A Year’s Worth of Church Bulletin Boards

BUlletin Boards

One pet peeve of mine is seeing a bulletin board with old information on it.

It’s so simple to at least just take down the old information. I’ve entered church foyers and laid my eyes on bulletin boards that had not been changed in years. Ripped borders and faded paper caught my attention the most. If you looked closely, you would find outdated information.

Wouldn’t it be great to have something beautiful AND informational to greet your people?

Wouldn’t it make a better first impression on the visitor that enters in on Sunday morning?

Check your membership list, you might have a creative soul sitting right in your pews that would love to take on this ministry.

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Effective Discipleship

Effective Discipleship for Teens

Kandy Chimento

This is my sister, Kandy Chimento. Years ago, she developed a wonderful discipleship program for teen girls. It was an amazing program and I have asked her to share a little about it. {Originally posted October 7, 2016, on ggmandy dot com}


You can follow Kandy at Gettin’ Back to My Roots

“Women of Virtue”

Effective Discipleship

One of my favorite endeavors is discipleship.  In my own experience, I became convinced that effective discipleship can be more of a life-changer than a hundred sermons.  One of my prime times of spiritual growth came through a small discipleship group I belonged to in my 20’s, and by the on-going mentoring of an older godly woman. When we were youth pastors in Kansas City, I felt led to create a discipleship course for high school girls.

My vision for this course came from Titus 2:3-5,

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Effective discipleship can be more of a life-changer than a hundred sermons. #discipleship Click To Tweet

How it Started

I wanted to especially invest in older teen girls who would soon leave the family home and be out on their own, so the group was composed of junior and senior girls in high school.

The only qualifications were that they were

1) believers in Christ who had made a commitment to follow Him, and

2) willing to be mentored by women in the church.

The group met bi-monthly and I designed each meeting to have the spirit of a type of sorority – a sense of belonging and comradery.

Subject Matter

Discipleship Teen Girls

The teachings centered around 3 different areas of life:

  • personal discipleship,
  • practical homemaking, and
  • social outreach.

Though the topics in each area differed throughout the years, they all fell into one of these 3 areas. Different women in our church taught the lessons.  We elected officers and also included scripture memory in our curriculum.

Some topics included

  • maintaining a daily devotional time,
  • meal planning,
  • finding your spiritual gifts,
  • raising children,
  • scrapbooking and
  • marriage, to name a few. 

Various outreaches included

  • collecting and delivering needed items for a women’s shelter,
  • helping out at Ronald McDonald house,
  • and participating in a political event.

We also attended a formal social event together, such as the ballet, and hosted a spring tea for the girls’ mothers.  One woman in our church hosted an annual formal Christmas dinner for the girls.  We ended each school year with a presentation service, highlighting each girl and her gifts.

Commitment and Accountability

The years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. There was a strong level of commitment in each group of girls that developed throughout our year together.  We experienced some wonderful times of bonding, as well as challenging life events which proved to draw us closer together.  But one of the most unexpected discoveries was realizing the gifts and knowledge that dwells in our “more mature” women.  There are naturally some people that we gravitate toward for spiritual wisdom and knowledge, but the Lord also led me to people who had an abundance of other skills and experience that translated well into mentoring young women.  I believe that many of my mature “mentors” also discovered that they had important gifts to share.

Favorite Memories

Consequently, the years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. I believe that these experiences had a lasting effect on the lives of these precious young women as well. 

The years of this mentoring program are some of my favorite memories. #mentoring Click To Tweet

What are your gifts and how can you share them?

Kandy Chimento

Since this post was published three wonderfully helpful books on mentoring have been published. I have written book reviews, just follow these links.

Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Table Mentoring: Blessed to be a Blessing

YOUR TURN

legacy link-ups

Sharing the Gospel

Sharing the Gospel: You CAN Do It

This week we have been focusing on the Great Commission. Glenae spoke of how our very lives should be a witness for Christ. And that is a very good place to start. But I wonder,

“When was the last time you led someone to Christ or even shared the gospel with a non-believer?”

When Was the Last Time You Led Someone to Christ? Click To Tweet
95%of all Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ.

