We have been at it just over a year, and our ministry at DisciplesNet continues to keep growing at a steady pace. This is exciting to us all, yet has left us busy enough with a mostly volunteer staff that we have done a poor job of keeping our regulars up-to-date on DisciplesNet News.
With this newsletter we welcome Rev. Nelda Seger, a gifted pastor, minister, and chaplain who has come on to help with many of our ministry and office tasks, including sending out a regular newsletter to those on our email list. Hope you will enjoy reading up about what is going on with DisciplesNet. Thanks, Nelda, for sharing your many gifts with DisciplesNet Church!
Rev. Deb Phelps, Senior Pastor, DisciplesNet Church
News from Nelda…….. December 15, 2011
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!: (2 Corinthians 9:15, NRSV)
For many people, we are amidst one of the busiest times of the year. You may be one who is experiencing such busy-ness this year, or you may be one who recalls it from times past. Piling on top of already hectic lives can be baking, cleaning, planning, shopping, and “to do” lists that seem to never end. We find it hard to carve out time to be thankful—thankful for friends, families and other gifts—but most importantly, thankful to God for the gift of all gifts, Jesus Christ.
During this season of Advent, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our lives, my prayer is that in each of our lives, in whatever our circumstances, we find a time to watch, wait and prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What’s new at DisciplesNet? Be on the lookout for several new ideas that are going to be rolled out during our second year that we are so very excited about.
1. "Jesus Loves Me, DisciplesNet Children's Video,” http://vimeo.com/31278805. We released this video at the end of October, and it is continuing to pick up viewers. We created the 24-minute video specifically to bring the Good News of God’s love to persons of all ages who are injured, ill, fearful, distraught; perhaps confined to home, hospital, or a hospice-type center. The video has fun and inspiring photos and videos suitable for children and their families to watch together, and is set to scripture readings and songs that can be read/sung along with, or just listened to.
This video was created using the suggestions of chaplains who work with people who are ill and at end of life—but also working to make the video inclusive of all people, sharing the love and presence of Christ. So far we are getting some great reviews and notes of thanks from chaplains, pastors, and families who have used it, playing it again and again. We continue to receive Memorial gift money to offset the cost of this video and more Special Videos like it that we will be making. We are excited to target more such videos toward persons in situations where an online presence of the church is their best, or only way of being connected.
2. Hope for the Holidays: Crying at Christmas is a special 30 minute Christmas worship that recognizes that the holidays are not always a time for joy and celebration. In times of loss – no matter what that loss is – holidays can be a time of sorrow and loneliness. Based on what is sometimes called a “Blue Christmas Service, it is our hope that this service will, with God’s help, bring peace, a sense of family, a feeling of love and warmth and a hope for the year to come.
3. Sing Hallelujah with us. Selections from Handel’s Messiah, including the Hallelujah Chorus, will be available Christmas week for DisciplesNetters to listen to or to sing along with. We thank the chancel choir of Southport Christian Church, Indianapolis, led by Leah Trigg, for willingness to share their gifts with us.
4. Safe Within Faith. Look for our series of video shorts, “Safe within Faith,” to begin coming out in January. These are 5-minute videos with discussion starters, drama, etc. that each examine a way that the church can be a safe place for persons to develop in faith rather than being inhospitable or even injurious. In the works right now are videos about using People-First language, about respecting accessibility features in churches and public places, and finding ways to help in food pantries, shelters, etc. without being demeaning. Other videos will deal with issues of abuse, bullying, conflict, what to say when…, hospital visits, and more.
5. Jam and Bread. On Monday, November 28, 2011 we held our very first “Jam and Bread” session. We invited musicians and others to an informal evening of music and fellowship at our studio/worship center. Our second Jam and Bread session is Monday, December 19, 2011. Look for us to begin posting these jam sessions for persons to play or sing along with, from where they are.
6.Website: be looking for updates and exciting changes to our website. Our designer changed jobs this summer and left us. Since then we have been working to raise funds and to find the right designer(s) who can help us make our site grow as our users need it to be: user-friendly, attractive, and active in our work as disciples on the Net. More on this in our next newsletter.
7. Membership/partnership.DisciplesNet has been in a more or less proving stage for our first year. As we begin our second year, we are hearing that for many, having that sense of belonging and membership is important. We’ve had this in the discussion stages for quite a while, but in the next few weeks, look for the opportunity to sign up as a Charter Member of DisciplesNet Church, or as a ministry partner. We will be receiving Charter Members of DisciplesNet for a year, and then continue to grow through regular membership as time goes on.
Charter Members are those who wish to place their membership in DisciplesNet Church. DisciplesNet may be an only place they go to worship and to be part of a community of faith, or a supplemental place, but it is a place where they can grow to feel at home, and to feel part of the ministry. Membership with the DisciplesNet Church won’t be exclusive of membership in other churches. We always encourage our members to be active in one or more physical churches, if possible.
Persons won’t be required to be official members to continue to use and participate in the DisciplesNet site. Members will have the opportunity, however, to communicate with others and our leadership, helping DisciplesNet to grow in ways that are meaningful to individuals and faithful to God’s calling.
Our ministry Partners will be individuals who are actively involved in other churches and faith communities, perhaps as leaders, but wishing to formally support this ministry and continue to exchange prayers, resources, and other gifts as we grow together as disciples.
8. End of Year and regular giving: As you consider your end–of-the-year giving, please do remember us. Your gifts equip us to continue bringing God’s word to you and to a growing number of believers and seekers from around the world.
Memorial Gifts: If you would like to make a gift, perhaps for Christmas, in memory or honor of someone special, please consider DisciplesNet as one way to do this. You can email us with details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gifts can be made by postal mail to: DisciplesNet Church, PO Box 17935, Indianapolis, IN 46217, or through PayPal (available on our website, https://www.disciplesnet.org or to our Support page, https://disciplesnet.org/support
Gifts can be set up for online banking as one-time gift or regular online bank payment.
We give thanks this year for the growing number of individuals who are giving regularly to DisciplesNet, seeing this as a way for them to share with others the gifts that God has given them. These gifts, large and small, have made a great difference in our ability to keep going and growing.
Year-end financial statements are being readied to be mailed to all of our donors for this past year. All of you have made this year successful, and are part of this ministry that is expanding to many nations around the world. (As of this writing, we have had people log into our worship videos from 85 different countries.)
May God bless you, wherever you are, in this special time of preparation for God’s gift to us.
Peace and grace,
and Susan McNeely, Janet Spaulding, Betty Ann Duke, Andrew Moore, Rahul Nirmal, Richard Propes, Francisco Ramos, Soriliz Rodriguez, Patty Jones, and many more!