Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the tag “Youth”

Student Ministry

I have always loved summers in student ministry! There are tons of fun activities and things to do to connect students through building relationships. If you haven’t had a chance to grab a calendar please pick up a copy from me!

I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some specific opportunities to connect this summer!

Join us for High School Breakfast club several times during the summer. Breakfast club is a chance to hangout in small groups and have some focused Bible study with just a few students at a time. We will determine the location based on who signs up and what we want to eat 😉 Sign up with Geoff.

Middle School Lunch bunch: Come hang out with the wild and crazy Middle school group. We will hit up various locations throughout the summer. You must sign up in the Middle school room in order to have a spot. Dates will available in June.

Girls’ Bible study: Are you interested in digging deep into the Bible while building relationships with other girls. If you are a girl in the Student Ministry at Tates Creek, you are invited to sign up for a focused summer study on a book of the Bible. This Bible study will be held at the Lawson’s house weekly. Please sign up with Amy if you are interested.

The summer is a great time to build relationships. Our goal this summer is to really build those relationships. We would love to spend time with as many of you as possible. Our house will always be open and we hope you will join us this summer. If you cannot make it to our house we would love to grab some food with you. You can always reach me on my cell phone 859-221-5605 or on social media!

~ Geoff Lawson

Fishers of Men

On a boat off the coast of Northwest Haiti, the team I was leading inched closer to a little fishing village called KaPaFu. We traveled to KaPaFu to encourage and build relationships with locals.  We disembarked from our boat and watched a fisherman prepare his large net for the new day.  One person on my team asked, “How much for your net?”  The fisherman replied, “This net is my work.”  My teammate said, “I know. Would you take $20 for it?  You can then buy a new one.”  The man smiled and excitedly handed us his smelly fishing net.  My teammate was joking of course but that fisherman was serious.  That day we used the net as a symbol to teach how God wanted believers to unite together, each holding their portion of the net to bring in the harvest.

Jesus described the kingdom of God as a net “that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish” (Matthew 13:47).  The net in Jesus’ day, as in the example above, required many people to hold the net to bring in the harvest of fish. In the same way, the fulfillment of the Great Commission requires all who claim allegiance to Christ to actively be involved.  The call to God and allegiance to God’s kingdom elicit outward response.  Discipleship is not for its own sake.  Simply, God calls and sends people into service equipped with spiritual gifts to extend his reign on the earth.

As we wade into this series of multiplying workers, much can be said about the need and importance of more people being invested and involved in  multiplying God’s Kingdom.  We have the potential here at Tates Creek to band together and reach out to every individual in our community but we are still not done with God’s mission.  No matter how big a revival we experience, our area is still only a small part of the world that God has sent us to transform through His gospel.

As I rode on the boat to the fishing village, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite worships songs, “Oceans,” that says, “You call me out upon the waters, The great unknown where feet may fail, And there I find You in the mystery, In oceans deep, My faith will stand.”  Later in the song it ends saying, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, And my faith will be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior, I will call upon Your name, Keep my eyes above the waves, My soul will rest in Your embrace, I am Yours and You are mine.”

Geoff Lawson

Student Ministry

It is hard to believe that the end of school is near!  As we move closer to summer it seems like our lives don’t slow down but get even busier! I wanted to take a few minutes to share some important updates for the Student Ministry.

If you haven’t had a chance to come and check out the newly updated Middle School Ministry area, please stop in and check it out!  I am so thankful for the many dedicated people who made this project possible!  Thank you to the Elders for their support of this project, and a huge thanks to Russell Brown and his team of workers who spent countless hours making this room look awesome!  Thank you to Larry Hitchner and his workers for putting in the beautiful floor and the feature wall as well as providing several other resources.  Thanks to Billy Bishop and his crew who did a lot of the behind the scenes work. Lastly, thank you to the Students who spent time doing demo, painting, or decorating.  It truly was a team effort and I am so thankful for each of you!

As we wrap up another school year, it is time to recognize all those graduating from both High School and College. Sunday, May 21, we will be honoring all those who are graduating and we would love to include you in our celebration. Here are the important details; Parents or graduates who are current members or regular attenders of Tates Creek Christian Church, would you please email where you or your student are graduating from, plans after graduation, and current picture by Monday, May 15?  Send your information to Geoff Lawson at geoff@tatescreek.org.

Be on the look out for Summer calendars and events. If you are not currently receiving the monthly newsletter for the student ministry by email or in our Facebook group, please let me know and I will make sure you are added.  We are looking forward to having several different opportunities for students to connect with other students, grow in their faith, and serve others.

Geoff Lawson

Making Disciples

I recently bought a new van!  We needed a second vehicle and started looking some time ago.  I spent hours and invested lots of time examining and researching everything I could about several different models.  I researched them so much that I started seeing ads and might add that I am still seeing ads for vans when I browse the internet or get on Facebook.  Amy and I took lots of time and weighed the cost of making this purchase.  We went to the dealership, test drove the van, came back and were ready to buy!  As I pulled out my checkbook to pay for the van, a flood of thoughts came to my mind and I wondered for a moment if I was making the right decision.  In the end though, we weighed the cost and knew that we were making the right decision.

