Outside The Box

I was disappointed that our Deacon Minister and Spouse Retreat was canceled due to bad weather in late January.  One of the agenda items I was going to share was entitled “Ministry Highlights”.  I wanted you to also be able to see how God is blessing our local, national and global ministry through Lakewood.  As you review, please voice a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all He is doing and how He is allowing us to join Him in His work.

– Dr. Tom


August – December 2015 Ministry Highlights


Missions

Local and Global:

–        Linwood Christmas Outreach – December 10, 2015: Thanks to all who supported our Lakewood Christmas party at the Linwood Ministry Apartment. Because of your generosity we were able to assist 129 kids and 50 families for Christmas!

–        Operation Christmas Child – Collection Week November 16-23, 2015:Thanks to everyone who prayed, packed a box or helped load the trucks. More than 120 volunteers worked during Collection Week to load 29,847 boxes! (8000 more than last year, which was the most we had ever done at that time). Lakewood People contributed almost 1000 shoeboxes again this year.  We had more than 120 people volunteer to work during the week. These shoeboxes with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are on their way to children around the world, pray that they are received with joy!

–        5th Annual Thanksgiving Meal Outreach – November 21, 2015:Thanks to all who came and helped pack & deliver boxes to local families, and all who donated! We packed 620 boxes. It was a wonderful show of God’s love to our community.

–        Compassion Mobile Experience – Oct. 30 – Nov. 2: First time ever hosting this event … Close to 4,000 people from the community went through the mobile experience. Over 220 children were sponsored globally.

–        Perspectives: God’s Heart for Global Missions: Had over 30 from Lakewood and our community complete a college level mission training class on God’s Biblical Mission. This was a 15 week study course that ran from January to April 2015. Michelle Funk is currently leading “God’s Heart for The Nations”, a condensed 8 week mini-version of Perspectives, through March 2.

Lighthouse Ministries:

–       The goal of Linwood Mentoring is to be a place where we are a light and healing balm, a safe place for children to come and hear about Jesus, a place for children to come and be loved, and a place for children to receive a hand up in their academics.

–       Lighthouse Mentoring has been successful in this endeavor through having about 20 tireless volunteers who show up week in and week out pouring into these children, taking the initiative to lead Bible lessons, and go further in presenting Jesus during their one-on-one time with the children.

–       Many of the kids show up before mentoring starts, take ownership in the program, and help set up snacks and chairs, and then stay after to clean up, and take out the trash.
–       During this extra time, great discussion and discipleship takes place. This past year we have seen so many of the children asking questions about the gospel, have had multiple opportunities to share the gospel with children there, and have seen many seeds planted in the lives of these children.

–       Often times we go into this setting with the mindset that we are going to change lives and make a difference, but let one of those kids come up and hug your neck, call you by name, or take you by the hand to spend time with you … that will change YOUR world! I am a life that is changed by the opportunity to serve and be part of Lighthouse Mentoring!

–        Lighthouse regularly serves about 20 Kindergarten – 2nd graders, 10 3rd – 5th graders, and 9 Middle school to High schoolers.

Celebrate Recovery: We have seen a remarkable group of people wanting to get healthy. We have 4 Step Study Groups and 3 Open Share Groups. We have developed a healthy TEAM (Trainers, Encouragers, Assimilators and Ministry Team Leaders, as well as a strong Leadership Team.) We will be taking 24 Volunteer Leaders to the Celebrate Recovery One Day Conference in Stockbridge in March.

Celebrate Recovery Inside started back in October with two full groups for Monday nights. We are encouraging the ladies that are returning to facilitate a lesson and discussion. We are working to develop leaders within the group so that once they are out, the healthy choices continue. All four of our beds at New Beginnings are occupied with our CRI ladies that have been released. Exciting things continue to happen with the Men’s Prison Ministry every Sunday. They are now in two locations every Sunday morning and mentor several of those who have been released. It’s wonderful to watch these men and women continue to grow in Christ.

First Impressions continues to cover Sundays and Wednesdays very well. Our Golf Cart Drivers (who drive in all kinds of weather conditions) Greeters, Information Centers, Ushers, Library, Medical Desk, and Safety Ministry volunteers all work so well together to make sure that each and every Sunday is a welcome and safe place. As our campus and congregation continues to grow so does our need for volunteers, and we are meeting that need!

Pastoral Care

–        327 visits were made to 25 different hospitals, assisted living homes, nursing homes, funeral homes and private homes.

–        Drove a total of 2,055 miles to minister to those suffering, recuperating or grieving.

–        Ministered to six families by assisting with the planning and participating in conducting funerals for their loved ones.

