Collecting and connecting for the good of your neighbours

Posted November 23, 2010 by Adnams Group
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Use your church or school as a community drop-off for your local food bank and connect with the people who donate!

Canadian communities are experiencing increases in the number of people relying on food banks. Some congregations operate their own food banks, others assist with community food banks by collecting or helping sort and package food in the facility.

This Advent season, why not cooperate with your local food bank and offer your church or school as a community drop-off for non-perishable food items? Not only would it introduce people to your church or school premises but, more important, it provides opportunities for congregation members to reach out to those in need with the love of Christ, make connections with people in the community, and share the real meaning of Christmas.

“This service helps the congregation to focus on our holistic mission as caring for the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbours,” noted Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Lutheran Church–Canada’s executive for mission and social ministry. “It is certainly a blessing for all. It echo’s Jesus’ words, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’ (Matthew 25:35-36).

All you need is a large container to hold donations. Members can volunteer to staff the drop-off location, greet donors, offer some coffee or hot chocolate and share information about Christmas services, the real meaning of Christmas and ongoing activities at the church. A selection of DVDs (ie: The Story of Jesus for Children) could also be available, along with LHM Project Connect booklets, especially The Meaning of Christmas.

You can establish specific hours for drop-off, including Sundays, even during service times. Then greeters would have the opportunity to ask people to join the Sunday morning service!

The church will need to arrange with the food bank a time for you to take the donations to its main location or for them to pick-up donations so the food items are in the system as soon as possible.

Work with your local media to let people know that you are providing a local drop-off location for the food bank.

While Christmas is a favourite time for this kind of project, congregations could maintain the system throughout the year.

Take the message to the public square creatively!

Posted November 21, 2010 by Adnams Group
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One of the more recent social phenomena is the “flash mob.” A group of people gather in a specified area and perform a song or a dance routine spontaneously—at least it looks that way. Sometimes others join in; most of the time people simply enjoy the performance.

A well-rehearsed, well-planned and well-performed mob can provide a lot of opportunities to meet people and share the meaning behind a Christian flash mob’s message.

Watch this video and think of all the one-on-one conversations that could take place!

Church welcomes Halloween guests

Posted October 20, 2010 by Adnams Group
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by C.D. Pelzer

On an evening when children and parents prowl Regina’s neighbourhoods seeking treats, a north-end church is marking an historical date by inviting everyone to visit.

A trail of jack o'lanterns leads to the front door of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church

October 31, 2010 marks the 493rd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation as measured from the date when a German monk, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses (complaints against the church) to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Regina, is celebrating this anniversary in a way Luther would probably never have thought of, but very likely endorsed.

Mount Olive’s annual open house on October 31 sees the congregation make jack o’lanterns carved with friendly faces rather than the usual Halloween-style images and place them around the church building. When all the lanterns are alight, the congregation invites the neighbours in to visit and enjoy some treats.

Along with candies and goodies Mount Olive, at 2015- 4th Avenue North, offers everyone a place to warm-up, enjoy a drink and meet its members.

“When we started this event we expected that it might be a novel way to introduce ourselves and our faith. said Pastor Ted Giese, Associate Pastor at Mount Olive and the creative force behind many of the carved pumpkins. “We found this is a really great way for our neighbours to get to know us a bit better.”    

Congregation members donate treats and spend time at the church giving out the candies with a generous, neighbourly touch. People living near the church note the buzz of activity on Halloween night and remark how much they enjoy both the array of brightly lit pumpkins and the positive effect it has on them, too. Some have even brought candies and treats to the church to share with the little revellers .

“Mount Olive has a great and caring group of members,” adds Pastor Terry Defoe.  “An important feature people note when visiting us at our worship services is how friendly  and welcoming people are.”

The many services provided at Mount Olive are described on the congregation’s website at http://www.mountolive.ca/

Share more than turkey at Thanksgiving

Posted October 1, 2010 by Glenn Schaeffer
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Genuine love is expressed not only in word but in deed. St. James writes, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?’ In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

Thanksgiving is a time for us to thank our Creator for His daily provision for all we need to support our body and life. It’s also a time for us to praise our Saviour for His sacrificial death on the cross and all the subsequent fruit that springs forth from the cross into our lives.

Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to thank God for His bountiful gifts not only in word, song, and prayer, but also by sharing His gifts with those in need. How might we love not only in word but in deed?

