This evening, we will be wrapping up our Wednesday evening discussions on discipleship by focusing on gospel clarity, application, and transformation. Thankfully, we live in an age where we have tremendous access to resources to help us in this. To aid you in this, I’ve compiled a list of resources that I’d recommend on this topic.
In my sermon on Sunday (September 9th, 2018) I listed off some statements that are true of everyone who is in Christ. I encouraged those listening to not write them down, but instead listen and rejoice in these truths and I would post them for people to access. Here is the list I gave.
I you are In Christ, every one of these statements are true of you.
- I am loved. 1 John 3:3
I am accepted. Ephesians 1:6
I am a child of God. John 1:12
I am Jesus' friend. John 15:14
I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him (provided I suffer with him that I might also be glorified with him). Romans 8:17
I am united with Him and one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a Saint. Ephesians 1:1
I am redeemed and forgiven. Colossians 1:14
I am complete in Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:10
I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1
I am a new creation because I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Colossians 3:12
God makes me stand firm. He has set me apart and has sealed me and given me the Spirit as a promise. 2 Corinthians 1:21
I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
I am God's co-worker. 2 Corinthians 6:1
I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. Eph 2:6
I have direct access to God Ephesians. 2:18
I am chosen to bear fruit John. 15:16
I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. 1 Peter 2:5
I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of his nature and have escaped the corruption of this world. 2 Peter 1:4
I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews. 13:5
God works in me to give me new desires and ability to obey. Philippians 2:13
I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need. James 1:5
As September begins, we start up Sunday School again (Sunday mornings at 9am). I wanted to quickly write and let you know about what the adults will be going through and give a few reasons why we are encouraging you to come to this Sunday School class.
As pastors, we believe that the church is to be convictional. In other words, there are certain truths of Scripture that we hold dear as a body of believers and that form the core convictions of our local body. Hence the name, Core Convictions. We have discussed these as leaders and have decided that every year, we will offer two classes (one in the spring and another in the fall) that goes over these core convictions. As a result of that, we have developed Core Convictions 1 and Core Convictions 2. This last spring, we did CC1 which covered 8 of these convictions and we will be beginning this fall by going through CC2 which covers the other 6 convictions. This fall we will be covering topics like giving, worship, community, ministry and others and in each class, we will let the Bible shape how we view these issues or topics. Those who regularly attend Sunday School will be going through this in classroom B and those who do not regularly attend or are new to Arbor Drive will go through this in the old chapel.
So, why should you come? I have a few short reasons to offer in order to encourage you to attend.
1. Connect with other believers. If you haven't attended Sunday School or are new to Arbor Drive and want to meet more people, this is an opportunity to do that. Sunday School ends at 10am and gives you 30 minutes to chat with and meet new people before the worship service starts.
2. Get to know Arbor Drive. Especially if you're new, this is a great opportunity to get to know Arbor Drive and what we believe. You will be able to ask questions and get to know the pastor who is teaching it.
3. Getting your kids involved. We have some fantastic children and youth Sunday School teachers at Arbor Drive. Your kids and students can attend Sunday School and get to know them as well as other youth and kids in the church. I also hear there are regularly donuts for the youth Sunday School class (if that sways you at all).
4. Encourage other believers. You have something to offer and bring to the table. By attending and participating, you are putting yourself in a place where God can use you to bless other believers through your questions or insights.
5. Growing together. The Christian life was not meant to live in isolation. By being a part of our Sunday morning Sunday School, you have the opportunity to grow WITH other believers and for God to use other believers to encourage and help you grow in your faith.
6. More interaction. Sunday School is an environment where questions can be asked and we can work through the answers together. It offers a unique opportunity to be able to interact with other believers and with the material in a way that allows for unique growth.
7. Finally, family discipleship. By attending Sunday School, you have the opportunity to talk with your spouse and/or children about the material covered and have Christ-centered things to talk about and help your family grow in their faith. You can also talk with your kids or students about what they covered and give them the opportunity to share that with you.
I hope you will consider joining us starting this first Sunday in September for our Core Convictions 2 class. If you haven't attended Sunday School before, this is a great time to give it a shot and see how God uses it in your life and the life of your family.
Our first Wednesday Evening Adult Discipleship Event is live! This is a brief post to help you find it and check it out.
1. If you haven't already, you can download the YouVersion Bible App. It is available on Apple and Android platforms. You can find the app here if you can't find it in your app store. It is also available on your computer if you wish to use that. If you already have the app, make sure your YouVersion Bible app is updated. Once it is installed on your phone and updated, move on to the following steps.
