Top 18 Highlights of 2018
What a year for Clay Center Christian Church! We are a busy church family, with a heart for the Lord, giving through our time and resources, helping people to know and love Jesus.
All in all, an average of 164 people gather together every Sunday morning for worship, from as far away as Aurora, Exeter, Superior, and Hastings. We rejoice for the addition of 7 new families in 2018, as well as 3 new memberships and 6 baptisms, and we look forward to welcoming more people into God's Kingdom in the coming year.
Let's take a look back on the year, recognizing the top highlights of 2018:
1. Volunteers – We have so many amazing volunteers serving inside the church and beyond, in the surrounding communities, to show God’s love! More than two-thirds of our church family volunteers! This includes adults, teens, and preteens.
2. Special Offering of Thanksgiving – More than $62,000 was given through this annual special offering, of which $6,224.31 benefited Forge Christian Church in Hastings. The remainder has been applied to balance the 2018 budget, in ministry reserves for 2019, and toward paying down the building loan principal.
3. Serve Day – On Palm Sunday, we dispersed into 13 project teams and went to 5 area communities. More than 120 people took part in worshipping God through service to others.
4. Worship Team – A new organization tool called Planning Center has been incorporated to help organize worship ministry volunteers, music, and the service order for each Sunday. Two speakers have been replaced in the worship center, and work continues in being able to provide video of Sunday services to be accessed online via YouTube and Facebook Live.
5. Missions Support – More than $36,000 has been given to support 15 established global, regional, and local mission partners as well as various other mission-oriented groups. Additionally, the church hosted 8 guest speakers to give updates on missions partners and local missionaries.
6. $1-for-One – A total of $2,674.97 has been given through this weekly offering, benefiting 12 area families in need due to loss of a loved one, medical expenses, utilities, rent, gas, and other hardship.
7. Bell Tower – The bell from the original church building was erected on the church grounds atop a bell tower designed by the eldership. A ribbon cutting gave families, old and new, a chance to ring the bell in renewal of their personal faith and commitment to the church.
8. Trunk-or-Treat/Soup & Chili Cookoff – Approximately 200 people visited 13 decorated vehicle trunks, played games, bounced in the bounce house, and tried out the new playground equipment, bringing new families in through the church doors. Held concurrently alongside Trunk-or-Treat, more than $560 was raised for the C4 Student Ministry through the Soup and Chili Cookoff, during which taste-testers voted on their favorite of 15 soups.
9. Christmas Home Mission – A total of $1,888 was given this Christmas season, benefiting 55 area homes of the elderly and families in need.
10. VBS at Manna Camp – Approximately 75 area children attended a 4-day Vacation Bible School—this year, blended with a Bible camp experience at Manna Camp near Spring Ranch—on the theme, "Shipwrecked: Rescued By Jesus.” Almost 40 of these children stayed overnight at the camp. More than $3,900 was given through Easter’s 30 Pieces of Silver Special Offering, enabling all campers to attend VBS at Manna Camp for free.
11. Children's Christmas Program – Despite limited practices due to multiple weekends of inclement weather, more than 40 children gave a stellar performance of "A New Star Shining" to a 200-plus audience during a Sunday worship service, sharing the true reason for the season.
12. Pibel Bible Camp – This summer, 25 area children and teens attended Bible camps at Ericson, joining youth from around the state.
13. C4 Student Ministry – C4 began with a fall kickoff party and only got better from there. The decision was made to separate Junior High and High School students with HS C4 meeting on Wednesday nights and JH C4 meeting on Sunday nights, giving more opportunity for relationship-building and Bible education tailored to each group.
14. Bible Classes & Small Group Bible Studies – The church has always had strong adult education opportunities. Bible Classes are available each Sunday before worship, with 5 electives offered on marriage, parenting, financial stewardship, basics of faith, and emotionally healthy spirituality. In addition, an average of 4 small Bible study groups met during the week between worship services.
15. Safety & Security Team – The church added a new ministry team to handle church security. Along with improving safety of our congregation during Sunday services and events, the ministry team has been able to offer security-building support to other churches through on-site trainings.
16. Small Town Evangelism Seminar – Dave Bycroft of Tyro Christian Church blessed the church by providing a Sunday morning sermon, and then stayed to present an afternoon seminar open to area churches on small town evangelism.
17. Sermons – This year's Sunday messages covered 7 series—Healthy Spiritual Habits, Matthew, Esther, I Corinthians, Proverbs, Jude, and Stewardship— alternating between Old and New Testament books to give the church family a wider look at the themes of the Bible.
18. Playground Project – We were excited to finish phase 2 of the playground renovation this fall, in time for Trunk-or-Treat! We will begin phase 3 this spring, which includes installing the remaining swing set and a play dome.