Centershot Ministries Teaches Biblical Truths Through Bows and Arrows

Centershot Ministries Teaches Biblical Truths Through Bows and Arrows

life bow

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

Archery is an ancient art that can be found referenced throughout the Bible. Many of the most famous heroes of the Old Testament — like Jonathon, King Saul’s son and friend of David — were archers, as it was a common tool for hunting and war in the ancient world. Years later, the practice of archery is still being taught to new generations through the fun and engaging programs offered by Centershot Ministries.

Since the early 2010s, St. James UMC in Little Rock has hosted its Centershot Archery ministry for kids and adults of all ages who are interested in getting involved in the world of archery.

Kim Anderson, Executive Director of Ministries at St. James UMC, said the program got its start after a man named Jim Emery joined the church in 2012.

“The very day he and his family joined, he asked to meet with me regarding a possible new ministry,” Anderson said. “Jim introduced me and St. James to Centershot Archery. He had run a program at his previous church and asked if St. James would consider such a ministry.”

Anderson said within a few weeks, the church had approved Emery’s proposal, and new equipment was purchased to get the program going.

Centershot Ministries is the main organization that helps to provide the curriculum and training for churches that want to start an archery program at their church.

According to their website, they are a “non-denominational outreach program that shares the Gospel of Jesus using the life-skill of archery.”

Darren Corbin is the current head archery coach for Centershot at St. James. He said he took over the program recently after the last coach left.

“My son joined the program several years back since his archery coach was the person in charge of the program. Two years ago, the person in charge moved out of state and I felt called to continue this program at St. James,” Corbin said.

Last year was tough for the program due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Corbin, but he said they were still able to have about six students participate. Corbin said being able to have the program available was huge for the students and gave them something to look forward to every week.

But it’s not just students that can participate in Centershot. Corbin said the program allows a wide variety of ages — from 4th grade through age 97 — to participate, but people usually fall into certain leagues based on their age.

Centershot Life League is basically the all-ages group and is designed for youth, college, families, couples, men, women, and seniors. Centershot Compete is their competitive league for 4th – 12th grade and offers an opportunity to travel and compete in local, state, and national tournaments. There’s also Centershot Blue which offers law enforcement and first responders a tool for Community Engagement and Officer Wellness.

“School Resource Officers and P.O.S.T Teams can use these leagues and fun shoots to develop trust around positive engagement,” Corbin said.

One of the ways that Centershot Ministries teaches not only archery skills but valuable Biblical lessons is through the LIFE Bow.

The LIFE Bow is a special bow colored-code bow that tells the story of sin and salvation through Jesus Christ; black represents sin, red represents Jesus, white represents purity, blue represents water baptism, green represents growing in faith, the multi-colored string of the bow represents the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, and gold represents the streets of Heaven.

Anderson said the ministry of Centershot fits into the mission at St. James exceptionally well.

“St. James’ mission is To Know Jesus Christ and To Make Him Known,” Anderson said. “Through the Centershot Bible Studies, devotionals, and LIFE Bow, students and their families come to know Jesus Christ. This also gives them the tools to share their faith, thus making Jesus Christ known. This is truly a community outreach program as 100% of participants are not members of St. James.”

Centershot and St. James are currently gearing up for an archery clinic to be held on July 31 at St. James UMC. The event will consist of three separate clinics for different age groups and skill levels.

The first will be an Exploring Archery Clinic from 9:30 – 11:45 a.m. This is for kids entering 6th grade through adults of all ages and is centered toward anyone who would like to know more about archery or is interested in giving archery a try.

The Basic Archery Clinic will be from 1 – 3:30 p.m. and is designed for students in the 6th – 12th grades that have some experience with archery but are wanting to improve their skills.

Finally, the Anyone Can Shoot Clinic will start at 3:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Centershot Coach Darren Corbin. Corbin will be available to answer any questions you may have about starting a Centershot Ministry at your own church.

The cost for the clinic is $5 per person for the Basic or Exploring clinics. The Anyone Can Shoot clinic is free but is limited to 25 participants. Registration for all clinics is required and can be found here.

Corbin said he hopes that more churches in Arkansas will get interested in Centershot after attending the clinic. St. James UMC is currently the only church to offer a Centershot program in Arkansas, according to Corbin.

Anderson said she wants the clinic will build more interest in the program as well and hopes to see more people participate once it’s safe to do so.

“Corbin is really striving to provide a good balance between faith and archery. As more people learn about Centershot, it is our prayer that more individuals and churches will participate in the program. We are happy to share our resources and knowledge with anyone interested.”

For more information about Centershot Ministries, visit https://centershot.org/ or contact Darren Corbin at anyonecanshootarchery@gmail.com.

Understanding Our Diversity Leads to Changed Lives

Understanding Our Diversity Leads to Changed Lives

hands

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

By Rev. Rashim Merriwether Sr.

