Adult Team Blog

Pique Their Interest

Church members’ interest is piqued when they can support something (or someone) they can personally relate to. Capitalizing on this thought, to promote our AAEO (Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®), we’ll focus on two NAMB missionary families from our home state.

Both families send out monthly blogs, so we’ll present material and photos on Sunday mornings during April. Adults, youth and kids will portray the MKs, briefly describing aspects of their ministry. Colorful displays around the church campus will show pictures and details of things the offering facilitates.

During a Wednesday night supper, one missionary family will Skype with us, sharing an update, answering questions, and giving us current prayer needs. Sunday bulletins will include the NAMB prayer guides, an AAEO fact sheet (https://www.anniearmstrong.com/about), and envelopes.


By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 


 

Seek with All Your Heart

We have been thinking a lot about time this month—managing time and investing time in relationships. Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything. Sometimes I wonder: Really? Is there really time for everything we need to do and everything God wants us to do? I don’t know about you, but for me it is a huge challenge!

OK, but if it comes from God’s Word, then we know it’s true, right? But how? Psalm 139:16 says God has our days planned. Ephesians 2:10 says that there are works prepared in advance for us to do. In Jeremiah 29:11–13 (NIV), God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” He continues to say that with these plans in place, “then you will call on me and come and pray to me. . . . You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Beautiful.

Obedience over Familiarity

As I write this, it is Christmas Eve. I’m sitting in my room listening to Christmas music and have just finished wrapping my last presents. This sounds quite normal, right? It is…almost.

Four years ago, I left my home and all things familiar and moved literally halfway around the world to live in a place I had never been before. I spent two years living and working in a somewhat difficult place to live for the sake of the gospel.

More recently, I have done this on a more permanent basis, for I am here to stay for the foreseeable future, Lord willing. It’s a new place and almost just as different from my previous country as it is from my home country. But this is where the Lord has sent me, and I want to be obedient. So here I am.

Many others have gone before me and have had to endure much harder circumstances than me. And, Lord willing, many others will continue to leave their homes, families, and all things familiar for the sake of Christ our Savior, the One Who left heaven—the best of everything—for our sakes.

A New Kind of Confidence

Exactly two years ago I joined a new small group—a “missional community.” I was somewhat uneasy jumping into the experience. I had just begun my first semester of graduate school while working a full-time job, and I was tired all the time. However, my boyfriend (my now husband . . . so this story ends well!) invited me to join this like-minded group of college students and young adults. I might not have walked into it with a humble heart, but I certainly ended with a wider, more urgent perspective.

One of the main ideas behind the group was to learn how to share our faith more effectively and hold one another accountable to do so. We met formally once a week, but challenged each other to pray together purposefully and spend at least two hours each week with the lost. While I was not totally new to some of the evangelistic tools or concepts, I was cut open freshly by the passion for the lost in my group’s prayers.

Overcome Fear with Prayer

scary street

My daughter’s gym is in an area where crimes occur regularly. Parents are careful not to leave valuables visible in our cars, and we are cautious about walking outside alone especially after dark. In our first months at the gym, I was often fearful if I had to park too far away from the front door.

This same area is one where Diane Smith spends many of her days. Diane is an evangelism catalyst with the North American Mission Board. Her mission is to share the love of Jesus with the people in this community, regardless of their economic, racial, or religious status.

Diane holds Bible classes for local children each week, passes out popsicles in the park during the summer, and works with the homeless. Her ministry works daily to help the hurting in this community. Diane does not let fear overcome her passion for Jesus.

Get Creative to Focus on WMU

Focus on WMU week provides an annual opportunity to remind your church of the role WMU plays in the church’s missions efforts and to recognize church leaders and WMU members who are making those efforts happen.

This year, increase awareness of WMU in your church by highlighting missions activities from the past year. Include weekly ministries as well as events and trips. Here are some easy ideas you can use to engage more age groups in Focus on WMU week.

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

What’s your biggest fear? Is it spiders? Snakes? Speaking in public? Loneliness? Rejection? We tend to think of the “easy” fears first, like animals or insects, but when we get deeper, it gets uncomfortable. I’ll just be honest. I am afraid to fail. I love to do the right thing and get it just perfect, but sometimes I don’t let myself do something because I am afraid I will totally botch it up.

I’ve shared a little bit about my 20-month-old, Brady, and the fact that I’m due any day now with my little girl, Sophie. I’d be lying if I said the fact that my children will be this close together doesn’t make me more than slightly nervous. For starters, Brady and I are BFFs. I know that a lot of moms love their babies, but I’m serious, y’all—I laugh real live adult laughs at this child. The idea that I might miss one single thing that he does terrifies me and also makes me really sad. I love watching him learn about the world and show off all of his new skills.

One Step at a Time

In one family photo, Dave is holding a 2-year-old girl. In another, a 4-year-old boy. In yet another, three children stand with Dave and his wife, Kara. Each photo represents a step in the journey Dave and Kara have been on since they became foster parents.

When Kara first mentioned foster parenting, Dave was uncertain. Could he love a child coping with unimaginable emotional or physical pain? How would he respond in love to the biological parents of these children? Would he be able to pour his heart into a child and then say goodbye?

Saying yes to God’s call on his life to become a foster dad required a huge leap of faith for Dave, but the rewards of trying something new for the sake of the Gospel have been great.

In his book Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God's Kingdom, Dr. John DeGarmo emphasizes the need for foster parents who are willing to put feet to their faith and love the estimated 400,000 children who are in the foster care system. Who better than followers of Jesus to teach these children that God knows and loves them?

A Lack of Skill

I have a really bad habit of doing a quick self-assessment of my skills whenever the Lord gives me an opportunity to share the gospel.

For example, I see someone sitting alone in the cafeteria and the Spirit starts tugging. I immediately think, “Great! I’m really good at starting conversations and I can tell funny stories. This will be easy.” Or someone will tell me a struggle they’re going through and I get excited because of all my “knowledge” on the subject.

I became aware of this bad habit one day while working at a summer camp. My camp director asked me if I would spend my free time in the gym. Normally I spent my free time close to the snack canteen, bonding with middle school girls over card games and frozen soft drinks, and I wasn’t too excited to try something new.

Especially when that something new was the gym.

I’m 5’1, and my basketball days ended in about middle school. I had absolutely no skills in order to be effective in this area. But even so, I made my way to the gym and prayed that the Lord would use my time in the gym.

Minister around the Town

Children’s Ministry Day is an excellent way to involve not only your Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors or Children in Action in missions but also their parents. Too often, parents drop their children off and head to the grocery store or back home and miss the opportunity to be on mission with them. Our church’s theme of Random Acts of Kindness was tailor-made for family fun.

After being given a list of suggested random acts of kindness, the teams were on their way. Items to help perform these acts were available for each team to use. Small boxes of laundry detergent and dryer sheets for visits to a laundromat, bags of microwave popcorn to be taped to DVD rental machines, blank self-stick removable notes for writing uplifting messages to be left on restroom mirrors or in library books, bubbles to be left on doorsteps, and sidewalk chalk for more messages were just some of the items. Each act of kindness was accompanied by an invitation to visit our church.

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