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Outreach

Outreach is about how to share the love and gospel of Jesus by serving those who may not know Him.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

What differentiates service ministries from other nonprofits which help people? It's the gospel! For HRM, prayer is a critical component of our gospel focus. Every week, our three staff gather together to praise God and lift our requests to Him. Prayer inevitably reminds us of the wonder of God’s grace to us. Often, we pray for our clients. We also make an effort to pray with our clients as we speak with them and serve them. As we lift up our new friends and their physical needs, it's very natural to work in the greater spiritual need, and the solution of the gospel, which they may or may not be aware of.

We have also developed a pamphlet which presents the gospel, and God's love, in a short, digestible format. It gives us something to leave behind with the homeowner, which they can look over and think about after we visit, and can prompt a further discussion. Check it out

We also represent the gospel when we do our work with excellence. Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (ESV) By doing our work with diligence, we show the homeowner that we care about her and that God cares, too. And as we labor and serve, we often get the question, "Why are you doing this?". We love that question! Talk about a hanging curveball and a great spiritual discussion starter!

We'd love to hear from you. How does your ministry keep the main thing the main thing? Leave a comment below and let us know.



Categories: Evangelism, Outreach, The Gospel Tags:

God's Heart for the Widow

Caring for widows is a big deal to God. You don't have to look far, in the Bible, to read about His heart of love and concern for them, or His mandate for Christians to serve them. In fact, a search for "widow" on Biblegateway.com yields 102 references (ESV translation), including:

  • Psalm 65:8"A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation."

  • Leviticus 27:19"Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow."

  • James 1:27"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."


In 1 Timothy 5, God clearly lays out which widows, in the church, are eligible for help. The standards are for her to be over 60, a faithful follower of Christ, have no family to support her, be actively serving in her church and truly in need. But what about widows who are not believers?

An elderly womanWe apply the same criteria of true need. It’s not hard to find widows in this state. The poverty rate for elderly widows is consistently 3x - 4x higher than for elderly married women (Social Security Administration, 2005). Widow’s houses are often in substandard, dilapidated or even dangerous condition. If you saw some of their homes, your heart would break. Just to make their homes adequate is beyond their financial means. The same is true for many HRM clients, such as abandoned or divorced single mothers and wives with very sick spouses, who are functionally similar to widows. We view serving widows, and those in similarly vulnerable states, as a Great Commission opportunity to reach out with home repairs and the good news of Jesus.

How about you? Does your church actively serve widows? Please leave us a comment and let us know how you serve this group which is obviously close to God's heart.


Categories: Outreach, Widows Tags:

God's Heart for the Single Mother

There are many Bible passages which affirm God’s heart for single mothers and their children. In 1 Kings 17:7-24 and 2 Kings 4:1-7, God miraculously provides for single mothers through Elijah. Psalm 68:5 states, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” In Zechariah 7:10, God commands, “...do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor... ” Exodus 22:22-23 says “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry...”

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A Single Mother's Testimonial

A single mother’s life is not an easy one, but it’s probably more difficult than you think. The poverty rate for single-mother families with children, in 2013, was 39.6%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.6%) for married-couple families. The rate of extreme poverty rate was 20.6%.1 Of particular interest to HRM, one third of all single-parent families spent more than half their income on housing,2 which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.”

However she became one, the single mother is often functionally, if not actually, a widow. She is vulnerable and may find herself desperately needing help beyond her resources. That’s the situation all of us are in before God, and why we celebrate what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. He met our most critical need, one we absolutely could not meet ourselves, providing the payment for our sins and offering us eternal life in His presence, claimed by faith and trust in Him. He gives those who accept the offer His righteousness and takes their punishment.

HRM serves single mothers, as well as other people in need (typically widows, seniors, people with disabilities and the poor), to thank God for serving us, the undeserving, and to model the love of Jesus to them. I love 2 Corinthians 9:13 - “By their approval of this service, they (single mothers and those we serve) will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them . . . “

Would your church like to show Christ's love to single mothers and other homeowners in need? If you live in metro-Atlanta, Join us on a project. Or, if you'd like to start your own ministry wherever you live, sign up for our free resources.

You can also help us provide critical repairs, affecting safety and quality of life, and modifications to make a home safer and more accessible, by making an investment in people in need, through HRM. Make a Donation

Footnotes:
1 - National Women’s Law Center, “insecure &unequal - poverty and income among women and families 2000-2013, by Joan
Entmacher, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Julie Vogtman, and Anne Morrison

2 Joint Center For Housing Studies Of Harvard University, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011” (Table A-5) ©2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College.



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


Want to know more about mercy ministry, community partnerships and the work of HRM? Sign up for our monthly email update. It only takes a couple seconds!


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.


3 Ways You Can Have More Impact Without More Budget

Collaborating with other service agencies can help you, as it helps our ministry, work more efficiently and get more done. How?

Building a Ramp1) Getting projects via referral. We get a good percentage of our projects in this manner. Your church or service/outreach ministry might be able to, also! Each community partner you work with has a unique “sweet spot” where they focus.

