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Who Is Stonebridge Church? Pastoral & Equipping Staff: Randy Scheil, Senior Pastor Robin Tyner, Associate Pastor Phil Christensen, Worship Pastor Jason Poling, Adult Ministries Pastor Keith Knight, Student Ministries Pastor Melissa Majorins, Children’s Ministry Director Support Staff: Carrie Nordman, Office Manager. Adult Ministries Ryan Eckhoff, Senior Pastor Admin/Adult Admin Stephanie Murphy, Worship Admin/Receptionist Karen Skow, Student Ministry/Adult Admin Trisha Young, Children/Adult Admin Holly Bradour, Sunday Program Editor
Glenn Vosatka Ben Miller Matt Townsley
Stonebridge Church Elder Board: Jamie Jonas Ed Duran Dean Hartman Todd Kuennen Pastor Randy Scheil Pastor Robin Tyner Deacon of Communication: Kirsten Poggenklass Deacon of Facilities: John Hughes Deacon of Missions: Keith Tindall
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Hello Stonebridge Family Member! Read this Annual Report and you will discover new ways of thinking about ministry. Rather than a list of things accomplished, you will read stories of God’s transforming love. When our Vision Team met two years ago to seek the Lord’s guidance for our church, we were energized by the God-sized opportunity before us. We live in a region where many have not yet experienced a relationship with Christ and an environment of gracious love. We realized we needed to be more intentional and clear about our Biblical mission, values and our process for making disciples. Our mission is to honor God by walking alongside everyone we meet to help them take their next step with Christ. In this report you will see the fruit of this mission (John 15:5). When we chose the theme, “Learning to trust God in all circumstances” for our vision focus, we did not know how God would “design” the curriculum. We are learning to trust in a God who is both good and loving all the time. You will notice that the faith stories follow our disciple-making process. The way we honor God in making disciples is demonstrated by gospel-centered celebration (worship), connection (community life) and contribution (service). You will see the faces of those sharing in this life with Christ at Stonebridge. The gospel is expressed through women meeting one-on-one for encouragement, children learning from God’s Word or men banding together to be the leaders Christ called them to be. We appreciate Cassy Townsley and Kirsten Poggenklass who traveled beyond facts and figures to the stories of real people transformed by the gospel. Enjoy this report and be encouraged in your own spiritual walk with Jesus Christ!
Pastor Randy Scheil
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Ed Elliott & Pastor Jason
Christmas at Stonebridge: Inspiring New Life Christmas at Stonebridge Church kicked off on December 22nd with "Songs & Stories," a concert featuring Matt Hammitt - the lead singer of the Christian rock group Sanctus Real. Matt along with guitarist Pete and keyboardist Chris, performed new songs as well as songs by the group Sanctus Real for a packed house of over 500 people. Matt also shared stories of how God has brought him and his family through the devastating news of their son, Bowen’s, heart condition. He shared from his heart how first hand, they have gained awareness of the practical, financial, emotional, and spiritual needs of families in similar situations. Matt and his wife Sarah are in the process of starting of Whole Hearts Foundation from which to they can draw resources to assist families who have needs in any number of these areas. For some in our church and community, this concert was one among many Christmas celebrations on their monthly calendar. But for Ed Elliott, it marked a significant turning point in his walk with the Lord. Ed moved to Cedar Rapids in 2009, in an effort to escape the bad influences around him and start a new life. Having a strong desire to restore his relationship with Christ, he began listening to Life 101.9 radio and visiting some area churches. Although he had never been to a Christian music concert before, he heard an advertisement on the radio for the Christmas at Stonebridge concert and felt prompted to attend. “I felt like I needed God back in my life,” said Ed. “I had accepted Christ as a young teenager, but had wandered far from him over the last several years. I was going down a bad road and knew I had to remove myself from the negative influences surrounding me. The move inspired positive changes in me, but I knew I needed to get connected to a church and other Christians to keep growing.” “After attending the Matt Hammitt concert, I decided to visit Stonebridge on a Sunday morning. From the moment I walked in, I felt welcomed. Pastor Randy’s sermons have been so compelling and I have had a growing desire to learn and understand more about the Bible and God’s will for my life,” continued Ed. “In this past year, I have grown so much through the Christianity Explored class, the Band of Brothers Tour of Duty and now the Discipleship Explored class. Recently, I had the blessing of being baptized. Believe me when I say, “I am a whole new man.” Things that seem bad to me now, I never even would have considered bad a few years ago. I know I am being convicted by the Holy Spirit. I am reading the Bible every day, and feel like God’s leading me to take steps of faith along the way. I feel like I have people at the church who will care for me like I’ve never had before.”
