by Don McGarvey
Years ago I heard a story about a pair of brothers. One was tall enough to see over the wooden fence while the other was only tall enough to see through a knot-hole. One day the circus came to town and the boys viewed the circus parade from their respective positions. One enjoyed seeing the circus parade while the other only got to see snap shots of lions and tigers. One came away with a great sense of excitement while the other came away fearful. Both saw the same thing, but their perspective changed their reaction.
If we’re not careful, we can go through life with a knot-hole perspective rather than seeing the big picture. It’s easy to do, especially living in the Midwest. It’s easy to think the rest of the world is like us. It’s easy to think every community is like ours and every church is just like we are. But that’s just not true. We need to change our perspective. We need to get up on our tip toes and look over the fence and change our perspective.
A look over the top of the fence will show that out of nearly 7 billion people in the world, there are: 1.5 million Muslims; 1 billion Hindus; 600 million Buddhists, and 7,000 people groups with no indigenous community of believing Christians. Many of these people have never heard the name of Jesus. They don’t even know anyone who knows about Jesus. Now that’s a little different perspective.
For decades, it’s been described as “holy” and “disciplined” for Christians to remove themselves from anything corrupt, evil or broken about society. But Christians are left wondering how to navigate the terrain of being salt and light in a twenty-first century world. How are followers of Christ called to respond to sin and corruption found all around them? Do we run towards it or preserve our purity and holiness in the midst of a fallen world?
This video from Q Ideas and Jo Saxton challenges that idea.
This Saturday, over 1,000 volunteers from over 75 area churches and community organizations along with youth from the Red Culture Fall Conference partnered with Convoy of Hope to reach out to nearly 5,000 people in need in Des Moines. Guests received shoes, groceries, haircuts, family photos, help finding jobs and much more during the event at the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines.
At the 2010 Fall Conference, youth from across Iowa packed meals to send with Convoy of Hope across the world to help those in need of food. This year, Heath Adamson and the Red Culture team organized the outreach to coincide with the 2011 Red Culture Fall Conference. The Red Culture team hopes that students and leaders will be inspired by the work done in Des Moines this weekend and will begin to reach out to their communities, eventually partnering with Rural Compassion.
A class roster can be just a form of collecting data or it can be a useful tool of ministry. It is not hard to tell if a roster is a tool of ministry or just a mess. If it has 70 kids on it and half of them are now adults, it is not a being used as a tool of ministry. If that roster of 70 is for a class that has a average attendance of 4, it is not being used as a toll of ministry. Even if the roster has 6 children on it and there are 6 in the class I would argue that it is not a tool of ministry.
A roster is not to track numbers it is to keep track of regular attendees and invest in potential attendees. A roster is not about numbers, it is about relationship. A roster should be about twice the size of the class. Half of it should be children you currently minister to on a regular basis and the other half should be visitors and casual attendees that you are contacting on a regular basis that they may become regular attendees.
See the need. When you invest intentional time in the life of a child you will make an eternal difference.
- Always greet children at their level.
- Collect information during the first visit. Call and send a card before the following week.
- Make connections. Pair a first-time child with another caring child.
- Keep track of you class and remember each child is valuable to God
- If you don’t know each child on your roster, it is not a ministry tool.
- Your roster will only be your friend when you commit to call each of your children twice a month and send a card on occasion. Contacts will keep you rosters current and your relationships growing.
- Encourage your students to be bringers and add the visiting students to your rosters as prospects.
- Remember without visitors you won’t have prospects, without prospects your class has no chance to grow; thus your evangelism will cease.
The process of maintaining your roster is an extension of your ministry. Do not limit your ministry by neglecting the process.
by Cary VanKampen
We drove by an Assembly of God Church in rural Iowa last week. It was located in a town of 1400 people, and by the looks of things they had all ended up on the property that evening. We stopped in to see what had caused this huge stir of activity. There were all kinds of people: fancy and plain, young and old – but all wearing big smiles! At one end of the property, a pick- up was pulling out of the parking lot with a hay wagon in tow, loaded with a variety of these happy humans. Next we saw a couple of big round hay bales being attacked by kids searching for small numbered balls that represented prizes to be traded for. Nearby stood two huge inflatable play houses for kids that required no ticket and no payment: free fun. Around the corner of the church on the side of the parking lot was a designated free cake walk area, and the rest of the lot had tables and chairs for a free hot dog feed with lemonade or hot chocolate. At the end of it all, families patiently chatted and waited for the drawings for prizes.
How was this event pulled off? Why was it such a success? What was their secret process? When did it all begin?
I’m sure there are a myriad of processes to putting on a great outreach such as this, but there are three basic principles that could put you on the right track, and were principles adhered to by this body of believers from the beginning of their journey together.
- Modeling compassion yourself and encouraging it in your people.
- Expressing that compassion in practical ways and equipping your people to carry it out.
- Cheering on those who creatively and successfully exhibit that compassion and have a post celebration with all those involved, to celebrate the wins!
If you’re a girl, you’ll understand that one of the most exciting and fun things you can do on a Friday night is sleep on the floor of your church fellowship hall surrounded by friends (old and new) and and leaders who care about you. Although anyone who grew up in church can tell you there are few places on earth scarier than an empty church at night, a dark, uninhabited church can also make for one of the best places to play Hide and Seek, Underground Church and maybe even Truth or Dare. Sleepovers like this can create an environment perfect for building long-term friendships, making great memories and forming deep spiritual roots.
National Girls Ministries understands that these sleepovers are not only great opportunities to gather girls in your church, but also to reach out to girls in the community. Each spring, they release a sleepover planning guide complete with games, snack ideas and great devotionals.
The 2011 Sleepover theme is Themba Safari to correspond with this year’s Coins for Kids project. Pronounced TIM-BA, it’s the Zulu word for hope. These packets are available for download here or can be obtained by contacting the National Girls Ministries Department (417)862-2781. Traditionally, the sleepover is held the fourth Friday of September, but it could be hosted any weekend that works with your church calendar.
This event is perfect for churches big and small – all it takes is a handfull of girls and a couple of ladies to make the night a success. It can be a great event for churches who don’t already offer ministry specifically for girls. And, if you’re thinking of starting something like Mpact Girls Clubs, this could be a great launch event.