CaRES Fellowship

Christian and Redeemed, Evangelical, Sabbatarian  -  A Seventh Day Baptist Missional Church
 
The Berlin Seventh Day Baptist Church is currently sponsorsing a start-up church in Clifton Park, New York (an area with around 36,000 residents), headed by Pastor Joshua Michaels.
 
Sabbath Meeting 10:30 a.m.       Southern Saratoga YMCA, 1 Wall Street, Clifton Park, NY 12065
CLIFTON PARK TOP FIVE 
Pastor Josh has rovided Pastor Matt with the “top five” things needed from our church:
 
PRAYER
Here are some ways you can make sure that you remember to lift up those in Clifton Park who are seeking to establish a church there:
 
Pray For Them By Name
Right now the group consists of Pastor Josh, Jon and Lauren Michaels, Bev Kilts, and Brian and Connie DiMicco. A new family that visited our church in February--Joseph and Lunelle Givens and their children, Abigail and Pele--live in East Greenbush and hope to begin attending church in Clifton Park as well. As you pray for the church plant in Clifton Park, be sure to lift up each person by name, asking God to bless and guide them as they participate in this new work.

Sticky Prayer
Place sticky notes in places you will notice them, such as on your bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your car, to remind you to lift up Clifton Park each morning and evening or as you drive to and from work.

 
Partners in Prayer
Offer to be a “prayer partner” for someone who attends church there. Contact one of the people who are currently attending church in Clifton Park and offer to lift them up in prayer each day. Ask them for guidance on what they need, personally or spiritually, so that you can bring those things before God on their behalf.
 
Praying in Church
Drop a note in the prayer request basket at church each week reminding us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Clifton Park, or if you prefer, raise your hand during our church’s prayer time and remind us to pray for the work there each Sabbath day.
 
Pray Preemptively
Lift up those who will one day attend church in Clifton Park, asking God to guide their steps so they will find their way to their new church home. Pray especially for those who are lost, that Pastor Josh and the others come into contact with each day will be ready to lead those they meet towards Christ and invite them to join them for worship.
 
PROMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Here are five ways you can help the people in Clifton Park get noticed:
 
Signage
Perhaps you could help out by offering to create signs the group could use to identify the place where they are meeting. You could also ask Pastor Josh if magnetic signs that could be placed on his car or bumper stickers for members would be helpful and, if so, offer to create them or have them made. Perhaps one of you is skilled at designing business cards, and could offer to make them for Pastor Josh or provide some financial support so he could have them printed professionally.
 
Facebook
Pastor Josh works 40 hours a week at his job, but unlike most of us he doesn’t get to go home and put up his feet. There are worship services to plan, sermons and Bible studies to prepare, contacts to be made, and time to be set aside for his own study and prayer life. Perhaps you could volunteer some of your time one evening each week to set-up and administer a Facebook page for the Clifton Park church plant. This would provide a place for Josh to post information about the church and give him a “one stop” place to immediately get messages to those who are interested in the work there, such as what they should be praying for and how they can help out. This would also provide an avenue for folks looking for a church to learn about the work there.
 
Web Site
Right now there is no separate Web site for the work at Clifton Park. All of the information regarding the church is located on our Web site. At some point, however, Pastor Josh is planning on launching a site for the church. He may have someone in the church who is willing to serve as Web Master. If that is the case then you could volunteer to help out by providing content for the Web site. Perhaps you could offer to write a weekly devotion which could be posted on the site. Maybe you could pass along links that you find interesting or helpful which could be shared on the church’s Web site. If Pastor Josh ends up needing a Web Master, you might consider volunteering for that job, administering the site so that it stays up-to-date and provides a good place for those who want to know more about the church in Clifton Park to find that information.
 
Promotional Items
Getting the word out isn’t always easy. You could help Pastor Josh do that by designing and producing a brochure he could give to others which outlines the work being done in Clifton Park and provides contact information. Perhaps it would be helpful to have “give away” items, like imprinted pens, to help promote the church. You could offer to assemble a “welcome kit” for church visitors which would provide them with information regarding the church, a devotional book of some sort, and perhaps even a few treats. If those sorts of things interest you, contact Pastor Josh to share your ideas and offer your services.
 
Word-of-Mouth
Nothing helps promote a church like enthusiastic people who know about the great things that church is doing and are eager to share them. If you think about why you are here, more than likely it happened because someone who was already going to this church invited you. And just because you don’t happen to live in Clifton Park doesn’t mean you can’t direct people to our church plant there! You probably work with people on a daily basis who live in the area. Chances are that you have friends and family that live in the area, too. If that is the case, make sure to invite them to check out Clifton Park. And be sure to let Pastor Josh know that you have done so. If those you talk to give you permission, pass their contact information along to Josh as well, so that he can follow up with a personal invite. Telling others about our work in Clifton Park is the most effective way to help it grow.
 
