At Thanksgiving we delivered 195 boxes of food to families in need. This is story was shared by one of our partners, The Pando Initiative, about the impact these boxes can have.
"This student is completely new to Jefferson this year and was referred to me by an outside agency that we work closely with here at the school. He is one of six children and his mother is a single parent. He decided to participate in running club this year and I was a little surprised since he’s such a quiet kid, but completely blown away by his determination and work ethic in running club. One week he didn’t show up and I was worried he was losing interest. It turns out that his mom had no way of picking him up from the school because her car broke down and she had his siblings to worry about on top of that. I offered to take him home after practice, so he showed up every day! He quickly became one of my best runners. On race day, I also picked him up and he completed the race with enthusiasm. I could tell he was proud. I also signed his family up to receive a Thanksgiving meal from Eastminster Church. Since meal pick up was on race day, he came with me to pick it up. When I delivered it to his family, they were extremely appreciative and relieved that there was one less thing they had to worry about over the holidays. This kid is so hard working, honest and responsible and I’m so glad he was in running club. I’m hoping he’ll get to participate in other clubs this year."
As a son of Eastminster, it is with a very wide range of emotions that I announce that I am now the Pastor Elect of Bethany Evangelical Presbyterian Church, in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Pastor Stan has asked me to preach on Sunday, January 6, 2019, which will be my last day.
I have been incredibly blessed to serve as an Associate Pastor at Eastminster for close to eight years now, where I have had the benefit to learn and grow in so many areas of ministry. I began working with our middle school and high school students and then I was asked to focus on pastoral care and working with the Deacons. I was privileged to lead our college students and young adults and it has been a great joy to lead a handful of Bible studies along the way. I’m also very thankful that I was able to mentor and lead two EPC candidates (now EPC pastors) through our Frank N. Kik Endowment Pastoral Internship program. And throughout my time, I had a number of opportunities to preach the Word of God, where I have no doubt, that I was the most encouraged pastor in the world. I have been well loved by you!
When I first began my time at Eastminster, I wondered and even hoped that I might be given the opportunity to do all of my ordained ministry at Eastminster, but looking back on my time here, I believe that God has been utilizing all of this experience at Eastminster as an incubator to prepare me for this new role as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at Bethany EPC.
So how did I come to this conclusion? Well, I first noticed a shift in my sense of call about two years ago. I wasn’t sure what was on the horizon, but I sensed that God had a change on the way for me and for my family. Not knowing exactly what to do with this sense of an upcoming change and knowing how difficult a change would be for my wife, kids, family, and church family, I prayed. I prayed about planting an EPC church in Northwest Wichita, becoming a chaplain in one of the branches of the military, serving as a teacher or professor at a Christian school or college, becoming a Senior Pastor where I would have greater opportunity to utilize gifts in preaching and teaching, or remaining at Eastminster, perhaps in a different role. Regardless of the role or position or location, I’ve simply wanted to be obedient to the Lord’s leading.
I spoke with a number of Pastoral Search Teams and leaders in various organizations to sort of knock on a few doors and see if the Lord would lead me down a particular path. This was enjoyable, but I didn’t come to a place of confidence in a direction or calling. However, this past summer, before going to the EPC General Assembly meeting, I prayed and asked God to help me discern His will through a different approach. Instead of me knocking on doors, I asked the Lord to have someone personally encourage me to consider a new call in ministry if that was a direction He wanted me to move in. Well, at the General Assembly meeting I heard a pitch for the Sr. Pastor position at Bethany EPC, and I was interested, but no one approached me to encourage me to consider it at the meeting. However, a few days after General Assembly meeting, I received a phone call from the previous Sr. Pastor of Bethany EPC encouraging me to prayerfully consider the opportunity.
I was excited to receive that phone call and later submitted my name and information. This was followed up with a number of phone and Skype interviews and they sent a team to Wichita to hear me preach. A few weeks later, I was invited to bring my wife and kids out for a weekend visit. We agreed sensing that the Lord was leading us down this path, but wondered how we might communicate all this to our kids. Well, the night before we were to go for our visit, my wife, Amanda, asked Kate if she knew what it meant to be called by God to something. She wasn’t quite sure, so Amanda explained by telling Kate that if God asks us to do something, we need to be obedient. Amanda then asked Kate if she knew of a Bible story that talked about this. Kate said yes and went and grabbed her kids Bible and turned to the page that said something like, “Abraham was God’s special friend. God told Abraham to take his family and move to a new country He would show him. Abraham was obedient and God blessed him.” This was an extraordinary bit of confirmation for my wife and me. Amanda then shared that we believe God is calling our family to move to Pennsylvania and that we want her to come help us find a new house, to which Kate beamed with excitement, being ready to move the very next day.
