Teachers Rule!

Cupcakes by Cake Hope and Love

We had a great time showing our appreciation to 115 teachers from Fairborn Elementary School. Fairborn Elementary has 1700 kids. 68% are below the poverty line. The teachers and the principals are amazingly upbeat and fun.

I haven't been to a more moving and appreciative time... almost ever.

Our Vineyard Ladies really out did themselves prepping, setting up, and presenting a huge thank you to the teachers. The teachers were blown away by the care and the quality of their presentation. The comments were off the chart.

Thank yous, hugs, smiles abounded. We were all deeply touched emotionally.

Here's the deal.
Teachers in general are one of the most under paid, under appreciated, hardest working people groups in our communities. Most pay for their own supplies, and work many hours on the job and at home. They receive little thanks. Also, they have to file paper work that would fill a wheel barrel... weekly. How do I know this? I know one of those band of people we call teachers.

You are kidding?: We repeatedly heard. You guys are amazing. Thanks so much!
"No one has ever done this for us before."

The comment, 'No one has ever done this for us before', was both good and bad.

Good, because we were appreciated. Bad because, no one had ever done this before.

Why Not? Good question?

The Truth: The "Church" at large has not cared what happens to the kids and educators in our communities.

We're mad that prayer is no longer welcome in schools. Text books promote humanism, evolution, etc. So instead of being Salt and Light, in reaction, we've formed our own safe zones, our own clubs, our own schools, exercise rooms, bowling alleys, stores where we sell Jesus junk, etc..

We, in the process of staying safe and principled, have become an inward focused people(this really means, it's all about us, no, it really means... it's all about me).

They, the educators and the kids in our schools and some people groups in our community, have somehow become our enemies. We've circled our wagons and have basically said by our words, and our exclusive actions, 'We right. You wrong.'

It's interesting to me that schools might not be able to have prayer according to government policies, but they do welcome serving people. They more than willingly accept assistance from caring, kind and loving people. I wonder where thousands of caring, kind and loving people exist? (or should exist) Any ideas?

Bottom line. Serving our way into the heart of our community with no strings attached makes a difference. As Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson have stated in The Eternally Focused Church, 'Good deeds, creates good will, that opens hearts to the Good News.'

Today the principal honored us as she spoke and introduced us. She gave us the highest complement.

'The Vineyard is not even in our school district but they care. They are our partners. They've cleaned, painted, brought back packs and over 150 pairs of shoes for our kids. Today they are here simply because they value and appreciate what you do.'  

115 teachers cheered and applauded.

Why do we do what we do? Because Jesus cares about educators and loves kids who study and grow up in our schools. We want to be there making a difference. We are convinced that small things done with great love can and will change our world.

It was a good day, but the statement, 'No one has ever done this for us before' still feels like a lump of lard in my gut."

Preciate You!

We wanted to reach out to the schools on a deeper level. Each year we donate hundreds of back packs, shoes and socks. We also clean, paint and do whatever we can to enhance the properties for the teachers and students.

This coming weekend we will be blitzing the schools in our community. Expressing thanks to all the people who work in our school system. It's easy, simple and impacting.

Outreach 1. Fairborn Elementary
Our ladies Monday night study (130 ladies) have stepped up to help throw a teacher appreciation day this coming Friday. We will be serving Boston Stoker Coffee, and special cup cakes made by Cake, Hope, and Love at their in-service coffee break. We will be presenting gifts to some key teachers who have done an outstanding job this year. (list from the principal) As the teachers leave, each teacher will receive a small gift, just to say thanks.

Outreach 2. Vineyard KIDZ
This weekend every child in VKIDZ (over 500 kids) will be making their teacher a special card. Every kid will then take the card and a cool bag home. Every parent is encouraged to write a personal note to their child's teacher and fill a small bag with a few items to show their appreciation.

here are our instructions:

This week of November 1-5, 2010 we'd like you to encourage your childrens' teachers by participating in our Teacher Appreciation Outreach.

Often teachers are overworked, stressed, and under thanked. Just imagine teachers all over the area being encouraged the same week. We think it will make a huge impact!

Here's the plan:

1. We are asking you to write personal notes of thanks to their teachers.

2. Place your note and your child's card in the bag provided along with our Vineyard connect card.

3. Fill the bag with goodies. (See suggested list below. Keep in mind this is just for the teacher--not their class.)

This week please send filled bag to school with your children.

  • 1 Pack of Thank You Cards.
  • Granola/energy bars.
  • Breath mints.
  • A bar of chocolate (dark or milk).
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • Small packet of tissues.
  • Chap-Stick.
  • Other fun creative items. 

Outreach 3. Vineyard Church Participants

We also wanted to spread the love through-out our community. So we will have hundreds of pre-filled thank you bags available after each service. Some people may have kids, but not have kids in VKIDZ, or may not have access to a school in their area, but would like to say thanks to a community worker. So we are opening up the outreach just a bit.

here are our instructions:


This week of November 1-5, 2010 we'd like you to encourage school workers / community workers by participating in our Appreciation Outreach.

