Kiss Dayton! Servant Evangelism

6 years... that's a long time...every Valentine season for six years we've Kissed Dayton...

This year we will have hundreds of small packs of Hershey Kisses, with our You’ve just been Kissed connect card, placed at the exits the weekend leading up to Valentines day. As people leave they will pick up a few of the packs and then Kiss people they contact during the week.

A couple of years ago I went to the gym on one of my usual gym days. (My wife tells me it’s a good thing.)

When I arrived I asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ She smiled and said, ‘Nope, not today.’ I then gave her a pack said, ‘Well you’ve just been kissed.’ She laughed and exclaimed, ‘You’re from the Vineyard right?’ I replied, ‘Yep. We are kissing people all over the city this week.’

On Valentines Day we’ll head out to a couple of strip malls near the Vineyard. We take the packs of kisses, and several buckets of carnations. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’

We then count out the flowers and Hershey packs…and say, ‘We are from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’

Usually some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a carnation for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’

Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe.

One Vineyard group went to a high end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their flower. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today.'

Flowers and kisses were also handed out to the ladies who were becoming beautiful-er.

One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn't receive a flower. So being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team grab a flower and run back to the shop...when she gave the lady the flower, the surprised and delighted lady exclaimed, 'You've just made my day! Thank you.'

Really? Made her day? Makes me wonder what one of her days looks like? Makes me wonder if she was ever loved, or had a caring boy friend, or had husband, or is now connected to an uncaring guy?

What's in a gift of a small flower and a pack of kisses?

I think serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed out world.

Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, someone cares for you.’ The action preformed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.

My friend Scott, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’

Process for Kiss Dayton:
4 weeks out: have connect cards printed (www.marketplaceprinting)

4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (snacc foods Cincinnati)

4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags (BGR bags West Chester OH)

4 weeks out: order boxes of Carnations for pick up (Cleveland Plants and Flowers Dayton)

2 weeks out: have kids or teens pack the bags
Week of: have packs placed at all exits

Valentine Day Outreach
3 days out: pick up flowers, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day

3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers

3 days out: make name tags
3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in a larger bags for transport or containers

Day of Valentines Day Outreach
Gather at 10am

Give Instructions: go to shops, go to check out or customer service, ask, How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and flowers give to workers, Say,
‘We’re from the Vineyard and you’ve just been kissed.’ Also, be open to need and pray with people if *God space is created.

Divide up into teams Load up and head out.
After project head to Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks for download and great java.

Steve Bowen


thinking ... an evangelist is a friendly open-hearted person. Think... Why?

Jesus was the most friendly person on the planet. People wanted to be around Him? He was invited to parties, to people homes.

Been invited to any parties lately or to any tax collectors homes?

He was a friend of sinners. ??? This statement, given by the religious hierarchy of his day, was meant to be a slam against his character.

Somehow, Jesus was a person people wanted to invite into their homes. He was a person who was the most together person on the planet. He understood emotion, He wept...I'm sure he laughed...I'm also sure that some of his teaching was humorous. I laugh at times when I think how he talked to the disciples and asked them to do some interesting stuff.

Think of the time he asked Peter to go catch a fish and find a coin in the fishes mouth. I mean that's pretty amazing.

In the movie Jesus, He is pictured in one scene... splashing the disciples with water at a well.

I wonder?... traveling with 12 guys for 3 years what stories were shared? What experiences they experienced? Was it all serious? I don't think so.

I don't know about you, but I don't like being around anyone who is not consistently friendly. Those not consistently friendly I say, pleeeease get a life. One leader said 'most uptight leaders need to have their butts pinched and not take themselves or what they do soooo seriously.'

If being unfriendly, always serious, always nitpicking, is a habit. The habit needs to change. I don't for a second think 12 guys would follow someone who was religiously up tight for 3 years.

Something about Jesus was attractive. Something within Jesus produced follower-ship. I believe he was the most friendly open-hearted person on the planet.

How about you? Ask yourself, am I consistently friendly and open heated toward others?
If you are leader, what tone or atmosphere are you setting in your workplace... among your leaders, or within your church?

A good question to ask, Would you work for you? If you are wondering if you'd work for you. Here is a simple tip. Ask your spouse.

Watch...How important is friendly?

MLKJ March Outreach.

In freezing cold (12 degrees) a few intrepid Vineyard people decided to offer hot coco and hot coffee to the marchers. It was a blast. I often forget why I enjoy some outreach projects than others. I now remember...

historic...tying into the community on such days are encouraging. Today's leader came over and voiced his appreciation of what we were doing. We had a great conversation talking about the march, what our new plans are to begin to develop '911-rapid response teams' and working with the Red Cross. Somehow connecting to historic events builds bridges into the heart of our community.

faith building... we had a new guy with us, first outreach, he just showed up as he was passing out the hot coco a lady began to to talk to him. Asked, are you guys the Vineyard? He affirmed. She then told him about how 'the Vineyard' helped her this year to have Christmas presents for her kids. This contact built his faith... Creating God Space works. Lot's of connect cards given and people voicing their appreciation builds faith.

fun... being cold, plus driving a fun truck, problem solving, enjoying the vibe and atmosphere of the march is just plain fun.

God Space

reading Doug Pollocks manuscript for his book about creating God space. It's a good far he has covered the basics of discovering the space God that is created in everyday conversations.

I think being aware (or noticing) others is a key. Being aware of others, the simple double take, can be an acquired skill that can be utilized in touching a life with kindness that can quickly move toward a person having a God encounter.

I do think the connection point when the relational space is create is offering to pray for a person seems to be a positive one.

My experience: people who are conversational, having a dialogue about a friend, family member, or a problem are more than open to receive prayer. 'Prayer', as one great statesman stated, 'moves God toward people and people toward God.' Something happens when we take a risk and offer to pray for a person.