“It hasn’t been easy,” confessed Ed. “But, I don’t worry like I used to. I’m learning how to trust and wait on God. The biggest lesson God has taught me is no matter how alone you feel, you’re not alone, He is always there with you. I hold onto the fact that there is a reason for everything we go through in life. Philippians 1:6 gives me great encouragement, and I trust “that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I am so thankful for the ministry of Stonebridge Church and how God has used it to change my life.” From
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Pastor Phil’s Sabbatical: A Wonderful Gift Every 6 years, Pastors are asked to take a sabbatical for rest, refreshment and time away from ministry. Here are a few highlights from Pastor Phil’s time away: “Thanks so much. I used the time to take a couple of quiet weeks on Lake Ponderosa, where I read—3 times—a classic by Jonathan Edwards. I bought a ukulele and learned pop tunes from the 1920’s. I was blessed to spend a week with my son Stefan, a youth pastor in Wyoming, and help him plan his upcoming seminary training.” - Phil Phil and Mitzi also provide full-time care for Phil’s 96-year old uncle and much of that falls on Mitzi’s shoulders, so he was able to give Mitzi some respite from those duties. Phil and Mitzi met in Mt. Hood, Oregon and Phil also grew up there. They traveled to be a part of Mitzi’s parent’s 70th wedding anniversary celebration and a family reunion. “I am grateful to serve at Stonebridge where the elders understand the craziness of ministry. They understand that we don’t just preach and arrange songs; everyday, we deal with life and death—cancer and divorce and conflict and restraining orders and a zillion other things. A break is healthy and smart. Chris Hubbs and Jim Bohy did a terrific job in my absence. It took an entire team to make it all work. From players to singers, to visual projection to sound, lights and video, it’s a labor of love and our team is super.” - Phil
Disciples Who Are Making Disciples
Every week more than 200 adults meet in Community Groups, gathering in 21 different locations throughout the Cedar Rapids area to study God’s Word, pray together, build relationships and care for one another. With a focus on discipleship (the process of learning about and changing our lives to be more like Christ), the goal of these groups is spiritual growth, resulting in serving and sharing God’s love with others. At Stonebridge, it's our desire that people have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and with other Christ followers, and we believe that happens best in a Community Group environment. Throughout the past year, many different types of Community Groups have met, with a variety of Biblical topics being studied. Here’s a snapshot from our leaders of what goes on in groups as people meet regularly to live their lives for Christ: “Our group enjoys gathering to discuss God’s word, pray for each other and share in each other’s trials and blessings.” Randy & Tracy Rayman “Our group is like a family! We love to laugh and serve each other. Praying for and counseling each other with God’s word is our priority.” – Todd & Shannon Kuennen “Our goal is to create genuine relationships to grow, care for and pray for each other as we help each member take their next step with Jesus.” – Ward & Margee Crawley “We have stretched ourselves spiritually, carried each other in prayer, made deep relationships and enjoyed great food at our potlucks!” – Ron & CJ Zachariasen “We are on an adventure of discovering what it means to do life together with a foundation on God’s word and prayer.” – Steve & Stacy Duffy Caring. Praying. Growing together. These are all things that happen in Community Groups and were certainly felt by Scott and Jodi England, when their community group poured out their love after Scott’s horrific auto accident this past summer. “It was a very powerful experience for us to feel the love from our Community Group,” shared Scott. “To have prayers come across the phone, email, texts and people just stop by the house to pray, it was so encouraging.”
This is the heart of where the body of Christ becomes the hands and feet of Christ to serve one another and come alongside in both trials and triumphs. While each group has its own unique culture, style and community, one thing is for sure, all share the desire to become more like Christ and spread His love for generations to come.
MEN’S MINISTRY Honor Begins at Home
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1 Unbeknownst to many walking into church each week, there is a war being fought at Stonebridge Church. Inspired by the Word and motivated to honor God with their lives, 82 men have enlisted to fight. On June 23, 2012, these men declared war on apathy, selfishness and excuses for disobedience, and resolved to become the spiritual leaders God has called them to be.