This weekend, we watched some preaching from Greg Laurie. Wow! This guy is fast becoming one of my favorites. He’s such a wonderful Bible Teacher. And always leads people straight to the cross.

Not So Good News

Pastor Greg gave some very disturbing statistics about who is sharing the Gospel. He reported that only 95% of Christians have NEVER led someone to Christ and only 2% have ever shared the Gospel with a non-believer. This is very sad news since we have that only Good News that will fill the emptiness in a non-believers life.

We can give a lot of excuses for not sharing the Gospel. But will God accept your excuse when you stand before Him one day? Allow me to offer three ways to get around your excuses.

The sad truth. 95% of all Christians have never led someone to Christ. Click To Tweet

It’s Too Scary. I Don’t Talk so Good.

I understand. It’s a scary thought to share the gospel. But again, let me quote Pastor Greg. He said we recommend things all the time.

  • The best stores
  • My favorite restaurant
  • You’ve GOT to see this movie
  • Read this book!
  • The best vacation spot
Evangelism is a scary word but it is not that hard. Click To Tweet

So why can’t we recommend the best option for abundant life?

We have the answer folks. We need to be sharing it. 2 Kings 7:3-10 tells of four lepers that were starving and decided to go out to the enemy camp and see if they could find some food. To their amazement, the camp was deserted and food and clothing all left behind. They began to feast on the abundant foods but then realized they needed to share the wealth. They ran back to the city gates and told the people that the enemy camp was empty and the spoils were there for the taking.

Why are we keeping it all to ourselves when we have the best thing since sliced bread. Even better. 🙂

Share the Good News? I Don’t Know Enough

Me Disciple? I Don't Know Enough. Click To Tweet

Simple solution. Learn more. There are many tracts and sources available to teach us how to evangelize. There’s the Roman Road and the A, B, C’s which I have right here on this blog. I have used the Wordless Book in my children’s ministry for a long time. This one uses colors to share the gospel. There is now a colorful soccer ball you can use to share the plan of salvation. One summer I taught our church children to tell the Gospel using the colors. They were all given their own soccer ball at the end of the summer. For all these avenues there are cards with all the pertinent information so that it can easily be shared, such as this one

If you would like more ideas, I recommend heading on over to The Navigators website. They have several ways to lead people to Christ, even one where you only need ONE BIBLE VERSE. You can learn one verse, can’t you? You probably already know it. (Romans 6:23)

Bridges International is another helpful resource for learning how to share the Gospel using the Four Spiritual Laws. This is the process that beings with “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

I Don’t Know What to Say

Again I say, learn. Start taking your quiet time seriously. Don’t just stop for 5 minutes and read a bible verse. Dig deep into God’s word and see what you learn. He will show you great and mighty things.

Sharing the Gospel? I don't know what to say. Click To Tweet

None of us know everything. If you get stuck when you are sharing the gospel, take them to someone smarter than you. Our son is like a complete Bible commentary. When I have a question, I got to him and he hasn’t failed me yet to give a good answer. Do you have someone in your life that has Bible knowledge? (your pastor, for one) Tap into them, give them a call or take your friend to meet him.

You Can DO it
Photo credit: free image at Canva.com Modified by Mandy

God promises in His word that He will give you the words to say. Just trust Him to do it. If you don’t have the words, He will bring someone along to help you out. He did it for Moses, he’ll do it for you.

I’ll tell you this. Leading someone to Christ is the most amazing thing that will ever happen to you. You will be blessed beyond blessed.

I would love to hear about a time you led someone to Christ. Share your story in the comments to encourage others.

Mandy Farmer
Gaither Vocal Band – Can’t Stop talking About it
make disciples

The Great Commission ~ Who Me? Make Disciples?

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:16-20


As I read The Great Commission passage again, two things that had never caught my attention popped out at me.

First, “they went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.”

Second, “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.” 

First, they obeyed. But second, some doubted.

When we consider The Great Commission, we are sometimes intimidated by the “meat” of the passage. By the “meat,” I mean the command to “go and make disciples of ALL nations…”   When reading that and truly considering what Jesus asks of us, our initial thought may be,

“What?! Go EVERYWHERE and make disciples?! I am NOT a preacher!”

