Our theme this year is "Awaken Faith" (Hebrews 11.1-6). We look to awaken faith at Club this year by:
1) Leading lives of faith ourselves
2) Protecting the space for God encounters
3) Looking for opportunities to share the goodness of God with each other, the kids and the families.
Part of awakening faith is providing space, time and oppurtunity for that to occur. We must be intentional with our energies. And we must be intentional about the environement and what we allow or accept within it. As Pastor James Patterson says, "If we don't have God encounters, we're just another social club". That is why we look to protect the space from bullying, disobedience, defiance, disrespect and things of that nature. Anything that would take away from a child's ability to exist peacefully and without inhibition. In order to pursue God in faith at North Omaha Good News Bears. This may be the only place that they are going to hear about a loving God. A God that came as a baby, like us, to live like us and connect us to Himself.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15
It's the small foxes that ruin the vine. The obvious actions are easy to spot and speak against. But it's the small, more subtle issues that go unaddressed that will cause big issues in the space. We can get ahead of things like this by setting the temperature. We are the thermostat. We are to be expectant for those in our space. "For we are God's workmanship..."(Ephesians 2) Any idea or thought that goes against that is contrary to what we are calling them to. So when they are dealing with one another, that is our standard to view others by. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue..." (Proverbs 18) With our words we can either build or tear down. And we don't tear each other down in our space.
Safety is the over arching theme here. We want the space to be safe for the youth to take risks in faith by questioning and application. Not just physical safety, but safety to ask questions, engage with God and seek him from where they are. Because we believe that "God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" and we want those in our space to experience that.