News

By John Montgomery

The Good Grief discussion group will conduct a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 21st, at 6:30 pm. This group provides support, comfort, and understanding for high school, college and young adults who have lost a loved one.

The state of emergency in our country not only causes grief but enhances grief that is already present. Grief cannot be quarantined or isolated until a “convenient” time. Yet grief and suffering by nature are isolating.

In his book, Forever, Paul Tripp observes that suffering tends to isolate us from the people nearest us and makes us feel that others cannot understand what we are experiencing. Tripp also notes how suffering can cloud any sense of faith or trust in God because of the unanswered “why” questions. Yet, connection to others and to faith can be essential in times of grief.

During a time of grief, it is important to seek out people who acknowledge our loss and who will listen to our raw expression of grief. Sharing pain with others won't make it disappear, but it will, over time, make it more bearable, more understandable, and less isolating.

Although no two people experience grief in the same way, by attending Good Grief you may find that other people have had experiences, feelings, and struggles that are similar to your own. Good Grief also provides opportunities to comfort and support others. Often you don’t realize how much you have learned or how well you are doing until you find yourself comforting and supporting someone else in their grief struggles.

Please encourage anyone you think might benefit from this group to attend. Email grief@dwellcc.org  or text 614-268-7998 to obtain the Zoom log in or ask any questions.

Akili logo

In a few months Dwell is hoping to fulfill a long standing dream of opening an urban high school, dedicated to helping students succeed, academically, relationally, and spiritually, as they transition from middle to high school and beyond. Akili is scheduled to start its first school year in July (dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions being lifted). It now has a website for more information: akilichristianhs.org.

The name Akili is a Swahili word meaning “the mind, common sense, wisdom,” and the school’s mission is to teach students the valuable trait of wisdom through their experiences and education at Akili.

Ari Adkins is the principal of Akili, and has been working with Student Ministries Division Coordinator Joe Botti to create and establish this new school. Ari says the idea was born out of Dwell’s history of working with low-income families through Urban Concern and Harambee Christian School. Although most Harambee graduates earn their high school diploma, many struggle spiritually in their high school years, succumbing to the difficult atmosphere they encounter in public high school. They have been invested into so wisely and lovingly while at Harambee, yet the pull of the world system is strong. Ari says, “Our hope is that by establishing Akili Christian High School, we can provide students with a sound spiritual environment as well as learning environment, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed relationally and functionally after high school and into our college ministry.”

To this end Akili will promote the Christian worldview with an emphasis on the importance of character. Akili will offer Bible classes as well as encouraging students to engage with Dwell high school Bible studies. They will also be mentored by mature adults—Dwell Life Coaches who can help with important practical skills like personal finance, nutrition, securing a driver’s permit, job acquisition, and skill-building. Ari says they not only hope to equip students for the real world, but also to equip and motivate them to return to mentor others with the same needs, and to become effective leaders in their communities as well.

Like Harambee, Akili will strive to help its students meet and exceed state academic benchmarks. Its curriculum will be set up to allow students to complete their graduation requirements by the end of their junior year, so their senior year can focus on one of 3 career pathways: college-preparatory, vocational (trades), and information technology/medical science.

After much praying, research, and discussion, Dwell elders have put together their plans for handling the church's financial matters at this time. Here's their statement:

We wanted to make our church aware of steps we are taking at this time related specifically to finances of the church. We need to be prepared for an anticipated impact on donations as a result of this time of economic instability. At the same time, we don't want to overreact or fail to see God's provision for us at this time.

We will be taking a very conservative approach at this point to the budget presented earlier this year and voted on by the FST. Specifically:

  • We will seek to help our staff as a first priority, keeping people working as much as feasible and paid through the next two months in particular. All staff who can work from home are doing that, and limited staff whose work is required on-site at any church facility are all strictly following CDC protocols for safety.
  • Growth in our 2020 budget is frozen. We will not be initiating any of the Strategic Initiatives that were proposed and presented for inclusion in our annual plans.
  • "Black-Ink" items that were approved for spending by the FST will be put on hold at this time.
  • Projects that we had planned for the year, including one's previously approved but not yet underway, are also all put on hold at this point.

We greatly appreciate the generous and sacrificial church we are part of. Those of us who can continue to give robustly should stay the course, even as some of us can no longer do so.

Any or all of these steps can be revisited as our financial picture becomes clearer in the future. 
Thank you for your support, and your witness and service in our communities.   
 

Through prayer, you can serve even while respecting the governor's order to stay home. For the next few weeks we'll feature some prayer points for different ministries in Dwell. Today, some items from the Missions Division:

During this tumultuous time of lock-downs and limited physical contact, many of our Global Partners around the world will struggle to gather together for fellowship. Not only that, but many of our partners work among some of the poorest people in the world, and this pandemic disease will have the worst effects on the poor. Pray for creativity and resilience in their churches and efforts to serve their communities.

Here are updates and prayer needs from a few of our partners:

Ethiopia

  • EthiopoiaPrayer requests: "We recently returned from visiting our partner, Bethel Church, in Ethiopia. It was very encouraging to see their growth in both the house churches and in leadership. Last year, we worked together with the elders of Bethel to formulate a plan for church planting over the next five years. Their leadership in this area has been excellent and they have already made tremendous strides toward their goals. To date there are over 1,000 people attending 57 house churches! During our visit we were also able to help them facilitate a medical clinic in a region where they aim to plant new churches. After the clinic Bethel church followed up with patients and will try to start a home church. This is a really exciting move since the region is relatively unreached, other than a couple of house churches that Bethel has planted nearby. In addition to the clinic, we provided a training seminar for church planters and home church leaders. We covered content from the book of Acts about early church growth. Pray that the home church leaders and church planters would persevere in this trying time and continue strengthening the home churches."
  • Coronavirus Update: There are fewer than a dozen cases reported in Ethiopia, but there is concern the virus could spread quickly and that there are more people infected. Pray for the Kassa family and their health.

