Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What I Can Do As A Student Minister In Light of Charlottesville:

In the wake of the Charlottesville protests  – and the ongoing racial turmoil our country has been in since its founding – it is time for me as a student pastors to leverage my influence to lead young people toward spiritual reconciliation.

As a Student pastor, I cannot avoid the conversation about race inequality. Look at the pictures of these white supremacists in Charlottesville; they are young men – not the older generation that everyone assumes still has racists roots.

These men were teenagers in a student ministry less than a decade ago.

If I passively sit back, waiting for my senior pastor to speak about hard topics, I am creating a culture of uninformed and spiritually weak Christians.

It is easy to feel lost as to what I can do to make a difference.

Being detached geographically doesn’t detach my ethical and spiritual responsibility to denounce evil and advocate for change.

What should I do as a student pastor to lead change?  

Have ongoing conversations about race, reconciliation, and Jesus’ model of ministry.

Offering up a prayer the Sunday after a racial tragedy isn’t going to change our culture. As a spiritual leader, I must constantly denounce hate and oppression and lead my students to live as citizens of Heaven – the hands and feet of the Body of Jesus Christ.

Theologian Karl Barth said, “We have to read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.” Student ministries cannot be detached from culture. The Spirit of God hasn’t give us a spirit of fear but of courage and power (2 Timothy 17). I must lead ongoing conversations about the injustices that are happening around the world and how the power of Jesus, extended through the local church, can radically change our world.

Expand my students’ worldview by ministering cross-culturally.

If ignorance breeds racism, then I must expose my students to the cultures that exist beyond their cul-de-sacs.  They need to see that people are people and that the need for Jesus transcends race, social status, and gender. Ministering cross-culturally has to be an ongoing aspect of your ministry. Serving one time in that one area will not shape my students’ worldview to minister to others.

Don’t tolerate hate in my church.

Love isn’t silent. My student ministries can’t be silent about evil. Jesus wasn’t – He constantly crossed racial and social barriers to heal broken people. It is time for me to speak up and use whatever platform that I have to influence change in my community. My students will follow my leadership.

Lead by example. 

At the end of the day, I have to help my students become doers of God’s Word. I need to cultivate Christians who act in our passive culture. Connect students and parents to the tangible steps to fight evil. Those steps will look different in each community. Christians have the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Student pastors have the responsibility to equip students glorify Jesus.

In addition, here are a few passages I reference as I continue to stand against evil and encourage my students to be the salt and light of the world.

Bible Passages To Reference As You Speak Against Racism:

John 4 – Jesus’ Encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well

Luke 10:25-37 – Parable of the Good Samaritan

Ephesians 2:19-20 – “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

Revelation 7:9 – “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

Matthew 22:37-39 – “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

1 John 2:11 – “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

2 Corinthians 5:14 – “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”

Monday, July 31, 2017

August Parent Newsletter 2K17:

Parents On The Go:

1) The best way to stay in touch with upcoming CREW activities is to sign up for our text message communication through Remind. Text: @1t412 to phone number: 81010.

2)Slip N Slide Kickball: FREE, Wednesday August 2 at 7:00 pm at the church.

3) Lock-IN: Free, Friday night August 18th 8:00 pm-7:30 am

4) Parent Symposium: Educating parents on the development of their teenager. Wednesday, August 16th at 7:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

5) Youth Led Service: Sunday Night, August 27th at 6:30 pm. If your son or daughter would like to showcase their talent or share a testimony please contact Pastor T

6) Paintball: Saturday, September 16th

Dear Parents,

I can't believe we are about to start another year in CREW. A new group of students has moved up from the Children's Department and I am excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of all the students. Below you will find an outline of my philosophy of ministry and what I believe every student needs to change.

Gospel + safety + time.  It’s what everyone needs.  A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.

Gospel: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit.  Multiple exposures.  Constant immersion.  Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.

Safety: a non-accusing environment.  No embarrassing anyone.  No manipulation.  No oppression.  No condescension.  But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.  A church environment where no one seeking the Lord has anything to fear.

Time: no pressure.  Not even self-imposed pressure.  No deadlines on growth.  Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly.  A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level.  God is patient.

This is what CREW seeks to be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time.  It’s where students are finally free to grow.

Reaching, Teaching & Releasing,



Pastor T Welch

Monday, July 3, 2017

July Parent Newsletter 2K17:

For Parents On the Go:

1) Summer Meals EVERY Wednesday at 6:00 pm in CREW. Cost: $3.

2) Sliding Rock in Ashville, NC. Here is a website to read more about it (https://www.romanticasheville.com/sliding_rock_north_carolina.htm). Thursday, July 13th. 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Cost: $3 plus lunch money.

3) Carowinds, Tuesday, July 25th. Cost of admission plus $ for lunch.

4) Sunday mornings we have begun a new series entitled A Beautiful Design examining God's purpose for manhood and womanhood. I will be doing short video blogs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday on social media to help solidify the content learned on Sunday morning. Please tune in.

