KidzWorld Changed My Life

As Children’s Pastor at NewSpring, I find myself jumping–at nearly break-neck speed sometimes–from one project to the next.  Don’t get me wrong. I love my job and love working with some amazing people who make my job a whole lot easier.  We are starting a building project for our nursery area and I am super excited to be able to use that new space to reach more kids & families in southcentral Kansas.  There are a lot of discussions, meetings, and planning that go on throughout the course of a month to make it all happen.  Also Judgement House is coming up in October and we start looking for volunteers right now to help with that ministry, which I oversee as well.  So I said all that to say this….sometimes you can get so busy that you can miss some blessings that are right in front of you.

I was in the mode of “what is the next project to get after” and I got a message that one of my volunteers in KidzWorld wanted to talk to me.  The two things that run through my mind when that happens are: they are unhappy with some segment of the ministry or they want to pitch a new ministry that we need to start.  So I met this guy for coffee and for the sake of privacy we will call him Bob.  (I love Bob the Tomato on Veggie tales)  We ordered our ice coffees and I paid for his and we sat down. Then Bob said, “Thank you,” and started into his opening statement.   “Mr Dan, I wanted to sit down with you face-to-face and tell you something that I have needed to say to you for a long time.   (I’ve got to be honest, I was thinking this is going to be a gut wrenching conversation and I should have had this meeting in my office not in a public place!)  He said, “I just want you to know volunteering in KidzWorld has truly changed my life.”  I smiled like, “Oh, okay, good to know. How is your ice coffee?” But before I could even say a word he started to tell what it has meant to him to minister to kids here at NewSpring.  He went on and told me how he has a great job, plenty of money, big house, nice family but came to church and then went home year after year without serving the church.  Bob told me he was restless at home trying to figure out a hobby for himself because he was bored with life.  He said, “My family loves each other, but pretty much everything we did was just for ourselves.  So finally I got the courage up to fill out a volunteer application to help in KidzWorld and help engage kids on the weekend with the best news ever!  To be honest I really thought I would not last more than a couple of weeks.  But that hour each week has more impact on me than you will ever know.  I saw in the kids a deep form of worship that I’d hadn’t experienced before. I was trying to make a difference in the kids’ lives, but their love of the Bible and God was impacting me and changing me.  My life is so much more fulfilled because of what KidzWorld offers to kids,  a chance to hear about the greatest story ever told and in a fun and engaging way.  The staff you have ministering to kids is just amazing to me. Their passion to reach boys & girls with the good news is second to none.  I know of six families that work at my company who have started coming to NewSpring and the first pitch I make to them is ‘your kids are going to love it!’ I have tears running down my face every time I see a kid get baptized at FX. If I can’t be there in person I watch online and am blessed to have a very small part in their stories. Or when I see kids getting greeted by a crazy monkey or a lovable dog, or see the little red wagons going through the parking lot, or hear the Adventure Avenue Praise Team as I walk down the hallway, I swell up with pride that I am a part of something that is reaching the next generation.  I travel some and I hate it when I have to miss. But volunteering in KidzWorld has humbled and changed me a great deal and I just want to tell you ‘thank you’.” And then Bob leaned forward and said these words that hit me like a 90mph fast ball…”Volunteering is often pitched as ‘change someone’s life when you volunteer’, but it changed MY LIFE because I volunteered.”

I walked away from my meeting with Bob thanking the Lord for how KidzWorld impacted him and how much more I appreciate the ministry God has given NewSpring Church in Wichita and the eternal impact God allows us to experience.  And if you are reading this and would like to volunteer at NewSpring Church go here for all the information you need.  Who knows–volunteering could just change YOUR LIFE….just like Bob’s.

Thank you to all of our volunteers at NewSpring that make the weekend happen. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

New Day in the Bay

I just wanted to share some good news on this Tuesday. Ready? We have started the dirt work on the “New Day in the Bay” building project! The heavy equipment has started to roll in and the Baby Bay playground is no more. But we are super excited to see this project start and can’t wait to get to the finished product. Here are a couple of things that might affect you.
 The West Entrance is now closed. You will have to use the South Entrance or the entrances located in the north area where the Coffee shop and The Student environment are located. The West Entrance will be shut down for the majority of the project.

Starting this Sunday, Father’s Day, you will see red KidzWorld Welcome Wagons in the north & west parking lots. These are going to be out and about helping young families make it into the building safely with their kids. So be sure if you need a little extra help getting into church that you take advantage of this ministry!

