Outward Focused Values. Part 1.

Moving a group of people from a perceived outward focused value, to an actual outward focused life-style value takes practice, time, vision casting and focused attention. If I ask, 'Do you value reaching out to our community?' Most people in an outward focused / externally focused church would say yes. If I asked, 'When is the last time you personally participated and actually touched a life with the Good News in word or in deed?' The response would be varied.

Actual values are the values we embrace which guide our beliefs and and propel us toward action. So the challenge: How do we nurture people from merely mental accent, toward an outward focused life in action?

'Write the vision and make it plain.' Vision and Mission is all important. Is your vision and mission reflected by what you say, how you give, and how you live? I am convinced most mission / vision statements are not clear or memorable, nor are they doable. Think about your church. Do people know what you are about? Is action encouraged?

Valleydale is one church who attempts to clearly connect vision and mission to all who attend. Their Values are: Worship God, Connect with Others, Serve the World. Walking into their building each statement is extremely visible as are their connection kiosks. Friendly people welcome people answer questions and nudge people toward action. Having a clear, simple, visible and easy to remember value / mission statement is one step to help people move from attenders to participants. The next step is achieved by creating on-ramps so people can Worship God, Connect with Others, and Serve the World.

Cincy Vineyard, a church in Cincinnati Ohio. Emblazoned on the building is the phrase...Small things done with great love will change the world. No mistake here. Value and Mission clearly communicated.  To help people connect the dots they create doable serve-other opportunities to nudge the Vineyard people toward their community.

Develop a clearly defined connections pathway. The Church of the Highlands connects discipleship with outward-focused-ness. They are intentional. It's interesting that when they establish a new site church in an area of the city, they list the site pastors name, contact info and also a key connections person name and contact info. The message being sent, 'We believe serving others is part of a disciples pathway.' Each week an opportunity is presented for people catch the vision, to grow and embrace their personal pathway.

Having such clearly defined pathway helps people move forward toward action. Also, highlighting a specialized connections person creates a touch point for every person who attends and chooses to grow.

A deeper connections happens by developing relationships through listening to a persons story, then helping the person discover their passion through training, and finally, inviting them to serve others. This process becomes creatively normative.

Create Community on ramps.
Each year I begin to think about our community. What's happening, when, where? How can we connect to what is going on in our community? Or I ask, What have we been uniquely called to do and be in our community? I plan accordingly. If our ideas match our values and our mission we move forward with action.

At our core, we are mercy driven. We are called to remember the poor and the less served of our community. Each week hundreds of people are cared for in practical ways, breakfast, groceries, and prayer.

We are also kindness driven. We want to leave the city of Dayton better than we found it. So, we look for opportunities and create opportunities to serve our community in practical ways.

We are Kingdom driven. We want the Good News of the Kingdom of God to impact the people within our sphere of influence. Creating God Space where God things can happen.

God space is a tangible space that we can create by faith. God space is an atmosphere, or an environment, where God’s presence, goodness, kindness, knowledge, and power are present to nurture faith in another human being.

So we create community on ramps, and create touch points where we intentionally go out into our community by faith. Our acts of service, or our deeds of kindness create God Space, where He can do what He does best... draw people to His Son. Our actions often enable opportunities for our words to be heard, and prayers to be prayed.

Creating God Space Home Study

Doug Pollock’s book God Space is a great read. I’ve been developing some thoughts on the subject for a few years. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing explaining the best practices of outreach.

If you’d like to develop your outward focused skills I’d invite you to pop in. Read, and practice.

Creating God Space Where God Things Can Happen.

What is God space?

God space is a tangible space that can created by faith. God space is an atmosphere, or an environment, where God’s presence, goodness, kindness, knowledge, and power
 are present to nurture faith in another human being.

 Opening the idea, I like to call the points Clues. Clues are hints, or helps to guide a person along the way. Creating God Space is a discovery, or a process, that can be developed and created with practice. Each Clue is given to help you explore, discover a fresh facet of faith.

Assumptions. I assume we all have a world view. How we gain our world view has to do with our upbringing, culture, influences, education, environment, and experiences.

I was raised in a Doctors home. I always had more than enough. My wife on the other hand was raised by a caring and loving mother but was raised in poverty. Our world views are different. I see life though a different lens. Different doesn’t necessary mean wrong. My world view 'just is', yet changes as I gain knowledge and experience.

I also lived in Scotland for most of my adult work life. Therefore, my world view is probably much different than someone who has only lived in the USA. I’ve also had the privilege to travel to Singapore, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Canada, Mexico, England and Ireland. My travel experiences have broadened my world view.

All of us view life through our own lens.

Years ago someone developed this picture below.
What do you see?
Do you see an old woman or young lady?

Usually people see one or the other.  A. The young lady is wearing a hat with a feather, she has a small nose and a sharp cheek line.  B. The old lady is also wearing a hat but also has a long nose which is the young ladies cheek line.

 Have you ever seen the arrow in FedEx logo? Many have seen the Logo, but have never seen the arrow. Now that you see the arrow, you see differently.  Our world view with new information, in the same way, changes.

So how do you view your world? Do you see life differently? Do you see what others do not? 

I also have another assumption. It's based on a different worldview. It's the world view that views life from a different perspective. It's the world view of the Kingdom of God. I live life in the Kingdom now, waiting for the not yet. I do experience life in the overlap where the Kingdom comes to earth. This I call God space where God things happen.

People are either moving toward faith, or moving away from faith, or they are on pause thinking contemplating faith.  Many people aren’t even thinking about larger issues life and faith.

Our decision to intersect another life creating God space is all important. Our decisions do determine destiny. Our destiny, and the destiny of the people within our sphere of influence.

Many people aren't aware that they can make a difference in someones life. Usually people are just living life the best they can. Seeking to do all the things that make up their daily living. They are just under the normal pressures of life that keep the tread mill rolling. Time is not on their side. But just stop and think for a moment. What could you accomplish? What life could you change for the better? Where could you begin to invest your time, energy and dollars to make a difference? 

This is a great video that asks the questions in 1 minute.