Nathan Schneider

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Family Ministry and God’s Mission

Genesis 12 marks a significant shift in the biblical narrative, from the beginning of our world (and its brokenness) to the calling of a man God promised to make a “blessing to the nations.” The man called of God was Abraham and the promise was through his descendants. The Lord, through an angelic encounter with Abraham makes the specifics of the plan clear:

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:17-19

As the church moves to a model of ministry more aligned to equip families, it must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. Although protecting our children and teaching them solid, moral values are noble tasks, they cannot be the ultimate motivation for our resurgence of intentional family ministry. The goal of partnering with parents has to be aligned with God’s design for families and discipleship: the advancement of the gospel to the nations.

It’s not that our intentions are misguided; they are too small in light of the God who thinks about and cares deeply for all people in every nation. Churches and leaders must think about encouraging parents toward a role grander than could be imagined by parents outside of God’s mission, which is attested to throughout the biblical narrative.

How can churches intentionally move parents to think more strategically about the way they raise their children to be missionaries?

  1. Teach the Missio Dei. Christopher Wright, in his book The Mission of God, argues that a central theme of Scripture is God’s mission.[1] From the original blessing to mankind to “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) to the command to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) to the promised, multicultural experience of worshippers of every nation and people group in heaven (Revelation 7:9-10), God is a God who thinks and operates globally. Our parents need to be inspired by this vision.
  1. Give Families Opportunities to Serve and Go Together. Operating as silos within the church will not result in shared experiences in the home. Children who participate with their parents will see that mission matters for their parents. Recently, a mom and her 13-year-old daughter went on mission together to South Africa. Upon returning, they were already making plans to return the next year. As they began check in at the airport the mom was restricted from traveling because her passport would expire too soon after returning from traveling. Having already made the trip together once, the mom (along with her husband) signed papers to release their daughter for travel. Now, at 14, she has caught a glimpse of God’s glory among the nations, first seen in her mom traveling and now, seen in her parents’ willingness to risk safety and comfort for the advancement of the gospel.

Family ministry models do not go far enough. Churches and ministries must think globally in their attempt to encourage parents towards greater faithfulness in raising their children.

[1] Wright says, “Mission is what the Bible is all about; we could as meaningfully talk of the missional basis of the Bible as of the biblical basis of mission.” Wright, Christopher J. H., The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 29.


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This Week in Student Ministry: Cleveland 2016

Life is best lived on mission!


This week our students will be traveling to Cleveland, OH, to serve Pastor Ben Shelton and his team at Redemption East Cleveland. We will be canvassing neighborhoods, conducting interviews, and helping to host a block party at the church’s new location. Their first service will be held this upcoming Sunday. Pray for the spiritual growth of our students, strength and encouragement for Ben and his team, and the spread of the gospel.

We will keep you posted with updates throughout the week!

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan Schneider

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

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Summer Send Camp: Camp Recap

Send Camp 2016 was a success!

Almost 70 students signed up to serve their city in a unique way. Partnering with local schools, we served by painting parking lines, building a deck, picking up trash, moving furniture/ desks, clearing property, and a number of other inside and outside jobs. Although hot, our students pushed forward and completed what was asked of them. As one student put it, “I didn’t know working could be fun!”

Besides the mission projects, we also had times of worship, small groups, and big-time recreation. One student, who signed up to work, even gave his life to Jesus during the week! We ended the week at Redemption Church where we highlighted the work and baptized a few students who had surrounded to Jesus in the last couple of weeks.


I love being your Student Pastor!


“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16



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Summer Send Camp: Day 1

We arrived in West Mobile at 6:45PM. After settling in the students joined for our first worship session. The theme was WORSHIP. The question posed by our speaker, Pastor Bobby Shirley, and reflected through our singing was: “Where is your focus?” It perfectly prepared us for the rest of the week! After our worship service we went to small group and then, played glow in the dark ultimate frisbee and wiffle ball.

Pray for us as we journey into mission projects tomorrow am!



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This Week in Student Ministry: Spring/ Summer 2016


Take advantage of key events and savings by turning in deposits for Spring/ Summer events early! You save a little by turning in deposits on or by November 22nd. Below I’ve listed trips and potential savings.

As you look at the event descriptions, notice that certain trips are exclusive to certain grades. Our intention is not for every student to participate in every event, but prioritize certain events. For example, Advance 2016 and Summer Send Camp are intended for all of our students. We would also encourage a high school student to spend time on a trip in a cross-cultural environment (Cleveland or Guatemala).

All events are to be paid in full by April 27th.


SlideEvent: Advance 2016
Grades: 7-12
Dates: February 19-21

Short Description: Advance is all about connecting middle school and high school students to God’s greater purpose for their lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This weekend event includes large group worship sessions (with other area church), in home small groups, service projects, and more!

Cost/ Early Bird (Deposit Amount): $35/ $25 ($25)


Event: Mission – Guatemala1911934_880122552001283_319499309906048817_n
Grades: 11-12
Dates: March 28 – April 2

Short Description: Partnering with Brian Holland, Phoenix Roasters, and Irving, a local coffee farmer in Guatemala, our students will serve a local church plant in San Juan Moca. Find an overview of the Guatemala Mission Trip here.

Cost (Deposit Amount): $1600 ($200)


11392821_10204318551025173_7829930110145544333_nEvent: Summer Send Camp
Grades: 7-12

Dates: June 2-5

Short Description: Send Camp will take our students to West Mobile. This week will have a summer camp feel (worship, recreation, activities), but with the added element of a mission trip (service projects, outreach). This will definitely be the best week of the summer.