Continue to pray and give towards the building expansion. Our goal is to pay for this without borrowing any funds. Hope you have an awesome week and don’t forget to celebrate Father’s Day here at NewSpring Church this weekend!

Summer and Kids

Summer break is almost here…or maybe it is already here for some kids. There are lots of ways to have fun during the summer. But summer can be a great time to do something new or impact the lives of others. Here are 10 ideas of things a kid can do during the summer that will make a difference in their own life or the lives of others.

  1. Memorize a Bible verse a week…or maybe a chapter. If you are looking for a really BIG challenge, memorize Proverbs 3:1-15.
  2. Do something kind for someone every day. (Don’t forget that your brothers and sisters need kindness too)
  3. Learn a new skill. Maybe you would like to learn to draw or juggle or do magic tricks.
  4. Read a book a week.
  5. Ask your parents for a special new assignment each week, such as a new chore you could master.
  6. Learn to cook (with some help from an adult).
  7. Play a game that your younger brother or sister likes each week.
  8. Write a letter to a different school friend each week to ask how their summer is going.
  9. Learn about the lives of kids in a different country.
  10. Start a journal. Write a few sentences about what you did or how you felt each day.

Whatever you decide to do this summer, make sure that you always remember:

I need to make the wise choice.

I can trust God no matter what.

I should treat others the way I want to be treated.

Have a great summer!

Easter Weekend at NewSpring

I was sitting in my office this morning and reflecting over the wonderful Easter weekend we had at NewSpring Church.  Each moment that I recalled was connected to either a volunteer or staff member who went beyond the normal to make a big impact on the lives of others. I had several parents come up to me to say “thanks” for what we do for kids.  One comment was, “It is mind blowing to me what you do for kids!” Another comment from a dad who drives all the way from Lawrence, Kansas said, “What you people do for kids is unparalleled to any other ministry. We try to come as much as we can but with our work we can’t make it as much as we would like. If we happen to come to Wichita during the week my kids beg me to drive by the church to make sure we aren’t having services.”   We had 124 first time guests in KidzWorld and over 2700 in KidzWorld this weekend!  Doesn’t that make you shout for joy?  Most churches don’t see that in a year but God has blessed NewSpring with an open door to our community and we should celebrate it!  Overall we had over 12,000 people attend one of the 6 services over the weekend and 53 adults prayed to receive Christ. In 252 Theater we know of 10 kids that made a life-changing decision!
Thank you for making such an impact on south-central Kansas. We couldn’t have pulled it off without our amazing volunteers alongside us.  Many of you worked 2,3,4…some of you 6 services to make sure we could handle the crowds at every hour. KidzWorld Staff is so blessed to have such an army of dedicated volunteers who go beyond the normal to make an eternal impact!
Now it doesn’t stop here! Many of the people who came the first time this weekend will come again.  We are reaching out by phone and mail to each new family and inviting them back to NewSpring.  We want to make sure that we “set the table” properly each and every week so the message of God’s love is clear to every boy and girl that comes into our environments.  Some of you volunteers might be feeling a sense that you would like to step up even more in your area and take on new responsibilities. If that is you talk to the ministry leader in your area. They would love to have a conversation about that with you.

Thank you for your service and willingness to impact others for Christ!

Legacy, Newborns and That Moment When Your 2-Year-Old Says “Dang It!”

JesseMahannah

Jesse Mahannah

August Joseph Mahannah. Sarah and I had decided on the name when we found out we were pregnant the first time. But God blessed us with a girl for our first child and we knew, especially I knew, that we loved Elizabeth Kate for a girl. I loved the name Elizabeth because it is Sarah’s middle name and my hope for our family was that if we had a daughter she would grow up to be like her mother. But August Joseph was perfect for a boy. Sarah’s grandpa August Kubish passed away the day before our wedding. August was a pastor and a patriarch to a great big friendly family. Even though I didn’t know him well, his legacy in his children speaks for itself. It’s an honor that my son carries his name.

Joseph was my grandpa on my dad’s side. He was a World War 2 veteran who lost his two brothers to the war. He was the last Mahannah boy. My grandmother has told me many times of how my great granddad and my Grandpa Joe had high hopes that Joe would have a boy to carry on the Mahannah name. Joe ended up having a girl. And then another girl. And then finally a son. That son, my dad, had four sons and one girl. The legacy of the Mahannah name lives on through those boys and my grandma has told me many times, Great Grandpa Doc would be proud. As one of those Mahannah boys, I’m proud of that and it was an honor to name my first son Joseph.

Legacy is a powerful thing. You may not know me or my family at all but I’m guessing the themes that run through the paragraphs above strike a chord with you. Maybe for you it’s the legacy of your family or maybe it’s the legacy of someone else who stepped up and made a difference in your life somehow.

