Every Single Time

After Easter Sunday worship, Jordyn Burdette asked her 4 year old daughter, Blakily, what she learned about in Bible class. Her reply is a testament to our Pre-school Bible teachers and Wee Worship leaders: “Jesus again…every time I go to church they always talk about Jesus. I mean every single time I go, they bring Him up.” That’s funny but also a serious point – what better topic to be bringing up “every single week?”

We are thankful for parents bringing their children to learn about Jesus, thankful for the teachers sharing Jesus, and thankful for precious hearts like Blakily’s who are soaking in Jesus “every single time they come.”

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Reaching the Nations … on Campus

One of the amazing things about engaging in college ministry is that when you reach out to the college campus, you reach out to the world! The University Christian Mission exists to reach out to new people with the story and love of Jesus. We work hard to build relationships with people in the classroom, cafeteria, workout rooms, coffee shops, and more. But  some of the most open people that we’ve found on campus are UTC’s international students.

In the past semester we’ve become good friends with students from Tanzania, Japan, Indonesia and Rwanda. When Christians think about sharing the Gospel with people from these countries, we usually assume it requires a passport, lots of fundraising, and an extended trip across the globe. But God is bringing the nations to our hometown and making it so easy for us to share our faith with them.

Image-11_2A recent survey found that 40% of international students have no close friends on campus and most return home from their US studies having never been invited into a single person’s home. And so, as with all of the ministry that the UCM does, we start with relationships and love. Our international friends are in the Taylor house every week. They go hiking and bowling with us. We take them to get their driver’s licenses.

Most importantly, they have been joining our retreats and weekly meetings in increasing numbers. They get to experience godly hospitality, learn about Jesus, and get to worship Him with us. We get to learn cool songs in foreign languages and meet amazing people.

In the past few weeks we’ve seen God doing ever greater things. One international student has been introducing lots of his friends to the UCM. Another has been asking questions after our worship. Just last week God opened a door for Brianna Ruck, one of our Campus Missionaries, to share Jesus by reading through Luke one-on-one with our international friends.

Pray that God keeps opening these doors and that people all around the world will be drawn closer to Jesus because of the ministry we’re doing right here in Chattanooga!

Youth at Winterfest

In Gatlinburg at WINTERFEST each February; 14,000+ teens, parents, youth ministers, and adult volunteers gather together to praise Jesus! But instead of giving you a detailed trip analysis – tales of 6:00am pancakes, corn-dog battles, great sessions with amazing speakers and heartfelt worship, and so much laughter and quality time together – we’d like to highlight the greatest moment of our entire weekend.

Two new sisters were born. Hailey Roark and Emma Owens declared Jesus Lord and were baptized in front of friends and family. [live via FaceTime]

This was not simply something they were talked into throughout the weekend. The best part of it was that both girl’s decisions were made after many conversations with family, friends, and small group leaders. This discipleship led them to the BIGGEST decision they will ever make in their lives. We celebrate new life through Jesus. We are also thankful for the small group leaders that sidle up next to us in ministry, helping forge connections and showing healthy examples of Christ-like living to our students. Their influence is the backbone of CCYM!

IMG_0328During my twelve years in youth ministry, something I have found to be absolutely true. The more solid connections our students have with healthy, thriving adults who take the time to invest in their lives, the better they turn out. Our small group leaders consistently take time out of their week to INVEST in the next generation. They know their names, what’s going on in their families, how they’re doing in school. They text them when they miss on Sunday or activities. The small group leaders of CCYM are a great reinforcer of the message that we want every young person to know as absolute truth.

You are KNOWN.
You are LOVED.

in HIM, Aubrey

“That’s Where I Want My Kids”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard more than once in the last few months. Parents recognize the quality spiritual education available at Clear Creek. We are not the main source of Biblical teaching for children, but we love partnering with parents to be a supplement for what kids are taught at home.

I tell our Elementary school kids every week what great teachers they have and how excited and creative they are in presenting the Bible lessons. Apparently some are taking notice. Almost every week,  our two-year-old class has developing teachers observing and participating with the veterans of that age group. On occasion, our 4th and 5th grade girls share teaching time with the established teachers of the early elementary grades.

image003Some call it mentoring. The public school system calls them interns or student teachers. But either way the principle is the same. Partner with a seasoned teacher and learn all you can from them.  We have some of the very best teachers to be found anywhere with which to partner.

Then there’s the small group mentoring that is on-going. If you could sit in on the 3rd – 5th grade girls small group on Wednesdays you would hear heart-felt sharing and sincere prayers from the members of the group and Bible study led by leaders who love those girls like they were their own.

What better place to be than training the next generation or having kids in that kind of atmosphere?

If you want to learn from the best, come join our teaching family. If you want your children to be loved, mentored, and led by the best make sure they are in our praise and worships, classes, and small groups.  Either way, it’s a great place to be!

 

Young at Heart Banquet

“We’re not old, we’ve just been young a long time.” Many of our veteran youngsters joined the 3rd – 5th graders in February for a night of fun and sharing. The current Elementary school students served the meal, thanks to their moms that prepared it. Each student got to sit at a table with some of our Senior saints and not only share the meal but also get to know about them in a unique way. Thanks to a questionnaire they learned such fun facts as who used to be a professional baseball player, who was a cheerleader in college, who has traveled to many foreign countries, etc. Facts that probably would not have come out on a typical Sunday, when they just pass in the halls. Now the two groups have something to talk about when they converge.

It is such a popular event for the kids that when the event was announced the common response was, “I remember doing that last year. That was fun. I want to do it again.”  Several had to make special arrangements in order to participate. Due to other obligations, some came to help prepare things, then had to leave. Others came straight from basketball games without a shower (thank you deodorant) because they didn’t want to miss out.

I don’t know which group had more fun, but it was obvious that both thoroughly enjoyed their time together. Some surrogate grandparents may have even been found. Now that’s time well spent!