Monday, August 22, 2016

Emily Ward Welcomed to New Post

Berean Christan Church is pleased to announce that Emily Ward has joined the team as the Children Ministry Director and Administrative Assistant. Emily has been a life long member of Berean and looks forward to contributing to the mission of connecting people to God, each other and the community.

Many of the programs and ministries will remain the same. For instance the successful BASH (Berean After School Haven) program will continue. The after school program that ministers to children each Wednesday during the school year with homework help, a good meal and plenty of fun time will not change. BASH continues to grow through the efforts of the congregation through donations and volunteering time.

Also the popular day time Vacation Bible Study will continue as well as many other opportunities to connect. If you would like additional information about Berean Christian Church you can visit their website at

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Bus to Help Berean Ministry

Kids from the last BASH showing off the new bus!
Berean Christian Church has raised the funds and have purchased a bus to help out with the ministry of the church. The goal of Berean Christian Church is to connect with God each, other and the community and in several ways the new bus does just that.

It helps connect people to God as it will be used to transport people to and from church events including Sunday Connect and the Sunday service. It will connect Berean with the community by providing transportation for school children through the BASH after school program and help with community transportation needs. It will also help us connect with each other at Berean as relationships will developed as we travel for missions and ministry where ever that leads us.

The bus project was headed up by the deacons at Berean. They raised the funds and did the research. Chris Groded led the effort and was assisted by Dan Mann, Lee Marks and Scott Ward. In addition to the deacons a big thank you goes to Mark Berger for his help in giving the bus a thorough check before the purchase was made.

The bus still has to get the logo and other designs on the exterior but was ready for use during the last BASH of the school year. Also the bus is part of the Fresh Start program that continues to raise funds for new exterior doors and an upgraded kitchen. To be a part of the Fresh Start program ask for a brochure and pledge card at Berean.

Friday, February 5, 2016

God Cares Who Wins the Super Bowl - Maybe

I just read a release from the Baptist Press and they polled 1000 Americans asking them "Does God determine winners and losers in the Super Bowl?"
The results were 88% said no, 8% said yes and 5% did not know. At first blush it seems that the vast majority of people, at least according to this survey want to have a separation of Church and football. I don’t blame them, why invite God to a party with beer and gluttony? Seriously, all of this is fun to discuss, but this question leads to a deeper understanding of God’s role in the small things in life. 
For instance as a Protestant I was always curious when the Catholic basketball teams crossed themselves before each free throw. I would like to see the stats on that. Do Catholics that pray before each free throw tend to have a higher percentage made? If they do then Shaq should have converted. But, who knows. 
A more accurate perspective on God and the Super Bowl is that God can or does not have to care depending on His divine will. In other words I have no idea if He cares but if the game has a purpose in His Kingdom then He does. 
Too often we myopically feel that God has no role in the small things just the big things. We pray about who we should marry, what we will do when we graduate (if we do) and where we will live. But not whether we should fix our hair or wear a hat and a pony tail. I’m not saying that we should lock ourselves in a prayer closet and go on bended knee about hair styles. But I am saying that we need to recognize that God can and does care about minor things in life, like a silly little football game.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fresh Start Gets Fresh Start

At Berean our fresh start program got a real boost with a sizable donation at the end of 2015. An anonymous donation of $10,000 for purchase of a van was received. This amount will not be enough to purchase a van, but we must have faith that God will bless us and provide as we need and the need is definitely there.

Our youth mission is growing as evidenced by our Christmas program and New Years celebration for middle school age children. We currently have more children participating in the exciting things going on at Berean and we are reaching the children of our community in higher and higher numbers. The Berean After School Haven, better known as BASH is also increasing in popularity. On Wednesday nights it is not uncommon for over fifty children and adults to be present, learning about God, getting a good meal and connecting with each other.

Besides the old van is getting pretty run down. It has gotten to the point that repairs are a continuous concern and it is out of date. The leadership of the church has restricted the use to local only because the reliability is an issue. However, as our youth ministries continue to grow, opportunities to minister outside of our region will increase. Conferences and missions trips are complicated by not having suitable transportation.

Not only that, but the old van's use has largely been restricted to youth activities as it is difficult for adults to enter and exit the van. The deacons will begin the process of shopping for a used van that has steps and easy access to the seating. In this way we will be getting more use out of the vehicle.

