GP Kids Parenting: Technology

Maybe it was a Super Nintendo, Oregon Trail on the school computer, or immersing yourself in episodes of Full House, but our exposure to technology was vastly different from what our children experience today. They’re inundated with technology EVERYWHERE they turn.

Does that mean we just hand them an iPod, unlimited Netflix and YouTube access, and an unmonitored TV and allow them to handle technology however they deem fit? This month, in our video below, we want to help you as a parent understand the pros and cons of technology and how to manage it in a way that sets your child up for success through a Biblical worldview.

The follow-up to this blog will be an email through our GP Kids list titled “GP Kids Parenting – My Child’s Mobile Device.” Sign up for those emails here.

Check out this 5 minute video!

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/86560654/63bc8c27e1

Staying the course

Think Back…You can never remember a time like this, can you? Turbulent, unsettled times…terrorism…political upheaval…the shredding of the moral fabric of our society…countless shifts in policies and programs and cultural fads. It can get scary.

So what is our posture? To lament, “God, take me home and get me out of this mess!” No, our deportment should rather be to stay the course, to fulfill our God-given mission: to help more people become fully committed followers of Jesus.

Why? Because this is the unwavering message brought to us in the pages of Scripture again and again:

Noah was called on to do something that seemed foolish—if not impossible—and he was mocked for it. Yet he stayed the course—and saved the human race.

Moses spent 40 years in the desert, caring for sheep, and 40 more years leading rebellious Israelites. Yet God gave him strength to stay the course—and he delivered the Israelites from 400 years of slavery.

Joseph was wrongly accused, nearly killed, imprisoned, but he stayed the course—and saved Israel from the devastating famine.

David was pursued within inches of losing his life, more than once. The king, whom he served, tried to kill him. Yet he stayed the course—and became the greatest king of Israel’s history.

Look at Jesus’ own life. He felt pressure. He groaned. He was troubled by the world. Yet he could say, in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

Stay the course. God speaks that same message to this generation.

We do not need to live in fear, no matter what the latest news cable might say. God knows what is happening and He knows what He is doing. And you are here for His purposes, not your own. So, stay the course.

High School Winter Retreat Recap

Today’s blog post is written by one of our volunteer Youth Leaders, Jamie Kuhner, who recently joined me and several others on our High School Winter Retreat. We had a great weekend!


One of the first questions I want to ask God when I get to heaven is, “Why do children have more energy than adults?” This past weekend a group of 15 students and four adults made their way to Rock Mountain Bible College for the High School Winter Retreat. As one of those adults, I can safely say that our students do not value sleep nearly as much as I do, yet they moved through the weekend as if they were Energizer bunnies. Despite the lack of sleep, it was a wonderful weekend. Our students were joined by youth groups from the surrounding area who belong to the Allies Youth Network. Activities for the weekend included organized games, sledding, and most importantly, worshiping together and hearing from Gods’ Word.

Tre Ford, the speaker for the weekend, shared the importance of being different through the story of Nehemiah building the wall. As Christians, if we are following God’s commands, we will not blend in with the general population. Students were encouraged to be in the world and not of it, share their faith boldly with others, and be a light in the dark. Following each lesson, the churches broke up into small groups to further examine the topics.

Students felt that school is the main area where they can be salt and light (showing God’s love and enhancing those around them). This idea is easier said than done. As Tre said, we have to remember that our value is not determined by peers, but by God. When we cling to this fact, we will not be afraid to act boldly for His kingdom.

After chewing on these concepts, one student shared that they could be more open with their friends about their weekend. Instead of just saying that they were on a retreat, they could go into detail about what they learned about their faith. Other ideas included standing up for those who need it, attending FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and bringing friends to youth group.

Growing up, my youth group called our weekends away an “advance” instead of a “retreat” because you want to move forward. I firmly believe that there was life change this past weekend and our students will make moves that can further the kingdom of God.

Please continue to pray for our youth. They are not just the future of the church; they are the church right now.

Happy Valentine’s Day

I am sitting in my home office and writing up notes for the Marriage, Family and Relationships Classes. I ponder what it would be like if every person had at least one healthy relationship where they felt connected, loved, and supported.

What do you and I need from others to have a healthy and connected relationship?

May I suggest three key essential building blocks:

  1. Trust
  2. Emotional Availability
  3. Sensitive Responsiveness.

We are currently looking at the topic of “Safe Haven Marriages/Relationships.”

Come join us on Sunday mornings at 9am in Room A-1&2 as, together, we explore the foundational concepts of having a safe haven relationship. These classes will take place at 9am in Room A-1&2, February 12th and 26th.

On March 12th, 19th, and 26th we will explore the topic, “Entering the World of Adolescence.” These classes are designed to help parents, teachers, and family members understand the complex and ever-changing world of the adolescent.

In April and May, we will explore the topic of “Personalities and Relationships.”

