Please Come to Small Group/Sunday School

At The Ridge Church, we definitely want you to join us for small group Bible study. How can we encourage you to attend? Ken Braddy lists 5 ways to encourage attendance. (Read article at

1) Give them an assignmentIf people have a job to do, they are more likely to show up. Place someone in charge of nametags, announcements, prayer time, assisting the group leader by leading a portion of the study, planning fellowships, and like that.

2) Pose a controversial questionBefore Sunday, email (text) the members and call attention to a section of personal study guide. Pose a controversial question. Stir the pot. Help your group members think critically. Promise to address the question or comment during the Bible study. They’ll have to show up to find out the answer and to hear everyone else’s responses.

3) Preview the next sessionmovie theaters have learned the value of making us sit through 25 minutes of “coming attractions.” They know that to get us to come back in the future, they need to pique our interest in the present. At the end of each Bible study, spend a minute previewing the next study, encouraging your group members to study in advance and to come prepared to engage in next week’s Bible study.

4) Teach with excellenceOne of the quickest ways to drive people away from your group is to get into a teaching rut. If your group members can predict what is going to take place each week, it’s time for you to shake things up. Learn to incorporate new teaching techniques each week. The variety will spice things up.

5) Reach out to themit’s a mathematical fact that about 50% of your group’s members will not be in attendance each week. Normally groups average an attendance of 50% of their enrollment. So every week the group leader and the care group leaders have an important job to do – they must contact every absent member and discover if there is a ministry opportunity.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Gorham Outreach and Ministry

Wednesday night we had a great discussion on our future ministry in Gorham.

It all began last summer as we sponsored a 5 day Bible club. Then, a block party was planned and we participated in the community’s “Trunk or Treat” effort. In November, we began a 6 week after School program that included a bible study, mission study, Bible verse memory, games and refreshments.

The discussion last night centered on future ministry ideas.

Ideas included – VBS in the community July 9-13, 5:30-8 pm. Begin with a light supper. Include an adult and youth bible study at the same time.

Movie night, Easter Egg Hunt, work day to do light yard work in the community, coordinate the delivery of lunch meals in the summer for the children, begin an “adopt a grandparent” ministry, provide Monday- Friday activities during spring break (March 30-April 6), continue with the Tuesday after school program in 6 week cycles.

Begin a weekly Bible Study/Worship time in the community supported by the people from the Ridge church. Perhaps meeting on a Sunday afternoon. This service would be in lieu of our Sunday night service.

As you pray, ask the Lord how we can reach the community.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Best New Year’s Resolution

In a recent blog post Thom Rainer makes a startling statement, “I am proposing you dump everything on your church calendar. It’s time to start fresh.” He argues that most church folk are too busy to do REAL ministry in the REAL world.

He proposes we start the New Year with a blank Church calendar and fill in the calendar with only those activities we feel will really move the church forward. Keep it simple. Keep it basic.

When many things are added and never subtracted or evaluated, the calendar becomes bloated and our ministry becomes ineffective. The result is that members have little or no time to do REAL ministry outside the walls of the church.

He concludes, “We need effective churches, not busy churches. We need simple churches, not complex churches. As you move into a new year, consider your church calendar. Be willing to consider reducing or eliminating those activities that lead to busyness but not effectiveness. It could be the best New Year’s resolution you make.”

What activities and ministries would you include? Exclude? What present activities or ministries would you be willing to give up in order to do REAL ministry that might be more effective in reaching our communities?

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

What a great year #OnTheRidge! God has continued to bless and add to His church. We have been able to affect our communities in many positive ways with the gospel. We have baptized more believers this past year than we have in any year since I have been pastor.

Our commitment to missions continues to increase through the many ways we reach out. Missions begins at HOME with a strong base. It then continues through our state and nation and THEN around the world. Thank you all for your generosity of time talent and treasure.

I heard so many great comments on this year’s Cantata. The Ridge Choir under the direction of Debbie Henson outdid themselves again this year. AND, of course the children’s program Sunday night was “off the chain.” Thank you Jamie Robison for your commitment and direction.

As we head into Christmas Day please don’t forget our Christmas Eve Service at 5:30 PM. It is a very simple and meaningful service of singing carols and Scripture reading. Just come as you are and bring everyone with you. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

God always takes the first step and awaits our response. 2018 will present as many challenges as we leave in 2017. In the midst of all life’s challenges may we respond to God with faithful worship attendance and committed financial giving.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Present of Presence

I was eating a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds. Well, I had a gift card and I was craving their new buttermilk chicken strips. However, they are SO popular that they have completely run out and are restocking the supply chain.

Anyway, I got a text from a college friend to give him a call. He told me he was going to be in the area on work and wondered whether I had time to see him. Although we have kept in touch on Facebook, we had not seen each other for about 25 years. We enjoyed a great visit.

When I arrived at Southwest Baptist College in 1977 I had 3 suitcases and knew absolutely no one. I worked in the cafeteria and Dennis was the assistant manager. We quickly became friends. He became the food service director and I, a student manager. He taught me about food ordering and production but mostly he taught me about the value of friendship and passion for what you were doing. I am as grateful for those lessons as any college class I ever took.

We reminisced of course, about trips he and Brenda took with Debbie and me, and different alumni we both knew, but most of our conversation focused on where we were today and how much more fun grandchildren are to raise, than our children.

