This Prayer Guide Resource is a live document we would like to invite you to utilize. Anything you write is anonymous, unless you give your name. There is no prayer out of line. Shorter, longer, your choice. Share what you want to share. Gold Avenue Church Care Elders and staff are committed to praying for you! We also invite you to pray for one another. If you need someone to talk to, remember that we are available to walk together on this journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone.

Dear Parents, 

It goes without saying that we are living in some crazy times right now! But, we are deeply grateful to know that we serve a God who knew this is exactly how today would look for each of us before time even began! We can trust He is doing a good work, even when we can’t see what it is, and we want to support you as you teach your children to also trust Him. We’ve put together some resources for you to use as a family sometime this week! 

These 4 activities are for you to help your children worship at home using the same curriculum we use in Children’s’ Worship every Sunday (adapted from TruStory Curriculum). Our vision for our children is for them to grow in relationship with the Lord and in prayer.  The first section called is “Equip.” It’s not an activity, but just a little background on the story for you to read. Though this material was written long before the words “coronavirus” and “social distancing” took up most of our thought space and conversations, it is so timely for today. 

OVERVIEW:

Activity One: Watch the video. The lesson today is “God Saves, Part 1, the story of Jonah”, which is a pretty familiar story. The curriculum has made a video link which I think the kids will enjoy. It’s just over 6 minutes.

Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts

Activity Three:  Respond to the story by doing an art project. Pray together.

Worship:  Sing Hey, Jonah, Jonah  to the tune of Jesus Loves Me (Words below). There are also a couple of other youtube links for songs to sing together.

Activity Four:  Bless your children 

EQUIP:

Jonah, a prophet of God, was given a message to take to the Gentile people of Nineveh. But Jonah ran from the Lord, boarding a boat with plans to travel to Tarshish. When ships headed to Tarshish, they weren’t expected to return for three years—a trip of significant time and distance. Nineveh was the capital city in the Assyrian Empire. Although the Assyrians and the Israelites had a tumultuous relationship for many years, at this time the Israelites had been free from Assyrian rule for approximately 50 years. In giving Jonah a message to take to the people of Nineveh, God would call this Gentile city to repentance.

It seems strange to think a prophet of God would flee from His clear commands—especially when the goal of the message was to bring repentance and grace to its recipients. Israel was gaining strength and enjoying their favored relationship with God. However, in this time of reprieve, the people were becoming complacent. It’s possible Jonah’s response was reflective of the heart of the Israelite people. Perhaps he was jealous for the relationship his people had with God and didn’t relish the thought of the Lord extending grace and compassion toward the enemies of Israel, or he simply hated them because they were wicked and cruel.

The gift of relationship with God was never intended to be for Abraham’s descendants alone; it was to come from Abraham’s line to bring salvation to the world. God chose Abraham and his descendants to proclaim His truth and identity to all people. God would often send His message through prophets to awaken all the people so they would be moved to repentance and restoration. After hearing and believing His message, the people of Nineveh repented and were shown grace and mercy by the Lord.

Through Christ you’ve been given a new identity. You’ve been spiritually reborn into a legacy and heritage of faith.

God richly blessed the Israelites that they might be a blessing to all nations and peoples. So too, has He richly blessed all who believe in Him and call Him Lord and Savior. Each follower of Christ has been blessed not only for themselves, but also to bless others.

The gift and truth of salvation is the greatest blessing we can share with those who don’t yet know Christ. Look at the boundaries you have on your daily world. Is God calling you to push past those boundaries? How will you respond? How has He uniquely created you to serve Him and be a blessing to others? Take a walk around your neighborhood sometime this week. As you walk past each home, pray for those who live inside. Ask God how He would use you to be a blessing to the people in your neighborhood.

Activity 1: STORY

Activity 2: DISCUSSION

Ask your child to imagine what it must have been like to be inside a giant fish! Talk about how God saved Jonah by sending the giant fish. Ask:

  • What did Jonah do when God told him to go to Ninevah?
  • What happened after Jonah was thrown overboard?
  • What do you think Jonah was thinking when he saw the big fish coming towards him? Do you think he thought being swallowed by the fish was a good plan or a bad plan? (Even though it probably looked like the worst thing at first, it actually turned into the thing that saved him!)
  • What did Jonah say to God inside of the fish?

