What’s Happening in Adult Ministries?

At Cedar Hills we have new people coming to gatherings every week. Our programs say “Come as you are…” and we do. We come with our brokenness, our joy, our sadness, our loneliness, and our questions. Our doors are open wide to every person, in all walks of life. We welcome the person who has followed Christ their entire life, as well as those who have questions about who God is. We come from all different backgrounds. Regardless of our backgrounds we know as we look for Christ he will show us who He is. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” We are all looking for more of God.


I have had many friends, family, and acquaintances ask me over the years, “What’s next, I’ve given my life to Jesus, I’ve been baptized, now what?” This answer at Cedar Hills has always been, “join a Life Group.” Life Groups are an amazing way to grow in relationships with others, as well as in relationship with God. However, it is a large step for many who haven’t experienced community within the church before. It has been too large of a step for many coming directly out of the waters of baptism to join a Life Group. I’ve heard express “I don’t even know where to begin reading my Bible, let alone join a group that has been meeting for 5 years, and is filled with people who have followed Christ for the majority of their lives, that’s way to intimidating.” 


I have also had many conversations with those raised in church environments. Often we may not fully understand why we do what we do.  We may not feel comfortable stepping into serving, fasting, praying out loud for a friend, or listening to His Spirit speak to us. We simply don’t know how to experience the full life Christ promised us. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. This year Cedar Hills’ Adult Ministries is all about building a foundation for discipleship. We want to help people understand why we do what we do as Christians. We want to provide an environment for people to experience the elements of spiritual practices that Christ has called us to be a part of. Because when we participate in these experiences and practices, our lives change. 


The tool we will be using to introduce people into discipleship is a 10-week group experience called “Rooted.”  Rooted is a curriculum which brings life change. It has been used in hundreds of countries around the world. In the US alone, thousands of churches with all different denominations have embraced Rooted.  Our staff has walked through this together, as well as a Rooted Leadership Team, which just finished the 10-week material. We have discovered first hand that ‘Rooted emboldens us to live out the calling of a radical leader of Jesus. No matter where you are in your relationship with Jesus there is always room to move forward.’ In addition to weekly homework which helps develop a pattern of a devotional life, groups come together each week to talk about how God is working.  Groups also participate in a fasting and prayer time, serving, and a celebration meal together. As the weeks go by, relationships are formed and the Spirit speaks to each person in unique and different ways. Rooted is truly a life changing experience. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, Rooted will challenge you to grow. 


After the 10 weeks is through, the majority of groups choose to go on as a Life Group with together. They have formed bonds through sharing stories and experiences they are eager to continue. Forming a Life Group at this stage is organic and natural, a much easier step then going into a Life Group as the “new person.”


The next round of Rooted will be kicking off the end of January. This session will be lead by our Rooted Leadership Team, and will consist of people willing to facilitate a group during our church-wide launch of Rooted in the fall of 2019. If you are passionate about helping people fall in love with Jesus, we wantneed you in this group! No prior experience needed, just an open heart to help and invest in others. Everyone who leads a Rooted group must have gone through Rooted, so in the January sessions all who join will be a participant, with the hope of facilitating groups to come in the fall.  


In addition to Rooted, we are excited to share we will be having 4 “Further Experiences.” These will be held once a month January through April, directly after the last Sunday gathering, 12-2pm. Lunch will be provided, followed by a time to experience more of what the Lord has to offer. Topics include, The Holy Spirit, Prayer and Healing, Bible, and Intentional Relationships. 


For more information about Rooted, or Further Experiences, please contact me at alyssa@cedarhillschurch.com. I’m super excited to see where God is leading us together, and thrilled to be on this journey with all of you!


Alyssa McLaughlin

Adult Ministries Leader

Planning for a Great Holiday Season

Are you feeling the pressure of the approaching holidays yet? If you’re not already you will very soon. Seems like this season puts the heat on with planning and decision making. Most of the focus surrounds what we’ll spend our money on, what we’ll spend our time on, and what events we will agree to participate in. One thing we can be sure of is that WE WILL run out of capacity. There will always be endless opportunities. Because if this it becomes increasingly valuable to design a framework for how we will make decisions, long before we are making them. 

The following paragraphs talk through a few ideas I have found to be valuable in my life when approaching seasons like this. 

