but we really don't have any cash, we are living on a shoestring, we want to reach out, what can we do?
1. begin somewhere...
two church planters pooled their giving and began to reach their community with 7 bags of groceries...15 years later the Life Enrichment Center is now a separate non-profit...feeding over 700 people hot breakfasts, suppling classes for the clients, health screening, and moving into a 5 million dollar building...see www.daytonlec.com...
how'd this happen? they chipped away, starting with what they had to invest and remained faithful day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.
2. seek investors... people want to give to a great vision...seeking to love your community into a relationship with Jesus Christ...is a great vision... invite key people to lunch share your vision...then ask for funding for a project...the project can be as small as requesting funds for a drink outreach or as large as supplying the budget for a month, or for a year to help your church reach out.
3. cast vision to your people... without vision people go in circles, they waste their lives one day at a time...set a date for a day of serving...make plans...then publicly cast vision, and ask for help...i.e. at the end of every month we are going to reachout together into our community...join us as we gather supplies...define the supplies you are asking for and why...when you come to ____________ over the next few weeks bring 12 packs of coke, water, we will be reaching out during the Lazy Day Parade in Jones County etc.
then make a public display and stack the drinks in a visible place...
one church asked people to bring new stuffed animals, each week the animals were visibly placed all over the place...hanging from the ceiling by fishing line, on steps, everywhere...at the end of the time period they went to the local children's hospitals distributing the wild and crazy animals...think about the knock on effect, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nurses, and doctors all knew one church in the community cared
4. just serve... seek places to serve, go together into the community and serve, set a date gather together and go...nursing home visits, cleaning up parks or strip malls parking lots, washing windows, cleaning schools, just doing good...the cost? usually time and a few bucks for supplies
one church began to think...what can we do to reach our community... hey, schools need our help...so they gathered together, went to a local school, painted lockers, spring cleaned classrooms, tidied the landscape, fixed swings etc...
a few years later they made a radio appeal for bike for kids...$25000 came in in one weekend...a few weeks later they gathered in a central park to hand the bikes out to the kids, the mayor, city counsel, other church and community leaders came to the event...hundreds of kids received a new bike...where did they get the kid list? from the school principals where they had served...
Laurie Beth Jones
people who dream of what could be, will create what could be...
no cash? begin where you are...
abraham was told, lift up your eyes from where you are... he did, and a nation was born
jonah lifted up his eyes from where he was and began to worship, a city was spared
dittos for joseph, who saved egypt and israel from certain famine, daniel, who was brought before kings, and Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many...
a common thread...favor...the means, serving others
by the way, don't buy the t-shirt
a mark of an outward focused church is reflected in the budget...good ole dollars and sense...pun intended
having traveled to different places and spoken on how to begin an outward focus by developing effective community outreach...I always know that one of the questions will be...How much does it cost? or How do you pay for all that you do? or Where does the funding come from?
I always mention we budget...% goes off the top of what comes in to finance, staffing, supplies, outreach ideas, benevolence, serving single parents, inter city outreach etc.
Values...in reality, we pay for what we value...our values can be measured by time spent, attention given, publicly highlighted, actually doing, and big bucks.
If we say we value outward focusedness and give no time, attention, public awareness, seeking to actually do what we say what we value, or spend little, if no funds upon the value...we are living in la la land.
It's like asking(more like proclaiming) for a harvest and sowing no seed. A farmer would look very foolish at harvest time if he proclaimed to all that he was going to have the harvest of all harvests, a bumper crop...then questioned, Why, how many seeds did you sow? must of been a lot,eh?...For him to reply, 'Nope didn't sow one seed...matter of fact, didn't even plow, or water. Word would quickly get around that ole farmer Brown had a few screws loose!
I often return the 'how much' question, by asking..., a few questions... What are you currently investing in monetary terms to reach your community? I have ceased to be surprised when the figure is 0 dollars, nada, nothing, zero, zilch...
Pause for effect...I then ask, Can an outward focus really be a value you embrace if you are not investing in the value? or is it merely a perceived value?(something you'd like to believe and do but is not a reality)
Bottom line... it takes a lot of focus, time, effort and investment to love our communities into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Each year we target X amount of dollars, usually a percentage off the top, to invest in reaching out to our community...Big Bucks!
Is it a good investment? you bet...hundreds of people are being cared for, loved in practical ways, served, and the church is being redefined before a watching community. Our people are learning...to really care you have to serve out there.
