Thursday, July 19, 2012

Voyagers Discipleship Builds Kids' Faith

“Voyagers is basically Journey Groups for children,” said Marianne Perry, who led the fifth-grade girls this year in the program. It’s a discipleship program at CPC for children in third through fifth grade that is geared to support parents as they take the primary responsibility of discipling their children. This past year on Sunday evenings, children received an engaging introduction to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Then parents took their kids to the next level by continuing the experience throughout the rest of the week: Take-home supplements equipped parents to have a devotional time with their children that tied to the Bible lesson.

“The material is great; it’s not fluffy,” said Elise Bosscher, the leader for the fourth-grade girls. Leaders work through John Piper’s curriculum To Be Like Jesus, which comes from his Children Desiring God series.

Brian Keen, a CPC elder who filled in as the fifth-grade boys leader early in the year, added that the material “pushed kids to a mature discussion that they normally wouldn’t have had at their age. It was pretty deep.”

Voyagers follows the T.E.A.M.S. model for discipleship. Jennifer Reinecke, the director of children’s ministries at CPC, described how it works: First, kids receive a basic understanding of a Bible lesson (Truth) and discuss how it applies to their lives (Equipping). They have the support of an adult leader, the other group members, and their parents as they attempt to live it out in their daily lives (Accountability). Then the kids learn to talk about their faith and to serve others in the church and community (Mission). The groups pray from lesson applications, missions, and church-wide prayer concerns as well as requests from group members (Supplication). Fun activities finish off the evening.

“It helps kids get serious about their walk, and they help their peers in their walk,” Brian added. “My oldest daughter Joanna, who is ten, went through Voyagers, and rather than being told the right thing to do, she actually saw examples – leadership by example rather than just being lectured to.”

Elise shared that her girls experienced several “aha!” moments. “I loved it when the girls put something we talked about into practice and came back the next week to tell about it, and when they came in with serious questions that they may have been too nervous about asking a parent or teacher. They were questions about life, faith, God – they felt comfortable asking in the Voyagers atmosphere.”

As Marianne concluded, “I wish I’d had this when my kids were little.”

The Voyagers program will start up again in the fall. If you are interested in signing up your kids for the program OR if you would like to help disciple kids in Voyagers, please contact Jennifer Reinecke at 727-2661 or email

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shooting to Win Hearts with ROAR Basketball
June 23, 2012

“There’s nothing less threatening to parents than sports as a way for parents and kids to hear the Gospel,” said Chris Baptist, a CPC member who volunteered as a coach for ROAR Basketball this season. “It’s a valuable ministry and a chance to get neighborhood kids involved [in a church-sponsored activity].” Flyers for the basketball program were distributed in the spring at Lockmar Elementary School, which drew a number of kids from the Lockmar area.

The director of ROAR Basketball, Warner Frye, stated that it seemed the majority of the kids who participated this season were not from CPC. “From an outreach perspective, as a way of getting people to see the church campus and get involved in church activities, it was a success.” 

He described a threefold purpose to the ministry: First, to coach good sportsmanship. Second, to coach with a God-centered focus. And third, to have all who participate feel welcome and be able to play no matter what their skill level is. Warner said that most coaches will have a kid on their team who is a beginner and struggles initially but who gets better at passing and dribbling – “It’s great to see their eyes light up when they score points for the team and gain confidence.”

It was Don Patterson’s second year as a volunteer basketball coach. “I wanted to help out and teach about basketball – and hopefully be a role model, teaching the kids Christian values,” he said. “There was one kid who was sulking during the first game and not engaged. At an early game, his dad came up to me and got on my case about taking his kid out. I told him we try to give kids even playing times.” By the end of the season, the boy was engaged and participating, and the dad was appreciative of Don’s coaching. He said, “It was good to see the change in the boy and to see the dad go from belligerent to supportive.”

The basketball program is an opportunity for service, according to Don. “[It fulfills] a real need, especially for those outside the church who don’t have a two-parent family. Kids learn about teamwork, getting along with others – it’s good for learning life skills.”

Because his daughter wanted to play and because he loves basketball, Chris Cramer also coached a ROAR team of 12- to 14-year-olds. He introduced them to the idea of youth group, telling them that he and his wife Janie both help out with the youth group. He said, “I tell them we’d be a familiar face.” One boy came to play multiple years, and Chris coached him in different age groups as well as his little brother later on. Chris got to know their father and told him about inviting the boy to youth group; the dad said he would have the boy check it out. “The dad got to trust us well enough to bring the boy to youth group,” Chris said. “Basketball is a way to build those relationships.”