Now all we need is you! We need you to help further the mission of the church by contributing to Fresh Start. We have come very far with Fresh Start but we have some major projects left. We have, with God's help, carpeted the Connect area, placed security cameras, purchased new lights for the auditorium, added exterior lighting and signs and installed an additional storage area to name a few completed projects. We are now ready to move one big step further by purchasing a van.

Giving to Fresh Start is a way to support the mission of Berean to connect with our community and to provide a great environment where we can connect with each other. Be a part of this by committing a monthly pledge above you current tithe or offering.  To find out more Fresh Start brochures are available at the church office.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

If You Didn't Want to Be a Missionary, Surprise!

Better lighting is needed for Christmas plays and a van for BASH
and other youth activities.
Sometimes churches, even really great churches like Berean, have it all backwards. We think that we are to be catered to and kept comfortable in church with padded chairs, soft sermons and music just the way we like it. Being stretched is not what we want and reaching out to people in the community is for the paid professionals in ministry.

But, this is completely the opposite of what we should be thinking as a church. Church should be each and every member stretching and growing in faith and reaching others as we fulfill the great commission given in Matthew 28:18-20 and stated again in Acts 1:8.

We need to be vocal about our faith, talking about Jesus to our friends and families, even if they have rejected Him before. We need to pray for the lost we know and don't know in our community as we tell others and prepare ourselves to talk to them in words and deeds, helped by studying the Bible and meeting together each Sunday.

But, also part of that stretching is to make sure that the church has the infrastructure to welcome non-Christians to our building and effectively minister to them. Colossians 4:5 says, to "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." We need to have the resources that help us do this, and because of this vital mission we are starting the Fresh Start ministry up again to specifically invest in some better lighting in the auditorium and ultimately a church van. As funds come in we will also be improving the entrances and repairing the heating and air conditioning systems throughout the church. This giving needs to be above your normal offering and if you aren't giving regularly you need to prayerfully start.

Keep in mind through Fresh Start we have come a long way. We have already improved the Kingdom Kids area with new carpeting, replaced old outdated signs and exterior lighting, put in a security system and added additional storage to name a few things. Now we need to tackle the final pieces of Fresh Start. It is hard to believe sometimes that God will bless us with the resources we need, but our community is a great field that needs to be harvested and as long as we stay focused on that, He will provide us with what we need to accomplish great things. We know this by faith!

Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive and upbeat as we see swings in the attendance and overall giving. It is easy to get caught up in the negative and weekly numbers and live in fear, but our God overcomes that fear! However, if you are struggling with the negative come to church on Wednesday nights. Fifty children from our community get to hear the gospel proclaimed! We are making a difference for His Kingdom at Berean. For you "number" people, if you add the Wednesday Night BASH and Connect to the Sunday morning numbers we are impacting Murphysboro more than ever. For this great work to continue we need a new van and lighting for plays and special activities. We need you to get involved in reaching others for God. After all whether you like it or not you are a missionary for Christ.

If you want to contribute for the lighting please put "Fresh Start" in the memo on your check or on the envelope. We will be starting Fresh Start in full and providing more information after the first of the year.


Slow Down for Christmas

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year... and the busiest. It seems like we run from one party to another, shopping has to be done, decorating, cooking, cleaning, the list never stops. But it should stop!  How can we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, when there is no peace just a hectic schedule crammed full of must do's and mad dashes from store to store?

Believe it or not one of the best ways to add the peace we all seek, is to add some things to your already busy schedule. I know it sounds crazy. Adding stuff to do at Christmas time makes no sense. But, we need to add times when we can celebrate, remember and reflect on the fact that a baby was born to save the world.

In the logic of the world adding things to do would only stress us out more. But with God's logic remembering Jesus will lift our hearts and draw us closer to Him. At Berean we have three great opportunities to remember Jesus this holiday season.


Meet me at the Manger is a children's play presented by the BASH Kids, Kingdom Kids (Berean Youth) and Servants for Christ. It will truly warm your heart to see children tell the tale of the simple manger that calls us all to God. This performance is a must!

I know if you don't have children or grandchildren you might be tempted to skip the show. Big mistake! Because you are in the family of God you will have a couple dozen "grandkids" to see, all with shining faces, singing their hearts out and bringing a message of hope and joy to all that attend.

There are two performances, Friday December 18th at 6:30 PM and Sunday December 20th, during regular worship at 10:00 AM. Both performances will be at Berean at the corner of 16th Street and Illinois Avenue.

Please plan on attending and invite your whole family and friends. Believe it or not people in our community are waiting for someone to invite them to find God, especially this time of year. Take advantage of this opportunity.


