2The FlameThe magazine of Christ Church
Rev. Shane BishopSenior Pastor
Rev. Allen MillerAssociate Pastor
Justin AymerDirector of Communications
Service TimesSunday8:30am, 10:30am, 6:00pm
Barbara GermanyProof Reader
Christ Church339 Frank Scott Pkwy EFairview Heights, IL 62208618.277.4659
For a complete listing of the Christ Church Staff and to learn more about Christ Church please visit:
Copyright 2011, Christ Church.Questions about the Flame? Contact Donna Harrison at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Note From The Editor2011 will mark my third year as Editor and I consider it a privilege to serve at Christ Church. Id like to thank the staff for their leadership, encouragement and patience. Many thanks to Justin Aymer for his graphic artistry; he has truly made the Flame vibrant. To the folding team and proof readers, thank you for your faithfulness. To the authors and poets, I cant wait to see what God puts on your heart this year. Thank you Lord Jesus for another year of life and service.
Happy New Year! Donna Harrisondonna@connectingwithchrist.com
Contents3 What Does God Expect Of Us?By Larry Weber
4 The World As I See ItBy Rev. Shane Bishop
5 Are You Truly Happy When A Sinner Is Saved?By Demian Farnworth
5 The Stay-At-Home Son By Emily Climaco
6 All I AmBy Don Frazure
8 A Message Of Hope For The New YearBy Pat Mace
9 Getting To Know You
10 Unto The Least Of TheseBy Mary Pierce and Michael Harrison
11 Women 4-GivenBy Kathy Odell
11 No Greater Love MinistryBy Bernie Kneale
12 Spotlight On Ministry Mens Softball
13 Dont Waste The WildernessBy Nick Turner
15 Watch Us Grow
3What Does God Expect Of Us?By Larry Weber
Jim Wallis and some friends involved in Bible Study cut out all the verses in their Bibles that dealt with poverty, wealth, (in)justice and oppression. They named what was left the American Bible. In Matthew 27: 37-39 Jesus tells the Pharisees that the most important commandment in the Law of Moses is, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The issue is not whether or not we believe the words of Jesus but how do we apply His words to how we live our lives. We seem to know how to love God with all our heart, soul and mind; it certainly is made easier by the incredible corporate worship we experience each week at Christ Church and our daily study of the word. But how do we live out the second commandmentloving our neighbor as ourselves? What are our responsibilities to the people in the world who are living in areas of poverty, injustice and oppression?
This past fall I read Rich Stearns book, The Hole in Our Gospel. The book makes the case for expanding our personal faith into a public and transforming relationship with the poor and sick of the world. As I read the book, I was troubled by my own beliefs, attitudes and (lack of) actions in caring for the poor. I live in the richest nation in the world with freedoms
that many can only dream of. I have an income that is in the top 1% compared to the rest of the world. But I do not have an awareness or understanding of the twin crises of poverty and sickness that affect many of my neighbors in other parts of the world. My values/belief system would suggest that those in poverty should grab hold of their bootstraps and pull themselves up with no understanding of how unlikely, if not impossible, that is for my neighbors in other parts of the world. Yes, at Christ Church we do many things that serve those Down the Hall, Around the Corner and Around the World. And I do not mean to minimize the impact those things have upon our neighbors. But does our understanding of stewardship truly demonstrate our love of neighbor in an intensely personal way? Do we have a Hole in Our Gospel that needs attention?
At Christ Church my role as Director of Ministries is to identify opportunities for growth for our congregation. For Lent it is my desire to engage the entire church in this stewardship study, The Hole in Our Gospel. In this 6 week quest, we will learn how Stearns believes our lives can be transformed as we grasp the magnitude of the challenge and the opportunity to fill the Hole in Our Gospel. I am asking you to join a small group for our church-wide Lenten Study or establish your own group. Every God Is Calling You connection class will be devoting their time to this study. The quest to fill the Hole in Our Gospel begins in March and April and we invite you to be a part of it.