These questions can easily extend into the rest of the week. Look for opportunities to bring conversations about how God Saves into your every day life as a family. (i.e. If your child verbalizes or acts afraid about getting sick, remind him/her that God has a plan and we can trust him and not fear)

Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY

Supplies

  • Card stock (1 sheet per child, white)
  • Pencil
  • Table Covering
  • Crayons (variety of dark colors)
  • Paper cups 
  • Watercolors Paints
  • Paintbrushes 

Children will create crayon-resist art pieces as a response to the truth that when they trust and obey God, He saves them and chooses them to be a part of His family.  Cover the table and put a sheet of card stock at every child’s seat. Place the bowls of crayons down the center of the table and a watercolor paints (If you don’t have watercolor paints, you can also add food coloring to water). Put a paintbrush at every child’s seat.

Invite children to join you around the table. God gave Jonah a special message for the people of Nineveh so they could choose to trust and obey Him. When we trust and obey Jesus, we become a part of God’s family and we belong to Him too. God will always be with us. We’re His chosen children!

Explain to children that they’re going to make a picture to always remember that they belong to Christ. Take them step-by-step through the crayon-resist art piece. Step one: Trace the word Chosen  in a dark crayon (you may need to help with this). They can use a couple of different colors to make sure it stands out. Step two: Paint the entire paper with watercolors. Encourage them to choose whatever colors they want! As a parent, you should also make one. 

When kids are finished painting, point out how the word Chosen stands out. The world might make you feel different because you love God, but God loves you and chose you to be one of His children. That means you’re very special! Share a story of your own, either from childhood, or from right now, to share with your child about a time you felt particularly chosen, by a friend or family member or even stranger (i.e. “In most things, like sports at recess, I was always the last one chosen for a team. That made me feel sad and left out. But, when we would play in class games, I was often the first chosen for a team because I was pretty smart. That made me feel important and noticed”). Ask your child to do the same. Translate this idea over to how special we really are and how God chooses us right away every time. 

Pray together. Ask your child(ren) to pray for you or each other. (If they don’t feel comfortable, don’t force them.) Thank God for choosing your children and choosing you.  If they don’t feel special or chosen, ask God to show them how much He loves them.

Worship Songs:

Sing  Hey Jonah, Jonah  to the tune of Jesus Loves Me

Jonah, Jonah have you heard?

Said the Lord, go preach my Word.

Jonah said, “That’s not for me!”

Took a ship and fled to sea.

Chorus:

Hey Jonah, Jonah, 

Hey Jonah, Jonah,

Hey Jonah, Jonah,

You should obey the Lord.

Though he thought he’d get away

Soon the ship began to sway

Jonah said, “It’s for my sin,

Pick me up and throw me in!”

Chorus

When it seemed that he would drown,

Came a fish and gulped him down,

Jonah said, “Lord, I’ll obey,

Tell the folks about your way!”

Chorus:

Lord, I’ll obey you.

Lord, I’ll obey you.

Lord, I’ll obey you.

I will obey the Lord.

“This Little Light of Mine” by Listener Kids:

Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING

A blessing to pray over your child(ren):

(Child’s name), may you always remember you are God’s child. When you call out to God, He will save you.

Thank you for your desire to give generously to support our ministry at Gold Avenue Church.  Your generous gifts enable us to continue to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform us, our neighborhood, and the world. This post has instructions on the various ways to give which are all secure. Your gifts will be received and recorded for tax purposes. You’ll also find instructions on how to give to our ministry partners through our special offerings. Details on which special offerings occur each month can be found in our weekly emails, which you can subscribe to on our main webpage.

Online Direct:

Give securely and directly through this link, you can also set up recurring gifts and select which fund to donate to. The default fund is general fund, you can choose other fund designations in the drop down menu: https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online

Text:  

Send amount (number only, no extra symbols) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely (link to help and additional text commands: Breeze Help)  Additionally, different funds can be given to by adding a space and then a keyword as shown below. An example would be: “50 special” – that would send $50 to the special offering for the month.

  1. No keyword (number only with no words) to give directly to General Fund
  2. “benevolence” to give to Benevolence (Deacons fund)
  3. “van” to give to Van Fund
  4. “special” to give to other designated Special Offering
  5. “kc” to give to Kingdom Congregations
  6. “outreach” to give to Urban Missionary Mark Essenburg
  7. “care” to give to Urban Missionary Jaleesa Stanford
  8. “mission” to give to Missions Fund

Check:

Make checks out to “Gold Avenue Church” and mail to: Gold Avenue Church, 49 Gold Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. If for a special offering, designate as such in the memo line.