Chris also mentioned his appreciation for the teen boys from CPC who helped coaches and facilitated with games. “Boys like Will Godwin, Aaron Paljug, and Joshua Lum Shue Chan were so humble and had such servant hearts. They had such a good spirit about everything – if a game didn’t go well, they encouraged the younger kids and said, ‘It’s ok. We’ll work on it for next time.’ The 12- to 14-year-olds had a good example to look up to in these 16-year-olds.”

That attitude and heart is the most important part of coaching for ROAR Basketball. Don said he knows just a little about basketball but that it’s really about giving to the kids, seeing them grow together and interact, and knowing that they’re exposed to the Gospel through the simple devotional and prayer time each week. “You just have to be willing to spend time with the kids.”

Warner added that the coaches and volunteers did a great job, working with a giving heart, caring for the players. “The coaches were glad to be there – they got as much out of it as the kids did.”

For more information on ROAR Sports outreach, visit

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Celebrating Easter with International Students
April 14, 2012

A few families from our church got together and hosted an Easter Dinner for several International Students from FIT.  Monica & Japheth Light graciously offered their home for this outreach.  The weather was beautiful and enabled the group to set tables outside in the shade of the Light's backyard.  Beginning the afternoon, Daniel Hedman presented the history of Easter celebrations, explained some of the pagan symbols, then transitioned into three reasons why Christians aren't crazy for believing that Jesus rose from the dead.

Following a delicious dinner,  guests played games of corn hole, Mexican train dominoes and even had the opportunity to go in kayaks and canoes along Turkey Creek.   There were a few young children there who had a ball playing "chase" , complete with light sabers and swords, running after several of the international guys.  Four-year-old Evan Light was a huge hit with the guys and definitely not shy about engaging them.

Since the event was not overcrowded, it provided opportunities to really talk to some of the International students.  Linda Condon said she got to meet a half dozen new students from Oman.   This is the first group of students ever sent by their country to America on scholarship.  They are all ELS (English Language Students) so they were all grateful to be able to have opportunities to talk to Americans.  A few shared about their country, families, and cultural values; one such value is the high importance placed on education.  Several of them expressed interest in going on the camping trip with Synergy, so we hope there will be more opportunities to build relationships with these International Students.

If you are interested in learning more about International Student Ministry or would like to become involved, click here or contact Jonathan Culley at

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feeding the Homeless on Fifth Sundays
January 31, 2012

Every fifth Sunday of the month, Bob Jensen's small group teams up with Eric Anderson's small group to feed the homeless at the Street Life ministry at His Place Ministries in downtown Melbourne.

There are about 120 homeless people who come to His Place for a hot meal every Sunday.  This is a great way to serve the "least and the lost" and build relationships with people who need encouragement.

If you or your small group is interested in serving with this ministry, go to

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pregnancy Resources Education Program (PREP)
January 24, 2012

Pregnancy Resources provides classes to help support our clients’ life-giving decisions.  Helping them prepare for childbirth reduces fear of the unknown.  Practical parenting tools allow them to move forward more confidently with their decision to parent.  Teens (14 and older) are always needed to help with childcare, so that parents can attend class without distraction.  
(Monday-Tuesday evenings 5:30-7:30)

Baby bucks earned by attending class and completing homework serve as incentives and provide clients with a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose.  Earning baby bucks enables them to purchase much needed baby items, including diapers for their newborns.  Donations of newborn diapers are always needed, so consider picking up a package when you shop. 

After a client's baby arrives, our Meals for Moms ministry provides further support by delivering several meals.  Many of our clients are unchurched and not used to this kind of ministry, so it is a practical example of support they need given in the name of Jesus.  If you would like to help with meals, contact Ananda Elam, who leads this ministry at 321-726-0842 or

Each time a client returns to the center, we have opportunity to further “touch” their lives and form relationships.  In addition to practical classes, we provide a basic Biblical Foundations class.  Our goal is to evangelize clients and direct them to local churches for further discipleship.  If you would like to lead a 5 week study (based on our Life Skills booklets) once or twice a year, contact Judy Miller at 321-752-5540 or

Come be a part of what God is doing at Pregnancy Resources!  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Men on a Mission: Trip Equips Believers in Ecuador
January 19, 2012

In November, three CPC members traveled to Pichiyacu, Ecuador to train the pastor and key leaders in leadership, apologetics, and mercy ministry. Associate Pastor Jonathan Culley, Elder Mark Diener, and Deacon Gaston Formisano, who served as translator, spent a week equipping leaders in spiritual and practical church matters.

