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Archive for April, 2014

Engaging Your Yutes

Youth ServingDoes your church struggle for ways to get the youth out in the community and serving in a meaningful way?

Or maybe you'd like to have them serving on a more regular cadence? That raises two small questions - how do you do that and where can they serve?

We'd like to suggest an alternative that can be a great way to engage youth. Getting your youth involved in simple home repair or cleanup projects can potentially have five really important benefits:

1) You don't need a ton of supplies or resources. A couple yard tools, some garbage bags, a supervisor and voila, you have a community outreach opportunity.

2) A home repair or yard cleanup can get your youth in direct contact with people in need. This might be their first direct exposure to poverty or to vulnerable people groups who need to see Christ's love.

3) Your youth can serve members in your congregation who need a little help. Maybe a single mom is overwhelmed and needs her lawn mowed or a widow needs leaves cleaned up from her yard. Wouldn't it be a good witness to the world to see your youth serving your congregation members? Could that be one way that church members love one another? John 13:34-35 (NIV)

4) For kids who have not been exposed to serving others before, especially those who are handy or enjoy the outdoors, they might actually discover that they actually like serving and helping others.

5) You kids can see that Kingdom service doesn't necessarily require travelling overseas or a huge, exotic project. A small, "mundane" task done with a heavenly spirit can bring a lot of joy to both the recipient and the giver.

As Brother Lawrence, 17th century lay monk said, "We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."


Men + Tools = Happy Men

Building the RampHave you ever noticed what happens when you put a tool in a man’s hand (well, some men, anyway. And, for that matter, some women, too!)? He is immediately in his element. He has a means to fix things (insider secret - if no one has told you, that’s what men do). It might be work, but deep down, something happens inside of him telling him, go forth and conquer.

Something else pretty cool happens, too. Working with tools can become a bonding process. Some pretty significant walls and barriers get knocked down,even deep-rooted cultural ones. It becomes a way to unite around a common objective and focus on serving others.

Isn’t it cool that God uses common tools as a way for some men to join Him in His work? And that He can use tools to unite His church in reaching out to those in need when different churches band together? What would it look like, at your church, if your handymen were caring for your single mothers and widows? How cool would it be if they were also out in the community, serving those outside the church, to show them a tangible expression of God’s love?

Do you have handymen (and women) in your church who don’t know where to plug in to serve? A home repair ministry might be just the way to get them more regularly engaged and involved in outreach. And smiling as they grab their tools and get to work.


Every One a Story

There can be a dangerous side to goals for a service ministry. It's easy to look at a major milestone that’s been hit, and think something along the lines of, “YES! We completed 10 more projects this year!” Those can be very exciting moments, and represent something really good, but they can also send us down a wrong path.

Why? Not just because of pride, which is always a threat, but because we can tend to look at the numbers and not see the people behind them. Even in ministry this can be a challenge. But the truth of the matter is, it’s loving people that God cares about (and loving Him!), and every person a ministry serves has a story. They’re all unique, and many of them are fascinating. That's certainly true for our ministry!

Meet:

  • A single mother, suddenly raising five kids alone after a divorce, needing a porch screen installed to protect the youngest son, who has Down’s Syndrome
  • The senior couple tied up in court because of housing code violations, desiring help to avoid fines they can't afford
  • The mother of two young children, valiantly supporting her husband with ALS, and trying to find an easier way to get him in and out of the house
  • A faithful single mother of two adopted sisters with cerebral palsy, looking for relief for her back from carrying one of the sisters, who is in a wheelchair, up the stairs into their home
  • The widow with the tender heart, whom we have helped with repairs before, calling to ask for advice to help a man scheduled to get out of prison
  • A Palestinian widow with no insurance and devastated by a tornado which ripped into her house and through two cars, looking for help recovering from the disaster
  • A lonely man, who just lost his wife, in desperate need of help in the yard to tear our a rotten wooden pool deck, along with some other work on his deck


That’s just a few of them. It’s a blessing to be able to serve all the people we do and show them God’s love, and to be able to share why we are serving - because God didn't just look at us as a group of hopeless, sinful rebels, but personally offered up His own Son, Jesus, to every individual who puts their faith and trust in Him.