Cedar Hills

On Mission

“In His grace, God has given us different gifts…” (Romans 12:6)

This past weekend, I had the chance to travel down to southern California with a group of kids and youth pastors to visit a few influential churches and meet with powerhouse church leaders.  We took the trip to grow as leaders by learning as much as we could from each other and from other believers who are pursuing the kingdom of God in a different part of the country.

 

I learned a lot.  That’s an understatement.  Probably the most helpful realization from the weekend was that each of these churches were effective at sharing Jesus with their communities for one reason: 

 

They clearly understood their community and their mission in it.

 

This sounds so simple.  You have to know where you’re going before you can start going there. Although, I think we’d be surprised to learn how many of us do not understand our mission in the world.  I’m not talking about our general calling to share Jesus with the world.  I’m talking about being clear on our role as unique individuals following Jesus and living accordingly.  Sometimes this is called being “on mission.”

 

Each of the churches I visited felt different, talked different, and emphasized different things.  They pursued the same mission in different ways, and they were all hugely successful at it.  They’re a good reminder that we’ve all been given different gifts, talents and skills. Our job is to leverage what God has given us.  By design, this will look different for each person.

 

I want to challenge you to pause regularly to ask questions that will clarify who you are:

 

-      What’s my story?  What experiences has God led me through that have shaped my present and are continuing to shape my future?

 

-      What God-given talents, skills or competencies have trusted people called out in my life?

 

-      What circumstances has God placed me in right now? How might I be uniquely gifted to serve others in these circumstances?

 

-      Are there things I should be doing more of? Are there things I should be doing less of?

 

Even if we’ve asked these before, asking them again will help re-align us with our mission.  The churches and individuals that make lasting, positive impacts in the world consistently ask these questions of themselves and make changes as their answers change over time. 

 

Are you “on mission?”

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

Summer Schedule and Changes in Student Ministry Leadership

"EVERYTHING IS AN EXPERIMENT"

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

STUDENT MINISTRIES LEADERSHIP

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!

 

Eric

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!

 

-Andrew