Archive for March, 2014

Story and photos by Stephanie Kim.

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13, NIV)

Recently FBC’s youth ministry requested volunteers for host homes for DiscipleNow (DNow) weekend. I very hesitantly agreed, secretly hoping they would have enough other volunteers so that my home wouldn’t be needed. But I soon heard from them how much they appreciated my offer.
As the weekend approached, I became nervous. I can play flute in front of thousands but don’t ask me to host a few teenagers. After all, I’m a single mom with no one to help me through the weekend. But the youth ministry assigned a group leader to stay in my home.

I have to care for my 10-year-old daughter, who is intellectually disabled and requires lots of sleep. To honor this, the youth ministry arranged rides for the late nights so I could get her to bed early.

I don’t know how to cook anything that doesn’t come out of the freezer, and to my relief, the youth ministry provided Saturday night dinner – lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and bread for me to simply heat and serve.

I don’t have a large house that is beautifully decorated and meticulously clean and organized, but God did bless me with a home that seems to be “just right.”

As I prayed about DNow weekend, I opened my heart to God:

May this weekend have an everlasting impact on these youths as they discover their spiritual gifts; help them to grow spiritually, becoming one body in Christ as they have a memorable and fun time together; may the youths who stay in my home feel welcome and blessed; please help me not to burn the lasagna; may there be no tantrums, drama, or escapes by my daughter or the teens; Lord, help me because I really don’t know what I have committed myself to!

DNow girlsAt last, Friday night came, and I vaguely recognized a few of the five 10th-grade girls I would be hosting. But I couldn’t imagine the blessing I would receive as I got to know them and their leader, Kelly Joyner, over the weekend. Though these girls had diverse backgrounds and interests, they joined together as one Body of Christ and blessed me with their grateful hearts and sweet spirits. It was not at all what I had expected from teenage girls. I now have built relationships with them and pray for each of them by name.

The passion of the youth leaders inspired me. As I worked with them and other volunteers, I discovered connections with people outside of my usual groups at church. The DNow message challenged me to discover my own spiritual gifts, find my passion, figure out what I’m good at, and use all of it for God’s glory. So if my small contribution to this amazing event is to provide a place for some youths to escape to for a weekend, I would joyfully do it again.

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By Nancy Mairs. Photos by Paul Bickford.

DNow Hunger Games

Social media tracked DNow team competition in FBC’s Hunger Games.

Next time you’re walking down FBC’s hallway from the Sanctuary to the Dining Hall, just imagine you’re part of the Green Team, running to get on base before you’re captured by the Blue Team. That’s exactly what happened during the 2014 DiscipleNow weekend, an annual retreat for middle and high school youths that is better known as DNow.

Bart Dalton, FBC Youth Minister, explains: “Every year we work with the youth and adult leaders to plan out the best DNow. When we started planning the 2014 DNow weekend, one of the first events we talked about was the fun event that happens on Saturday. From the start, the youths wanted to host our very own Hunger Games.” In case you aren’t familiar with the Hunger Games, it’s a best-selling teen book series, later adapted to award-winning movies. The futuristic story centers on an annual event in which one boy and one girl, from ages 12 – 18, are selected from each of the twelve districts of the country to compete in a battle. In the Hunger Games, the contestants are sent to a forested area where they try to eliminate other participants until only one remains.

“The neat thing for our youths,” said Bart, “was that, first, we could do the fun event inside the church and we didn’t have to be concerned about the weather. But more than that, once a team member was captured, they got to join the team that had captured them until everyone was on the same team, just like the Body of Christ – which was the theme for the weekend. The youths got to have fun while seeing firsthand how the Body of Christ can come together.”

DNow worshipBut that wasn’t all the retreat was about. Prior to attending DNow, the youths were asked to complete a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help identify their specific gifts and passions. Bart explained the reason for the homework assignment: “This year we wanted the focus of DNow to be different than previous years where the youths come to DNow, we have a great speaker, the music is great, they get closer to each other, and then they go home. We wanted to help the youths identify what they are good at, and start discovering how they can put their gifts and passions to work in the Body of Christ.” Taking it a step further, during the last session on Saturday, each adult youth leader met one-on-one with a DNow participant to help talk through what each had discovered about his or her gifts and passions, and how to use them in specific ways.

And what have the results been? “I’ve been getting phone calls from parents and youths wanting to know more. One of the youths who attended DNow has identified as her passion helping to stop human trafficking. She has been baking cookies at home and then selling them in her cafeteria at school to raise money for CEASE, a group that provides resources and support for those battling this awful situation,” stated Bart. And as he views it, “This is just the start of our youths getting out of their comfort zones to live life now as part of the Body of Christ.”

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