In a formal commissioning ceremony, this Band of Brothers promised to strive to be the godly men, husband, father and leader God has called them to be, and committed to a one year Tour of Duty which includes monthly, quarterly and annual marching orders. The Band of Brothers ministry kicked-off with a three-day camping trip for men and boys of all ages. It was during that time, a revolution broke out. Led by Robin Werling, Pastor Jason and Pastor Robin, a challenge was waged to all men at Stonebridge to start fighting to be the man God wants them to be. “I started feeling unsettled about my lack of spiritual growth and leadership of my family,” said Werling. “I felt a strong need to fight for what’s important in life. As men we tend to get caught up in daily activities and don’t focus on fighting for spiritual health and the spiritual leadership of our families. I wanted to change that in my own life and help other men like me do the same.”
MEN’S MINISTRY - Honor Begins at Home (continued)
“God is helping us win battles in our hearts and in our homes. A wife of one of our men told me he is getting up half an hour earlier each day so that he can have devotions with his kids before he goes off to work and she has seen a significant difference in the attitudes of their kids. Another man, in the face of strong adversity from his teenage child, called the family together, and emotionally expressed his concern for the conditions of his family’s hearts. It turned the whole dynamics of what was going on his house. When presented with God’s truth, his child recognized satan had gotten a hold of her heart and she has begun to change her behavior.” “This is our mission as men,” stressed Werling. “If we don’t carry out this mission in our homes, who will?”
“We’ve learned a lot about Biblical Womanhood this past year and I believe that I can see now the purpose of our (God imposed) waiting… to display the proper order of things within our church body,” continued Yvonne. “It was necessary for our men to lead the charge on Biblical Manhood before we were to embark on our own path for women. We have been waiting for a long time, but we clearly have our purpose, the role of Women’s Ministries within our church body – we are to teach, train and equip women in the ways of Biblical Womanhood.”
As a marriage mentor with his wife Jeanette, and a former leader of Men’s Fraternity, Robin feels God has given him an insight into men’s hearts and a strong desire to come alongside men, calling them to step up to what God has called them to be. Under Pastor Jason’s encouragement, he plans to begin working toward a degree in Biblical Counseling, hoping to as he says “try to help men avoid the things that have tripped me up.” Werling stresses that it’s not too late to enlist and join with this Band of Brothers to be all God has called you to be. If you are interested in learning more about this ministry, contact Pastors Robin or Jason at 396-4525, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
WOMEN’S MINISTRY -
“True biblical womanhood is against what most of us think of when we think of a real woman. And against the culture,” stated Lisa Ward, Women’s Ministries team member. “But true biblical womanhood is more beautiful then we could even imagine. "The reason all this is important is because God is glorified when women are living out His design for their lives,” said team member Gwen Poling. “ We know from Titus 2 that older women are commanded to teach the younger women how to live out that design.
“There is no longer any question for me about the path God has set before us,” concludes Yvonne. “We’ve got a ways to go, but I am FIRED UP! I can’t help but get excited whenever I think about it.” If you’d like to learn more about Women’s Ministries at Stonebridge, please visit our website at
A Clear Picture
Among the more than 350 women who call Stonebridge their church home, there is a small dedicated team working behind the scenes to guide and equip the women God has called to this body. Formally named, the Women’s Ministries Team, this group of 4-8 women strives to provide biblically sound leadership in fulfilling the mission God has given our church, specifically for women. “We have been seeking the LORD for many years, trying to discern the role of Women’s Ministries within our church,” explained Yvonne Jonas, Women’s Ministries Team Leader. Embarking on a spiritual journey to find God’s plan for women at Stonebridge, this team spent the last 18 months praying, listening, brainstorming and developing a clarified mission statement specifically for women’s ministry. Based on the overall mission of Stonebridge Church, the statement adds an emphasis on women, stating the mission of women’s ministries is “To help women to walk alongside each person they meet as they take their next step with Jesus (specifically from a woman’s perspective).”
Did you know God created women for a unique and gender-specific purpose? Though we have much in common with men, God gave us distinct traits, perspectives, and roles. The problem is, the cultural ideals for women are often misguided. Whether self-serving or enslaving, these views tend to be much different than God’s plan. That’s why Women’s Ministries exists – to help teach, train & equip women to live according to God’s design.
Praise!! 196 Women attended the retreat in March!!