4The World As I See ItBy Rev. Shane Bishop
At Christ Church our mission will always be to connect people with Jesus Christ. Though the mission is a constant, our strategies to accomplish that mission must change from time to time. Up to this point our strategy has been to evangelize, grow into as many worship services as possible, construct more buildings and then run capital campaigns to pay for the buildings. We now estimate, at our current rate of growth, that we have 3 to 5 years before we again fill up all 3 Sunday services. While this clearly gives us some breathing room, it is time for strategic thinking right now.
As the current complex moves toward maximum capacity, we will have three very clear choices. 1) We can stop growing. This is not an option for me as I have no understanding of the church apart from evangelism and growth. 2) We can relocate. We could look into the purchase of 100 acres and begin planning for a sanctuary seating 2,500 at a price tag in upwards of 20 million dollars or 3) We can join the multi-site revolution. The multi-site movement already attracts about 10 percent of Protestant worshippers in US America. The idea is simple. You first build a great church in a single location and take the DNA of that church and plant it in multiple locations or campuses. All campuses run from a common mission, budget, staff and board.
Each campus features a lay pastor, a childrens worker, a small group coordinator and a live band. I would preach the sermons live at the Fairview Heights Campus and the other campuses would experience the same message via video projection.
There are four things that excite me about this concept:
1) It moves us away from a brick and mortar/capital campaign existence.
2) It keeps us growing without major capital expense.
3) It will multiply leadership and plunge hundreds more people into ministry.
4) And most importantly, it will exponentially increase our capability to connect people to Jesus Christ.
Are multi-sites the next big thing at Christ Church? Almost certainly! We are currently talking with Bishop Gregory Palmer, District Superintendent Gary Wilson and New Church Development Mike Crawford about possibilities that could come as soon as this fall. Please keep this new strategy to fulfill our mission in your prayers as we look boldly toward our future!
And that is the worldas I see it.
5Are You Truly Happy When A Sinner Is Saved?By Demian Farnworth
Lets admit it: The Prodigal Son is our favorite story in the Bible. Son hates father, squanders inheritance with loose living and crawls back to father. Father runs to son, throws his arms around son and kisses son.
Who wouldnt love a story like that? But did you ever think that maybe youve got the story half right? Let me explain.
In the story of the Prodigal Sonas so often the case in Jesus parablesthe twist in the story makes the point. Whats the twist? No Middle Eastern father would greet a rebellious son that way. And thats something the elder brother picks up on.
Remember him, the elder brother? Hes the other person in the story. He is miffed and asks: Why all
The Stay-At-Home Son (Luke 15:11-32)By Emily Climaco
Ive always identified with the older son in the prodigal story; this son is annoyed when his younger brother returns. His blood is boiling, but hes reluctant to make a scene; after all, hes the good one. Through clenched teeth he argues, Ive been here all along, Dad, working hard, but wheres my party? He shows up and you have a feast!
In first grade I developed a strong sense of injustice, especially in cases of unfair rule enforcement. In other words, I was the recess tattletale. Miss Johnston once asked me, Do you like getting other kids in trouble? I sensed that the question was rhetorical and saved my answer for now: no, I didnt enjoy getting kids in trouble, but I wanted her to notice me being super-
the fuss over a misfit like my younger brother? What about me: My obedience, loyalty and hard work?
His response should remind you of two other parables: the workers in the field and the lost sheep*. The workers in the field teach us that Gods love for us disregards our levels of obedience or performance. And the lost sheep demonstrates our proper response when it comes to a sinner being saved: joy. And these are the same lessons taught in the Prodigal story.
So let me ask you a question: Are you truly happy when a sinner is saved? Or are you like the elder brother?
I am the elder brother: apathetic toward the lost, bitter over the attention paid the new convert. But dont feel sorry for me. I need this pointed out to me, otherwise I remain a liar: If anyone says I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen 1 John 4:20. And trust me, I dont want to be a liar. Neither should you.
*Matthew 20:1-16 and Luke 15:1-7
good. Pointing out others faults made the cont