During Wrap it up God space was happening in a big way.

One couple listened to a couples story as they wrapped their presents. With real, not a planned, concern they asked if they could pray with the couple. They affirmed their need and a brief prayer was given. Later the same night the 'Wrap it up' couple went out for dinner. They waited to be seated and as they were seated they noticed the couple they prayed for at Wrap it up was sitting at the next table. The couple then voiced their appreciation for the care they sensed and the conversation continued. A few days later they arranged to meet again for dinner. They had a great time connecting.

This past weekend the couple and three kids were at the Vineyard. They liked the vibe, atmosphere and the kids loved Vineyard Kidz.

Hopefully they will continue their journey discovering all the Jesus offers.

This is in a nutshell God space being created where God things can happen.

missional attractional

One of my friends many years ago stated, ‘When a church begins to become outward focused; begins to step up; begins to serve their community it’s like placing a major change agent within that church.’

When we serve our community motivated by God’s love and kindness (missional), and when people begin to arrive, the church will have to embrace change. In order for people to stick, the people arriving will have to discover an atmosphere where people can find forgiveness, love, hope and acceptance. (attractional)

consistency is the key...
Consistency within and consistency without.

Over the years I've studied effective evangelism and investigated growing church models. Both seem to reveal one important aspect... consistency. Being aware of others, going, serving, caring and sharing on a consistent basis and maintaining a creative yet consistent atmosphere within.

Missional…church on mission.

Twenty or so years ago Steve Sjogren and Dave Workman helped create the idea of serving others…consistently. The people of Cincy Vineyard served, and served and created a positive up atmosphere within.

They both still serve and encourage others to do the same. Steve’s book Conspiracy of Kindness and Dave’s book The Outward Focused Life also reveals the consistent history of VCC one story at a time.

The Dayton Vineyard launched out of Cincinnati 15 or so years ago. Leaders Doug Roe and Scott Sliver also have been consistent… year in and year out. Going, serving, reaching their community, and consistently developing a pretty good church for everyday people.

Now the serving(missional) movement is becoming encouragingly mainstream.

Question? How do you know when your serving has started to make an impact within a community?

Answer: People you talk to begin to define your church in a positive manner. (hint: every church is defined by our community, both positive and negative)

Oh, that's the church that (fill in the blank) ______________________________.

If you want to know how your community defines your church begin to listen to your community and begin to ask questions.

The church that no longer existed.
When I was living in a city in FL we were defined by the as the church ‘that no longer existed’. Ouch! It was hard to hear, but the church stepped up and began to serve, care and reach. Their consistent serving their community (missional) and their creative atmosphere (attractional) has changed the tone. They are now well known
within the community with three church locations that are marked by a positive spin.

One Story
I trashed my phone, (ever drove off with your phone left on top of your car?) went to phone provider to purchase a new phone.

I was asked, ‘What business name is your phone registered?’ I said, ‘the Dayton Vineyard.’The lady standing next to me in line exclaims: 'Oh you're that pretty good church that serves the community! I've heard about what you guys do.' I then asked, ‘What have your heard?' she then described many positive things she and others have heard and seen. Humbly, but joyfully, I replied, ‘yep that's us. ‘We're just pretty good.’

How’d this happen? Simple years of hard work. Going, sowing, caring, praying, in season and out of season. We are consistent without and creatively consistent within.

Jesus summed it up:
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for.

Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.
John 4:34-37 NIV

Peter said, ‘Let your good deeds shine in such a way, that people will glorify God on the day of His visitation.’

How do outward focused churches remain both attractional and missional?
No big secret: someone somewhere is 'doin the stuff.'

Someone is praying, someone is worshipping, someone is serving, someone is loving, someone is caring, someone is going out into the community sharing Gods love in practical ways… consistently.

Good deeds, done in the name of Jesus + the love and grace that God provides + going out into our community, day in day out, moment by moment =’s Consistent.

A church that has an inviting atmosphere + positive worship + people being encouraged by life change messages + a sense of God's presence, week in and week out ='s Consistent.

Discipleship Pathway Creating God Space

I've been reading a friends manuscript, his new book titled God Space. We've been talking about the subject for a few years. It will be a must read for all who seek to reach their friends, family, workmates and community.

Wednesday, January 14th we'll be kicking off the Winter season for Discipleship Pathway. I'll be teaching Creating God Space. I'm pretty excited about the course and the new serving opportunities we will be launching in 2009. One thing for sure we are not going to drift through life on the river of routine. We'll be stretching our faith and our practice.

This seminar will help us learn how to hear God’s voice for others, and how to pray for people more effectively. We will also learn how we can develop spiritual gifts and share our faith effectively.

Below are the class requirements and the clues for discovering how to create God space.

Creating God Space
Course Requirements

  • Journal Everyday... I use moleskine, Bible, Books and fountain pen
  • Practice Hearing God’s Voice Everyday... Read God’s word, pray, connect spiritually
  • Practice Creating God Space Everyday... begin to practice as you learn the Clues for Creating God space listed below.

Each week we will search and discover one or two clues.

Clues for creating God space. We will learn to:
  • Be a friendly open-hearted person. Relationsal vs Confrontational.
  • Be aware of God’s leading. How to hear God’s voice.
  • Notice need.
  • Discover a person’s spiritual address. Listen to their story. Look, listen, and sense their need as they talk.
  • Ask great questions. Wonder your way into their hearts.
  • Share your story. If you have a story that relates to their life share it.
  • Offer prayer. Prayer is the connection point. Usually, people respond in a positive way when they sense genuine love and care... no strings attached. Prayer brings God into the space He created.
  • Share God’s story found in Jesus Christ.