Who Me? Make Disciples? That's what the Great Commission says.

Well, that is true. And, that is also false. Most of us are not preachers by profession, but our lives either preach the word, or they don’t. 
You see, Satan will plant doubt (as he did for a few of those disciples) in us to keep us from living for Christ, and to keep us from making disciples for Christ. Even in our obedience, the devil will try his best to create doubt and reluctance. We must not let that happen!


At the end of this passage, we find all the strength we need to fulfill that Great Commission. “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Jesus is right there with us, wherever we go, whoever we meet, whatever He gives us to say or do. We must claim that, and cling to Him if we are to fulfill this Great Commission that He gave to those disciples long ago, and to us today.

Do not delay.

Go. Make disciples.

Remember, Jesus is with us every step of the way!

Glenae

P.S. Discipling Teenage Girls

Mandy’s sister, Kandy Chimento created a discipleship program for her youth when her husband was a youth pastor. She wrote about it here.

Titus 2 Women

The Bible admonishes us to come alongside the women younger than us. Most of them are looking for someone to lead them. Why not you? Also, check out Mandy’s review of Nancy DeMoss Wolgmuth’s book, Adorned, Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together


or Sue McDonald’s book Table Mentoring, a Simple Guide for Coming Alongside. Mandy’s review is here.


keeping the faith

4 Building Blocks to Growing Our Faith


I Praise God for His Salvation

I thank Him daily for loving us (me) so much that He sent His Son to earth to live a perfect life, to suffer the cruel death on a crimnal’s cross, but then rise again just to save us all from our sins. Praise His beautiful name! [Read my testimony of faith on my memoirs blog.] But I want to know Him more. I want to grow closer and closer to Him.

Salvation Goes Beyond the Altar

But it doesn’t stop there. Our salvation goes beyond the day that you kneel at an altar and confess your sins to God.

Yes, I believe that we are saved by grace, it is not of works lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8). Yes, I believe that we are made into a new creation. The old is gone and the new is here! 2 Corinthians Praise the Lord!

We are saved by grace, not of works @ggmandy Click To Tweet

We are Called to Grow in Grace

But we are also called to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). If we gave birth to a baby and that child remained a baby forever, we would be saddened. It would break our hearts if the child never learned to walk and talk and live a productive life. Yes, we would still love him but we would desire so much more for him.

The very next verse in Ephesians 2 says,
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Salvation Leads Us into Service

So our salvation should lead us into service for God .. living a life that glorifies Him and leads others to Him. ie. growing in grace

2 Peter 3 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “

And the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4:1-6 (AMP),
So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful]. There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is [sovereign] over all and [working] through all and [living] in all.


Live a Life Worthy of the Call

So, I too, encourage you to live the life worthy of His calling. We need to work to live holy lives to the glory and honor of God and also, to be a light in the darkness so that others can find the way to Christ.

Photo credit: free at Canva.com; Modified by Mandy

In order to “leave a legacy” for our children and those around us we must first grow ourselves. And how to do we grow? First, we study the Bible. We fill our minds and saturate our lives with His Word.


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Growth through Bible Reading

Bible reading and study teach us how to live for Him. It corrects us when we are wrong, encourages our faith and keeps us on the narrow way. And because we need this encouragement in a moments notice, we should memorize the scriptures. King David said, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”-Psalm 119:15. If David needed it, so do we.

If King David Needed it, so do we! Click To Tweet

Growth Thru Prayer

Secondly, we must communicate with God. Yes, pray to God and practice His presence every day. Communicating with God includes worship and adoration, repenting of sin, interceding for others, and yes even petition for our needs.

Growth Through Fellowship

Thirdly, we need fellowship with other believers. We are not an island. Without faith and encouragement of others, we would fall too easily. Solomon declared that “two are better than one because if one falls the other can help him up. Three are even better! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) God promises that whenever we gather together even in a group of 2 or 3, that He will be in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) Realistically, we need each other so don’t neglect the meeting together of believers.

Growth Through Sharing

And finally, we need to share the Gospel. We are not blessed with salvation so that we can keep it to ourselves. We are commanded to “go and make disciples of all nations”. Even without this command from Jesus, sharing our faith helps us (Matthew 28:19) stronger in it. It confirms in us our belief in Christ.

