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FALL 2017


In This Issue: The Expand Initiative Worship in Spirit and Truth Expanding Student Ministry Partnership with HeadStart What’s New at VisionWay Upcoming Sermon Series Baptisms and New Members Thanks, Mike and Beth! Summer at TCC and much more

Love God. Love others. Sunday Worship Services: 9:00 a.m. (Blended) 10:30 a.m. (Contemporary)

Expanding Ministry by James C. Jones

September 17 - Expand Initiative Begins September 24 - Town Hall Meeting October 4 - Town Hall Meeting October 14 - Prayer Event October 15 - Commitment Sunday Groundbreaking - Possibly Late Fall

We never want to be satisfied with where we are in ministry. I wish we could be. I wish we could make changes and tinker with programs and get everything just right and leave everything the way it is. But that’s not the way ministry works. The world is always changing. Travel, technology, communication, education, and business change continually. If we keep doing ministry like we did it yesterday, we won’t relate to the next generation of people who need to know about Jesus. With that in mind, our elders and staff are always looking for new ways to do ministry better. We’re looking for ways to expand ministry into our community and around the world. In order to expand our ministry, we need the appropriate tools to do ministry, and one of the tools that the elders and staff have identified is new and expanded fellowship hall and student ministry space. You should have received some information recently in the mail about this project, and we will be rolling out more details in the next few weeks. This new space is going to allow us to reach the next generation of Christian leaders and servants in dynamic and engaging ways that are just impossible right now. We’ll also have a better space to host events that can help people in our community learn and grow as they come to know Jesus. In other words, this space will allow us to love God and love others more effectively.

Pray. Our elders and staff ask that you pray daily for

this initiative as we move forward. We want both God’s guidance and blessing as we begin construction and renovation.

Give. We ask that you pray about making a financial

commitment above your regular giving. Consider giving: • Courageously. Write the largest check you’ve ever written to the church on Commitment Sunday, October 15. • Consistently. Give weekly or monthly through 2019. • Creatively. Think of non-cash gifts: real estate, boats, cars, recreational vehicles, stocks, bonds, etc.

Upcoming Sermon Series: September 17: Expand Your Faith September 24: Expand Your Vision October 1: Expand Your Ministry October 8: Expand Your Generosity October 15: Expand Your Commitment

Please be praying about how you can participate in this project. I know this project is within our grasp if we depend on God and the way that he provides for us. If we are all willing to make a sacrificial gift, we can do this together.

Expanding Student Ministry by Zach Crowley

Nearly two years ago, our Student Ministry outgrew the youth room of our church when we surpassed the maximum capacity for the room. Currently, we have grown to a total of over 55 jr. high and high school students. Since we outgrew our youth room two years ago, we have been using the fellowship hall, choir room, prayer room and other various rooms throughout the church in addition to our youth room. This has become a hindrance to our ministry to jr. high and high school students in a number of ways. First, it prevents us from holding meaningful, engaging student services. Teenagers are a unique blend between children and adults. They have moments of great maturity and moments of great immaturity. With this in mind, we plan our Student Ministry Programs to engage jr. high and high school students in a way that is meaningful and culturally relevant to them. This simply cannot be done in our current setting of the fellowship hall, choir room and prayer room. Another problem that our current situation has caused us is that it prevents our ministry from expanding numerically. It takes a great deal of courage to invite your friends to church. This is true regardless of your age. I think we can all understand that feeling of wanting our friends and guests to be comfortable where we invite them to hang out. Teenagers experience this as well. Imagine if our church had a space that was dedicated to jr. high and high school students. Imagine if there was a space that was designed with them, and their friends, in mind. Well, soon there will be. The Expand Initiative will provide our Student Ministry with a dedicated space to be used for all of our Student Ministries Programming. The jr. high and high school students of our church will finally have an adequately sized area to meet for large group bible lessons and small groups. The space will look and “feel” like an area for teenagers. We will no longer be “borrowing space” from other areas of the church to hold our programs. Instead, students and families will get the impression that the next generation really does matter to us, because we will have a space just for them! This will go a long way toward helping our students feel at “home” here in our church, and it will make it much easier for our students to invite their friends. The Expand Initiative will expand our Student Ministries by expanding our impact in the lives of our current students and their unchurched friends. I am excited about the future of Taylorville Christian Church and the impact that we will make in our community and schools.

Our Partnership with HeadStart: An Update Thanks for your donations to Head Start! Together, we collected:

6 packs of Lysol wipes 9 packs of napkins 130 Styrofoam bowls 1605 Styrofoam plates 509 plastic forks 512 plastic spoons 264 plastic knives 28 boxes of tissues 6 boxes of wax paper 12 boxes of aluminum foil 80 rolls of paper towels 134 rolls of toilet paper and plastic storage containers!

