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Archive for the ‘street ministry’ Category

 


23  Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, 24 for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? 

Pro. 27:23-24 (ESV)

Tom Peters named it “Management By Walking Around.” It sounds silly.  It seems like it is something that everyone should do.  Unfortunately, most do not do it.  In fact, many do not do it at all.  Peters dubbed it the “technology of the obvious.”

How well do you know the condition of your flock?Is it your ministry team? When was the last time that you saw Sister Fletcher’s husband at church? Was it before he was laid off or not? Think hard.  Can you recall?

Have you kept tabs on Brother Edwards? He used to be one of your most faithful and devout Sunday school teachers.  Have you sent a card? Have you paid a visit? Since when?

Why hasn’t Anne Marie sung a solo lately? Is she back on the streets? Is she back on drugs? Is she hooking again?

How would you know the answers to any of these questions if you have lost touch with your flock?

Develop a means for leading God’s people beyond a set schedule of meetings and appointments.  Carve out time for “pastoral care” that includes home visits as well as lunches and coffee breaks with members and ministry leaders throughout the week. Be sure to reserve some time for drop-in emergencies.  You never know when Ann Marie may come on her own.  It would be a shame if she was turned away because you were too busy or she didn’t have an appointment scheduled.

Know the condition of your flock.
Pay attention to those under your pastoral care and leadership.
Stay in touch with them and love them as if they were your own.

“The true shepherd spirit is an amalgam of many precious graces. He is hot with zeal, but he is not fiery with passion. He is gentle, and yet he rules his class. He is loving, but he does not wink at sin. He has power over the lambs, but he is not domineering or sharp. He has cheerfulness, but not levity; freedom, but not license; solemnity, but not gloom.” Charles H. Spurgeon

 

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      “There’s no better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.

– D.L. Moody

Let the Bible be your guidebook when it comes to evangelism.  We don’t need gaudy gimmicks or slick slogans.  We need the Bible, the inerrant Word of God, as our guide.  We need to evangelize by the Book.

We spend too much time, money, energy, and other resources purchasing the latest evangelism programs that promise to swell our sanctuaries and fill the ranks of our flocks.  Programs should not serve as the core of our evangelism efforts.  Such programs serve a purpose, but they should never be our sole source for evangelizing the lost towards salvation. 

We are to evangelize according to the Bible, not according to the directions or instructions in the box.  We need to acquire biblical knowledge and apply biblical knowledge.  We need to get our people into the Word, so that they can get to taking the Word out into the world.

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Give, and it will be given to you… – Luke 6:38 (NASB)

You may not be getting much because you are not giving much.  It may simply boil down to a simple survey of two major things:

  • What you have done
  • What you haven’t done

Unfinished business is simply that; it is unfinished and incomplete.  You do not gain anything by starting and stopping.  In addition, you surely will not gain anything by never starting at all.

Look at it from another perspective.  What do you have to offer? If you offer of what you have, that is related to stewardship and sacrifice.  Stewardship requires some discernment as well as discretion.  Sacrifice requires you to commit and contribute.  Let your sacrifice be in order and through obedience to God.

Give where you can and give what you can. Wait and see what comes of it.  Don’t expect your return on your blessing to come from the same source that you have blessed.  God may use some unconventional means to supply you.  The expectation of being “repaid” for what we give in the “same measure” does not mean it will be paid back to use in the same manner.  you may not receive money back for an offering or gift.  You may not receive the same thing back in the same way, but you may receive repeat business for sponsoring a Little League team.  You may receive new prospects for the volunteer work that you have done with social service agencies.  You may become connected to new business relationships for the table you bought for that gala fund-raising event for a worthy cause.

You just never know where your business blessing may come from next.  You just need to be sure to give and know that you should give freely.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.- 2 Cor. 9:7 (NIV)

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Evangelism is proclaiming and sharing the gospel message with the world.  We do it in numerous ways and by various means, but we are all called to do it.  Evangelism should be at the core of what we do as churches open in the name of Jesus.

We can proclaim the gospel by preaching, witnessing, or even through written material such as Bible tracts.  We can share the gospel by demonstrating our love for Christ and our fellow man through service, addressing the needs of those within our communities, and personal testimony, sharing our own trials and struggles that provides hope to those who live in darkness. We have many open avenues to share the Good News.  We must be sure that our people are exercising their God-given giftedness to glorify God and edify the body of Christ “for the work of the ministry.”

