October 19-21 at Camp Christian Conference Center, there will be a Quilter’s Retreat.  This gathering will complete the quilt that raised money for Camp Christian.  Attendees DO NOT need to be quilters.  Individuals and couples can attend even if they do not sew.  It will be a time to relax, worship, study, and quilt for anybody interested.  If you have never been to Camp before, here is a chance to see and experience some of what the children and youth of the church rave about.  Worship and Bible study will be led by Jarda Alexander and Anita Renahan-White.  These women are newly ordained leaders of our church.  Come and share theirs gifts.

“Being the Church Now” is the theme for the Regional Assembly at First Christian Church in Decatur on November 9-10.  Dr. Chaisse L. Gillett, president of Lexington Theological Seminary will be the speaker at our worship services.  There will be programs for everyone.  Young children will have day care available, older children will get to go to either the Atlanta Zoo or to the Fernbank Museum, depending on the weather and middle school and high school youth will have their own event including the opportunity for training as a camp counselor.  Workshops are available for adults including, “A Faithful Conversation on War, Peace, and Unity,” “Developing Congregational Policies to Prevent Abuse,” “Clergy Sexual Misconduct,” “Cheap Web Tools to do Amazing Things for Your Church,” “Women’s Ministry Now,” “The Role of Regional Elders,” “Worship Outside the Box,” “Helping Your Congregation Create a Vision for Your Church,” “Performing Hand Bell Choir Rehearsal,” “Resurrecting Alexander Campbell: The Man, Message and Legacy,” “Retirement: It’s Never Too Early to Plan,” and “Congregation as Employer.”  We are allowed to send three voting delegates, but any number of people may attend.  Come and take part in the life of the regional church.

The Salvation Army is attempting to meet a need in Warner Robins.  At a certain age, children in foster care are released from the program whether they have completed high school or not.  Many of these teens have no place to go after school lets out and thus are left to their own devices or whatever might be available.  Café 3:16 is being created at 158 Manor Ct. in Warner Robins as a safe place for these teens and adults to gather.  This is a volunteer program and is in need of people who would be able to help by teaching classes of interest, such as Dance, Music, Arts, Crafts, Emergency Preparedness and Practical Life Skills for Young Adults.  Many of these youth have nowhere to go and very little of their own; therefore, Café 3:16 wants to provide toiletries: hand towels, wash cloths, wide tooth combs, nail clippers, tooth brushes and toothpaste, band-aids, razors, emery boards, shampoo/body wash combos, baby wipes, tissues, body lotion, deodorant, dental floss, feminine products, shaving cream, lip balm, Q-tips, twin size inflatable mattresses, twin sized linens, blankets, and pillows.  If you can be of service or have anything to donate, please contact them at 478-922-7585 or take items to the drop points at the Salvation Army at 96 Thomas Blvd., Warner Robins or Gena Jayne –The Chic Boutique at 145 S. Commercial Circle, Warner Robins.

Since this is the October newsletter, we must admit to the reality that the year is quickly coming to a close.  No matter how much we might want to deny or make the year last, it is now October.  Therefore, as a church, we must start making plans for the year 2013 (in spite of any residual concern regarding the Mayan calendar).

What can you do to help this congregation in 2013?  There are very obvious answers, such as show up on Sunday mornings, give gifts to the ministry of the church, oh, and one more thing…volunteer your time.  This last point is the one to discuss now.

Our church has a variety of ways people can help by giving of their time and even their talents and interests.  We have a variety of committees.  But, before you react in the normal manner—“yuk” or “boring”, try thinking of them as opportunities for mission and change.  What could be done if people with an interest, talent, or creative sense of thinking were to pitch in and help in these ministries?

To provide for the chance to take part in the work of the church, beginning on September 30 and running through October, each Committee/Ministry will have a page where interested people can sign up to take part in the work of that ministry in 2013.  There is an old adage that states that 20% of the people do 90% of the work.  As our congregation over achieves in giving to Disciples Mission, let us also over achieve in volunteering.

The focus groups in this church are Worship, Service & Fellowship, Church Growth, Membership, Outreach, Education, Stewardship, Property and Music.  Most of these are pretty clear names and usually cause specific mental images in each of us.  But, let’s not limit ourselves, or the opportunity to serve in God’s name.

What else do we do in worship?  What new opportunities for worship could be created?  How can we make special services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Christmas Eve even better?  Let your creativity and imagination loose.

Church Growth currently focuses on our website.  What else could we do to make our church more visible in the community?

Outreach is responsible for our mission work.  With the recent additions of Family Promise and Café 3:16 in our community, there is a need for volunteer support and other gifts, and our on-going participation in Heifer International, how could we better provide ministry to this community and beyond?

No one likes to talk about money; we only like to have it to spend.  Yet we are the stewards of all that God created.  Beyond making sure that we are able to pay bills, what else can we do to improve our stewardship as a church and as individuals?

The Church Property has been transformed in the last couple of years, but what more can we do and how can we improve what we currently use?  How do we envision improvements elsewhere in our property?

Service and Fellowship bring us together for meals and fun.  In the past we also provided for special needs, but as times have changed how can we continue to serve?  What new ways can we come together as God’s family?

Membership has kept track of addresses and developed ways to share prayer concerns and information.  They also send birthday, anniversary, get well and missing you cards to church members.  There is always a need for more people to send cards.  How else can we keep track of our family as it grows and changes?  How can we advance this ministry with modern technology?

In Education, we think of Sunday School, CCF, Chi Rho, and CYF.  But we also have Children’s Church and a nursery that may need attendants.  How else can we call people together to grow in faith and spirituality?  The old pattern of Sunday School has lost it’s luster.  How do we make it happen today?

It is difficult to provide for Music without a musician.  However, for the past two years we have done it.  What can we do to offer the beauty and sacredness of music to this church and community?  How can we create opportunities even outside of Sunday morning?

Let these questions float in your thoughts and prayers and offer your time and skills as gifts of service.  This IS NOT a lifetime commitment.  We will do it all again in 2013 and give everyone a chance to remain or try a new area.  Give of yourself.  Give the best of yourself.

Shalom, Darrell