That visitation weekend went very well and this past weekend, Amanda and I returned as I was asked to preach a candidating sermon. Afterwards the Bethany congregation voted 146-1 to extend the call as Pastor and Head of Staff. I’ll return to Pennsylvania in a couple weeks for a called Presbytery meeting where I will be examined by the Presbytery. Lord willing, my family and I are planning to move to Havertown, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia) in the second week of January.
I am thankful that Pastor Stan has provided me with three more opportunities to preach at Eastminster before we would leave. I am scheduled to preach on December 2, which is the first Sunday in Advent and Eastminster’s Chili Christmas celebration, on December 24 for the Kids Christmas Eve Services, and on Sunday, January 6.
I have no doubt these next couple of months will be very difficult to say goodbye to so many wonderful people in our lives and I imagine many of you will experience a variety of emotions in how you respond to this news as well. Yet, while I know that this transition will be difficult, I’m also confident that this new call is a step of obedience for us.
Thank you for your continued prayers for my family as we continue to walk through this journey of transition. We will look forward to the times our Lord will bring us back to Wichita to be with our Eastminster family and we will be forever grateful for the wonderful care, support, and encouragement we have been given throughout our lives!
I grew up in the Wichita area and was baptized at a young age in the Baptist
Church where my father was a deacon and taught adult Sunday school. My wife, Linda, and I have been active in church together since we were married, including teaching children’s Sunday school classes together for many years. We began attending Eastminster in 1991. We were introduced to Eastminster by friends and drawn by the strong biblical preaching and teaching, and the children’s program. Linda and I recently celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary, and we have two daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom live on the west coast. All of our grandchildren were baptized at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in the Bay Area. Linda, a retired teacher, currently teaches in the first grade Sunday class and I often serve with her as a substitute teacher. I currently serve on the Finance Team of the church and serve as a Trustee and Treasurer for the Eastminster Foundation for Promotion of the Reformed Faith, Inc. I have previously served terms as an active elder and deacon, including serving on the Personnel Team, as Chair of the Administration Council, and as a trustee of the Corporation.
My wife, Diane, and I have been attending Eastminster Church for more than 20 years. We have been married for 34 years and have two children, Abigail and Alexander. I recently retired from the legal profession. I previously served one term as a deacon and one term as an elder. For the past year I have been a member of the Regional and National Outreach missions team and served on the Local and U.S. Mission Council. One of my favorite Bible verses that was taught to me as a child and has helped me through the years to remain grounded in Christ is Galatians 6:14: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
I am a life-long Presbyterian having accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in the seventh grade at First Presbyterian Church in Wichita. My wife, Margo, and I transferred our membership to Eastminster in 2005. I am a member of the men’s Tuesday Grow Group. I participate in prayer support by spending time each week in the Prayer Room. I volunteered and enjoyed so much working on the Iasis project, and we have loved being part of The Gathering. We have two grown sons and three wonderful grandchildren. After winding down a 40-year career in the financial services industry, Margo and I are traveling as much as possible. I am a member of several boards in Wichita and El Dorado including the Metro YMCA and Susan B. Allen Hospital Foundation. I enjoy gardening, photography and reading. I look forward to serving my first term on session.
I was raised in Wichita and attended Central Community Church where I accepted Jesus as my savior. My wife, Kathy, and I have been married 26 years and joined Eastminster shortly after moving back to Wichita in 1998. We have three sons, Andrew, Ryan and Nathan, who all attend the University of Kansas. Raising our boys has not only been a great joy in our lives, it has strengthened my relationship with the Lord. I have been involved with Sunday school, middle and high school ministries, and Westminter Woods. I work at Cerner Corporation where I have the privilege of working with several faith-based hospital organizations.
I grew up in the First United Methodist Church in Emporia, Kansas, and attended Sunday school. My parents actively attended and served in the church. I was always involved in church youth groups, mission trips and even serving meals for events. Our church seemed the place to be and the pastors and lay leaders were part of our family’s life, even traveling together. Truly it was the social part of church that attracted me first. In junior high on a missions trip to Taos, New Mexico, I accepted Christ’s gift of salvation. But it was during my college years that my faith matured and a clearer understanding of Christ and his sacrifice for me became real.