If we do not proclaim and share the gospel, we neglect one of the main purposes of the church’s existence as well as one of the greatest commands of the Lord and the least that we could do since being saved by His shed blood.  You ought to see that god is so good that you can’t help but talk it up with others.  It should be so good to you that you can’t contain yourself.

For more posts on evangelism, please visit Rev. Bruce’s Blog.  Also, be sure to visit our Life Path Storefront for S.O.W.S. (Salvation Offered Without Strings) and A Short Course on Evangelism.

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Support Systems*
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. -Galatians 6:2 (KJV)

People recover from addiction due to their systems of supportRehab works on an impatient basis for many people because some of these same people do not have a solid and grounded support system in their families or environment. Therefore, many who try rehab on an outpatient basis find themselves relapsing more than recovering. People make changes where they have genuine systems of support to rely upon.

Don’t go out of your way to share how much you do to help the man on the street. Save your breath about the mounds of spare pocket change that you offer the needy that hold cardboard signs that say: Will Work for Food. I do not say so because such things do not matter. I say so because the believer is to do such things no matter what. It is not exceptional to do good works. It is expected of us.

Go further in doing good. Don’t just do good. Take it to a higher level. Develop relationships so that those you help are no longer considered that guy or the people who are always over there. Shift your perspective on helping by getting even closer to those who are in need of help. Start seeing things differently by seeing the people whom you help differently.

Look at Saint Francis, the patron saint who serves as the model for Franciscan monks.  He was a rich, talented and unruly young man.  He was so convicted following his own conversion that he renounced his family’s wealth and lived in poverty.  He developed new relationships with the poor, the needy, and animals and plants.  He became more in tune with God’s creation as a whole as he sacrificed and served like the Lord Himself.


Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.- Matthew 6:2-4 (ESV)


*This blog post was originally intended as an extended post or article.  After some deep and earnest prayer, I have opted to shorten the post into sections and create a series on building systems of support in our personal lives and in our businesses and/ or ministries.

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But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.
– Psalm 9:17 (NIV)
T.C.B. = Taking Care of the Bewildered

We read in numerous passages and verses in the Bible. The Law of Moses addresses it. The prophets speak out about it. Jesus Himself shared about it. The poor and the needy, the oppressed and neglected, are due our attention. We are to offer them hope and help, even healing. Our neighbors include those who many have stepped over and some have sidestepped, even avoided on their Christian journey.

Christ desires us to take care of the bewildered. He shared with His followers that their concern for the poor was not the focus of the moment as He was anointed with expensive perfume in Matthew 26:6-7. The Bible says that His followers called it a “waste” and that they even became indignant about the matter, saying that the perfume could have been sold and shared with the poor.

The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.- Matthew 26:11
(NIV)

As you serve in ministry, whether it be through missions, soup kitchens, shelter, recovery or re-entry centers, or some other means of reaching the poor and the needy, understand that the Lord wants you to take care of them. Offer your services with loving care and receptive hearts. Meet people where they are and help them transition from where you meet them to where the Lord has destined them. Most people are down and out because many have failed to help out where the lord has directed us to be of help to our brothers and sisters.

Take care of the bewildered, the down and out, the poor and the needy. Take care of them with concern and compassion. Take care of His dear sheep and lovely lambs as wise stewards of the Good Shepherd’s flock.

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As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ – Matthew 10:7 (NIV)

Kingdom workers share the message about the kingdom of heaven.  If you do not share it, it will not spread.  It will only stay with you.  The Good News is too good to keep it to ourselves.  By nature, it should be shared with others.  We, as believers, are to share it as we go to and fro.  We are to “preach this message.”

Believers are serve as the ultimate change agents.  We are to change our environments by adding the transformative element  that gives eternal life- the gospel itself.  If we are not preaching it in word and deed, we are not doing our job and not living out our calling. 

God uses us to reach other people.  He doesn’t need to use a burning bush with people when He can set us on fire to do more than a bush.  He can use our fire to spread the Word to others.  We are to be preaching personified. 

