Students Equip Toys for Kids with Disabilities
Engineering students at Milligan College aren’t content with figuring out how to make things work. They also want to do good for their local community.
And so this summer these students gave away two adapted Power Wheels Jeeps to children who cannot move independently. The project was part of a program called “Go Baby Go Appalachia,” overseen by AdaptoPlay, a local nonprofit organization in Johnson City, Tenn.
The Jeeps are modified to allow children to use them despite disabilities that make it difficult for them to move. Steering wheels were replaced with joysticks, and the electrical systems were modified to allow the joysticks to control the full movement of the vehicles.
Greg Harrell, director of Milligan’s engineering program, said the Power Wheels project was a significant way for his students to “see the intersection of engineering problem-solving and the impact that it makes on a person’s life.”
“When a kid sets off across the parking lot . . . that sets off a lot of really good experiences for our kids,” Harrell said.
Projects like this will be typical of Milligan’s engineering program, which just began its second year of classes, Harrell said.
During their time at Milligan, engineering students will work toward a major project that will help solve practical problems in real-time, such as designing a system to bring clean drinking water into an African village.
Those projects are years from completion, but are already in the works, Harrell said. It is engineering, but it also is gospel-oriented.
“We’re asked not to be served, but to serve,” Harrell said. “One of the best ways to serve others is to solve their problems, to eliminate challenges, and to fix problems that impede life for others. . . . When we solve them, that’s a brand-new life for others.”
Magazine Covers “Hero-Maker” Ferguson
The July/August issue of Outreach magazine featured as its cover story Dave Ferguson, who, with his brother Jon, copastors Community Christian Church in Naperville (a suburb of Chicago), Ill. The multisite church with 12 locations was planted by Dave, Jon, and three other friends in 1989.
Outreach editor-at-large Paul J. Pastor interviewed Ferguson “to discuss his key shaping influences, his commitment to being a multiplying ‘hero-maker’ instead of clinging to platform, and the central mission that fuels it all.”
In the opening paragraphs of this eight-page spread, Ferguson shares how his passion for planting multiplying churches started. When he was 4 and his brother Jon was 2, their parents moved from rural Missouri to Chicago to plant a church. “I grew up in that,” he says, “as part of a ‘Restoration Movement’ church that sought to get back to New Testament Christianity.”
The interview probes Ferguson’s influences as he has grown into a renowned ministry leader of Exponential and NewThing, but also allows him to tell personal stories of “helping people find their way back to God.” He talks about a friend who had a tragic and troubled past. “Amazing,” is how Ferguson puts it. “I got the chance to baptize him several months ago. He found his way back to God, but it wasn’t because of any grand strategy—it was because I was present in his life as he was asking big questions.”
Ferguson says he’d like to see the measure of success change from church size to multiplication. To that end, he says, “We’re using language like ‘hero-maker’ in our ministry. I’m not trying to be the hero of the story—I’m trying to make other people heroes.”
Joplin After-School Program Grows
An after-school ministry started by College Heights Christian Church in Joplin, Mo., continues to grow.
According to the Joplin Globe, the Neighborhood Life House this year has added a ballet class for elementary students and a sewing class for middle school students. A new mentoring program for middle school girls, called Upstream, also was slated to launch this school year.
“We want to help these girls through what we consider some really tough years with a lot of decisions to make,” NLH board member JoBeth Ellis told the newspaper. “It is going to be a lot
of one-on-one, so these girls will know we are here for them.”
The Neighborhood Life House is located at the former site of North Joplin Christian Church.
Church Helps Adults with Disabilities to “Shine”
Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., is scheduled to host its annual “Shine” prom for adults with disabilities on Oct. 13.
According to The Southeast Outlook, more than 1,000 volunteers will help sponsor the event at the church’s Blankenbaker Campus.
In the weeks leading up to the prom, more than 500 female guests can participate in dress fittings, each helped by their own “personal shopper” provided by the church. Dressing room assistants and seamstresses help with alterations to dresses.
“We want the girls to feel special, to feel beautiful, to have fun, and know they are loved by their heavenly Father,” Disabilities Ministry administrative assistant Tessa Young told The Outlook.
Male guests are offered a fitting and free tux rental.
SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT COMMUNITY.
