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Archive for July, 2014

How You Can Engage Your Community - Part 3

This blog continues the series on how churches, outreach teams and service ministries can impact their communities.

Disaster ResponseNow, let's look at another way a church can actively engage with, serve and love their community (as well as their congregations). Disasters can upend almost everything - family, home, job, way of life and more. Churches can help with response and/or rebuilding after a disaster. Isn't that practical?

And doesn't it offer a striking parallel to the gospel? We reach the point where our sin ravishes our lives, and we find ourselves desperately needing help outside of ourselves. As Jesus rescues repentant sinners from our self-inflicted disaster, perhaps your church can provide a representation of that to your community by responding to disasters. How might that change the cultures view of the Church and our Savior?

One nice thing about disaster response is that it probably won't require a regular time commitment (with a possible exception in long-term rebuilding projects). Your team can respond as need arises. In fact, starting a home repair team in your church might be a great way to prepare your volunteers for a disaster and even start your team. If you're looking for some resources on how to start a home repair team, we've got a no-cost ministry resource library. We hope that you'll check it out.

Rebuilding after a devastating tornado - Here's one example of how eight churches, Home Repairs Ministries and nonprofits/agencies responded and partnered together to help a Palestinian widow rebuild.

If you missed earlier posts in this series, you can see them here -

Part 1 - Repairs and Accessibility
Part 2 - Advocacy
Part 4 - Forming Partnerships



Categories: Disaster Recovery, Service, The Gospel Tags:

How You Can Engage Your Community - Part 2

This blog continues the series on how churches, outreach teams and service ministries can impact their communities.

CourtAdvocacy is one of those open-ended terms that can mean different things to just about everyone. What springs to your mind? A political rally? Signing a petition? A lawyer? the concept is simple - advancing the cause of the hurting and oppressed, typically through public opinion or legislation.

Have you had success with large (or small) advocacy efforts? If so, will you share your story? We'd love to learn from you. Please click on “Leave a Comment” at the bottom of this post and share your experience!

Because the challenges advocacy seeks to address can be so large and daunting, it probably scares a lot of folks off. But we think that there are ways to "stand in the gap" for people that don't require such a large-scale effort.

Advocacy can be very effective if you have good relationships in the community, but require a different set of skills for "hands-on" ministry people. Instead of swinging a hammer, collecting food, or providing shelter or rent money, these types of engagements require strong networking skills and the ability to work the phones. While they may not require material costs or volunteers, advocacy projects are a great way to build strong rapport and relationship with a homeowner and to help more people. Here's how it looks for our ministry. We get connected with someone in need, then use our connections and relationships to get funding, materials, grants, special considerations or discounts. HRM typically works with companies and nonprofits until a solution is arrived at - advocating on the client’s behalf.

We've been able to get client's heaters or air conditioners replaced or repaired for significant discounts or free. Certainly, this is not something a company or nonprofit can do all the time, but if you can accomplish one or two projects that you wouldn't have been able to before, what a difference that could mean for people!

Want to read more about how to impact your community?

Part 1 - Repairs and Accessibility
Part 3 - Disaster Response/Recovery
Part 4 - Forming Partnerships



How You Can Engage Your Community - Part 1

Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be sharing some of the ways our organization works and serves in the community. But we’d love for that to be only a small part of this blog! Why? We’re looking for your input, wisdom and best practices! Would you leave a comment below and let us know different ways your church or organization works in your neck of the woods and how you reach your communities? We want this to be something we can all learn from! Just click on “Leave a Comment” and drop some knowledge on us!

With that out of the way, here is the first way that Home Repairs Ministries engages our community. Can you guess what it is? You might be stunned. No really, you’ll never guess. It’s…. doing home repair projects (and accessibility updates). Did you guess? Give yourself a high five and do a happy dance! You earned it.

2011 photos and videos 4794So, what does that look like? The truth is, it can look like almost anything you can imagine. There are a couple types of projects we don’t do, but with the deep skill base of the church volunteers we work with, the possibilities are practically endless. The common factor is that we’re generally serving people in significant need with repairs they cannot do or afford themselves. These projects can range from as small as replacing a faucet cartridge to as large as replacing a roof. We even do yard cleanups sometimes. They’re great projects if you have a lot of youth or less skilled (but big hearted) volunteers.

We also help people in situations where their home is inaccessible due to a medical condition or handicap. Most typically, this takes the form of building a wheelchair ramp. HRM has also prepared homes so that a lift system can be put in for someone who can’t get around on their own, even in a wheelchair.

What if your church or group would like to take on more projects, but lack a broader set of skills? Might we suggest networking and collaborating across multiple churches? By growing your volunteer pool and you skillset, you open up the scope, number, and complexity of the projects you can get done. Plus, it’s a great witness when a broad swath of Christ-followers are loving on each other, serving together and having a great time.

Part 2 - Advocacy
Part 3 - Disaster Response/Recovery
Part 4 - Forming Partnerships


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Driving Outreach May Be Easier Than You Think

2014 Church ConferenceWe've been blessed to be able to attend a couple church conferences, and they have been exciting opportunities to talk with leaders, from churches, who see the possibilities of a home repair team in their church. They see a team as a great way to meet some critical needs of the most vulnerable members of their congregations (particularly widows, the elderly, single mothers and people with mobility challenges), and as a tangible way to express God’s, and their, love to their congregants by serving them (John 13:35).

We try to communicate with church leaders that there is also a great outreach opportunity for churches. Home Repair can be a kind of “low-hanging” fruit as outreach goes, since once you make some community connections and know where to find needs, you’ll have people inviting your people into their homes to help. Pretty cool!

The discussions also reinforced that home repair ministry is more bottom-up than top-down. It was encouraging to see that the church leaders, by and large, seemed to get that. You just need to find the right "driver", and most often, this person is not staff. It's a matter of finding your church’s handy (and motivated) people, recruiting them to lead your ministry, and if an extra "push" is needed, providing some resources to help them get started. HRM would like to help make your job a little easier! We have a library of content available to help arm home repair ministry leaders (actual or prospective) with information to start and grow their own team!

Take a Sneak Peek     Register for the Site

And now a couple questions that we’d love your feedback on. Just click on "Leave a comment" below this post and let us know your experiences.

1) If your church has a home repair team, how did you find and engage your leader? Would it have helped the process to have some documentation for how to run a home repair ministry beforehand?

2) If you don’t have a team, have you tried? What was the response from the person(s) you approached?