Missional in our Communities
101 Ways To Reach Your Community
As our vision, to Encounter, Engage, Equip and Encourage to make Christ-like Disciples in the Nations, is becoming contagious in churches across the district, we are hearing the outcry, “We want to minister to those beyond our church walls! Can you help us with ideas!” Steve Sjogren offers 101 Ways To Reach Your Community, which literally includes 101 effective ways your church or small group can demonstrate the love of God to your community. These methods of service have helped his church from grow from 37 to 6,000 in their desire to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their world.
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Chris was in full worry mode about the promise she had made to the apartment complex manager in a poor area of Oildale. Ever since God drastically changed her life four years ago, she had been drawn to minister to those living in poverty in this struggling community. She had believed God wanted to give a Christmas trees to each of the twenty apartments in a complex in that area. That’s what she told the apartment manager. And there she sat at her table, about to open her Bible Study material on Tuesday morning having collected only enough money for ten trees just four days before her friends were coming with trucks to deliver the promised trees. She and her husband had given all they could. They had asked all of their friends and yet she was still short half the money. Had she gotten it wrong, was it her own desire and not God’s? Did she make a promise she couldn’t keep? Which families would she disappoint? “Did I not hear your right, God?” she cried out, her stomach churning.
With a knot in her stomach, unable to think of a solution, she opened her Bible study to the day’s lesson. What was it about? “Do not be anxious about anything,” of course. She got the message and continued enjoying the Word and praying, putting her worrying aside. God filled her with His peace.
About an hour later the phone rang. It was from her church. “I just had the strangest phone call,” Donna began, a local business person had called them asking if they were able to take, not ten, not twenty--100 Christmas trees and deliver them to the homes of the less fortunate in Oildale! “We hear you might be able to do that!”
“Wow,” Chris prayed as she hung up the phone, “You work fast! This is a miracle!” Soon afterwards, the phone rang again.
“Are you sitting down?” Donna asked. “Everyone who receives a Christmas tree is also to receive a $50.00 gift card!”
“And I was worried about ten trees when God fed 5,000 with a handful of fish and loaves of bread!”
On Saturday, the Olive Knolls church had a crew of volunteers show up to help Chris and Harry deliver the trees and gift cards.
Our giving and love for others could never begin to match the lavish and generous love of God, however we, His children do our best to try to keep up with Him.
In 2012 the people of the Olive Knolls Church in Bakersfield have:
· Taken a team of more than 20 members to minister in Haiti.
· Had many volunteers involved in a number of service activities in a low income apartment complex.
· Measured for size, purchased and placed a new pair of shoes on the feet of every child in at least two elementary schools.
· Donated and/or delivered food for Thanksgiving and Christmas to those in need.
· Provided vans and drivers to bring some of the homeless people who Chris and Harry have been serving food to on a regular basis to church.
· Had a day in which they raised thousands of dollars for the new Helping Hands ministry, in which care groups and individuals creatively earned or collected money for that ministry to help those in need.
· Many church members faithfully worked at the Hope Center, which provides food and clothing for the homeless, each week.
· Brought items throughout their Summer Family Adventure week, week for outreach ministries, which included the children and youth in giving to others.
Perhaps you were involved in acts of sharing the love of God to others such as these. You probably served in other ways. Share your ideas with each other. It doesn’t matter who is doing what, what matters most to God is that the message of His love, His mercy, His grace and His plan to restore the people, the families, the world to His glorious Kingdom be delivered through you, His children. Go out in the name of the Lord and take Him to your community.