Let’s do this, friends!

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more thoughts on these four growth factors. I have searched out some fellow bloggers who can so eloquently speak on these things and I have asked them to write encouragement to us to help us grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Join me here on the blog every Monday to be instructed and encouraged. Have you subscribed to receive our updates? You can do so just below in the blue bar. Just add your email address and click submit!

Growing in Grace;

Mandy Farmer

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true value

What Has True Value in this Life

VALUE

noun. – the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

This post is inspired by the PROMPT: VALUE from Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. The challenge is to write for five minutes. No editing. I encourage you to go to the link-up and read what others were inspired to write.

Value Re-defined.

Our world has re-defined what has value. Today, according to the world we have value because we have stuff, we have amazing talents, we know people. King Solomon said that life has no meaning or value.

But God values us as His children. Actually, He gives us our value.  We are His children.  And because of this, we have great value. We are nothing without him. We can do nothing without Him.

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Preparedness Kit for the Storms in Ministry

Everyone knows that you must be prepared for a hurricane. More than one storm will inevitably come sometime every fall, it’s just how it is.

Most assuredly, no matter where you live, there are natural storms or disasters that you need to be prepared for. There are certain things that you always have ready for when the storm hits. When I lived up north, we carried certain things in the trunk of our car in case of emergency in the deep cold winters.

It’s true for your ministry too.

You need to have a preparedness kit at hand for whenever the storms come. And they will come. I guarantee it.

John 16:33 says,

“In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.”

However, just because Christ has overcome does not mean we can lay back and not be prepared. Christ HAS overcome the world, but we must take Him along with us.

That daily relationship with Him is the best Preparedness kit you can have.

  • If we aren’t reading His word daily, how will we know His thoughts?
  • How will we recognize His voice, if we aren’t conversing with him on a daily basis?
  • It is hard enough to recognize His voice in calm times.
  • How will we recognize His Voice in the storm, if we aren’t familiar with His voice?

 

Recently, a pastor’s wife, Rhonda Cagle Thorson shared this story that impressed my heart of the importance of staying close enough to God to hear and recognize His voice.

God can speak in some most unusual places. Our family went white water rafting in OKC this weekend. We were given detailed instructions for every possible scenario. The guide sat at the back of the raft. We were to listen to his voice (which was hard in the noise of the water).

Although he was steering the raft, our failure to do what he asked us to do would take us off course and risk an overturned raft. With other rafting guides nearby, it was hard to know if it was our guide giving out commands. We had to listen carefully and become familiar with his voice.

God is guiding us through the rapids of our lives. While he is steering, we have to obey in order for His steering to be of benefit to us. We have to practice listening for his voice above the noise and other voices vying for our attention..

in 2011, my family started down a long road of tribulation which included chronic illness and ultimately job loss.

If it weren’t for our close walk with the Lord, I’m not sure we would have made it. God has walked with us every step of this long journey which we are still on. Just as this scripture indicates, it was only that we were walking daily with Him in the first place that He was then able to walk with us through the storm.

Psalm 119:92-95 Amplified Bible (AMP)

If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my time of trouble.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me and given me life.
I am Yours, save me [as Your own];
For I have [diligently] sought Your precepts and required them [as my greatest need].

I recently read again the Hebrew Shamat from Deuteronomy 6

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Do you treasure God this much? This is the first scripture passage that a Jewish child learns from memory. It is quoted every day, if not several times a day. Maybe we should take note and do the same?

My Greatest Advice to you is

  1. Set a time and place for study and meditation and then keep it.
  2. Don’t let anything deter you from your quiet time.
  3. Spend more than a few minutes in prayer each day.
  4. Study  His Word diligently.
  5. Practice His presence all day long so that when the storm comes, He is there ready to step in and carry you if needed.
My greatest nugget of advice to anyone, whether a minister or a laymen is … Treasure God Above All Else. Click To Tweet

 

You will find that there is really nothing more important.

The world will wait.

And if it doesn’t it won’t make that much difference in the long run.

After all, you can’t bring people to a relationship with Christ if you don’t have one yourself.

Finding Treasure in Him!

