Monthly Archives: June 2018

Q&A With Beth Wolff, Teaching Pastor from Clarksburg Church.

How Do I Live a “Sent” Life?

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What does the kingdom of God look like? Beth Wolff, Teaching Pastor at Clarksburg Church, shared that “the kingdom is ‘the way things should be.’ And the greatest piece of the gospel is that God made a way for the kingdom of God to be restored and experienced right now.”

The “Way Things Should Be,” is Not Reserved for Sundays.

The current sermon series, Imagining the Kingdom, has been a particularly challenging series. Each week the congregants of Clarksburg Chruch are encouraged to live beyond their comfort levels. Jesus demonstrated that “we have been sent to go to the people, not wait for them to come to us.” The kingdom of God is not reserved for church on Sunday. But when people in our lives are increasingly less aware of church, this can feel challenging.

Over the past week, there have been great conversations and questions about what it looks like to live missionally. How much of it is your responsibility vs. the church’s responsibility? How do you live a missional life without being offensive? Read the Q&A with Beth Wolff, Teaching Pastor, below:

Imagining the Kingdom Q&A with Beth Wolff, Teaching Pastor

  • Can you explain the m1-m4 groups and why they wouldn’t come to a church? I normally think of the people who don’t know God or Jesus as people living in other countries. Is that no longer true?
    • M0 are people who go to church. M1-M2 are people who know about God or the church in some form or fashion. This is a group of people who are likely to come to church if invited, even if they chose to leave the church at some point in their lives. M2-M4 are groups of people ranging from those who may have been or feel marginalized by Christianity, to people who have no clue about Christianity. The further away a person is from the concept of church culturally, the less likely they are to ever step foot inside the walls of a church. The population in the U.S. is increasingly defined by those in the M1-M4 categories. More and more people find themselves further and further away from the church. M2-M4 are not people in another country. They are our neighbors and coworkers. We are sent to serve and love them so they might experience the Kingdom of God.
  • When it comes to being sent across cultural boundaries, how much of the responsibility is mine? How much of the responsibility is on the church? 
    • I love this question. It shows that some real thinking is going on here! There is a common assumption that when it comes to being sent across cultural boundaries, the church, as an organization, holds all of the responsibility (make the plan, determine the people group, recruit the volunteers, etc.). It is true that as an organization, the church should have large-scale plans and efforts for the entire congregation to engage with. However, I would say that really only makes up 10% of your “sent life.” 90% of your “sent life” happens in the context of the places where you work, play, live. In these spaces, it is your responsibility to pay attention to who the people are. Listen to those needs and find ways to serve those specific individuals.
      This may sound like a challenge, but it actually makes living a sent life much easier and more accessible. You don’t have to schedule special service hours or go to special places in order to do 90% of the sent work we are called to do. Instead, it happens in the everyday moments of your life. You don’t have to move anywhere special, you don’t have to change jobs. You are living out this sent life all the time.
  • Don’t you think that part of what is hard about reaching people across cultural boundaries (m2-m4) is that they aren’t really open to hearing the gospel? 
    • Be careful you don’t confuse someone who is closed off to the gospel as someone who is closed off to you. While most in m2-m4 contexts are not interested in your belief system, however, they are interested in having a relationship with someone who is loving, humble, and concerned for their well-being. This is where your relationship needs to dwell for the time being. Just love them. You might be thinking, “but shouldn’t I be boldly telling them about Jesus?… isn’t that the most loving thing?” Beau Crosetto wrote a great book called Beyond Awkward. It describes that while we are to boldly share about Jesus when the door is open if the door is shut we are to stay patient and present while continuing to engage in a relationship with that person. Be bold, not pushy. Often times our long-term patient and present relationships communicate far more about the Character of God than we realize. And who knows, that can open far more doors.
  • My neighbor is Muslim and I know they are celebrating Ramadan right now. I want to continue to build a relationship with him and his family. An easy way to do that would be to bring a gift for them for Ramadam. But is that wrong? 
    • So, this is a great idea! Blessing those who we are sent to is a huge part of what it means to be sent. Consider this, if someone who held a different belief system brought you a gift for Christmas or Easter, you would receive it as a blessing regardless of their belief system.
      Maybe we feel it is wrong because we fear that by blessing someone through religious avenues they understand, we might be condoning those belief systems? I think this is a natural reaction, but consider this:
      This is akin to saying God would withhold His blessing until someone completely figured out his or her theology about God. But that simply isn’t true. God blesses us before we have everything figured out. In fact, He sent the ultimate blessing, Jesus, while we were still in rebellion. Blessing us even though we were far from God didn’t condone our rebellion, instead, it provided a way for us to be in a relationship with Him.
      If you are unfamiliar with holidays, ask about them. This is a great way to build a relationship and understand more of their perspective and background.
  • I’ve never considered loving my neighbors who are culturally different than myself as doing God’s work; it has always seemed much more difficult and scary. I have always imagined doing God’s work and sharing the gospel is like “hellfire and brimstone,” or if you don’t believe what I believe, then there’s no reason I should get to know you better. Are you really saying that being a good neighbor is what it looks like to do God’s work? If so, this is the easiest thing ever!
    • Yes! I am really saying that doing God’s work is as simple as being a good neighbor! I mean, when Jesus was asked to define the greatest commandment, it was a tie between, “Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself.” Sometimes we make God’s work so complicated that we end up with excuses as to why we aren’t obedient. It is fairly simple: who are the people around you? Love them! And make sure you aren’t just seeing the people who are easy to connect with.