YOUTH MINISTRY Are you spiritually hungry? Jon Paramore, a freshman at George Washington University in Washington D.C., has been radically changed in and through the Stonebridge youth group and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“I participated in the 30 Hour Famine because I wanted to support world hunger and experience what it would be like to go without,” said Amanda Happel.
Jon started attending Stonebridge with fellow high school classmate, Audrey Rouse, during his junior year of high school in 2010. His dad had encouraged him to seek out a youth group that might be a better fit for him as he was not involved with their current church. “I was a going through the motions Christian,” states Jon. That year he met Pastor Keith Knight and started to get to know him as well as other people in the youth group. In the beginning of his senior year, fall of 2011, God started stirring Jon’s heart to really take his relationship with Christ seriously. Jon had always had his heart set on attending college at Georgetown University, but God had other plans and he was not accepted there. “God took away several things that I was defining myself by,” says Jon. As he was processing these disappointments and questioning what path he would take in the future, people like Marc & Donna Mike, small group leaders of the high school group and Pastor Keith as well as other youth group members poured God’s word and encouragement into Jon’s life. “The youth group at Stonebridge is amazing because the messages we heard were always focused on a deeper relationship with Jesus and centering our life around Christ. People not only say the words, but also live it out too,” states Jon. Jon had the opportunity to be discipled one-on-one by Marc Mike. He is so thankful for all of the youth leaders. “Marc has been one of the most influential people in my life. That man thinks and breaths the word of God,”says Jon. In March of 2012, the high school and middle school groups had an opportunity to participate in World Vision’s 30 hour Famine. Jon had invited two friends to the event, one of whom was very hostile towards Jesus and religion. One of the main focuses on the event was not only physical hunger, but spiritual hunger. Jon recalls this conversation on the drive after the event, “ We were heading to Buffalo Wild Wings after the event was over and we were hungry
after fasting for 30 hours. My friend that did not know Jesus said, I’m hungry, and me and my other friend in the front seat commented, yeah, we are too. Then, my friend in the backseat said, no, I am spiritually hungry.” A few short weeks later Jon was able to start a Bible study with these two friends and one other person. The once hostile friend is now following Jesus and Jon was stretched in new ways by coming alongside his friends and initiating a Bible Study. Jon has experienced and been a part of being the body of Christ to others. He has been discipled, used by God to disciple others and is now using his gifts and experiences to be a light in college. Are you spiritually hungry? Do you need to find a community group to be apart? How can you further God’s kingdom with your life?
Have you met Kevin and Tricia Redig? They have attended Stonebridge off and on since 2004 when Dan and Stephanie Murphy first told them about the church. However, they have recently started to get better connected to the church body and have grown in their faith. Kevin and Tricia took the Christianity Explored class that was first offered in January of 2012. “We took the class because we wanted to start in the beginning, and try to figure out what being a Christian was all about and what it meant to follow Jesus,” says Tricia. The class took us through the Gospel of Mark where we learned to dive into God’s word. We were baptized in April to show our commitment to God and began a new life with Christ! Through the Christianity Explored class this past year, over 10 people decided to give their lives to follow Jesus and many others are growing stronger in their faiths. They then decided their next step was to become members of Stonebridge. They attended the ‘Starting Point’ seminars and enjoyed learning some of the history of the Evangelical Free church and also how Stonebridge church was started. Kevin and Tricia have three children ages 7, 5 and 3. “We are trying to equip ourselves so we can share the Gospel and God’s message to our families and our children, says Tricia.”
Caring for God’s People * all names have been changed for privacy Sara came into my office looking for help with her anger and anxiety. Her journey was one of great suffering: from being molested to struggling with depression, addictions and cutting. She needed hope and help. Trisha, one of the counseling trainees, and I, were deeply moved and desperately wanted Sara to know the love of Christ. We knew God would set her free by calling us to lovingly apply His beautiful words directly to her wounded heart. God began to do just that. Sara writes, I always knew there was a God and that Jesus came and died for our sins but I never understood his LOVE for us. [thanks] to Jason and Trisha for not judging me and [for] helping me find the passion for Christ that will never be taken away.” Gloria’s friend called our church looking for help for her struggling friend. Gloria did not believe in Christ and hadn’t been in church for nearly 50 years. But God had been planning everything perfectly to use Gloria’s time of pain to bring her to Stonebridge. As we got to know Gloria and showed her from the Bible how God wants to save her and help her, she stopped her 50-year journey away from Him and turned her life over to Jesus! John was addicted to pornography. His marriage was unraveling before his eyes. We turned to the Word of God together and saw God’s game plan for helping John escape the clutches of this destructive sin. The Lord delivered him and restored his marriage. Jim had been struggling deeply in his marriage. He had a past of unfaithfulness that had leveled his wife and almost tore apart his family. He and his wife were still reeling He was running to other “gods” to satisfy his unfulfilled longings and to quench the pain of failure. We continually revisited God’s Word to see exactly how the good news of Jesus Christ applied to his own life. Jim began to grow. His wife began to grow as well as she experienced the growing love of her husband for her.
