This is important!
We definitely want to hear about your successful outreach projects. The attendance, the cost, were the people enthusiastic, how did you help to create the enthusiasm on the part of your church members, will you repeat the current project, what are your plans for the future, and anything else that you think will be helpful to another pastor and their staff . . . . that is what we're seeking. Help! Please send the information to:
Thanks for participating!
The Westgate Chapel is in Edmunds, Washington, which is a city of about 40,000 people and about 10 miles north of Seattle. Their outreach activities include the Trailer Park Team, the Apartment Complex Team, The Motel Team, and The Support 7 Team. The first three teams regularly call on residents of modest means in these living environments, building friendships, just sitting and talking, sometimes providing transportation, and just being there for these residents. The Support 7 Team provides a care station for the city Police and Fire departments whenever a tragedy happens, offering food and emotional support to the first responders. Along with these activities they also reach out to local international students, young students in nearby elementary schools, and at-risk teenagers. Wow! The weekend attendance at this church is about 1,100 folks.
Children in Foster Care
The Mariners Church, which is headquartered in Irvine, CA, places a large emphasis on their Foster Care Program, as you can see from their Web site. They offer education classes, ways to participate in the county's foster care work, they describe how their members can invite a foster care child into their homes, which may lead to an adoption, and much more. The Mariners Church also has a very large number of staff members devoted to their outreach activities. We'd like to encourage you to access their material. It's fabulous!
A Touch of Grace
The Meadow Springs Church in Tigard, Oregon, has a great ministry for the local homeless population. When a driver that attends Meadow Springs is approached in an intersection they offer to the homeless person stationed at that intersection a large plastic bag that contains a bottle of water, a juice box, a pack of trail mix, Pepperidge Farm goldfish, a fruit snack, some cookies . . . . and a pair of socks along with some information about local resources and Bible verses for encouragement. It was all started by one man in the church four years ago, and it has expanded to the members of the church preparing and distributing up to fifty packs a week.
There's Something Special About Outreach Pastors
An Outreach Pastor’s salary will be offset by their bringing just a few new members into their church.
For instance, if your church receives a gross income of $800,000, and you have a 400 person average weekend attendance, that’s a $2,000 annual donation per attendee. If your Outreach Pastor’s salary is $50,000, his or her salary is totally paid for by only 25 new members, and just a few more will offset the pastor’s benefits and the expenses associated with your Outreach Ministry. And remember, one of the Outreach Pastor’s primary responsibilities is to introduce new people to your church.
Have you recently reviewed the Web sites of the other churches in your community? You may find that they already have their own Outreach Pastors. Many churches do now.
The Voyager Spacecraft
The CBS TV show, “60 Minutes,” recently had a fascinating piece about the Voyager 1 spacecraft, and it occurred to me that we could use this information with someone that might want to investigate God’s existence.
The Voyager 1 was launched in 1977. Its maximum speed as it goes through our solar system is 38,600 miles per hour, enabling it to go almost a million miles each day, or 320 million miles per year. It is now 13 billion miles from earth, and its discoveries are immense. For instance, it discovered active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon that has eruptions up to almost 200 miles from the surface, and there are many, many more such events found by just Googling “Voyager 1.”
But the part of this that got my attention was the size of it all. Millions of miles, planets, millions of miles, new discoveries, and millions of miles! How do we cope with something being one million miles from us? To what do we compare this when we deal with it being perhaps 87 miles to the beach, about 2,100 miles to Chicago, and 6 miles to work. A million miles? Really?
And for me the obvious is who else but God created this? Is there anything else we can even imagine, that we could think of from a lifetime of experience that could do this? Or can anyone really think it just happened this way?
So here’s something we can keep in our back pockets when our friends, neighbors, or relatives say, “Well, how do you know there’s a God?”
And please remember, the December Invite Someone To Church month is coming up in just a few days. Of course, then comes January and February, and they’re really excellent Invite Someone To Church months, too.
When SouthLake Church Helped Roosevelt High School
In 2008 Kevin Palau, Luis' son, asked Kip Jacob, the senior pastor of SouthLake Church in West Linn, OR, if he thought the people of his church would like to participate in a one-day cleaning and fix-it day at Roosevelt High School in Portland, which is about 20 miles north of the church. Kip presented the idea to the church, and 1,500 people of the 2,000 that regularly attend the church signed up. The people accomplished a lot on the day they showed up, but the real story is what this project led to. Go to beundivided.com to find an incredible abundance of Spirit-led commitments and activities not just for Roosevelt but rather across the nation.