Let’s Celebrate Baptisms and New Members! Baptisms:

Jordan Moma, Asher Niemann, Reese Brockelsby, Ryan Brockelsby, Ryten Brockelsby, Kelsie Hunt, Mylie Corso, Nathan Coady, Owen Younker

New Members:

Dann Voelz, Suzie Prasun

When you miss a Sunday, if you want to listen to a sermon that challenged you or want to share with a friend, you can listen to past sermons at or through the free Taylorville Christian app.

Welcome, LeAnn Jones, our new Children’s Minister! LeAnn began serving in children’s ministry in high school and has always felt passionate about pouring into children’s lives. She served as the Children’s Minister at Crossroads Christian Church (Florida), where she was ordained, and recently served as the kindergarten teacher at VisionWay Christian School. When she was little, she declared she wanted to be a motorcycle-riding nurse! LeAnn loves spending time with family. She says, “I’m excited about the possibilities of ministering along with you...Together we can help our children understand what it means to love God and love others.” Contact LeAnn at

Connection – Worship in Spirit and Truth by Shelby Smith

Churches today continue to struggle with our ever-changing culture and the influence it has in the church. What some leaders are recognizing is that there is an important and inseparable connection between worship and the spiritual life or spiritual formation. Every church needs to develop a greater understanding of Biblical worship and how it is still relevant to how we worship today. In John 4:21-24, Jesus reveals that the way people worshiped then would not always be the same and his primary concern was with the essential nature of worship. We see that Jesus was addressing the same issues then that we are facing today. Jesus himself showed that the change he brought with his own ministry is what makes worship in spirit and truth possible for us today. So, what does worshipping in spirit and truth look like for the church today? Ultimately, what Jesus teaches us in John 4:1-24 is that the worship of God is not restricted to a specific place. Worship in spirit and truth allows followers of Christ to be invited into a new relationship with God and a greater understanding of how the church is designed to worship together. God-centered worship should be clearly directed toward God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In John 4:1-24, the unlikely conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman communicates what God-centered worship is. Genuine worship of God is to worship in spirit and truth. How can the twenty-first century church worship in spirit and truth? It begins with applying this idea of worshiping in spirit and truth to our personal lives. The essence of worship is not external. It is not focused on how well we can sing, what we sing, whether our church is big or small, whether our volunteers have all their music memorized or whether we have a creative stage design for the current sermon series. We are prone to identifying worship with these shallow qualities and if our church does not match up, it is not “good enough.” While these aspects of twenty-first century worship hold some significance, it is not close to what worship is meant to do for us. First, true worship connects the head with the heart. When Jesus and the Samaritan woman entered a dialogue, the woman was instantly suspicious of Jesus. Why was this Jewish man talking to this Samaritan woman and why would he ask her for a drink of water? As they continued their conversation, Jesus begins to open the woman’s eyes. Still suspicious, she questioned Jesus, not fully understanding how he had access to such “living water.” When we finally come to the part of the story where Jesus explains that the way they worship will soon change, we see a rather immediate change in the response of the woman. The Samaritan woman began the conversation with questioning, but responded to it by becoming a messenger of the gospel. Something clicked and it all suddenly made sense to her. This is what true worship does for us. It bridges the gap and fills the disconnect we often have between our head and our heart. For worship to be genuine and true, we must have strong affections for God rooted in the truth of who God is. We must remind ourselves often of this connection and we can do so by consistently readying our hearts (prayer, devotion, community, accountability, etc.) for the corporate gathering. Second, true worship is becoming the worshippers that God seeks. In John 4:1-24, Jesus explains how there will be a time when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. Jesus’ presence on earth opened the possibility of true worship and his death completed the transformation. To become the true worshippers that God seeks, we must serve him with our lives. To become someone that God seeks, we must bring God glory every day, in everything we do. The Bible makes it clear that a person who has been freed from sin can find true freedom in the service of God. Paul uses the idea of worship as service to describe the Christian life, how we should pray and serve God with our lives (Rom. 12:1). Paul shows us that true worship leads to the surrender of the whole life. The Spirit of God takes control of the man’s spirit for the service of the Gospel. We can become true worshippers by serving God with our lives. (continued on next page)

Connection – Worship in Spirit and Truth (continued)