Cash:

Give in person in the offering box at church, if for a special offering, place in an envelope and write intended fund on the envelope. 

PayPal:

(you can also designate or set up recurring gifts) https://www.paypal.com/donate/…

Online bill pay through your bank – ask for more info on how to set up .

Please note that the church pays small fees to use the following services:

Online & Text: 2.9% + $0.30/transaction for Credit/Debit Card payments or 1% + $0.25/transaction for ACH payments.

PayPal: 2.2% + $0.30/transaction for Credit/Debit Card payments.

Check, Cash, Online Bill Pay: No fees!

Thank you for your generosity in giving!

At Gold Avenue Church, we’ve been going out and prayer walking regularly in our neighborhood for quite a number of years. We have seen so much fruit as we pray for the neighborhood, interact and pray for and with neighbors, and so much more. We want to say thank you for all who have been participating in prayer walking, and want to let everyone know that with the current situation we are not able to go prayer walking as a group. We would like to take a moment, however, to encourage you to continue to pray for your neighbors and neighborhood, even if you hadn’t previously been able to officially participate in Prayer Walking, aka everyone!

Now is a time when our world needs prayer more than ever! There are many ways you can continue to pray and interceed… You could to go out to prayer walk your neighborhood and to pray as God leads for your neighbors and your neighborhood. Perhaps ask the Holy Spirit to put someone in your path that you could pray for or say hello to respecting social distance, or ask Him to highlight houses and pray for families there.

If you aren’t able to go outside and walk around, you could pray for your neighborhood using a map, look up your address on google or Apple maps and zoom in to see and pray for houses around you. Or you perhaps you might think of encouraging things to do for passers by and then praying for them, again respecting social distancing… we’ll have more ideas posted soon. This is a really difficult time for people and it’s a time where the harvest is plentiful as people are longing for hope, peace and joy. Let’s cover our neighborhood and world in an unprecedented wave of unceasing prayer!

Feel free to share your stories without names to Mark Essenburg, Director of Outreach & Enfolding at mark.goldkids@gmail.com so we can share and encourage one another during this time, keeping our eyes on how God is working in and through us. Here are some pictures of our prayer walking group during the summer:

Good Morning! Watch and follow along in your own Bible as Pastor Gina reads and reflects on Psalm 91. This video originates from FaceBook; we welcome you to comment there with some of your own reflections on the Psalm.

https://www.facebook.com/goldavenuechurch/videos/3449416088421173/

This post is part of a new series of encouraging words from our Church Leadership. Keep an eye out for more!

#goldnuggets

Weekly Worship From Home
We’ve had lots of great feedback on the “At Home Liturgy” that went out in an email last week! If you missed it, it is still available for you to use at home with your family, housemates, etc… here is a link: 3/15/20 At Home Liturgy

Communication
We are working hard to help our congregation stay connected.  This week we are happy to announce:We have also added (this) blog attached to our Gold Avenue Church website!
Here is the web address if you aren’t already here: http://goldavenuechurch.org/blog/
The blog will be our main, streamlined source of information, communication, and resources. Be sure to save it to your favorites in your preferred internet browser! We will link to our FB account and include pieces in our All Church Emails as well. This should help you locate any previous church communications and worship liturgies, along with many new resources that we will be adding.

We want to keep you well informed.  So, each week we will plan to send out two emails. A weekly update sometime during the week and a Sunday service email with the “At Home Liturgy” for the current week. You’ll be able to access these on the blog as well.

Care and Connection
A new way that we can connect is by Zoom, an online meeting space.  Gold Avenue Church now has a Zoom account, so most meetings are able to continue as scheduled virtually using this technology. Staff will be scheduling these meetings and will send out the meeting links ahead of time, if you’re in a meeting, you simply click on the link and follow the prompts. 

Prayer
We tested meeting virtually on Wednesday with Noon Prayer and it worked out really well! Look below for the link to the Noon Prayer Zoom call and you can join us, if you’re able, from 12-1pm on Wednesday by phone or internet. 

Wednesday Noon Prayer

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/672132863

Meeting ID: 672 132 863

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,672132863# US (New York)

Equipping
The Empowered for Witness course concluded a week ago.  The many evaluation forms were overwhelmingly affirming.  We had pastors and members from 48 churches from all around the area attending.  We even had a gentleman drive over weekly from Wisconsin to attend.  The next session of Empowered for Witness is scheduled to start with a makeup session called Foundations on 4/22 and Empowered for Witness 102, starting on 4/23, the Lord willing.  Would you please be in prayer for wisdom, as we think about whether we can continue as planned or need to change to a different format?  Thank you!


