The Invisible Opportunities

father and daughter discussing things at the dinner table with a mother and baby in the background.

Recently, our church hosted the IF: Women’s Conference where the emphasis was on discipleship, and it got many of our women thinking:

"How can we be more intentional about mentoring? Who is someone in your life who needs to hear and understand the gospel? If Jesus’ call is to make disciples, then how are we living that out?"

These kinds of questions permeated the conference, but I wanted to point out a seemingly invisible opportunity for discipleship: the kitchen table. As a parent, the most important people we can disciple are our own children. Your mission field is your home. Your children watch you, imitate you, and pick up on a million queues just by your response.

By letting these opportunities remain invisible, many parents waste their God-given potential to introduce their own children to Jesus. So, what does discipleship look like with a small child? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Begin asking yourself, “What am I modeling for my children?”

If they had to define a disciple of Jesus just by watching you, what would they know? This gives you a new pair of eyes, and new sets of ideas on how to teach your children about Jesus.

2. Take the time to read from the Bible with your child.

Children as young as 18 months can start to learn how important the Bible is as we make it a part of our everyday life. Reading small stories, even a Psalm every night, is a great way to incorporate Bible reading.

3. Pray together, even for the small things.

If there is a hurt finger, stop and pray out loud together. When you are happy to eat a special snack, pray together. Making prayer an ongoing conversation teaches our children how approachable the Lord is.

4. Let your kids see your church community.

Being a part of the church family, doing life together with other people in a Growth Group or Life Group is a wonderful way to show how God designed us as Christians to do life in community. Going to church every Sunday and making it a priority speaks volumes to your preschoolers. Knowing that church is important enough to encourage and be excited about is essential to your little one’s development.

Discipleship is as simple as teaching what you know. Thankfully, preschoolers will accept whatever we offer them to learn, so don’t wait until you feel qualified to start discipling your child. Make a small change today.

Karen Erne is the Preschool Minister of Hulen Street Church. She directs Kids Street Downtown, our Preschool Ministry, and helps families know how to love their child in the stage they're in.

Get to Know: Jessica Bollen

Get To Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

Jessica Bollen with her husband, Daniel

Jessica Bollen with her husband, Daniel

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I lead a 9:30 Growth Group alongside my husband, Daniel.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
It will be 2 years this Fall!

What's the best part about serving?
The best part of serving is watching people find real community within their church. Whether they have attended church for years or are brand new, when they find a Growth Group it becomes more than church to people, it becomes a family. So many times we’ve heard group members say how long they had been searching for real community, how they had been so lonely. We get to experience people enjoy the Body of Christ to its fullest – through the highs and lows of life. It’s such a blessing.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
Let’s see, arriving on time on Sunday mornings? Just kidding! I would say the biggest challenge is trying to stay intentional in the face of everyone’s busy lives. Everyone in our group, including me, is constantly pulled in a thousand directions – that’s just the American way. We fill our schedules so quickly, sometimes it’s hard to remember to slow down and make room for others.

How did you get started serving?
Drew bribed us. Still kidding! After serving on a church staff for several years, we were hungry to be active in ministry again when we moved to Texas. We had experienced loving, faithful community to its fullest and missed those relationships. Thankfully, there was a need for a new group, so we were excited to jump in!

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
In very practical ways, the Spirit is teaching me all over again about the foundation of our relationship - faith. At the moment, we’re trying to sell a house 6 hours away, and to be honest it’s financially terrifying. But it’s a daily reminder that the Lord knows the plans He has for us, how much He desires to provide for the deepest, truest needs of His children, and that ultimately our ways are not His ways. His ways are always, always better.

Get to Know: Andrew Frazer

Get To Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

Andrew Frazer is a photographer, artist, storyteller, and a partner at Hulen Street Church.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve at Hulen Street by helping people tell their stories for kingdom impact. I also help run sound and media with the Hulen Street Worship Band on Sunday mornings.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
I have gone to Hulen Street for a year and a half.

What's the best part about serving?
The best part about serving is the relationships I have built. I have been working with a truly amazing family and have become very close to them. I am so thankful for the impact they have had on my life.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
The most challenging thing I have faced while doing the story telling is schedules. When people have kids, full-time jobs, and a routine, and then I have my job, it's very hard to get our schedules to match up at times.

How did you get started serving?
I got started serving in this area by just having a couple conversations with Wes Hamilton and Drew Caperton when I first came to Hulen Street. I was telling them about a desire I have to help people tell their story through film, pictures and writing. Everyone has a story, and their story could make a huge impact on people and grow God's Kingdom if heard. Even if it impacts just one life, the story has done its job.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
Lately the Spirit has been teaching and pressing me to strive to be wise and seek wisdom in everything I do. Therefore I have been studying the book of Proverbs the last few weeks.

