know for a fact that you will get there before anyone else. And whoever that man was, he sounded serious.
What do you do? Make a quick call to put it in someone else’s hands so you can go back to sleep? Jump out of bed and go as fast as you can to ensure her safety? You’re running out of time.
This is where the church is at today. There is a lost and dying world out there at risk of burning. We are seeing the warning signs. It’s up to us to make a difference. We know we can do it, but we also know that time is very short. However, when I look around it seems to me that the church is still just sleeping.
When are we gonna wake up?
Originally written by Emily on July 8th, 2010
Knowing how to go about being a Godly example that will be kindly remembered is not easy for all. Especially for those who did not have an example set before them as they were being raised. It’s really not a difficult thing to do, but figuring out where to start can be a challenge, as with anything unfamiliar.
My personal advice would be to start praying with your children. Not just for them or quick bedtime, illness, or meal prayers. All of those prayers are important also. However, when you pray with them you are teaching them how to pray and feel comfortable praying in front of others.
Another idea that would be wonderful is to begin a family devotion time. Whether it be daily or weekly, it gives you a chance to sit and discuss the Lord with your children. Think your little ones wouldn’t enjoy? You might just be surprised! There are quite a few options as far as devotional books and Bibles go for kids and families of all ages. Even toddlers!
The obvious suggestion: Attend church and take your children. This will give them a good habit to have when they’re older. “Sunday means church time” will be instilled in their hearts and minds.
I know all of these things seem so simple, but they really do make a world of difference!
How about you? Is there anything you’re doing to help create your legacy? I’d love to hear about it!
Okay, before we continue, let’s get this out of the way:
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Sunday School Sunday School
(Women:) The Men (Men:) The Women
(Girls:) The Boys (Boys:) The Girls
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Now that this song is nicely implanted in your head from your childhood, we may continue with your regularly scheduled blog post. I’d continue the song on and sing about e’erybody backin’ the preacher, but that is a command that needs more than a few paragraphs. Another time, another place…
It seems these days a lot of people who are Christians do not see the importance of church attendance. They’ve either been hurt, don’t have the time to find a good church where they feel they fit in, or they’ve simply fallen out of the habit/not ever learned to establish the habit. Many do not feel it is required, or even biblical. However, it is:
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:19-25 NKJV
There is a reason this command was given. When we attend church we are strengthened in many ways. To name a few:
Life circumstances happen. Illness, jobs, family events, etc. It can all get in the way. God understands that when it is truly impossible. But when we are able, we should do our best to be there. A sermon on TV is great, but not the same. Reading a pastor’s blog is encouraging, but not the same. Putting on some worship music and praising in the living room is refreshing, but not the same. There is no substitute for any of the gifts God has given us. You can’t replicate the best. Just try that recipe for IHOP pancakes or a Disneyland Mint Julep you find online. Nothing like the real thing!
And hey, if it wasn’t so fabulous, would there be people in anti-Christian countries fighting for that right? Risking their lives by attending a church service hidden in someone’s home every chance they can? I think not… (That was my version of my Grandma’s “There are children starving in China, Ethiopia, and right down the street” lecture when I refused to finish my healthy dinner…)
Bottom line: Church is good, and good for you. God commands it for a good reason, just as he does everything else. I’m going to admit that I’m not in service as often as I would like, but when I do go… Life is better. Plain and simple. I challenge you: Go for just a few weeks. See how you feel. I bet you won’t want to stop!
If you’re old enough, you may remember this commercial from the 90’s, where the kid from Last Action Hero and Heartland (I think that was the name of it…) goes into Circuit City because he bought a Walkman one week and it was advertised at a better price the next.
“Last week I bought this… and today I saw this…”
Words forever implemented into the brain of a child of the 90’s…
When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we never have to worry about this. See, our souls are purchased with blood. There are no “sales”, “bids”, “rebates”, “coupons”, “economy versions”, or “upgrades”. The price of our soul does not change. What we were then, that is what we are today, and that is what we’ll be in the future: It is the same. Our value does not deteriorate like may things do in this day and age. We are still the most valuable to God!
Sometimes, when you are like me and have a past, it is easy to think, “Well, yeah, I can do good. But not near as good as Sis. So-and-so, they’ve never done anything wrong so obviously they are closer to God.” THIS IS NOT TRUE! Remember how the Bible says that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy? This is a PERFECT example. Don’t let him win!
You are valuable to God. Irreplaceable, as a matter of fact. You can do just as much for him now as any one else. Pray about it and seek God about what he wants you to do and then do it. You have a testimony and there are people out there who need your encouragement. Whether it’s going on the mission field, helping out at your church, or leading you children just follow the call of Jesus. You’ll be so glad you did!