IDEAS FOR OUTREACH
There are many ways to do outreach, and Pastor Josh would like to hear any suggestions you have in that regard. As you think about and perhaps come up with suggestions, here are some things to get your thought process started:
 
What Led You to Attend Church?
Unless your parents brought you from infancy and you never took a “break” from going to church, there was some point at which you decided to attend. As you think about ways in which the Seventh Day Baptist Fellowship in Clifton Park can reach out to the community, consider your own story of what led you to begin attending church. That may provide a model for Clifton Park to use as they create their own outreach projects.
 
Bigger is Not Always Better
It can be hard to provide a big enough spectacle to attract a crowd nowadays. There are so many things that compete for our attention that it can be very difficult to convince a large number of people to attend an event. That’s okay, though, because often more progress can be made in a small group than in a large crowd. When you consider ways in which Clifton Park might do outreach, don’t think that you have to go big or go home. A “mustard seed” sized idea may be just what is needed.
 
You Will Probably Need to Provide Manpower
It is exciting to think about the fact that the group in Clifton Park has grown 66% since its inception! Of course, what that boils down to is a group that started out averaging six which now averages 10. It is still a small group, and they will likely need more hands in order to reach out to Clifton Park successfully. As you come up with creative ways to do that, make sure to include yourself in the picture when it comes to doing the work.
 
You Will Probably Need to Provide Financial Support
The group in Clifton Park has not asked us for much when it comes to money, but that doesn’t mean the need isn’t there. Ministry costs money, and most of what those who attend the fellowship in Clifton Park give in support of the ministry will, for the foreseeable future, be used to pay the rent for the facility they are using. If you have an idea for doing outreach that will cost money, consider offering to help defray that expense with a special gift above and beyond your regular giving. Monetary gifts intended for Clifton Park can be given directly to the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Berlin. Just be sure to designate your offering clearly.
 
Outreach Doesn't Have to Directly Present the Gospel (But it is Better When it Does)
Many of the things that we do for outreach here in Berlin are service oriented. They are prompted by and founded on the Gospel, but they may not make a direct appeal to those being served to turn to Christ. That kind of outreach is effective at raising a group’s profile and building good will in the community, but we need to be sure that we are also letting people know about the good news of Jesus Christ. As you think about sharing your ideas for outreach to be used in Clifton Park, make sure that you include the reason they are planting a church in the first place: to spread the Gospel.
 
MENTORSHIP
Here are some ways you can work to provide mentorship and accountability for Pastor Josh and the others who attend the Clifton Park group.
 
Ask Pastor Josh What You Should Pray Then Check Back
Encourage him and those who attend as they make progress. Hold them up in prayer when they are having trouble meeting a goal. By investing in the group through prayer, you will also be helping them stay accountable as they do the work God has set before them in Clifton Park.

 
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you read something on the Web site, Facebook, in The Buzz, or on the bulletin board and don’t understand what it means, write an e-mail or give Pastor Josh or one of the other members of the Clifton Park group a call. The best way to understand what is happening in Clifton Park is to talk with someone who goes there.
 
If You've Shared an Idea But Haven't Heard Back, Ask Again!
People in our church have been encouraged to support the start-up in Clifton Park in many different ways. No doubt a number of you have followed through by offering to help out in one way or another. Sometimes the timing is just not right. Other times details need to be worked out before your idea can be put in place. If you’ve made the offer and are waiting for a response, be sure to check back every now and then to see if the group is ready for you to serve them.
 
Contact Someone Who Attends Each Week & Offer to Be Their Accountability Partner
Providing accountability for one another is part of our church covenant. We agree as church members to watch over one another for good. You can do that for one of the people who attends the Clifton Park fellowship, and they can do the same for you. Ask one of the people you might know how you can support them as they seek to grow up into Christ, and then provide support and guidance to them. Remember to allow them to do the same for you. You can share prayer needs together, touch base on what God is doing in your lives, and provide encouragement when one of you stumbles or is struggling.
 
Reminds Our Church to Pray
Accountability is a two-way street, and our church has promised to lift this group up in prayer on a daily basis. Make sure that is happening by praying for the group yourself, but remind us to pray for them when we meet together on Sabbath morning, too. If the group hasn’t been mentioned yet during prayer time, raise your hand and ask us to pray for those who are meeting for worship in Clifton Park.
 
VISIT
Following is more information about the fifth item - how you can pay the group a visit:
 
Drop in on Sabbath Morning
This is the obvious one. Just pick a random Sabbath, pile the spouse and kids in the car (assuming you have those; if you don’t, it would be best not to just grab people off the street), and head on up to the “Y” in Clifton Park. The church service starts at 10:30 a.m., and they would love to see you.

 
Visit Quarterly
Here things get a bit more intentional rather than a one-off visit, plan to stop by every three months to worship, study and pray with our church plant. Perhaps you could offer to teach or lead in some way during the service once each quarter in order to give Pastor Josh and the others who currently lead there a break so that they can just enjoy worshiping with the congregation there.
 
Make an Exchange
Contact a member of the group and offer to switch churches for a week. Drive up to Clifton Park for worship, and allow someone from their group to drive down here for worship. That would allow those who attend church in Clifton Park to get to know the people from their mother church without feeling guilty for “skipping” services or reducing the size of their congregation in a given week.