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Circles: September 2014

Think for a minute, where do you go every day of the week? Work, Kroger, Costco, the gym, class, or church. The circles you travel are all realistic opportunities to show Jesus to people. How do we treat co-workers? How do we treat the employees of the places we frequent? Did you wipe your sweat off the machine you just used? Think about your students, were do they go? Are they viewing each and every team, class or event as a chance share and learn about Jesus?

As we embark on this fall in student ministries we’re excited to look at where and how Jesus discipled those around him. His parting challenge in Matthew 28 “go into all the world and make disciples” was meant for us as much as them. This month we’ll explore the circles he ran with and how each of them were disciple making opportunities.

9/7 people in mid-sized Circles were trained and sent Luke 10:1-11
9/14 people in small Circles shared and studied Mark 3:13-19
9/21 people in even smaller Circles were challenged and cared for John 21:15-19
9/28 there were committed and curious people in the large circles Matthew 4:23-8

Lessons from Psalm 139

Lessons from Psalm 139

Throughout the month of May in both Epic & Elevate we’ll be diving into the 139th Psalm and talking about identity & sexuality.

The Psalmist describes many ways that he’s putting his trust in the Almighty. Several ways where he’s crying out with is needs for God. This month we’ll discuss  break down Psalm 139 and explore how living in the light of God means we need no secrets, we can praise Him because he made us and trust him to show us the way we need to go. It’s safe to trust him with our identities.

Psalm 139:1-12-no secrets

bottom line: God is present wherever we are, we can rest in him

no matter what we do or where we go, God will be with us, not like a big bad boogie man or a disapproving aunt but there. available. ready with His grace. this isn’t an excuse to do whatever/whenever, just an assurance that He loves us.  how might you view this presence as good news? how might someone not feel comfortable with that?

 Psalm 139:13-18-made amazing

bottom line: God made us and made us and called us “very good”, no one else can tell us different

who you are is no secret from god. he made us all exactly who we are. different shapes and sizes. exactly who He wanted us to be.  in what ways have you forgotten or failed to trust that? how might the way you dress or the posts you make be different?

Psalm 139:19-24-he decides

bottom line: God is our judge and His Spirit will guide us

we tend to get really really confused about who we are and who God expects us to be. forgetting to rest in His presence and design often leaves us wanting. letting others tell us were good enough or not good enough is tiring. leaving the decisions about what we do up to Him is reassuring. how might praying for God to direct your paths change the way you look at yourself and your actions?


Graduation Celebrations

shutterstock_109596620 As the graduation season quickly approaches, there are a few things we’d like you all to know about how we’d like to come alongside you in your celebrations.

1. Sunday morning, May 18 in all worship services we’ll be playing a photo slideshow, recognizing and praying for all high school & college graduates . Please send digital portraits with students name and school graduating from to to be included by Monday, May 12.

2. Sunday evening, August 3 in Epic (6:30-8:30p) we’ll be celebrating our graduates with a COLLEGE SEND-OFF and inviting parents and leaders to give them specific words of encouragement.  We welcome all graduates parents to this evening of celebration!

3. Our staff and volunteers would be more than happy to join in on the festive parties you’re throwing to honor graduates if you choose. Please share dates, times, and locations with us so we don’t miss yours.

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Elevate: Make Something…February 2014

Make Something…Right

Bottom line: The Holy Spirit gives us the desire to see things made right

Matthew 14:13-14, Acts 1:18, Philemon v7, i John 3:17

We start here, God made the world GOOD. Sin entered the world and started to chip away at the good, relationships are broken, people go hungry, people don’t have warm places to live. From the time things were first broken God empowered us to begin to put things back together. Jesus came to live, die and live again to make things right. We can join him in that work.

What breaks your heart? What can you/we do about it?

Make Something…That’s Totally You
Bottom Line: God made each of us uniquely equipped to do or care about something special
Matthew 28:23
I Corinthians 12

Introvert or Extrovert. Athlete or Academic. We’ve all been wired to be exactly who we are and our unique wiring makes us capable of making something, that will truly change the world. Just because we’re in middle school doesn’t mean we have to wait. We’re all gifted and we can answer Jesus commission!