New England church-planting organization Restoration House Ministries (based in Manchester, N.H.) this summer invited 12 high school students from across the country to participate in a weeklong program called “Disciples Days.” Students learned about church planting, church leadership, and ways to discern how God might use them in ministry once they have graduated from college. // Worthington (Ohio) Christian Church’s Vacation Bible School program this summer attracted almost 2,000 participants, including 90 grown-ups. “We hope the kids see grown-ups with a love for the Lord [and see that] it’s OK to believe in Jesus, it’s OK to go to church,” children’s minister Tom Sherrod told the Columbus Dispatch. // The Solomon Foundation is hosting the 2017 UPGRADE Conference Oct. 8-11 in Charlotte, N.C. The conference will help senior pastors and their spouses answer the question, “Is there anything in your life or ministry that could use an upgrade?” and learn what to do about it. Key speakers will include Barry Cameron, Dave Dummitt, Jerry Harris, and Don Wilson. Go to thesolomonfoundation.org. // The drama ministry of Compassion Christian Church, Savannah, Ga., produced You Can’t Take It with You as part of a dinner theater in July. In the classic play, strangers are invited into a home and treated like family—and many decide to stay. // Orpheus Heyward, president of the 2017 Churches of Christ National Lectureship, presented The Solomon Foundation CEO Doug Crozier with the Courageous Leadership Award at this summer’s event. More than 3,000 leaders attended the annual lectureship gathering of predominantly African-American churches June 2-8 in Atlanta. // Ozark Christian College is planning a major expansion to the college’s chapel. The Joplin Globe reports the $1.3 million project will expand the lobby, increase the seating capacity, improve audio-visual capabilities, add an elevator, and upgrade the bathrooms. The project should be completed by Dec. 1. // The funeral of former NFL tight end Mitchell Henry, 24, took place July 5 at First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, Ky. Henry, a member of First Christian, died after a seven-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia. His minister and many of his former teachers and teammates lauded his strong faith in local and national news stories. // William Jessup University, Rocklin, Calif., is raising support for the families of veterans. The third annual Veterans Honor Run will take place Nov. 4. The 5K raises money for the Victor Dew Veterans Endowment Fund, which helps veterans and students from Gold Star families to graduate debt-free. // Greenford (Ohio) Christian Church partnered with a parent-teacher organization to install a new greenhouse at Lisbon McKinley Elementary School, according to the Salem News. A group from the church assisted in assembling the building, which is designed to help students gain experience in life sciences. // Fullerton, Calif.-based Hope International University this summer saw its own Cameron Baranek become the first-ever HIU baseball player to be taken in the MLB draft. Baranek, a center fielder, was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the ninth round. As a junior, Baranek batted .364 with a school single-season record of 14 home runs. // After years of declining membership, West Side Christian Church in Wichita, Kan., has been absorbed into Riverlawn Christian Church. During its 105-year history, WSCC planted at least seven churches, the Wichita Eagle reported, including Riverlawn and Pathway Church. // Central Christian College of the Bible has turned 60. According to the newsletter of the Moberly, Mo.-based college, the institution was founded by a group of churches in 1957 to “recruit and train leadership for the church at large according to the New Testament.” The college celebrated its anniversary Aug. 31—Sept. 2. More information can be found at www.cccb.edu. // Johnson University has selected its next president. L. Thomas Smith Jr. will take the helm of the Knoxville, Tenn.-based school on July 1, 2018. He will succeed Gary Weedman. Smith will be the seventh president in Johnson’s 125-year history. He is a graduate of Johnson, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and the University of Tennessee. Go to www.johnsonu.edu. // Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Mo., will host “Be Strong: A Series on Joshua” Feb. 19-21. Speakers will include Rick Atchley, Jon Kehrer, Drew Moore, Mark Moore, David Rutherford, and Drew Sherman. Go to www.occ.edu/events/pt for more information. // The founder and first president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University, George W. BonDurant, died July 11 at the age of 101. Mr. BonDurant started MACU, originally known as Roanoke Bible College, Elizabeth City, N.C., in 1948, and served as professor and president until 1986. Mr. BonDurant also served as president of Atlanta Christian College (now Point University) from 1937 to 1947. // Johnson University Tennessee in Knoxville will host a free “Just Lead” Church Leadership Conference on Nov. 4. Speakers will be the leaders of e2: Effective Elders: James Estep, Gary Johnson, and David Roadcup. The event—for ministers, church leaders, ministry staff, and volunteers—is designed to help strengthen and guide church leaders toward more cohesive and effective church leadership. // Point University, West Point, Ga., is launching three new online degree programs this fall: an associate of science in information technology, a bachelor of science in information technology with a concentration in network administration, and a bachelor of science in healthcare administration.