By Pastor Jorden
If you are unsure if you should invite your friends and neighbors to this year’s fall kickoff event here at ECC, I am going to help you out. Here are my top 10 reasons to invite your neighbor to this year’s Fall Kickoff at ECC.
10. Free Food! We all need to eat to live - this is a fact. Invite your friends to the free lunch. The menu this year includes walking tacos!
9. Zoo Animals! The Columbian Park Zoo ZooMobile will be here! A Zoo Educator will be at church along with animals. Everyone will be encouraged, but never required, to touch the animals whenever it is safe and appropriate.
8. 3rd Annual Corn Hole Tournament! Last year, Johnny and Jaden Park took home the first-place medal at our second Corn Hole Tournament. It is expected that they will seek to retain the title of ECC Corn Hole Champs this year too!
7. BINGO! It is an unwritten rule that church events should have BINGO. The nice thing about BINGO is that everyone can play! We will have excellent prizes too!
6. Kids Activities! Our Director of Children’s Ministry Kristin Devine Mueller has organized activities for kids from a giant inflatable obstacle course to fun games.
5. Giant Beach Ball Shenanigans! Our Youth Director Carol Smith and her team have some exciting games planned that involve a 6-foot tall beach ball – need I say more?
4. GAGA PIT! Along with the giant beach ball we have planned many recreational activities for all ages to enjoy!
3. Your friends and neighbors will likely come! When a genuine, personal invitation is given, most people respond positively. A recent Barna study showed that 96% of people said they would be more likely to attend church and church events if they were invited. Instead of an impersonal: “Hey, do you want to come to church Sunday?” … Try this instead: “I’d love for you to consider visiting my church with me this Sunday for our Fall Kickoff!”
2. When you don’t extend invitations, you’re missing out on one of life’s most incredible opportunities – being able to play a role in someone’s life transformation. The first invitation may be to the Fall Kickoff but there is no telling what God is going to do in their lives through your invitation. Being used by God to introduce someone to forgiveness, peace, and ultimate purpose?! There’s nothing more rewarding or energizing!
1. It will give the people you invite the opportunity to make a more informed decision about church and Jesus. Prior to your invitation, they may have negative feelings about church and religion. Give them an opportunity to see church in a positive light from their own, personal experience! You have the opportunity to extend the invitation, and then trust God with the process.
We are so excited for Fall Kickoff, and we can't wait to see you and your neighbors there!
A few years ago, we started a ministry on Wednesday nights here at ECC where we serve dinner and then have formation options for all ages. This ministry is called Community Gatherings. The reason we started Community Gatherings was exactly as the name suggests – we wanted to provide a place for our community to gather together over a meal and then continue in conversation in one of our classes. We have had a great time so far with our Community Gatherings and we are thrilled to start off this new season with great food and new classes! Starting on September 11, and most Wednesdays during the school year we gather in the Life Center Gym for dinner at 5:45 p.m. Following dinner, we transition to classes for all ages at 6:30 p.m. We have a fun Kids Club for our youngest congregants through grade four, we have a youth group for all of the youth in grades five through eight, and then we have four options for everyone in high school or older.
This fall, Kids Club at Community Gatherings will be exploring God’s Word in a new and exciting way! We’ll be using the workshop rotation model to take an in-depth look at four different Bible stories between now and Christmas. Our kids will begin in September by spending 4 weeks on the story of creation. From there, we will spend 4 weeks learning about Moses and how he led God’s people out of Egypt. Our next session will focus on the time that Moses and the Israelites spent in the wilderness. As we get close to Christmas, we’ll spend time learning about Jesus’ birth.
The advantage of this teaching style is that our children will spend four weeks in the same story, immersing themselves in different activities that will help them go deeper into God’s Word. Children will be divided into age-based groups, and these groups will learn Bible stories through art, drama, cooking, Lego building, games, and many other creative methods.
We invite children to join us this semester and sign up to be a part of this immersive Bible experience. Students in 4-year-old preschool through 4th grade are welcome to participate! If you’re an adult who has a specific gift or talent you’d like to use in teaching our children, we invite you to join us as well. There are opportunities for adults to be involved all semester or on a limited basis, spending 2-4 weeks teaching a Bible story through a method you are passionate about! To register a child or volunteer as an adult, please contact Kristin Mueller.
5th – 8th Grade:
Our Wednesday night youth group serves grades 5 through 8. We chose to have this group be 5th-8th grade to respond to the school corporations around us. Lafayette School Corporation offers middle school for grades 5 and 6 and junior high for 7 and 8, while Tippecanoe school corporation offers middle school for grades 6-8. It is our hope to serve both school corporations well, because we know that this can be a difficult age for many children. We hope that by coming together weekly we can support, encourage, and engage their faith. We hope that this faith development will better equip them for this time in your child’s life.
