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Ministry Impact

Articles on how to reach more people in the community through service or mercy ministry.

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


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.

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Who Should We Serve - Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog post (see Monday 5/21) we discussed two methods that your mercy ministry or home repairs ministry can use to choose who you will serve. Today's post will look at a third, and more difficult, way to choose which projects to take and which people to serve.

C. Method 3 - Flying by the seat of your pants (with some basics guidelines and the Lord’s leading).

This is pretty difficult when you have several people making decisions with different levels of empathy for hurting people or levels of “street smarts” with tricky scammers.

Following are some thoughts on why some of these suggestions exist and examples where HRM has felt it necessary to be overridden. First, we owe those who financially support the ministry to take reasonable precautions to vet the person being helped. Your church Elders, Deacons, community outreach pastor, etc. may set the rules for you, or you may make a commitment to financial donors to “guarantee” certain guidelines. However, we found:

  • The age requirement tends to be arbitrary, often based on what many other agencies use. We have helped younger people when they have a circumstance, such as disability, or care of an elderly parent, or having custody of grandchildren, etc.
  • Many people mention that they are disabled with initial phone calls but it often isn’t obvious when we do a site survey. We don’t want to ask for a note from the doctor but still want to be careful. As detailed below, it is a lot easier to rely on another person’s clearer knowledge of the client than when you get on Senior’s Help Lists, with people calling you directly.
  • Ownership is important because landlords have been known to raise the rent on people who received help in a property. It is also illegal to work on a landlord’s house without permission and it is his obligation to keep the property livable. We have helped renters with their own things, e.g. furniture repairs or a minor appliance repair.
  • We can use government poverty numbers for income requirements and ask for last 2 pay stubs, etc. However, at HRM, we’d rather get a referral from another nonprofit or agency than get into that part of someone’s life. Dignity is very important to people getting help. Dignity means a lot. Remember the 70’s song, “We Are One in the Spirit”? Of course that was before my time. . . It includes the lines: “We will work with each other, We will work side by side. And we'll guard each man's dignity And save each man's pride." In another part of the song, it says, "And they’ll know we are Christians by our love...” That comes from John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (ESV) Loving God first, and loving neighbor as self has many facets to it, including dignified ways to lovingly help people.
  • Just as we don’t expect a church that is able to care for its own members to call our church to help, able families are expected to care for their own. But, just as we’re willing to help a church help its own, HRM commends teams who help families to help their own when it is too big to handle by themselves. Unfortunately, sometimes Grandma makes a commitment that the ‘grands’ will be there and when the volunteers arrive, and the family isn’t, we’ve never walked away. At least try to get them involved.
  • Essential repairs/maintenance only. We don’t generally put tile in bathrooms because someone wants to replace the sheet vinyl. Nor do we repaint for aesthetic reasons, though we will if walls are filthy and it will lift someone’s outlook. Who knows whether love demonstrated with a paint brush might open a heart to the Gospel. Deteriorated outside paint is a completely different issue, obviously.
  • As mentioned before, churches take care of their own. However, we’ve never shied away from calling a church to let them know a member has contacted us about needing help, and “would you like some help to address the situation?” They might develop a team because we took the time to help, then our work is multiplied in the community.
  • Never put volunteers in the situation where they feel like their time is not being used well. If there are extenuating circumstances that go beyond appearances, let them know why you chose to take on the project. As a volunteers coordinator, it is not easy to get volunteers when they are needed, so don’t let them think, “Boy, the next time he calls, I’m busy!”

Theological thought: Murphy’s Law is actually a worldly way of describing the Fall in Genesis. When you plant wheat, you grow weeds. It seems like it is always, “We have 130 middle-schoolers that want to serve on Saturday, when you only have projects that require skilled people, and when you need a lot of anyone’s help, everyone is busy. Right? Keep the volunteers happy! They are God’s valuable provision for you, Coordinator.

As mentioned, we need some spiritual discernment in dealing with hurting people. Tell the person you would like to pray with them, after hearing their story, ask that God would provide for the need, and listen very carefully for the Still Small Voice of the Spirit of God. And NEVER PROMISE WHAT YOU CANNOT DELIVER. Getting excited about helping doesn’t mean you can deliver. A little “thinking out loud” goes a very short distance before becoming a commitment in a hurting person’s ears.

So be bold, but be careful. Go with God.

Harvey

Read Part 1

Why Start a Home Repair Ministry

Five reasons why your church should be involved in home repairs ministry.



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