Dear Parents,

Last week while I was at summer camp I had the opportunity to interact with several other Student Ministers. Several Student Ministers complained about the lack of support they get from parents and how parents are always undermining their authority. When they were sharing I was thanking God for each of you.

Thank you for being supportive of me and the direction I have been attempting to steer CREW Student Ministries.

Thank you for adopting and supporting my vision of reaching, teaching and releasing 7th-12th grade students.

Thank you for speaking words of encouragement to me through cards, emails and even pulling my aside and letting me know you support me.

Thank you for driving your son or daughter to activities and on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights.

Thank you for encouraging your son or daughter who drives to come out to activities and on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights.

Thank you for paying for events and activities. I know it can be a strain on your budget but I appreciate the sacrifice and know that God is using all of the events and activities to mold and shape your son or daughter into an individual who loves the Lord and serves others.

Thank you for praying for me and my family.

Thank you for entrusting your most treasured possession into our care week after week.

I could not effectively serve the students at FBCS if it was not for your encouragement, love, prayers and support. Thank you.

I will close this brief newsletter with a quote from the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi,

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

Reaching, Teaching and Releasing,

Pastor T Welch

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Worship:


Do Something Awesome: Build A Family

If you listen to a dash of rap or pop music every now and then as I do, you hear some interesting words and phrases: "swag," "YOLO." And one of my personal favorites: "I'm doing me now." This saying means that, though you've been forced to sacrifice your interests for others in past days, you are at present concentrating on yourself.

This is a humorous phrase but a popular worldview today. In a secularizing, narcissistic society, other people are increasingly seen as an impediment to happiness. This is true for some folks of children, for example. Once, children were a natural stepping stone to maturity, one that followed marriage. Now, they're increasingly seen as a lifestyle option that you can either opt out of altogether or buy into later in life. The common life-script among a good number of my peers (both Christian and non-Christian, surprisingly) is basically this:


  • Have fun now (20s and 30s).
  • Have as many relationships as you want; keep them as minimally defined as possible. 
  • Make lots of money, pursue your career with super-intensity; alternately, goof off and avoid pursuing anything hard. 
  • Eventually, in your late 30s and 40s, think about settling down. Then, maybe have a few children.


From my little pocket of the Internet, I would like to register a different opinion: Building a family is awesome. Besides the gift of a husband or wife, children are a great gift of God to humanity. Like Adam shouting for joy over the discovery of Eve, the Psalmist shouts praise to God for the blessing of little ones:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3-5).

How, though, do you actually build a God-glorifying family? Let me share several thoughts with you. (We're going to assume that marriage has already happened.)

1. Once married, create a strong spiritual climate before kids arrive.

When kids do come, you need to build into them. Actually, a husband and wife should themselves have already built a strong spiritual culture in the home. Studying the Bible together, praying together, talking about the sermon together, going to marriage seminars together, going on fun dates (ideally at least once or twice a month if you can), and having weekly conversations about how you can encourage one another and kill sin individually will all help to do this. It is especially important that you be members of a local church and, ideally, pursue a godly older couple to mentor you if at all possible.

2. Take time to get to know one another and figure out rhythms.

It is no bad thing for young Christian couples to take some time to figure out what life together actually looks like. It seems like some today feel pressure to get started immediately in having children. If that's what you think is best, go for it. No problem. But if you do want to take a period of time (one to two years, maybe?) to grow in your love for one another, I don't think you should feel any negative pressure for doing so. In ancient Israel, men were released from their typical duties for a year following their marriage.

During the time preceding the arrival of children, you can focus as a couple on things like the following:


  • Being a good and clear communicator 
  • Working through conflict in a productive way 
  • Learning how you can love your spouse in ways they enjoy 
  • Getting a lot of time together to simply enjoy marriage 
  • Enjoying the gift of sex, which takes a lot more hard work than Hollywood leads us to think 
  • Serving your local church and getting to know godly couples in it so you can learn from them
  • Building these and other skills will ready you to be a strong parent. It won't make you perfect parents or risk-proof your life, but it will deepen your love for one another and knowledge of one another.


3. When ready, create a family.

This sounds like a big deal, and it is. But in God's providence, it is generally a simple process. You don't need a certain IQ level or number in your bank account to have children. You do need to be responsible, spiritually growing, and able to give your kids the basics that they need to survive and thrive. For men, this means owning the responsibility to provide (see 1 Timothy 5:8-14, Titus 2:5). For women, this means becoming a nurturer of your home and preparing for nurture of children.

Some couples struggle with infertility. Many couples, sadly, experience a miscarriage, some even two or three. Do not enter the "family creation" stage expecting to experience some sort of dream-like reality as a couple. Life is hard, and conception and childbearing was cursed at the fall (Genesis 3:16). If that sounds abstract, it will not be. The effects of Adam and Eve's disobedience are real. Be ready to navigate challenges, should they come. Take care not to have a blueprint that you require God to follow in giving you children, but trust Him in all things and at all times as the sovereign Giver of life.