I am a pharmacist, and met my husband, David, in Kansas City after college and was married 32 years ago. He grew up in Wichita and was a member of Eastminster on North Armour. We moved to Wichita in 1988, the same year our son, Daniel, was born, and I joined Eastminster. My in-laws, John and Lois Hawkins were also involved at Eastminster. Our son currently lives in Kansas City. My husband and I teach third grade Sunday class with a great team and have done so for 13 years. In the past we taught other Sunday classes. I have been so thankful for the leadership and support of other Christian women when I coordinated Vacation Bible School, helped with Hannah Circle and participated in women’s ministries. I recently joined Women in Action. I have served as a deacon twice and been a part of several church committees. My husband and I have been a part of a several small group Bible studies. Also, we have participated in other church sponsored studies like Crown Ministries, Perspectives class and the Truth Project twice.
I have been a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church for 34 years and have served numerous terms as elder. I am a businessman/contractor whose company specializes in building bridges. My primary passions include music, worship and theological education. In the past I have served on numerous committees including the Chapel building, missions, personnel and worship. I have also participated in several international missions trips. I received Christ as a young boy growing up under the influence of godly parents. I understood from listening to the gospel that I was a sinner in need of a savior. I was able to comprehend what guilt and sin was, particularly falling short of God’s glory. As I matured in the faith, I better understood other concepts such as grace, atonement and the person/work of Christ. In a very real sense, I continue to live with the realization that I am still being saved, as I work out my salvation with fear and trembling and reliance upon the Holy Spirit. My wife, Elizabeth, and I have two adult sons - Lance (wife, Paula) and Brandon.
My wife, Sandra, and I both grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. We have been married for 51 years. We have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren. We moved to Wichita in 1986 with Cargill, Inc. and we joined Eastminster later that year. I grew up in a Christian home. I was nurtured in my faith by wonderful Christian parents. I accepted Christ during my middle school years, but I didn’t make Jesus the Lord of my life until 1984. I have previously served at Eastminster as a deacon and elder. I am active in the Central Kansas Prison Ministry as a member of the Board of Trustees and as a mentor. There are several scriptures that I think about as I attempt to live a life that is pleasing to God. One that I recite to myself most often as I interact with family, friends and neighbors is Colossians 3:12 which says, “therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe your selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” I am thankful for God’s mercy and grace as I strive to become more like Christ.
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home, and grew up attending the Free Methodist Church in McPherson, Kansas. At the age of 10, while on a youth retreat at Rock Springs Ranch, I accepted Christ. I was married in 1990 to my husband, Ron, and soon after we began attending Eastminster. Early on, the family retreat became an annual highlight for our family, and through that particular ministry we made many lifelong friends, many of whom are still attending Eastminster today. I also quickly became involved in the Chancel Choir, and continued my involvement in music ministry, being actively involved in the Worship Team, as assistant director of the Sonbeams and Glory Bees, which was the children’s choir, and participating in and coordinating many Chili Christmas programs. I have also been involved in women’s ministries, with leadership roles in Hannah Circle and women’s retreats. The children’s programs at Eastminster were a central focus of our family, and Ron and I have served in several different capacities in Sunday school and Wednesday nights over the years. More recently, I had the privilege of serving on the Pastor Search Team. What an honor and privilege it was to watch how God guided our committee, and see his faithfulness throughout the process. Ron and I, now empty nesters, have two sons, a daughter and have very recently have added a daughter-in-law. I had been praying for direction and where God would have me serve next when I received the call to become an elder. I am thankful for this opportunity to serve my beloved congregation. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:1.