Many churches serve in elementary schools by reading with students, collecting winter clothing for those that are in need, providing food boxes around the holidays, and in many other ways. However, it seems that high schools may be underserved by churches, even when the schools welcome the participation and contributions, and the students are open and interested in guidance and attention.
What are the churches in your area doing with your high schools?
Kevin Palau's Book
Kevin Palau has written a book that will change or at least significantly impact your view of Christian service to the communities in which we live. It's awesome! The name of the book is Unlikely.
The Shingles Project
On a random Sunday morning when everyone entered our church they were each given a roofing shingle. I think they were made of cedar, and if you sniffed one up close there was a penetrating fragrance. Most of us just put them on our laps or next to us on the benches, but we knew something special was going to happen.
Later in the service we were instructed to write the names on our shingles of anyone that we knew that was not a Christian and that we surely wanted to become one. These were not to be just somebodies, but rather the special ones . . . sons and daughters, moms and dads, close friends, spouses, new people that we respected, brothers, sisters, anyone that we loved a lot. A little bit later the ushers collected all the shingles. They wore work gloves to protect them from the splinters.
The following Sunday we were greeted by a wall of shingles as soon as we entered the main entrance of the church. Our pastor had built a large frame for all the shingles, and it was upright in our lobby! It looked just like a roof, and it was impressive. You could walk along it and see the different names, people that were attached to us but not with us just yet, all in different styles of handwriting. You could see that each shingle was different, but everyone there had been summoned for a faith-filled project. We didn’t know hardly any of them, but we loved them. Again, it was impressive.
Later on the wall of these shingles was installed outside the church along a walkway into the sanctuary. It’s still there, I believe, for anyone to see every week.
Medford First Church of the Nazarene, Medford, Oregon.
Folks in Corvallis, OR, Are Busy
Folks from several Corvallis area churches offer free lunches one day a week for international students in Oregon State University. Volunteers prepare and serve 4 or 5 soups while other volunteers sit at tables with students, getting to know them.
An activity called English Corner is held at a church near the OSU campus. Volunteers come on Friday evenings and meet with students who would like to improve their English through conversations.
A group runs a 12-session correspondence course for California prison inmates that is focused on anger management and other equally worthwhile pursuits.
Reaching Out to Adults
Reaching out to people does not always mean a large, well organized event with lots of people around tables filled with food and pamphlets. It can more frequently just be a one-on-one transaction. For instance, several years ago I fell, and after that I started to use a cane. I then found out something pretty amazing . . . . lots of people help people that use canes! They wait at the doors to Starbucks for you even if you're twenty feet away! Old people, young people, the teenagers we always worry about, women hold the doors for me, a man, even bikers with chains across their chests hold the doors open! Parents have scolded their children if they didn't hold the door for me. It's virtually everybody.
When this used to happen I'd always smile and thank them, and they smiled back with a sympathetic look on their faces. But I realized I wasn't taking advantage of this moment. There was an intimacy, a connection, and certainly an opportunity there waiting for me. So I then I changed my smile and thank you to the statement . . . . "I'll bet you go to church, too."
The response has been wonderful! If they do go to church they reply with a slight reluctance, "Yes, I do," they'll say. And if they don't go to church we can, and do, talk about that. One woman that I met had just moved to the area from down south, so I was able to invite her to the fabulous church my wife and I attend. I always encourage the ones that don't go to church to consider going sometime soon, and no one has even hit me yet. Really, some of the conversations have been great.
And I'm sure there are always such opportunities out there waiting for each of us.
The Neat Young Man in Florida
Here's another one-on-one experience . . . . recently I had to call a Costco tech support person for help in entering the Bible into my new tablet. I was frustrated, the tech was not at first aware of how little I knew about tablets or even computers for that matter, and I was beginning to ask myself if I did the right thing by buying this doggone device. With his patient help I did get the "app" loaded, and it even appeared that it would work. I learned that the tech was in Florida, and I asked him if he ever read the Bible, to which he replied, "Oh, I used to." I asked a few more questions and learned that he used to go to church, he stopped because he didn't like the church he was attending, and since he did not have a car it would be difficult to go to a new church.
So, I suggested he get on the Web and select a church based upon its location and proximity to his home, and to pick one that offered an inviting and engaging Web site. I suggested he call the church and ask if they have someone that could pick him up and take him to church each Sunday. The young man said, "REALLY????." I sensed his incredulity. I also told him that if the church won't arrange a ride for him that he's to call me, and I'll call the church.
I haven't heard from him.