We will be covering 4 great topics this fall: friendship, hurts and pains, identity, and others. One of the best ways you can support your children in youth ministry is by letting Carol Smith, Youth Director, know a little bit about her/him and signing up for our monthly emails and emails for opportunities for you and your child to get involved and deadlines. Fill out this form to be added to the roster. Here are some important dates to be aware of for your 5th-8th grader:
High School and Adult:
We have selected four studies to walk through this fall. At ECC we seek to be a community that is Welcoming, Transforming, and Present in our Community. Each of these options help us grow in these areas of our lives. You are invited to choose one of these options and grow with us:
To sign up for one of these options click here. If you are interested in learning more please contact Pastor Jorden.
We hope you can join us this fall on Wednesday nights to gather in community.
By Jill Smith and Tina Wimmer
ECC MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and MOMSnext (Mothers of School-age kids) offer a morning filled with fun surprises, refreshments, speakers sharing on relevant topics, meaningful small group discussions, creative crafts, and a few hours to relax and enjoy the company of other moms. The MOMSnext moms sit at their own table within the MOPS group so that their conversation can be more specific to their season of life. MOPS is about celebrating motherhood, meeting needs, making connections and equipping women for the joys and challenges of their lives as moms. It is a caring ministry for mothers of children ages birth through school age designed to provide support and encouragement while helping moms to develop a sense of commitment to family, other moms, church, and their community. As a ministry of our church to moms within the community, MOPS provides a front door for young families to experience Christs love through the body of Christ in a non-threatening, encouraging environment.
The MOPS group at ECC was started in 2007 and the MOMSnext group started in 2016. Both groups meet together in the Life Center Auditorium on the second and fourth Tuesday mornings during the school year while newborn through kindergarten age children meet in the main building for MOPS Kids. The groups are led by moms within the group. MOPS International provides a theme each year as well as leadership development and training. The children follow a curriculum of Bible lessons. Last school year, there were 30 moms registered and 20 children.
I became involved in MOPS approximately one year ago. I had two young boys and they had no friends. I knew that my boys needed some type of interaction with other kids. I came to the open house at the church for the MOPS program and I was surprised how friendly, caring and welcomed I felt that day. I even had one of the moms want to do a play date because she lived so close. It took a couple of weeks for me to grow the courage to call and tell her I was ready for the play date. This was the start of many lasting friendships. As the year moved on, I looked forward to Tuesdays of MOPS and the boys were mostly excited to come play and never wanted to leave. The boys grew in confidence and by the end they would walk into the class and say, “Bye, mom! I love you.” After MOPS the boys would talk about how much they loved to sing songs and do crafts. The fun times in MOPS Kids were talked about all week and it was always a question of when do we get to go back to church. MOPS was a life-changing event for not only my life but for the boys.
This year’s theme in MOPS is “to the full” based on John 10:10 with subthemes titled: have more fun, fear less, and find your people.
Have more fun; Fun is often the first thing to go when life gets hectic because it seems frivolous and extravagant. This year we are going to remember that we can still have fun even when life is hard. We are going to let the laundry wait and build a fort with our kids.
Fear Less: No more fearing what people might think or say. No more letting fear paralyze us or concern about the future rob us of the present. We’ll change our ways of thinking, calm our anxiety, and surrender our need to control. This is the year of faith over fear, and abundance over scarcity.
Find Our People: This year we’ll meet our neighbors, learn the name of the cashier at the grocery store, and invite our MOPS table over for dinner. We need our people, and they need us. Finding our people takes some vulnerability, but it will also mean being known, belonging, and helping others feel the same. Life to the full happens best with people by our side.
If you are thinking, “where do I fit into this group?”, there are a few options:
By Meghan Gobrogge
As summer ends and fall is quickly approaching, we are excited to begin our lobby renovation project as part of our Engaging Young Adults Grant Initiative. Lots of construction and change will be happening in the coming weeks! Here is all that will be done in our lobby space:
Through the design and flow of the two small spaces, we hope to provide a functional space for meetings, small groups, or a gathering between two congregants any time throughout the week. However, our primary goal with this new space will be to continue to encourage community building and conversation by providing comfortable and updated spaces for you to enjoy on Sunday mornings. We’d be ecstatic if we saw this space being used by all generations in an effort to get to know and understand each other better. With that said, feel free to reach out to a young person in our church body and ask them to have coffee or hot chocolate with you in our new space this fall and winter. If you are a young person, feel free to grab an older congregant you don’t know as well and ask them to join you for conversation in our new space. Let’s use this opportunity to strengthen and unify the body of Christ here at ECC!