Umbrellas

Umbrellas, Shelter, and Never Walking Alone

By Lisa Schnyders (re-posted from Family Ministries blog)

This week, I invite you to look back to the family service on August 29. It involved some squirt gun ninjas and some umbrellas. Deb and Ron did a great job of talking about how parents can be umbrellas to protect their kids from the squirt gun ninjas. Those umbrellas are resources that offer shelter. Here at New Life, we also want to be able to offer “umbrellas” to your family. We want to give you some resources and some shelter.

Some of those resources are already in place; others we hope to add with your help.  Kingdom Kids is a place where your kids can go each Sunday to learn more about how much God loves them and how He wants them to love others in this world. There are leaders there who are excited to meet with your kids and to teach them and to learn from them. Additionally, there are other opportunities for your kids to grow in community with other kids and adults to whom they matter. Cadets and GEMS are places where kids gather in large groups and do lots of fun things, but more importantly, it’s where they become a part of a regular small group and are able to connect and be known in a different way. Jr Praise Team, Praise Team, and Joyful Noise Chorus are ways for your kids and teens to connect with others and use their gifts to bless others. FUEL, Journey, and Odyssey are places where your pre-teens and teens can come without being judged, can ask questions, be challenged and grow in a place where they matter. Biddy basketball, mission teams, VBS, special activities, and so many more – all of these opportunities are not just ways to fill your calendars, but intentional places of shelter and growth, an umbrella that you can put over your head and hand to your children. Have you had a chance to find a place for your child? Have your encouraged them to be a part of something?

And we don’t want a place for just your children. There are places for you too: Checkpoints, Car Ministry, Soul Food, Every Life Matters, and too many more to even begin to list. It is in these smaller places where you and your children can become known; where you become more than a name.  These are the places where your story becomes known.  May we help you pave a way for your family to find a place where you feel comfortable and confident? May we connect you to a place where you feel at home? May we help you find a place to share your story, a place where you are blessed?

We’d like to start there, with finding you that place where you feel you fit, but we don’t want to stop there. While we pray for you to find a place to be blessed, we also pray it will be a place where you and your story are a blessing others.  Have you had a chance to offer shelter to another? Have you been able to find a place where your gifts and your passions meet to bless others? Have you not only taken an umbrella, but have you offered it as well? Giving and taking both can be hard, but it’s what we’re called to do. “Where lives come together” is more than the catch phrase on our pens; it is what we are about here at New Life:  learning, growing, hurting, laughing, serving, together.  Several years ago, I heard a song for the first time, and I immediately loved it because by the first verse, it just said “New Life” to me. Take a few moments to listen to it; it summarizes things better than I can, and know today we are praying that New Life may be “a place of rest in the fold of your journey that will bind you to hope” and that you will know you will never have to walk alone.

Jars of Clay — Shelter