The Admin Elders met Wednesday night and have extended our current building closure and group gathering suspension through Tuesday, March 31st.  
They will reassess at that time, trying to make the most wise and loving decision for our congregation and community. If you have questions about this, please see our original post communicating why this is the direction we’ve felt the Lord leading to: Special COVID-19 Announcement

Tithes and Offering

The building may be closed but the Kingdom work continues! At this time of uncertainty, we are doing all that we can to serve, support, and assist our church family and community. One way that you can join in this is by continuing to give through your tithes and offerings. 

Ways to give:

1. Text: COMING SOON! Stay tuned for more details. 
2. Online via goldavenuechurch.org
3. Mailing checks payable to:
Gold Avenue Church
49 Gold Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Be sure to keep checking back on the blog regularly as we have plans to be posting lots of encouraging stories, activities, resources and much more. Our church leadership is here to serve and we’re keeping busy trying to adapt to this situation. Stay tuned for more!

Have no fear! This morning the care elder team gathered together. As we sought the Lord’s guidance, we were blessed to pray Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 over Gold Avenue Church and the body of Christ.  Praise God, we are held by our Good Shepherd who covers us with his wings!

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul… (to continue reading click on the link)

Psalm 91: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty… (to continue reading click on the link)

On March 13, 2020 President Donald Trump called for a National Day of Prayer. “It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer,” the President tweeted. “We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these…No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith.”

We’ve produced a resource to guide your prayers, and it is useful for ongoing prayer and reflection, so please use it even after this day of prayer is over. Every day is a day of prayer and we, our nation, and our world needs prayer more than ever!

National Day of Prayer Resource

Please click on the link below to view our order of worship that we used Sunday March 15.  We encourage you to go through it with your family, even if you are separated, using technology to stay connected. Take part in the prayer times, worship songs, testimony time, sermon, and blessings, and discuss the questions at the end.

Click here to view this Sunday’s At Home Liturgy

Even though we aren’t able to meet together as a group, we are still the body of Christ, and we will remain strong as we are able to serve each other in new and unexpected ways. We encourage you to take time to go through these liturgies as you would experience a Sunday Worship service, and to live a life of worship, dedicated to the Lord and seeking His guidance in all that you do.


Gold Avenue Church Family, with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kent County, in order to mitigate the spread of the disease and to uphold the safety of our entire church family, all church building activities from now until March 27 are cancelled.  This includes:  Sunday Worship, Gold Rush, Noon Prayer on Wednesday, Prayer Walking, Prayer Ministry Appointments, Team Meetings, outside building rentals of any kind, and other group activities at our church building are suspended until March 27, at which time we will re-evaluate and communicate clearly.

This decision is not one we take lightly and is not one we make out of fear. On the contrary, “As followers of Jesus Christ, living in this world – which some seek to control and others view with despair – we declare with joy and trust, ‘Our world belongs to God!’”  We also recognize that we have a responsibility to one another and that there are practical steps such as social distancing, handwashing, and sanitizing shared surfaces that we can take to equip us to live out that care and concern – including, in extraordinary circumstances, not gathering with each other.  God’s Word says in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)

We recognize that there may be special needs during this time and are here for you to serve and to continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  You can reach out to us using the following contact info, or you can connect with us on our Facebook Page.

Economic Help – Deacons

Spiritual Help – Care Elders

Questions about the closure or COVID-19 response – Admin Elders

Church Phone – (616) 454-8833

We will continue to be the body of Christ in the midst of these uncertain times, and the ministry of Jesus will not cease. Please click on the link below to view our order of worship that we planned to use Sunday March 15.  We encourage you to go through it with your family, taking part in the prayer times, worship songs, testimony time, sermon, and blessings.

Click here to view this Sunday’s At Home Liturgy

We believe the Lord will guide each member of our church to put the love of Christ into action. We are witnesses to the King and His Kingdom wherever we are.   

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NLT) 

We have an opportunity during this time in history where much of the world is feeling the currents of chaos to proclaim the King’s reign and hope through our words and deeds.  Praise, worship, and prayer are the spiritual weapons God has given to us to fight this battle. We have peace because we are part of the unshakable Kingdom. God cannot be pulled off His throne, nor does anything surprise Him. He is Lord!

We trust in Him and we join in prayer together for His mercy, His grace, His Kingdom to advance, for His will to be done, and His glory to fill the earth!