2. Open the app and go to your home page
Click on "more"
Lower right hand corner
3. Click on "events"
4. Click on "Arbor Drive Community Church"
Click on the event
Arbor Drive Community Church
5. Interact with the content
Take prayer notes
See Scripture references
It's that easy. Within the event you can add prayer notes, see the scriptures that are being referenced, write notes, see lesson notes, see announcements for upcoming events at Arbor Drive. You can also share this event with your friends or use it if you want to go through the content we are going over on Wednesday evenings with a friend who wasn't able to make it, you family throughout the week, review with your spouse, or go through the content with a group as your own tool for discipleship. The ways that this can be used are only limited to your imagination.
NOTE: The next day, the event will be taken down so be sure to access and "save" the event if you want to keep it in your YouVersion profile. Each event will be available 5 days before we gather (so on Friday evening).
Be sure to give us feedback and let us know if this is helpful to you. We hope this blesses you and is useful to you.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing some research to find out how to maximize out Wednesday Evening Adult Discipleship time (you can read about that here). As I was working on this, I ran across an amazing fact. The YouVersion Bible app is the most popular Bible app in the world with over 86 million downloads. I decided to test this out and posted on our Facebook page asking who used it. Seems that a lot of us do, which is really good because YouVersion has some features that will help Wednesday evenings be even more beneficial.
So... Starting this next week, we will be integrating YouVersion into our Wednesday Night Adult Discipleship. Each week, there will be an "event" that is posted that will have space for you to write down prayer notes from our time in prayer together as well as notes during our time together and an outline/teacher notes. All of these can be saved right to your app for you to use later or go back through during the week.
To access this, open your YouVersion app and then click on "more" in the lower right hand corner. You will see an option called "events". Click on that and then click on the Arbor Drive Community Church event. You can then make notes and save the event to your app. The events will be available 4 days before each Wednesday and then for a day after before they disappear. Once you have saved your notes though, they stay on your app. It's that easy. Throughout the next few weeks as we get this going, please be sure to let us know how we can improve it and make it more useful to you.
At Arbor Drive Community Church we value authentic, gospel-driven community. With this in mind, we are committed now, more than ever, to reaching people from every walk of life. As part of our commitment to encourage, equip, and meet others with the gospel of Jesus Christ, our beloved Wednesday night ministries are only getting better this fall, with fresh options for everyone including singles, married couples, and families with school aged children.
Our aim as pastors here at Arbor Drive is to provide an enriching environment in order for you to grow in your faith, as well as to build meaningful relationships within the context of the local church. Here is what you can expect:
For Parents of Young Children
You can expect to find a well staffed nursery available, for ages 0 through 3 years, as well as Children’s programing starting at age 4. In the Blast, your kiddos will experience biblical instruction that will introduce them to God, as well as work towards awakening strong affections towards the Lord Jesus Christ. We are asking parents to volunteer twice per semester to help out with the programming, which makes this service to your family possible.
One of the major benefits of this approach is that it exposes children to other Christian families who similarly treasure Christ. Kids who participate in our Wednesday night community will experience the the Spirit of God at work in the lives of their peers and in older saints. They will understand what it looks like to have the love of Christ as a norm for a whole community of people.
Additionally, you will be exposed the new and exciting discipleship tools to use in your own home, as well as home discipleship ideas while you serve on the parent rotation. Not only will you be enriching the discipleship experience of our kiddos, you will be growing in your own practical application of biblical principles, to the glory of God.
For Parents of Teens
Our youth workers are dedicated to investing in your students and showing them the riches that are found in Christ Jesus. Your students will spend time in middle and high school small group settings discussing how God’s word relates to their everyday lives. Youth group is a safe place to be a Christian, as well as a resource for parents in the home discipleship process.
However, in this model traditional youth group has gotten even better! You’ll have the opportunity plan and organize the types of events and discipleship opportunities that your students experience, all while knowing that they are exposed to a variety of godly adults serving as sponsors who will positively impact their walk with Christ. You will find the community you need as you walk your kids through the difficult teenage years.
For Those Without Kids
Regardless of whether you have kids in your home or not, Wednesday nights have been expanded for you too! The primary purpose of this time is for followers of Christ of all ages, not just children, to come together and share in a common time of worship, prayer, learning, and fellowship. You will benefit immensely from the mutually edifying, intergenerational worship atmosphere. You will learn about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ within the context of real relationships, and as you interact with believers from all walks of life your appreciation for God’s work in the midst of His people will only grow!
