Showing items filed under “Jeremy Shirley”
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This year’s Fall Festival is quickly approaching and if you’re still on the fence about whether to run or walk in the 5K on October 19, here’s some information about the ministry that we’re supporting through your participation. 

The Covering House provides refuge and restoration, using the least restrictive environment, for sexually exploited and trafficked children and teens, providing safety, dignity, and freedom utilizing top level staffing and oversight.

The issue of sex-trafficking in the United States is vast, yet the majority of individuals are unaware of its prevalence. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sex-trafficking is defined as a “commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.” Although slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, it is still alive and thriving today, and American children are now among the most vulnerable.

Our logo is inspired by The Underground Railroad log cabin quilt pattern, which served as a secret message of safety during those times. Quilts bearing the log cabin pattern were hung in windows to indicate a safe home for those seeking refuge.  By taking a stand against modern day slavery and commercial sex trafficking, while providing refuge for today’s young survivors, The Covering House is fighting for a world without slavery.

During the fall of 2014, The Covering House opened their long-term therapeutic home. The opening of this facility was significant for many reasons. This facility is for girls, between the ages of 13-17 years old, that have experienced sexual trafficking or exploitation in the U.S. This home is the first in the state of Missouri, third in the Midwest and 38th in the U.S. solely for girls under the age of 18 years old that have experienced this trauma.

The following is a testimony about one of the young women that The Covering House has helped:

                “Dedee, I haven’t stopped talking about you guys and the work you’re doing and how amazing SH is doing since I got back on Monday.  I just truly can’t get over the difference and transformation in SH... you all have empowered her to be the person she was meant to be.  When she arrived she was a hard, closed, dark, unhappy, broken girl and now she has this glow about her! It’s remarkable the progress that she’s made. I know she had to do the work but you guys gave her the tools to get there.  I literally sat there in awe watching her talk and listen as she would tell us about her songs and her poems and her artwork and her concerns coming home and what she knows she needs to work through and still work on...basically... I saw life in her... A sparkle that wasn’t there when she arrived in January!!!What you guys do is truly amazing and is very much needed! As an advocate seeing SH now is the best reward ever! I was one who fought to get her there and am so thankful I did!!!The Covering House is truly unique – it’s everything I had pictured in my mind and more.... it’s not a “facility” it’s truly a home... I kind of refer to it as a “bridge” from where they are –to helping them get to where they need to be to function in society and ultimately helping them get to where God wants them to be. You are showing and teaching the girls how to be “normal".  Every girl, not just girls that are trafficked, need to be empowered and feel empowered to be able to reach their full potential— and that’s what you’re doing!  I can’t thank you enough for all that you do... I wholeheartedly believe you have saved SH and I’m so excited to see what lies ahead in her future! I see big things for her with her gift of writing poems and songs and her artwork... She truly has found her calling. She did the work but you gave her the place, and the time, and the grace, and the love, to get there...If there’s anything I can ever do to help, please let me know... You definitely have a huge advocate and cheerleader for The Covering House in me! I’m hoping you’ll have another one of the girls I’m working with soon.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Addie Wood

Attorney at Law

If you’d like to support the work at The Covering House, sign-up for the Fall Festival 5K today and $10 of your registration cost will go directly to The Covering House!

Posted by Jeremy Shirley with
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         Despite the fact that the global population of the world is growing, the world is increasingly becoming a lonely place.  Statistics show us that loneliness is at an all-time high.  The scary thing is that many people don’t even realize their need for community because of the false reality that social media has created for us; giving us the idea we’re very connected to others.  In the church we see this play out as people will attend worship regularly, sit in a room with hundreds of people, potentially shake some hands.  They may make superficial conversation with some people before or during the service and then once it’s over, they’re gone.  Honestly, one of the saddest things is when I hear about is someone who talks about how they just don’t feel connected in our church.  Then, I find out the only thing they do is attend worship.  As important as the worship gathering is, if that’s your main connection point to the church, then you’re going to find yourself lonely and disconnected as well.

        This is exactly why plugging into a Bible Study group is so important.  We call our groups Sunday School and many of them meet on Sunday morning.  As we’ve already talked about, connection or community is an important aspect of Sunday School, but why else would you take another hour of your week to be a part of such a group?  Sunday School is the main strategy our church uses to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments.  Here’s how:

  1. One of the goals of Sunday School is helping people CONNECT to Christ and to others. Sunday School is intentionally evangelistic.  It is designed to unify groups of people in working together to reach people like that.  That makes it the perfect next step for people who live in our community or who learn about our church through participation in another ministry.  Sunday School groups usually hit a target demographic or life stage.  In doing so, each group is best equipped to reach those similar to them.  That’s why it’s so important that we have Sunday School groups for all ages.
  2. Sunday School groups are built to help people GROW in knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word. We use a curriculum that is simple enough for the new believer to take their first steps and also effective in setting up the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of the long time believer.  Part of growth in our Christian walk takes place in the context of community where, “iron sharpens iron”.  Where we can help each other with the speck in another’s eye, all while dealing with the log in our own eye.  Spiritual growth is more about what you learn to do and how you serve God as a result of the teaching than it is a new nugget of truth you’ve never heard.  That’s why Sunday School is a launch pad for new leaders both in the Sunday School ministry and in other ministries throughout the church.
  3. The natural overflow of someone becoming a disciple by helping people Connect to Christ and Grow in the teaching of the Word is to begin to SERVE. Sunday School provides opportunities to serve both in terms of leadership and roles to help the group exist.  Probably equally important are the countless opportunities that exist to serve one another.  When you’re part of a group, you get to know people, you learn about their needs, you begin to pray for them and ultimately you minister to their needs.  It’s in the context of a Sunday School group where the vast majority of the needs of people in our church are cared for.   Through the fellowship of believers who grow in relationship with one another, a love for one another develops and beautiful ministry begins to take place among the people involved.

        If you’ve never considered joining a Sunday School group or maybe you just haven’t quite found the right one for you; now is a great time to Plug Into Sunday School!  Over the next few weeks you’ll notice a number of our Sunday School groups in the foyer ready to share with you about their group.  If you need help finding a group, you’re always welcome to stop by our Welcome Center and they can direct you towards a group that fits where you’re at in life.  Another great way to find a group is by heading over the our website where you can check out a listing of all our Bible study group opportunities:

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