The Next Step Update: Denver

Each month, we want to update everyone on The Next Step, our initiative to make internal and external investments in God's Kingdom. Read more about The Next Step

Corbin and Allie Hobbs

Corbin and Allie Hobbs

From Corbin Hobbs of The Heights Community Church:

Greetings Hulen Street Family!

I am writing to you from Denver, where I can say that Jesus is at work and building his church! I cannot express how thankful I am for you all and your partnership in planting a new church here in the city.

As I write to you, I am thinking about how church planting is a declaration of war. By starting a new church in a highly secular city like Denver, we have declared war on Satan, sin, death, and hell. But as we work to plant The Heights Church, we are clinging to what God says in 2 Chronicles 20:17.

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”

I’m deeply encouraged by this and you should be also!

To give you an update, I want to tell you about what's happening in the life of our new church, where we are going, and let you know what to pray for in the coming months.

CELEBRATING GOD'S WORK

God has done a significant amount of work over the last few months. I want to narrow it down to just three things that we can celebrate together.

The growing church planting team of The Heights Community Church

The growing church planting team of The Heights Community Church

First, our team is growing. We have gone from a team of about six people to a team of about twenty-five over the last few months. We are really excited about the growth that God is bringing to us. This summer we will have six new people move to the city from all over the country to get jobs and start making disciples. These people are incredible and such an answer to prayer.

Second, we are excited to welcome a few mission teams to the city, one of those being you guys! We are so excited for partners like Hulen Street who send teams that can meet many of the tangible needs of The Heights Church. In July, you all will send a team who will be responsible for helping us throw our first public event for the community! We will put on a movie night where people can bring their families, meet their neighbors, and watch the movie Inside Out.

Third, I want to share the story of a couple of people named Ryan and Austin. They are two of our new friends who do not know Jesus. Slowly but surely, they have become regulars at our Wednesday night gatherings. We are so excited to see God working in their lives, drawing them closer to Himself. Ryan and Austin are the reason we are in the city, and the reason that you all are partnering with us to start a new church in this city. Our hope is to see many stories like Ryan and Austin’s as Jesus builds his church in the city!

WHERE IS GOD TAKING US?

In August we will begin meeting as a church on Sunday nights. We are in the process of securing a coffee shop called The Copper Door that we will begin meeting in. Throughout the Fall we are going to walk through the book of Nehemiah, and discuss what it means to belong to Jesus’ church and how we can all contribute in the growth of the church. Along with gathering on Sunday nights, we will host many community events in the park. Pray that God will give us favor with our neighbors as we throw these parties for our community!

The Heights Community Church serving the city of Denver

The Heights Community Church serving the city of Denver

We will meet on Sunday nights until February 12, 2017 when we will launch Sunday morning worship services. Our hope is to grow from a community of 25 people to a community of 50 throughout the Fall as we move toward our public launch. Will you pray that God would begin to do a great work in adding to our church family over the next several months?

HOW CAN YOU PRAY?

As we have been here in Denver, we have learned to lean into prayer more than ever. We recognize that there are things that will not happen until we boldly ask God for them. There are three things that I want to invite you to pray for over the next few months.

  1. Meeting Space. We have had a couple of leads on meeting spaces for our church that have fallen through. Our hope is that God will provide a space in our target area where at least 200 people can gather. Would you come alongside of us in begging God to provide us a space in the next few weeks?
  2. Laborers for the Harvest. Being in a city of over 3 million people, we constantly feel overwhelmed by the gospel need here. In Matthew 9:38 Jesus says, "Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." We realize that we do not have a harvest problem, but a laborer problem. Would you join us in asking God to send people who are passionate about making disciples to join our team?
  3. Salvation. Our mission is to reach, build, and release joyful followers of Jesus. Right now we are laser-focused on reaching people with the good news of Jesus. Would you pray that as we share the gospel the Holy Spirit would move in power and begin to change people's hearts? Pray that God would give us favor with our friends, co-workers, and neighbors who are far from him.

Get to Know: Dustin Daniel

Get To Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

Dustin Daniel and his wife, Kallan.

Dustin Daniel and his wife, Kallan.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I play music in the Hulen Street Worship Band.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
A little over 3 years.

What's the best part about serving?
Playing in the band gives me the opportunity to do something I really love to glorify God. I believe in the creativity, emotion and connection that music pulls out of us as humans who are worshipping the Creator. Being able to have a part in that is a true blessing, and I am thankful to both Hulen Street Church and God for allowing my small part in that experience.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
Balancing life and free-time is difficult for me. I have a strong desire to be excellent in my craft and a devoted volunteer, but I am also very protective of the free time I have. So using that free time to volunteer is often a very difficult sacrifice for me. It's a constant battle between choosing to give and choosing my self.

How did you get started serving?
I wasn't planning on playing in the band. Through some conversation, Wes found out I played electric guitar, and because there was a need in the band for more electric guitarists, he asked if I would be interested. After I thought about it, I just kinda thought, "Why not?"