For those of you who have yet to start your family, you will get to meet experienced parents who take raising their kiddos to love and know God seriously. Older saints can invest in you, encourage you in your marriage, and share with you their own experiences of grace as they have walked with Christ.
For those of you more seasoned individuals, this is an opportunity for you to love and encourage the generations. As the Psalmist said of God, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”(Ps. 145:4) Your presence, participation, and love all play an important role in God’s plan of glorifying Christ in the midst of His people.
I would encourage you to make Wednesday nights a priority and experience the benefits of living in vibrant Christian community, where the old and young alike can come together to celebrate their common bond in Jesus Christ, relationships can form, wisdom can be gleaned, and the work of Christ can be celebrated. Make the most of your time by immersing yourself and those who you love in the powerful truths of God’s word, doing your part to know, believe, and love the Lord Jesus Christ!
We are creeping (or you might feel rocketing would be a better term) toward the end of summer. With the end of summer comes a new school year and a time to refocus. As leaders, we have been looking forward to this next school year as a time to refocus as a church. As you have probably heard, we are seeking to maximize Wednesday evenings for everyone in the body. This includes opportunities for prayer, fellowship and discipleship for all ages. I am thankful that as a church, we have had a passion for ministering to our students and children. Wednesday evenings have seen many students and children come through the doors of Arbor Drive who were invited by a friend or were looking for a place to belong. We have been blessed by volunteers who have selflessly served those who have come. I've been blessed to see packs of children moving all throughout the church on scavenger hunts looking to find sheets of paper based on clues that share the gospel with them. With that said, we want to bless adults in the same way (but maybe without the scavenger hunts). To that end, Wednesday nights will be a church wide event for all ages at Arbor Drive. We really have three main aims in this that I want to briefly share with you.
We have intentionally sought to incorporate more prayer into our Sunday morning service. There is a prayer meeting at 10:15am in Classroom A (which I would encourage for you to attend) that focused on praying for the service. We also have incorporated more prayer into the service itself. Prayer is essential for our health as Christians, the health of the church, and our success in carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ that he has entrusted to us. Prayer keeps us humble and dependent upon God to work through us and in our lives. We need to foster a greater culture of prayer at Arbor Drive, so Wednesday evenings will include a time of prayer together. You won't be asked to pray in front of everyone, but together as a church, we will go to God as his people and pray for our church, our community, and the lost in the world. Our prayer is that this will encourage a greater commitment to prayer in your life and in your family as you see God work through prayer in our church.
The second aim of Wednesday evenings is fellowship. It can be difficult for people to connect with others on Sunday morning. There is (rightly) a formality to our worship service and for some that cannot stay after, it can take a while for them to build relationships with other believers at Arbor Drive. One of our goals for Wednesday evenings is that all ages will be able to connect with others more easily. Because Wednesday evenings are less formal, it offers a chance for new people (or those who have been here for a while and want to connect better) to meet new people, fellowship, and get to know others better. There will be chances to see what is going on in one another's lives, pray with one another, and encourage one another. Wednesday evenings can be a great tool to help people build relationships with other believers within the body as well as introduce unbelieving friends you invite to other believers.
Our third goal for Wednesday evenings is discipleship/shepherding opportunities. It will be very interactive. Don't think of it as a class, but as a time to grow together as we talk and discuss the truth of God and how it applies to our lives together. The pastors will all be here and will be taking opportunities for more shepherding interactions with you, asking how we can pray for you, answering questions, and getting to know you better while you get to know us better. We have also asked parents of BLAST age kids to commit to leading a family style devotion for all the BLAST kids 2 times a semester with a pastor. We see this as an opportunity for you to grow in confidence in doing family devotions in your home, ask questions you might have as you do this with a pastor, and encourage you in discipling your children. We will be providing each family with all the resources you need to replicate this process in your homes.
I am excited about this expansion of Wednesday evenings and believe that God will use this in powerful ways to increase our joy in Christ, encourage one another, foster a dependence upon God through prayer, build new relationships/deepen existing ones, and provide a place for you to invite friends who don't know Christ or don't have a church family in a way that demonstrates what Christian fellowship and unity look like. I pray this helps you grow and connect better and helps us as a church unify around Christ and the gospel more. As we look to and treasure Christ together, we will find that our joy in Christ increases, our families become places where Christ is magnified, and we are equipped and mobilized to live on mission throughout the week. Please prayerfully consider making Wednesday evenings a priority in your home. I personally look forward to getting to know you better and ministering to you and your family through Wednesday evenings.
