Youth Summer Mission Trips

Every summer, students in 5th-8th grade at the church have the opportunity to go on mission trips that expand their understanding of the world, allow them to contribute to expanding God’s kingdom, and engage them in meeting needs in a variety of different ways. This summer, the adventures continue!

Our middle school mission trip is June 19-22 and takes place here in Madison. Led by our high school students, 5-8th grade students spend 4 days serving people right here in our own backyard. They work at food pantries, food pantry gardens, nursing homes, community centers, and many more places. The students are able to explore many different ways to serve and share the love of God while having lots of fun and getting new perspectives on our world.  Students are still welcome to register for the trip.

The high school mission trip is July 23-31. We are trying something new this year and taking our own independent trip and the destination is New York City! We will be partnering with a church (Our Savior’s New York) that has sites in both Queens and Manhattan. We will be doing kids activities in Central Park, working to remodel the Manhattan church, neighborhood outreach, meals on wheels, and of course seeing some of the sites. Registration is still available for this trip as well.

We would love for you to participate alongside of us in our summer adventures. Here is how you can engage:

  • Prayer. First and foremost, we want these trips to honor God and be led by Him.

  • Finances. We are in need of donations to help with the cost of transportation and scholarships. You can give your donations to Emily, the Church office, or place it in the offering noting the designation. You can also stay tuned for fundraising events that you can participate in and invite friends to. Right now a Culver’s fundraising night is set for May 31st and a Babysitting Fundraiser if planned for June 25th. We appreciate every amount. It is only because of the generosity of this congregation that our students have had such transformational experiences each summer.

  • Middle School Meals. Each night of the middle school trip, we try to find families from the Church who can come in and provide the meal and eat with our students. If you like to cook and want to hear about the trip as it happens, let us know so you can be part of this ministry!

  • High School Meals. We are bringing all of our meals with us on the high school trip. We need baked goods, freezer meals, and a ton of other items to make our week successful. If you would like to be part of the team that is organizing this for our New York trip, let Emily know!

  • Serve. Join our middle school mission trip for half a day or full day. See ways you can serve our community and get to know the young people in our congregation.

Questions? Emily would love to talk! E-mail her at


Pass It On, part 1: It Only Takes a Spark

It only takes a spark

To get a fire going

And soon all those around

Can warm up in its glowing

That's how it is with God's love

Once you've experienced it

You spread His love to ev'ryone

You want to pass it on

I remember singing this song around the campfire at summer camp.  Think about the last thing someone shared with you, and the most recent thing you were excited to share with someone else.  What do you remember about it?

Passing along the things we know and experience is part of life.  But intentionally passing along things can seem heavy when we talk about discipleship.  So, for this first part of Pass it On, I just want to focus on the most basic thing we get to share, love.  There isn’t a mystery behind sharing love with a friend or neighbor.  Just do it, and if they ask why, tell them that God loves them, and so do you.

  1. Do something to show your neighbor you love them.
  2. If they ask, “Why”, tell them that you know God loves them, and so do you, and that God gives us so much love to share that you wanted to share it.

Easy-peasy! So pass it on.

I wish for you my friend

This happiness that I've found

You can depend on Him

It matters not where you're bound

I'll shout it from the mountain top

I want my world to know

The Lord of love has come to me

I want to pass it on


Sticky Faith

I have had the privilege of attending a discussion of the book “Sticky Faith” with other parents at the Church on Sunday evenings once a month since January.  Emily Powers, our youth director has wanted this to happen for some time now and it has become a reality and has been very meaningful.  Why discuss this book?  


The statistics about young adults and their involvement in church after high school are sobering.  Most of the statistics say that 1 out of every 2 high school graduates will drop their faith at the door when they leave home.  They may (or may not) pick it back up again later in adulthood, but they abandon what seemed to be a solid faith when faced with the new adventures of adulthood after high school.  Ouch!  I’m not comfortable with those numbers, are you?  My desire, (and Emily’s and many other parents) instead, would be to see young adults leave home so secure in their faith, and equipped with the tools necessary to live out their faith.  To be able to independently read their Bibles, seek out church homes, surround themselves in Christian community and continue to build relationships with those who are far from God.


Of course there is no silver bullet to assure this will happen.  There is not a 3 step easy plan to follow for success.  However, the researchers at Fuller Youth Institute, along with FUller Seminary have found several ideas and principles that when carried out has the potential to set young adults on the right track towards creating independent followers of Jesus.  You have heard the African Proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  That is exactly what the research is finding.  There is great value and importance of intergenerational community!


That is good news for us at the Church.  lifeGroups can play this role!  One of the biggest findings of the Fuller Youth Institute was students who had a sticky faith had multiple adults, who walked with Jesus, actively pursuing a relationship with them during their teen years.  They call it the 5:1 ratio.  Can your child name 5 adults outside of Mom and Dad that they can trust and that are interested in them and following Jesus? Are YOU one of those adults for a child outside of your family?  Again, good news for us at the Church.  lifeGroups can play this role!  It matters that you have a consistent rhythm in your life of gathering with other families, learning how to apply God’s word to your life, finding out how to pray for one another, loving each other, investing in one another’s lives.  