To top it all...people are being nudged into a relationship with Jesus Christ...weekly people say, 'yes, Jesus come into my life, forgive my sins, propel me into your purposes.'
Budgeting to reach your community is more than dollars and cents... it just makes sense.
here is an article from my friend Doug Roe
for link to a great new servezine check out http://serve-others.com/issue2
How Do You Spell Effective?...S-I-M-P-L-E
By Doug Roe
A few years ago, I was standing on a street corner giving away cans of soda. Traffic backed up as people stopped to get their free soda. While most people were pleasantly surprised, one man stood out as particularly unhappy. He pulled to the corner, the windows of his big dark blue Buick rolled up, with an annoyed look on his face.
“Diet or regular?” I asked. He took a diet soda – though he was not appeased.
Several weeks later I was washing cars at a business near the same intersection when who should appear? The same annoyed man in the big Buick!
You are causing a traffic jam!
My job that day was to be the “wheelman” – that is, to wash tires and whitewalls. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the grim from the annoyed man’s tires, when I looked up to see him towering over me like a vulture. He had the same annoyed look on his face. I figured that I needed to say something before he did.
The first thing that popped into my head was this: “If Jesus were here, what would you ask of him?”
The question seemed to disarm him, and for a moment he forgot that my act of kindness had annoyed him. He offered money for the car wash, but I refused. I continued my offer to pray for him. He asked me to pray for his family, so I prayed a quick prayer and he was on his way.
A few weeks later, low and behold, I was shocked to see “Mr. Buick” and his family seated on the front row at our Easter Sunday service. At the end of the service, he and his wife came forward and asked me to pray with them. We prayed, and he accepted Jesus as his Savior.
In more than 20 years of serving others, I have learned a few things that have helped me enjoy the ride.
* Servant Evangelism cannot be delegated!
People will follow what they see their leaders doing. Leader must be involved in serving others as a completely natural lifestyle – an overflow of their living, vital relationship with Jesus. If you are the lead pastor you don’t have to be the one developing the ideas and doing all of the legwork, but you do have to be the lead server.
* Start small with out-of-the-box ideas.
Often when we start a new project we think of starting something that is creative and dazzling. The power of serving is not in the size or “uniqueness” of the project. Projects that capture the inspired, creative attention of your people don’t need to be “sexy” or have a lot pop and sizzle. Simplicity if often the best approach to take. If you get nothing else in this article get this: The essence of the power of serving is in showing up in unexpected places. It is a simple act of compassion shown in a place where it is completely unexpected. Keep it simple, and the creative things will follow.
* Listen to your community.
Every community is different. And those unique needs that can and will be met by the unlimited resources of the kingdom of God flowing in and around us. The key? To find a need and then meet that need. The best ideas for reaching the people in your city are to listen to the people in your city – understanding their rhythms and needs.
While shopping at a local grocery store, I overheard two single mothers discussing what groceries they had put back in order to get the oil changed in their cars. The thought popped into my head, “I can do that! I can help them change oil in their car!”
So I went to a local mechanic to ask if he would be willing to help. “Now that is what the church should be about!” he said, blowing a puff of cigarette smoke in my face. We now change the oil in 300-400 cars a year, and we are beginning a new, broader ministry to single parents.
* Servant Evangelism is like growing asparagus.
When thinking about evangelism, we often think of wheat, but I have discovered that it is more like growing asparagus. When a gardener grows asparagus it takes three years before he can yield a crop.
Pastors often ask, “If I do this serving thing in my church how many people will come to my church?” That is the wrong question to ask, and really reflects a “me” mentality. Servant evangelism is about the Church being the Church and serving others. If I try to grow my local church things just get mucked up. But if I serve other people, seek to expand the kingdom of God, and do the deeds that Jesus did I find that God brings the people. In the end it is not about the size of our congregation or budget, but about the number of people we have loved along the way.
Gene, the annoyed man in the Buick, has been part of the church for more than 10 years now. He and his wife lead a small group. This once annoyed driver now helps me give soda away to other annoyed drivers.
“You know that day I stepped out of the car while you were washing the tires?” he asked one day.
“Yes,” I said, very clearly remembering it.
“I was going to chew you out for having caused such a traffic jam the day you gave out the sodas,” he said.
“What stopped you?” I asked.
“The fact that you wanted to pray for me,” he said. “I still have the can of diet soda you gave me sitting on the mantel of my fireplace. I kept it because it was the starting point that brought me to Christ.”
People may not flood into your church because you gave them a soda, but their lives will be changed because you were willing to share God’s love with them.