Here's an example from our world. Often, our community partner's specialty is with survival basics such as food, clothing, rent, utility funds and counseling. But when their low-income, home-owning clients have a repair or accessibility need they can’t meet, they often send them to us. Sometimes, they even send along materials funding! Are there partner organizations in your community who need your services? And, if you turn it around, are there services that your congregants or clients need that a community partner can help with?

Working together like this can make everyone involved more efficient and effective, as well as make things easier for people needing help.

2) You can get more projects done more quickly. Again, using our experience as an example, we save time by getting most of our projects from referrals (from other nonprofits and service agencies) and having many of them come to us pre-qualified. That helps us do more projects in a shorter time period. Rather than chasing down needs and having to qualify them all ourselves, we get to focus on how we might help and “rounding up the troops.”

If you developed tight relationships with some trusted agencies, could you leverage the power of pre-qualification to get more done and have a greater impact?

Handymen Unleashed3) You might have heard us talk about this before, but serving other non-profits and agencies by helping them serve more (in our case, by improving, repairing or maintaining their facilities) is a highly strategic community investment. We don’t just serve an organization, we help impact the thousands of people they are serving, and in some cases, the additional thousands more they can help because of the improvement!

It may look different for your church, ministry or organization, but if you are involved in serving and helping people, can you leverage your unique skills and abilities to help other organizations make a bigger impact for the Kingdom of Christ?

For Christian organizations, it brings to mind what Paul says about the church in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.



Home Repairs and Single Mothers - An Outreach Opportunity

In November, we talked a bit about one of the groups which we actively serve with home repairs and accessibility updates – the elderly.

This month, we’ll talk about another group that we regularly serve which often has need of the services that churches and our ministry provide – single mothers. As with the elderly population, the percentage of single mother families is exploding.

Did you know that single parents have more than tripled as a share of American households since 19601? 38.4% of single mother families with children under 18 are below the poverty line (compared with 8.9% of married parent families with children under 18)2. In fact, a report of Colorado mothers, released by the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute (2008), states that more than half of the single-mother households lack the income to meet basic needs of living. These numbers point to a group of people in significant financial distress.

Even for those single mothers not in poverty, the time demands and commitments on a single mother can make it hard to focus on anything other than surviving.

So, how can you and your church serve a burdened, stressed out single mother in need of loving, practical help? We’d like to suggest that a great way to do that is through a home repair ministry.

  • You and your church can be Jesus’ hands and feet by helping with an important need before it becomes a more expensive problem and/or a safety hazard for her and her children.
  • You can show Christ's love to the family be being there and sharing why you're serving them. As you can see in this video testimonial, the supportive presence can be as important as the material need being met.
  • You'll lighten the load of her often difficult financial situation. A church home repair team (or a group of them) can provide free labor and maybe even materials (you may be able to get them donated from a local business, church or non-profit).
  • It's a tremendous outreach opportunity! Did you know that 67% of all single mothers do not actively attend a local church?3

Footnotes:
1 The Mysterious and Alarming Rise of Single Parenthood in America, The Atlantic by Aparna Mathur, Hao Fu, and Peter Hansen Sep 3 2013
Footnotes:
2 U. S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table 5. Family Groups With Children Under 18 by Selected Characteristics: CPS 2012
Footnotes:
3 The Church and the Single Mom, by Jennifer Maggio, posted on Crosswalk.com


Categories: Outreach, Service, Single Mothers Tags:

Here Comes The Boom

If you follow the news, you’re probably aware that the nation is aging… Rapidly. The statistics are out there and they’re startling.

According to the Federal Administration on Aging, in just 30 years the nation’s population of those 65 and older will double. Pair that fact with these statistics and a critical need, and an opportunity, starts to emerge –

  • According to a recent AARP housing survey, “83% of older Americans want to stay in their current homes for the rest of their lives,” but other studies show that most homes are not designed to accommodate the needs of people over age 65.
  • Most older people live in homes that are more than 20 years old.
  • Research by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that home modifications and repairs may prevent 30% to 50% of all home accidents among seniors, including falls that take place in these older homes.

And did you know that over 82.7 percent of Americans 70 – 74 own their homes? In fact, all age groups over 65 have a home ownership percentage over 80%!1

Handicap Ramp PictureSo, what’s it all mean? Well, for one thing, older Americans are going to need help maintaining their houses and making them accessible. Their homes, which tend to be older, are going to need repairs more frequently to keep them safe. And accessibility updates will keep them independent and in their homes longer.

We have an opportunity to love and honor our parents, grandparents, mentors and friends by helping them with their home repairs and accessibility needs. And this community outreach could be coming to you! What an opportunity for your church to show and share the love of Christ to those in need in a very practical way!

Not sure where to start? We have materials to help churches of all sizes and stages get a team started, or to grow their existing ministry. If you have any interest in starting a team, please register today.

See the resources for your church to start a team

Home Modification Questions to Ask for Accessibility (from eldercare.gov)

1 – U. S. Census Bureau, Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS): 2013. (Table 7. Homeownership Rates by Age of Householder: Third Quarter 2012 and 2013)


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