Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Five years in and I’m still blown away by the excitement generated around here in response to “Promotion Sunday,” kicking off the fall “education and discipleship” schedule.
Worship was wonderful, with enthusiastic crowds at both services. Then in between the CLC was literally stuffed with people. Each Sunday school class through 7th grade is led by a team of four adults, there are eight adults for high-school youth, then a special team guiding an unusually large group of 8th-graders through year-long confirmation.
The teachers led the children off, one class at a time, and when they were gone the gym was still full with people waiting to hear about the adult-ed opportunities offered for them.
Pilgrims in Progress:
The adults were still there because – and this is the heart of what I want to share today – every last one of us is a pilgrim needing to make a little more progress along this road of following Jesus. We all have so much to learn, and doing it in the context of a vibrant faith community, struggling with God in a challenging, encouraging place, is absolutely the best way to move forward.
One final observation I likely won’t get to if I don’t go ahead and mention it here: Sunday evening was the kick-off event for youth ministries and the CLC was packed once again, with youth, parents, and advisors.
What excites me the most is the level of support we see from volunteers committed to working with these young people. Youth Council, fellowship, mission, Bible-study, small-groups, preparing food, recreation…
This year the youth introduced their adult leaders by giving them appropriately corny “Wrestler Names.” And the adults cooperated by showing up in capes and masks, strutting around, making faces, talking trash, showing the kind of enthusiasm, love, and commitment the gospel always brings out when we let Jesus be our guide.
The bottom line here is that continuing education and applied discipleship is for absolutely everyone. Find your class, small group, Bible-study – and plug in. This is how we become equipped to serve and to live as people of light and promise in this dark and broken world.
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.