On July 1st, some of the parents of BLAST age kids came out to my home to talk about what Wednesday evenings would look like this next year. I have been contacted by some parents that were not able to attend and asked if they could get a run down of what was discussed, so I am writing this to provide some bullet points for what Wednesday evenings will look like for those who weren't able to make it.
- First important takeaway is that while we are adding adults into our Wednesday evening programming, we will still have age specific classes and activities. This came about from a desire to maximize Wednesday evenings toward two goals: 1) equipping to be able to grow in our faith and application of the gospel in our lives and 2) to promote unity and relationships within the body. This will be a great way for people who are new to get connected with others outside of Sunday morning as well as provide opportunities for us to grow together as a church.
- This is what a typical Wednesday evening will look like: Everyone (all ages) will gather together in the worship center at 6:30pm. We will spend about 10-15 minutes together as a church and sing a couple of songs as well as spend some time in prayer. After that, we will break up by ages. Adults will meet together, high school students will meet together, middle school students will meet together, and elementary school students will meet together. We will end at 7:30pm but feel free to hang out longer if you wish. Our aim is to have an hour commitment for families that need to get kids to bed.
- We have emphasized family discipleship here at Arbor Drive. We believe that parents have the primary responsibility for discipling their children. The church exists to help in that process. The BLAST kids will be following a family devotion model for the lesson time followed by an activity time. The resources we will be using are designed to be able to be used at home. We are viewing BLAST as a time to model family discipleship. This will be a great tool for you to build on in your homes as you disciple your children.
- As I have mentioned before, we have done a poor job as a church of caring for our volunteers. I am personally grateful for all those who volunteer but am also concerned that we care for them and not take advantage of them. We have designed this upcoming BLAST year with that in mind. To that end, we will be distributing the workload to make BLAST happen among parents who are willing to help. WE ARE NOT SAYING YOU HAVE TO HELP... WE ARE ASKING YOU TO HELP. This will give you the opportunity to invest in other's children, and for those who maybe struggle with family discipleship, give you a model and some confidence that might help you do it in you homes. If we all help, we will only need to take 2-4 Wednesday evenings a year to make it happen together. A pastor will be helping and leading with you for the first year so you won't be thrown in the deep end.
- We will be using The Gospel Story Bible for these devotions. Each story in it has a weeks worth of family devotion material that is excellent and usable. On the week you are teaching, you will get a packet with 5 devotions. You and the pastor will pick one and then will walk through that devotion with the children on Wednesday. We are working to try to provide these resources to each family and will be asking the body to use funds to purchase them for you at the semi-annual meeting. The total cost is about $50/family and that would allow you to work through the whole Bible and have about 2 years worth of material (if you were to do it 5 days/week). Carlee and I use these resources with our children and they are excellent.
- We will also have a number of games that are pre-planned so for the activity time, everything will be laid out for the volunteers. The way we envision it happening is the BLAST children will be divided up into two groups. One will start with the devotion while the other has snack and game time, then they will switch.
- Here is what we are asking of you... WE WOULD LIKE for all parents (and other adults at Arbor Drive) to prioritize Wednesday evenings. We are all busy. If we can prioritize Sunday morning gatherings and Wednesday evenings, we believe that it can simplify while helping us all grow together. Will you please prayerfully consider making Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings a priority for your family? Wednesday and Sundays are aimed at ministering to the body, but I believe this will open up opportunities for your family to invite other families in the future and be there with them and lead to greater opportunities for the church to help you in reaching your neighbors and friends.
- WE NEED for all parents to prayerfully commit to between 2-4 Wednesday evenings a year. I am not asking for an answer now. Pastor Jonathan will be reaching out to all families with BLAST age children in a couple of weeks and asking you to commit to just a few Wednesdays a year. Will you please be prayerfully considering committing to help make this successful over the next couple of weeks? If everyone commits to help, it will not become a burden on anyone.
- The bottom line is our aim is to simplify and maximize our Wednesday evenings. I believe God will use this in amazing ways to help us grow as individuals, as families, and as a church. We have made it so that those who live outside of York don't have to make multiple trips into town so your children and students can attend. We have also added time that we believe will be beneficial to you. This came at the suggestion of many of you who I have talked to. This will allow times for adults to be together, but also for men and women to spend time with other men and women. Our primary mid-week ministry (men's, women's, student's and children's) will all be happening at one time and place to allow for ease of planning and a set schedule to commit to. I am asking you to make this a priority for your family.
- If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to speak with a pastor. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.