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Building relationships to build young saints

I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve as the Pastor of Family ministries here at Maranatha and I’m excited about how our church’s philosophy of ministry directly drive my pastoral ministry. As a church, our mission is “Building relationships that build saints.” This strategy as it applies to family ministries could be summarized this way: discipleship through partnership in the context of relationship.

Discipleship is all about helping people grow to become more like Jesus. We do this as we teach God’s Word and then live out His Word by relying on the Spirit’s power through prayer. In relation to family ministry, Scripture teaches that parents are the primary disciple-makers of their children (Ephesians 6:4 and Exodus 10:1-2). Therefore, Partnership with parents is the way that we seek to disciple children and youth. Our desire is to work together with parents in raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Relationship is the fertile soil in which effective partnership takes root and grows into a healthy context for discipleship. In order to build relationships, we have to be intentional about the time we invest in the lives of others.

As Ashley and I think about this coming season of ministry, our desire is to build relationships with the families of Maranatha. This will allow us to have a better understanding of the joys and challenges facing the families of our church. Ashley is also looking forward to opportunities to serve in the church such as nursery, teaching children, and ministering to families as needs arise. We’re really looking forward to getting to interact with various ministries at Maranatha, in order to best know how to serve the church as a whole.

One of the big areas I plan to focus on is assisting our children’s Sunday school ministry. This year a really helpful change was made by switching all the Sunday school classes to using the Answers In Genesis curriculum. Now the same Scripture passage is taught to all the children, with each class’ having their lesson tailored to the specific learning needs of that age group. Not only does this provide cohesiveness for our children’s ministry, but it also helps us partner with parents so that they can have one conversation with all their children regarding what they’re learning in Sunday school.

Another practical way I’m applying our church’s mission is by being a part of a different children’s Sunday school class each week. This allows me the opportunity to get to know the students and teachers on a more personal level. I’m also gathering feedback from each of the classes in order to know how I can best assist them in the future. To allow me the time needed to interact with each of these classes, Caleb Perin has agreed to continue teaching the JR & SR high Sunday school class for the foreseeable future.

Another big focus of my time is our youth ministry. I’m thankful for the faithful youth leaders that God has called to serve here at Maranatha. It’s quite a testament to their labor of love over the past year of planning and investing in the youth. I plan to continue nurturing relationships with these leaders and learning from their years of wisdom in youth ministry here at Maranatha. On Wednesday nights, we will be continuing with last year’s format changes; I will be teaching the youth from God’s Word and then we will spend time praying together in small groups. I’m also looking forward to investing in relationships with the youth through several special youth events such as our “parents vs. youth game night” and “Co-mission,” a youth rally with several other area Churches. And of course, much of relationship building happens outside the walls of the Church, and so our family is looking forward to getting to know each of the youth and their families in various other contexts.

We know that ministry isn’t a sprint, but it’s a consistent, marathon that we must pace ourselves to run faithfully. We are looking forward to many years of fruitful ministry here at Maranatha, and it is with much excitement that we look forward to seeing how God will work this year!

-Pastor Ben

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