Each spring the Dwell High School Ministry welcomes 8th graders into high school home churches. Normally they get to sample different home churches to find the one that's the right fit for them, but with COVID restrictions still in place, Dwell High School Administrator Brian Adams says they're doing things differently, assigning students to a home church that will likely be a good fit. Brian shares more with us more about the plan:

High school group

How is this working this year? 

This year we are encouraging students to join their assigned home church. In a normal year, students would check out several groups and schedule several hang-outs with students and leaders from various groups over the course of April and May--lots of exposure to others! Due to the pandemic, we encourage incoming freshmen to join their assigned group. 

However, not every assignment is perfect. We want every student to genuinely give their assigned home church a shot. If they don't like it, they can contact (Middle School Ministry Director) Quest Shannan and me and we will discuss the next steps. 

What are the challenges?

It's hard to present the full picture of what God is doing in our ministry when we're so limited relationally due to COVID. Normally, students would walk into a room full of people and see everyone smiling, laughing, hugging, having fun--the love of the Body of Christ on full display. Now, things are different. We can still show that love, it just looks different these days due to restraints like mask-wearing and social distancing. 

How do you see God working here? What excites you about what you see?

From the Dwell Missions Staff

Fall Like Rain, a novel by Nell Corbly, is based on a true story of life in Southeast Asia. This intimate look at the realities of Southeast Asia is written by a Dwell missionary under a pseudonym to protect the identity of those who contributed to the book.

Fall Like Rain

Fall Like Rain follows the story of master’s student Sophy Seng, looking for a good resume builder, so she takes an internship in her parents' birth country of Cambodia in Southeast Asia. As she assimilates to this exotic land and its people, she's confronted with the true story of a young Cambodian girl. It's a story she cannot ignore; a story that changes her way of thinking: a story of one young woman's journey from fear to freedom.

Born in the early 1980s to survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Kunthea can't figure out exactly what happened and why no one will talk about it. Surrounded by a family still shell-shocked by the horror, she's determined to make sense of life, all while struggling to survive. When Sophy discovers Kunthea's lost diary, the puzzle of the Cambodian girl's life comes together piece by piece, drawing Sophy deeper into her world. Confronted with questions she'd never considered asking, Sophy gets much more than she'd bargained for in this six-month internship. Fall Like Rain is a revealing of the dark realities of poverty; of belief systems rooted in lies, and the ultimate power of truth to stamp out the darkness.

Dwell leaders recommend the book:

Calumet gift bags

The gift bags were delightful! So kind of all of you to remember us.”

“Thank you for the thoughtful gift bags. It’s been a sad time for many of us but you and your students brightened our day. I am also so happy that you are teaching your students generosity and kindness.”

“It’s nice to know that people are thinking of us!”

“You obviously put a great deal of thought and effort into choosing fun and useful gifts.  We had a great time unpacking the bags. Your thoughtfulness and generosity really touched us.”

This month middle-school students at Calumet Christian School put together over 100 gift bags for senior citizens served by an organization called Village at the Ville, part of Clintonville Resource Center (CRC). The bags included things like encouraging notes, cookies, tea, notepads, and artwork created by the students. Village at the Ville distributed the bags to older folks who have been isolated during the COVID restrictions.

Calumet teacher Cindy Botti organized the effort and says, in response, they received an out-pouring of heartfelt thank you notes from both the gift bag recipients and the distributing organization--a sampling of them is above.

William Needleman with Village at the Ville says it was, by far, the largest number of gifts ever collected for Village members. “We are in awe of your students and their families-their tremendous generosity and the thoughtfulness they put into creating the gift bags! Our members have been emailing us nonstop, expressing how much they love their gifts (especially students' thoughtful notes and lovely artwork) and asking how to thank you all.”

Dwell FCPO

With the help and support of Dwell leadership, some members of Dwell have started a local chapter of the national group, Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers (FCPO). Through the group members of law enforcement enjoy regular time together, encouraging each other to see a relationship with Christ as the key to dealing with the stresses they experience through their jobs.

