You Can Make A Difference

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by rob purdie

A common struggle for all people working and volunteering in various ministries is the challenge of being able to see or understand the impact of our efforts. It can be a source of frustration to wonder if what we’ve done has made a difference.

We were blessed, however, to see the results of impactful children’s ministry in our own children over the course 20+ years.

Our experience in a denominational church was a struggle for us both. But we saw to it that the classes that our own children were in were always staffed with loving, knowledgeable teachers (even if it often meant that one of us was teaching, as it did).

In another church, we saw a vibrant and caring children’s and youth ministry. We became part of the children’s ministry team as our own kids grew to love the youth group and teen ministries. We were grateful for the energetic and caring leadership of the programs.

Still, as a 4-5 year old teacher, I often wondered if my efforts on any given Sunday were really “taking root.”

We eventually left that church due to some rather unpleasant circumstances. It took me a long time even want to be in fellowship again. Then, after God (and Susan) convinced me to start looking for a church home once more, we couldn’t seem to find the right fit.

In this time, all three of our children began serving God in strong, impactful ministries. Laura is our middle child. For years, she had been called to children’s ministry in Haiti. When she saw the devastation of the 2010 earthquake there, within a week she had arranged transportation and a ministry to serve with there.

A few years later, our oldest, Megan, and her husband, Shane, began serving with a group called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). They travelled to Thailand and Vietnam as missionaries. When they returned, they joined the staff of YWAM San Francisco, where they still serve today.

Our youngest, Robbie, also did discipleship training with YWAM. He served in Mediterranean Europe, helping Middle Eastern refugees getting off boats and in refugee camps. After his return, he struggled with God’s call on his life. But now, he too serves as a missionary technician with CROWN Ministries, a branch of YWAM located at the University of Nations in Kona, Hawaii.

All of this certainly reaffirmed that we had made a lot of the choices God was steering us toward. And it all would have been confirmation enough for us.

But God had more . . .

After our negative experience, and many months, we found a wonderful church that Susan loved. And they managed to corral me by having an anointed Bible senior pastor, a fantastically blessed worship leader and a youth and kids ministry team that didn’t know the word “quit.”

Soon, we were part of that “no quit” team.

One day, not very long after we had become youth volunteers, we saw a young girl come in to the youth group of our new church home. While she looked familiar, I couldn’t quite place where I had seen her before.

After speaking to her and her family, we discovered she had been one of our 4-5 year olds at our previous church many years ago. Now a teenager, her fond memories of our earlier class were a reason she and her family would ultimately choose to join us at our new church.

People say that Jesus doesn’t have favorites. I disagree. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”    – Jesus Christ, Matthew 18:1-5.

Most parents know that young people can be challenging. But every parent knows what a great reward it is to know that a child’s life is better, more joyful, because you’re a part of it. And we all can be.

My Name is Alyssa and I Love To Serve In Ridge Kids

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by alyssa bowlin

One Sunday morning during service someone had made the announcement that they were looking for new volunteers to help serve in ridge kids.

As I thought more about that I thought it would be a great opportunity for me since I do love to work with kids to get more involved in the church.

Right now I currently volunteer in the three to five year old class and I absolutely love it! I get to see and be a part of the excitement these kids have to learn more about God. Their enthusiasm has definitely rubbed off on me.

Since I started volunteering I have dug deeper into the bible so I would have a better understanding of what I am teaching them. I have met and made new friends by getting to know the other volunteers and some of the parents.

I genuinely look forward to Sundays to not only go to service and hear the message prepared for us but to see all the kiddos I have grown close to.

What Does Ridge Kids Mean To Me?

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by jessica duncan

My daughter Avery (age 4) and I love Ridge Kids!

At only 4 years old, she has had to deal with so much change and craziness in her life that I thought it would be impossible for me to help her cope. She lost her daddy 8 months ago, which rocked both of our worlds. I had to explain to her every day that her daddy would not be coming home. At only 4 years old, you can imagine, she could not understand.

