Churches join together for purpose campaign

Three Stateline churches—Roscoe and Rockton United Methodist, and Prince of Peace Lutheran—will cooperate to launch the “40 Days of Purpose Campaign,” joining a worldwide network of thousands of churches, inspired by Rick Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Saturday, Sept. 25, people in these communities and beyond are invited to attend a “kickoff” at Hononegah High School Performing Arts Center to view a video, and to learn how to participate in a home-based small group. The groups will meet for six weeks for video discussion on the Warren book.

An estimated 10,000 churches from 60 denominations have experienced the purpose-driven life phenomena inspired by the California pastor’s book and leadership.

Dr. Jay Carr, pastor of Roscoe United Methodist Church, said: “Our original goal was to host 30 small groups. We stretched to go beyond that and already have 50. This is going to impact not only our individual congregation, but also the community. If each small group has 10, you are involving a significant portion of the Roscoe-Rockton community. The impact to have that number all committed to deepening their relationship to God, examining why they were created, can only have a positive impact not only on the individual, but also on the community.”

Carr continues, “What if love broke out in Roscoe and Rockton—meaning everything from kindness at the grocery store to people performing random acts of kindness! It is the intent of this study to answer the fundamental question every person deals with sometime in their life: Do I have a purpose? Is there a reason for my life?”

Cheryl Esbrook, pastor of the Rockton United Methodist Church, emphasized: “And, people don’t have to be church members or even be a part of a church. ‘What on earth am I here for’ gets people excited. That’s the question people are asking. They don’t want a god who is a moral policeman. They want God to make life meaningful for their jobs, their daily life, their children. All people are hungry for something like that.”

“During the 40 Days of Purpose Campaign, the truths about God’s five purposes for people—worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism—will be communicated repeatedly in the churches, allowing for these to sink deeper into hearts—essential for any permanent life change.

“Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Rockton began the 40 Days of Purpose campaign more than two years ago, after Pastor Doug Johnson read Warren’s previous bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Church.

“When you’re trying to bring a church through a transition it takes time and communication. This is a tremendous opportunity for the whole church to grow together and to focus together-all ages, from three to 93-on what God wants his people to do,” Johnson said.

Besides creating opportunity for stronger churches and for reaching beyond church walls to the larger community, Johnson said: “This also gives a number of churches an opportunity to work together, both pastors and laypeople, reaching out to communities in a significant way. People long for meaning, a higher purpose than personal peace and happiness. We believe these small groups will give many people the opportunity to discover this higher purpose.”

Brad Huntsman, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Roscoe United Methodist Church, said: “Many high school youth from Hononegah and Harlem are excited about participating in their own small groups. This will help them connect on the same ideas—have things to talk about over dinner. That’s our hope—that families go home and talk about it—that they won’t be wandering around aimlessly, and that they will know they were created for a purpose.”

Those interested in finding out about the small groups are encouraged to attend a community-wide “kickoff” and simulcast on at 7 p.m., Sept. 25, at Hononegah High School Performing Arts Center to view a video presentation. There will also be a tailgate party in the parking lot beginning at 5:30 p.m. preceding the kickoff. For more information on the 40 Days of Purpose Campaign, kickoff, and small groups, call any of the three churches sponsoring the campaign: Roscoe United Methodist Church, (815) 623-2292; Rockton United Methodist Church, (815) 624-7591; and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, (815) 624-2115.

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