Port Townsend Church of Christ
|"YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD...
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MAY SEE
YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN."
(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
What Is “teEn-MAIL”?
I have been the preacher for the Church of Christ at Cherry & A Streets in Port Townsend, Washington since
August, 1984. During this time I have also taught our Sunday morning teen class, been able to accompany our
teens to some of the area wide youth activities, and have also worked with them at Delano Bay Christian Camp.
In March, 1998, I began sending e-mail messages to our teens in Port Townsend, to help with their focus during
the week. What began as e-mails to three teens (and printouts for the others in our small youth group who did
not have access to e-mail) has grown in ways I never imagined. God has revealed that He thinks bigger than I do
and has continued to open doors for this phase of ministry. I began by sending four to five focuses per week, but
it soon became a daily transmission that became known as “teEn-MAIL”. After some of the messages began to
be forwarded to others outside our area, the list of recipients began to grow to where now the daily messages are
going out to teens, youth leaders, preachers, and families across the United States and several foreign countries
(Germany, India, Ghana, West Africa, Indonesia, United Kingdom and perhaps others). As of 2007 daily
readership is over 500 not counting those who read them online at the website provided by the Berryville Church
of Christ in Arkansas. I have received a lot of encouraging responses from teens who are putting the messages in
notebooks for future reference and have shared them with their friends. I have also been informed that some
focuses have been used as sermon or discussion starters, for inspiration in a Christian school newsletter in Texas,
reprinted in church bulletins, appeared in “Truth For Teens (Pfulgerville, TX), included in other e-mail
publications, shared through other websites, shared with congregations in India, sent to World Bible School
students, posted on bulletin boards, forwarded to encourage others, and even shared within a prison. Only God
knows how many people are receiving these focuses. Though the initial idea was to encourage teens and remains
the prime objective, adults also now make up a good number of daily recipients. A number of these focuses have
been developed into full length lessons for our Wednesday evening “Peak of the Week” Bible study in Port
Since for so many years I had difficulty coming up with even one bulletin article on a weekly basis, there are still
times I fear (as I continue to get new subscribers) that the well is going to go dry. However, God continues to fill
the well allowing it to spill over into the lives of those who continue to encourage me by their interest and
prayers. It continues to be God who brings the focuses. Frequently a response comes saying simply, “That’s
just what I needed today.” Often it is what I needed as well. Many responses have been much lengthier and I
have been uplifted and encouraged by many I may never meet personally this side of heaven. I am greatly
encouraged by adults who find benefit from these daily focuses, but continue to be most excited by the number
of teens who want the focuses for themselves and their friends.
The more I read God’s Word the more I am struck by the truth of the statement someone has made: “The
Scriptures are shallow enough the novice will not drown, yet deep enough the scholar will never reach the
bottom.” During the last two millennia countless efforts have been made to destroy God’s truth, yet here we are,
2007 AD, still focusing on it today. The technology for sharing God’s Word has changed, but the message
remains the same and continues to meet us where we are. God’s Word is GOOD! I’ve read the whole book and
each time I do, God reveals something else about Himself, His Will, about life, about me, etc. What is written in
the daily focuses is not intended to be the last word on any subject. Always give God’s Word that place! I just
pray God will continue to use me to whet the appetite of others for even deeper study.
In The Master’s Service,
Carl W. Hanson (Port Townsend, WA)