Let’s Not Miss the Extraordinary
By Kate Berkey - March 8, 2018
Posted in Fanning the Flame, Adult Ministry, Worship, Student Ministry, Children's Ministry, High School Ministry, Middle School Ministry, Stories from NMC, Discipleship
God is about to do something extraordinary. Let’s not miss it.
Fanning the Flame is a family thing—not just a mom and dad and kids kind of thing. It’s a NMC family kind of thing. For four nights, our church gathers for a special time of teaching and worship. It’s more than just special guests. It’s more than just a yearly event.
It is a time when God does the extraordinary, and we never want to miss it.
The message was simple enough for some of the youngest in our family to understand—Jesus is My Superhero. Kids showed up with Batman shirts and Superman capes. They talked excitedly about Spiderman and Wonder Woman and all the superheroes they knew. Over four days, they were taught that there’s only one superhero who is real and strong and powerful—Jesus.
Our kids began to grasp this simple truth. They were taught about the strength and power of Jesus. They were taught about His love and about His grace. There is something profound about hearing little boys and girls say things like, “Batman isn’t real, and Superman isn’t real. But Jesus is real.”
Yes, family, Jesus is real.
Go and tell. It’s the Great Commission summed up in three words, and during Fanning the Flame, our kindergartners through third graders had the opportunity to learn how people like Jared and Jalayne Coblentz, Staci Keter, and Kory and Ali Lantz are “going and telling.” Each is living on mission, intentionally showing the love of Jesus to those around them.
As former and current missionaries shared, Pastor Ben reminded the kids, “Jesus didn’t say only adults will be my witness. He said, ‘You will be my witness.’ Never say that you’re just a kid! You can be a missionary now.”
Our kindergarteners through third graders learned that even though they may not be able to travel to a new place, they can still impact the lives of those all over the world and in their own neighborhood. They didn’t just talk about it. They put it into action. As a group, they “adopted” a little girl in Haiti. Over the four nights, kids brought in their piggy banks and shared what they had in order to send her to school.
Yes, family, you are missionaries.
John Louis is incredibly passionate about using creativity to share the gospel, and that’s exactly what he does through illusion. The message was simple—love is no illusion. This is what our fourth and fifth graders focused on during the four nights of Fanning the Flame. In between sword swallowing stunts and disappearing objects, John reminded the kids of the power of the gospel. He reminded them of the love of Jesus, the immense beauty of His life and sacrifice, and the deep responsibility we all carry to share this truth with a hurting world.
“Read the Bible. Believe the Bible. Do what it says,” John taught the kids.
Through his teaching, the kids learned that if every Christian reached out to someone who was far from Jesus, a whole nation could experience the power of Christ’s love and forgiveness. He challenged them to take the call of Christ seriously, tell their friends and family about Jesus, and share the immense love of the Lord.
Yes, family, love is no illusion.
“God tells us not to like people but to love people who are not like us.”
In middle school, cliques begin to form, and bullying becomes a normal thing. Those who are outsiders tend to be made fun of, and unfortunately, this happens even within the church. This is exactly what Scott Greene, teaching pastor at Warsaw Community Church, passionately addressed during Fanning the Flame.
Night after night, he challenged our middle school students to step outside of themselves, to see others the way Christ sees them, and to love others—even those who are different from them. He challenged them to pause long enough to hear the voice of Jesus and see who He might be asking them to love with the true love of Christ. Through this teaching, the Holy Spirit began to break down the walls that divide students.
Yes, family, love everyone always.
Our high school students asked a simple question. What does it mean to be a good neighbor?
Shannan Martin, author of Falling Free, joined them Sunday and Monday, sharing from her personal experience of learning how to be the kind of neighbor Jesus was. She challenged our high school students to fully surrender their wants, desires, and dreams to the Lord, trading them for the fulfillment of Jesus. She reminded them that in order to love our neighbor, we need to be a neighbor—the kind that cares for people the same way Jesus did.
Ryan Flemming, senior pastor at The Revolution Church in Gary, Indiana, taught Tuesday and Wednesday. Through his messages, our students were reminded that in order to truly love others, they first needed to learn to love themselves. This means giving ourselves grace and forgiveness, because we will never be able to extend these same things to others if we refuse to extend them to ourselves.
Yes, family, let’s be the kind of neighbors Jesus was.
Redundant, repetitive faithfulness. Navigating the land between. Not missing opportunities God puts in our path. Saying yes.
This is what Jeff Manion, Kevin Moore, and John Avant challenged our adults with. Over four days, the adults experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence in powerful ways through singing and teaching. Speakers asked questions like:
- Is there a faithful and holy circuit God is calling you to but it just feels like it’s getting old?
- What could God possibly be doing when we’re thrown into the land between?
- Do you know who you are?
- What if we loved God, loved others, and loved the lost?
Each night, God used the speakers to challenge our adults to bring their best selves day after day after day, no matter how repetitive it gets. They were challenged to trust even when their world feels chaotic. They were challenged not to miss the “Davids” in their lives. They were challenged to live lives fully consecrated to the Lord.
Yes, family, follow Jesus day after day.
God is about to do something extraordinary. Let’s not miss it.
Fanning the Flame is over, and soon enough it will be time to plan for it again. In the meantime, let’s not forget this truth, because it’s true of every day—God is about to do something extraordinary; let’s not miss it.