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Churches Serving Together

Articles about the need for unity within the Body of Christ (the Church) and serving together.

Five Ways to Avoid The Home Repairs Ministry Blooper Reel... Or Worse!

Our home repairs ministry team has learned some valuable lessons in our service and also received some great advice from other churches. The old truism has proven accurate – experience really is a great teacher. We’ve (with the help of some churches) taken some of that experience and synthesized it into a list of ministry do’s and don’ts. If you are just starting a home repairs ministry (especially), or even if your church has been at it for a while, we hope that these will help you avoid unnecessary pain!

First, a brief bit of background. Our home repairs ministry launched, in 2002, as a part of Perimeter Church’s Community Outreach ministry. Our mission - to address internal church and local community home repair needs. In our 9 years of existence, we have helped hundreds of people through our many projects.

And we’ve had some miscues. For one project we had a high school group commit to bring a dozen or so students on a Saturday morning. We were renovating a house in the inner city of Atlanta. The Project Leader spent hours on Friday afternoon getting tools and materials loaded and ready and headed out very early on Saturday to meet them. About ten minutes after start time the group had still not shown. They never did show. We learned a powerful lesson that day. NEVER fail to contact the people or group close to the project date and make sure to get a projection on numbers. If you’ve never had that problem before, count your blessings and start calling your volunteers shortly before the project, whatever service or mercy ministry you are involved in. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Looking back, it was in some ways a funny story. But there can be profound spiritual repercussions to a bad service experience. Remember, we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ when we go to serve a client. If the client is not a believer, our outreach could actually have the opposite effect and sour their receptivity to the gospel! Despite the best and purest intentions, doing the wrong thing, or not doing the right thing, can also potentially lead to embarrassment, disgruntled volunteers and (shudder) legal issues. By putting safeguards and processes in place you can make your ministry more effective, fruitful and impactful. In addition, your volunteers will enjoy their work and be more likely to stay with the ministry.

So, in the spirit of making your community outreach and home repairs projects more fruitful, we present the following list of 5 key do’s and don’ts. While not an all-encompassing guide, I hope that these will help make your ministry more effective.

Don't1. Don’t assume the homeowner knows what the plan is. Sit down with him/her and review the Scope of Work that your group will be focusing on. Have the homeowner sign the “Scope of Work” agreement.

Having an agreed-upon, thorough Scope of Work with the homeowner helps establish accountability and sets expectations. Because the homeowner knows what to expect you significantly reduce the risk of potential frustration and a bad witness.

Don't2. Don’t underestimate the cost of repairs. This is especially critical as your funding could be coming from an external source, including the homeowner. It is much better to overestimate what you need than underestimate. A home repairs ministry should have contingency plans when a repair has increased costs.

Do3. Do include the homeowner in any decision-making that may arise. This affirms the dignity of the homeowner and that the property is his/hers. Changes to a home can get emotional, so when in doubt, ask.

Do4. Do repairs while the homeowner is present. Again, show respect for the homeowner and protect yourself from unfair accusations by making sure that the homeowner is aware of all work being done.

Do5. Do connect your efforts with other local groups already doing home repair. Amplify your ministry impact and display unity in the body of Christ by teaming with other church ministries on repair jobs. As Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us “…a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (ESV)

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” strong>(ESV)

If you'd like access to the full list of Do's and Don'ts, as well as other no-cost information to start or grow a ministry, register for access to our ministry library today.

How to start your service day off right

Team PrayerSo you have it all planned out, got the materials on site, tools in the trucks, enough people that you don’t make anyone’s wife mad for too many hours away from home and they & the homeowner have signed the liability waivers. How do you start the day?

I usually explain why we’re needed, intro the owner if appropriate (or do that later in the day), thank the volunteers and do a devotion before we pray. What do we pray for? How about the owner and the pile of needs that brought her to need you, often for healing of a physical or spiritual nature, for volunteer’s skill, wisdom, safety & good progress, for God’s blessing the household.

Now back up. What are you going to use for a devotion? You’re not a preacher or something like that. You have deed gifts, not Word gifts, right? Well, I have a long list of “mercy” passages from the New and Old Testaments compiled, from which you could work from. I’d be glad to pass these along if you email me and indicate your interest. How about a few now?

