Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

What’s in a name? A simple change can make a big difference.

December 20, 2009

Sometimes people avoid serving on a church’s evangelism or outreach committee because they fear witnessing to their faith. You can overcome that fear with training and experience, however perhaps the word ‘evangelism’ itself scares people away. Effective sharing of the Gospel (evangelism = telling the Good News) usually happens as a believer builds a relationship with an unbeliever. So the church committee is not necessarily the group that does the work, but empowers all members of the congregation to share their faith with family, friends and the community.

There’s nothing sacred about the name ‘evangelism committee’ so why not consider a ‘re-branding’ as the marketers say. Call it the ‘community connection team’ (most people today don’t like the word committee) or faith engagement group. I’m sure there are lots of ideas out there. In a simple name-change, you also establish a focused direction. The goal becomes creating opportunities for members to share their faith perhaps through servant events, Friendship Sunday, special concerts – ways to engage the community in the life of the church. And you can define the various communities: active members; inactives; community-at-large; youth; seniors etc.

Your congregation exists as a community of believers within your larger community. Make 2010 the year you discover new ways to touch the lives of those around you with the love of Christ.

What to do with leftovers

December 17, 2009

Often congregations find they have extra copies of church publications like The Canadian Lutheran. LCC’s mission executive, Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, takes the extras and leaves two or three copies of the magazine on a table in the lobby of his apartment building. By the next day they are gone. He then places another two or three and they to disappear. He suggests if you do this type of outreach not to leave a large number of copies as they are more likely to draw the attention of the cleaners. He is now going to begin including information about a nearby LCC congregation inside the magazines.

You can do a similar type of outreach with Project Connect booklets from Lutheran Hour Ministries (www.lll.ca). These booklets focus on topical issues such as coping with cancer, divorce, depression and parenting and provide a Lutheran perspective from God’s Word. There is a place on the booklet to add your church information or even your own information if you want to connect one-2-one with those who pick up the material.

Community outreach tips for Christmas

December 3, 2009

Community Outreach Tips for Christmas
from Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Equipping to Share newsletter

If you haven’t yet made plans to connect with your community this Christmas, now is no time to dawdle. We will help you along by providing the ideas so you can focus on gathering your team and resources to quickly engage for Christmas outreach!

Bring church to the community.
In a community gathering area
-perform a Christmas production.
-conduct your Christmas Eve Service.

Provide Senior Citizens with a ride
-to a lights display.
-Christmas shopping.

Go Caroling
-in low income areas
-on a street corner or out front of a store.
-Hand out hot chocolate and candy canes.

at senior centers.
-Bring the children to sing.
-Bring Christmas cookies.

Offer give-aways on college campuses.
-Hot chocolate
-Christmas cookies
-Candy canes
-Gas cards to drive home

Offer free daycare for community parents to Christmas shop (if licensed).

Bless Business people.
Surprise employees by delivering a basket or stocking of Christmas goodies to be shared by the staff. Include a card that says, “Merry Christmas (or Blessed Christmas)! This is a busy time of year for you. We want you to know how much we appreciate you and to show you God’s love in a practical way!”

Give away Christmas trees.
A week before Christmas, contact Christmas tree lot owners around the area. A few days before Christmas, they may be willing to give away their remaining trees. Deliver these to financially stretched single parent families.

Utilize witnessing tools to spread the Christmas message.
Give out nails or candy cane ornaments with the Gospel message attached and an invitation to your Christmas event.

Perform random acts of kindness in the community.
-Shovel snow for the congregation’s neighbors.
-Provide free gift-wrapping at the mall. Depending on your mall, you may have to rent the space.
-Feed the homeless.

Christmas invitations

December 1, 2009

During any year a congregation sees a lot of visitors or people on the fringe who attend special events. They know where the church is and may even have relatives who are members. Why not invite them all back for Christmas services?

The church will have records of those who were part of baptisms, marriages, funerals and confirmations. And don’t forget all the families who attended your VBS!

Many congregations see outside groups use the building. Invite those people too. Ask the leaders to distribute invitations at AA meetings, Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides, nursery school, kids programs—all those who know who you are and where you are.

At Christmas or any other time, we know that a personal invitation is the best way for people to become involved!

Advent and Christmas connections

November 26, 2009

Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, Lutheran Church–Canada’s mission executive shares connection ideas.

1. Unwrap the Gift of the Advent and Christmas services to your church’s surrounding community, to your family members and friends. Outward-focused congregations try to engage people in their surrounding communities especially during this season, inviting them for fellowship, worship, coffee or hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols. These activities build bridges for Gospel sharing. During this time encourage your pastor and church members to focus outward, unwrapping for many the Greatest Gift of all.

2. CCCC – Connecting Christ with the lonely and solitary in your community this Christmas. Several churches and organizations will hand out food and clothing for those who are without food, clothing and shelter. At this time of year caring churches get busy outside their sanctuaries trying to warm up the lives and hearts of people with the love of Jesus Christ. A women’s group in one congregation participated in “warm feet for the street.” They went out to needy people on the streets of Vancouver and handed out socks and warm clothing with a Christian greeting and message. Doing these things for others is like doing it for Jesus Himself, as He says, “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).

3. Connect for Christ with those in nursing homes, hospitals and prisons. A friendly visit, a Christian Christmas greeting, a prayer—or just being there with those who suffer—is a great sign of love and compassion. It imparts comfort and helps to alleviate their burdens as we share Jesus with them. Members can find themselves enriched greatly in their Christian life as they take time to regularly visit people in hospitals and prisons. As Jesus said: “… I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’” (Matthew 25:36).