Doug Roe is the Founding Pastor of the Dayton Vineyard, “A pretty good church.” Doug planted the Vineyard 15 years ago. Doug’s passion is to reach broken, hurting people from all walks of life, restoring dignity and empowering people to do ministry. His life mission is “to leave Dayton better than I found it.” In Doug’s approach to ministry, he strives to be both spiritual and smart at the same time. With the help of some good friends, the Dayton Vineyard has grown from a few people to regular attendance of more than 2,300 per week.
Stock photos from Dreamstime.com
being an outward focused church is thinking beyond itself seeking to connect to the community showing God's love in practical, tangible ways...
each year we seek to help the teachers of Trotwood schools to equip the students with backpacks and school supplies...
we purchase 400 packs and sell the packs to the people of the Vineyard for $5 the $5 is just enough of an investment reminder to fill the packs up and bring them back to the Vineyard...This year we sold out in 2 weekends...As the packs return we stack them in a visible space near the entrance of the building...
this year our staff will be dividing up and going to the different schools in the Trotwood area...The superintendent of the school system is providing the schools names and addresses for our staff... we will receive some instructions, pair up into teams and head out into the community...this year we will also be delivering Krispy Kreme Donuts to the teachers who are already inservice at the schools and offer prayer for the new year...
needlesstosay the principals are touched by one church outward expression of kindness...
it also reminds the staff of our vision and our mission...going, doing, and being the good news helps us stay focused outward...
the above book is worth a read..
been thinking about the bible and how Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets...lot's of leaders today are into Old Testament mentality...God will bless when, revival will come when, get life in order now or else, etc...somehow I'm thinking...'the cross has paid it all', all blessing is summed up in the Son. John says 'from His fullness we all have received one blessing after another'...
when Jesus died on the cross He ushered in a better coventant founded on better promises(see Hebrews)...Paul addresses the error of attempting to work for God's favor instead of already having God's favor... in Galations and Colossians
and the writer of Hebrews does an amazing job talking about going from shadow to substance...Grace is the substance, Mercy is the substance, the Law is the shadow that points to the One who is full of Mercy, Grace and Truth...receiving Him we receive all we need in this life and the life to come
anyway some ponderings...
viewing life through an outward focused lens means:
others are more important than self
the mission is the vision...go
the vision is the mission...reach
reaching out to others with kindness, love and care is the bottom line
intentionally positioning yourself to care for those within your sphere of influence
joining others to serve your way into the heart of your community
knowing God and making Him known
love is expressed in tangible, practical ways
Dave Workman the lead of Cincy Vineyard has written over 260 outward focused thoughts at one time they were on a radio station...hopefully he will connect them to podcast
click workman link on sidebar for outward focused thought
looking at life through an outward focused lense is both interesting and a challenge...if you have an outward focus you:
notice the unnoticeable
several times i've gone to lunch or dinner with others and noticed people in need...to look through natural eyes they seem to have it together, maybe just a bit down, or look pretty normal...however, looking deeper there is somethng going on at a deeper level...recently i've been able to pray for a few people i've noticed...here is one story worth repeating...
years ago I went to my favorite restaurant, the Screaming Coyote, to purchase a Forklift burrito, the biggest ever made, to bring home to share with my wife. While waiting I noticed a young mother with her child. The mother was dressed in typical alternative dress, appropriately ripped jeans, T-shirt and Doc Martin sandals. She was wearing more than one earring and looked like the typical post modern. While she was digging in to her purse to find the correct change to purchase her food, her baby sat in his stroller and stared into space. He did not look well. I then noticed a tube running to his nose. I thought, ‘I need to pray for the child.’ It was a crowded night so I waited for my order and observed that the mother had moved to the sidewalk tables. I paid for my burrito and nachos and strolled outside. I introduced myself and asked the mom about her child mentioning that I had noticed the tube. She explained that the baby had been born premature and had some major health problems since the birth and that the tube was a feeding tube. Interestingly she also informed me she had named the child a biblical name. At some point in the conversation I asked if I could pray for her and the baby. Unsurprisingly she affirmed by saying something like, ‘That would be nice. Thank you very much’. Before I prayed I asked permission to place my hand on the child’s head and then prayed a please give health to baby and grant wisdom and strength to mom type of prayer. I did notice the mother had tears rolling down her face. At the end of the prayer, I said, ‘Thanks for letting me pray.’ She responded tearfully by saying, ‘No, thank you for praying.’ Her next response ripped my heart she said, ‘I didn’t think anybody cared.’ Stunned, I affirmed God’s care and love for her and her child and told her about a great outward focused church where I knew she could find acceptance. The only problem, it was miles away.
