Saturday, February 11, 2012

Here I raise my Ebenezer

Last week was our quarterly outreach event in the middle school ministry - BIG Wednesday. We call it that because it's BIG. And it's on Wednesday. Get it? At every big Wednesday, we present the Gospel message and give students a chance to respond. Last week, thirteen students did just that! Woohoo!!! I was doing some serious celebrating from the back of the room.

Something we've struggled with in the past is follow-up with these students. A lot of them are friends of our kids that we don't see regularly, so they are especially hard to follow up with. But this time, we decided to try something new. For the next two weeks, we would pull those kids out of their regular small groups at the Mix and go through a new believers' class with them. That way we could get them excited and cover some of the basics.

One of the basics was the assurance of faith - that these kids can know that they know that they know that their decision is lasting. As I was thinking about how to teach this, the idea of a memorial or Ebenezer came to mind. I thought about the Israelites crossing the Jordan on dry ground into the Promised Land and then piling stones in the middle of the river. I thought about the instruction to tell everyone who asked about those stones that God had done great things for them. I wanted to give them students something that when they looked at it, when their friends and family looked at it, they could say, "that's to remind me of the great thing God did for me."

We played around with a couple ideas, and finally came up with this:

"I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life."
-1 John 5:13

I set up the pile of rocks in the middle of the table ahead of time so that they were sitting there the whole time the kids were listening to me. I talked about what the Bible says about being sure of our Salvation, and then I told them the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan. Afterward, I asked how many of them had been wondering about the pile of rocks on the table. They all laughed as said they had been trying to figure that out. I told them, "This is our memorial. These rocks are for you. Take your rock home and put it on your dresser, on your nightstand, on your desk - somewhere where you will see it and remember. And when your friends as, or your family asks, 'what's with the rock?' you can tell them, 'that's so I remember the great things God has done for me.'"

I had them all write the date - February 1, 2012 - on their rocks before they left. The day the angels partied for them because they became part of God's family!


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