REVIEW What breaks your heart? (is it the same as last week?)
How much does your the problem you’d like to see fixed in the world

Make Something…New

Bottom Line: We’re being made new, and making things new
2 Corinthians 4:13-17

We’re all new creations in Christ, he’s redeemed the sin stained old us and is making us brand new. Every where we go in our worlds we are telling those we encounter, with our actions, words and even the smile (or scowl) we’re telling people about Jesus. The question is, are you new or are you…something else.

How are you being made new?
How are you making things around you new?
What does your life say about Jesus?

Make Something….With What you’ve got
Bottom Line: We have everything we need to make something right, unique and new
Acts 3:1-10

Today is your day, all of your ideas and your gifts and your talents can Make Something…Right, Totally You, New and HAPPEN. We all have the same Spirit of God available to us that the apostles had. We’re made to make a difference. Let’s do it.

How can we make a difference?
How can your family?
What will you do now?


Epic: Our Mission February 9 and 23

Our upcoming series is focusing on our broad mission as followers of Christ as well as our individual and unique mission (or calling) that God has placed on each one of us.

(There is no Epic 2/16 because of Retreat)

Our first Sunday we will be asking about what breaks our hearts.  What do our students see that’s unjust in their community or their world that they feel like God is calling them to do something about?  This dives directly into facing questions about our calling.  I don’t expect students to have completely clear answers but hopefully this will begin to become clear to them as we walk with you all in the months and years to come.

Question for parents: What breaks your heart and how have you been taking steps towards bringing Christ’s restoration to your world?  Does your family know this part of your journey?

Our second Sunday will be full of stories and opportunities.  We will hear from students who have taken steps on short term trips that have turned into steps in their day to day lives.  We will continue to talk about what breaks our hearts and look for some practical and tangible ways to take next steps in our calling as Christ followers to love others, care for the marginalized etc.

Question for parents: How can you surround your child with people who are going to help them bring their calling into a reality?  Who are the people you know who might share the same calling as your child?

Is your child unsure about their calling?  A great way for them to begin to discover this is to serve.  They can go on one of our missions trips (Feb 23 @ 12:15 is a meeting to outline these) or begin serving somewhere that fits with some of the ways they are gifted.  We’d love to help you navigate this.  If you need help or have questions email


SpringHill Winter Retreat 2014

SpringHill Winter Retreat 2014

We will have four sessions throughout the weekend. These will be interactive times for students and leaders, including high energy worship, videos, and skits, and the gospel presented through drama and by a team of talented speakers who join us from all over the country.
Students and leaders will laugh side-by-side as SpringHIll’s characters draw us in and help our students apply practical truth from 2 Corinthians 4 to their lives.

READY: Something is about to happen.
On Friday night, we’ll kick off the weekend with a powerful challenge for students to get READY to see God work. It’s a call to the “same spirit of faith” that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 4:13. Get READY because something is about to happen!

REVOLUTION: Turn around.
On Saturday morning we’ll come face-to-face with the reality of sin and that true repentance means a total REVOLUTION of thinking and living where we don’t just walk the other way but we choose every day to live another way. It’s the essence of a REVOLUTION, “inwardly we are being renewed day by day…” and it’s found in 2 Corinthians 4:16.

RESCUED: You are not who you were.
Then on Saturday evening we will experience what it means to be redeemed by the blood of Christ, and RESCUED from a life of sin and darkness, and give students an opportunity to put their trust in Him. 2 Corinthians 4:14 says, “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus.” We are no longer slaves, captives, or prisoners, we have been rescued and we are free!
During this session, students will have the opportunity to make a new or renewed commitment to Christ.

REFINED: It’s not over.
We recognize that true transformation is not a momentary experience. So our final session on Sunday morning will focus on the life of a disciple, continuing to be refined by the ongoing work of God in our lives. This is not a “do something” message, it’s a “be something” message, as we learn from 2 Corinthians 4:17 that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all…”

RELEASED: Do something. (The Prayer Labyrinth)
The final challenge will not come from stage, it will come room-by-room as you and your students
experience this “do something” message in an interactive, multimedia experience that says: if you
are ready for a revolution of living and being, if you have been rescued, and are being refined, then
be RELEASED into the world to make an eternal difference in the world around you. 2 Corinthians
4:18 says, “We fix our eyes… on what is unseen… what is… eternal.”


