It’s Almost Spring Time!!!

by Ryan Haddox

It’s almost Spring time!!! This time of year is exciting because not only does the sunshine and warmth visit us a bit more, but also because it means Summer is just around the corner!! Summer being around the corner means that our ministry for the youth goes into full time! Camps are going on, trips are being taken, and our youth don’t have as many outside influences around them.

While this is an exciting time for youth ministry, this can also be a patience testing time for our parents out there. The kids are home from school and expect lunch to be fixed, want you to drive them everywhere, and the dreaded “I’m bored” come three days after school ends! Although the summers can seem to drag on, we as adults are actively discipling our youth. Whether we’re their parents, youth pastor, head pastor, or just a friendly face in the church, we are discipling these youth!

Summer should be viewed as a time to rejuvenate our youth’s spirits, spur on their relationship with Christ, and strengthen the foundation of their lives. We do this in many ways, but the best way is just being there as a beacon for our youth. Parents; You have more time with your children so make those moments count! Make Christ evident to them and give them every opportunity to meet God. As a youth pastor I have more time with them as well and I have to be intentional about how I share Christ with them. The hope is to build them into better students…better Christians then they were the school year previously.

We must take a vested interest in the lives and minds of our youth. The world is a dark, dark place and we MUST be the light for them to find and follow. If we don’t set the standard of life in Christ for them,  then they will find other standards from the world. Our time with them is precious and we must use every moment we can to reach them.

Some Words about Love from the Illuminate Group

Love is in the air! February brings about thoughts of flowers, chocolates, hearts and, most of all…love. That’s right…the “L” word! Valentine’s Day is typically responsible for engagements, lots of expensive dinners and the giving of gifts, but why do we celebrate love this way? Why do we link the word “love” with giving?

I believe this can be better understood by looking at a very famous and well known verse…John 3:16:

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse is not only the foundation of the Gospel, but this verse also explains what “love” is. Love is the giving of or giving up of something for someone that you love. God loves His people so much that He wanted give us his Son, but it didn’t end there! He not only gave us his Son, but He gave up his Son, Jesus Christ, and led him to the cross to die for our sins. 1 John 4:10 also explains to us that God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins

Just the same as we should love others and ourselves more than just one day a year, so should it be for loving Jesus. We don’t just save our love for Christ for Sunday mornings; rather we’re to express our love for Him every moment of every day with every word that comes out of our mouth, every thought that runs through our head, and every action we make. Obviously that’s a lot easier said then done, but God allows us to work through our mistakes and He is patient with us!

We don’t need Valentine’s Day to remember that Jesus loves us. My prayer is that you acknowledge that reality many times a day.

Grace and Peace,


A New Year and Interesting Mindsets

A New Year brings about some interesting mindsets; there’s people making resolutions to work out more, lose weight, eat healthier, etc. A New Year gives us the feeling that it’s a fresh start; like the beginning of a football game, the score is “0-0”. With this new beginning and fresh start, it’s easy to see why people get so set on changing their habits from the year before, but we all know what typically happens, right? The gym membership is only used for the first couple months, your high school jeans still won’t button, and the donuts look so much tastier than the salad!

With this knowledge, we have to do our best to combat the easy ability to fall back into bad habits from the year before. To do this, we must rely on Christ as our strength…not ourselves. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to not be anxious, but to cast our burden and requests on God and He will uphold us. This is a huge comfort for me when I think of how capable I am in maintaining good habits, whether it’s remaining healthy physically or spiritually (I’m not very good at it).

As the New Year approaches, think about what you want to bring into it and what you want to leave behind, but always remember that God is ever present with you and will always be with you. He only asks that you bring Him with you as you walk through this life in all of your years.

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

Christmastime is here!