Third, true worship is spiritual worship. In Philippians 3:3 Paul writes, “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” I believe Paul is referring to what Jesus says in John 4:23—true and genuine worship as God wills must be in Spirit and through the Spirit. Our spirit is deeply connected with God’s Spirit and maintaining healthy spiritual lives is extremely important. Worship is the way in which we can connect with God on one of the most intimate levels possible. We must continually water our metaphorical spiritual plants so that true and genuine worship is possible. Lastly, true worship is complete participation in the act of worship. If we are to participate rightly in worship, we must worship in spirit and truth. A reality of the twenty-first century church is that congregations struggle with going through the motions. Leaders fall into routines and become comfortable with the easiness of ritualism. This is where liturgical worship comes in full force. A big reason why churches struggle with proper and genuine worship is because they conform to the current church culture. Liturgical worship allows us to glimpse the reality of God and when that happens, our natural reaction is to worship him. Our natural reaction to God should always be genuine. When worship begins to develop a specific shape of liturgy, that is when the idea of worshiping in spirit and truth becomes a tangible experience. Worship is at the very center of Christian living and we are called to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. N T. Wright is spot on when he says, “you become like what you worship.” That is the essence of how worshipping in the spirit and truth forms and shapes our lives. God seeks worshippers who strive to live the type of life that is possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection—God seeks worshippers that worship in spirit and truth.

What’s New at VisionWay Christian School?

The administration and staff at VisionWay Christian School is excited to offer lots of new opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, to VCS students this year. First, due to the generosity of VCS family and friends, students from kindergarten to 8th grade will experience numerous hands-on learning activities as they visit the new MakerSpace area in the science room. Once a week, elementary classes will visit the MakerSpace area in order to create and solve problems using the new 3D printer, green screen and video equipment, robotics and numerous other tools and supplies. Junior high classess will be able to use the MakerSpace area daily at times scheduled by their teachers. Outside the classroom, older students will be able to choose from and participate in several extracurricular clubs that are being offered this year, such as science and chess club. Finally, students utilizing the After School Child Care Program will find it has been revamped as our new After School Lead Supervisor has created themed activities to keep students engaged and having fun throughout the late afternoon hours. It is truly going to be a great VisionWay year!

Summer at TCC

Thanks, Mike and Beth!

Over the past few weeks, we have made several changes in our staff structure as we continue to mobilize for the many ministry opportunities that we see around us. One of the key decisions that the elders made was to hire both a full-time Student Minister (JH/HS) and a full-time Children’s Minister. This will allow each of those two staff members to focus their energy and time on one key area of ministry. While we believe we have a strong ministry with great volunteers in each of these areas, we also see the opportunity to make some clear improvements with a structural leadership change. Zach Crowley decided to stay on our staff and serve as our Student Minister, and the elders called LeAnn Jones to serve as our Children’s Minister. We are excited about both of these important changes in our staff. Our budgetary constraints have required us to make a couple of changes to allow for these two full-time staff positions. For several years, we have had two part-time staff members assisting in our youth and early childhood areas of ministry, but with the changes in our staff structure, we need to eliminate those positions. Mike Profeta has served as an assistant in our youth ministry for ten years and has done some great work with our students, especially in Junior High ministry and in our baptismal classes. We’re thankful for Mike’s faithfulness and his willingness to spend considerable time working with students throughout those years on staff. Beth Piatt has worked in our early childhood ministry and has created a safe, fun learning environment for the youngest among us. Beth is a quiet worker who gets a tremendous amount of work done with little notice. We are thankful for her faithfulness. Please show your appreciation to Mike and Beth as they transition off our staff and into other ministry opportunities in our church. We’re thankful for both of them!

TCC Choir The TCC Choir will soon begin rehearsals for the Christmas Musical to be presented on Sunday, December 10, at the 9 a.m. worship service. Practices are on Sunday afternoons and are a great opportunity to get to know a wonderful1 group of people. The choir has a fun time together as they encourage each other. If you have any questions or are ready to get involved, contact Ken Manning at 824-6621 or


Taylorville Christian Church 1124 N. Webster Taylorville IL 62568 217.824.6621 Ministry Staff: James C. Jones Lead Minister james.jones Ken Manning Worship/Seniors Minister ken.manning Zach Crowley Youth Minister zach.crowley LeAnn Jones Children’s Minister leann.jones Support Staff: Steve Basham Ministry Assistant steve.basham Debbie Frye Administrative Assistant Susan Lawrence Small Groups/Communications susan.lawrence Shelby Smith Contemporary Worship Coordinator shelby.smith Susan Boyd Custodian

The Connection Taylorville Christian Church Fall 2017  

The Connection is a quarterly publication of Taylorville Christian Church, located in Taylorville, IL.