It is true great friends can pick up where they left off, even when it has been 25 years. It’s not yet Christmas, and I am anticipating a lot of great presents. Nevertheless, this gift of presence may be the best present I’ll receive this year.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Never a Good Reason

Before we jump into the Advent and Christmas season I want to use this occasion to encourage everyone to verbalize (vocalize) thanksgiving when the opportunities arise.

It is clear the scriptures instruct us to:

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—“ Psalm 107:2

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

In the account of the 10 Lepers (Luke 17) who are healed and only one returns to say thank you, Jesus responds, “Has no one returned to give glory to God …?

There is never a good reason not to give a testimony of Thanksgiving to God when an opportunity arises, never! Those who shared testimonies of Thanksgiving Sunday night touched my heart. Thank you for your encouragement.

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this Thursday, remember to say thank you, give a testimony of Thanksgiving, and give God glory! God expects it!

“How Can I Keep from Singing” Chris Tomlin.

“How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough? How amazing is your love. How can I keep from shouting your name? I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing.”

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Entitlement And Thanksgiving

Thom Rainer

If I feel entitled, I complain about my job. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have a job.

If feel entitled, I complain about the meal I’m eating. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have food on the table.

If I feel entitled, I complain that the government does not do enough for me. If I am thankful, I ask what I can first do for others.

If I feel entitled, I complain about my spouse. If am thankful, I express gratitude that someone has put up with me all these years.

If I feel entitled, I complain about living paycheck to paycheck. If I am thankful, I am grateful simply to have a paycheck.

If I feel entitled, I complain about what’s wrong with my church. If I am thankful, I am ever grateful for the freedom to worship.

If I feel entitled, I complain about the deficiencies of different family members. If am thankful, I am grateful that I have a family that loves and cares for me.

If I feel entitled, I complain about the lousy weather we’re having. If I am thankful, I am grateful to be a free person regardless of the weather.

If I feel entitled, I complain to God about why He is treating me so unfairly. If I am thankful, I know that I deserve nothing good, that all gifts are an act of grace.

Dear Lord, forgive me for my sense of entitlement. Remind me to rejoice in all things, and in all things to be thankful. Remind me to count my blessings. And remind me when my heart begins to stray from thanksgiving to entitlement.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Why I find It Easy To Give Through The Ridge

Thank you so much for your generosity. Debbie and I appreciate all of your kind remembrances for Pastor Appreciation month.

I also affirm your generosity as you provided candy for the children in Gorham. We had more than enough! There were 24 Ridge folks passing out candy in the community. What a great way to share the love of Jesus. Remember TeamKID Gorham begins this Tuesday. We already have 10 children enrolled.

This time of year, there are so many needs and good groups asking for some help as they assist the needs of many in our communities. I try to be sensitive to all the requests made. However, it is easiest for me to give through The Ridge Church.

I find it easy to give through The Ridge Church. I’m excited to provide Samaritan Purse shoeboxes, Halloween candy for children, Spirit of Christmas gifts, debt retirement offerings, and financial support for missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This is in addition to my regular tithe and offerings. I am so blessed by God’s generosity to me how can I not be generous in sharing with others?

Over the years, many have invested their lives to show God’s love and grace to others through this very congregation. I consider it a badge of honor and myself a fellow laborer with God to continue the good work and touch lives for Jesus.

Don’t you?

We Labor Together With God, Wes

It’s A Great Time!

It’s a great time to be a part of the ministry and family of The Ridge Church. Sundays Fall Festival was the best we’ve enjoyed in a very long time. Not even the weather could dampen the spirits of the night. While we were limited in some of our activities, everything was planned and executed well. My Hats Off goes to Jamie Robison for keeping everything on track and A Hats Off to Amy & Betty Wilson for the best games ever!

I want to remind everyone of the 5th Sunday Offering this Sunday that goes to paying off our debt. Please make the best gift possible so we may continue all the building expansion that is going on. Folks, we are out of room!

Please keep our parking lot team in your prayers as they greet everyone on Sunday mornings, assist with parking and strive to keep everyone safe. They are the front line of The Ridge Church. If you would like to assist them, please let them know. The team: Louie Hertter, Dakota Little, Chris Robison, and Josh Dover.

Finally, Tuesday we will head to Gorham for their trick or treat. Your generosity of donated candy is overwhelming, thank you. We will use this opportunity to share information and register children for Gorham TeamKId, which will begin Tuesday, November 7 at 4:30.

It’s a great time to be a part of the ministry and family of The Ridge Church.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Positive Aspects of a Slug

A lot going on in October! Well, we can make the same statement about November. Well then, we can make the same statement about December as well!

As I look at The Ridge calendar, I see that it also is filling up. There are only so many hours in a day, and days in a month. Getting everything done that we would like to accomplish is quite impossible. Yet, we are willing to put ourselves through the paces. Perhaps if we survive, we can wear it as a badge of honor. In addition, we look so much better in our own eyes when asked, what we have been doing, by rattling off a list of activities rather than simply suggesting we have been a “slug.” The church is guilty of contributing to the breathless pace of life with all of its activities as well.

I believe God made the days shorter and the weather colder this time of year for a reason. We need time to stay home, refresh, renew, and re-create. Being a “slug” at times is not shameful. In fact, it is wise. If we have hopes of great fetes in the future, we must find the time to recharge the batteries in the present.

How sad it is, to race through the days, the weeks, and the years in order to gain the maximum experiences of life, never stopping and being still long enough for those experiences to make you smile!

Prioritize your time but don’t over book yourself. Stay home, do nothing, watch TV, take a nap, listen to music, read a book, be a slug, and get your rest! Remember we have a big day tomorrow!

We Labor Together With God, Wes