Christmastime is here! I don’t know about you, but I wait patiently all year for just this time: the lights, the music, the cheer in the air, the goodness swirling all around people because of the season…it’s all quite amazing. The splendor of well thought out Christmas lights atop a beautiful house can make anyone fall in love with the season, but too often I’m afraid we celebrate the season instead of the reason. More times than not, we get too caught up in the lights, music, presents, food, etc. that we forget why this time of year is so significant.

Christmas is special for all people, no doubt, but as Christians and followers of Christ, we MUST remember why this season is so important and we must put celebrating the birth of our Messiah above all else. Without the gifts, music, lights, and everything else…we would STILL have Christ and that would be enough. That’s the fact of it, but how would we respond in that situation?

Pastor Doc tells us time and time again that “God is enough”, but do we believe that?? And if we do, are we making that belief evident in all of our ways? We see people spread goodness and kindness throughout the Christmas season, but why does it have to stop there? We, as Christians, should be spreading joy and hope and love to all people during all of the year…not just when the music makes us happy or the lights brighten our mood.

This Christmas season I encourage you to share joy, hope, and love: share the joy that Christ has given you, share the hope that He buried in your heart, and share the love that He covers you with and will extend to anyone that believes in Him. Let’s do our part in putting CHRIST back into Christmas!

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

Illuminate and Glow Kids: November Update

by Ryan Haddox

The month of November always brings about great things in my mind. The leaves are changing to all the vibrant, beautiful colors that make Fall time what it is in our great state. Along with the leaves changing, another wonderful memory and tradition is Thanksgiving dinner! You may not be able to tell from mine or Anna’s size, but we both LOVE to eat and will put ourselves into a food coma at Thanksgiving.

This year though, as I sit back and ponder on the months and days flying past, I think about everything that I’m thankful for. So much has changed in my life this past year and one of those many things has been coming to this church. This has possibly been, beside getting married, the greatest thing to be thankful for. Anna and I have felt and experienced more outpouring of love from this church then we could have ever imagined. We receive support when we need it and direction/words of wisdom when we need it and that means the world to us.

We have so much to be thankful for in our lives, but so many times we just pass by them and take them for granted. I challenge you, this Thanksgiving season, to acknowledge all that you have to be thankful for. But don’t stop there…Carry that thankfulness into Advent season as we focus on the birth of our Savior and learning just how much we have to be thankful for in Him.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Ryan

School is back in full swing!

by Ryan Haddox

School is back in full swing and the leaves are starting to change! Fall is upon us and we have A LOT of things planned for this season!

On October 7th, Illuminate Ministries will be representing the church for the annual Chili Night! We will be meeting at the church at 3pm on Saturday, October 7th to get things ready and prepped for the big night! Everyone is welcome to come and spend time in fellowship with friends and the community!

October 25th is our Trek-or-Treat Halloween Party for the Glow Kids! This is an exciting time as the children make their way to the top of the church, collecting candy along the way! Ages 5-5th grade are welcome!

Illuminate Ministries will also be having a “haunted house” on the 4th floor for the children and we are welcoming all donations of Halloween decorations and help in putting it on!

October 28th…THERE’S A LOCK-IN! That’s right…our second lock-in is planned and ready to go down! Our goal is to double the amount we had last time and I’m needing some chaperons to help with the madness! If you would like to hang out with the youth for the evening and spend time getting to know our students, then please let me know so I can get your name down!

Both student ministries are so very blessed to have a loving church family that pray for them and encourage them, as well as giving them positive role models to take after! Thank you for all you do, big or small, for the student ministries!

Youth and Children’s Ministry – September

The time has come once again for the students to sharpen their pencils, as well as their minds, and head back to school! As a Youth Pastor, that’s music to my ears! Vacations are over, kids are consistent, and schools are a mission field! As I look at this upcoming school year and the opportunity it brings for our Youth and Children’s ministries, there’s two words that come to my mind; sustainability and growth.