Click here to watch the full sermon series, Imagining the Kingdom, led by Beth Wolff, Teaching Pastor for Clarksburg Church. If you have any additional questions or comments, or simply want to have a conversation, please email info@clarksburgchurch.com. Clarksburg Chruch meets on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. 

Learn why "Miss Taylor" chose to invest in Clarksburg Church Kids

Why I chose “scary.”

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The Story of One Local Teacher’s Decision to Trust God and Invest in Clarksburg Church Kids and Families.

If you would have asked her two years ago if she could ever see herself working at Clarksburg Church, she would have said no, and she probably would have even laughed. But God certainly has a sense of humor. This spring Taylor made the bold and challenging decision to leave her public education job and join Clarksburg Church for a year-long Fellowship Program.

Taylor’s journey is pretty awesome. Read below to see why Taylor chose scary rather than comfortable.

Q&A with Taylor Kirker

Tell us a little bit about your background.

“I have always loved kids. I started serving in the nursery at the church I attended when I was 11 years old and babysat throughout high school. Even though I loved kids even at 16, if someone had asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I would have adamantly answered “lawyer.”
Ironically because of a scheduling mix up, I was placed in a Child Development class my sophomore year of high school, which is where I found my passion for working with students. It was during this class that I decided I would pursue education and become a teacher.
But it didn’t completely unfold as I had imagined. During my third year of college that I realized something about working in a school wasn’t right for me but I didn’t know how else to pursue a career working with children, so I kept moving forward. I shifted my career goals and decided the best I could hope for was to teach a few years, get my Masters Degree in School Counseling, and find my way out of the classroom.”

How long have you been going to Clarksburg Church?

“I started going to Clarksburg Church in 2015. Even though I grew up going to church, I had sort of walked away from the church and while in college I started only coming to church on Christmas and Easter. After graduating from college, I started coming to church more regularly with my mom and reconnected with my faith. I felt like Clarksburg Church was a good church, but I never thought it would feel like home. I was so wrong.”

What is your current role at Clarksburg Church?

“In 2016, I started serving in children’s ministry. I started as a helper, then co-teacher, and eventually lead teacher. Currently, I am the lead teacher for our Elementary School kids and I have recently stepped in to help lead our Nursery team.
I love every minute of working with students and feel so privileged to get to teach them and be a part of their lives. I feel like an extra parent in a lot of ways. I’m partnering with parents to help raise their kids. How amazing is that?”

What led you to make the decision to leave your full-time position to take the Fellowship at Clarksburg Church?

“I have been blessed by being able to work with students with special needs. I love my students fiercely but couldn’t stop feeling like I was meant to be or do something else. This past year I just kept praying that God would open a door for me to work with kids that involved teaching them about God and the value they have because they belong to him. Just when I was deciding what my next move was, Beth called me and told me her ‘crazy’ idea.”

Walk us through your decision to take this position. Was it a hard decision?

“When I heard about the position, I was overjoyed. It was an answered prayer. But after the initial excitement wore off, I was sure that I would have to turn down the offer. I didn’t think I could make it work financially. I was scared.
But then I started to feel God saying “trust me.” After many conversations with my mom, I decided to do what was scary. I decided to do what was unknown. I decided to take the Fellowship position.
I love my Clarksburg kids and still can’t believe that I get to put my time and love into growing a stronger ministry for them.”

What are you most looking forward to in your new role?

“I’m looking forward to having the time and energy to pour into our Children’s Ministry our Clarksburg Church Kids. I’m thrilled to invest even more in the lives of our kids. I’ve had so many ideas over the past year, but no time to bring them to fruition. Watch out soccer games, dance recitals, and science fairs! Miss Taylor is coming!”

What are your hopes and dreams for Clarksburg Church kids and the Children’s Ministry?

“Obviously, I would love to see the ministry grow – not just growth in the number of students, but growth in the number of volunteers. I was once in the same place as my students and I remember how it felt to have adults, that weren’t your parents, love you. It’s so meaningful. So I have a true vision for our students to be connected to each other and other adults through small groups.
It’s wonderful having students learn about God and their faith from me, but part of having their own authentic faith means for them to be in community with each other – which happens during small group. As someone who has been serving with students, I can say that seeing students form relationships with each other that are based in Christ, is seeing God’s Kingdom in action.”

If you could say something to encourage the Clarksburg Church kids and families, what would it be?

“I would tell the children and their families that we are ready to partner with them. Raising children is hard. Raising your children in the ways of the Lord is even harder. Clarksburg Church and Miss Taylor are in the trenches with you.”

Be a part of this story.

The “Miss Taylor” Project

It represents that God is faithful and He provides people, passions, opportunities, tools, and basements. We are a small church doing big things. The “Miss Taylor” Project represents prayerfully trusting God.

Our Giving Goal:  $56,000 over 3 months (May, June, and July). This $56,000 covers all of our regular operating expenses as well as the additional cost of bringing Taylor on staff for the one-year Fellowship and the cost of renovating the apartment and allowing Taylor to fulfill what she is being called to do. Read More.

WILL YOU RESPOND TO THE CALL?

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Join the Children’s Ministry Team

Are you ready to partner with Taylor and invest in Clarksburg Churck Kids? Learn more about what to expect, how to join the team, and our current needs.

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