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The Forgotten All Around Us

I sometimes wonder how some seniors make it from one day to the next. We recently served one who has a split-level house with many problems and struggles with numerous physical ailments. Just recently, she was hospitalized and had surgery for chronic nose bleeds. All of these things have contributed to severe financial hardship. In fact, at one point, she had no water or gas at her house, and was using firewood for heat.

There are people like these all around us - forgotten, overwhelmed and unable to even maintain decent living conditions in their homes. A home repair ministry at your church can serve people in these kinds of situations. Can you imagine what an encouragement it would be to show them, and share, Christ's love in a practical way, as you remind them that they are not forgotten, and help make their homes safer? Do you have some handy men or women in your church who can be turned loose for Kingdom service? If so, we can help you get started! We have some no-cost church ministry resources available to help you organize a team.

What kind of impact can you have? We have been able to serve this senior on multiple projects, over the years. It's probably not overstating matters to say that, because of our volunteers and donors, she has been able to stay in her home. Some of the projects we have worked on include:

  • Insulating between the main floor and crawl space

  • Re-siding the chimney frame

  • Patching of several roof leaks

  • Repairing burst water lines from not having heat in the house

  • Replacing and enlarging her deck - it was too shallow to allow the storm door to safely open

We have been able to do all of this because God has brought multiple volunteers with varied skills. If your church doesn't have all these skills available, let us encourage you to start where you are. Somewhere in your church and/or community are seniors who will be blessed immensely by it. If you want to support Home Repairs Ministries work to serve low-income homeowners, you can choose your option here.



One Thing the World Desperately Need to See - The Visible Gospel

I think many in our country today share the following attitude towards Christianity: "Show me the gospel!!!" (with respects to the movie, Jerry Maguire). As society drifts away from knowledge of what the Bible teaches, I believe it's helpful for people to see Jesus (through Christians serving), so they can hear Jesus.

Jesus, Himself, in the Sermon on the Mount, directed His followers to, “...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, ESV). 1 Peter 2:12 exhorts Christians to “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles (unbelievers) honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV).

Decimated bathroomThat’s one of the things that’s so exciting about home repair. Homeowners, and those watching, understand how important it is to live in a safe home, and they can see the value and relief we provide, in Jesus’ name. Many of those we serve face very difficult financial decisions. Will the homeowner fix the leaky roof that threatens the structural integrity of the entire house, feed her family, buy her medication or pay utilities? Through our supporters and volunteers, HRM can help alleviate some of these financial and safety challenges, and serving them can provide an opportunity to share why we’re serving - the wonderful gift which Jesus has given us - eternal life and a personal relationship with God, through His shed blood, to pay for our sins (and it’s available to you, too, Mr. or Ms. Homeowner!).

Would you like to partner with us and help show and share the gospel with low-income homeowners? Support HRM's work




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).

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?


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."


Is a Home Repair Team Right for Your Church?

A church's home repair team exists to serve it's own homeowners in need and as an outreach to your community. In both cases, we have found those most needing our services to typically be widows, single mothers, the elderly and disabled. If outreach is a priority for your church, a home repair ministry is an opportunity to share the gospel in Word and deed with these people.

If this sounds like a good idea, the next question becomes "is it right for us and can we do it?" Finding the answers will be helped by sharing what a home repair team is and what it is not.

1) A home repair team is typically not led by staff or leadership (at least, that's been our experience). A home repair team can be viewed as an opportunity to extend your congregation's involvement and outreach. In fact, the guys who run a home repair team can be the people in your church who aren't sure how and where to plug in and serve.

Find your handymen (and women), and the folks your leadership calls when you have a single mom with a repair need, and you've found your candidate to lead you local church's home repair team. We think that these guys exist in many churches.

2) A home repair team is scalable in scope. The size of your church should not be an impediment to starting a team. A simple home repair team can be two guys who help people out occasionally on weekends. In a larger church, or one with a lot of handymen, you can have several projects going on a month.

3) A home repair team does not have to raise a lot of money to fund projects. Your church can certainly choose to fund projects, but we try to either have the materials paid for by the homeowner (where feasible) or donated from local businesses or other non-profits.

Disaster Response4) A home repair ministry is a natural partner to a disaster response/recovery team. If your church participates in disaster recovery projects, a home repair ministry can help your team impact their community all throughout the year. More than likely you've already got the same types of skills on your team and are doing similar types of work. Instead of sending volunteers out a couple times a year, you can keep them busy every month, even weekly, if you have the people for it!

5) Starting a home repair ministry does require some forethought. Fortunately, our ministry and other churches have been through this before. In fact, we've been doing this for many years and learned a lot of good ideas and some not so good ones to avoid.

We've collected that information and made it available to churches at no charge on our website (you can make a suggested donation but it is not required). As we get more churches joining through our website, we desire to build a community that can share and learn with each other.

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