As one application of this, you might not come into your season of parenting thinking about adoption. But sometimes the struggle to conceive a child can open the door to a whole new dimension of child-raising, one that powerfully images the love God shows for His adopted people, the church (see Ezekiel 16 and James 1:27). Russell Moore's Adopted for Life is helpful on this subject.

4. When children come, invest in them.

The more quantity of time parents spend with their kids, the greater the chance the children will feel loved, and the healthier they will be. Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 with this in mind:

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What does this mean for us? Because of our great love for our children, we should — like our biblical predecessors — take constant responsibility for our kids. We should teach them by word and deed at mealtimes, at bedtimes, in the field, during the commute, and while walking around the park.

Godly parenting is not a work you can compartmentalize; it's a calling, a continual calling. You have to constantly trade in self-interest for sacrificial love. Fathers should take their role as spiritual head seriously (see Ephesians 5:22-33). Both husband and wife have all kinds of ways to train their children, but the father is the spiritual leader of his home.

If you haven't taught anyone theology and struggle to know where to begin, get a book like Big Truths for Young Hearts or Knowing God. Read the book with your family for 10 minutes at night, discuss it for a bit, then pray. Or you could read a chapter of the Bible each night, talk about it, and pray. Whatever you choose to do, these kinds of small acts of spiritual leadership can go a long way to creating a happy home.

5. Remember your great need for the Gospel.

As I have said, parenting is hard work. It is a great task. It calls for a big vision of what you and your spouse want your family to be. If it is not infused with the Gospel and its call to regularly repent and savor God's grace in Jesus Christ, it may swallow you whole and leave you discouraged and disaffected. You, me and every parent who has ever lived or will ever live needs the power of the Gospel in our homes.

Parenting is hard work, as I've said. It brings out our sin. Sometimes you are simply desperate for a night to yourself. Sometimes you're short-tempered. Sometimes you don't want to change a diaper. Sometimes you and your spouse both feel these ways, and it's a mess, and you just have to stop what you're doing and repent together.

As a parent, you need to regularly let God's lavish forgiveness through the cross of Christ wash over you. This transforming reality, after all, has freed you from image maintenance. You're trying to parent well, but you're not trying to convince anyone you're a SuperDad or SuperMom. It's actually better for everyone — your kids, your neighbors, you — if you acknowledge that you're not perfect, that you desperately need the Lord, and that you find your strength in Him.

Conclusion

Family-building is big, glorious and immensely self-sacrificial. It is a great undertaking that calls for what I call "Gospel risk." We exchange our sin and selfishness and small dreams for something harder and better and God-honoring. This is the way to happiness, in truth: being like the faithful stewards of the Parable of the Talents who, while their master was gone, exemplified faithfulness and courage (see Matthew 25:14-30).

So forget about trying to craft the perfect vacation or figuring out the perfect risk-proof life plan, one that allows you to float on a bed of ease through a pampered life with no waves. Reject a culture of low expectations that reduces you to something weaker than you are. If you do, you'll set yourself up for unparalleled joys. Sometimes I look back when I'm driving, and my two tiny kids are holding hands, totally on their own initiative. I am not kidding when I say that nothing beats such moments.

If you're called to marriage, then you can know such joy. The world can "do me." It can have its fancy cocktails and designer jeans. We've found something better. It's not club-hopping — it's family-building.

Wednesday Worship:


Keep Going, Keep Sowing:

“He who goes out weeping” (Psalm 126:6)

To live in light of eternity means to live every day with an awareness that you will one day reap unspeakable joy when you see the face of Christ.

The joy in that moment will outweigh every sorrow of today.

This constant, because-you-know-you-must, because-if-you-quit-today-things-will-fall-apart, kind of tearful sowing, and the sadness that comes with it will seem as nothing in comparison.

We must continue to teach, explain, work, wait, listen, learn, repent, forgive, grow, and perhaps even stumble a little in the process.

Love when no love returns.

Instill those values into your children that don’t seem to stick the first, second, or third time. Eventually, they will.

Get up in the morning and go to a job you wish was more enjoyable, you wish paid better because your family really does depend on you.

Tell that lost one about the love and forgiveness found in the gospel. Serve your community even when they don’t serve you.

It’s those things that matter most in life that challenge us in the deepest ways and tempt us to quit. The everyday stuff of life that brings us to tears does so because we understand what’s at stake if we were to stop.

Continue in God’s strength. Sow because you know you must. The reward, in the end, has no equal.

For “he who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:6)

And “In due season you will reap if you faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

Don’t just keep going. Do so because you know the bigger picture. If no seed is sown at all, you can cry all you want and absolutely nothing will happen. It’s not the tears that produce fruit, or even the faithfulness of the sower, but the faithfulness of the One who alone can take our feeble, everyday, day in and day out work, and do something glorious in His timing.

God is doing something magnificent with each seed you sow, even when you don’t see it.

Keep sowing, tears and all.

There will be shouts of joy.

There will be a harvest of laughter and rejoicing. Maybe not today or tomorrow or the next day, but soon.