theQrtrly Update: 1st Qtr 2018
Updated: May 8, 2018
A 9-minute ministry update and financial snapshot for theHeart through March 2018.
theHeart is called to reconcile people to God and each other through Christ's Love. During the first three months of 2018, we've continued to experience exciting momentum as we attempt to be and do church in a simple way. God is on the move within our community of faith.
He is providing us with many opportunities for growth, relational wholeness, and service to others. And while our efforts may seem simple, the results have been significant. Continue reading for more about some of the specific ways we've been living out our mission together as a church family.
Reaching the Next Generation
Our Next Generation Ministry, led by Director Ethan Hardin, focuses on discipling kids, youth, and young adults. The opportunities are vast, and yet our singular aim is to build deep, lasting relationships with God and one another.
Every Sunday we have the joy of spending time with 40-60 amazing kids.
Kindergartners through 5th graders have spent Sunday mornings trekking through the Exodus narrative. Volunteer teams have poured themselves out into teaching this amazing story of God's redemption. Together we've enjoyed homemade passover bread, toured a scale model of the tabernacle, and even crossed the Red Sea. They have just started studying the Book of Ruth.
There are plenty of opportunities for you and your family to be a part of this ministry. Kids Ministry is made up of 5 volunteer teams: Teaching, Creation, Play, Nursery, and Check-In. We've often found that one of the best ways to get better connected with other families at theHeart is by volunteering with Kids Ministry. The commitment is just one 1-2 services a month, and you'll have the opportunity to partner with other volunteers on your team each Sunday. Take a virtual tour of Kids Ministry by watching this short video. Email Ethan (email@example.com) to learn how you can volunteer with this growing area of theHeart.
Every Wednesday, theHeart hosts 15 middle and high schoolers at our office in downtown Boone. Over the past two semesters we have:
Built up a volunteer team of invested mentors
Developed our own youth curriculum which teaches on the spiritual disciplines
Connected to organizations like the Health and Hunger Coalition in partnership to help the needy of the High Country
Started a Bible study group for high school girls
During the academic year, 3-4 college students per semester have served our faith community, working with all of our Sunday morning volunteer teams. As part of their intensive 13-week immersion in church administration and service learning, our interns:
Journeyed through the spiritual disciplines, learning inside and out what it looks like to be attentive to God in community
Designed and implement service projects and participate in the development of growing ministries such as our youth group, our relational care team, and events throughout the year
Provided a consistent source of energy and innovation within our staff life
We are currently taking applications for the Fall Semester internship until Sunday, May 13. This is in addition to 5 interns already accepting our invitation for them to step into more focused internship roles next school year. They will be serving in the roles of Relational Care, Communications, Stage Crew, and Youth Group.
Caring for One Another
With an intentional focus on Relational Care, a ministry led by Pastor Graham Aitken, we can better develop and nurture relational wholeness within theHeart. We want to ensure that we grow deeper with one another, not just wider in attendance.
Relationships Within theHeart
How we're creating ways to better support relationships within theHeart:
A Relational Care Team has been created to assist in the ongoing development of relational care at theHeart. The team will begin to meet monthly in June and will assist the Relational Care Pastor in implementing and further developing relational care ministry areas that have been identified as a priority.
We implemented a new annual rhythm for baptisms at theHeart. Baptisms will be held on the first Sunday of May and third Sunday of September. All candidates will have the opportunity to connect with the Relational Care Pastor prior to the baptisms to ensure a full understanding of the Heart’s approach and to provide a safe place for questions. These regular rhythms, however, will not prevent spontaneous baptisms throughout the year in response to the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us. We are also researching options for intentional follow-up after baptisms, particularly with those who are new to faith.
A new prayer team has been created with a view to introducing a safe space for people who would like prayer as part of our response time on Sunday mornings. We will continue to add others to this team and will communicate more about this new rhythm over the summer. There are plenty of opportunities for you to be a part of this ministry. Email Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn how you can volunteer with this growing area of theHeart.
Graham is supporting existing small groups and helping to connect people at theHeart in community with one another. If you're interested in learning more about how you might find a group, start here: https://www.theheart.us/groups
Relationships Throughout the High Country
How we're creating ways to better support relationships throughout the High Country include:
Graham attended a Trauma in Congregations training seminar for the faith community in Watauga County. The seminar was designed to introduce church leadership to the basics of trauma and its effects on the individual and the community. The training also included instruction on how to respond to trauma from a biblical perspective, including the process for referring to professional counselors and other community resources in a way that prioritizes support and relationship.
As a member of the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative (WCCI) steering committee, Graham represents theHeart and the larger faith community. WCCI seeks to move Watauga County toward becoming a Trauma-Informed Community, an effort which involves the faith community, school district, police department, court system, ASU and several other social service agencies. Our partnership with WCCI allows us to contribute to the development of services within the community that prioritize care and compassion for all people facing hard circumstances and to gain from the expertise represented in the group. It is also another opportunity to form deep relationships with various agencies in the community who will serve as a resource for our church body in a variety of ways.
