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Spare Change February 2019

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I am writing this article in my new role as the pastor of Children and Missions.  It is an honor to serve in this capacity. I joked the other day that I have served in almost every way on staff except for worship pastor.  Tragically, the only musical ability I have is music appreciation, so that won’t be an option for me; but children’s ministry is something that I have grown to love over the past few years.  I started in youth ministry and have missed working with kids. I love being able to help young people to get to know and love Christ. It is one of the greatest joys of my life, to be able to return to that is really a blessing.

I began working with the Children's Ministry as my kids have grown and become more involved.  Kristi and I have both served in various roles in Upward, AWANA, Kids’ Camp, nursery, VBS, and Kids’ Life Groups.  We have grown to love the kids’ ministry at Oakhill. As I began to pray about this possible transition it felt natural.  I knew the programming, the systems, and the volunteers; however, I did not take this job out of convenience. I took it   because God impressed upon Kristi and I that it was time to return to working with kids in a greater capacity.

My desire is to build upon the foundation of our great children's ministry.  The kids’ ministry at Oakhill has always been a hallmark of the church, and I want to continue that tradition.  I want to continue our great programs that teach and disciple kids. I also want to connect with parents, so I can support and encourage them.  I know, as a parent, how hard it can be to desire to disciple your kid but not knowing how. I want the church to undergird the family. I want to help parents to know how to lead their children in knowing and loving Christ.  It is tougher than ever before out in the world, our kids face challenges that we could never have even dreamed about when we were kids. They need to know Jesus more than ever today. They need to learn to love Him and learn what it means to follow Him.

I am so excited for the future of the kids’ ministry, it's going to be fun and very rewarding.  This great ministry is only possible because of our great volunteer base. We have the best, most loving volunteers.  The last couple of weeks I have been learning the behind the scenes part of the ministry. The volunteers have impressed me immensely.  They really love the ministry. I am so fortunate to be able to work with them and I look forward to serving alongside of them. On that note, we are always looking for people to join the ministry.  Let me know if you have a heart for kids.

I, of course, will continue to oversee the missions ministry of our church.  I love the community outreach that we do with Harwood, our food pantry, and State Hospital.  I am looking forward to expanding our mission trips and partnerships in the coming year. I desire for our church to have a passion for evangelism and missions like never before.

It is clear to me that God has brought me to this place, in my life and in life of the church.  I am so excited about what He will do in and through us as our church family continues to grow. Thank you for your support and love for the past 12 years, I look forward to many more years of ministry together.


Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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

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