"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others"  2 Timothy 2:2

Once they arrived in the jungle village of Pichiyacu, the men conducted daily training sessions to equip the pastor and key leaders in how to set up a leadership development process where leaders know how to "make disciples who make disciples."  This included extensive training on why and how to raise up biblical elders and deacons as well as small group leader training. Mark explained, “By this time next year, they’ll have four elders who are trained in leadership.”   

Mercy Fund
Another unexpected way God used the three men to bless the Pichiyacu church was to help Pastor Bolivar Ruiz set up a "Mercy Fund" and a "Mercy Committee" where practical needs could be met by the church without overburdening the pastor. “Because the people will be contributing to the Mercy Fund,” Jonathan said, “the Fund provided a way for the people of the church – not just the pastor – to ‘own’ the solution to their own people’s needs.”

Pastoral Coaching
Mark said that, for him, the best experience was talking with Pastor Bolivar in the evenings. “It’s incredible to see the passion he has for his people. He and his family make sacrifices to be there – he’s a missionary pastor. He comes from a bigger city, and now he’s isolated; he has no one to shepherd him.”  Jonathan agreed, “We had numerous heart-to-heart talks with Bolivar where we were able to go deep and give him a ‘safe place’ to confess his struggles, fears, and pressures as a pastor.  Bolivar told us that he had never experienced this sort of ‘pastoral coaching’ before, and that it greatly energized him to keep persevering in his pastoral call on the River.”

While three CPC members went in person to support Pastor Bolivar and the believers in Pichiyacu, we as a church can also support them from afar by keeping Pastor Bolivar, his family, and the Pichiyacu church in our prayers.

Over the years, God has greatly used Ted Wareing, the Director of Life Changing Ministries (LCM) and one of our very own members, to establish this church in the jungles of North Ecuador.  We are honored to partner with LCM as we jointly envision many more church plants up and down this river.  Please pray that Jesus would continue building His church by raising up laborers who will lead the River People out of darkness and into the light of the Gospel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Nursing Home Outreach
January 4, 2012

End of the Road

The last stop in the lives of many elderly and infirm people is a nursing home.  This can be a lonely time for them, because the advancement of years has taken its toll on their bodies and minds.  Esther Kennedy, who went to a recent Nursing Home Outreach event, said they can be “a forgotten people, as many are feeble minded, unable to communicate, and so hidden within their exterior that it’s hard to ‘reach’ them.  But you never know what the Lord is doing.”  With a recent visit to Atlantic Shores Nursing Home (on Stack Blvd, less than one mile from Palm Bay Rd.), many CPC members felt like the Lord was working through them to bless the nursing home residents. 

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…

The highlights of visits made to Atlantic Shores include music and hula dancing, which has touched the hearts of those that ministered as much as the residents.  Kaela Miller was moved when she and her brother Sam played an Irish fiddling tune for the residents.  “I realized that this wasn't a performance,” Kaela says, “and they were helping me more than I could ever help them.”  Sam was equally moved when they played for them.  “Seeing the people hum along with old familiar fiddling tunes or sing the words to Amazing Grace while [we] played these songs…was really cool.” 

“Where Two or More are Gathered in My Name...”

Alan and Jean LeStourgeon have been involved with trips to Atlantic Shores for the past six years and see God working in new ways with every visit.  Barbara Abbott has only been on two trips, but has already felt God is working through her to bless the residents.   “Although many of the residents are really not aware of what they are participating in, I believe they get the benefits of sitting in a service that worships our Lord and Savior,” Barbara says.  “’Where two or more are gathered in my name...’ so though we are not aware of what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing during these services we pray that much is being done for their salvation.”  If you feel like you want to become involved with the Nursing Home Outreach ministry, click here or contact Merlita Cote at

“Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” 
~Matthew 25:40

submitted by McCartney Diener