If remembering Jesus and the significance of his birth is what you need, then doing so on Christmas Eve in the glow of candlelight is a perfect match. It is a simple service with the singing of carols, a time of communion and a message of hope through Jesus.

Every year once the parties are done and the children are a bit groggy, we go to the candlelight service as a final reminder of why we celebrate. If it has been a while since you have been to the candlelight service come see us at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve. Everyone that attends is glad they did as hearts are warmed in the stillness, hours before Christmas day.


Reflection and quiet contemplation is crucial to our faith. We should be still and listen for His voice yet in the busy holiday season with the music blaring, the TV on and constant chatter from those around us, it seems like it is tough to find the time to sit quietly in His presence and hear His voice.

On New Years Eve at Berean we offer the community the opportunity to come into a darkened auditorium, sit for a moment and pray. There is no sermon or music to distract us, just a quiet time before our heavenly Father.  A communion tray is set out for each to partake as they are led and an Elder will be available if you would like someone to pray with or have a special need.

It is a time that we can look back in our hearts at 2015, search ourselves, ask for forgiveness and remember the positive spiritual moments of the past year. We can also look forward to 2016 and pray about our world, community and ourselves. This quiet time is a perfect place to go before God.

So there you have three opportunities to make this busy time more about God and His son whose birth we celebrate.  It does sound a bit crazy that adding things to our schedule will help us find peace, but if we shift our thinking to seeking the Prince of Peace we will surely find the peace we are all looking for this holiday season.

From the Elders at Berean Christian Church, have a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Team Makes the Difference

The Crimson Express constantly practicing. 
by Russ Ward
The community of Murphysboro was one busy place on October 31st. The football team had a playoff game, the Crimson Express traveled to a marching competition in Pinckneyville and of course the annual community Trunk of Treat that Berean participates in was happening that night.

Shelly and I started off in Pinckneyville to watch one of the best marching bands in the region if not the entire state take the field. With precision they maneuvered all over the field. Their turns were sharp, their music seemed flawless and they moved as one unit, with one purpose. They did great!

As we were on our way to the marching contest we listened to the Red Devils football team on the radio. They roared onto Doc Bencini Field and moved the ball with ease against an outmatched opponent. The team worked as one with the line blocking, the backs hitting holes and passing and receivers catching each pass that was zipped to them. The team was well coached, in great physical shape and were motivated to play at a high level. All of this resulted in a big win for the Devils, but more importantly a great season!

As a team they enter the field and as a team they win! 
We ended our long day at Trunk or Treat in the parking lot of Berean. And believe it or not we again witnessed some of the same attributes the Crimson Express and Red Devil football team had displayed. There was team work with everyone helping each other, we were highly motivated and we had one unified purpose. We also had a great leader in Laura Duncan and she deserves a lot of credit for pulling it all together.

Each volunteer found their spot and labored for the Kingdom. Whether handing out candy, keeping the trunks supplied with goodies, cooking popcorn or hot dogs, bringing food for the volunteers or countless other tasks, each worked as needed for the Kingdom to reach out to our community. It was a well-oiled machine.

Chris and Chris held down popcorn duty. 
It made me feel good to see our church working together and working so hard. Too often Christians have been reduced to a "me against the world philosophy" where we try to slug it out alone, but this is never the design that God had for the church. We are to come together and use our talents for Him as one unified body.

That was exhibited on Halloween. Yes, ultimately it was just a candy give-a-way, but you never know who was influenced in a positive way by the actions of those the gave their time, resources and talents. After all we are simply called to plant the seeds, it is God who makes those seeds grow. So thank you to all that helped out and demonstrated the body of Christ to the hundreds that showed up!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Providing for the Maasai Tribe

This past week Berean was blessed to have Tim and Elizabeth Harrison present information about their mission to Kenya and the Maasai tribe. It was a great honor to allow them the opportunity to talk about the great things God is doing through them and through the many tithes and offerings provided by our church and many others like ours. As a result we turned the blog over to them this month. We hope it inspires us all to think more broadly about reaching the world for Christ.

I was very impressed by not just the outreach spiritually but also the assistance that Africa Hope and Tim and Elizabeth are providing in Africa. Through our donations we are teaching about hygiene, farming, providing medical services and assisting a homegrown approach to reaching the lost.  I encourage you to go to to find out more about this wonderful ministry and opportunity to reach others.