“I was so blessed by the Biblical Counseling Training Conference last year. The speakers are great and the time out with people from the church as well as so many other God-focused people was priceless. The bible is sufficient for teaching and leading in all of the problems that we face in life. Counseling does not have to be formal. As Christians we all are called to hold each other up and seek guidance from the all-sufficient word of God. This conference helped me to see that and also gave me some very practical ways to put it into practice.” -Trisha Young
Grief Share is designed to help you recover from the deep hurt of loss. Stonebridge has ministered to many people over the many years through Grief Share.
These are just some of the stories of the more than 30 Stonebridge people who have been deeply affected by the ministry of the Word of God through biblical counseling. And since biblical counseling is simply personal discipleship, there are scores of other stories of people being helped throughout our church through the informal counsel of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Mary Doty “I appreciated the safe and comforting environment of Grief Share. It helped to learn about the many emotions and things you might encounter on your journey of grief in a supportive nurturing environment. I learned so much about the process of grieving and loss.
Our mission at Stonebridge is to come alongside each person we meet as they take their next step with Jesus. What exactly does that look like? It is simply this: humble, loving Christians applying the Word of God by the Spirit of God to the hearts of the People of God. Talk to Pastor Jason about how you can join the growing group of Stonebridge people who are becoming more equipped at knowing the Word of God and how to apply it to human hearts.
Grief Share keeps bringing you back to Jesus, the Great Physician, the only one who can bring healing. You don’t “get over” your loss but Grief Share and the support you receive from others in your group help you on your journey of learning how to live with your loss.”
CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES Unimaginable Joy and Unexpected Gifts
There’s nothing like seeing a child’s eyes light up when God opens the door of their heart and their mind to understand an aspect of His truth for the very first time. With the opportunity to reach more than 200 children and their families in the 2011-2012 year, Stonebridge Children’s Ministries have sought to live out their TLC mission by Teaching children about Jesus, building Loving relationships and Caring for and supporting the family, especially the parents. To do this effectively it takes over 100 committed volunteers, including many middle and high school students, serving in a variety of capacities within our Early Childhood (birth – AK), Elementary (K-5th), BLAST and Lil’ Lions ministries each week. Among these dedicated saints are Lolita Kaump and Gayle Woods. Lolita teaches our two year olds during the 9 am service and Gayle watched our infants and walkers until recently when she started teaching the two year olds during the 10:45 am. service. “God has given me a love for children since I was young,” shared Lolita. “When I became a believer at 33, my children were already 12 and 14 and weren't raised to know God. I wanted so much for children to hear about the LORD who loves us so much He sent His Son to take the wrath for their sin and die for them. I began volunteering at Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) to help with the children's program there, and before long, I was asked to lead little ones. It was during my time at BSF learning to teach little ones that God gave me the desire and experience for teaching little ones at church.” “Each week I show the children the Bible before I teach the lesson,” continued Lolita. “ I had been telling them that God's Word is ALWAYS true. The last few weeks I asked them, "What do we say about the Bible?" and a little shy boy that doesn't talk a lot answered, "Always true." There is nothing like the joy of a little one answering that question correctly. This is the main truth I pray God will write on the hearts of the little ones to take with them throughout their lives.” “It just hit me,” Gayle said, “I need to help!” The next Sunday, Gayle began serving in the infant room during first service on a weekly basis. Although she never thought she had the “gift” of caring for babies, she has been blessed and amazed by how God has molded and prepared her heart to serve Him by sharing His love with these little ones and their families.
“My heart has exploded in love for these babies and toddlers,” beamed Woods. “Little things like praying together before our snack (even though they can hardly sit on the chair), having them reach for me as they come into the room, reading books with them, and reassuring the parents that their child has been well loved while they were in service, have been ways God has blessed me with these precious relationships and allowed me to share His love.”