Mandy Farmer

pastor's Wife

How to Be the Perfect Pastor’s Wife

Becoming a pastor’s wife is a very daunting event for some of us.

I became a pastor’s wife at the age of 28. Unlike most pastors’ wives, I did not meet my husband at college while he prepared for ministry. We didn’t date and plan our lives together to become pastor and wife. I met my husband AFTER he had already been in the pastorate for 14 years.

We were introduced by my own pastor’s wife.

You see, Michael lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. My pastor’s wife decided that he needed a new wife AND that I was her!

In short, she pestered me until I finally agreed to go to her hometown and meet this minister. I figured I would go and she would quit bothering me about it. She did …

Four months later, we heard wedding bells!

As a result,  I had many, many things running through my mind during those short months. Thank the Lord, Charlotte didn’t leave me to my own defenses. She sat me down and gave me a few words of advice to help me transition from laymen into the pastor’s wife.

Charlotte’s advice has been very helpful over the years, so I want to share it with you.

FIRST OF ALL, BE YOURSELF.

It’s easy to get this glorious picture of a wonderful pastor’s wife. All these lofty ideals out there tell us that as a pastor’s wife we need to look and act in a certain way; however, God has already built-in you the perfect pastor’s wife.

You may have a pastor’s wife in your life that you desire to imitate, and it is good to have these aspirations. But those qualities seen in that person are not the same qualities that God has instilled in you. You must use the gifts and talents that God has placed in you.

If you attempt to be a reflection of her, you will live in frustration.  You must only attempt to reflect God’s image. I look up to my pastor’s wife, Charlotte. She is an amazing woman with joy that I have never seen in anyone else. But I can’t exude joyfulness, like Charlotte. I have to allow the characteristics God has given to me to shine through my life.

Possibly, you know a pastor’s wife that is a wonderful speaker who stands up and speaks with eloquence side by side with her husband. But if you are not a speaker, you will find yourself in total frustration if you take this on as an expectation for yourself. Find your own way.

Find your own passion and follow it. It could be that you best compliment your husband by going to work and being a bread-winner. You may find that you are a behind-the-scenes person or a prayer warrior supporting your husband quietly from the rear. Any of these personalities make an awesome pastor’s wife.

The perfect pastor's wife is already created inside you. #pastorswife Click To Tweet

Additionally, don’t let your congregation put their expectations of a pastor’s wife on you. At our first pastorate together, the people told me that the pastor’s wife had always taught the senior adult Sunday School class. Being a children’s worker, this scared me out of my mind. My quick response, “Well, not anymore!”

Also remember, It’s Not All “Eating Bon-Bons Like a Princess”

It’s more like what Forest Gump says,

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

Forest Gump

At times, we can get in our heads that certain professions are just smooth riding. All glamour and no nitty-gritty. Every lifestyle has its ups and downs. It’s good and bad. It benefits and disadvantages.

At the outset of ministry, there is great excitement about leading people to Christ and encouraging people to live a life close to God. But then, reality will set in. Tough times will come. And they will come sooner than later.

The scripture records that believers should expect to have trouble. (John 16:33) What I’m driving at is that we need to prepare for the worst and be surprised by the best. Like choosing that piece of chocolate from the box. You may get a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffle, or you may get a mouth full of coconut. Be ready for both!

In ministry, be ready for the worst and surprised by the best! #pastorswife Click To Tweet

And Finally, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

In the end, it’s all small stuff. As in life everywhere, stuff happens. And to put it bluntly, “Get over it!”

Every moment that we are sulking because someone hurt our feelings is a moment that God cannot use us for the kingdom. Click To Tweet

 Trust me on this one, my friend. Someone WILL say something derogatory about your kids, your husband or YOU. Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve, they will only get crushed.

Consider the source and whether or not there is truth to be found. If there is truth there, accept it and correct it, if possible. If there is no truth, then brush it off. Maybe the person was having a bad day/week/month/year. Most of the time in life, a bully is hiding their own painful truth. Reach out to them in love and see what happens.

In conclusion, just remember that attitude makes all the difference. Meet with God at the beginning of each day. Take Him with you on your journey. He’ll work out the details.

Becoming Perfect In Him,

Mandy