Inspiring Moms of Pre-Adolescent Children and Teens

Looking for a place to connect with other moms?  This group  has found a way to do it a way that works with their hectic schedules ONLINE!  This semester they’re studying “Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child’s Teen Years”, by Mark Gregston. Lead by videos available on

The discussion will take place online through at 9:00pm every other Wednesday evening starting January 15th and runs through April 9th. This group will also meet in person twice during this time. The study kicks off  January 15th in person and join again  face to face on March 12th.

For sign-up info or questions
Contact Jeanette Krueger at


Forward Motion: January

1. Be a Student of What They are Learning
We’ve all made resolutions and set goals, but too often we fall short of what we expected to accomplish. Unfortunately it’s often the same when we try to become the Christian we really believe God has called us to be. We fall short of the goal and become increasingly discouraged. In this series, your student will learn that following Christ is more about the small steps we take every day, not about the huge leaps of faith that we think we need to make. They will set a goal, determine the first step and then make it. The series will end with a celebration!

2. Be a Student of Your Student
Many of you crave forward motion in your family. You know what you want your children to be. You want them to be kind, respectful, responsible, intelligent, creative individuals. You want them to be able to succeed when they grow up and leave your home. But sometimes you look at them and you think that it may never happen. Sometimes, between the myriad of parenting books and child-rearing philosophies, you can get lost in the “how to” of raising wonderful kids who become successful adults.

In Reggie Joiner’s Orange Parents post entitled “How to Raise a Jerk,” Joiner encourages parents in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way about raising kids who become the adults parents want to see them grow into. Here is an excerpt from this post. To read the post in its entirety, go to

Some leaders say too many who work hard at building children’s self-esteem are raising kids who will exhibit a lifestyle of entitlement and egotism. Other specialists say those who talk about children being innately bad are raising a generation that feels inferior and insignificant. Every expert has an opinion and it’s hard to know where the line actually is. Many promote their agenda by pushing the opposing opinion to the extreme.
One of the keys to parenting with balance is helping your children develop an attitude of humility. Every child has the potential to grow up and understand why it’s important to “put others first.” There is just a fine line between raising kids who have a healthy self-esteem and kids who are too egotistical. A life of arrogance that goes unchecked can result in a sad and lonely existence for someone, and frankly there are enough self-centered people around. How does someone develop an overinflated sense of self-worth and entitlement?
Here are a few ideas to help you effectively raise a jerk:
• Protect them from the consequences of their own mistakes.
• Make sure you do whatever they can do for themselves.
• Keep them away from anyone who thinks differently than they do.
• Try to give them everything they want.
• Tell them over and over again you just want them to be happy.
• Convince them that they are more special than other kids.
• Always take their side when they get in trouble with their teacher at school.
• Always take their side whenever they are in a conflict with a friend.
• Keep insisting that they are the best player on the team.
• Don’t give them consistent opportunities to help or serve other people.
• Never require them to do chores.
• Reinforce their prejudices about people from different cultures or backgrounds.
• Make your relationship with them more important than your relationship with your spouse.
• Rarely express genuine gratitude to those who help you.
• Teach them to talk more than they listen.
• Never let them hear you say, “I was wrong. I am sorry.”
Maybe you can add a few ideas of your own… on how to raise a jerk.

Whatever parenting philosophy we ascribe to, we all want to see our kids succeed. Whether it’s at school, sports, music or in the character traits they possess, we all want our kids to thrive. And the truth is, a huge part of their success is us. We set the tone for so much of their self-worth, self-understanding and self-image. So, let’s focus on being a part of the steps we want to see them take. Let’s get in the game with them and encourage their steps towards realizing the potential that God has placed inside of them.

3. Action Point
Obviously, no parent takes the advice on how to raise a jerk seriously. But what most of us do want to take seriously is the opportunity we have as parents to help our students become the best person—and eventually, the healthiest adult—they can be. We want to help them set goals and achieve them. And we want to praise them for their successes.

This month, think about helping your student make one step. Think of one new thing that you would love for your son or daughter to do. Maybe it’s to improve his or her science grade, learn how to do laundry, cook a meal or change the oil in the car. Once you have decided on one goal for your student, communicate your desire to teach this skill and let your student know why it is important to learn it. Then spend time during the month helping teach your student how to accomplish the goal.

