Encouraging our young people, and sending out Timothies to serve in God’s work…..should be a natural part of any church. What pride we have when we are able to nurture and support in our home congregations, those who desire to become preachers, teachers, missionaries, and other workers for the Lord.
New Testament Christian Church, in Keokuk, Iowa takes special pride in having dozens of Timothies who have served in the past, or are serving now.
THIRD GENERATION TIMOTHIES
New Testament Christian Church is nearly forty years old. In the beginning of the church, a small group of Christians formed a Bible study together, then grew into a large, thriving church. Of that small group of ‘charter members’, several have children and grandchildren who became Timothies.
The first paid minister’s family of the church, Charles and Eloise Webb, have grown children who have served in church camps, missions, and other ministries. Today, they have grandchildren who are serving in inner city missions and other capacities of serving the Lord. In addition, the Chase family, Starr family, Davids’, Mott’s, and Betts’ all have children and/or grandchildren who are working for the Lord in various capacities. The pioneers of NTCC have also encouraged many throughout the years, to be Timothies in many capacities.
THROUGH THE YEARS
Today, more than thirty Timothies are currently serving as ministers, ministers’ wives, Christian camp directors and workers, missionaries overseas and in inner cities, teachers, college professors, and a Bible college president. Work is being done in our home state of Iowa, as well as a dozen or more other states. Missionaries are diligently serving in The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Thailand, and Japan, on a long-term basis, as well as the many young people who travel to the Dominican Republic and other countries to serve each summer. Even high school and college students find time to serve in or outside the country on school breaks or during the summer. Many others have served through the years, and still support ministries and missions in countless ways. Still others who are serving, or have served, were part of NTCC in the past, but moved away with family while they were younger. Although they may be Timothies of another church now, they were once part of the NTCC family, taught, and encouraged, even from birth.
Although some young people decide to go into ministry simply because they feel led to do so, NTCC takes pride in the many ways the church encourages and supports the children and teens in the church. A summary of the ways leaders of NTCC feel the church raises up workers for the Lord can be said in four words: Awareness, involvement, encouragement, and support.
Awareness of God’s desire for each of us to serve Him, is a big part of the teachings at NTCC sponsored Keokuk Christian Academy, and many of the church’s children/teen programs.
KCA draws students and even staff from several surrounding Iowa towns, as well as from the nearby states of Illinois and Missouri. In the Christian school, children are taught Bible courses and get involved in Bible Bowl to learn God’s Word in a fun way. They learn about missions, and even meet and correspond with missionaries.
Children are exposed to missions very early, as the Christian school, VBS, and Sunday schools present programs about the missions supported by the church.
Camp missions also help make children aware of ways to serve God. Teams from missions or Christian colleges get involved with camp from leading music in chapel to being cabin helpers.
Several times a year, Bible college music and/or teaching teams visit NTCC in Keokuk, to lead children’s revivals and rallies. Children not only enjoy these special events; they also get a glimpse of the ways they could also serve God.
Children in the Christian school, and in NTCC’s Sunday and Wednesday programs, are encouraged to give offerings and to help with special projects such as gift packets for the military, or school packs for children overseas.
Older children and teens in the church are encouraged to help in the nursery and younger classes. They help as mentors in the church Christian school. Young people go on outings to visit or do service projects for the church’s elderly and shut-ins.
Student Activity Helpers (SAH’s) are teens from the local churches who serve for a week at camp, grooming the teens to be helpers away from home. Andrew Thompson was raised in the church, attended the Christian school, and now enjoys the youth group activities. “I’m looking forward to helping at camp this summer as a SAH,” he says with enthusiasm.
ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT
Children and teens at NTCC are encouraged to help in the local church and in missions.
In addition to encouraging the young people, NTCC also believes strongly in helping through scholarships and gifts, those who wish to attend Christian school, camps or colleges, as well as those serving in missions.
Dr. Bill Abegglen, Administrator of Keokuk Christian Academy, and Minister at New Testament Christian Church, says, “I feel that a lot of any success we have in raising Timothies for God’s work, is because we have always been intentional in recruiting students for Bible college and ministry.” Dr’s Bill and Sue Abegglen are strongly involved in missions in the Dominican Republic, taking a group of adults and youth to the DR each summer. They have personally encouraged and sponsored Timothies in that mission and others for many years. They encouraged and supported Alberto and Lynnette Lund Rivas, in their work for the Lord in the DR. Upon Lynnette’s passing in 2003, Alberto and the children remain in the mission field. Heidi Goodbar, who lost her battle with cancer in 2006, also was encouraged by the Abbeglens in her efforts to the ‘Kids Alive’ project in the Dominican Republic.
Brother Bill Hauser, Senior minister at NTCC not only encouraged and supported his and wife Connie’s four children throughout their years in Bible college. They also gave much support and love to all those attending Bible college or serving in missions, Christian and public schools, and Christian camps. Not a week has gone by for many years that Brother Bill hasn’t sat at his desk and written personal notes…often adding a monetary gift… to each young person in college or serving on the mission field. The other ministers, the elders’ families, and many of the church members, also encourage and support all the young people who are learning or serving for the glory of the Lord.
And, for those who are still home, whether an elementary or younger child, or a teen or young adult, support, prayer, and love is abundant at NTCC. One of the first ‘lines of support’ is the peer support in the church. Teens and children feel supported to do right, not pressured to do wrong…..supported to learn and serve, not pressured to stay away from the church family. Then comes the awareness, involvement, encouragement and support of the church, from the first preachers’ families down to the newest members of the church family……to each child and teen.
Timothies…..NTCC is proud of the many young people raised up for God’s work.
Any church can raise up God’s workers, with a little effort and a lot of encouragement.
Mary J. Davis