Often school / community workers are overworked, stressed, and under thanked. Just imagine people all over the area being encouraged the same week. We think it will make a huge impact!

Here's the plan:

1. We are asking you to write personal notes of thanks to teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school secretaries, community workers etc.

2. Fill the bag with goodies. (See suggested list below. Keep in mind this is just for the teachers, etc.--not their class.)

3. This week please send filled bag to school with your children or personally drop off the bag to someone you want to show appreciation to in your community.

  • 1 Pack of Thank You Cards.
  • Granola/energy bars.
  • Breath mints.
  • A bar of chocolate (dark or milk).
  • Small bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • Chap-Stick.
  • Other fun creative items.  

One friend of mine, who is working with many schools in our area, will be hosting a meeting on Wednesday with the areas school superintendents. He will be offering a thank you to those attending, and passing on our desire to support the teachers in our community. He will also be showing, then giving the thank you bags to all who are attending.

It's gonna be a fun week.

    Quick Connect... Connections Elizabeth Worms

    Here are the notes from Elizabeth speaking to our new Ministry Partners. Well worth the read. To see all QC opportunities go DaytonVineyard.com Finding Your Fit.

    True growth happens when we become engaged with God's plan. God's plan is basically, Know God, Show God. Developing a rhythm in life is all important. It's like breathing. Breathing in and breathing out. Or living in, gaining strength, energy, insight, and grace, then living out to share your strength, energy, insight and grace in your world.

    The below illustration shows balance. Believing is as important as knowing where we Belong, as is where and who we are to Bless. Spiritual growth incubates in this environment.

    At times there are seasons of Believing where we need to spend time developing faith, relationship with Jesus, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Other times we need develop our Belonging by strengthening our relationships with others. Other times we need to develop our spirit of Blessing and go out of ourselves to bless others.
    Quick Connect is in the blessing arena. Security comes when we know what we believe, and discovering whose we are. and with whom we are in relationship with. We bless because of our beliefs, and join the adventure of expanding God's Kingdom by serving with others.

    What is Service / Partnership and how is it Different from Volunteering?
    ·      Volunteering:
    o      A “good” thing – helpful, necessary – philanthropy
    o      Usually the volunteer is a “worker bee” who does whatever the ones in charge ask
    o      Often no sense of ownership in the vision or project
    o      Sometimes wind up with “round pegs” in “square holes”
    o      Sometimes done out of a sense of obligation (sometimes guilt)
    o      Often simply a way to “fill slots” in existing programs
    o      People “help”; staff lead and do 

    ·      Service in the biblical sense:
    o      Exercising your unique giftedness in service for the Kingdom of God
    o      Growing in faith and maturity through the exercise of your gifts
    o      Integral aspect of personal discipleship
    o      Involves discipling and mentoring others to assist them in the discovery and development of their gifts
    o      An aspect of worship (Romans 12:1b)
    o      Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve . . .”
    o      People are ministry partners with the pastors and staff, not volunteers – pastors/staff help; people lead and do

    Goal of Quick Connect
    Our goal is to give you opportunities to try out different opportunities for service through the Vineyard, so that you can experience the God-ordained benefits of service that we just mentioned and so that you can participate in advancing God’s Kingdom. Important note: we don’t want you to be round pegs in square holes! If you find that the particular ministry that you’ve signed up for is not your cup of tea, then the Connections Ministry will help you discover your gifts and passion and re-direct you to another opportunity.

    Core Biblical Basis for Service
    ·      Ephesians 4:11-16 (Read the passage)
    o      Role of pastors and ministry staff/leaders:  equippers
    o      Role of people:  exercise service
    o      Purpose:  build up Body of Christ
    o      Result:  unity in faith, knowledge of Christ, spiritual maturity
    ·      “Equip”
    o      Really cool word! New Testament written in Greek and translated into English and other languages. The Greek word that we translate “equip” literally means “to mend nets.”
           Disciples and Jesus – Jesus called disciples while they were “preparing” their nets (Mark 1:19) – make ready
       Can also be translated “set a broken bone” – idea of restore/restoration
          Illustrate with fishing net (tell story from beach on Tortola and demonstrate how net works) – mending a net restores it to its intended purpose
    ·      Purpose

    o      Humanity’s purpose = to glorify God
          “In him (Christ) we were also chosen . . . in order that we . . . might be for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:11,12)
    o      Purposeful living = discovering a sense of personal purpose or life mission (God given) (Rom 12:1b). Biblical examples: John the Baptist, Jesus, Jeremiah, Paul
    o      You are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)
    o      “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (Rom 12:4-6a)
    o      “For you are Christ’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared in advance for you to do.” (Eph 2:10)
    o      Back to “equip” – that fishing net has purpose, it’s intended to catch fish. It also has potential because of how it was designed and crafted.
    o      YOU have unique God-given purpose and potential!
          Example: an apple. Where is the potential in this apple? It’s in the seed! The smallest component of the tree. Isn’t that amazing? If you think that you are small and insignificant, maybe lacking in purpose and potential, you are wrong! An apple seed, when planted in the right conditions, grows up into a tree that bears fruit, and that tree has the potential through its seeds to become an enormous orchard! So it is in the Body of Christ!
           You have a unique, God-given SHAPE! You have Spiritual Gifts; a “Heart” or passion for particular people-groups, ministries, causes; Abilities and talents; Personality; Experiences – all that and more combines to uniquely “fit” you for particular ministries
    ·      SHAPE class coming in January!
    o      God gives each and every believer a spiritual gift or gift mix
           9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:9,10) – each person is a “priest”
           10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Pet 4:10) – each one has a gift
          Read: 1 Cor. 12:4-20 – (each part of the Body is essential)

