What’s Next? Navigating Our Needs in Children’s and Worship Ministries

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By Pastor Martin Schlomer, Senior Pastor

It’s been about six weeks since Nate Champneys resigned as Associate Pastor of Worship and Children’s Ministries. Many have asked, “What’s next?” Transitions always raise questions, and I want to address some of these in this week’s Last Word.

“Will we hire another full-time pastor to lead Children’s and Worship Ministries?” At this point in our transition process, the answer is, probably not. Right now, we are evaluating our lay leadership resources and looking for ways to equip and empower them to lead these important ministry areas.

“Will Children’s Ministries continue to be a high priority at Elim?” YES! Elim has always placed a high priority on our ministry to children. This commitment has guided our decisions for the past 25 years and will continue to do so. In collaboration with our current children’s ministry leadership and volunteers, we are assessing our needs and identifying ways to improve our ministry effectiveness. We are also currently in the planning stages of determining how this core commitment will shape our facility expansion plan in the near future. As new and more young families continue to join Elim’s ranks, we will continue to make resourcing Children’s Ministries a high priority.

“Who is overseeing Children’s Ministries?” Cheryl Weller has graciously stepped into this role. Cheryl was our Children’s Ministries Director for 17 years, so she brings a wealth of experience. She is working closely with Julie Davis and the rest of the Awana leadership to oversee Awana, as well as with Geneva Mooney and the other Sunday-morning coordinators to oversee our Sunday-morning children’s program. She is also forming a team who will lead our summer children’s ministries. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please see Cheryl Weller or Brian Sharpe. They welcome the opportunity to talk further.

“What is our strategy for leadership for Worship Ministries?” In January, Nate developed four worship teams with four worship leaders, leading one himself and being joined by Brian Waple, Tomina Sharpe, and Roger Petersohn. With his resignation, we have consolidated the four teams to three very strong teams, led by Brian, Tomina, and Roger. Brian Sharpe is working closely with our sound and video teams. Together, Brian and I are moving forward with training and developing our leaders.

“Are we considering hiring a part-time Children’s Ministries Director and a part-time Worship Ministries Director?” Yes. We are praying and waiting to see whom God brings to the surface. Our prayerful goal is to have a part-time director in place over Children’s Ministries by September. Regarding a part-time director of worship, we will need to wait and see how things develop.

Please keep praying for your church during this process. We want to have the right people in place when the time is right. This will take wisdom and patience. It will also require transparency and congregational support. As a leadership team (staff and elders), we are committed to this process being transparent. We want to hear your questions and answer them as best we can. We need your prayer support. Elim is the bride of Jesus, and we want to love her and lead her well.

Moreover, as a congregation, we need everyone to remain faithful financially. Some of what we are able to accomplish will be dependent on that faithfulness.
Finally, I want to say THANK YOU to all our leaders and volunteers! Everyone has pulled together during this transition, and they’re serving others and our Lord well! When you see someone serving, tell them “Thank you!” We are all energized when others notice.

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Rearview Mirror

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By Brian Sharpe

Transition is always tough. Most times we aren’t able to see what God is doing or how He is using a transition in our life, until that transition is in the rearview mirror.

When I was in high school, my parents decided to move from a place where all my siblings grew up and went to school together — to a place where I knew no one — leaving a place where most of my extended family lived — to go to a place where I had no family.

I moved from Buffalo, New York, to Grand Rapids, Michigan, between my freshman and sophomore years of high school. It was a tough transition. It was a transition I didn’t want. But as I look back in the rearview mirror of life, it was a transition that God used in my life.

I believe God used that transition to humble me. He also used that transition to protect me from myself. I was going down a path that would have led me to unhealthy places. God also gave me a lot of gifts along the way. He used this move to introduce me to sailing. He used this transition to lead me to Bible school, to meeting my wife, and ultimately to moving into pastoral ministry, working with students.

God used this transition to give me a story to tell and a way to relate to a lot of people whom I have encountered. Transitions are never easy, but when we surrender to God and seek Him in life, He uses it for His glory and our benefit.

After last Sunday, we as a church as well as Nate and Becky as a family found ourselves headed into transition. Do we know what God has in store for us in the future? No. But we do know that we have a God who is with us and who loves us. We have a God who is at work.

I am excited that we will someday be able to look in the rear-view mirror to see how God has been working throughout this transition. I liken this situation to a movie in which you didn’t know the ending, and you just look at the screen as it ends and say, “No way! Did that just happen?” It ended in a perfect, yet unexpected way.

That’s how I view transition. I view it as a way to see God’s handiwork in our lives.

Please pray for Elim. Pray for Nate and Becky. Pray for the staff and the elders. Pray that we will listen for the will of God, that we will lead with wisdom and godly insight. Pray that we keep the main things the main things.

Transition usually leads to us getting a bigger glimpse into God’s handiwork — which ultimately helps us develop into passionate followers of Jesus Christ!

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