Bob Bingaman (class of 2019)
Judy and I began visiting Eastminster in 1989 looking for a new church home. Shortly thereafter we joined the church and attended with our children, Renee, Rebecca, Rachelle and Rob. Now 29 years later all three of the girls have been married at Eastminster and the Jon Green and Chad Edwards families bring six of our eight grandchildren allowing us to enjoy a “family row” most Sundays. Eastminster’s commitment to preaching and teaching truth with strong emphasis on obedience to the Great Commission spreading the gospel here and far away has captured us in spite of some difficult times at the church. I was blessed to be raised by parents who knew and taught a personal relationship with Jesus. I came to know him at 6 at our little country church near the ranch where I was raised. Walking with Jesus has been exciting, challenging and fulfilling as I slowly learn that I am nothing and he is everything. I have been involved with some aspect of missions since joining the church and it is my passion. What a privilege it has been to go and see God at work from India to Albania to Tanzania and to do short-term surgery projects in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I have served on session a few times as well. Judy and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage in a few months. We are so thankful to God for this, for our children, their spouses, their love for God and eight grandchildren, all of whom are serving Christ. He has brought many Christian friends who have loved and mentored us. God is so faithful. John 3:16 is my favorite verse: “For God so loved the world (me), that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Deacon Nominees (three-year term)
I grew up in Augusta, KS, and my husband and I attended high school together, but without really knowing each other. He moved to attend college at KU, we both got married and raised families. Time passed and both of our spouses died. At our 50th class reunion, LaRoux approached me to console me and ask how I was doing. I realized this was the first time we had ever had a conversation. Six months later a number of unexplained coincidences began happening bringing us together in ways we could not have planned or imagined. I could see LaRoux was strong in his faith in God and I wanted to follow him. We married in October 2011, and began our search for just the right church and God directed us to Eastminster Church. A year after becoming a member I discovered from family history I come from a long line of German Presbyterians. I no longer believe in unexplained coincidences; all that happened was a part of God’s wonderful plan. We had been looking for ways to help others and serve in our church when I got a call asking me if I would be interested in being a deacon, I knew God was at work again. We continue to attend a Precepts Bible study group we began several years ago and we attend the 11 a.m. service at Eastminster. We have enjoyed helping with Trunk or Treat, packaging food for donations, and picking up pond trash. I enjoy reading, going to garage and estate sales looking for items I can donate to those in need. I like listening to Bott radio and doing any kind of art projects. Together we have six adult children and 18 grandchildren. I have been truly blessed. I pray Eastminster will stay energized and focused as we grow closer to one another and together we make a difference in our city, in each other and in all things we bring glory to God.
I am a retired manufacturing engineer and manager, a full-time writer, and was baptized in the First Baptist Church in Wichita in 1952 while in the sixth grade. I went on to college and spent most of my life in Kansas City. My wife was an ardent Christian. We raised our five children in Colonial Presbyterian Church, and Covenant Chapel EPC Church in Leawood, Kansas, where I and one of my sons ran the Power Point slides for services and music. A few years after my wife died I ran into my current wife, Karen, in Augusta where we went to high school together, and we married and started attending Eastminster because it was an EPC church. We are regular attendees here, have both worked this year on the Iasis Center with many others and I continue to help out there. We wanted to do church service projects together and so we have that opportunity now. We have been part of an inductive Bible study group for the past seven years, love Bott Christian radio, and read through the Bible at least once each year as I work out. One of my sons leads a home church in Taiwan, and one son-in-law teaches Bible studies in the public schools in Australia. One daughter-in-law taught Bible studies in the Lee’s Summit Christian School, before becoming a full-time mother. I have 17 grandchildren located around the world.
I grew up attending Eastminster after my parents relocated to Wichita in 1993 and have been a member for more than 15 years. I spent many Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights at Eastminster growing up, and have favorite memories and good friends from family retreats, Vacation Bible School and middle school youth group. My very first job was working in the toddler room for Kid’s Day Out after my freshman year of high school. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the church as Eastminster has continued to play a key role in not only growing my faith but also a desire to serve others. I work for Koch Public Sector as a Community Affairs Manager, am on the Board of Directors for the local Boys & Girls Club and am active in the Junior League. I have a two-year old yellow lab named Walter and enjoy spending time with my family, friends and in the community.
I was baptized and grew up at Bethany Presbyterian, the church that planted Eastminster. I believe I was “born Presbyterian!” I love my original church home and its people as I love our church now. After college in Michigan and teaching English for three years in the Chicago area, I married Ray, a great friend from years at East High. We lived in Panama, where our daughter Susan was born, and then in Washington D.C. We moved to Wichita in 1973 and joined Eastminster, a church God sent us to because we were too late to get to our intended church that day. We grew serious in faith through wise teachers and small group Bible study; reading C.S. Lewis’ works cemented my belief. In 1975 I began 30 years of public service with the Social Security Administration. Susan and her husband Mark have three wonderful children; we are close in all ways. We left Wichita for 15 years in Kansas City where we joined Colonial Presbyterian and worked in the area until we retired and returned to Wichita in 2006. In retirement God has allowed me health and time for family, deeper Bible study, friends, reading, traveling, tutoring English to refugees and serving the church. Ray died in 2016, changing my life abruptly. Far less self-reliant now and certainly closer to the Lord, I know he is beside me and has met and will meet my many needs. Two thoughts I rest in: “Change and decay in all around I see; Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me” and “Don’t worry about tomorrow; God is already there.”
