Gods Choice Cove Run Highlights
- Over the last three months, what “glorious moments” has your ministry experienced?
- We’ve had a change in leadership in our kitchen staff to a more team-oriented model rather than a single “overseer.” We saw inherent problems with that model, which drove some of the volunteers away. It has since changed and we’ve seen God bring some of the kitchen volunteers back.
- The menus have also changed for the better to be healthier as well as more cost-effective. The girls have implemented a “summer” and “winter” two-menu system that really will work and save cost. As a result, we’ve had more houses ask how they could help than ever before. It’s amazing to see how little changes make such a deep impact.
- We’ve experienced a little more growth and more reach into the community.
- Have you had any learning experiences, good or bad, which may help others?
- We learned more about the causes that our special needs participants and their caregivers care about, such as the Autism Day, Special Olympics, and “Spread the word to end the [“R”] word” campaign. I think it is absolutely vital to involve the God’s Choice volunteers and the host church in these community events whether or not they’re attached to the Christian church/movement at all. Why? Because it’s a way to learn, a way to interact, a way to meet many others who aren’t attending God’s Choice because they don’t even know about it, a way to minister to more lost people, etc. It’s an extension of service. It’s easy to sit back and let them come to you and the church, but we must also go to them. Jesus didn’t tell us to “sit” and make disciples when at church, He told us to “Go, and make disciples…” That’s a huge learning experience and it’s paying dividends both in communication and our spiritual growth.
- Training of new volunteers is important, and we have learned that we need to schedule it bi-annually at the very least. Volunteers, especially teenagers, come in without having been through our initial training and we expect them to understand. They don’t. Train often. Make time for it.
- We learned from a recent Caregiver Meeting that their loved ones and “clients” don’t like to be called “clients.” I’m sure this is a regional thing, but I was informed that the word around this area is “participant.” To be frank, I never liked the word “client,” and we’ve since stopped using it. Reeducation and listening are two things we must do for our individual God’s Choice ministries. We tailor likewise if it makes sense. Thankfully, no one was offended, just wanted to let me know. I was so very thankful and gracious to them for bringing it up (which was the whole point of the meeting). As a result, we’ve stopped using “mainstream” and “client” and began using other regionally accepted terms.
- Another good thing was re-branding God’s Choice Church to God’s Choice Ministries at Cove Run. The reason is because too many from the community were disassociating God’s Choice from Cove Run, when we’re partners in this endeavor. People have asked all sorts of strange questions: “Is that a church that thinks its people are perfect or what?” Yes, that happened, a couple of times. They see “perfect in the eyes of God” on our sign and thought that our people think we’re sinless. Not kidding. Blew me away. Or, “We thought there were two churches operating in the same building.” To clear the confusion, we’re re-branding it to God’s Choice Ministries and changing all of our signs to reflect this necessary change. I would assert that to call God’s Choice a “church” disassociates the host church from the ministry to special needs persons because, sadly (but it’s a reality), people in America today don’t understand church, so they see a sign that says “God’s Choice Church” and make wild speculations. We want to clear that up and we think this will be a positive change.
- We started to use our own curriculum for the Bible lesson. Since we’re almost two years into this ministry, we felt it time to move away from the manual’s lessons and use our own material that we use for Sunday School for our children. They’re not “better”, they’re simply different and gives a different way of presenting the material in a positive way. We still do the discussion questions at the end – sans the prizes – and the participants love to answer them even without the promise of a prize. 🙂
- What is the average attendance for you weekly? 45, including volunteers
- How many volunteers do you usually have? 5-6 kitchen, 4-7 youth, 1-3 “floaters”
- Please share any stories from your ministry that have stirred your hearts.
- I (Pastor Branden) attended my first Special Olympics basketball tournament this past Saturday. Two years of God’s Choice at Cove Run and I never knew that SO events were open to the public. I just showed up and ended up spending 2.5 hours with well over 100 people (possibly 150+) from the Knights of Columbus to Special Olympics and many volunteers. They asked me to pray for the pizza, and three of the mothers who attend God’s Choice all but forced me to “plug” God’s Choice to the crowd! Needless to say, God used it to spur on this wonderful ministry in our communities.
- Any other thoughts/ideas/events/questions you want to share?
- Not at this time, except to communicate that our God’s Choice Spring Dance this year will be held at the Free Methodist Fairchance Campground (the hall was donated) on Saturday evening, May 19, 2018. 🙂 We’re so excited to see the 2nd anniversary of our annual prom/dance event!
We thank you for your prayers and support of our ministry at Cove Run Church. I hope the above feedback gives Pastor Shirley and the whole God’s Choice ministry body some great things to pray about in their own ministries. Thank you, and God bless. Please let me know if you need any more information.