Game Café: that's a wrap!

Game Café 2017 was  a phenomenal success! Over 400 Five Oakers and your friends, family and neighbors joined us for a night of fantastic food and unplugged fun. Many of you played Bingo, your kids bounced their way through the inflatable obstacle course, and best of all - Pastor Henry got schooled in Catan, by my 15 year-old son no less! A huge thank you to Barry Schalkle for leading two competitive rounds of Team Trivia Challenge. I was able to slip into one of those, and it was such a blast. I knew a few answers, but was more impressed to see how much the "under 20" crowd knew!

It’s always encouraging to have so many new people walk through our doors, to see a little bit of what we’re all about. Seeing great conversations and laughter happening all around the building – that just warmed my heart.

I want to especially thank all of you who volunteered to make this event happen. There were 100 volunteer spots, and you came through!! We could never have pulled it off without those of you who baked treats, helped set up and clean up, served dinner (so yummy!), supervised inflatables, and much more.

Saving the best for last, I am so grateful to our FUN Team - - these are the people I get to work with who planned, recruited and made this whole event happen: Missy Smutny, Meleah Miller, Jenna Friedman, Kristin Sellers, Peg Benson, Marge Lindberg, Katie Viesselman, Shawn Grams, Jennifer Cretzmeyer … you all are the "muscle" behind this crazy fun event. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Until the next FUN Team event…

Your FUN Team Director,

Pam Hawley
Associate Director of Connections

Worship leader update

Much prayer continues for discernment and wisdom for who will be called next to help lead us in worship. We have our search team assembled and have hit the ground in our search.

We have made connections with some incredible potential leaders already! So, we ask for your prayer in the process. We are taking resumés and videos from potential leaders over the coming weeks.

Over the next couple months, we will have some guest worship leaders coming to help out and lead us in worship. We will keep you updated to when a leader is leading as one of the final candidates for the position.

And as always, if you have any questions. Feel free to email me:

-Jonathan Haage
Pastor of Worship Services
Small Groups Pastor

You blessed us this Easter

I just want to give a huge shout out to everyone at Five Oaks who stepped up to serve for our extra Easter services.  Twenty-seven people responded by turning in an Easter serve brochure and filled spots as teachers, greeters, ushers and baristas.  It's not too late if you would like to serve at Easter, but have not yet turned in your sign-up card.  Please e-mail me, Jennifer Clemens, at and let me know WHEN you can serve and WHAT area you would like to help.  This is a perfect time to test out an area to serve with a one-time opportunity at Easter.

-Jennifer Clemens
Connections Director

Grieving a loved one at Easter

If you have lost a loved one you can probably resonate with the feeling of holidays being bittersweet. Gathering around the dinner table to celebrate a joyous occasion, but remembering the ones who are not sitting there with you. I know this sentiment well as Easter Sunday, April 16, marks three years since my dad passed away.  

As my mother, my siblings, and I surrounded my father while he took his final breaths, some of us were able to choke out the words to an old hymn. “ To God be the glory, great things he has done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life our redemption to win, And opened the life-gate that all may go in.” Even through the tears and sorrow in the moment of my dad leaving this earth, the Holy Spirit brought peace to my heart knowing my dad had just entered heaven. 

While Easter will be a difficult day for me, it also brings me peace knowing the reason I celebrate this holiday is the same reason I know my dad is in heaven today. Jesus came so we could have an abundant life here on earth and eternal life as well. 

Whatever state of mind you might be in on Easter, in joy or sorrow, in anxiety or peace, in love or in anger, it's okay. Bring your heart, and God will meet you there. Let’s join together and give praise to God the Father for sending His Son, Jesus. Praise Jesus for coming to earth to rescue us. And praise the Holy Spirit for comforting us through the heartache that comes in this life. 

Martha Young
Administrative Assistant, Connections and Students

Leading students to authentic faith

Navigating your faith as an adult is hard, so imagine how students feel trying to connect their faith with their day-to-day lives.  I remember fighting my parents on Sundays about wanting to sleep rather than go to church.  The days that I wanted to go were on special holidays like Easter and Christmas, when an old lady from our church would make homemade donuts.  These were life-changing donuts.  I’m not messing around here.  I mean melt in your mouth goodness.  But even on those days church was an adult experience that left me feeling disconnected and confused.  The pastor would give a message on how to be a good husband or what role our jobs play in our faith.  I was disengaged from the start.  I spent the entire message wondering how this all connected to me.