If you want your student to improve his or her science grade, sit with him or her and study flash cards. If you want them to know how to do laundry, do a load or two together until he or she gets the hang of it. By communicating to your child why you want him or her to know or do a certain thing, you communicate respect. By spending time helping them learn, you are letting him or her know of their importance to you. You will also alleviate your child’s fear of disappointing you if they get it wrong.

The most important thing that fuels forward motion is celebration. Make sure that you celebrate your child’s step! Tell him or her that you are proud of them for working so hard or for learning something new. When your child knows that they can make you proud, they will be much more motivated to continue working on their new goal.

Get connected to a wider community of parents at


The Thrill of Hope: December

the Thrill of Hope: December
Series Overview
For 2000 years, Christians have gathered all over the world to celebrate the birth of Christ, and not just as a historical event, but as a powerful reminder that God doesn’t give up on His promises and as God’s children, we always have hope. The Christmas story began with the nation of Israel, a group of people that had good reason to lose hope—they hadn’t heard a word from God in hundreds of years. To the poets, prophets, and priests, it seemed as if God might have turned His back on them. The thrilling nature of the Christmas story is that God didn’t turn His back, and although He had been silent, He had not been still. A baby was coming. God was putting skin on and moving into the neighborhood. Hope crashed into the silence.

Session 1: More Than Faithful (12/8)
Scripture References: Luke 1: 5-9, 11-15, 17-25
Christmas is a season marked with anticipation for those of us inside of the church and even those outside of it. However, the nation of Israel understood expectation in a much deeper way than waiting on a new bicycle. At the time of Jesus’ birth, it had been hundreds of years since God had sent a prophet, an oracle, or even a judgment. As we discover in the first chapter of Luke, all of that is about to change. The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth—the parents of John the Baptist—teaches us that when God is silent, it doesn’t mean He is still. He reverses the fortune of a barren woman, ends years of silence, and sends His Son into the world. The Christmas story since the beginning has been about a relentless God who is always on the move.

Session 2: More Than Forgiven (12/15)
Scripture References: Galatians 4:4-7
Usually when we read the Christmas story we start with one of the four gospels. This week, we’ll take a look at what Paul says about the Christmas story in Galatians. He offers a perspective that is unique from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. For Paul, the message isn’t just that Jesus comes to forgive our sins; He comes so that we can know God as our Father. For thousands of years, God has primarily been a lawgiver to the nation of Israel, but now—through Christ—He is a Father to all of those who seek Him. The beauty of the Christmas story is not simply that we are off the hook for our sins, but that we can have an intimate relationship with our Creator.

Session 3: More Than a Story (12/22)
Scripture References: Luke 1:1-4
In the 21st Century, some 2000 years after the words were written, the Christmas story has come under assault in our culture. Is this story even true? Perhaps you have wondered that yourself. With the local mall changing it’s slogan from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays,” perhaps you have secretly wondered if Christmas should be more about celebrating family than the birth of a Savior. Through reading the gospel of Luke—and understanding why he wrote his letter—we discover that the Christmas story is more than a story. The Christmas story is an event in history. Understanding Luke’s historical context helps us realize that our faith isn’t in faith and our belief isn’t in belief. The Christmas story is a historical event with real names and faces, real stables and horses. When we understand this, what makes the “Holy Night” of Christ’s birth so wonderful is that it actually happened.


Spring Break Response Teams

In late March 2011 when tornadoes tore from Alabama to Pennsylvania, we mobilized a inter-generational group that would spend its spring break to put their hands to the work of helping the residents of Menifee County put their lives and homes back together.

In 2012, an even larger group went back for more of the same. We’ve made a HUGE difference to our friends in Menifee County and the surrounding areas. This year, before we plan to continue the work we’ve begun there, we’d like to call you all to a time of prayer and discernment. There may be more pressing needs within a few hours drive that we can respond to.

So please, set aside some time to consider what God may be calling us all to.

And mark your calendar for either April 6-11 or April 20-26 either of these weeks could be the best spring break your family has had in years.


Parent Meeting

Parent Meeting

We’ve heard some great feedback from parents about the hurdles of going to camp. So now, you can reserve a spot ONLINE for SpringHill Winter Retreat at for only $30 February 14-16, 2014

Seniors are important we want to celebrate them. email to share your opinions about what the best time to celebrate is for your family. May, June or end of Summer?

