As you might have read in our last newsletter (you can see it here if you missed it), we have been working hard to get back into a routine now that we are settled into our house and have returned to ministry in full swing.  We’d like to ask that you join us in prayer as we begin taking the next steps in helping City of Refuge church grow in their focus on discipleship and strengthen their core leadership.

We are excited to be planning to start the next round of Celebrate Recovery small groups.  If you aren’t familiar with the program, it is twofold.  There are regular lessons taught every Friday night accompanied by a meal and then time afterward for sharing in groups that are divided between men and women.  Then, there is the small group step study which is a dedicate group of men or women that work through the steps which takes between 12-18 months depending on how fast the group moves.  The group of women that Missy has been leading finished before we went on furlough.  The men that I have been leading are getting ready to finish their study.  One from each group will be leading the next group and Missy and I plan on guiding them through the process of leading the group.  Please pray for this transition as it will stretch the leaders of the groups as well as ourselves.  Also please join us in praying about attendance, as we have noticed that it trailed off while we were away.  In a couple weeks I will begin teaching on discipleship/Christian leadership again in the church.  It was encouraging to hear upon our return that many have been asking what I will be teaching and when it will start.  In this next study, I will be integrating different elements of the church’s growth and calling all students to a higher level of Christian living.  We will be studying together a book on deaconship, which as I have always believed is a level of living we should all strive towards.  Not that everyone should have the desire to be a deacon, but that the level of spiritual maturity required to be a deacon should be a goal for all of us who call ourselves Christians.  I will be using this study to teach current church leaders how they are expected to behave while also teaching the congregation what it means to be a Christian leader.  We are hoping that this will open the doors for next year’s plan of establishing deacons in the church as part of its vision planning.

We will be implementing phase two of redefining the church’s vision and mission.  If you recall, we finished phase one just before leaving Guatemala for furlough.  This next phase will bring about changes within the church.  It will involve evaluating the church’s current direction and what needs to change.  This will also involve communicating and establishing the church’s vision and mission not just in the congregation but also the community it is serving.  Please continue to pray for the church to grow spiritually, especially the leaders, and for God to guide us and use us as we do our best to help them in the areas they have asked us to.

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