Friendship Ministries Cambodia

Dwell elders have set up a COVID-19 crisis benevolence fund. Here's their statement about how it will be used:

Given this unfortunate COVOID-19 crisis, we are seeing increasing levels of shut down. Some of our members have already lost jobs, are facing economic hardship, and there is likely more to come. It appears this will continue to worsen for a time, and we all hope for the economy to rebound. Unfortunately, this means some of our dear brothers and sisters who already face financial instability will be hard-pressed and in great need.

In the New Testament, the church took care of the poor financially --especially those belonging "to the family of faith" (Galatians 6:10). These individuals were often orphans and widows, whose families were unable to take care of them (1 Timothy 5:8). As a result, we would like to organize a collection for the poorest members of our church, similar to what the early church did during the famine that ravaged the entire Roman world (Acts 11:27-30). The elders are opening a designated fund to help them.

For those of us who have job security and have been blessed with great resources from God, we should all prayerfully consider digging a little deeper during this difficult time. May God grow us to become more like the Macedonians, and even more so, like his Son: "For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God." (2 Corinthians 8:3-5).

Here is the link to donate: https://member.xenos.org/page/186?AccountIds=159

Hardship of all kinds is not a thing unknown to the church. The early church suffered through disease, persecution, famine, fires, economic downfall, and war. Towards the end of the 2nd century, a mysterious epidemic broke out and swept across the Roman Empire. Today, many scholars believe this was an outbreak of smallpox. During the 15 year duration of the epidemic, it is estimated that a quarter to a third of the Roman Empire died from it.

Shortly after, another epidemic devastated the Empire in the third century, reportedly killing as many as 5,000 people per day in Rome. Rodney Stark, in his book The Rise of Christianity points out that Christianity actually flourished during these epidemics, while paganism declined. The book suggests that during these epidemics, people were having a crisis of faith and followers of Christ had an opportunity to display their faith in Christ and offer hope and peace in a desperate and scary time.

This is a time of fear and panic for our world. As followers of Christ, we have the opportunity to help those who are in need and share the gospel of peace. How should we help a world in panic? We must remember what we know:

Food drive
Free Clinic care package assembly

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." --Matthew 5:16

Many people in Xenos have been answering needs in the community (from a safe distance from others), serving at food pantries, in their neighborhoods, and in newly organized food and supply drives.

Xenos members have been offering help to their neighbors, picking up food and medicine, and hosting international students stranded in the U. S. Here are some highlights, though many more people are out there, being lights for Christ at a difficult time:

Makers HC
Maker's 46's Home Church meeting

Xenos is a church that thrives on frequent fellowship, face-to-face. With restrictions on gatherings, home churches are finding ways to not only stay in touch, but also to study the Bible, pray, and share time together.

Many groups are using virtual meeting resources--Google Meet, Zoom, Webex--to hold "gatherings" from their computers and mobile devices. These groups are using this technology to watch teachings together and pray together. They're discussing service opportunities, and offering encouragement. Leaders are using it to make plans for their home church. And people are also enjoying time talking together, discussing the unique challenges they are facing in their homes.

High school home church
Moonbase high school group meets

Bolain Home Church member Dave Rich says getting together like this was a welcome alternative to not connecting. His group met online twice this week and says it was great to reconnect. "There were some technical challenges, but even working through those as a group was fun."

Diana Slayton's home group also met online this week. "We prayed together, laughed together, and discussed how to be lights during this time. It was an awesome way to being cautious and concerned yet not fearful! Super encouraging!"

These virtual meetings cut across all age groups in Xenos, with people from junior high, high school, college, and adult groups trying to make the most of a tough situation.

If your group is unclear how to arrange these meetings, your leaders can discuss it with Xenos Staff.

XSI RegistrationRegistration is now open for the 2020 Xenos Summer Institute at xenos.org/xsi.

There's a new registration system this year, and you will first need to create an account. If you register other people, you will need their email addresses in order for them to sign up for breakout sessions in April.

The Summer Institute is July 8-10 with the theme, "The Last & the Least: The Heart of Biblical Leadership." The theme considers what it means to be a Christ-follower, following Jesus' example of leadership in all areas of our lives--at work, at home, with friends and family, and within our communities.

This year's conference will bring in pastors Dr. Crawford Loritts, Dr. Eric Mason, and Jay Pathak as its keynote speakers. Register today and put the dates on your calendar!

Rent a student

Get chores done around the house while you support the short-term missions team going to Cambodia this summer. The team is raising money for trip expenses in part through yard and house work, painting, moving, and other odd jobs. They do the work and you make a donation to the team. Please plan on donating a minimum of $10 an hour (with a higher minimum for very large jobs), but a higher donation is welcome!

If you'd like to arrange a job for them, you can send an email to rentastudent2020@gmail.com. Let them know the job, dates, and times that work for you, and the number of people needed for the job.

Also, please share this information with friends, family, and neighbors who might have some work they need done. Your support makes a big difference--each dollar the students earn through work goes directly to paying down the cost of their trip.