    Ministry, or Christian Service:
    ·      Putting hands and feet to our faith!
    ·      Triggers spiritual growth
    o      Spiritual growth occurs through many things:  Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship, sacraments, other disciplines.
    o      Yet, true spiritual growth is activated as we serve!
    o      James 1:22-27; 2:14-17

    The Example of Gideon
    ·      Summarize Judges 6 and then read:
    When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
     13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
     14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"
     15 "But Lord , [a] " Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
     16 The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together." (Judges 6:12-16)
    God addresses Gideon as “mighty warrior,” but Gideon is hiding out in a winepress, threshing his grain there because he is afraid of the Midianites! I can just see Gideon looking around over his shoulder saying “Who, Me??!!!” 

    ·      How many “mighty warriors” are here tonight? Have you sold yourself short because you feel unworthy or lacking in response to God’s call? Receive your God-call tonight and walk tall as the “mighty warrior” He has created you to be.

    And the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.

    Life Serve Notes

    Had a great day at LifeServe Conference. There are a lot of very sharp, smart and committed people who really care about reaching our world, who organize, teach and attend the conference.

    Somehow I was invited to speak to a few fellow travelers over lunch. Prepping, I realized I've been following the track of Outward-focusedness for a long time.

    Cincy Vineyard celebrate 25 years this weekend. Dave Workman, Steve Sjogren and their faithful crew have done much to promote the idea of serving our way into the heart of our community. Steve's book Conspiracy of Kindness paved the way forward. When written it was new, innovative and cutting edge. It's still a great read.

    What many don't know is that the way they 'did church' was very different than the norm. The kindness expressed outside their walls was equally expressed in their celebrations (weekend services), and church life. Their model to offer free coffee, upbeat worship,  creating fun and safe environments where people can discover Jesus is now replayed in many places.

    I personally owe a lot to the gang in Cincy. My life was more than changed after reading Conspiracy and serving there three years seeing love in action up close.

    I also had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the USA and the world with Steve for those years and saw first hand that serving others opens hearts in any culture.

    My college professor once stated, 'If a principle connects in any culture it's probably God. If not, it's probably American.'

    I remember the Bishop of Moscow stating through tears, 'I now know how to reach the Russian people. We will serve our way into their hearts.'

    I remember mentioning to Dave and Steve that the serving message is God's idea and it will most likely spread around the world and that others will be raised up to push the movement forward. It's happened. Serving our way into our community is now viral, morphing sweeping the USA and around the world.

    Saying all the above I believe many 'not yet serving others' people still need to join the conspiracy. Donald Miller in Blue like Jazz realized his radio needed retuning.

    I was addicted to myself. All I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me:    K-don, all don, all the time. blue like jazz Donald Miller

    If you are interested in changing your radio station you might want to read some of the books listed.

    Small things done with great love will change the world. 
    Conspiracy of Kindness Steve Sjogren

    Good deeds, creates good will, that opens hearts to the good news.
    Externally Focused Church, Quest Swanson Rusaw

    God calls us to serve. 
    Servolution Dino Rizzo

    Leaders serve
    Jesus on Leadership C. J. Wilkes

    The Church is not called to survive history but to serve humanity. The life of the church is the heart of God. The heart of God is to serve a broken world. The church exists to serve as the body of Christ, and it is through this commitment to serve that we engage our culture. The serving we are called to requires direct contact. 
    Unstoppable Force Erwin McManus

    Creating God Space, where God things can happen.
    God Space Doug Pollock

    Whatever it takes.
    The Church of the Irresistible Influence Robert Lewis

    The Son of Man came to serve...
    The Outward Focused Life Dave Workman

    Speaking to the lunch time travelers I mentioned some key tips to help:

    • No Sowing, No Reaping. (Reaching others is a process.)
    • We serve, because Jesus followers' serve.
    • We learn to serve, by serving. 
    • Leaders lead.
    • Take a careful look at your community.(Both your faith community and the community where you are called) Where are the needs / opportunities? Obvious / Hidden.
    • Create consistent on ramps from your church into your community.
    • Think Seasonal. Be creative.
    • Begin where you are, with what you have.
    • Consistency is the name of the game.
    • Tell stories.
    • Celebrate success.

    We exist to love our communities into a relationship with Jesus Christ.