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Student Ministry February 2019

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Dear Church Family,

One of my philosophies for ministry to students is that of all the individuals in student’s life parents and grandparents have the most important impact by far. This is an obvious reality when you think about the amount of time students spend with their parents versus the other individuals in their lives. Many parents may like to think that their children are with their friends incessantly. But the truth remains that even their best friends make a smaller impact on their lives than their parents do.

The implication of this reality for student ministry can be challenging, but often it is a great blessing. Many parents are eager to teach their children the gospel and to see them grow in love for the Lord. This is exactly what God would have parents do! (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) My calling as a Student Ministry Pastor is to invest in our families and come along side parents and grandparents as your support and ally for the gospel and against the ungodly aspects of our students’ culture. I want to encourage grandparents and parents to double down and take ownership of the spiritual development of their children and grandchildren, knowing that I am here with you and for you. It can make all the difference in the world. Let me explain.

I am writing this article while my family is preparing to bury my grandfather. This is one of the most difficult things I have experienced. He meant so much to me that my son’s middle name comes from his great-granddaddy. I spent so much time hunting, fishing, going on vacations, visiting, and talking with him that I can’t even distinguish one event from another in my memory. But through all those times, granddaddy always made it a point to talk to me about the Lord. One time when I was around 12 we went on vacation to the beach. He sat me in his camper for  several hours and explained to me how the gospel works. I was annoyed at first, because we were at the beach. What was he thinking!? But when we were finished, I had a much deeper understanding of what I believed and a much deeper connection with my granddaddy.

I still have the little New Testament Bible that he gave me with all the verses he explained to me that day. I want to leave them here for you. Take some time to read these passages and let the gospel encourage you again. Then make a plan to teach theses verses to your children or grandchildren. This has the potential to become a defining part of your relationship with them. It was for granddaddy and me. 

Who is good or deserving of heaven? Rom. 3:10

Reason none are good. Rom.3:23

Reason all are sinners. Rom. 5:12

Penalty for sin. Rom. 6:23

We can know that we have eternal life.  1 John 5:13

Jesus is Lord- God in flesh. John 1:1,14

Jesus is Savior- Our way out. John 3:16

How to be saved.  Rom. 10:9-13

Grace- Unmerited (unearned) favor. Ephesians 2:8-9

Our way out.  Rom. 5:12


Brian Van Doren


Posted by Brian Van Doren with

Worship February 2019

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Church Family,
 I pray this month finds you well! This month, I’d like to leave you with an article from Gavin Ortlund, a worship leader and writer from Deerfield, Illinois. I pray we read his article and apply these truths to our hearts and lives!

                                      “Three Ways to Guard Joy on Sundays”
Sometimes we are so exhausted from our week that we simply “let go” when the weekend comes. I can understand that, but I also have found that a little intentionality on the weekends can go a long way. During this season, we’ve discovered a few simple changes that have helped our church attendance, and the whole Sunday experience, be more fruitful.

1. Sanctify your Saturday nights.
If you treat Saturday night as a time to start preparing, Sunday mornings go much better. Are there ways you can make Saturday evenings special? Can you go to bed a little earlier? Even something as simple as talking with your kids about church the next day over dinner, and then praying about corporate worship before going to bed, can make a huge difference. A joyful Sunday morning often begins the night before.

2. Prepare for the inevitable fight or spilled milk.
I am amazed at how often something goes wrong on the car ride to church! I believe this is often Satan’s strategy. He needles us in the car on the way there, or on our way out the door — whatever he can do to get us grumpy and  discombobulated by the time we walk into the sanctuary. If we prepare for this in advance, we can catch him in the act, “for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

So, when you climb into your minivan, tell yourself in advance, Someone is probably going to spill their milk in the van, or pull their sister’s hair, or chuck their Bible out the window on the interstate. When that happens, I will pray rather than yell.

3. Find creative ways to make Sundays a delight.
There is no reason why Sundays should be austere rather than a delight. We might associate “holy” with “somber,” but that is not how the Bible talks. Notice, for example, the language Nehemiah and Ezra use when they lead the    people in covenant renewal:
“This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep. . . . Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send    portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. . . . This day is holy; do not be grieved.” (Nehemiah 8:9–11).  In this context, holiness is celebratory. The logic goes like this: “today is holy, so stop  crying and drink some wine.”

We also should pursue cultivating an atmosphere of joy and celebration on Sundays. Is there a favorite restaurant you can make your Sunday tradition, or a favorite breakfast food you can make on Sundays? What other Sunday traditions might help the day be enjoyable? When your kids think back twenty years from now, what memories and  associations do you want them to have with Sundays and church?

God is our greatest joy and we want him to be our children’s greatest joy, and Sundays are a unique weekly opportunity to worship and enjoy God together. Let’s strive to make Sundays a delight for our children, not a burden.

In Christ,


Posted by Jared Mitchell with

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