Dwell member Del Allen is retired from the Columbus Police Department and is the chairman of the group. He says they welcome any officer, regardless of background or religious experience, seeking to build friendships and find ways to serve other officers as well as the community. He says they’re committed to sharing the hope of eternal life, lifting one another up, and learning to be imitators of Christ

Dwell elder Brian Runk helped organize this local chapter, and says it responds to critical needs for those in law enforcement. “Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs that's incredibly taxing. The strain on marriage and even mental health can often be quite serious, and they need all the support they can get. But much as they need that support, many officers lack opportunities to find involvement in church because of their difficult schedules.”

Brian says the officers involved in the group hope to give fellow officers hope and stability that only God can provide. “Helping officers know Jesus Christ gives them the ultimate security they need and an even stronger foundation for serving others and being peacemakers.”

If you know someone in law enforcement, Brian encourages you to let them know about this local FCPO group. "Don’t hesitate to reach out to us--If they’re looking to connect socially and spiritually in a meaningful platform this may be it!. Pray that God will lead us to good works that bring Him glory.”

This spring Dwell is offering a new 5-week class called Abraham: The Man of Faith, taught by Nick Hetrick. Nick shares with us about his burden for the class, which starts March 31st:

Abraham and Isaac

What is the class about?

We will study Abraham's biography through the lens of the New Testament's characterization of him as "the father of all who believe" (Romans 4:16). We will try to get a clear sense of what it meant for him to live by faith in God's promises. We'll also situate Abraham's life in its historical context and address some challenges to the historicity of the Genesis account (mostly in the first week of the class).

What prompted you to pursue this topic?

I was thinking about the way Abraham is held up as a model in the New Testament and thought, "It must be pretty important to understand what Abraham's faith is like." As I started reading his story in Genesis, I realized this would make for an interesting, rewarding class.

What made Abraham's faith so great?

Epic hammock

With COVID cases decreasing and a plan for safety measures, Dwell is moving forward with plans for Epic and Blowout Camp this summer. Epic, for high-school students, is scheduled for July 4th-10th, and Blowout Camp, for middle-schoolers, is scheduled for July 4th-9th.

Both camps have a safety plan in place, and offer most activities outdoors. Students will be required to take a COVID test, showing a negative result, just before camp. Masks will be required inside, teachings will be done with social distancing, and there will be daily temperature checks. If possible, students are asked to quarantine before camp.

Dwell Middle School Ministry Director Quest Shannon says Blowout Camp is a great week for students to build and deepen their relationships in their groups and with God. And he says the fun they have during the week serves an important purpose. "Often students believe the lie that following God is boring and lame. This camp goes a long way to dispelling that notion.

Epic Director Brian Adams says Epic has tremendous value to students at all stages of their walk with God. “They get abundant opportunities to practice the “one another” commands. If anyone has spent extensive time living with other Christians, you know the profound effect it can have on your own desire to be spiritual - to read the Bible, pray and serve others. Getting a full week of that at Epic is truly invigorating for our students, and that excitement often translates home into an energized walk with God.”

Dennis Genesis books

Dwell co-founder and teacher Dennis McCallum is out with a new 2-volume book series on the book of Genesis. Lessons from Genesis will guide you through this crucial book of the Bible, with helpful insights into its meaning and application.

You can buy Volume 1 now at the Dwell Bookstore, with a Kindle version of Volume 1 and 2 available on Amazon. Dennis shares with us about this new book series:

Why Genesis?

Well, I finished writing a book on parenting, and sat back asking God what He would have me do next. I have time to write, especially with COVID going on. Genesis came to mind. I realized I’ve studied this book probably more than any other book in the Bible. I’ve probably taught through Genesis ten times or more, doing fresh research each time. And that’s after doing a number of projects on the book when in seminary. Also, I feel like we have a unique take on key parts of this book. So, why not get it down in writing?

Tell us more about this unique take on Genesis

First of all, our elders and class teachers have really done the study when it comes to creation. We take a line not found in many commentaries—instead of advocating for the view we hold, we focus on determining the outer boundaries of what is permissible biblically and scientifically. Then we leave it there, allowing for several biblical interpretations that accord with what we know from science. At the same time, I argue that several views can be ruled out. I also got into the “argument from soul.”