Special Assistant to the Bishop on Ethnic Concerns and Initiatives

“If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see” – James Baldwin

When James Baldwin penned these words, he did so confessing the true love he had for his country, his city, and all people. But he also knew that there were some unspoken realities regarding racism, social justice, cultural intelligence, and the divisive undercurrents which were not common to the naked eye. They were covered by systems, structures, unwritten laws, and isolating ideologies based on fear, stereotypes, biases, and a lack of connection between all God’s people. 

Wherever, and whenever, there is a lack of connection, the possibility of loss, division and inequality are inevitable.  Understanding one’s identity, position, gifts, hopes, fears, and desires are not only important but become the beginning to understanding the same life processes in others. If we are ever to achieve the most, or the best, that this life can offer, we must embrace our identity, our history, our reality, and the need to address those things which can hinder that chance for success. 

We are not here alone, nor have we made it this far on our own accord. It is only through the gifts, sacrifices, and struggles of all people that we have been able to experience the possibility of what life has to offer. And once we accept that history, that reality in its un-redacted purest form, we can begin to see the processes, struggles, fears, and hopes of others. 

We are not here alone, nor can we endure this journey by ourselves. It is only in seeing the value, diversity, and importance of all people can we ever hope to overcome the destructive nature of racism and all its variations. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to each other, and to God to embrace the gift of life which has been given to us and see those things which are not plainly seen by the naked eye. Understand them for the truth of what they are and how they have hindered our growth into the fullness of what God has called us to be. 

It is with this understanding I listen, discern, and serve…

What You Need to Know About the Move From Ministry Financials to NetSuite

What You Need to Know About the Move From Ministry Financials to NetSuite

computer

The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church changed its tithe reporting and pension billing software from Ministry Financials to NetSuite on July 1. The move to NetSuite streamlines the process to both record and report this information in our financial software. Instructions on how to use NetSuite are available in PDF and video format at www.arumc.org/tithe. This change only affects those churches that report tithe and/or pay tithe and pension billings online.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the new process.

  • The billing@arumc.org email address is not working.  This issue has been resolved.
  • Can more than one email log-in have access to our church NetSuite site? No, each church only has one log-in available. If more than one person needs to log-in, the log-in information will need to be shared.
  • I have logged in and reported my tithe but I do not see the pension information I need to pay.  The final documents are still being collected for clergy compensation. Once all the information is received, an upload will be made into NetSuite and the pension billings will appear. 
  • Once logged in, the Quick View says I do not have enough permissions to use this portlet.  Please disregard this message. If you see this home screen, you are properly logged in and have all the permissions needed.
  • I paid using an electronic bank draft previously. Do I need to re-enter that information? No, if you previously paid with a bank draft, your information is already transferred to NetSuite and there is nothing else you need to do. 
  • Will I still be receiving statements from the Conference each month? Monthly statements are available in NetSuite by going to Contributions > Tithes & Contributions > Monthly Statement  (for a summary) or by going to Contributions > Tithes & Contributions > Running Total Balances vs. Paid (for monthly detail). The statement available on the Print Monthly Statement screen only shows balances due. If you are paid in full, nothing will appear. If your church would like a statement emailed or mailed to them, please contact Wendy Brunson-Daniels at wbrunson@arumc.org or 501-324-8029.
  • What do I select as my “Tithe Reporting Month”? The Tithe Reporting Month refers to the month the income was collected. For example, if you are reporting tithe in July on collections in June, the Tithe Reporting Month selected should be June.

Please contact us at billing@arumc.org if you have any additional questions.

COVID-19: A Rapidly Changing Landscape

The last several weeks have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases in many communities in Arkansas. During the last two days, the number of reported and active cases, hospitalizations and deaths have dramatically increased. This new and dangerous landscape is the result of the Delta variant present in our communities, vaccines possibly being less effective and the fact that the number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has plateaued at an alarmingly low rate.

I have worked closely with the Bishop’s COVID-19 Task Force to develop the latest guidance as your Boards of Trustees use the ARUMC dashboard, CDC guidelines and information about the vaccination rate in your congregation to make decisions about how best to keep those in your church safe. While none of us like having to remain vigilant after having such high hopes about the vaccine allowing life to return to normal, we must deal with reality the way it is and not the way we wish it were.

1. Utilize the ARUMC COVID-19 dashboard.

  • Check the county-focused dashboard that now contains vaccine data and may be found here: https://arumc.org/covid19/dashboard/
  • Be aware that the benchmarks do not account for the vaccine data, nor do they distinguish between non-vaccinated cases or vaccinated cases.
  • Consider collecting self-reported vaccine data from individuals in your ministry setting without asking any questions other than “Have you been vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus?” This may help you better understand how many of the people attending events at your church are vaccinated.

