We often include a segment of our weekend worship hours entitled “From The congregation” in which someone in our church family will share a short story concerning their spiritual journey.
Maybe you’re one of the many Americans who make New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you don’t like making them. I recently read that only 8 percent of people who make them ever succeed in meeting their goals.
Whether or not you plan to make any official resolutions, you may be thinking about what your 2017 looks like.
One recent TIME magazine article suggested that we should spend more time engaging people instead of pixels, taking your soul seriously, and being kind. Those are some great thoughts for beginning the year.
These are all things that we do in the church. At Bloomingdale Church we believe that a good life is built on relationships of “Up, In, Out.”
UP. That’s a daily and real connection between you and God.
IN. That’s all of the relationships we have that help us be present with people and grow in our faith.
OUT. That’s all the ways that we can serve and help others.
We invite you to be a part of these UP/IN/OUT relationships in 2017.
Here are some resources to succeed in reaching your Up / In / Out resolutions for 2017:
“UP” Opportunities [Up, In, Out]
“IN” Opportunities [Up. In. Out.]
“Out” Opportunities [Up. In. Out]
Have you ever asked, “why does God allow evil?” Or “why is God allowing this suffering in my life?”
These questions are welcome at Bloomingdale Church.
Bloomingdale Church is a welcoming community that believes suffering can only be healed in relationship with God and within a community of God’s people. Where there is no hope, God is our hope.
Questions about suffering stem from what some call the “the problem of evil”: if God is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-good, then why is there suffering?
There are many answers to this question, but efforts to defend God’s ways are misguided if they don’t take into account a personal God acting in specific ways toward His people.
God’s people have always wrestled with how to respond to suffering and evil, but always in the context of a personal relationship.
The Bible offers accounts of God’s people wrestling with evil in their lives and in the world (especially in books like Job, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Lamentations, and Habakkuk). For instance, Habakkuk, lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Israelites asks God, “why…are [you] silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?”
This is one of many bold questions directed toward God. But Habakkuk is confident enough in his relationship with God that he can express these emotional questions, and God responds to him.
Consider joining our community where we can all work through our past and present experiences of suffering within the context of a personal relationship with Jesus.
Any thoughts or questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look for me at our next service.
Stuart G is Bloomingdale Church’s Missions Director.
School secretary Therese Ziecina helped propose a volunteer-leadership development program at her school. At the introductory event her son Raymond made a surprise speech.
“I’m a graduate of Marquardt Middle School,” my son, Raymond, confidently shared with 40 seventh graders at the event in October.
“I have an IEP, I have learning struggles, just like many of you. At the beginning of 7th grade I was classified as a non-reader. I could only read two- and three-letter words. There was a teacher, Mrs. McDonald, who took an interest in me and wanted to help me learn to read. I didn’t think it would work, but I gave it a try. By the time I graduated from 8th grade I was reading at an almost 6th grade level. During that same time another teacher, Mr. Gentry, asked me to help out with the sound and lighting at a school play. About the same time, Daniel, a pastor from my church (who is sitting over there), asked me to volunteer on the video team at my church. I didn’t think I’d like it, but I gave it a try. Volunteering on that video team led me to my chosen career. Now, in my last year of college at Indiana Wesleyan University, I am thankful for these mentors. I encourage you to say yes to every opportunity to volunteer, even if you think you are not going to like it. You never know where those opportunities will lead you.”
My son Raymond gave this speech spontaneously after several school administrators shared their planned remarks. He surprised everyone and asked if he could share too. I was shocked and humbled at his honesty. I fought back joyful tears.
I saw in that moment how God has used volunteer opportunities, caring adults, and educational struggles to enable him to help others. God always had a plan for my son. I am so proud that he was able to turn his struggles into a way to bless others.
This is why the Marquardt Middle School Serving Society exists. We wanted to give students, who may not normally have the opportunity, to volunteer. Our hope was that students would benefit from leadership and citizenship skills cultivated in them. For the past year, the Student Serving Society has partnered with the youth programming staff at Bloomingdale Church. We have seen huge strides in social growth in many of these students.
55 years ago, Helen started volunteering with children’s programming. She has not stopped serving since!
“I cannot imagine not working with children, teaching them to know Jesus’s love. They have an eagerness to learn and accept the truths they are taught.”
“Children’s ministry has its own struggles,” Helen said, “like times and culture changing throughout the years.” Serving while working full-time was a challenge as well but Helen has learned to adapt and ask God for help.
“There’s nothing more exciting than spending time with children. I’m currently involved in Sunday School, Crossroads at DuJardin Elementary School, and Awana. If you want a blessing, I encourage you to consider becoming involved in serving the Lord in some way: Listen to Bible verses at Awana or spend time with some amazing boys and girls at DuJardin on Tuesday afternoons. God will bless you immeasurably!”
Helen’s favorite memory from serving in KidsQuest has been watching kids grow from making gingerbread houses together in Sunday School to becoming current leaders in the church, like current Bloomingdale Church staff members Chris and Brent Steinke. “I get tears in my eyes as I watch these boys and girls grow up, especially to be baptized and serve the Lord.”
At Bloomingdale Church, KidsQuest programs are designed to be fun, safe, and a welcoming place for families. But what makes these programs run? Volunteers – adults and teens who give their time to serving kids and families. Thank you, Helen, and 200+ other volunteers!
Learn more about being a NextGen volunteer here.