Is everyone in your lifeGroup in the same stage of life? How about inviting a young family to join your group?  How about inviting an older person to join your group?  How about starting a brand new group and being intentional about who you invite so it is intergenerational.  Find ways to get together outside of lifeGroup, go to the teenagers muscial, go and cheer them on at a sporting event, ask the elementary student what they are learning at school or what their interests are, send them a note and tell them you are praying for them. You can make an eternal impact.  Please contact me if you are not currently in a lifeGroup and would like to give it a try.  It matters.

Life In Rhythm

God is the Master Creator. He ordered the world. He orders our days.

The earth ROTATES one time every day.

He sets aside one day a week to SABBATH, to rest.

He hung the moon in the sky that waxes and wanes in a monthly LUNAR pattern.

He established the four SEASONS each offering its unique contribution every quarter. 

And, once every year, the earth ORBITS the sun, marking time.

The rhythm of our world has been so intelligently designed by a Master Creator.

That Master Creator invites you to live life together with Him. That’s what we mean by lifeWorship. Worship is not just an event, it’s a lifestyle. Do you suppose that the Master Creator intended to have these rhythms bless our lives too?

DAILY (rotational)  

WEEKLY (Sabbath)

MONTHLY (lunar)

QUARTERLY (seasonal)

YEARLY (orbital)

At this point in my journey here's a few of the habits I have integrated:

DAILY (rotational)

Journaling 3 pages, get up and go to bed at consistent times, drink 2 liters of water, read the Bible

WEEKLY (sabbath)

Take at least a portion of one day to chill, rest, do something that replenishes me

MONTHLY (lunar)

Take a one day spiritual/vision retreat

QUARTERLY (seasonal)

Set seasonal Strategic Priorities for my ministry, take one day of Sabbath with my wife, Amy

YEARLY (orbital)

Take a week-long retreat to reset my Life Plan, decide on Yearly Motto: this year it’s "Life in Rhythm" (surprise!)


What habits have you integrated?

What habits would you like to integrate?


Bhutanese Ministry

For those of you who are new to the Church, or are not as familiar with the thriving fellowship God has created among our Bhutanese brothers and sisters, a little history may be helpful. The United Nations partnered with the United States in the resettlement of Bhutanese living in refugee camps in Nepal for over 20 years. Having been expelled from their home country of Bhutan, and not able to gain citizenship in Nepal due to political issues, they were in need of a new start in the United States.

Outreach to Bhutanese refugees resettling in Madison began in April of 2009 when a lifeGroup committed to a 90-day sponsorship of the first Bhutanese family to arrive in Madison. Since then, our congregation has been blessed to witness many Bhutanese come to faith in Jesus through baptism, attend weekly Saturday evening Bible study and fellowship, and serve in our congregation and elsewhere.



Pastor Amos Shakya from Chicago continues to develop leaders in our ministry, visiting Madison every other weekend. He also provides wise counsel as the community encounters both celebrations and challenges that are often culturally unique. Mentored during the week, Bhutanese leaders are now teaching the Bible study and leading worship every Saturday evening. One of our leaders, Ran Limbu, just started a 3-year basic theological training program with Pastor Amos as his mentor. Another leader felt called to minister to the youth and children and started an AWANA club on Saturday mornings. They are experiencing amazing growth in that program and drawing youth and children from the larger Madison Bhutanese community that do not yet know Jesus. Discipleship continues to multiply as more and more adults and youth are trained in serving during the weekly Saturday evening fellowship. In addition, volunteers from the Church like the Strange family, Mayme Keagy, the Russow family, and many others, continue to walk along side these families learning, laughing, crying and serving together.


The ministry has been very active in recent months! We hosted Godly Leadership and Godly Family training seminars, a special youth event with a presenter from Nepal, a community picnic and neighborhood Christmas caroling and program in partnership with other Bhutanese/Nepali ministries in Madison and Chicago. To connect with other Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere, members traveled to Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois for various conferences and events and representatives from those ministries have visited Madison as well. Closer to home, everyone came together for a variety of baptisms, home blessings, weddings and volunteer efforts including a special event supporting Tiny Hands (another Nepal-focused ministry at the Church) and donations for earthquake relief in Nepal.


As we live life together in ministry, we often must adapt to the opportunities and challenges life brings. We celebrated together as several of our leaders started a new Indian restaurant in Madison, but miss their leadership and weekly presence with the demands of a new business becoming very real. We supported each other as the news of devastating earthquakes in Nepal arrived day after day with seemingly no end in site. Many in our ministry had friends or relatives affected by this disaster, including Pastor Amos and Bijay Lama, leader of the Madison Southside Bhutanese/Nepali fellowship. One had their family home destroyed and the other mourned the death of a family member. The transportation blockade in Nepal that followed and prevented necessary supplies from entering the country was as traumatic, if not more, than the earthquakes themselves. Finally, we mourned together the tragic death of Bhim Limbu and struggled to support and love his family through the loss and many other hard times that came as a result.


Please pray for this ministry. It seems at every turn we face spiritual warfare and obstacles that seek to destroy the good work God is accomplishing in and through us and discourage those involved. His continued protection and guidance is needed as we further His Kingdom work here in Madison. Pray for Pastor Amos in his leadership and recent significant loss and challenges in his family, and Ran Limbu in his continued development and training despite mourning the loss of his brother Bhim. Pray that our ongoing discipleship would bear fruit and grow and that all the resources necessary are available to allow this ministry to continue to develop and mature.

Thank you for your continued support, encouragement and prayers!