Sustainability is needed in our walk with Christ in many ways. We need sustainability in the ups and downs of life. When things get hard and we need to have that faith that, no matter what may come, God is for us. Sometimes life might feel like a desert and you can’t “feel God” and you feel alone, but the sustaining faith in Christ Jesus can hold you in those dry times. Sustaining faith is something I pray for in the lives of our youth, as well as my own. God is enough, in ANY situation.

Growth is something that comes with time put in. As Christians, we are to serve as if we are serving the Lord and give Him our very best. We have to be willing to put in the footwork in order to reach people for Christ. Youth Ministry is all about meeting kids where they are. You have to be a part of their world before they will become a part of yours. Growth is also a gift from God. We put in our best and God puts in the rest and makes it happen!

As our students go throughout their new school year, be praying for them. Be praying for the strength to bear the name of God no matter what is said, be praying for uplifting groups of friends surrounding them, and be praying    for students that need to know Jesus. There are so many hurting students that need to know Christ and the gift of eternal life.


Ryan Haddox

Off to a Great Start – Youth and Children

by Ryan Haddox

Summer is upon us and we’re off to a great start at Illuminate Ministries and Glow Kids. At Illuminate, we’re all recuperated from the big trip to Carowinds and now have our sites on camp at Cowen and one more outing before it gets cold…STAY TUNED FOR THAT! Glow Kids is growing in numbers and we’re EXCITED about that! With the summer in full swing and vacations being taken, I wanted to stop for a moment and encourage everyone to rest from the business that summer can bring!

This summer, for me personally, is the busiest one yet! I’ve got two camps, vacation bible school, and I’M GETTING MARRIED!!! All of that is going to make an old man out of me by the end, but in all of the business that I’m surrounded with I have to make sure to center myself with God’s word and peace and sustainability. With sports, tournaments, vacations, reunions, and whatever else you and yours do, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun of it and put God on the back burner. It’s easy to “play tardy” at church because you simply don’t have time or need to pack. All of that is so simple for us to do, but also so dangerous. You see…we all must be connected to God in order to know what direction to go in life. Just like my GPS got us down and back from Carowinds safety, so also does the Word of God carry me and sustain my every move. We must also speak with God. In order for friendships and relationships to flourish there must be communication and listening, so also is our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We must have excellent communication and listening skills in order to grow our relationship with God.

These are two aspects of growing closer to God that our students will hear and learn about at Camp, as well as Sunday Nights. My prayer for our students, and all students that attend Camp, is that they would be filled up with Christ while there and not pull the plug on Him when they get home. Just like a sink filled with water, that water only stays in if you don’t pull the plug. My prayer is that they continue to fill themselves up with goodness (through the use of the two aspects above) and let it overflow into their outward lives and their schools.

VBS Super Saturday

by Addie Gilkerson

We are so excited to announce the return of the “Super Saturday” VBS. We have found in previous years we get a better turnout for a one day VBS extravaganza! So this year we will be hosting it on Saturday, August 12 from 5:00-7:00 PM. The theme is “Wide Open Spaces.” We are pleased to be using the YMCA’s Paul Cline Soccer Complex for this event. We will be using the great outdoors to teach the children about the wonders of God’s creation. While there, we will be grilling out and food will be plentiful.  Fun games and activities will also be abundant! All children between the ages of 5-12 are welcome to come and join us! Please tell your friends and neighbors; bring the grandkids; or offer someone less fortunate a ride! Should there be rain, there will be someone at the Complex to direct you to the alternate indoor location. But let’s pray for beautiful weather! We also ask you pray for a good turnout. We really want to see a lot of kids come out for this exciting event!

Glow Kids Ministries Happenings


  • Sunday School@9:45am! (3rd Floor)
  • Children’s Church every Sunday morning after Sunday School! (3rd Floor)
  • Glow Night every Wednesday@6pm! (4th Floor)


  • Sunday School@9:45am! (3rd Floor)
  • Children’s Church every Sunday morning after Sunday School! (3rd Floor)
  • Glow Night every Wednesday@6pm! (4th Floor)