I tried reading her books about heaven, but she had never even heard of heaven before. I beat myself up because I hadn’t even told her about Jesus. As soon as I was able to get the energy to make it out of the house, we went to the Ridge one Sunday and have been there ever since.

Avery came out of her first class in love with her teacher and telling me all about Jesus. It was very hard for me to talk to her about God, because honestly, I was still a little mad at Him, but I didn’t want her to be. The teachers there have helped me break the ice in talking to Avery about Jesus. She is learning so much, and she is learning in a way that she can understand.

She is putting the pieces together in her own time in a way that she can understand. She now knows that God loves her and loved her daddy. She knows that her daddy is in Heaven with Jesus and that Heaven is an amazing place.

The excitement that the teachers at the Ridge have towards teaching the kids about Jesus makes Avery excited to tell me and everyone we know about Jesus. This excitement and childlike view of the world has also helped me cope. The simple lessons that Avery is learning at Ridge Kids are good reminders for me as well.

I am so thankful for Ridge Kids and the love and support they have shown to us.

Kids Ministry Myths

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By Bobby Williams

One of the questions I often get as a pastor when people are deciding to attend the Ridge is, “What do you have for my kids?”

It’s a good question and one I appreciate. It tells me they care enough to ask.

But as often as I get that question, almost as often, I find people who just simply know very little about our Ridge Kids ministry (some are even parents!).

So I thought I would take a moment to talk about a few common myths about Kids ministry & what really goes on in Ridge Kids.

Myth #1- Ridge Kids is Sunday School

I don’t what kind of Sunday school classes you went to as a kid, but for me it was rather boring.

We sat in a dull painted, cold room with a teacher who had *maybe prepared 5 minutes before we walked in.

Plus think about the language used; teacher, lesson, school…another day of school????

At Ridge Kids, we don’t do Sunday school, we do a kids experience. It is designed to be FUN & engaging for children & centered on the gospel. Oh did I mention fun? YES! They intentionally are having fun!

Myth #2- We send kids downstairs so the adults can worship

Wrong.

In fact we encourage older children to attend a worship service on occasion. We love it when kids & parents can worship together.

We don’t baby sit kids so the adults can go to church. We engage children in an environment built with them in mind so they too can experience Jesus in the same relevant ways adults are.

Myth #3- Anyone can work with kids

I mean really, how hard can it be?

It’s not that it’s hard, but it does require a different kind of person. Someone who loves kids is a great place to start. A Ridge Kids volunteer needs to be a person who takes seriously teaching children about Jesus.

Also, they need to be safe. We take the safety our kids very seriously & this is why “just anyone” can not volunteer in that area.

Myth #4- Adult ministry is more important

Show me a church that values adult ministry over kids or student ministries & I will show you a church that will get old & die.

Truth is, they are equally important. And if anything, kids & student ministries near more of an emphasis & attention.

Did you know that a majority of people give their life to Christ before the age of 16? The older a person gets, the chances decrease.

So YES- it’s very important.

Myth #5- Kids are the church of tomorrow

No, kids are the church of NOW.

Kids & students are just as much part of the church as adults. By saying they are the church of tomorrow, we’re saying they are not important now but will be later.

If we don’t make it important now, there will be later.

Conflict Can Be An Opportunity or An Obstacle

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by bobby williams

In part 2 of the Family Feud series, we discussed how to navigate impending conflict that can and will come at any time. You can listen here.

Conflict is inevitable. It’s not IF, it’s WHEN.

David Mathis from Desiringgod.org writes, “We’re quick to believe the lie that if we just avoid the conflict, or at least minimize it, then it will diminish over time and eventually go away. But wisdom speaks a different word. Sure, there are offenses we can forebear and personal frustrations we can get over, but interpersonal conflict doesn’t go away with inattention. It festers. It deepens. It curdles.”

In this article he talks about conflict as an opportunity. Read the rest of this article here