Cost/ Early Bird (Deposit Amount): $200/ $175 ($50)


Event: Student Leadership University 101
Grades: Completed 8th – 12th
Dates: June 26 – 30

Short Description: Understanding that Leadership Begins at the Feet of Jesus, students will learn the practical, relational, and life skills to change the way they think, dream, and lead. Learn more on the SLU website.

Cost/ Early Bird (Deposit Amount): $625/ $600 ($100)


Event: Mission – Cleveland11754930_10207414303223669_7336897076578064391_o
Grades: Completed 9th – 12th
Dates: July 25 – Aug. 1

Short Description: Partnering with Zach Weihrauch and Ben Shelton, our students will serve Gateway Heights Church and Redemption East Cleveland through service and outreach. Our intention is to help make Jesus famous by bringing the gospel through our words and actions.

Cost/ Early Bird (Deposit Amount): $500/ $450 ($50)

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This Week in Student Ministry: Pray for Cleveland.


This week, our high school students leave for a service week in Cleveland, Oh. Please be in prayer for our team and the work of advancing the gospel while we’re there. Here is a prayer guide for you to follow:

Friday and Saturday (July 24-25): Traveling from Mobile to Cleveland

  • Pray for safety as we travel.
  • Pray for the drivers of our church bus and church van.
  • Pray for relationships to be formed/ strengthened on the church vehicles and while staying overnight in Kentucky. Pray for informal discipleship to occur.
  • Pray for a gospel burden to be on the heart and mind of each team member.
  • Pray for the souls of those that we will encounter on the road and in Cleveland.
  • Pray that our students and adults spend time in God’s Word on this trip and the truth of the Word to shape our mission throughout the week.

Sunday (July 26): Worship at Gateway Heights and Cedar Point

  • Pray that we represent North Mobile, and more importantly, Jesus Christ, well all week while in Cleveland (during travel, at church, throughout the community of Cleveland, and with our place of housing for the week – South Euclid Baptist Church).
  • Pray that our partnership with Gateway Heights is strengthened as our team worships with Zach, Ben, and all of GHC.
  • Pray for team members to have a continued focus as we enjoy our time at Cedar Point. Pray for our team’s boldness as they encounter many at the park.
  • Pray for an even stronger concentration on the mission as we return from the park.

Monday – Wednesday (July 27-29): Main Work Days

  • Pray for opportunities to share the gospel and the boldness to proclaim faithfully as we canvass neighborhoods in East Cleveland.
  • Pray also for the souls of those that we will encounter.
  • Pray that our team is flexible, willing, and enthusiastic about whatever we are asked to do by and for the leadership of Gateway Heights.
  • Pray for renewed energy each day.
  • Pray for long-term impact.
  • Pray for unexpected opportunities for our team to practice encouragement toward Gateway Heights Church and South Euclid Baptist Church.
  • Pray that we have a positive impact on our hosting church, South Euclid Baptist Church. Pray for their Pastor, Bruce McLaurin.

Thursday (July 30): Traveling from Cleveland to Mobile

  • Pray for our team to have greater appreciation for the work of Gateway Heights for the gospel in Cleveland. Pray that passion for the gospel in Cleveland translates to a passion/ willingness to be bold gospel witnesses in South Alabama.
  • Pray for safety as we travel, especially considering a straight drive (no stops).
  • Continue to pray for the gospel advancement in Cleveland through the ministry of Gateway Heights and their leadership, Zach Weihrauch and Ben Shelton.

Thank you for your continued prayers for this trip and for our ministry!

I love being your Student Pastor!


“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

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Radicalized Islam and Mission

This morning’s Briefing from Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, had the idea of mission as it’s theme. He begins his analysis of the news by looking at the story of John Maguire, a young Canadian who converted to Islam and became radicalized. He has since joined ISIS and appears in a video urging for attacks on Canadian soil. The questions to be wrestled with is this, “How does a young Canadian, who did not grow up in an Islamic family, become radicalized to the point of wanting destroy his own country?” The secular world does not have a sufficient answer to this question. A secular worldview, which prides itself on progress and the diminishment of religion, can not make sense of a young boy converting to a radicalized religion to despise his place of upbringing.

How does a biblical worldview shape the answer to the beforementioned question? Mohler’s response is to point us back to Genesis 1 and the Garden of Eden. We are not mistakes or an unintended consequence of a biological process. Human beings are the intentional design of a Creator and as created beings, we’ve been created for mission and passion. However, when this mission and passion are not directed toward the One, True God, we seek to fill that desire through other avenues. In the case of John Maguire, and a surprising number of other young people, the avenue is radicalized Islam.

Why is this important? Because our teenagers seek to live for something bigger than themselves and the thing that grips the hearts of the next generation will be the dominant pursuit of the future. This why instruction in the gospel and a biblical worldview are so vital to the mission of the church and each Christian family. We are not simply instilling good values, but we are furthering the mission of the church, which is to glorify Jesus and make disciples. Challenge young people with the only mission that’s truly worth the surrendering of their lives. It’s time to raise the bar!

Mohler concludes his bit on Maguire by giving this charge:

So, when you see the teenager sitting at your dinner table or in the pew next to you at church, when you look in and see the youth group at your church, when you look in and see high school students talking on the street corner, realize what you’re actually watching. You’re watching the future taking shape. Whatever rules their hearts, will rule the future.