Life in Community
theHeart is called to develop a healthy, robust community that loves like God. For this to happen, we need to be intentional about making genuine connections with each other. Headed up by Pastor Josh Anderson, theHeart is continually identifying and creating meaningful partnerships with organizations that are doing incredible things in our community, both locally and around the world. And through Love In Action, we're removing some of the barriers that come between us and those we can serve.
In February we spent 3 weeks highlighting the life-changing work our friends at Hope Pregnancy Center are doing in the lives of women who are facing unplanned pregnancies. In addition to raising awareness, we committed to filling 200 baby bottles with coins, cash, or checks to help support the many programs Hope offers. The donations kept rolling in long after the campaign ended, and we raised a record $9,298.49. This is in addition to the $2,400 we provide annually through our budget.
In March we partnered with OASIS, a local agency founded in 1978, that is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Watauga and Avery Counties. A group of 12 volunteers helped with light spring cleaning in and around their transitional shelter.
We were able to collect a wide variety of supplies for high school students in need through our ongoing School Sunday initiative. During the academic year we partner with Watauga High School to provide students with basic necessities that help them feel confident and get them through a tough day.
For years now we've had a group of 4-6 people who volunteer to prepare and serve a hot meal at Hospitality House the third Sunday of every month.
Recently we supplemented the supplies needed to pack and distribute 70 "Happy Bags" to nursing home residents at Glendale and Deerfield Ridge.
Through our Benevolence Fund we help support people who are struggling financially to make ends meet. We increased this annual budget amount and implemented a more formalized approach to vetting requests that come our way in order to have a broader and more impactful reach.
THEHEART BLEND is on tap every Sunday morning during our community hour between gatherings. You can purchase your own from our friends at Hatchet Coffee. We receive $4 from every bag of THEHEART BLEND coffee sold.
Nurturing A Culture of Worship
At 9am and 11am on Sunday mornings theHeart gathers together at Watauga High School as a community of believers to worship God through music, teaching, and love. Teaching Pastor Jason English and Worship Director Erin Deuel spend many hours each week planning and preparing for our simple expression of worship.
While Jason prepares and shares the majority of teaching on Sundays, he is in the process of developing a team of teachers who each present the Truth of God's Word with a unified voice.
For about 8 months, Glenn Deuel worked diligently to coordinate the collaboration and creation of theHeart's first-ever music album. "Heirloom: Reflections on the Psalms" is a labor of love that features 10 original songs, all of which were written, performed, and produced by members of our worship band. When it was first released, "Heirloom" reached #35 on iTunes for Christian/Gospel music. To date more than 8,600 songs have been streamed on Spotify.
As part of the launch of "Heirloom," Erin planned and coordinated a special release show in partnership with Harvest House. It was an evening featuring all 10 songs from the album. Hundreds turned out in support.
Jason is in the process of writing a book. "The Whole Thing: Capturing the Story of the Bible in 6 Images" will help people understand the Bible in a clear and memorable way. Through a Kickstarter campaign, people who believe in the vision and importance of the project have made donations that help cover publishing and promoting the book. This cost of this project will not have an impact on theHeart's annual budget.
Erin has committed to serving Operation Christmas Child as a worship leader on 2 international trips in 2018. She just returned from supporting a volunteer team to the Ukraine. She will serve another team traveling to Uganda.
Under the guidance of volunteer team coordinator Scott Banks, the Stage Crew is a growing opportunity on Sunday mornings. We're hoping to build a team of 12-15 volunteers, believing that there is strength in numbers. More people means there are more than enough volunteers committed to sharing the responsibility of pulling the trailer, unloading and loading the music equipment, helping the band set up, and running the projector. There are plenty of opportunities for you to be a part of this ministry. Email Scott (email@example.com) to learn how you can volunteer with this growing area of theHeart.
What Still Remains
As of March, we are currently running a shortage of $33,876.79.
God has made it possible for theHeart to responsibly steward the resources He has entrusted to us, similar to what was found in the first-century church: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32).
Our core value of simplicity affords us the unique opportunity to use the majority of your financial gifts to more effectively offer assistance to individuals and families in need, give to local organizations that serve the High Country, and support efforts to make a difference globally.
More and more people have found a home at theHeart. With this growth comes the reality that our operating expenses have increased. And yet we consistently spend less than what has been budgeted each month. For us to meet and even exceed our obligations in 2018, your financial support and commitment is more important than ever.
In addition to the initiatives we've already put into action, your generosity has made it possible for us to offer two gatherings on Sundays. This opens up more seats for even more people to find a place at theHeart. And you've made it possible for us to add to our staff and implement ways that we can support and even develop a vibrant church life. All of this is being done in an effort to help us grow deeper in our relationships with God and one another.
How You Might Respond
Regular and even increased contributions are essential as we plan and prepare for the future. Your financial gifts are especially important as we continue to find effective ways to reconcile people to God and each other through Christ's Love. Simple.
If you believe in theHeart and you support our mission , please consider giving as Paul instructed: "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under