I grew up attending a Church of Christ church and became a Christian when I was in middle school. I started coming to Eastminster in 2005, when my daughters were in middle school. It wasn’t until three years ago when my husband passed away, that I realized my need to grow closer to the Lord. God moved me to become a member of Eastminster. It is through God’s love and grace that I make it each day. I want to share this peace and comfort that he has given to me with others. God is so good and loving and I am so blessed. Things I have been involved in are: helping lead GriefShare, greeting on Sunday mornings, helping with Trunk or Treat, and attending weekly Bible studies. I am forever blessed with three daughters, a son-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter.
I have been a member of Eastminster for 30 years. My husband, David, and I raised our children in this church. I taught Sunday school, cooked at Westminster Woods for middle and high school retreats, previously served as a deacon, served on the hospital visitation team/homebound team and Congregational Life committee. Our family served on mission trips to Guatemala and Nicaragua. This is also my 30th year of employment with the Farm Credit System. I am thankful that God has called me to connect with others to build relationships both as a deacon and in my profession. I want to be a light to others and I am honored to serve as a deacon to share the love of Christ.
I was born and raised in Wichita, and my family joined Eastminster when I was in the fourth grade. Eastminster has been my church home ever since. I can still recall many of the sermons heard in my youth, and now Eastminster is carrying God’s Word into the hearts of my children. My husband, Todd, and I were married at Eastminster by the Reverend Dick Gorham in 2001. I enjoyed my wedding process so much I became a wedding coordinator for Eastminster in 2002 and served in that position for the next 13 years. We have two sons, Ben and Luke, both of whom were baptized at Eastminster and are students at Trinity Academy. I place my trust in God and am grateful that he daily continues his work in me. “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal,” Isaiah 26:4.
I grew up in a small town in southeast Kansas called Severy as an only child and with a strong presence of God in my everyday life. My grandparents were two of the original founders/builders of my childhood church, Severy Church of the Nazarene, and still attend it to this day. At a very young age I accepted Christ as my Savior and have never looked back. When I met my wife, Kristin, she was attending the First Presbyterian Church of Derby with her family so I naturally attended and absolutely loved the congregation and Pastor Ben Ray as it reminded me so much of my home church in Severy. We were later married at that church and began leading Sunday school classes for elementary aged children, young adults, and were active in several committees within our time there. We then moved to Andover in the early 2000s and still continued the commute back and forth as a majority of Kristin’s family was still attending and we felt called to continue our positions within the church. When we moved to Wichita we decided that we wanted to get our three young girls into more activities within the church rather than commute, so we chose Eastminster and have loved the change and our new family members within the congregation. Kristin and I became members of Eastminster shortly after arriving in 2013 and have been volunteering for events and charities as a family ever since. My wife and I have been married almost 15 years and have three beautiful daughters; Addison (11), Kaitlyn (9), and Olivia (7).
I started attending Eastminster in 1985. Through many of life’s changes, both up and down, Eastminster has been a wonderful church family to belong to.
My husband, Charlie, and I were married by Frank Kik, and children baptized by Dick Gorham and Bob Henley. We were very involved in all aspects of Eastminster until we moved to Kansas City in 2003. We have since returned to Wichita and also Eastminster. I immediately became involved in Women in Action Bible study and now am a co-leader. Now that our youngest child is in college, I look forward to more involvement and service at Eastminster. Becoming a deacon will be a new adventure for me and I desire to serve well. Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
by Joseph Wimer, Associate Director of College Outreach
When getting to know a student, I've observed a somewhat natural progression of questions I ask to gain a better sense of who they are. Where are you from? What brought you here? What are you studying? What do you hope to do? Are you involved in any student organizations?
These are good questions, helpful in the process of gaining familiarity and trust with a student. However, I've also observed, both in students and myself, that these questions can be answered from an emotional distance, shared in a manner that is revealing but remains guarded. The real tragedy is that, more often than not, we pretend that we are content to stay there, as if what we do and how we're doing it is enough to summarize who we are.