As she has stepped out in faith, Gayle says one of the biggest lessons God has taught her is that He is faithful and can always be trusted. She encourages others to start serving, saying, “Don’t wait to decide what your gift is, just start and God will show you after you are obedient. He will totally change your heart and give you a love for whatever He called you to do.” There are many stories like Lolita and Gayle’s. Please take the time to ask a Children’s Ministry volunteer how they have seen God reveal Himself to His children throughout this past year. All are welcome to come and experience this same joy by serving in Children’s Ministry in the coming year. Many are needed to share God’s love with these children and come alongside families as they take their next step with Jesus. If you are interested in learning more about serving in Children’s Ministry, please contact Melissa Majorins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-396-4525.
“Serving with the children has changed my mind completely and my heart for others. I now feel that I want to do childcare for the benefit of the Church, children, and Christ. On top of that, serving with the 4 year old children has not only blessed me within Stonebridge, but outside as well.” —Quin Duffy
le p o e P y n a M How ve r e s o t e k a T t Does I na O le p o e P ’s d Go g? in n r o M y a d n Su
Worship: First Impressions: Children: Life U: Total:
15 22 50 12 99
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MINISTRY-
GLOBAL MISSIONS -
Seven minutes is all you get to make a first impression. Think about it.
STEVEN & MEG Our lives have been characterized by seeking the Lord and having Him do unexpected things in and through us.” This is the blessing that Steven and Meg Collier, missionaries in Ukraine with SEND International have experienced during the past year.
Our First Impressions Ministry, staffed with over 100 volunteers, offers outreached arms and welcoming smile, showing His love through every word and action. This year our mission, to walk along side each person we meet as they take their next step with Jesus, has guided our purpose at Stonebridge. Our ministry roles and responsibilities continue to evolve to effectively meet the needs of our maturing church family. While there are specific team responsibilities, all members willingly step in to serve as needed. Each of our nine teams plays a critical role in that first seven minutes a visitor approaches the doors of Stonebridge. Everything speaks to first time visitors. With the large number of visitors, we are at times challenged to cover the needs due to 10% open positions, which are filled with those willing to do ‘double duty’ week after week. We welcome those that seek to contribute by serving in this capacity. We have found our Safety and Medical response teams invaluable having called them into action four times during the year. Fortunately all incidents were well-executed and yielded positive results. These teams provide a sense of comfort and security. However, these teams have been the most difficult ones to keep staffed. The purpose of these teams is to ensure the safety of church attendees and staff through the use of volunteer’s vocationally trained skills in nursing, medicine, security, and law enforcement. We continued to have a wonderful leadership group this year: Karen Skow, Linda Tenney, Steve Kearney, Terry Goodell, Sue Kearney, Wendy Davenport, Roger Soppe and Karen Koskovich served as coordinators within our Ministry. Thanks to their dedication and efforts, this Ministry continues to be open and inviting.
Mark 1:17: Come be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!
Lori Soppe, Director of First Impressions Ministry
Steven & Meg Collier in Ukraine
They took a lot of leaps of faith and trusted God in September of 2011 when they quit both of their jobs and went on the road to meet with churches and individuals to focus on partner development and raise their needed funds to minister in Ukraine. “It was incredible to see the Lord provide for our needs,” states Steven. A month after they left Iowa and were in Florida, they soon realized after checking their bills online, they did not have enough to cover Them. The next day, they received a call from Meg’s mom saying they received a letter in the mail from one of Meg’s college friends. Her boss had given her a special bonus for a job well done and she wanted to share it with them. It covered the bills that month and then some! With numerous examples of this, they prayed that the Lord would use their lives to make much of Him. How did they get to this point of becoming missionaries to Ukraine? Steven and Meg met serving at Stonebridge. “When we met we never imagined that the Lord would bring us together to get married and serve Him in ministry,” says Meg. In fact, Meg was already going through the process to become a Missionary with SEND during this time. As missionaries they will be ministering to Ukrainian youth and will be in language school first so they can understand the language and culture. They feel called to reach out to those who are helpless and unloved and desire to get involved in orphan ministries. Jason & Roxanne Engstrom Chicago, Ilinois
Tam Pham Arkansas Joy Owen Kazakhstan
“We have been blessed by the Stonebridge family in so many ways. First, we know they are praying for us. Secondly, we were given a place to live while we were in transition and thirdly, when we only had $38 left to raise for our support, our church family came around us and gave above and beyond our need,” says Steven.
