By Ronda Ooms
In just a few weeks schools across the area will be starting for the 2019-2020 school year. It’s hard to believe that ECC will begin its 13th year of partnering with Miller Elementary School! 13 years ago the school was in the news because of poor testing scores, and at that time there was talk about being taken over by the state. We are so blessed to be a part of the school’s journey towards success. God has led us each step of the way, revealing what we are to do and when! Each year many ECC congregants volunteer in various capacities to work with children, staff and/or families.
Have you considered being a part of the Community Outreach Team? Is the thought of doing something that you haven’t done before overwhelming? Are you ready to think and act outside of the “box” you have made for yourself? I invite you to pray about joining us in the exciting ministry God has allowed us to be a part of! Check out some wonderful thank you notes from Miller students and staff below.
An immediate need is on August 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. ECC will partner with Bauer Community Center and the school to host a Back To School Carnival. It’s a great way to welcome the children back to school and to get them excited about the new year. ECC hosts the dinner that evening and has multiple game areas that we are in charge of. Help is needed with the food portion and with manning the games. If you have not already signed up to help, you can sign up here.
We will also be collecting donations to help towards school uniforms for families that need assistance. We recommend a donation of $40 per child but of course any amount is greatly appreciated! Donations may be placed in the offering plate on Sunday morning or brought to the church office. Please be sure to write “Miller Uniforms” in the memo portion of your check.
Beginning in September there are many ways that you can be a part of our outreach ministry. We can help in individual classrooms, the library, be a lunch buddy, pack backpacks with food once a week, help with our monthly family night meals at Miller, or bake cookies for classrooms once a month so the kids can celebrate their birthdays. You can also volunteer to help put together teacher appreciation gifts periodically throughout the year. You can find a more detailed description along with the approximate time commitment here.
We are so blessed by our participation at Miller Elementary School. It will be fun to see how God uses us this new school year. We hope you’ll be a part of blessing the wonderful staff and families He has allowed us to partner with! Please email me or give me a call at the church office at 474-4842 if you have any questions.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.” -Luke 10:27
By Ron Smith
Two years ago, we as a church engaged in the denominational health process called the Vitality Pathway. The Vitality Pathway is a compilation of resources to help a congregation in their journey toward becoming healthier and more missional. The Pathway educates us and helps us to grow and assess our congregation’s culture and life stage, as it compares to our ultimate target, a healthy missional church. By “healthy”, we mean pursuing Christ. By “missional”, we mean pursuing Christ’s priorities in the world. With the leadership of the Vitality Team (which ended last Fall), we have moved through the steps of the Pathway which include the Navigate, Veritas, and Epic workshops, a Service of Consecration, the Pulse Survey, and the Dream Again workshop.
The Ministry Planning Team, as the final step of the Vitality Pathway, started meeting in late 2018 and has continued to meet monthly in 2019. We have been praying and seeking God related to the “monumental change of heart” necessary to move us from a stable church to a healthy missional church. As part of this journey, we have been reading through the book, Necessary Endings, by Henry Cloud to assist us in our thought process about change. Through those discussions, the Pastors have created three themes we are proposing to the Council for consideration for the direction that will lead us toward the monumental change of heart we desire. These three themes (to be presented to the congregation this Fall) represent the passions of our three Pastors and are fully supported by the Ministry Planning Team. Following the discussion with the Council, we will work toward developing a launch plan for the Fall. In addition, we will be evaluating all programs, facilities, and staff to ensure alignment with the themes and the desired monumental change of heart.
Please continue to pray for us as we listen to God, humble ourselves before Him and prepare to go where He leads us.
By Meghan Gobrogge
Let’s break this down: You’ve all been hearing of the Thrive Music Festival happening in a couple weeks, right? If you’ve REALLY been paying attention, you know that it has something to do with our Young Adult Ministry as well! In this article, we’ll explore answers to what this Young Adult Ministry Grant process looks like, what the YA Ministry will look like in the future, and why this Thrive Music Festival is an important step.
What: Come and listen to local bands and artists while enjoying from Lafayette’s finest food trucks! Games and recreation will be provided as well.
Where: ECC Lafayette
When: Friday, July 19th from 5:00pm-9:00pm
Now to the WHY:
Over the last 2 years we have been involved in the Center For Congregation’s Lily Grant to engage the young adult population (ages 19-33) in our church and community. We received this grant in December, and now are able to really focus our attention and resources to providing what this young generation truly needs from a church community: Invitation, Relationship, and Participation. Invitation to join in the community, relationships that sustain community, and participation in the larger mission of the church. Young adults love personal, face-to-face invitations and hospitality, and crave intergenerational relationships, but will rarely reach out because of fear of judgement and harsh criticism. They need to sense that they belong before they begin to participate in ministry opportunities. A one-size-fits-all concept will not do.
Phase 1 of the grant process was to create a warm and welcoming environment to any young adult that walked onto our campus. We did this through inviting guest speaker April Diaz to speak on a Sunday morning in January, moving the coffee to the front lobby to create more space for conversation and relationship building, and we are continuing to create this space by walking through the Fuller Youth Institute’s yearlong consultation process. If you’d like more information on what Phase 1 has looked like, I’d be happy to chat more with you one on one.
Phase 2 of our grant process is this Thrive Music Festival! We call this the “Capture” phase; not because we intend to manipulate or “lure” young adults to our campus, but we want to capture young adults who don’t have a church home or community and provide a safe, yet compelling space for them to belong to. We hope that throughout the night of Thrive that we can present the young adult community that comes with many opportunities for them to connect to our larger congregation. We will have 3 tables set up for people to visit throughout the night.
Table 1: We are partnering with Habitat for Humanity as our service project “next step.” If you are interested in serving with Habitat (even if you’re not a young adult), please stop by their table for more information on how you can get involved with the great things happening there!
Table 2: Welcome to the ECC Ministry Table! At this table we will be promoting all of ECC’s ministries to those that stop by- you may even be able to pick up a free gift!
Table 3: Welcome to ECC’s Young Adult Ministry Table! At this table we will be promoting all the exciting things coming for our young adult population. Things like a Sunday School class, small groups, social outings, and service outings will be explained and promoted.
Phase 3 of our grant process is the “Sustain” phase in which we aim to sustain our Young Adult ministry through a Young Adult Sunday School class, Young Adult small groups, social outings, and serving opportunities.
HOW CAN I BE HELPFUL DURING THRIVE?
You don’t need to be on a planning team to make an impact at this event! Here are some ways you can be a warm and welcoming church community to those that come:
The mission behind this entire Engaging Young Adults process has always been to respond faithfully and imaginatively to the desires of young adults to BELONG, GROW, and SERVE in our community. The Thrive Music Festival is our foot in the doorway to creating long lasting relationships, and maybe even providing a young adult a warm and welcoming place to belong.
Come and join us! Click here to get your FREE tickets!