It’s Just a Phase, So Don’t Miss It

Just a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of unveiling Ninth & O’s Phase Ministry. The Phase Ministry will launch in 2019 and is our church’s attempt to lovingly and effectively come alongside parents as they fulfill their role as the primary discipler in their children’s lives. To help get everyone acquainted with Phase Ministry I’ve written this post in two parts. First, I’ll explain why we believe Phase Ministry is an essential addition to our church by briefly highlighting two biblical teaching. Second, I’ll give a quick overview of the five phases that make up NAOBC Phase Ministry.

Why Phase Ministry Matters

First, Phase Ministry is essential because God has called his church to equip its members for the work of ministry. In Ephesians 4:11–12 Paul writes, “And [Jesus] himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” Pastors and teachers are not instructed merely to do ministry; they are instructed to equip others for the work of ministry themselves.

Second, Phase Ministry is essential because God’s design for families involves parents taking up the ministry of disciplining their children. Just a few chapters later in the book of Ephesians Paul writes, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Paul’s words echo those of Moses hundreds of years earlier, who wrote, “these words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). God has specially commissioned parents to instruct their children in the ways of the faith.

Since God has called the church to equip its members for ministry, and God has given parents the ministry of disciplining their children, we as a congregation have an obligation to help equip families for discipleship in the home. Phase Ministry is Ninth & O’s attempt to do just that.

How Phase Ministry Works

Phase 1—Dedication
When a young child has been added to your home, you’ve entered the dedication phase. As with all the phases, the dedication phase involves both a training class and a church ceremony. The class introduces families to the biblical teaching on parenthood and provides practical instruction on caring for a child during their first year of life. Also, any family who has completed the class is invited to participate in the Parent-Child Dedication on Sunday morning.

Phase 2—Starting School
A student entering school is a significant milestone in a family’s life. To match the significance of this phase, we have developed an entire Wednesday Adult Equip class for parents dedicated to equipping parents for this season of life. In addition, students and families are invited to attend the Bible Presentation Ceremony. This ceremony provides an opportunity for parents to reinforce the centrality of God’s word by presenting their child with a Bible of their own to use through their elementary years.

Phase 3—Middle School
As a child enters the sixth grade, parents are invited to attend a special one hour, Sunday morning class, which will introduce them to the Youth ministry and provide an overview of several critical issues related to the early teen years. Aside from the Sunday morning class, the Youth and Kid’s ministry will host a Family Cookout at which parents will have an opportunity to pass on wisdom and encouragement to their child on their way to teenhood.

Phase 4—High School
Entrance into the ninth grade begins a students transition from the Youth ministry and the home. Similar to the Middle School phase, a special Sunday morning class will be available to help prepare parents for the challenges and opportunities of the later teen years. Additionally, we invite students and parents to join us for a trip to the Creation Museum. The trip will serve as a celebration of the families transition into this phase and involve a recognition of the students as leaders in the Youth ministry.

Phase 5—Adulthood
Eventually all students must leave childhood behind and enter into adulthood. Because this phase is such a special and significant time in the life of a family, we have set aside a one-day retreat designed to equip students, with the help of their parents, for the challenges of being a Christian in the workforce or on a college campus.

That, in a nutshell, is NAOBC Phase Ministry. We hope that all of Ninth & O will join us in praying that through the Phase Ministry, Ninth & O Baptist church can lovingly and effectively fulfill our obligation to help equip families for the work of discipleship in the home.

Fall 2018 – “The Break”

Join us on Wednesday nights at 7 pm in Room 231 and get to know our Ninth and O pastors and families.   We are excited to have our pastors and their families to join us for some food and fellowship around their favorite snack.     We will spend some time with some fun Q and A along with plenty of hangout time.

11/21/2018 – No Break due to Thanksgiving 

11/28/2018 –  Dr. Blake Ring (Missions and Education Pastor)

12/5/2018 – Ryan Morris (Children’s Pastor)

12/12/2018 – Tommy Sims (Connections Pastor)

12/19/2018 – Drew Smith (Youth Pastor)

12/26/2018- No Break due to Christmas

1/2/2018 – No Break due to  New Years

1/9/2018 – Craig Shuff (Worship Pastor)

Preach the Gospel Everywhere. Use Words. It’s Necessary.

Most Christians have heard the supposed quote of Saint Francis, “Preach the Gospel everywhere, and if necessary use words.” Unfortunately, many Christians both think that he said this and that it is an acceptable model for evangelism. This model of evangelism, known as “Lifestyle Evangelism”, is when you seek to share the Gospel merely through living a pious life. But this is a problem and an inaccurate view of evangelism. Any time a Christian views evangelism as only how you act, they will miss the purpose and the joy of evangelizing. All too often, I find myself in the same situation as many other believers. I want to simply be a good person, a good friend, a good employee, a good manager, and for that to lead to the spread of the Gospel. However, the Bible gives a clear command that we are to use words:

Romans 10:14: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

The other extreme also misses the point: to only preach with words and not demonstrate with action the faith that you claim. James 2 explains that if we ignore the physical need of a person we lose the ability to effectively share with words alone. In the same vein, if you are attempting to share the great news of the Gospel with a person who realizes that your actions don’t reflect your words, why would you expect them to listen to you?

If you are a great next-door-neighbor that is always helping out others in your neighborhood, you are going to end up with the opportunity to share with words about your faith – be ready to do it! If you are a great employee that always shows up to work early and with a smile, people are going to notice – use that as an opening to share with words about your salvation and faith!

One of my best friends unexpectedly passed away last summer. He knew that I was a Christian, and we had talked about the Bible and Christian topics over the years. I had shared with him why and how I knew I was saved, but I never took the opportunity to be explicit and uncomfortable with our conversations to the point that I have certainty one way or the other of his standing before God. As a Christian friend of his, I was always there to help him whether he was moving, sick, or had a baby. Being a good friend doesn’t save anyone. My first thought when he passed away was that I don’t know how he would have answered the question of the jailer in Acts 16.

Acts 16:30b-31a ‘“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”’

The context of Acts 16 sums up how to evangelize perfectly – the way that Paul and Silas acted lined up with a verbal proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior, resulting in the salvation of an entire family.

Here is an example of how this looks in day to day life. As a physical therapist, I get to spend a lot of time one-on-one with my patients and their families. Through being on time, joyful, and engaging in meaningful ways with my patients, I am typically able to earn the ability to share from my personal life. One of the most common ways this happens is when discussing my family, specifically the adoption of my son, Brandon, from the state foster care system. When I’m asked why we chose to adopt, in my weaker moments it is easiest to explain that there are a lot of kids that need homes in our city, so my wife and I decided to help take care of one. In the moments God gives me the strength to speak the truth, here is how it sounds:

“The Bible tells Christians that pure religion that is undefiled before the Lord is to care for orphans and widows in their affliction. As a Christian, I have been adopted by God through my relationship with Jesus, and so the command to care for orphans is very personal. Because of that, my wife and I felt specifically called by God to help take care of children in our city, and it ended up being God’s plan for us to adopt our son.”

By focusing on developing relationships that are backed by Christian actions and behaviors, I rarely, if ever, end up with a person that is upset when I share the words behind my faith.

Jesus gives us as his second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. As you look at your neighbors, everyone in your life that you interact with, make sure you know the answer to these three questions:

  1. Would my neighbor think that I’m a Christian by my actions?
  2. Would my neighbor know that I’m a Christian because I’ve told them with my words?
  3. How would my neighbor answer the question, “What must I do to be saved?”

Preach the gospel everywhere. Use words. It’s necessary.