Gary & Marilyn Reedy Ames. Iowa Katie Smith Ames, Iowa
Martin & Judy Kolcyzk Cedar Rapids, Iowa Mike & Norma Merritt Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Walt & Yvonne Thomack Nebraska
Brian & Christy Lewis Paupa, Indonesia
John & Becky Leverington Europe
Larry & Jill Couch Bosnia
Serving Together to Bless Others “…serve one another humbly in love.” Every year, even before all the pumpkins have been picked from the fields, we start to see signs of Christmas popping up around us. Thoughts of wonderful food, gifts and time together with loved ones, get us excited to celebrate this blessed holiday. But, for some, Christmas isles in the stores and Black Friday ads are just a stark reminder of what isn’t going to be. For many children in our community, there won’t be a celebration of family traditions, as one or more of their family members won’t be in attendance. Across our nation, one in every 43 children has a parent in prison, which means more than 1.7 million children spend Christmas separated from their incarcerated mom or dad each year. Under the leadership of Tami Timm for the last several years, Stonebridge Church has sought to bring hope to these families through Angel Tree. A ministry of Prison Fellowship, Angel Tree reaches out to the children of inmates and their families with the love of Christ. In 2011, Stonebridge served 70 families and 130 kids by providing Christmas gifts and inviting them to a party where they were served a warm meal and exposed to the gospel of Christ. As the largest outreach to our community, the Angel Tree ministry requires an army of volunteers. More than 100 people purchase gifts for the children, over 30 people provide food for the party and upwards of 30 people volunteer time to set up, serve at the party and tear down afterwards. This ministry is a perfect way for community groups to serve together. And one such group has volunteered their time to serve at the Angel Tree party for the last five years. Led by John and Karen Skow, this group has shared their time and talents to bless others and share Christ’s love. “The biggest blessing is just being able to serve. These people are so appreciative of a great meal and gifts. Having us send a letter to their father or mother puts smiles on their faces. The blessings of joy. It’s a lot of hard work setting up, and tearing down, but the benefit is serving the people,” continued John. “It is a huge blessing to see firsthand the children and families that we help,” shared group member Shelley Ask. “It is also fun for us, and fulfilling because this is the time of year when we can all get so busy with things that do not matter and do not have eternal significance. Touching a family that has been torn apart, especially at this time of year-sharing the love of Jesus directly and indirectly is what the Christmas season is about!” “We bring Glory to God by being servants to others in need,” stated John. “We humble ourselves without asking for anything in return, although the smiles and thank you’s we get in return are enough to feed us for a long time. I have heard testimonials of those that have attended the Angel Tree event. some of those who attend Stonebridge now, and I know this is a great event.”
How Are We Using Our Resources?
STONEBRIDGE VISION GOAL 2012-2013 Pastor Randy Scheil Last year we saw the value of working on a spiritual formation goal as a congregation. We set out to trust in God in all circumstances, learning to rely on Him as never before. We’ve heard many stories related to this goal. God has ways of teaching us to trust Him through change, job challenges, family crises, and health needs. Nothing separates us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39). This year our spiritual goal is to “Engage with the Word as never before”. The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Scripture is not valued in our culture. Many see it as an ancient book written by primitive people with no application to today. Some are threatened by its moral truth and the exclusive offer of salvation through Christ. Recent surveys reveal that few professing Christians read it daily or weekly. Yet Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our goal this year is to elevate the value of the Word and be equipped by it. We are using this rally cry, EAT THIS BOOK! The Prophet Jeremiah loved the Word and prayed, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God o hosts” (Jeremiah 16:16). The real power of Scripture is not in knowing what it says but applying its truth to living. Look for this emphasis at Stonebridge. We will believe in teaching for transformation (Romans 12:1-2) and learning truth in community (Colossians 3:15-17). Imagine what God may do in us as we give ourselves to knowing, experiencing and living out His Word. At the AIM Leader’s event in August we studied the impact of Scripture on the early church. As they lived it, “The Word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). May the Lord transform us into bold followers of Jesus as we put His truth into practice.
“It is impossible for any man to obtain even the minutest portion of right and sound doctrine without being a disciple of Scripture” – John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion