a newsletter for the friends and family of northfield baptist church
theConnection this issue Adult Bible Fellowships P.1 Quick Thoughts P.2 Missionary Update P.3 Christian School Corner P.3 Family Announcements P.3 Mark Your Calendar P.4
Adult Bible Fellowships and Comfortable Disobedience by Eric Puff In seminary I was taught about Deacon Caring Ministry/Deacon Care Groups. In fact, my seminary dean was a major proponent of the system. It was a very popular system because it was a very useful ministry and often very effective at providing care to church members and training to deacons. The basic idea is that every church family is assigned to a deacon group wherein its deacon will make caring contacts on a regular, usually monthly, basis. The idea is sound in that deacons should be involved in member care ministry. That much is sure. But the system, through no fault of any pastor or deacon, also has its limitations. Since those care groups are not often naturally forming groups, they are therefore groups whose members will not often face each other. The caring is mostly one-way, deacon to member, and there is little need for group members to be involved with the rest of the group.
Now we can start to see the unfortunate limitations. Caring ministry is not biblically assigned to the few but to the many. (If you’re wondering right now if I might be calling some churches or systems “uncaring,” you’re missing the point.) The New Testament gives instructions with the phrase “one another” over 50 times; they are often commands. Do something to or for one another. That means me. That means you, too. No believer is exempt. Caring, “one another” ministry is not meant to be unidirectional, or even bidirectional, but multi-directional, that is, each of us extending care toward several others. The commands are too many to study here, but of the “one anothers” in the New Testament, one-in-five exhorts us to love one (Continued on page 2)
Good Friday Service March 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Easter Services March 31
Sunrise Service - 7:30 a.m. Full Breakfast Following Service Worship Celebration - 9:30 a.m. Adult Bible Fellowship & Sunday School - 11:00 a.m. There will be no evening service.
Quick Thoughts on Worship How broad is the biblical concept of worship? And how accurate is your perception of it? Worship is to the Christian life what the mainspring is to a watch, what the engine is to a car. It is the very core, the most essential element. Worship cannot be isolated or relegated to just one place, time, or segment of our lives. We cannot verbally thank and praise God while living lives of selfishness and carnality. That kind of effort at worship is a perversion. Real acts of worship must be the overflow of a worshiping life. —John MacArthur, Jr.
Urgent Need Drive Thursday, March 28, 1-5 PM NBC Ministry Center
Adult Bible Fellowships... (Continued from page 1) another. I call this the central “one another” principle: love one another (Jn. 13:34-35; Rom. 13:8). The rest of them teach us what this looks like. I have organized the rest of the “one anothers” into five categories, all expounding of the central principle of loving one another. In brief explanation, I will provide a sample of teaching from each category, all “one another” instruction. 1. Serve one another. This includes caring (1 Cor. 12:25), praying (Jam. 5:16) and serving (Gal. 5:13). 2. Encourage one another. This is done through hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9), comforting (1 Thess. 5:11) and considering how to motivate others (Heb. 10:24). 3. Hold one another in high esteem. We are to give preference to others (Rom. 12:10), bear with each other (Col. 3:13) and not grumble against one another (Jam. 5:9). 4. We must be in close fellowship with one another. This includes being of the same mind (Rom. 12:16), being kindly affectionate (12:10) and being tenderhearted (Eph. 4:32). 5. Finally, speak to and teach one another. We have the responsibility to speak truth (Eph. 4:25), not evil (Jam. 4:11) and exhort (Heb. 10:25). These commands are given in local church contexts and are meant to be exercised first in that context. Obviously, church life is a continual stream of “one another” functions. (If you’re thinking that your involvement in church is just between you and God, reread the last paragraph.) To even begin to do them well, we’ll need as many people participating in them as we can get. Enter the Adult Bible Fellowships. At NBC we have groups ranging from a handful to dozens in attendance, which meet every Sunday for fellowship and study. More importantly, ABFs are not defined as an education class (though education does happen) but as an interconnected people group. What better place to promote and provide caring, “one another” ministry than in long-term groups whose members see each other every week, pray together, learn together and gather every month for social fellowship apart from regular services? (If you’re getting the idea that ABFs are about
participating in the lives of others, you’d be right.) ABFs provide a great place to start fulfilling the “one anothers” of Scripture. They are a way to demonstrate commitment to God’s people. In so doing, we meet our fellowship needs and find a place to belong. Having stated this in favor of ABFs, they also come with a risk. We can focus almost exclusively on the last sentence of the previous paragraph. When we do that, we take a ministry that is supposed to be about one another and make it about ourselves; we distort it into something that is more like a Facebook profile than a church. “Come to our ABF. It’s for people who make $50K-$100K per year.” “Only people shorter than six-feet-tall are comfortable in our ABF.” “Our ABF never orders pepperoni on our pizzas.” I know I’m in danger of sounding double-minded. Do I want more ABFs or not? I do. Do I encourage ABFs to target a general demographic, especially on startup? I do. Do I want more places for people to feel comfortable and a sense of belonging? I do. But we should want all this for the right reasons. The reasons come in the forms of all those faces in the Auditorium on Sunday mornings, or better yet, in the grocery stores, in the AA meetings, and in doctors’ offices. The most important face is not the one you see in the mirror. That has to be the face of a servant, a minister, someone whose preferences can wait. Is this really an issue? Well, you’ve met humans before, right? Without reminders of what it’s all about, we are all too ready to deny “one another” ministry for the sake of our own comfort. That’s a fact. Dislike for another member, preferences on family life, too much sharing and prayer are reasons I’ve heard as personal excuses from ABFs and sadly, will probably hear again. “One another” teaching should drive ABF ministry, not personal preferences. One will cause us to create more ABFs to serve more souls. The other will cause us to splinter into more ABFs to cater to ourselves. We must commit to others or risk a very comfortable disobedience.
Eric Puff is Associate Pastor and Church Administrator at Northfield Baptist Church
Family Announcements Birth
Jason & Adele Rice, ABWE The Rices are now at 98% support and they are preparing for their move to Slovakia. The shipping container will get loaded Saturday, March 10, and their possessions will meet them in Slovakia 25-30 days later. Their tickets have been purchased and they plan to depart on March 20. They have a rental home already contracted. It is close to the capitol, a short walk to the church in town, the school, the grocery store, and even the train station. As they prepare to leave, pray for the timing of their visa paperwork and the other details that are necessary to be able to depart on March 20. Please pray for more people to serve God in Slovakia. Waad Haddad, BEN Waad has preached in two churches in the last month and has received good responses from pastors and churches. A church he preached in over a year ago has now taken him on for support and two churches have increased their support. Waad is praying to reach a support level that will enable him to quit his job to go into full time ministry. Waad has another opportunity to go to Egypt and
participate in a module. After having an MRI done on his knee, the doctor told him he will need a knee arthroscopy. It is not a big surgery, but is costly and he will have to have time for rest afterwards. Pray for more churches to open their doors to his ministry presentation and for all of the needed funds for his next trip to Egypt. Pray for Egypt, that God will intervene and protect his people there. Polly Strong, BMM Polly Strong spent December 12-February 12 in Africa. She spent some time at Abraham's Oasis sharing the word, loving the children and teens, helping others and had the joy of seeing a teacher come to know the Lord. Just over two weeks were spent in Lusaka, Zambia. She was able to teach through the Bible with a group of women through a geography/history course for three Saturdays, a Sunday afternoon with 35-40 church people and several times at the literacy school Martha Barrett has established. She is beginning to work on existing materials and write new things for helping people to know and understand God’s Word better. Her goal is to send boxes of books to Haiti, Ethiopia, and Zambia.
Christian School Corner February finished with a major flurry of activity. NBCS students presented a special program at the Nordonia Hills Library for Black History Month. Students shared information on many black patriots and pastors, and also were able to sing several Spirituals. The same week we entertained our students and parents with MAD SCIENCE. This interactive and fun program for learning about science was a huge success. They even learned about
Bernoulli’s principle and didn’t realize it!!! Several families visited the school for this program and to look around for next year. Enrollment for next year begins this month. We anticipate the Lord’s blessing on NBCS for the 38th year. We covet your prayer support for a good response to the enrollment packets.
Congratulations to new parents, Marc & Kalila Fleagle, and grandparents Raj & Georgia Javalgi, on the arrival of Travis Matthew Fleagle. Travis was born on Wednesday, February 20. He weighed 7 1/2 pounds and was 20 inches long. May he fill your lives with joy and God bless you as you guide him in His way.
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Mark Your Calendar Phone 330-467-7939 Newsletter E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 10
Monday, March 11
Ladies Coffee Chat Susan Perelka Home
Tuesday, March 12
Menâ€™s Pizza & Wings NBC Ministry Center
Wednesday, March 13
Friday, March 15
NBCS Sixth Grade Dinner & Talent Night
Saturday, March 16
Open House for Mike Frei Ministry Center, 2-6 p.m.
Sunday, March 17
Friday, March 22
Moody Chorale 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 24
PM - Nate Beckam Teen Time Out
Thursday, March 28
ARC Blood Drive Ministry Center, 1-5 p.m.
Friday, March 29
Good Friday Service 7:00 P.M.
Sunday, March 31
Easter Services & ABF 9:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.
theConnection Issue 02 Mar 2013
Moody Chorale Friday, March 22 7:00 P.M.