In the first few months of this new assignment, almost all that is familiar has been stripped away and I find myself often grasping for anything over which I can feel I have control, distracting myself from the discomfort, and slipping into the lies that what I do and how well I do it is what defines me. Yet in those moments when I'm able to sit still enough, I find the Spirit speaking to my spirit, and God is whispering, "What do you really want? What is it that you ultimately desire?" Sometimes it takes drastic change and a life upheaval for God to expose our functional saviors and all the things our desire has latched on to instead of Jesus, his presence, and his kingdom. As God has been doing this work in me, I have been unable to avoid the same questions in my interactions with students.
There are a few students I have had the privilege of getting to know pretty well over these first 6 weeks, and yes I most certainly have asked those preliminary questions. Yet I've also asked them what they really want... Their answers? Calvin has confessed that he longs for a deeper passion for God. He knows that behind his calm demeanor there is an ocean of emotion longing to express itself in worship and devotion to God. Robert speaks fondly of those people in his life from whom emanates a profound contentedness and delight in Jesus. He desires to experience that same depth of intimacy.
I celebrate the work of the Spirit in the hearts of these young men. It is beautiful to witness and I am eager to journey with them as, together, we follow these desires to the only one who can fulfill them.
How can you pray?
- Growth in dependence on the Holy Spirit: We anticipate keeping this request at the top of our list of prayer needs. Our desire is for this to be a time of greater attunement to our need for help and comfort.
- Continued connection with new students: There are a few avenues we are pursuing to meet new students, one of which includes a connection to fraternity life. We are hopeful.
- Spiritual mentorship and guidance: In order to do this work faithfully and with integrity, we need relationships where we are able to tend to our souls and refill our reservoirs.
- Student registrations for Jubilee: The Jubilee site launched last Thursday! When it comes to recruiting students, we are now presented with new challenges of increased travel cost and distance. However, we believe in the power of this transformative weekend and are inviting students.
Have you wondered about the Mount Vernon Presbyterian bus in our parking lot? It represents God answering prayer in a wondrous way. In August, Pastor John Ronel notified the Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team (RIOT) that he needed another vehicle to transport his congregants to church. RIOT offered to help, but said that they wanted him to work with Steve Friesen to find the best vehicle. On Sunday, August 12, a member of RIOT notified Steve Friesen that his expert automotive services had been volunteered to Pastor Ronel. A few minutes later, Steve shared the story with his 9:30 a.m. Sunday Grow Group. One couple, Ron & Dorothy Collins, left the class early to see their son perform at Trinity Presbyterian Church. While there, they saw a flyer on a table in the foyer announcing that Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church wanted to give away their rarely-used church van. The Collins called Steve, who contacted RIOT, and by 12:30 p.m. the same day Pastor Ronel was offered the van. Instead of getting a loan and financial assistance from RIOT to get the van, God provided a van to Pastor Ronel free and clear. So, when you see the Mount Vernon van, stop and thank God for his wonderful provision.
It is exciting to see God at work in other’s situations like Pastor Ronel. Look for God's hand in your own life. It is not always this obvious, but God is ALWAYS at work to perfect the work he has begun in your life. Learn to look for it, marvel at it, and enjoy it! Let's turn Eastminster into a body of believers that truly walk by faith.
Stories have power. Stories define us. Stories connect us. At our recent Kids Team Kick Off training meeting I narrated the story of our team as we progressed through the evening, facing challenges, sharing fun and earning rewards. We first stepped through the wardrobe and into another world, answering the call to action. There we faced new challenges but found new allies and armor to protect us. We overcame logistical snares and emerged energized and ready to serve. But more importantly, we reflected on how we’ve been invited to join the story of redemption, and our names have been written in the book of life by the author and perfecter of our faith.
It is our sweet privilege as teachers of children to step into their faith stories as mentors and allies, sharing with them the great story that spans sixty-six books and captures the living and active breath of God as it beckons us towards grace and forgiveness. But we are just punctuated whispers in the wind compared to the powerful narrative force of their parents, and we want to do everything we can to give our kids’ parents the support they need to bring their faith story to life in the home. You see, we love to share stories. We love to share them verbally, but we also love to share in them, doing life together as we grow in Christ.
Often it is where our stories intersect with someone else’s that we most clearly see reverberations of the greatest story. This is the beauty of Eastminster’s discipleship strategy—it’s all about intersecting lives as we Worship, Grow, Go, and Serve together. We share true stories from God’s Word each Sunday, seek to weave these faith discussions into our family stories, and then intentionally expand our circles to include missionary partners, whose stories inspire us to step into the bigger story ourselves. We all have stories to share, and we create new ones as we serve together, connecting us as members of one body.