I don’t believe my experience is much different from some of our students’ here at Five Oaks.  We need to make a deliberate effort to engage our students on their own faith journey as they discover where they fit in the story of God.  I want to offer three very simple ways you can begin to engage your student and over time lead them to discover an authentic faith. 

Question Truth
No matter how far along you are on your faith journey you should never stop questioning.  When we question information it has the opportunity to become truth in our lives with unshakable roots.  As parents and leaders we need to create an open environment for doubt.  By creating an environment that is welcoming to doubt we allow our students to explore their faith in a real way.  Doubt is not something to worry about; rather, it’s something to embrace.  Doubt leads us to greater understanding and a faith that can withstand the ups and downs of life.  One clear way we can create a safe space for doubt is to share our own doubts and questions with our students.  By opening the conversation it allows our students to bring their own doubts to light.  The next step is to explore these doubts by saying, “That is a hard question; let’s do some research and explore what answers are out there.”  Move doubt to understanding and understanding to faith. 

Apply Truth
As parents, it is important to help our students take biblical truth and apply it to their everyday lives.  While a student may agree that a certain biblical principle is true, they may lack the ability to apply it to real-world experiences.  For example, let’s say on Sunday the main principle of the message is that we have received grace from God through Jesus and we should in response give others the same grace we have received. To adults this may seem like a straightforward application (although not easily lived out).  To students it may not be clear.  Middle or High school students tend to be asking the question, “Who am I?”  In this stage of development, they tend to be inward focused rather than outward.  Even if it seems simple, take the time to connect the teaching principles to your student’s everyday life.     

Live Truth
We often forget that our students look to us as examples of what faith lived out looks like.  This means that your student notices what your priorities are.  If we want it to be a priority in our student’s life it has to be a priority in our own lives.  This means taking time to have a devotional, pray and serve those around you.  Be an example of faith that is lived out daily, but remember we are all on a journey so don’t fake spirituality in your life, but instead let it flow out of you as a natural response to the love and grace God has shown you.  Share your struggles and questions with your students, and allow these moments to push them in the direction of discovering a faith that is their own.  

Something is Better Than Nothing
Don’t let fear tell you that it’s too late or that you can’t be an example of authentic faith because you’re still discovering what it looks like for yourself.  It’s a lifelong journey.  Remember that doing even one of these three things is better than doing nothing at all.  Take steps to create moments for your student to discover their faith, but remember that your journey of faith is not perfect, and theirs won’t be, either.  That’s the beauty of this journey, of parenting your student, of helping them develop their own faith. It’s imperfect because we are.


Aaron Parsons
Student Ministry Associate

Choices of today

Have you ever heard the saying, "The choices we make today affect tomorrow?" We find ourselves knee-deep in that story with a man named Achan, in the book of Joshua chapter 8. 

The Israelites had taken the city of Jericho, but they were instructed to keep nothing for themsleves. Only silver, gold, articles of bronze and iron were to be taken and put in to the treasury of the Lord. But the Israelites disobeyed and that disobedience caused God to not fight for them when they came to take the city of Ai. They were chased away and some of them died. 

Confused and sad, Joshua didn't understand how they lost the battle. God said to Joshua that Israel had sinned and taken things they weren't supposed to and that is why He could not fight for them. Joshua called the tribes one by one to come to him and Achan, of the tribe of Judah, confessed his sin. He confessed that he had taken a beautiful cloak, some pieces of silver and a bar of gold and then buried them. So the people of Israel killed Achan and his family. Achan's choices on the day of deafting Jericho not only effected the outcome of his tomorrow, but his families and the people of Israel.  His choices cost the people of Israel to lose the battle for Ai and it cost him and his families lives. 

This is a tough story to tell kids. The death of Achan and his family seems extreme and difficult to try to explain. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Because we sin, we deserve to die as well, but Jesus came in our place. When we confess our sin and trust in Jesus, He will forgive us and we will be saved from death.