  • Romans 12 begins with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God and is your spiritual worship. Worshipping through service with tools and offering the Lord more of us: our bodies for the project. The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off of the altar. Today, we’re crawling onto the altar to serve, IF we’re doing it because Jesus loved us first and giving Him our day.
  • Romans 12:4 talks about one body and many parts with different functions. We’re here today to operate as the part of the body with some handy skills (or wanting to learn some. . . ), being used as the hands and feet of Jesus. The Body metaphor can be applied to your team, within an individual church, among many churches, or meaning all of the Jesus followers on Planet Earth, today.
  • Deuteronomy 15 - Sabbath year – doing things to relieve the hurt of those in debt – mercy ministry to the needy. Who owes us that we can forgive in order to provide them a fresh start? Our time to them makes them owe us time if you want to think of it that way, but we don’t keep records on how many hours we’ve spent helping a given family. The principle is: God’s heart cares for the hurting and we need to do something about it when possible. Note: the land and all of the people were to take one year off out of seven, away from the day-to-day plowing, sowing, tending, harvesting, etc. The promise is that if Israel would do their part in forgiving debts, God would provide the food needed for the Sabbath Year (through the abundance of fallow-year crops) and the year following that until crops were to be harvested. Do you trust Him that much?
  • James 1: 27-28 - How religious living should look if rooted in Jesus Christ. It's called Mercy Ministry – caring from those with financial problems, the disenfranchised, widows (single mothers?) and orphans (foster children?). There are plenty of vulnerable, hurting people to pick from. We just need to make sure we’re picking some.
  • Leviticus 19: 9 & 10 – The gleanings and edges of your fields. What is your field in our urban society? What will you leave out for others to use? Or which are you going to invest in God’s Kingdom as we care for those in need?
  • 2 Corinthians 8 – example of the Macedonians, who were in need themselves, making financial gifts to the Church in Jerusalem which was under persecution. How much more, we, who have some margin in our lives, to help those who need a hand.
  • 2 Corinthians 9 – more from the previous chapter (above) including sowing & reaping, God's abounding in our service (verse 8), and culminating in the people being served giving glory to God in verse 13.
  • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Fun to contrast this to Matthew 6:1-4 and talk about motives – Look at me? I hope God will like me more if I sweat a lot today? How about, “God, I give you my time today because you have reconciled me to you, made peace with me through the blood of Jesus, and for that I serve as a thank you."
  • The Great Commandment . . . and love your neighbor as yourself. What does that look like? Assuming that we know that we cannot love God apart from a heart changed by His grace through the indwelling Holy Spirit, then today we can demonstrate his love for others, too! We’re giving our neighbor a hug from Jesus if He’s in us.
  • Leviticus 19: 9 & 10 – God asked His people not to reap to the edges of their fields so that those in need would have provision. If you don’t have a field, what would be your field in today’s economy? What will you leave or provide for people in need? Your time, like your money, should be an offering to God. If you’re a tool person, my guess is that it is time to pick them up. How about using them today, because Jesus gave his All for you.

  • Use God’s Word as you lead those working in God’s vineyard.

The Debut of the Home Repairs Ministry Website

We are glad to have you looking around the Home Repairs Ministry (HRM) website. In an elevator conversation (it’s a very tall building), in explaining who/what we are, I might tell you that:

HRM is a nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing handy people from as many Christ-centered, Bible teaching churches as possible to help as many needy people as we can with their home repairs challenges and to address their spiritual needs by pointing them toward a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The big plan is to help you, the church, start or grow your home repair ministry teams to serve your low-income or otherwise hurting, home-owning, members and as an outreach to the community. This help will come mostly from the website where, by becoming a ministry partner, you can access all of the resources to get organized. We would like it to also become a community where you can ask & provide answers to questions from a national network of interested, mostly non-clergy, leaders. Also important in this movement is to encourage churches like yours, that share salvation by grace through faith in Christ, to work together, demonstrating that what binds us together is far greater than many important but not essential things that divide us.

Let’s lock arms and be the Body of Christ as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:

1 . . . walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Want to join the movement or know more about starting your own ministry? Find out more

Welcome!
Harvey

Launch!

LAUNCH DAY! March 16, 2012

It’s hard to believe that this day has actually arrived! It seems likely ages ago that we believe the Lord gave us a vision for uniting the church of Jesus Christ generally and home repairs ministries specifically in service to the hurting and vulnerable (see more about our organization and vision here – About HRM). And launch day is finally here! Praise be to our God!

We are excited to see what the Lord will do through you, the church and network of home repairs ministries.

One of the ways we want to provide help, value, and encouragement to you is through this blog. Here we plan to share ideas for how to serve and unite in ministry, thoughts about home repairs and stories of service. And links to other blogs that will show interesting content such as how to handle certain home repairs tasks.

We will also open up the blog from time-to-time to our Ministry Partner community. We want you to tell the network what’s on your mind and how God is moving through your ministry. We would especially value testimonies of God's faithfulness and goodness in working through your ministry.
If you aren’t yet a Partner, please consider joining us. We have a library of helpful content and that will only grow. More importantly, we hope to show Christ to the world by working on projects together. More information about Ministry Partnership and starting a home repairs ministry

This is an exciting time – we hope that you’ll join us!

Psalm 133:1 - "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (ESV)

Psalm 127:1 - "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." (ESV)