Think about how you can share the Word.  Is it pouring out of your mouth? Is it coming to life by how you live before those who do not believe? Let the Word work through you to reach others with it.

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Most churches and nonprofits are considered “volunteer-driven” organizations. Volunteers what drive these particular organizations. Schools, libraries and other similar institutions are also dependent on volunteers. Ensure that you at least cover the basics to draw and keep those who will serve in our organizations.

Volunteer Basics:

  • Recruitment
  • Resources
  • Recognition
  • Retention

Our recruitment should motivate people to join our team. It should help stimulate interest and share how any and many can get involved. Be sure to have the necessary resources for your volunteers and your staff who will supervise and manage your volunteers. Include recognition. When the “thankless” job never produces any acknowledgement, you can expect a revolving door of volunteers coming and going until someone learns how to say or show a “Thank You” somehow.

I saved retention for last because what you do with the previous items helps you retain people. You don’t retain people when you don’t keep supplies on hand and you fail to recognize their effort. Retention is about relationships. What type of relationships have been developed with your staff, clients, other volunteers, and others? That will make a difference in whether you are able to keep people on board or not.

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“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”- St.Francis of Assisi
 
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Yet, can you have faith when you have not heard it? Can you be saved when it has not been preached to you? Romans 10:13-14 say: “No.” You can’t call on the Lord when you have not heard about the Lord and you can’t be saved without the Word entering into your hearing and your heart. So the believer is responsible for sharing the Word. Yep. That’s right. Yes, the Word is to be hidden in your heart and it is to be written on the tablet of your heart, but it must come forth. It must be preached. Truly, it is to be shared with others (Romans 10:14-15). The Good News is to be so good to you that you can’t keep it to yourself. You reach others when you share it. You reach out with compassion and concern when you share it. You reach out from the heart to the heart when you share His Word. Someone’s eternal life is depending on it.
Our preaching should lead to us reaching people for Christ.  We have to share the Word so that others will hear the Word and believe in faith.  We don’t need to reason with people with logic and other manmade means.  We need to reach people with the Word of God.  The Word convicts and cuts to the heart of man by the Spirit of God beyond our evangelistic eloquence.  Speak from the Word and let the Word reach the person’s very soul.  Preach in order to reach others.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”- St. Francis of Assisi

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I am an avid “web-crawler.” I search the web for sites that can help me with my work and ministry. I have discovered some sites that truly can support you as you seek to enhance and expand your ministry for greater effectiveness in this day and age.

Here is a short list of sites for support:

  • http://www.outreach.com/ Great resources from banners to do-it-yourself templates; be sure to take a look at http://blog.outreach.com/ for tips and ideas on a wide range of outreach topics and http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ for articles and information on outreach. Look into their church-planting resources, too.
  • http://www.lifetreecafe.com/ If you are in ministry or seeking to get one started, here is a possible resource that will cause you to be “missional.” Check out what this conversational and casual gathering can do for your church and the un-churched. Read what it’s about. It will take some planning and strategies on your part.
  • http://www.lifechurch.tv/ This church is taking multi-site ministry into a whole new era. You have to check out their online worship experience as well as their resources and messages (even those that are not live.) Open is a great resource for downloads of templates and forms that will help administration and ministry leaders. YouVersion has to be one of my favorite sites on the web. With everything from “live” worship and the audio Bible to Bible reading plans and the means for sharing via Facebook and Twitter, this site will rock your world. Church Metrics is a cool free tool that allows you to track everything from attendance to commitments and baptisms. It’s web-based and even has a mobile application for on-the-go ministry and small group leaders.
  • http://www.urbanministry.org/ Tons and tons of information and resources for “street ministry” and beyond. I use the Word Press blog application for Saved2Serve, our network for ministries, faith-based organizations and parachurches. You have to check out their Church Grants and Volunteer sub-sites. This site is a real winner.
  • http://www.ebase.org/ I like E-Base for nonprofits and donor tracking because it does something different from Church Metrics. This download allows you to track donors, volunteers, and other things such as outreach campaigns. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in a data storage format almost like CRM software for business.

These sites are useful and worth exploring. I see them as mechanisms for strengthening and supporting your work in ministry. Be sure to visit our web database for the free download of “When the Laborers are Few.” This will help those who have few “workers” for the harvest that is before them in their part of the vineyard.

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