Following Jesus by making disciples isn’t difficult to understand, but it can be very costly.  Jesus’ teachings are often difficult to process and sometimes even handle. Many times, it seems that by sharing His teachings, we are often rejected along with His message.  Just check out John 15:18–20!

“It’s easy enough to understand, but it can be extremely costly.  The cost is totally worth it when you look at the potential it has to radically change lives.”

Our theme for the year is Multiply.  We have walked through what this looks liked in regards to the whole health of our church, how grace affects our response and our relationship with God, and now this idea of multiplying Christ through me.

Sadly, it seems that disciple making has become the exclusive job of pastors (and missionaries).  Think of it this way; salespeople sell, doctors practice medicine, lawyers defend and uphold the laws of the land, teachers teach and ministers minister.  It seems, though far too often, that’s the way it works in most of our churches.  While it’s true that the pastors, elders, and apostles in the New Testament made disciples, we can’t overlook the fact that discipleship was everyone’s responsibility.  The early church took their responsibility to make disciples very seriously.  To them, the church wasn’t a company run by a CEO.  Rather, they compared the church to a body that functions properly only when every member is doing its part.

Paul has a lot to say regarding this and explained the function of the church in Ephesians 4:11–16:

“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ … we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Paul saw the church as a community of redeemed people in which each person is actively involved in doing the work of ministry. The pastor is not the minister—at least not in the way we typically think of a minister.  The pastor is the equipper, (the Chief Disciple maker) and every member of the church is a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The implications are huge.  Don’t think of this as merely a theological issue.  Picture yourself in this passage.  Paul said that your job is to do the work of ministry!  Jesus commanded you to make disciples!

Each day of our life we must weigh the cost of decisions and choices as we live out our life.  When I think of this power of the statement “Multiplying Christ in Me” I am excited and encouraged that part of God’s plan for his church is using you and me to help multiply HIS KINGDOM!  God made you the way you are; He has provided and will continue to provide you with everything you need to accomplish the task.  Jesus commands each of us to look at the people around us and start making them into disciples.  Obviously, only God can change people’s hearts, but we are called to be obedient in making the effort to teach them, even though we still have plenty to learn ourselves.  We must weigh the cost and be willing to put a little skin in the game.  As we dig into this new series, I would encourage you to examine where you are in all of this and weigh the cost!

Geoff Lawson

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The grace of God is so simple, yet so profound that it is beyond the greatest minds to fully understand.  It stands in opposition to the ideas that most of us have about earning our way in the world, people getting what they deserve, “fairness,” and about the independence of human beings.  The simplest definition I have ever heard for grace is: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

C.S. Lewis makes a statement about why grace is so amazing.  He says that “Grace is the only difference between Christianity and the other major religions.  We cannot earn God’s love and acceptance.  We just need to accept it.  None of the other religions have this freely given redemption for those who believe.”  Ephesians is just one book that clearly defines the power that grace has in our lives.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

(Ephesians 2:4-10 NASB)

Phillip Yancey says “God took a great risk by announcing forgiveness in advance, and the scandal of grace involves a transfer of that risk to us.”  Yancy continues saying that, “What would it mean if I came to the place where I saw my primary identity in life as ‘the one Jesus loves’?  How differently would I view myself at the end of a day?’”

So, the question for thought today is; Are you willing to accept God’s love, mercy, and grace by stepping out in faith to fully surrender your life to Him? Have you been holding back, not allowing the grace of God to fully saturate you?  He is eagerly waiting for you to respond to the call He has placed on your life!  How will you respond to what you have heard?  Will you be bold and make a leap of faith that will radically change your life?

Geoff Lawson

The Power of Multiplication

Math was never one of my strong suits growing up. I was never good at it and it only got harder for me as I progressed through school. I always struggled to grasp the concepts and it just never made sense to me. So obviously, I am no mathematician. My high school math teachers would laugh at the thought that I would have anything good to contribute to a conversation about math. But maybe it takes a simple-minded, mathematically-challenged Youth Pastor to see the more obvious.
Basic elementary math is made up of four different processes involving numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Addition and Multiplication always increased the sum while subtraction and division caused a reduction. When it comes to the Kingdom of God we want to increase, and the greatest increases come when we multiply.
I once heard that addition is good, but multiplication is better. Addition produces incremental growth, but multiplication produces exponential growth.
When I look in scripture, I see that Paul gets to the heart of this idea of multiplication. In a letter he writes to Timothy, he says, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) I see this as one of the key verses in the Bible pointing towards this idea of multiplying.
God invites all of us to join in this mission to multiply. His expansion plan for His people has always been accomplished through multiplication. As you journey through scripture from the very beginning with Adam all the way through the gospels and beyond, you will find this emphasis on multiplication. Addition is never the strategy God uses to populate the world with His followers. Multiplication is the tactical pattern the Spirit flows through to reach the lost.
As we walk into 2017, it is my prayer that as a church we would embrace the idea of Multiply. May we plow forward seeking to become Kingdom Workers focused on the harvest, who desire to be high-impact multiplying churches. I am excited that, as a church, we are striving to do this. Would you join us on this journey?

