Dear GCI Friends and Family,
Ordinary Time is the period following Pentecost and takes us up to Christ the King Sunday on the worship calendar. It is the season to be attentive to the call of discipleship and disciple making. Ordinary Time connects nicely with our 2023 theme, Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.
During this time, we focus more on what we are called to do and what we are called to be, as we participate with Christ. So, what will Faith, Hope, and Love in Action look like at our local congregational level in 2023?
Ordinary Time is a period of nearly six months. In the US, it occurs during the summer and early autumn and includes the months when most children are on their school break. Allow me to point out an opportunity for us to reach out to youth and families. Ordinary Time is prime time for neighborhood youth camps. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic kept us sidelined from these opportunities, but now we can rejoin this wonderful expression of how we share Christ’s love.
In my background with Youth for Christ and GCI’s Generations Ministries, I spent multiple summers at youth camps around the country and around the world. I experienced the beauty of how adults can share their time, skills, and faith in interaction with young people. Past research indicates that if a young person comes to a relationship with Jesus by age 13, it is likely they will remain a faithful follower for life. I came to believe this as truth.Read More
The beauty and simplicity of a neighborhood camp is something a healthy church will want to be a part of. Let me list a few ideas.
- Inviting and engaging with the youth in your congregation’s surrounding neighborhood allows you a focused time of two to three days to build meaningful relationships. Since they are your neighbors, you can share life together beyond the activity. This is the Love Avenue in action.
- A well-designed camp will include an invitation to a Sunday service that highlights the meaningful camp experience with pictures and video content. It will be a unique opportunity to invite parents to participate and experience the life of the congregation. It’s a chance for the Hope Avenue team to actively engage with families. Serving a special lunch is a good idea.
- Planning a back-to-school engagement is another way the Love Avenue and Hope Avenue can join efforts.
- A church that is thinking ahead would consider building from the momentum of camp by organizing something akin to an AWANAs club and inviting the campers. This could be a weekly or bi-monthly club to offer the neighborhood young people a safe space for fun and biblical discipleship. This is the Faith Avenue in action.
Ordinary Time is when we reveal the light of Jesus, exhibit the life of Jesus, and share the love of Jesus. And what better audience to consider than the children in our church neighborhood? If you are searching for ideas, please utilize the online tools of the GCI website. Questions and inquiries can be sent to Generations Ministries Coordinator, Dishon Mills, and you can always solicit input from your regional director. Don’t allow a lack of ideas or support to hold you back.
Camp ministry has been in the DNA of GCI for decades; moving that emphasis from regional camps to neighborhood camps has been a tactical move. It is time that we use our talents and experience to organize and get moving—living and sharing the gospel with the children and parents in our local church neighborhoods. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Ordinary Time can become extraordinary time. Let the children come to Jesus!
An old youth minister at heart,