Here at Arbor Drive, we have a passion to see people connected UP with God, IN fellowship with other believers, and go OUT for the advancement of the gospel. That's our vision... UP, IN, and OUT.
A key part of that is investing in people that God is calling to ministry. We want to be a church that God uses to bless believers and advance the gospel all around the world. As a church, we have had the blessing of being a part of equipping men for vocational ministry. We have had the honor of being used by God to help equip both pastors and missionaries that are impacting lives for Christ both here in Nebraska and around the world. That legacy of investing in those God is calling to ministry will continue and expand this summer as we welcome our first two Summer Ministry Interns! We are excited to announce that Collin Sansom and Analyse Hennings will be joining us for this summer as Ministry Interns.
Analyse is a covenant member of Arbor Drive and graduated from York High School. She is currently attending Northwest Missouri State University and is majoring in Public Relations. Analyse has a great passion for Christ and desire to see people come to know Him. She has felt like God wants to use here in ministry in some way in the future and is wanting to be better equipped for that. Analyse will be leveraging her Public Relations training to help develop an outreach strategy for Arbor Drive. She will be spending time in the community getting to know where we can effectively minister as a body and will be working with the pastors to develop a strategy for meeting those ministry needs that we can implement over the next few years.
Collin is coming to us from Springfield, Mo and has felt a call to vocational pastoral ministry and has been involved with campus ministry at Missouri State University. He has attended Arbor Drive a few times in the past when he has visited. Collin is a student at Midwestern Baptist College and Theological Seminary and is pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies. He will graduate next spring. Collin will be working with the pastors in various areas of ministry and gaining valuable experience in practical areas of ministry. Among other things, Collin will spend time helping with the youth, participating in visitation with the pastors, sitting in on an elder meeting, helping with logistics and planning for summer events, helping lead the Youth Mission Trip, and will have an opportunity to preach in one of our Sunday morning worship services.
This will be an unpaid internship, however, toward the end of the summer, we will be collecting a love offering from the body to bless these two extraordinary young adults for their ministry and help over the summer. We are really looking forward to having Collin and Analyse with us over the summer and anticipate not only being blessed by them, but continuing to be used by God to invest in the next generation of ministers and servants that He uses to advance the gospel throughout the world. Please be in prayer for both Collin and Analyse and find some time to encourage them over the summer as they prepare for whatever God has planned for them in the future. I am confident that this will be a blessing for them as well as for us as a body.
At the end of this month, we will begin a process of introducing children's check-ins to Arbor Drive on Sunday mornings. This is a new thing for us and the question will naturally be asked "why are we doing this" or "do we really need this"? These are great questions and the answer to these questions is exciting and full of evidence of God's grace to us at Arbor Drive.
If you've been attending Arbor Drive recently, you may have noticed that there are a growing number of young children on Sunday mornings. If you take a walk past the nursery, you will see that we seem to be busting at the seams with kids. That is a tremendous blessing. This is an evidence of God's grace in a few ways.
1) God is blessing families with children. In just the first 6 months of this year, we will have a dozen of so new babies born to families at Arbor Drive. We are seeing more children because God is blessing families by adding little ones to their home.
2) God is blessing us with new families. If you look around, you might notice that there are many new families with kids that have been attending Arbor Drive. It is easy on Sunday mornings to notice a new family with kids that you might not have met before. We have seen many new families start attending within the last year.
3) God is blessing us by continuing to bring new families to Arbor Drive. It is not uncommon to get 4-6 connect cards in a month. These connect cards are filled out by new attenders that are wanting to learn more about Arbor Drive. God is continuously bringing new families to Arbor Drive and many of these new families have children.
So as we look around, we can see God's grace and blessing all around the building on Sundays in the number of kids we see. This also presents new challenges. As a church, we want all parents, members, attenders and guests, to know that their children are being cared for. We want to make sure that everyone who comes to Arbor Drive knows that we take the care and safety of their children seriously and feel confident in entrusting their children to us.
Our children's workers already do a tremendous job of caring for the children of Arbor Drive on Sunday mornings. The volunteers we have in children's ministry are second to none, but the challenge is we have grown to a point where it is almost impossible for someone who is volunteering to know every family at Arbor Drive on Sunday mornings. Between new attenders, members, and first time guests, it is easy to see how it is unrealistic to expect our children's workers to know every family. Since we want to make sure that each child is not only cared for effectively, but also returned safely to their parent, our children's check in system is the best solution to ensure we provide the quality of care and security that we want to be known for. This allows us to have a system to ensure there is accountability for every child entrusted for us. Every child is checked in by a parent and the workers not only know the name of that child, but who the parents are and how to contact them if there's a problem as well as vital information like allergies or foods to avoid. In addition, only a parent can pick their child up so the children's workers can know that each child has been connected back with their parent. Not only will this make the children's workers more comfortable in their role, but it will give visitors a confidence that we can be trusted to care for their children during the service.
There will be another post soon that answers the question of "what will this look like", but for now, join me in giving thanks to God that we have seen His grace and goodness at our church in such a way that we can now take this step of adding children's check-ins. We as a body can now welcome new guests AND give them confidence and peace of mind that their children are secure and in good hands as they are ministered to in the main service.
This Sunday we will be celebrating what God has done in the lives of 8 people who attend Arbor Drive as they follow the Lord in believer's baptism. This is a tremendous opportunity to not only celebrate what God has done and worship Him, but show people a visible picture of the gospel. I want to encourage you to invite someone who doesn't know Christ this Sunday to watch as we picture dying with Christ, being buried with Him, and being raised to newness of life. This visible and public identification with Christ is a great way to open the doors to talking about the gospel with friends.
Here is what this next week will look like. Not only will 6 people be entering into the waters of baptism this Sunday morning (the 22nd), but another husband and wife will be baptized Sunday evening at 5:30 as well. Following that on Wednesday, one of the men of the church that volunteers with the middle schoolers will be baptized and share his testimony with them, and then the following Sunday (the 29th) 3 more people will be baptized in the Sunday Morning service. God is doing some exciting things here at Arbor Drive and I want to encourage you to be a part of this, celebrate what God is doing and support brothers and sisters in Christ as they follow Him in obedience! Would you please prayerfully consider bringing someone with this Sunday and pray that God will use it to save souls!
For His Glory,
Pastor Cory Kitch of Stromsburg Baptist Church and I sat down and discussed the issue of leadership in the home and local church. This will be part of an ongoing series of videos called Pastor Discussions where pastors and leaders within the church will sit down and tackle issues or questions that come up in life. If you have a question, feel free to let us know. We are working on a series on leadership right now and this is the first installment. This particular video would be a good resource for husbands and wives to watch together and talk about. Our hope is that it will spur conversation within the marriage as to how each person can better help their spouse live as God is calling them to.