Let us make this as simple as possible. No spiritual sounding slogans or psycho-babbling sentences. Just plain conversation about what we do at Christian Encounter Ministries.
We eat. We eat around the tables in the dining room three times a day. We always pray beforehand (in a big circle); sometimes we read scripture together. While we eat, the students talk with interns and staff and each other. We get to share with occasional visitors around the table. It’s personal—even when there are thirty of us. It still seems personal even when we have banquets or potlucks with 60-100, or at special celebrations like Thanksgiving. Eating together is always personal, a time to know each other, to share, care, and enjoy the blessing of God’s provision.
We study the Bible. Students and interns meet every morning after breakfast to talk and pray—in groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays, one-on-one discipleship times other mornings, and some quiet times for individual growth. On Sunday we worship together for two hours. We enjoy singing, and the Word of God is always prominent. We also have communion, the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup of the Lord, each Sunday. We pray for one another and share our burdens and victories and answers to prayer.
We enjoy the serenity of the 86 acres God has provided for Christian Encounter Ministries. We see the blue sky above the towering pine and oak trees—their images perfectly reflected in the ponds. We watch the cows meander through their pasture, contentedly munching their way through the day. (They like to eat, too.) The rolling hills and meadows are peaceful. We can even imagine meeting with Jesus as we walk along on the roads or trails.
We go to school. Our students get lots of personal attention. There isn’t any cutting class, and study hall is four nights a week. Most kids do the best they have ever done. Their report cards look good. When they struggle with a subject, teachers pray with them, pray with each other, get advice from others, and arrange special tutoring. Eventually, they battle through until they succeed. When our students graduate the joy is overwhelming!
We work around the Ranch. A maintenance supervisor and a food service manager keep everything running smoothly. They work with the interns and students. Everyone contributes to life at CEM. The meals have to be prepped and cleaned up. The buildings need repair and daily attention. The pigs have to be fed, the fire wood cut, the vehicles serviced. In brief, there is a lot to do, and everyone takes part in the work. Work is a good thing.
We train interns. “Tending Lives…Training Leaders” is our motto. God sends the most outstanding individuals to be interns. They mentor, serve, and care for our students. Interns disciple and work alongside the students. They learn while they are doing. It is love in action.
We have counseling. We set aside time each week for students, interns, and others for individual therapy sessions. The Bible is the final authority in matters of the human condition. We empathize, reflect, teach, pray. We seek healing. We encourage personal responsibility and clear communication. We learn from our mistakes. We trust. The Holy Spirit, our Counselor, produces hope, reinforces growth, and strengthens the spiritual foundation we want for everyone at CEM.
This is what we do. It is simple. It is the Lord’s design for a good Christian life.