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Archive for June, 2012

Create Your Own Short-Term Mission Trip, Part Two

So how do you start looking for your short-term mission trip opportunity? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Contact your local or county senior services agency volunteers coordinator to see what they know needs volunteers.
  • Contact Dept. of Family and Children’s Services (or whatever it is called near you) to see whether they know of a low-income family fostering children and in need of home repair help. This is especially needed where there are teens being fostered.
  • Contact agencies that help people with disabilities to see if they can direct you to a need.
  • Are there single mothers in your church network (members and their extended families and neighbors) whose homes need attention but cannot pay for maintenance?
  • Has there been a localized disaster, e.g. a flood or tornado that swept through a neighborhood (though it may not officially be a declared emergency, see how those in the path feel about it)? Contact your county or state Emergency Management Agency to see whom to contact about helping.
  • Inner-city/low-income neighborhood church leaders often know of someone in their congregation who needs help. Use the opportunity to serve alongside other Christ-followers.
  • Make sure that you have a waiver to cover accidents and your team. Also, make sure that your team members are insured!

So How Do I Start a Home Repairs Team?

Now that you’ve got a project, how do you start a team and what do you need? We’ve created a website – www.homerepairs.org – where we have collected the resources that can help you start up your own home repairs ministry at your church. You’ll find articles and forms that will take you through all phases of starting and running a ministry, a blog with posts from the front-lines of the ministry, a forum to ask and answer your tough questions (coming soon) and a list of churches by area to help you partner with other like-minded Christians. Sign up today and get your short term mission or youth trip ready for the summer!

Read Part One of Creating Your Own Short-Term Mission Trip

Create Your Own Short-Term Mission Trip, Part One

Are you considering or looking for a short-term mission opportunity for your church or family, but concerned about travel costs and coordination? Well, we’d like to suggest an opportunity that is in your own backyard and that’s cheaper and closer than a short-term mission trip out-of-state. Put together some tool guys (or ladies) with some available time (youth and retired people are ideal) and reach out to a widow, single mother, or an elderly or disabled homeowner in your own community - for Christ!

Bailey Roof Group 1Maybe you feel like you're not ready to start a ministry or even get a group together for a project or two. It may be easier than you think! You and a friend with some tools may be able to help an elderly person with some minor repairs or help a widow straighten her yard. Unlike a "traditional" short-term mission trip, a local project or two doesn't have to take months to plan or cost thousands of dollars. You may even get your church or a couple friends and family to cover your material expenses if the person you are helping can't afford the materials.

You Are Needed

Disaster RecoveryWhy is this a great mission opportunity? For one, the needs are all around you. There are a growing number of low-income homeowners: widows, single mothers, the elderly and disabled, who have homes, but not the means to provide for basic or emergency repairs. This can put them at risk of injury, can make them shut-ins (because they cannot get around or out of their home, due to a disease or disability) and even, in extreme cases, lead to liens, foreclosure or condemnation of the home. The people you serve might end up being in your community (which provides an excellent opportunity to present the gospel to them in deed and Word) or even in your own church. You might also consider serving a community nonprofit or service agency (some of these can serve hundreds of families a month), as they provide critical services to these same people groups, and can have repair needs with their facilities. If you have a skilled group, you might even be able to help them with a modification to their building, which can help them reach hundreds more people in need.

Do you know how much people with tools and a heart for serving Christ are needed? According to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 64% of Americans don't have enough cash on hand to handle a $1,000 emergency expense*. As a matter of fact, a recent HomeServe survey shows that one in five surveyed homeowners faced a repair they could not afford.* And for vulnerable people groups, doing the repairs themselves is just not an option.

Friday we will post Part Two, which will show you some ideas on how to find a short-term home repairs mission opportunity and how you can start your own team.

Read Part 2

* - Source - October 3 Fox Business News article


I Have Two Coats, My Neighbor Has None… Now What? Part Two

In the first blog in this series we looked at some scriptural bases for mercy and generosity. Today we'll look at some practical applications.

So what does open-handedness mean look like? Its certainly a call to radical generosity. Does it mean dumping an emergency fund and selling my house to put it all into the offering plate or hand it out to the poor, trusting that someone else will provide for my kids? Or could it mean that I adopt an attitude that says, “Why wouldn’t I help this person if I can?”. I have tried to stop when I come face-to-face with an opportunity and in my heart ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do here?”. When I throw up little “arrow prayers” and just be quiet for a moment, it amazes me how often I’m sure of what to do next. And it isn’t always to help, because that is not always going to be ultimately beneficial to the recipient. It requires discernment. Just don’t be, as Dr. John Perkins tells it, like the rich man who got tired of running into Lazarus all of the time (blocking his driveway?), so he moved to the suburbs to avoid the problem.

One way to pass along the love of Jesus is to serve someone who needs you and can give nothing back in return.  Give a gift of one of the most precious assets God gives us - time. If you’re a tool guy (or gal) and serve someone by fixing their house, you feel the smile of God. So be intentional. Find someone who needs you, and take others along with you.

When you initiate a project like that, what you’ve just done, whether you realize it or not, is start a ministry. Specifically, a rudimentary Home Repairs Team. Did you know that starting a ministry could be that simple? Maybe God is calling you to lead a team when you’d rather strap on your tool belt. Your greater service may be to sacrifice the satisfaction of doing the actual work and organize and multiply your ministry to help even more people.

That is what Home Repairs Ministries is all about - being intentional about using what God gave you.

Read Part 1

I Have Two Coats, My Neighbor Has None… Now What? Part One

Scripture often talks in specifics that seem to be examples of larger principles. For instance the principle of the Sabbath Year (Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25) is a picture of the open-handedness we ought to have toward the household of faith. The surrounding passages speak to addressing basic needs of the foreigner among us. These passages are a strong call to compassion and often end with: “I am the LORD your God.” The way I understand that is, “I have shown you mercy, now you go show it to others.”

Helping Hand

from freeimages.com, Michael Illuchine

So, how far should we go with merciful acts? How about a couple examples (among dozens) of New Testament passages that shed some light on the subject. John the Baptist told people in Luke 3:11 that if they had two shirts to give one to the neighbor who had none. I’ll bet having two shirts was extravagant in that day. I don’t think John would walk into the 21st Century and tell us that we should only have one shirt and it was to be the one we were wearing. That’s not to say that our giving should not cause us some loss, as it isn’t a sacrifice of thanks if it has no value to you. If we have abundance and encounter need, we are to be open-handed. Don’t give the worn out running shoes that stink up the closet, but the good pair that you can do without.

The Apostle John in 1 John 3 opens the door a little further when he says in verse 17 that if I have worldly goods and my brother has needs, yet I close my heart toward him, I should question whether God’s love abides in me. 1 John is full of “evidence passages” - 3:14 – We know that we have passed out of death into life because of our love for believers. I have always been captivated by the Gospel correspondence between John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 - here saying that He (Jesus) laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our very lives for other believers. That is passing along the love of Christ as shown to me.

Read Part Two

Want to Start a Ministry with Impact?

Five marks (in our opinion) of an impactful ministry and why a home repairs ministry is one. Please make sure that your speakers are not muted.

Click the logo image above to watch a short video.

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