*The Myers Briggs Personality profile will be available for individuals to complete prior to the first class in April. If you are interested in completing the Myers Briggs profile, contact or see Chuck Arnold (carnold@gracepointpa.org)

Three New Ways to Give

At Grace Point, our mission, together as a church, is to “help more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.” There are a number of ways that we can partner together to accomplish that mission. It could be serving in a ministry, praying for our missionaries, or giving to support the ministry at Grace Point.

Our General Fund is what we use to pay the electric bill, pay our staff, support our missionaries, and order supplies for our kids and youth ministries. All of these things (and many more) are crucial to helping more people become fully committed followers of Jesus.

Today in the services, we announced three new ways that you can give towards to the General Fund and support the work at Grace Point.

  • Debit Cards – You can now give via our Online Giving site (http://giving.gracepointpa.org) using your Debit Card. You can give a one-time gift or setup a recurring gift using your ACH info (routing & account numbers) or your debit card.
  • Give by Kiosk – On Sunday mornings we will have a special location in the foyer where you can give using your debit card at our new kiosk. In seconds you make a secure gift and print a receipt!
  • Give by Text – For many of us, our smart phones dictate our schedules, our work, and our social lives. You can now give by text! Simply text “gracepoint” to 73256 and you’ll be able make a secure gift. It’s fast and easy to use!

Regardless of how you give at Grace Point, it is an act of worship – prayerfully, giving back to God from what He has given to us.

If you have any questions about the above ways to give, general questions, or how to give via stock donations, contact our church office at 215-968-2354.

Ministry Celebration & Biz Meeting Recap

This past Sunday evening we held our Semi-Annual Ministry Celebration and Business Meeting. We celebrate what God has been doing in the life of our church! It’s always encouraging to hear how God is working in your life and helping you to become more like Jesus.

Here are some of the highlights from Sunday night:

  • Dessert is always a highlight!
  • Three people were recognized for becoming new members to the church: Gene Alligood, Kathryn & Walter Rolle. Kathryn shared briefly about how they came to Grace Point and the impact it has had in their life and their family.
  • Bill Wright, Director of Administration shared a financial update; giving is below budget and expenses. New giving methods (give by text, debit cards, and giving by kiosk) are coming soon. Bill also shared that over $830,000 has been given – across all accounts, including the General Fund.
  • Chuck Arnold, Pastor of Congregational Care, updated us on the Care ministries and the new Marriage, Family, & Relationship ministry that has had a strong start.
  • Dave Wolf, Senior Pastor, shared an update on our Strategic Goals, and how the staff have been working on an updated foal for 2017-18, with three strategies to meet that goal. Stay tuned for more info!
  • We also heard updates from Missions and the Youth Transition Team.
  • Scott Leuz, Elder and Chair of the Youth Director search team, announced that the team has narrowed the search down to three candidates and have handed the process over to the staff. The ministry staff will now review resumes, doctrinal statements, philosophies of ministry and lots of other documents & recordings.
  • Dave Crist and Laura Schlenker were recognized for their service as staff members – each serving over 20 years!
  • Glenn Ely, Elder Chair, reminded us of the new Elder candidate process, and members voted for the two candidates. Dave Kneller and Rich Speeney both received unanimous positive votes. (The Elders will now meet, weigh the vote of the membership, and if they are still in unanimous agreement, Dave & Rich will become elders – starting their terms July 1.)

Thanks to all who came out!

GP Kids Parenting: Bullying

This is a big day as we start our online parenting class. At least once a month, we will be offering a Christ-centered, online parenting class/resource.  We want to partner with you and support you in your efforts to raise fully committed followers of Jesus Christ!  These “classes” will be usually five minutes or less, and we hope they will encourage you as parents and families!

We’re jumping right into a topic that you’ve probably already experienced with your child or know is on the horizon-bullying.

If you stop long enough to think about bullying you might have flashbacks to something you’ve experienced. It’s one thing for us as adults to remember those difficult encounters, but another one entirely to think about someone picking on our own kid.

When our child experiences bullying, we’re ready for the gloves to come off because, let’s face it, nobody messes with MY child! We also know fighting our children’s battles doesn’t help them in the long run. They need to experience difficulty, so how do we figure out when to step in and when to let them handle it?

Check out this incredible video that will help equip you to begin the dialogue with your child about bullying.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/73132864

Use Your Clout – Stop Exploitation

At the end of Sunday’s message on Confrontation, an opportunity was mentioned to Raised From Ruins“use your clout to help someone out.” We are privileged to live in a country where we can petition our law-makers to encourage them to do the right thing. Please consider using your voice to help those who are being exploited.

The following information on the progress of PA Bill 851, the Safe Harbor Act, is copied from the website of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, dated November 2016. You can find more details about Bill 851 here.

The 2015-2016 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly officially closes on November 30. Here is the status of the several high priority bills that were on the legislative agenda of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.