Pre-decide your “main things”

If you are anything like me, there are certain things that always happen around the holidays....Thanksgiving dinner at a certain relative’s house, annual shopping trip with a certain group, this side of the family always has a gift exchange, travel expenses to that out of town party. Be so bold as to write down your main things in list form. You may have to take some things off the list. Decide what calendar dates are a must and get them on your calendar. These will help you calibrate your participation. You may have to voice your plans with certain people and communicate “we’re not going to be able to make it for that because we’ve chosen to do this instead”. 

Pre-decide “money caps”

Decide what you plan to spend on a specific holiday, party, or gift. If you have kids, decide what you will spend on each child. What often happens is when you’re out shopping you find a great gift idea. Without a solid cap, you’re emotions will get the best of you...and you will walk out of that story with “brand new credit card debt”. Decide your caps and stick with them. The season isn’t about how much you spend. 

Leave some “margin”

Extra time is amazing! Not only does margin provide a break between events and commitments, it also provides some spontaneity and flexibility. With margin it becomes easier to say yes to last minute parties, yes to that special gift you thought would never go on sale. But the margin has be planned in. This means no overfilling the calendar and being wise in setting your money caps. 

The upcoming holidays are a great time to share with family and friends. Lots of memories to be made and many experiences to participate in. Do your best to set yourself up to maximize your time and minimize stress and overscheduling. It’s gonna be a great 2018 holiday season! 

Summer Schedule and Changes in Student Ministry Leadership


Hang around the Cedar Hills staff and you will soon hear that phrase used. I encourage our ministry staff to try new things and learn as much as possible. And when it comes to trying and learning...that’s where experiments shine. They allow us to try new things. They help us make new discoveries. They make us smarter. They keep us flexible and encourage creativity. 

This summer we ran a Gathering Experiment at Cedar Hills, testing out a two Sunday gathering schedule. Not knowing for sure what the impact would be, we decided to try a new schedule for 13 weeks and see how it might better serve and impact our church and community. Our summer experiment comes to an end this weekend, and the results are in! This fall we are continuing on with our current gathering schedule…Thursdays at 6pm, and Sunday’s at 9am & 10:30am. Kids Ministries will continue to be active at all three weekly gatherings.

Our ministry team knows this schedule is not set in stone. I am certain that at some point soon we will need to adjust our gathering schedule yet again to better serve our church/community. And when that time comes, we will wisely look at the options, try something new, learn from it, and continue to make necessary adjustments. Thanks for your flexibility this summer. We will keep you posted as the fall unfolds


Speaking of changes…we have a change in our student ministries leadership. This fall, Scotty and Sage Fitchett are stepping aside as our student ministries leaders. Scotty and Sage will continue to serve our students in a volunteer capacity, hosting and leading a Monday night dinner/discussion group in their home. Scotty won’t be going anywhere…he will continue teaching part-time at Sandpoint High School and running his logging business. Thanks for loving our students Scotty and Sage!


I’m stoked to announce that Sean Trostrud has joined our team as our Student and Outreach Ministries Leader. Sean and his wife Becca have been a part of Cedar Hills for almost 4 years. During that time they have also served as Program Directors for Cocolalla Bible Camp, leading an array of kids camps and discipling dozens of teen leaders during the school year. Developing the faith and spiritual foundation in young people is Sean’s passion—something that was instilled in him personally growing up in a missionary family in Papua New Guinea. Together, they are raising three daughters—Everly (3), Nora (1), and beautiful 10-day old Esther! 


Thank you to many of you who have been praying for Tami Heather. Tami served Cedar Hills for over 7 years in a variety of staff positions. She most recently has served as our Outreach Ministries leader. This summer, Tami was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and as such stepped away from her staff position so she could pursue medical treatment and focus on health and healing. Tami’s spirits are high, but she would love your ongoing prayer. In addition to Sean’s student ministries role, he is also overseeing our Outreach Ministries. We're excited bout the passion for these ministries Sean brings to the table. Welcome Trostruds!


Thanks Cedar Hills for being an amazing community…Nicole and I are so honored to serve you!



