50th Anniversary Celebration

A few weeks ago, on July 21, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. On the next day (July 22), my siblings, spouses and other family hosted an open house in Fort Wayne. It was fun to stand back and watch as numerous friends came by and offered their congratulations to our parents…and there were a number of people who stopped by.

We moved to Fort Wayne when I began elementary school and lived in the same house until I graduated high school. We were members of the same church throughout that time and our family was pretty involved: youth group, Sunday School, children’s musicals, adult choir, Christmas and Easter pageants, various roles in church leadership and probably a few others not listed. Many of the relationships we had were through our church family. So, when the 50th celebration came around, many who attended were from the church.

I saw former Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, friends of my parents and past choir members. I wish I could say I remembered everyone’s name (I didn’t) or even recognized everyone who came through. It was apparent that many of those friendships ran deep as many conversations were going and many lasted for a while.

Several family members were there which also made the day special.

A 50th Anniversary is definitely worth celebrating and it was cool to see the ripple effect of my parents’ marriage. Not only were children, grandchildren, a great-grandson, a brother, a niece and cousin present, there were countless relationships and friendships represented. It’s hard to quantify the influence they have had on people in Indiana, Oklahoma, all the places they have traveled plus the places their family members have lived.

It was a good day and a couple worth celebrating.

Here are a few pics from the day.

Mom & Dad, Uncle John & Aunt Ginny, Niece Emilee and Cousin Janet

My siblings

Just a few of the people that came

A not-so-great family selfie at dinner following Open House

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Reason #199 Why We Love Small Groups

A few of our 2017 grads. Photo credit to one of our moms for snapping and sharing the pic.

Earlier in May we honored the class of 2017. It’s an annual event we do in our services where we bring our high school seniors on stage and recognize them for graduating. While it’s a regular thing we do (along with churches all across the country), each year is as unique as the members of each graduating class.

For the past few years we have asked our grads to fill out a brief questionnaire so we can make the recognition a bit more personal. Not all of our congregation knows every graduate by name so it’s an opportunity to highlight what our grads have achieved and what they have planned.

The last question for them to respond to was this: What is Your Best School Memory?

A couple of their answers show just why we love small groups.

I anticipated that our grads might point to homecoming or prom or an athletic or academic accomplishment. Some did. In fact, one of our grads was Homecoming Queen this year. Two of our grads finished #3 and #4 in their graduating class. Others enjoyed some athletic success.

But what two of our grads put down as their best memory had to do with their experience in small groups.

Here are the grads own words:

“I loved being kidnapped . . . by my small group leaders. It was always fun being surprised and spending the day with my small group.”

“My favorite memory is having our annual small group Christmas party/sleepover.”

Just another reason why we love small groups.

To the small group leaders out there: You are making an impact. You have influence. Sometimes we just have to wait until they graduate (or later) to see it or hear it.

To the small group leaders out there: Thank You!

A View of Adoption from the ‘Brother’ Side

I’ve posted a number of things about our adoption of Max, some bumps in the road as we have pursued adoption, and experiences through adoption that have changed us.  Recently, one of Max’s brothers wrote about how adoption has impacted him.

Max, along with the siblings in his birth family, gained three brothers and a sister when he joined our family.  A few years later he welcomed a sister-in-law.  One of his brothers, Austin, is a student at Johnson University and shared how a class project on the book of Psalms brought to the surface how adoption has changed him.

This semester, I have had the opportunity to take a course at Johnson University that delves into the Psalms. During this course, we have discussed many different things, ranging from the structure of Hebrew poetry to the implementation of the Psalms in modern worship.

One thing that we focused on heavily was a paradigm proposed by Walter Bruggeman. Bruggeman claims that Psalms can be classified into three groups: Psalms of Orientation, Psalms of Disorientation, and Psalms of New Orientation…

Read the rest of his post on Austin’s blog, Vintage

Home Stretch of our 1MISSION Project

1mission_2For the past few months, we have been working on raising $4000 for “our family” in Mexico – the Ortiz Barajas Family. We are now in the home stretch!

To date, we raised $2,500 through concession stands at our Upward Basketball League and at a karate tournament held at WCC. That amount also includes a gift from our KidCity kids. We have also had a couple of online donations which brings our total collected to $3,100 – we are just $900 from our goal.

We have a few more weeks to reach our goal and provide a home for this family in Mexico. Here are Two Things you can do:

1) Give To Our Online Campaign. All gifts that are given go directly toward providing a home for Barajas family through 1MISSION. If we have many individuals give online, we can reach our goal.

2) Share the Link to our Online Campaign. If you are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media outlet, share the link to our campaign page. Let you friends, family and followers know how they can partner with us and with 1MISSION to provide a home for this family.

Here is the link to our page where you can donate and also share: https://my.1mission.org/t/2539/impact

If you are able, please give toward building a home for this family.  Take a minute to share it with your followers!

IMPACT Tailgate Party Video

Last Sunday we had a Tailgate Party for our students. People tailgate before football games, why not before church! We had a good time with some tasty breakfast food, 9 Square (our students love that game), corn hole and even some gift card giveaways.

Dale put some of our pics into a video. Check it out:

IMPACT Snap Shot 2014-15

Last Sunday (Sept 7th) we had an information meeting for our parents and students to share about what’s happening in IMPACT Student Ministry this school year. We gave a quick overview and had a few printed handouts with information. One of the main things we wanted to provide families was a snap shot of the events & activities planned for the school year. With the many activities our students are involved in, we are hoping this will help as families juggles schedules.

Here is the Snap Shot. (If you are involved in IMPACT Student Ministry, feel free to share this!)

IMPACT 2014-2015

InstaScavenger Hunt @DownloadYM

This weekend our IMPACT students participated in an InstaScavenger Hunt.  Using smartphones to capture various pictures and videos, they uploaded them to Instagram with the hashtag #impactinsta.  While the concept of the scavenger hunt has been around for years, we had a great time going around town taking pictures under bank signs, of the entire group in a bathroom stall and a video of the chicken dance under the KFC sign.

A few of the pictures are below.  You can search #impactinsta on Instagram to all of them.

I modified a list for our hunt from Download Youth Ministry.  It was a great resource to use and had some fun ideas. (Thanks DYM!)

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