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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

Spare Change November 2018

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                            Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Ministry

On October 10th the residents of Florida endured the third most powerful Atlantic hurricane.  Hurricane Michael destroyed homes and businesses causing over a billion dollars in damage. There were at least 54 deaths recorded by October 22nd.  People are still reeling from the devastation. Of course the Red Cross is there, along with other agencies, but the unsung heroes are the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers.  These volunteers come from Southern Baptist churches from all over the United States. Most of these volunteers have chosen to use their retirement years to chase disasters like these.  Whenever and   wherever there is a national disaster the Yellow Hats, as they are called, respond in droves. They have been at every major natural disaster for the last 50 years. From hurricanes and floods to tornadoes, the Yellow Hats, respond.

They have several functions they provide.  The most publicized is their ability to feed people.  Using a combination of mobile kitchens and nearby Southern Baptist church kitchens they are able to crank out 10’s of thousands of meals each day.  Check out this excerpt from a 2011 article in the New York Times, “The Southern Baptists cook the food that the Red Cross provides, and then Red Cross crews help deliver it. Since March 31, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross have worked together to deliver more than 638,000 meals and snacks to communities affected by this spring’s rash of severe weather.”

They don’t just feed people, they also have chain saw crews to cut up fallen trees and mud out crews to clear debris.  The volunteers are not just there to work, they also provide a shoulder to cry on and pray with those affected by the disaster.  They help with the physical needs so they can also provide for the person's greatest need -- salvation. They are able to share hope with people through the power of the gospel.  Below are just some of the key statistics from 2017.

All this should fill us with pride as Southern Baptists.  Our giving to the Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering helps fund this ministry.  The national news has taken notice of our efforts, as well as the President and Vice-president, but of course that is not why we do it.  Whether we get recognition or not it doesn’t really matter. The volunteers of this ministry are seeking to please a much greater leader.  They are seeking to bring glory and honor to their Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember to pray for this ministry and its volunteers.  They are scheduled to remain in Florida through Thanksgiving, providing meals for people displaced by the Hurricane Michael.  For more information or to donate to the relief effort visit www.namb.net/hurricane-relief/

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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