Next Chapter


Community is defined by Webster as "a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals."  Urban dictionary (a personal fav) defines it as “an interacting population of like-minded individuals, affecting the identity of the given members and also their cohesiveness. In gaining similar social perceptions gives them a sense of solidarity." I love those definitions. To stand with people together for a common purpose and each person affecting the other it’s so beautiful. Community has always been deeply important to my family. We are a sports family, team based, never an “I” always “we”. And two and half years ago, my family left our familiar and cohesive community, our beloved sports families and friends believing that God was calling our family to Sandpoint. When we arrived, we had an expectation that there would be a community waiting for us in our driveway. What we found was the four of us alone standing in the driveway looking at each other and thinking, "ok God what now?" His answer  “Forget about what has been – it’s nothing compared to what I’m about to do” Isaiah 43:18 (NLT).

Inspired,  we began to attend various churches in the area and finally landed at Cedar Hills.  We knew when we walked into the lobby that Cedar Hills was unlike to any church we had been to, it was a group of people who were interacting with each other, you could see the friendship and cohesiveness in them. There were zero “church people” expectations put on them, they came as they were and you could feel how much they loved Jesus and did so together freely. The next week we came back and shortly after that I had joined the staff.  

 I loved my job absolutely everything about it. The team was energetic and dynamic, nothing was impossible, dream big, love Jesus and be all in. YES! I could do all those things and be supported by people that were doing the same. There was such a strong sense of solidarity you could feel it in a room where the team gathered at any moment. This team had a desire to know Jesus in a deeper way and while I loved the work aspect of that, the actual spiritual connection that was taking place, was amazing. I had very big walls up to guard against such a thing and slowly those walls of protection I had put up for so long began breaking like a dam. Jesus was softening my heart for this time, to be able to serve His people with an unshackled heart and to experience the Church free from fear and pain. This began to spill into our home, and our family began connecting to people in and through the church, and before we knew it we had community in a big way.  We got involved in a life group, and through our life group, our community expanded even more. We attended volunteer serving events outside the walls of Cedar Hills, and our community continued to grow. As it did something amazing happen, those walls we had held on to continued to break, and we began to walk in the community, not as strangers, but as a part of the cohesive Cedar Hills Community out in the community of Sandpoint and God didn’t stop there. 

 "We serve a God on the move, get ready and do not shrink back" was the theme throughout our staff team in 2018. I felt this more and more each day, I began to branch out teaching in student ministries, sharing my testimony in women's group and spoke in a celebrate recovery group. I felt that stirring in my heart that we should step out of the church community we have so longed for. I wrestled and questioned God many times over the next few months. Seriously...God... I am serving you every day, I am surrounding myself with your people, we pray all the time in the office, worship music blares on most days, you don't really want me to leave this?  The answer I received in a morning devotion was Deuteronomy 2:6 (NLT) “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain."  There it was, I had stayed long enough to be healed, redeemed and restored wholly by Jesus and through the community that embraced my family so intensely. I had stayed long enough to find my voice for God, and for my family to find their own voice, their own footing, and purpose in our family’s journey with Christ. 

 Trusting God and his word he gave our family when we arrived into Sandpoint "..forget what has been" and in line with our team theme of not shrinking back , it is time to leave this mountain and head into the wilderness otherwise known as the education system and be blown away by what “He is about to do”. I am overjoyed to have an opportunity to spend my day around teenagers who need to know the unconditional love of Jesus.  To live out loud that through Jesus and the community that belongs to Him, that he has brought me full circle from the broken teenager who sought a world away from the church, to a woman so on fire for the Church running towards the teenagers of next generation of God's community. 

Summer Camp

Summer camp.

For many of us that phrase brings back amazing memories of weeks away from family and responsibilities, meeting new friends, learning new things, and having tons of fun.  Last week we took our Summit kids (4th – 6th grade) to summer camp for the first time in CH history.  That is exactly what they experienced, and more!

Our kids spent the week swimming, kayaking, and playing games, but most importantly I watched our kids experience genuine encounters with Jesus through worship, prayer, Bible teaching and quiet time with God.  At the end of the week, we even watched a few of our campers choose to be baptized this past weekend at our annual BBQ Beach Baptism at City Beach here in Sandpoint.

I know our kids will remember their time at camp for years to come.  In particular, they’ll remember the things God spoke into their lives and the deep conversations they had with their counselors.  I can think of few better ways for them to spend a week of their summer.

We’re already planning for next year!