Worship

–       We have upgraded our video system in the Worship Center to HD! It brings much needed technical clarity to the communication of the gospel in that worship space.

–       We celebrated Christmas by having our worship ministry servants unite in two worship services on Dec 13. Over 125 were involved in the presentations. We had our highest worship attendance on that day in 9 years!

–       We are committed as worship leaders to creating worship services with a healthy diet of spiritual worship practices (i.e. scripture reading, prayer, songs that support the sermon text, baptism, Lord’s Supper). It is producing tremendous growth in response in all three venues.
–       Ask Frank Doty for a personal testimony.

Program Ministries


Senior Adult

–        We have had 5 Senior Adult Luncheons since August.

–        There was a great turn out as Don Ormsbee and Bill Risinger led our Senior Adults in a “Journey Off the Map” for Senior Adult VBS in August. Our focus this week was on Isaiah 30:21… “This is the way; walk in it!”

–        We have had great fellowship in our monthly trips as well, including visiting the Gainesville locations of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the annual Chattahoochee Baptist Association Senior Adult Rally, Apple Picking in Ellijay, and Christmas Shopping Trip.

–        Feb. 10, Senior Adults plan to team up with the Prayer Ministry to go to Liberty Plaza and hear Franklin Graham speak at the State Capitol on his Decision Tour America.

Adult Discipleship

–        There are now 83 couples connected into weekly community in the Young Couples (Millennials) Ministry (up from 39 couples 2 years ago).

–        47 couples were mentored in the Marriage Mentoring Ministry this past year.

–        46 groups participated in Experiencing God.

Women’s Ministry

–        120 young moms joined MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

Connection Ministry

–        82 people have completed Discover since August.

Prayer Ministry

–        A Prayer Ministry team of 42 people has been established and assists on a regular basis in the prayer needs of our church in various ways.

–        On December 10, 2015, five members of the prayer team were able to go to the Linwood Christmas event and pray for the residents.  We had a great response and were able to pray with at least 12 residents or families that attended.  We also put these needs in our Bridge process for prayer.

–        We also formed a team for our Real Life venue that has 5 people each week to be prayer team in that service.   One person stays in the pastor’s reception area to pray throughout the service.  Four people, in pairs, are placed at the front during the invitational song to receive those that want to come for prayer.  Our church is growing in response and comfort level with this process and we continue to see people helped in a great way by having someone pray for them.

AXIS Ministry

–        We have averaged around 40 college students and 20 somethings in weekly small groups this semester.

–        Our ministry has partnered with the Atlanta Dream Center, an organization in downtown Atlanta that ministers to victims of sex-trafficking and folks in local low-income housing projects. We have had the opportunity to participate in 2 “Princess Nights”, where our students directly connected and prayed with several women caught in sex-trafficking as well as some of the men involved.

–        23 college students attended our annual Epic retreat in Myrtle Beach, where they experienced fun and fellowship on the beach and nightly Bible studies on Romans 12.

Student Ministry

–        We have been more intentional about our ministry to Riverside Cadets and are now seeing 20-25 cadets attend Lakewood on Sunday mornings and 15-20 attend on Wednesday nights.  This is a mix of both believers and non-believers from the local area, around the nation and around the world.  These students are hearing the gospel and learning what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

–        We have started 7 new D-Groups (small groups of students that meet outside of church with an adult leader to dive into the Word of God and put spiritual disciplines into practice) and plan to begin several more this semester.

–        We have developed our ministry to parents which includes a new weekly group for parents of teenagers, bi-monthly communication/training, and yearly parent seminars.  In addition, we are helping our small group leaders partner with parents in ministry to their teens through our upcoming Parent + Fusion Group Leader Breakfast.

–        We are in our 2nd year of a Student Leadership Team composed of both middle and high school students.  There are now 27 students on this team that have made a commitment to grow spiritually, to serve at church, to pursue an authentic Christian lifestyle to reach their friends for Christ and to be actively involved in our church and student ministry.

–        We are in the process of planning another DNOW for our middle and high school students this March.  Lakewood will one of two host sites for this regional event that will involve several thousand students, leaders and parents from 17 different churches in our area.

–        We have formed a mission team of 28 students and leaders who will be serving with our ministry partners in Guatemala this April.  For 14 of these students, it will be their first time to serve on an international mission trip.

–        We have encouraged our Fusion Groups to serve together and one of our groups (8th grade girls) took it upon themselves to host a hot chocolate stand as a fundraiser for the Linwood Christmas outreach.  They raised over $100 and spent time praying for the families that would receive assistance.

Children’s Ministry:

–        Our delightful children’s Christmas musical, “The Loaned Manger”, involved nearly 70 grade school children and over 45 preschoolers.  Staff and volunteer leaders were amazing!