I think the reason why this idea of legacy has been bouncing around my head like an echo since the birth of my son and the reason why it seems to resonate with most people is because we all intuitively know that we’ll leave a legacy of our own. So then, as I lay awake at night in my tired-sleep-deprived-parent-of-a-newborn-state I find myself contemplating, what’s my legacy?

This idea resonated with me at our recent Baby Dedication at NewSpring. I stood up with about 50 other families who were dedicating themselves to raise kids who love God and love others and I thought, “This is my dedication to leave a legacy that matters.” As Sarah and I prepared for August’s dedication, we discussed what we hoped for our kids.

We want to raise a strong daughter who’s compassionate and loving. We want to raise a humble man of God who is honest and holds tight to his integrity. We want both of our kids to be brave and courageous enough to follow God anywhere. We want them to passionately love God and love others.

I’m guessing if you’re a parent, an aunt, an uncle, or if you’re invested in the lives of kids as a volunteer for KidzWorld or another ministry, you want that for the kids you impact. But at the risk of getting too personal, another haunting thought creeps into my mind. If I want these things for my kids, they need to be found in me. Along with this realization comes a second and more powerful one. Just as my children will learn respect from me, they’ll learn disrespect as well. In my moments of courage, they might take note and but surely the same is true for my moments of cowardice.

Every parent has this fear, right? Every parent hopes they won’t mess it up? A whole lot of being a parent is praying that your kids don’t screw up and praying that you don’t screw up your kids! This is where I find that my legacy, my most powerful legacy, has less to do with my character, it has less to do with my strengths or weaknesses, but rather everything to do with my faith.

This summer we’re talking about Faith with the kids in Route 252. I love how it’s defined, too. We’re defining it for our 1st through 4th graders as: Believing that what Jesus did can change me. At the end of the day our Faith comes down to one person, Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection. The story of Jesus changes everything and it has changed, indeed it was the only thing that ever could or ever would change me.

That’s my legacy. I don’t have to be the perfect parent (my strongly opinionated two-year-old diva of a daughter could tell you that) and I’m not even a good parent; the goodness in my life and in my parenting comes from the work of Jesus in my life and in my parenting. There’s a verse we go over in Baby Dedication and I think it sums up this idea perfectly for us struggling and maybe even scared parents. It comes out of Deuteronomy 6.

Sorry to jump around on you but this is story is actually pre-Jesus showing up. Deuteronomy is a great book where a man named Moses, is leading a group of people called the Israelites. The Israelites were God’s chosen people, and “spoiler alert” if you haven’t thumbed through the rest of the Bible, the Israelites were a big part of God’s plan to bring Jesus on the scene. Moses is getting a whole generation back on the right track and telling them how to have a great relationship with God. He starts off in verse 2, talking about legacy–talking about what the lives of Israelites kids and grandkids can be like years down the road. Then he gets to the specifics in verse 5 with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” By the way, Jesus would say later this was the most important thing that when we love God, we love others. All great love relationships start with trust, which is why I mad–and maybe you made–a decision to start loving God by trusting in Jesus.

But as Moses gets to verses 7 through 9, he says something about this “Loving God” commandment and the others that follow, something about the aspects of their faith that initially might sound intimidating but in the end I find quite freeing. “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Moses names nearly every possible scenario. Not just church, but like…everything…all the time? I don’t know about you but most days I don’t feel like Super Dad let alone Super Duper Bible Dad. How am I supposed to teach my kids all about faith all the time? But I think that’s the beautiful thing about legacy. That’s the beautiful thing about faith. This summer will have an adventure theme in 252 to go along with our Big Idea of Faith. We’ll talk about how Faith is a journey. Faith isn’t a PART of your life, Faith SHAPES your life. The verses in Deuteronomy don’t mean you have all the answers, which is great because honestly I don’t. It just shows that great legacies are made by the journeys of faith that both shape my character and produce respect, honesty and integrity but also the journeys of faith that bring me through the valley of my own failure and into the comfort of God’s amazing grace.

So in conclusion, as I try to stitch all these ideas together, the thing that I rest in is that my kids may inherit my firm conviction that “honesty is the best policy” and my daughter might pick up the bad habit of saying “Dang-it!” when she stubs her toe (if you’ve been a parent of a two-year old, you know that you literally can’t say ANYTHING without it being repeated). But at the end of the day, the legacy I know I can leave for my kids and that I pray they adopt into their own lives is that Jesus changed the world and He changed me.