Human Trafficking – Senate Bill 851 would have ensured that juvenile victims of human trafficking are not prosecuted as criminals and that support services are made available to them. No action was taken by the end of the session, but legislation may be reintroduced next session.

 

How to write a letter to your PA State Senator, to encourage him or her to reintroduce and pass this legislation:

To find the name and address of your State Senator, please visit “Find Your Legislator” and fill in the relevant information.

Click on the name of your Senator to be taken to their personal page.

You may email your Senator by clicking on the image of the envelope under your Senator’s picture.

If you prefer to mail a letter, you can find your mailing addresses for your Senator’s offices listed on the lower, left-hand side of the page.

You may also want to contact Senator GREENLEAF who was the prime sponsor for this bill.

In your letter, let your Senator know you support them in doing all they can to stop the exploitation of innocent victims.

 

Same Mission – New Look!

Maybe by now you’ve noticed that we’ve updated our website. It has an exciting new look with some new features – including being more mobile-friendly.

You might be thinking, “Why did we need a new website? What was wrong with the old one?” Well, nothing was wrong with the old one – and that’s often the case when it comes to technology and the “Inter-webs.” We’re just updating it with a fresh new look!

Our website serves many purposes, including being “the front door to our church, before the front door.” Many times people will visit a church’s website before they even think of visiting in-person. The same is true for our church. Guests will often have questions like, “What can I expect? What’s it like? What programs do they offer?” Our website answers those questions and more, and gives guests a sneak preview of our church!

Our main website’s primary audience is those looking for a church – those who may be new to Grace Point, future attenders, or those just checking us out.

Our blog (this website) is for those of us that are already “in the know” and may be serving in a ministry. You’ll see a menu option above that says, “Ministry Tools” – this is where you’ll find the Building Use Form (a.k.a. Room Reservation form) and Foyer Table Reservation form. More tools will be added soon, so be on the lookout!

For now, bookmark this site (http://blog.gracepointpa.org) and share our new website with your Facebook friends, neighbors, and others who you’d like to invite to Grace Point.

GP Kids – Important Tel Hai Camp Info

Dear Families and Friends of Grace Point,i-bdvmq8z-l

I am writing today to share with you about Tel Hai Adventure Camp week.  Over the past 11+ years that I have been at Grace Point, Tel Hai has been a highlight of ministry for GP Kids.  This away-camp week for students 8-11 years old began as a thriving opportunity for our families to send their children to a Christian camp.

Similar to many ministry endeavors, the week has had high points and low points throughout the time Grace Point has led it.  At its start, about 14 years ago, we had nearly 50 kids from Grace Point and our local area that would attend.  The week served not only our students, but local children from Honey Brooke who wished to attend, so it became an outreach opportunity as well.  Over the years, while I have led the camp, I have taken time each year to pray over and evaluate the program.  This year, when our Tel Hai leadership team (comprised of both Grace Point and Crossing Community Church leaders) evaluated the program, it became clear that God was indeed directing us to reconsider leading this program.  After much prayer, I brought these considerations to both the staff and elders and decided, with their feedback, that we would not move forward with offering and leading Tel Hai Adventure Camp as a Grace Point sponsored ministry.

i-cgp8m3b-lHere are some factors that brought us to this decision. Of the 130 kids who attended Tel Hai Adventure Camp week this year, only 8 of them were from Grace Point.  Another few students were from Crossing Community Church, but the majority of the children were from the local area of Honey Brooke, PA.  While I loved the opportunity to outreach to the Honey Brooke area, it became clear to me that continuing relationships with those students we did reach was difficult due to our removed location in Newtown, PA.  And despite our efforts over a number of years, we have not seen the number of GP children increase. In a nutshell,  the amount of time, energy, effort and finances it takes to make this one week happen were a cost outweighing the gain.

I realize this ministry has become very dear to the heart of the many leaders and students who have been a part of it, and I assure you much prayer and deliberation has gone into this decision.  I, myself, am sad to close this door.  However, I am, at the same time, excited at what we will see God do in children’s ministry at Grace Point with more time and energy to invest here.

You may be asking yourself, what’s next then?  What could we offer by way of the camp experience some students will miss?  These are important questions I want to answer for you.  Our efforts will be poured back into the overall ministry of GP Kids at Grace Point.  It is my prayer to see the freed up time, leadership and finances used to further the ministry within our program here where the impact can be greater and lasting. Beyond that, I have begun researching other camp experiences that Grace Point would recommend for families.  We will not look to lead a week of camp as we did with Tel Hai, but we do want to offer options and opportunities that may serve you well.  To check out some camp opportunities and further updates, please use this link: https://gracepointonline.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/elementary-and-family-camp-ideas.pdf.

I care deeply about your family and any questions you might have.  Please email me questions at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org.

In love and prayer, Cassandra DeWitt