2. Continue to follow the safety guidelines set forth by the CDC.

  • Access the CDC links on the ARUMC website that are updated weekly and may be found here: https://arumc.org/covid19/
  • Strongly recommend, or perhaps even mandate, that those not vaccinated wear masks and socially distance by at least 6 feet.
  • Move events outside if members of your congregation test COVID positive.

3. Act to keep our children safe. Since they cannot receive a vaccine yet, children under age 12 should be considered high-risk for contracting COVID-19.

  • Create a ‘cocoon of safety’ by asking everyone – vaccinated and unvaccinated – to wear masks at church.
  • Encourage all individuals in your community who qualify to get fully vaccinated since this provides the best way to keep our children safe.
  • Follow the safety guidelines for children’s ministries may be found here: https://arumc.org/covid19/safe-church-reopening-guidance/ministries-with-children/

4. Think ahead.

  • Prepare for flu season by continuing to sanitize hard surfaces, offering hand sanitizing stations, limiting shared surfaces, and offering only pre-packaged foods.
  • Help people understand that there is a possibility for vaccinated individuals to require a booster dose of their vaccine later this year.

We do not wish to alarm you, but we believe that churches need to take the lead in keeping people in our congregations and communities safe. Just yesterday, an Arkansas United Methodist Church learned that 4 fully vaccinated members wearing masks who attended worship last Sunday have been diagnosed with COVID.

We are grateful for how Arkansas United Methodists have led the way in responsibly addressing the COVID crisis the past 18 months. It is time for us once again to step forward and make a positive difference in our congregations, communities and state as we proactively address the rapidly changing COVID landscape by getting vaccinated, socially distancing and wearing masks. We join you as you pray for each other and care for each other.

This statement has been compiled and shared by Bishop Gary Mueller
and the Bishop’s COVID-19 Task Force

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Amy Ezell at amy.ezell@arumc.org.

 

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Building the Kingdom of God Through Small Community Libraries

Building the Kingdom of God Through Small Community Libraries

bishop at library

Bishop Mueller reads to kids at the Altheimer Library.

By Rev. Sam Meadors

Community Coordinator, The Delta Project - 200K More Reasons

 “The opposite of poverty is not property. The opposite of both poverty and property is community.” Jürgen Moltmann, German Theologian 

The library isn’t even open yet, but kids are arriving. They come in groups; some are dropped off by their designated grown-up, others arriving on bicycles, still more walking up to the doors. In Altheimer, a small, rural community in Jefferson County, the library has become the place to be for children who are out of school for the summer. 

Like many changing communities, there is no longer a school in town. Come fall, students will ride the bus on a long route to get to Pine Bluff, roughly 15 miles away. While the school has food, summer programs, and events, the kids aren’t going because during the summer the bus doesn’t run. So, the library it is. 

You could not ask for a better library. Or a better librarian. If the library is the heart of the community in summer, Mrs. Melony is the heart of the library. She greets every child by name before making sure they have a mask and hand sanitizer. She has candy, chips, and granola bars behind her desk when the kids need an extra snack. She knows what games they like to play on the PlayStation and what grade everyone is going into in the fall. Mrs. Melony is the reason that any kids came at all when the church wanted to provide a literacy program. 

Mrs. Melony called all the parents and began sharing the news. She told everyone to get registered for the summer program only lasting a few weeks. Even though the program was full to overflowing, she made sure that kids could still stay at the library even if they were on the waiting list. There are 18 children coming to the library every day; some to read with tutors, some to read alone, and all to be fed. 

Two years ago, as 200K Reasons was adding more reasons including literacy and family stability, the local pastor, the Rev. Lance Hickerson, asked if he could get some books to give away. He got more than he asked for when instead of just books, he was met with the opportunity to support a reading program for children in the community. There was worry, though, because Altheimer UMC is a small church and might not be able to provide all the volunteers needed for such a program. 

Instead of backing down, the church teamed up with locals. First with the office of the mayor and then with churches from neighboring communities. Arkansas Kids Reads, a literacy nonprofit, offered training and oversight from their expertise. Churches from White Hall, St. James, and Lakeside provide tutors for an hour each day, reading one-on-one with two students. Then, a literacy specialist instructs the class in learning for another hour. But wait, there’s more! 

girls reading

Children receive meals provided by the Arkansas Foodbank Summer Feeding Program and prepared at a Lakeside United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff. Interns from Quad W at First United Methodist of Pine Bluff deliver the meals. Anyone under the age of 18 can visit one of three locations in Watson Chapel, Altheimer and Wabbaseka. 

There is a small army of volunteers that have decided that children need support. They are using time that would otherwise go to their own families, their jobs, or their retirement to help children who, until a few weeks ago, they did not know. Now that they have a taste for it, they are already talking about next summer and even more importantly this fall. 

In building a community, we get to witness small glimpses of the kingdom of God. That is what is happening through reading and feeding this summer in Altheimer, Arkansas. Thanks be to God!