What is that?

grief workshop

By John Montgomery, Dwell Grief Ministry

The Navigating Your Grief Wednesday night workshop is adding an extra week on March 3rd, at 7:00 pm on Zoom. This session will focus on helping grieving spouses, and is open to anyone who may benefit, regardless of whether they have attended any of the previous weeks. If someone you know would benefit from this extra week, please consider inviting them. This can be a great opportunity to reach out to your friends, neighbors, and family members who are grieving the loss of a spouse.

The loss of any loved one can be a devastating, complicated event. With the death of a spouse, there are many unique complications. One minute you are married; the next you are single, alone, and grieving. The person who would normally help you through difficult times is no longer there for support. 

You may feel numb, brokenhearted, confused, or anxious. You may feel guilty for being the one who is still alive or relieved that your spouse is no longer suffering if a long-term illness was involved. You might even feel angry at your spouse for leaving you, disappointed in God for not preventing the death, and/or resentful toward the doctors who provided treatment to your spouse. You may cry a lot or a little or not at all. Dealing with the intense emotions, the significant life changes, and the many practical considerations that accompany the death of a spouse, can make you feel overwhelmed and uncertain about your future.

At this session, the topics discussed will include: what to expect in the weeks and months after a death, how to handle the confusing emotions, how to navigate changing relationships, how to deal with the loneliness, what to do with your spouse’s belongings, and how to find the strength to move forward.

There is no cost to attend. Here’s what to expect:

Young Professionals Service Group

A group of about 100 Dwell members are finding an outlet for their desire to help the Central Ohio community—the Young Professionals Service Group. The group has served in over a dozen service projects, and invites other people from Dwell to join them

Founder Jessi Middleton says the group is there to serve both community needs and young people in Dwell seeking to serve in the community. Here Jessi shares more with us about the group:

What is the Young Professionals Service Group and how did it start?

The idea was first discussed in 2016, the group was formed in May 2018. The goal of the group is to connect young adults in all spheres of Dwell Community Church while serving our local community and cultivating new friendships.

Who is a part of the group? Do you need to be a professional to be a part?

“Young professional” is typically defined as someone in their 20s and 30s, so the name was the best way for us to describe the age demographic. Anyone in any sphere of Dwell in this age group is welcome to join! We have all kinds in the group--college students, post-college, those in trades, married, single, people with kids, etc.

What kind of service programs/projects are you guys involved in?

We've participated in over 14 different types of community service! The highlights include partnering with the Clintonville Resource Center and helping with the Community Clothing Outreach in Linden and with events with the Columbus Metro Library. We also have social hang outs which, for now, are outside because of COVID. 

We also welcome and are ready support new service ideas, initiated by group members, and we’re ready to come alongside other organizations, as long as it’s in service to the community.

HireLevel class

As you may know, a portion of Dwell's Warehouse facility (620 Oakland Park Drive, 43214) has been renovated to accommodate HireLevel Auto, a ministry to give teens real life experience with auto repair and sales. After COVID-related delays, the ministry is now able to offer its basic repair class, with a mix of students from Akili Christian High School, Harambee Christian School, Central Ohio Youth for Christ, and other interested students.

The class not only teaches students useful skills but also opens the door to a potential career path, creates a vision for their future, and even connects them with caring volunteers to help them progress spiritually.

The program has existed for several years at Youth for Christ’s City Life Center on the west side, but space was very limited, especially with current COVID requirements. The new Warehouse facility offers 8000 square feet of well-ventilated space, with students and volunteers wearing masks, keeping their distance, and working in smaller groups during the class. 

Luke’s Automotive helps oversee the HireLevel Auto program, and Evan Van Dromme with Luke’s says the class offers a basic understanding of how cars work and how to service them. “It gives students who may not otherwise have the opportunity, some real-world skills. They learn to work with tools and they learn how to do the basics on their own car or someone else's.”