Geoff Lawson

Student Ministry Update

The Student Ministry is working full steam ahead to plan out the next year with purpose. Some of those things include planning our summer mission trips, winter and spring retreats, and other fun outings. Be sure to check out our student ministry calendar of events. We plan to have some fun events for students over the holidays.
Communication is a big key for our Student Ministry and I want to make sure parents and students know what we are doing at all times. It is my goal to make sure we have plenty of avenues for you all to know what we are doing. Just a few of those ways we plan to keep parents in the loop are through social media, the church app, a new text messaging service just for Student Ministry, as well as the old fashion paper calendars.
I want to highlight one great opportunity for Middle School Students coming up this winter. The Middle School ministry is planning on taking Students to CIY Believe. It will be in Louisville the first weekend in February. Make sure your middle schooler is signed up for this event. You can grab an info pack from the Middle School room that has all the details and answers any questions you might have.
If I have not met you or your student yet, I would love to get together and connect with you!

Geoff Lawson

Sharing the Greater Story

I remember when I first started in Student Ministry several years ago, I sat down with a mentor who was a veteran in Student Ministry. We met regularly and I always listened intently when he spoke because he was full of wisdom and knowledge. One day, he shared a helpful tidbit that has stuck out in my mind ever since. “People don’t know how much you care until you show them.” It’s a simple thought but also so profound. That very pattern was modeled by Jesus to his disciples and eventually a world of people hungering and thirsting for something far greater. He was more worried about saving souls than saving face. You see, for far too long we’ve been drawn into this world that says there is a right and a wrong way to share this “Greater Story.” There is nothing wrong with being strategic in our approach to evangelism. I simply believe the best strategy is to meet people where they are and connect them with your own changed and revolutionized life! When a person is consumed with and in love with Jesus, it doesn’t take long for that person to start talking about the One they are so committed to.
As Tommy begins this new series, I am excited to see how students and adults can connect this “Greater Story” to the events of their lives. I am excited to see what happens when we choose to carry out our mission to lead people towards this “Greater story.” As I begin my time here at Tates Creek, I am excited to be part of a movement of students who are willing to invite their un-churched friends to things we are doing (events, regular gatherings, etc.). It doesn’t stop there though, we must be willing to engage people where they are and build relationships so they know we care! My primary “strategy” is pretty simple for the Student Ministry: I help my students discover who Jesus is, and to fall in love with Him and His message through building intentional relationships that plant seeds. I am connecting them to a greater story.

Geoff Lawson

One Nation, United

“For we are God’s creation, founded in Christ upon good works which God preordained, so that we might walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10

The biggest question that middle and high school students face is finding out where they fit in. The pull to find one’s identity drives students to seek out community in a number of communities before they can finally settle and be comfortable in their own skin. The amazing part of it all is that students, in finding their identity, typically aren’t comfortable with themselves until their peer group can define it for them.
So each group vies for popularity and relevance within the school. Cliques justify why they are the real “good” people over and above other cliques. Peer pressure, that is the pressure to find one’s identity in a clique, is what drives students to bad decisions, gossip, dissension, and even violence. We accept this as “the way things are” because this isn’t an isolated force. This is a force that dominates our society as a whole.
But Paul’s voice breaks in to our broken family and tells us that it is not to be so with us. God declared before creation that Christ would suffer, die, and be resurrected so that “the two would be formed into one humanity, making peace” (Ephesians 2:15b). Peace is attained in Christ through his work. None of us can claim moral superiority because none of us completed the works that Christ did on our behalf.
So when our students are walking through the halls of their schools, their call is to walk in peace! Christ showed us the way of peace and unity by suffering, dying, and being resurrected by God’s hand. Christ’s work is bigger than the insecurities we harbor. Christ’s work is bigger than the divisions we create. Christ’s work is bigger than racism, prejudice, stereotypes, dissension, and violence.
As our students return to school, please pray for God to strengthen them through his Spirit. Specifically, pray for them to have wisdom as they live out the peace and unity God offers us in Christ. If we harbor any division or prejudice in ourselves, let us ask God for mercy and lay those prejudices at the foot of the Cross!

Brad Haggard

Summer Camps

Summer is here and that means it is camp season! It’s not an understatement to say that weeks of camp are one of the most important weeks of the year for a student’s spiritual growth. Life changing decisions occur in these weeks. In fact, if it weren’t for weeks of camp, I likely wouldn’t be in the ministry!
The middle school is going to MIX, a program provided by Christ In Youth, for the first time this year. The camp is held on the campus of Johnson University, June 20-23, and involves lots of big group games, worship, teaching, and plenty of small group time to disciple students. There isn’t a better way to place middle school students on the path to discipleship.
The high school will be returning to MOVE, also a Christ in Youth program, in Panama City June 27th-July 2nd. Last year, the week was highlighted by baptisms and commitments to ministry from our group! We have a record group going with us this year and I’m anxious to see how the Spirit raises up leaders within our group and calls more students to Kingdom Work.
Please be in prayer for our students as we travel to these events. Pray for safety and for the Spirit to challenge each of them to a closer walk with Jesus!

Brad Haggard

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