–        Created a second winter parent-child dedication after twenty families responded to participate in the January service.

–        Code Keeper participants (kindergarten-fifth grade) have memorized and recited over 1,000 Bible verses since August and have earned over 6,000 beads.

–        The Bridge computer check-in for children and security codes for parents is up and running well thanks to the efforts of our staff.

–        Five Sunday morning small groups have volunteered to serve monthly during the 11:00 hour in WeeCare and GroZone.  This has been a tremendous encouragement to our staff as we continue to secure consistent weekly workers for all classes.

–        Kids Cove Weekday is in its second full year of providing a five-day, half-day option for preschool children and currently has nearly 60 children enrolled.  Requests for 2016-17 registration information from new families has already been significant.

Adult JOY Ministry continues to grow. There are many new faces, especially on Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

Ministry Center:

It is hard to believe that in just 2 weeks we will have been in the Ministry Center 3 years.   We are just about to complete what I believe to be our most successful year, but there is so much more that could be done utilizing this ministry tool to better reach and make an impact into our community.

That is why I am so very happy to welcome to the Lakewood staff Drew Lee as our new Ministry Center Director/Recreation Minister.  Drew is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University where he graduated with a degree in Physical Education and he has a Master’s degree from Liberty University in Evangelism, Discipleship, and Church Planting.  Drew, his wife Amberly, and their son, Grayson, are going to bring a renewed excitement and vision for this ministry.  Drew comes to us from Knoxville, TN (yes, he is a Vols fan!) where he served in student ministry.  He is uniquely gifted to lead and serve in this ministry.  I hope each of you will take the time to get to know Drew and his family.

Every year the Ministry Center continues to grow and be utilized for not just sports but as a place where lives are being touched and transformation is taking place.  The Ministry Center does provide needed recreational space for basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton and a host of other activities, but it truly has become a “community” Ministry Center.  Over half of our membership is from the surrounding apartment complexes and the community.

It is not uncommon to have both courts full on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons with volleyball players or to have 25 to 35 men, women, boys and girls hooping it up on Thursday nights.  The Ministry Center provides a safe family atmosphere to enjoy fellowship and fun.

This year the Ministry Center has hosted two Youth Basketball Camps, a 24-hour Volleyball Tournament, Core3 Volleyball,  3 on 3 King of the Court Basketball Tournament,  Special Olympic basketball, and a month of “March Madness.”   We have also added a complete batting cage in the back of the ministry center to offer both team and individual instruction for softball and baseball.

The Ministry Center has also been a facility that has allowed us to give needed support to the ongoing ministries of the church including our JOY Ministry which uses the center every Monday and once a month on Saturday for RESPITE.  Our  Hispanic youth ministry uses the building on Monday nights.  Other ministries that have benefited from the Ministry Center have been Golden Nuggets, Kids Cove, Youth Fusion, Lighthouse Church Ministries, AXIS, and CR.

In addition, this past year the Ministry Center has hosted wedding receptions, birthday parties,  several dinner meetings, a family reunion, basketball camps, Special Olympics and Randolph Day and served as the host for Heritage Academy Varsity and  JV Volleyball tournament.  In addition to that,  the court has hosted ten different teams from surrounding elementary and middle schools for basketball practice.

This year we are able to host co-ed volleyball leagues in both the fall and spring with great success and  in the spring we held “March Madness” on Thursday nights. This consisted of pick-up games with running clock and scoreboards.    In the next few weeks we will be offering  to the “community”  a Men’s Basketball League, a Coed Volleyball League and Volleyball Club. You can visit the Lakewood Recreation home page to find out more about any of these activities.

On April 23, 2016, the Ministry Center and Recreation Ministries will be hosting our 4th annual Faithfully Fit 5K.  You will soon be able to sign-up for this event on line and we are currently looking for race sponsors.  For more information on the race or any of the other activities you can contact Drew atdlee@lakewoodlife.org.

We are continuing to explore new and exciting ways to use the Ministry Center and we have many opportunities for you to volunteer and be involved.  To volunteer visit the Ministry Center home page and click Volunteer at the bottom of the page.  Volunteers are a huge need as the open hours of the Ministry Center continue to expand.  If you are interested please contact the Ministry Center at 770 532-6307, ext. 1042 or contact Drew at ext. 1005.

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The “Ministry Highlights” are a compliation of reports and testamonies from staff members and volunteers across the spectrum of our Ministry Programs. For specific questions or to engage in one of these ministry opportunities, please contact the Front Office at 770-532-6307 or visit our Ministry Page at http://www.lakewoodlife.org/ministries/