  • Invite a lonely university student(s) to your home for Thanksgiving supper (and invite him/her to your Thanksgiving worship service!) and continue to foster a relationship with the student(s).
  • Volunteer to serve a Thanksgiving dinner at a local food shelter and continue to serve at the shelter throughout the year.
  • Visit a friend who is in hospital or have supper with a loved one confined to a nursing home and continue making weekly visits to that friend or loved one.
  • Working with a local public school, organize a clothing exchange; provide the school with “lunch” items (Mr. Noodles, juice boxes, granola bars) for students who “forget” their lunches; and discuss with the administration how you can partner with them throughout the year.

Ideas and opportunities for putting God’s love into action are endless! Share ways that you (and your congregation) are involved in God’s grace of giving to the community!

Rev. Dr. Glenn Schaeffer is the executive assistant to the president responsible for Outreach in the ABC District

University and college students need God’s love too!

Posted September 10, 2010 by Adnams Group
Categories: Uncategorized

by Kurt Lantz
Last night I answered a knock revealing three young ladies who are attending the local university. They had just moved in to the house next door and were bringing cookies to the neighbours to introduce themselves and warn us about a party they were hosting this Friday night. How does a middle-aged man—or anyone for that matter—show the love of Christ to these young women without looking like some creepy neighbour who is just a little too interested in them?

Beyond the stereotypes, university and college students are smart, not just in book knowledge but also in the ways of the world. They have been burned by boyfriends and exploited by employers. They know insincerity a mile away. If we are to approach them with the love of Christ, then it must come from a sincere heart and a godly desire for their spiritual well-being. It must express the love of Christ and not our own self-centred kind of love.

There are plenty of opportunities to show such Christian love toward students, particularly at the beginning of the academic year. They are excited about their studies. They are on an adventure that, often, has taken them far from home into a new city where they are making new friends and even meeting new roommates. We have the wonderful opportunity to share their excitement and let them know we are happy and encouraged by their zeal for life. We can greet them with a smile ask them to tell us about what they are studying and where they are headed with it, and then follow it up with a genuine blessing: “God bless you in your studies/new home/endeavours.” Sometimes it is appropriate to express loving concern and care: “The Lord keep you safe.”

These students are taking major steps of independence from home and family. We can respect that in a way that reminds them they do not have to be totally independent. While not doting upon them, we can let them know God will always be there for them and that the love of Christ in us is ready and willing to support them in every need.

But this love must be genuine, not contrived. It can only be the love in response to the love Christ which He has shown to us in His merciful death upon the cross for our selfish sins. It is that love with which He fills us when we hear His holy Word preached, when we feel the hand of absolution upon our own heads, and when His body and blood are put into our mouths, which strengthens us in faith toward Him and in fervent love for one another.

Rev. Kurt Lantz, is LCC chaplain at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is also pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Catharines.

Sharing the Gospel in a public space

Posted September 3, 2010 by Adnams Group
Categories: Uncategorized

Watch this and share your ideas about sharing the Gospel in a public space

Here’s the story of one congregation which takes its sermons onto the street.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/852639–a-righteous-disturbance-or-a-democratic-right

Is there a right or wrong way to engage the public with the message of God’s love for them in Christ Jesus?

World Cup “big screen” can make connections

Posted June 10, 2010 by Adnams Group
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During the Olympic Winter Games earlier this year, many churches offered “big screen” coverage of major events. At one of these events, Trinity Lutheran Church in Richmond B.C. made contact with a local family who are now part of their worshipping fellowship.

This month an even bigger event provides new opportunities for connecting with people in your community – The 2010 FIFA World Cup. We North Americans don’t understand how important soccer (football) is to the rest of the world! The fervour of the fans far exceeds that of Canadian hockey fans. And we have thousands of Canadians who follow soccer, many who are new to our country.

Begin planning for a big screen soccer event by checking the demographics of your neighbourhood and choose specific games that may be of interest. Using a fellowship area in your church, connect a video projector and sound system to a TV feed and find the biggest, whitest wall to show the games. Pop some popcorn, provide some beverages and let the community know they can join others for the big games. Make sure you have helpful literature available (Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Project Connect booklets are excellent) along with information about your church programs. The most important part is having friendly, helpful volunteers to meet and greet. 

By providing ‘big screen’ fellowship events during the World Cup, you may find yourself making new friends with people from other cultures who otherwise may never think of coming to your church.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup may open new doors for sharing the Gospel with new groups of people.