God takes sin seriously, yet, He also offers us forgiveness and life with Him eternally through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Talk with your kids about how when we trust in Jesus, we are forgiven for our bad choices and saved from spiritual death. God loves us, even when we make wrong choices, and He sent Jesus because He loves us. 




Next week: Jesus' Trumphal Entry

Victims of the wilderness

Since the fall of man, we have all been born, inherently, with the victim mentality. It's what makes us bicker over meaningless circumstances. It's what makes us fight with each other over fairness in this life. It's what makes us hurt one another through trival mindsets. And it's what makes us forget what is truly important. 

As parents, when we see this victim mentality in our kids, it makes us want to pull our hair out trying to fix it. We want them to understand how they hurt others and how to get thier prioirties straight, yet, we often find ourselves in the same circumstances and minsets that we try to teach our kids to not find thmeselves in. 

When we get to the story of the bronze snake in Numbers, we find the people of Israel with a victim menatility. Grumbling and complaing in the wilderness. They were growing impatient! They complained that Moses and Aaron were above them. They were victims that had no water. They were victims of the wretched food. They grumbled and complained until God had enough of it! He sent piosonous snakes to the people who were then bitten and many died. The people pleaded with Moses to intercede on thier behalf with God. God didn't immedatley accept this intercession, but eventually He provided a way for them to live. A bronze snake lifted high. Once a person was bitten, if they looked up to the bronze snake, God would save thier life and heal them.

What an odd way to choose healing. It almost seems irrational for this group of grumblers. But this is actually a beauitful picture of God's big plan to bring salvation to all through His son Jesus. Looking up at the bronze snake forced them to take thier eyes off of the consequences of thier sin and gaze upon God's provision for salvation.

 When we find our kids, or ourselves, in the position of grumbling and complaining, let's try to remember that there is a consequence to our sin, but instead of living in our victim mentality, we can look to Jesus on high for our salvation.

Blessings~ Rhiannon

Next week: The Promised Land and Jericho


To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers

Numbers 13:33 " ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them."

Numbers 13:33 " ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them."

Life feels like just a bundle of comparison so often, doesn't it? We see what others have and we compare it to what we have. We hear of a great work that someone has done and we compare it to what we have done. We watch that show that has the amazing design skills of the star of the show and we look around our house in discontement of our "mere" belongings. We see someone who is seemingly more beauitful or stronger than us and we compare oursleves with the lie that they must see us the same way we see ourselves. This idea of living in comparison to others is not a new concept. The question isn't, why do we compare oursleves? The question is, who do we trust?

In the book of Numbers, we see Moses sending out a group of spies to scout the land of Canaan, thier promised land. He sends 12 men who spent 40 days scouting the land to see what the land was like, what the people were like and if the land was fertile or unproductive. In the midst of thier instructions of what to look for, Moses tells them to be courageous, then finishes the list of what they should look for and bring back. 

I find this interesting, because they indeed scoped out the land and found that it was flowing with milk and honey and wonderful fruits, but they also found strong men with large fortified cities and this caused the very courage they were instructed to have to waiver. They felt that they were grasshoppers compared to the strong men in the land and they thought for sure the people of that land would see them the same way. They chose to give in to thier fears rather than trust God and His promise to them and did so through comparison. 

A few verses later we see God asking Moses, "how long will they not trust in Me despite all of the signs I have performed among them?" God recognized that the people did not trust Him. Because of thier mistrsut the only two who were allowed to live from that generation and live in the promised land were Joshua and Caleb. These two men held fast to God's promise and Moses' instruction to be courageous and they stood up in truth and told the people to not be afraid, and trust that God was with them.  

Their complete trust in God allowed them to live to see the fullfiment of His promise in a new land that flowed with milk and honey.  God planned for Joshua to lead the next generation of Israelites in to the promised land. Joshua wasn't perfect, but his faithfulness reminds us of Jesus, who is perfect. Jesus obeyed the Father and trusted His plan to save people from their sins.

This week, help your children to see how vital our total trust in God is, because that is an essential component of the gospel. God doesn't compare us to the people or circumstances that surround us, He simply asks us to trust in Him.



Next week: The Bronze Snake