This year we have jumped into the story of our friend Pastor Bill Vann at the Iasis Christian Center in a deeper way, with many families and individuals volunteering to help complete the work on their new community center and celebrate with a grand opening carnival. As this story unfolds, we see how this new facility can be a powerful positive plot twist in its community, impacting the trajectories of many lives for Christ. As our partnership grows, we want to encourage the families in their target neighborhood to gather and fellowship there, and we realized we have a great opportunity to do just that.
Each year at the end of October, we step out into our communities wearing costumes that connect us with stories we enjoy. For an evening we take up the roles and garb of things like heroes, heroines, animated characters or animals (and get some candy to boot). Here at Eastminster, we have been very intentional in how we infuse the Halloween narrative with hospitality and the love of Jesus. Our Trunk or Treat events have always been about helping families have fun, feel loved, and hear the good news in a casual setting. This resonates with our marks of discipleship to do life with others who point us to Jesus, as well as investing in someone far from God.
On Halloween evening this year we will have the opportunity to serve with the same mission, but in another neighborhood where we can have a significant kingdom impact this year. We will have the privilege of again intersecting our story with that of Iasis, creating an event that will provide a truly safe and family friendly alternative for the surrounding neighborhood. Since this is the first fall the center has been open, it is the perfect time to build excitement by lending our Trunk or Treat organizational savvy, and a great way for us to take our service into an area of the community that does not have any similar events. Our partnership will provide a boost and a template for future reference. We will create memorable stories as we serve side by side, sharing joy, candy and a clear declaration of the Gospel Story. Thank you for choosing to share your story with us here at Eastminster!
I have loved getting back into the swing of youth group and Sunday class this fall. Students are bringing friends, engaging with the teaching and having great conversations in small groups. I love watching God work in our students.
We just wrapped up our first series at youth group called “Marching Orders,” where we went over our mission statement as a church: To encourage people to enjoy the fullness of knowing, loving and becoming like Jesus. I felt like our students did a great job interacting with God’s word and embracing the call God has on our church and our lives.
We’re moving on to a series called “For Heaven’s Sake,” where we are going to examine what Scripture says about heaven. We’re going to see that heaven isn’t just some distant place we look forward to, but that the kingdom of God is arriving now. I hope it spurs on our students to consider that their efforts to follow Jesus are not wasted, but have eternal implications.
Lots going on as we come to the end of September! Make sure to note these coming events:
Wednesday, September 26 // See You After The Pole
Our youth group is planning on going to See You After The Pole at Central Christian Church. This is a gathering of youth groups from all across Wichita for prayer and worship. It is from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30. Pickup and drop-off is at Central Christian. I will also be transporting some students from Eastminster if you’d like to drop them off there.
Get Lost is our annual corn maze event. This is always a hit with our students, and a great entry point for them to invite friends. We will be at Klausmeyer Farm. We will leave at 6:30 p.m. from Eastminster and return at 10:30. The cost is $15. Check out all the info here.
One of the books that has been influential to me in my philosophy of youth ministry is Chap Clark’s book’s Youth Ministry in the 21st Century and Adoptive Youth Ministry, which provides a fresh perspective and critiques on the state of youth ministry. Adoption as a metaphor for youth ministry hits on the need to bring students into the church community and feel cared for. Chap paraphrases Putnam and Elkind in how they expose “our cultural commitment to “hurrying” children is a form of giving them everything they need except for what they need the most: adult support and authentic presence”.
I agree with his conclusions that it is not just presenting the gospel, but also providing familial support they need to develop an interdependent faith. In practice, I wonder if the emphasis on a personal faith can be overstated without establishing the foundation in which that faith can grow in a mature faith (community). The adoption view helps frame students as people who need to be embraced, rather than turning them into a "number". A distinction Clark makes is that it is not enough to connect them to a task, but to empower the church to adopt students into the family of God. As I reflect on this, I continue to dream of ways to make this more of reality at Eastminster. Creating a culture of warmth and hospitality is essential to building a bridge from the Student Center to the church family, and I hope you will join me in this mission!
One way you can partner with us by following along with the “One conversation” documents that coincide with our sunday school classes, which you can find below for the following two weeks.