By Tim Harrison
“I need these sins to be washed away from me,” responded Main, a village elder, when asked why he wanted to give his life to Christ. Tim had been coming to Main’s community, Letukunyi, each week for months to share stories from the Bible. Beginning at creation and culminating with the resurrection of Christ, Tim, along with his partner in Church Ministry Tom, had told about God’s great love for His people and desire for all nations to know His son. Tim had spent several months in Letukunyi building relationships, helping with work, eating goat with the men, and showing the Jesus Film.

After sharing the story of Christ’s resurrection, Main spoke out about his desire
to know Christ. He shared how many sins he had, mainly related to cultural rituals and alcohol and said, “I want to leave these evil practices and follow Christ.” Tim shared with Main his need to place his faith in Christ, repent of his sins, confess Christ as his Lord, be baptized, and live a new life. Main responded by saying, “I am ready today, I have decided. Let me give myself to Christ and be baptized now, because there is drought and tomorrow the water might not be here!”

On the way to the small stream of water, they ran across two of Main’s sons who were home on break from high school. After sharing with them about their father’s decision, the boys praised God, saying they had been praying for their father for many years! They also had been looking for an opportunity to be baptized and asked if they too could come with us. Together, Main and his 2 sons were baptized that day!

Tim was able to get a solar-powered audio Bible in Maasai (the tribal language) for Main, allowing him to continue to learn from Jesus’ life and ministry. This is especially helpful because during times of drought, Maasai men literally move to greener pastures with their livestock, staying for months away from home. Having the audio Bible allows Main to listen to the Bible while he is away herding! Main’s decision has brought great pressure from the other men in the community for him to return to his former way of life. Please pray for courage and strength for Main.

UPDATE: Since his baptism, Main has stayed true to his decision to follow Christ. Four months later, on Easter Sunday, his two wives and another of his sons surrendered their lives to Christ and were baptized. On a recent visit to Main’s house, his wives shared with us that their husband is a “totally different man” since knowing Christ. Even we can see the softness and light in Main’s eyes growing.

To find out more go to

To find out more about Berean go to

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Photos from the School Supply Giveaway

This was a great day where Berean, Servants for Christ and several other churches simply gave school supplies and provided food, fun and prayers to our community in Jesus name.

Together the churches had an impact in the lives of many today! A big thank you to First Lady Margaret Nolan for coordinating the event.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Growing Spiritually in Church and Community

Scott, Stephanie, Mitch and Michael from Berean Christian Church get all wet at the School Supply Giveaway in Murphysboro.
Just part of the fun is getting hosed down by the firemen! 
By Russ Ward
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are walking through mud in our faith. Things seem sluggish and spiritless, where going through the motions is more descriptive than excited about church and our faith. But, I am seeing a turn around. It started a couple of weeks ago when I leveled with the elders at Berean and told them that I was getting tired, almost exhausted by the effort and not seeing any results. Then in the same meeting I found out it was my turn to fill the pulpit for Troy while his family was on vacation.

The sermon was to be on growth, continuing with our series Life on Mission. One of the elders, sensing my depleted state offered to take my turn, but I knew that would not be fair. I appreciated the offer, however it was simply my turn. The one thing that preaching does is it forces you to look deep into scripture, deep into yourself, pray more often and truly seek Him. It was also a chance for me, through His Spirit, to get some of my exhaustion off my chest in a loving setting, where there would be no judgement before my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. My sermon was honest, straight forward and directed by God at the right

I have heard many kind words about my preaching since the sermon and I truly hope that it had an impact, however the real impact was that it forced me to redirect my efforts and find new energy to grow. Quite often when we hear about growth in a sermon or book, we picture it is the other guy that needs it. "I'm quite comfortable here, thank you." is the thought that we often have knocking around in our head. But, through my study I became aware that it was me that needed to grow up and complete the work laid out before me.

The result is that I got out of my spiritual funk and attended the Elder Outreach Dinner. Together our church sat eating, answering questions about our lives and growing together in true fellowship. We learned about one another and found ways we could pray and carry each other's burdens. It felt like church was intended to be all those years ago in the first century. I was lifted by the experience.

The annual school supply giveaway is this saturday at Longfellow Park. Berean Christian Church and Servants for Christ are the hosts every year.
And we have another opportunity coming up. Not to reach inward to our church family, but to reach out to our community. This Saturday we have the annual School Supply Giveaway at Longfellow Park starting at 10:00 AM. I would encourage everyone to come out and participate in the event. We have face painting and give out snow cones, but just as important it is a time to be a part of the community and helping those in need. Through this effort I know I will continue to grow and I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to grow too.