As I walked away I pondered the situation. I was living in Pensacola, host of a ‘city wide revival’ that had been going on for over two years, and here was a person who never knew somebody cared for her life. I thought about Jesus and the many times compassion moved Him to action. He was graceful and caring toward the people who needed health and healing. I then thought, ‘When will the church ever be a go church instead of a come to church? When will the church ever become outward focused instead of inward focused?’ Something happened in my life that day I can never explain. I did know I wanted to be part of a church that cared and welcomed people where an alternative young mother and child could find refuge.
Antidote for Unbelief:
∑ Be careful and take heed.
Heb 3:12 Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
guarding our heart is important...Becoming jaded, cynical, and skeptical is common in the days we live...focusing on the positive, the glass is half full is much better than to focus on the negative the glass is half empty...many times small irritations creep in to attempt to shift our focus from what is good, and right and worthy of our though life.
∑ Hold firmly to your profession
Heb 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
What did you first profess / confess when you first connected to Jesus Christ? Many confessed their sins asking for forgiveness and proclaimed him as their Lord...
here are a few related verses...that encourage the believer to continue to hold fast to the saving name of Jesus.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
∑ Fix your sight / heart / affections on Jesus
Heb 12:1-2 let us run the race with endurance the race that is set before us fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith.
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name.
∑Encourage others daily
Heb 3:13 encourage one another day after day as long at it is still called today lest you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
to encourage someone means to pour courage into their heart. I've noticed an amazing thing, when i encourage another person, somehow i am encouraged.
noticing others, getting our eyes off ourselves is key to being a good encourager, realizing the universe doesn't revolve around our lives is the first step. He must increase, I must decrease...was John the Baptist's principle...self absorbed people invite rejection from others...no one wants to around self centered people who talk about their success, their inflated view of their talents and gifting
...how do you know you are in the place of self-absorption...listen to you conversation and how many times you say, me, my, i and how many times you promote yourself before others...if you are doing this you are setting yourself up for rejection.
on the other hand...people who consistently encourage others
listen more than they speak
ask wondering questions out of genuine interest
seek opportunities to show care to others in practical ways
serve without seeking a reward or receiving kudos
have a humble attitude
promote others above themselves
bold enough to pray for others in a gentle way withour fanfare
are an inspiration
have a healthy worldview
washed several cars yesterday...we do a reverse wash...go the coin operated car wash with rolls of quarters...big sign saying 'free car wash...no kidding!'...when people pull in feed the quarters into unit...offer card and mention 'hey, we're drying cars today'...with terry towels dry the car...
one lady with kids pulled in 'you're doing what?' 'we're doing good today, showing God's love in a practical way.' as she is getting her car dried, I asked, 'what's it feel like to have your car washed for free?' she replies, 'I feel like crying, no one in the USA ever does things like this.' I reply, 'when Jesus was on the earth he washed feet, so we wash cars.'
another guy pulls in, we note his trunk, you could put a house in his trunk...we pay for the car to be washed. and dry his car...he notices one of our team members and asks to speak to him...they have a private conversation...our stunned team member tells the story, the guy in question, apologized to the man for his involvement with his daughter a few years ago...our team member did great job of controlling himself and representing Jesus... what are the odds that this connection would happen at a car wash...pattie, my wife, commented, 'it's the kindness of God that leads to repentance.' somehow having his car washed prompted the change of heart in the young man.
a few years ago in naples fl, another car wash a guy pulls in with nelson county kentucky plates...i asked if he lived in bardstown, ky he said yep...i told him i lived in mt.washington ky, he asked if i knew doc bowen, i mention i'm his son...great conversation about what i was doing in naples fl washing cars in Jesus name...told my story and asked the man to tell friends in ky what doc bowen's son was doing one day in FL.
hey, what's in a car wash?
The Fuel Gauge
I think this message is encouraging you might want to have a listen...
“The speed at which I was doing the work of God was destroying God’s work in me.” - Bill Hybels
If your output exceeds your input great will be your downfall.
Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.
I mention 3 things:
Warning light: Check your fuel gauge. signs that you may be running out of gas
Tip: a practical application
Refuel: Refuel your tank. a passage from the Bible
you can listen to the message by going to http://daytonvineyard.com/messageAudio/20060719.mp3
and get the notes from
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