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Sunday School and the New Year

As we begin the New Year, what is God doing in your Sunday School? What vision have you received? Though I know some have begun planning based on a fall schedule, most adults consider January 1 to be a time to set New Year’s resolutions. Why not take advantage of it?

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From the Beginning to the End

A new year is upon us, and with it comes both anticipation and anxiety. We are excited about the new possibilities—albeit pursuing new possibilities is often accompanied by anxieties over the unknowns that come with new choices. God has blessed us to be alive to start 2020, and since he is a purposeful God, we know he has some purposes for each of us to fulfill each year. God has put us where we are to partner with him to accomplish his purposes.

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via V3: Ten Favorite Books for Church Planting

The V3 Movement has been raising up and releasing men and women church planters, from across the theological spectrum, all over the country, that are focused on locally-rooted presence, tight-knit community, life-forming discipleship, and boundary-crossing mission. We are a training movement. So, we wanted to share with you our favorite books in 2019 (and a couple gems from 2018) that might be a companion in equipping and training you for starting a new church in your local place.

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via Missio Alliance: Four Ways to Practice the Peace of Christ at Christmas

The Christmas narrative resounds with the expectation of peace. The heavenly choir that sang at Jesus’ birth declared, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors” (Luke 2:14, emphasis added). The newborn King lying in a manger is Isaiah’s promised Prince of Peace whose “authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom” (Isaiah 9:7).

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Revitalize Your Sunday School: Adopt a Philosophy

Loving God with all your mind means being in an ongoing Bible study. Pastors, preach it from the pulpit that every follower of Christ who loves God with all their mind needs to be in an ongoing Bible study! You do a great job in helping them grow. A small group Bible study helps them ask questions about life application to scripture. You also should preach that they should reach someone else.

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Fresh Expressions Brings Clarity, Confidence, and Courage

Clarity brings confidence, and confidence brings courage. This word from Pastor Jeff Hudgins in Floyd, Virginia, has informed the journey he has been on as he develops ways of being church outside the walls of his church—Floyd Baptist. He’s calling the initiative Grace at the Edge.

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Role Reversal

Christmas is that time of year that seems to bring out the best in us. It’s the time when we experience a role reversal, as we think of others before thinking of ourselves. Perhaps this is a hidden by-product of Christmas. Is this role reversal a fluke? Or in the original Christmas event, did God give us an example of putting others first?

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What Are You Waiting For?

Waiting seems to be woven into the fabric of Christmas. We wait for the season to begin, and then we count down the days left until Christmas Day. We wait in lines when shopping in stores, wait for parking spots at malls, and wait for planes or trains to arrive.

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Revitalize Your Sunday School, Step 10: Follow Up Fanatically

It is sad to say, but Walmart does a better job of welcoming people than many churches! They have assigned parking for people with disabilities and for expectant mothers. They have a greeter at each door. They smile and say, “Welcome to Walmart,” and provide stickers for children. Any employee is ready to help you find what you need. They smile when you leave and provide a warm goodbye. Following up with first-time guests at church and creating a comfortable environment is critical in this culture!

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The Missing Ingredient of Thanksgiving

Some of the best meals are somewhat simple in their contents, but when prepared with love and slow-cooked with time-tested techniques, they become the food of kings. Several months ago we watched a television show where the chef sought to discover the secret ingredients of traditional meals—sometimes still prepared over open fires, or slow-cooked. His discovery is summarized in this statement: “Time is the missing ingredient in our cooking today.” And there is much truth to this statement.

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Upton Celebrates and Challenges Virginia Baptists in Executive Director’s Report

During the Tuesday morning session of the 196th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV), John Upton continued the meeting’s theme, “Renew,” in his executive director’s report. He thanked God for all he has done in this past year and for the exciting places he is leading BGAV in the future. Upton highlighted BGAV’s continued involvement in theological education, plans for the future of BGAV, and the ending of the “More Than Nets” missions partnership.

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