Pastor Phil Linton talked about further aligning Student & Adlut Missions. Summer Missions are a big, BIG commitment, we’re giving you more time to decide if that commitment is right for you and your student. More details will be coming soon as we work to connect these trips with the tri-anual missions festival happening fall 2014.

MS trip is June 22-26
HS trip is June 27-July 4

Informational Meeting: 2/23
Applications are Due: 3/2
Required Team Meetings: 3/16, 4/13, 5/18 & 1 Determined within teams

We also heard thank you’s from Cindy Ziemba & Austin Germain for the ways your students are giving themselves away in service to Jesus. Thank you all for the work that it takes for your families!

We also spent considerable time in smaller groups for parents and leaders to build relationships and pray together. We shared our favorite rollerskating songs, mine was always the theme song for Greatest American Hero. Then we prayed through Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (the Shema) for the hearts, souls and strengths of our teens. These were spectacular moments of meaningful connection. We’d love for all of you to connect with the adults that are spending time with them. Send us a note we’ll try to facilitate something!

Take a look at the Events Calendar to see more dates for upcoming activities and service opportunities!


Generation Change: Financial Series November

Generation Change: Financial Series November

Money is a BIG deal, God has a lot to say about it!

Our students will be walking through a financial series,Sunday’s at 9:30a for 9-12th graders (pre-registration required for this one), Sunday’s at 11a for 6th-8th graders and at 6:30pm for 9th-12th November 10, 17 & 24,* called Generation Change. This series is taught on video by Dave Ramsey & his daughter Rachel Cruze. We’d love for every Ward Student to participate for this very special 3 Week series!

We asked individuals in the congregation to commit $9 (to purchase the required participant notebook) and significant prayer time for our middle school and high school students. Our congregation wants to tangibly show our students that their church cares for them. You can buy a workbook in the name of a student who you know or don’t know. (We’d prefer if you the parent don’t buy your own child’s book but send another student through if you are able**) That student will receive the workbook and a note that you are praying for them as they study what God says about them and money.

Stop by the Students Kiosk on a Sunday for specifics or email

*We have a list of 381 students who will reicieve this workbook regardless of their participation.
**The book cost will NOT be passed on to the student


Epic (high school) News

I want to give you all some concrete details about some of the shifts we’ve been making in our high school side of Student Ministries (Epic) here at Ward. At the end of the summer we sent out a mailer with a few statements about our small and large groups. To sum it up:

Large group now stands alone (detached from small groups) as a place where anyone, no matter where they are on their journey, can encounter Christ in a profound way. It’s a great place to invite friends.
• Instead of being told what group to attend, students choose what small group they go to, when that small group meets, and what their group studies (we have tons of resources available).

To highlight a few things about large group this Fall:
• We meet on Sunday evenings at 6:30p in the Students Room (a113) at Ward
• We will spend a few weeks focusing on: Family, Money and Hope.
• 12/1 we will have a guest artist/musician lead the evening.
• 11/24 and 12/29 will be an open forum where students can ask any questions they have about life and faith

Small groups can now become a more natural environment that speaks to the gifting and passion of your child. Students can grow in an adult supported, student led environment. Groups meet in places and times that are natural for them. Students involved in activities like the student choir are now supported and resourced as small groups. The groups listed on the back will run from now until the end of December. Students will be allowed to continue the same group in 2014 or pick a new group if they need to.

Our goal is that students have four years with us to learn how to find a community of Christ followers where they fit.

We don’t want students who are already a part of a group that grows their faith to feel the need to join something else. We are here to support and encourage all groups to LOVE, TRANSFORM, and RISK. If, your child is not a part of a group we would love to help them find one!

The small groups listed on the tab at the top right are forming. If your student wants to be involved you can email the group leader directly or work through me. If we do not have a group that suits your students’ interests please contact me. As time goes on we expect to form even more groups.

I hope you know that our end goal is not for your child to join a large or small group. We believe these are highly effective tools for building strong relationships with adults and peers who will journey with your child as they move towards Christ. With everything we do, our goal in Student Ministries is to grow students’ relationships with God, the Church, their family, friends, other adults, their community and the world. Please let us know how we can help you!



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