Top 20 Highlights of 2017
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, more than 140 people gather together every Sunday morning for worship, from as far away as Aurora, Exeter, Superior, and Hastings. We rejoice for the addition of 6 new families in 2017, as well as 2 new memberships and 4 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 2017:
1. Volunteers – We have so many amazing volunteers serving inside the church and beyond, in the surrounding communities, to show God’s love! Our volunteer base increased from 62% in 2016 to 68% this year. This includes 66% of the adults who attend our church, and 76% of our teens and preteens.
2. Special Offering of Thanksgiving – More than $66,000 was given through this annual special offering, of which $6,622.31 is going to Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Hastings for furnace system improvements and the remainder being applied to balance the 2017 budget and toward the building loan principal.
2. Serve Day – On a Sunday in early August, we dispersed into 13 project teams and went to 5 communities across Clay County and into Adams County. More than 100 people took part in worshipping God through service to others.
4. Worship Team – Updated computers in the Worship Center have enabled improved recording of Sunday morning services, which are then available for viewing by those who were unable to attend. Not only did the Worship Team lead services each Sunday morning, including our Worship in the Park as part of Family Fun Day, but they covered an additional Good Friday Worship Service and traveled to Crossroads Center Rescue Mission in Hastings for a special session. They also began inviting children to join in on Worship during our 4 Family Sundays a year, with an average of 25 children ages 2 years-5th grade attending each time. In addition, an adult choir was formed to add to the Christmas Eve Service.
5. Missions Support – More than $29,000 has been given to support 14 established global, regional, and local mission partners as well as various other mission-oriented groups. Additionally, the church family gave generously through a toilet paper drive to a local homeless shelter and toward new shoes, and turned the lobby into a mobile food pantry for area low-income families. The church also hosted 7 speakers to give updates on area and regional missions partners: Arick Johanson, CCC Timothy of Christian Student Fellowship at UNK; Greg Swinney of Crossroads International Student Ministries; Kurt Olson of Pibel Bible Camp; Dan Walter of Christian Student Fellowship; Luke Kliewer of Miriam's Hope; Dave Fremstad of Deaf Missions; and Dr. Mark Krause of Nebraska Christian College.
6. Family Fun Day – More than 130 people joined in a full day of worship in the park, fellowship meals, golf, trap shooting, and children's bounce houses.
7. $1-for-One – More than $2,900 has been given through this weekly offering, benefiting 20 area families in need due to loss of a loved one, medical expenses, utilities, rent, gas, and other hardship.
8. Playground Project – More than $3,000 was given through Easter's 30 Pieces of Silver Offering, paving the way for church family members to finish phase 1 of the playground renovation including installation of a new set of toddler/preschool equipment. We will begin phase 2 this spring.
9. New Baby Grand Piano – Early this year, we were contacted about a Norfolk church selling a Yamaha baby grand piano. This was a huge blessing, as our piano had developed major issues that required the expense of monthly tuning. We were able to buy the new baby grand piano at a fraction of the cost for a new replacement.
10. Trunk-or-Treat – More than 120 children visited 10 decorated vehicle trunks, played games, and bounced in the bounce house, bringing new families in through the church doors.
11. Christmas Home Mission – A record giving amount of approximately $2,300 benefited 55 area homes of the elderly and families in need. The food baskets were delivered as part of a Soup & Caroling event following the Children's Christmas Program that same day.
12. Gifting Parsonage – The church family voted to gift the parsonage to Cheryl Green, wife of the late John Green, who pastored Clay Center Christian Church for 23 years until his tragic death in 2009.
13. Vacation Bible School – Approximately 60 area children attended a week-long Bible School on the theme, "Maker Fun Factory: Created by God, Built for a Purpose," featuring a daily meal, Bible lessons, skits, crafts, games, snacks, and songs. A mission offering was taken up to provide new shoes and bedsheets to the children at Kulpahar Christian Home & School in India.
14. Children's Christmas Program – More than 40 children gave the performance, "Super Christmas," during a Sunday worship service, sharing the true reason for the season.
15. Foyer Decorating – The church lobby was modernized with a sitting area, creating a more welcoming environment for families coming to worship and fellowship in the CCCC building. Among the features of the new décor is a wall furnishing emphasizing the 4 pathways of the CCCC ministry direction: Connect, Grow, Serve, Invite.
16. Soup/Chili Cookoff – More than $300 was raised for the C4 Student Ministry through the delicious monetary voting on 16 soups.
17. Pibel Bible Camp – This summer, 29 area children and teens attended Bible camps at Ericson, joining youth from around the state.
18. C4 Youth Events – We were able to take students to 2 faith-building events this year: 5 junior high students went to CIY: Believe in Kansas City, and 7 senior high students went to The Event at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO.
19. Bible Classes & Small Group Bible Studies – The church has always had strong adult education opportunities. Bible Classes are available each Sunday before worship, with 7 electives offered on marriage, spiritual gifts, stewardship, baptism, and the case for faith, a creator and Christ. In addition, an average of 5 small Bible study groups met during the week between worship services to hold their own Bible Classes, covering such topics as healthy living, parenting, intimacy with God, balancing a relationship with Jesus with social media, and specific books of the Bible.
20. Sermons – This year's Sunday messages covered 7 series—Nehemiah: Rebuild, Exploring Mark, The Life of Abraham, Being Victorious: The Book of Revelation, The Journey of Jonah, Psalms: Being Honest with God, and Amazing Grace: A Study of Galatians— alternating between Old and New Testament books to give the church family a wider look at the themes of the Bible.