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
I'm learning every day that we are all in need of a savior and we all feel it inside. That needy feeling manifests itself in humanity in many different, yet equally broken, ways. Though the answer is always Christ, no one person's search is the same. As I look at people, the Spirit is opening my eyes to see them as He see us: broken, hurting and searching people. This has drastically changed the way I view and treat everyone I come in contact with.

Get to Know: Trisha Stevens

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

Trisha Stevens with her husband, Jordan, and three boys.

Trisha Stevens with her husband, Jordan, and three boys.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve as a preschool teacher twice a month in the 11:00 One’s class.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
We started attending Hulen Street in July of 2015. We loved it and decided to become partners in August of 2015!

What's the best part about serving?
I love getting to know the kids and the parents of the kids.I also love it when the kids begin to feel more comfortable in the class because they see a familiar face! When the kids are more comfortable, there is greater opportunity for them to engage and learn more about Jesus! Plus I have always found it to be true that when I serve in the church, I find great joy and grow more in my relationship with the Lord. It is always more blessed to give than to receive.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
The biggest challenge I face in serving is missing the worship service. But I’m thankful I can still listen to the sermon online during the week!

How did you get started serving?
Not long after we became partners, we had our third child, so it was hard to commit to serve with a newborn. But once we got in a good rhythm, I told Karen I was ready to jump in to serve! Because there is such a need for preschool teachers, she put me on the schedule right away.

What is something the Spirit is teaching you lately?
The Spirit has been reminding me to walk in the Spirit. As a mom of three little kids, it is often hectic and busy. I want to practice God’s presence in every moment of every day. Some days are better than others, but I am growing in this! :)

Parents + Kids: How to Handle the World of Media

Kid with red hair watching a TV blurred in the background

Recent research has shown that the post-millennial generation (children born after 2005) is getting up to 35 hours a week of TV, and that is on top of other tablet and phone screen time. That is roughly 5 hours a day, whereas the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends only 1-2 hours daily. But don’t fret, the AAP gives parents advice on how to approach media and entertainment with children. They offer a few tips on how to confidently explore the world of media with family:

Treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life

In other words, set limits. Kids love to know how things work, and they thrive in a scheduled environment. Also, make sure you know what they’re watching – as you would want to know their friends and their teachers. Media has just as much influence on them!

Be a Good Role Model

Make sure that you’re modeling what you expect out of your children. If you limit your child’s screen time, you should follow the same screen restrictions. You can always watch your favorite show or check social media when they go to bed.

Cell phone jail in a green basket

Create Tech-Free Zones

Set aside certain times or activities (family meal times or social gatherings) as tech-free. If your child has their own devices, make their bedrooms tech-free as well. That gives children of all ages accountability to your rules.

Apps for Kids - Do Your Homework

There is a cacophony of apps labeled as “educational,” but most do not have much educational value. AAP suggests that you stay away from apps that simply require swiping and clicking. Check out this great list on Common Sense Media for suggestions.

Infant baby playing on an iPad

Don't Use Technology as an Emotional Pacifier

There is a temptation to hand your child a device when they have a tantrum or are upset, but it is essential that children learn how to manage their feelings outside of distraction.

Remember, Kids Will Be Kids

Children will make mistakes. They will break rules and push the boundaries, but instead of blowing up – use these times as teachable moments. Make sure that you are following their habits closely, so that you know exactly how to approach the issue.

 

The best advice I can give is to take it slowly, and explain to your children why you are doing this. Be prepared with tech-free activities to fill the time they would typically spend binge-watching their favorite shows and have fun connecting as a family without any distractions.

Matt Wise is the Grade School Minister at Hulen Street Church. Learn more about Matt or learn more about our Grade School Ministry.

Get to Know: Steve Harring

Get to Know is a weekly feature that highlights leaders within our church, how they serve, and any insights they can share.

In 10 words or less, tell us how you serve at Hulen Street.
I serve as a Door Greeter and Growth Group teacher.

How long have you been with Hulen Street?
My wife and I have been attending Hulen Street since October 2013.

What's the best part about serving?
The best part of serving as a Growth Group teacher has been interacting with the rest of the group as we go through the material together while sharing personal experiences and connecting them to Scripture. The best part about serving on the Welcome Team is meeting new people and seeing church partners excited to walk in the doors to our church every Sunday morning.

What is the biggest challenge you face in serving?
The biggest challenge I face while serving is trying to connect my teaching to our Growth Group and especially visitors to our Growth Group in a practical way that relates the material in such a way that it's not just what I would need to hear for my spiritual growth but that the practical application of the lesson is beneficial to the entire group.

How did you get started serving?
I had the privilege to first start serving as a Growth Group teacher when my Growth Group Leader Daniel Oster asked if I'd like to teach about 6 months after visiting Hulen Street.