4. Among her other activities, Ruth Peng keeps herself busy during the week reaching out to others and inviting them to meet Jesus at her church on weekends. As her pastor, I had the privilege of meeting the friends she would bring to service and fellowship on Sunday mornings. Early this year she met a lady, Linda, at a shopping mall in Vancouver. After personal introductions and ice-breaking moments she invited Linda to join her in church. It took some time for Linda to come, but Ruth had kept in contact with her. Ruth started faithfully and regularly praying for Linda in our prayer service. One day they arranged to go out for coffee together. The following Sunday Linda and Ruth attended worship, Bible study and fellowship time. Linda had made the point that her mom had been baptized in a Lutheran church, but she had never attended a church herself. Linda became interested in the teachings of the Bible; she came to our adult class; later she was baptized and now Ruth meets with her every week for Bible study and prayer. What a joy! “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” (Isaiah 52:7).

5. Pray for your community this Christmas, for someone to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Build bridges for Jesus’ sake. A member of my previous congregation makes a point of keeping her prayer list up-to-date. She prays for each member of her congregation. When she meets people in her community or when visitors come to church, she reaches out to them, takes their names and prays for them regularly – and follows up with a personal contact. Prayer and community mission outreach go hand-in- hand producing results for the salvation of people and for the glory of Christ.

Outreach on the run

October 7, 2009

Here’s how one congregation connected with its community. http://infodigest.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/outreach-on-the-run/

Make the most of Halloween

October 7, 2009

There is no other time of year when so many people come to your door. Use this opportunity for the Lord! Give the children who visit your home a treat they can use over and over. A JCPlayzone bookmark directs children to www.JCPlayZone.com from Lutheran Hour Ministries—a safe place for young children to use the Internet and learn about Jesus. The colourful bookmark features happy critters and the reverse side encourages parents to check out www.JCParentZone.com, the companion site that has great tips and features for them.

JC PlayZone bookmarks (Item # 6FE119) are $3 for a package of 50. Order from Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada (1-800-555-6236) or e-mail: helpful@lll.ca .

UPDATE: LHM’s JCPlayZone Web site for kids received a 2009 Best of Industry WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development from the Web Marketing Association.

Making a strong community connection

September 29, 2009

Here’s a great story about a congregation making a huge impact on their community. Think what would happen if every church took on a project like this!

http://www.lcms.org/pages/rpage.asp?NavID=15661

Make the Winter Olympics outreach a local event

September 17, 2009

If you can’t make it to Vancouver, use the Games as a focus for congregational community outreach events!

Olympic “fever” will spread across Canada as the torch run begins the countdown to the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. The Olympics provides us with an excellent opportunity to connect with our communities and share the Good News of our Lord! 

How can the Olympic Games provide your congregation with local outreach opportunities in your own community?

  • Host a sports outreach event (i.e. block party) at your local park or your gym.
  • Host an open crowd and big screen community festival (e.g. the Opening Ceremonies and/or the Gold Medal hockey game might be projected on a large screen in your gym or fellowship hall)
  • Organize a weekend sports camp for kids, similar to a VBS;
  • Distribute sports specific Christian literature in your community.
  • Buy and distribute copies of the sports-oriented DVD Struggle and Triumph (www.tobiascom.com/lcc )
  • If the Olympic Torch is going through your area, think of ways you can serve those lining the torch route (http://tinyurl.com/n4rfds)

To help you organize local events, More Than Gold, a Christian church network focusing connecting with people at the Vancouver Olympics, has produced a helpful “How to” manual which you can download for free at: http://tinyurl.com/nkk5bx

More Than Gold (www.morethangold.ca  is looking for people to serve in the area of creative and performing arts or on mission teams, in Internet cafés, at sports camps or in social ministry initiatives. More Than Gold can also provide you with ideas/resources of how to organize and host local outreach events.Sign up on the More Than Gold (www.morethangold.ca/content/churches ) website as a participating church and then request information. More Than Gold has inexpensive outreach resources that you can purchase (E.g. a Gospel of Mark is $1; a copy of the New Testament is $2).

Witness and serve at the Winter Olympics

September 17, 2009

VANCOUVER, B.C. More than 300,000 visitors from around the world will attend the Winter Olympic Games (February 12-28, 2010) and the Paralympics Games (March 12-21, 2010) in Vancouver. Many of the visitors, and a majority of people who live in Vancouver do not believe in Christ as their Saviour from sin, death and the devil. Would you like to volunteer to serve as a Christian witness for two, three, or four days or possibly a week or two while at the same time experiencing the Winter Olympics? What an opportunity for congregational outreach teams to participate in a short-term outreach trip and for Christian musicians and congregation worship teams to share the Gospel through concerts! 

 Trinity Lutheran Church, Richmond, and Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Vancouver are planning outreach events (e.g. Internet café; children’s sports camp; evening music concerts, etc.) throughout the Olympic Games (February 12-28, 2010) and need your help.

 To see the planned outreach activities and how you can be part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, visit the ABC District website at: http://www.lccabc.ca/vancouver2010. Some of the LCC congregations, in the Vancouver Metropolitan area, are providing lodging to volunteers either in their church building or with some fellow Lutherans who are billeting outreach volunteers. This information is also available at: http://www.lccabc.ca/vancouver2010. Volunteers need to fund their own expenses and arrange/reserve their own lodging.