THE DREADED E-WORD

14 06 2017

Several years ago I was asked by my regional conference to help establish a commission on evangelism. The purpose was to help develop a ministry of evangelism throughout our conference to help us live out the Great Commission. It was a challenge I gladly accepted because (1) I believe that is our primary calling as the church (2) evangelism is my personal life passion.

Not too long after it was announced that I had taken on this assignment, I received a communication from a good friend and pastor of one of our thriving congregations. “Congratulations and thank you.  This is something we have needed for some time. Just one thought. Could you call it something besides evangelism. People get really turned off or frightened by that word.”

Considering the source of that comment, and possessing the overall belief in the importance of what we would be doing–I was dumbfounded. It had never crossed my mind to call it anything but evangelism. (For reasons I will share in a later post, we chose to keep using the word.)

Most Christians care about the eternal destiny of their neighbors and families. Most believe the church should be doing evangelism. Most understand that they are the church.  So why don’t more Christians engage in evangelism?

Here are the top two reasons:

1. The fear of offending someone or being rejected.  Many of us buy into the cultural idea that religion is a personal matter. We tend to want to belong, to fit in.

2. They don’t know how.





BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINAR AT ELIZABETHTOWN PA

14 06 2017




ACTS OF KINDNESS

8 06 2016

543d91b2112d4.imageBY STEVE DUNN

“Like a  a good neighbor, State Farm is there” – tag line for popular television commercial

I confess I often leave the room when the commercials come on.  Only the most clever or creative reverse that urge.  One that captures me has people finding themselves in unexpected predicaments or overwhelming problems and they say these “magic words” and poof!-their friendly insurance agent appears to help them.

One of the best ways for a local church to connect with its community and become a valuable neighbor is to keep their Acts of Kindness ministry active, aware, and timely.  Many years ago the “random acts of kindness” movement emerged in America, then refined by people like Steve Sjoberg and the Vineyard Fellowship into “servant acts of kindness.”   Such a commitment changed the focus and the image of local cburches–definitely for the better.

After a while all good ministries lose momentum and slip into the plethora of church activities that occupy volunteer time and church resources.  That might be acceptable for study group or worship methods, but it cannot happen to the church’s outreach.

It is helpful to remember these simple principles:

  1. Be more intentional than random.  Acts of Kindness need planning so that they produce the best results, avoid embarrassment to your people, and don’t cause your own busy people to think they are wasting their valuable time.
  2. Don’t abandon the spontaneous.  Nonetheless, sometimes the Holy Spirit presents you with an unanticipated opportunity.  Go for it!
  3. Teach your people to do individual acts of kindness.  Teach people to be alert to their neighbors and their needs, give them some tools of discernment, and encourage them not to have to have a crowd to serve Jesus well.
  4. Follow up. Not for bragging, but for ministry–try reconnecting with the people you have helped (a) to see if you really helped (b) see if there is a deeper need (c) connect them to the Jesus in whose name you were helping them.
  5. Pray for opportunities by giving you and your church a heart for their neighbors.

This post originally appeared in my blog BEING THE BEST CHURCH FOR THE COMMUNITY.

 

© 2015 by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 





THE NEXT BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINAR – SEPTEMBER 11-12, 2015 CARLISLE PA

7 08 2015

40466_137821966257615_3396476_nThe next BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINAR New Hope Church of God in Carlisle PA

 SEPTEMBER 11-12, 2015

“Bridgebuilders-Helping Your Church Reach Its Unchurched Neighbors”

Dr. Steve Dunn. Leader

The church is located at 1250 Waggoners Gap Road Carlisle PA 17013

Session One: Friday Night  6:30-8:30 pm

The Mission Field Outside Our Front Door

What Every Church Needs to Be

Session Two: Saturday Morning  9:00 am-12:00 noon

What Every Missionary Needs to Know

Christ’s Respectful Ambassadors

Tools for Building Bridges

Getting Started As a Church (And as Individuals)

Cost is $15 per person or $50 flat rate for 4 or more people registering from the same church. Materials and snacks are included in the cost.  Register by calling the church at (717) 241-5544 or emailing pastordickwarner@gmail.com.  Checks should be made payable to the ERC and are due the day of the seminar.





LEADERSHIP FOR BRIDGEBUILDING CHURCHES

25 06 2015

church1_editedIn cooperation with the School of Evangelism, Bridgebuilders is planning two “graduate seminars” that build on what we have been learning these past five years. Each school will have two 2 ½-3 hour sessions on either consecutive Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings. The overall topic is: Leadership for Healthy, Outreaching, Disciplemaking Churches.

Individual topics will include: The Stewardship of Leadership, Helping the Church to Mature to Match Its Mission, Managing Change and Resolving Conflict, Measuring Your Health and Fruitfulness.

If you would be willing to host, or if you have interest in participating in such a training experience, please contact Dr.Steve Dunn at 717-471-3018 or sdunnpastor@gmail.com





CLUELESS OR WILLFULLY IGNORANT?

11 06 2015

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BY STEVE DUNN

I am often astounded when talking to church people who don’t seem to have a clue about the people living in the community around their facility. If they “see” people at all, it is to recognize the persons who are most like them and be reassured – or to see the ones unlike them and to move on down the road as quickly as possible. John Stott’s challenge for all churches to exegete their culture proves difficult because in their blindness, these people rarely see enough to gather the facts about the true nature of their community.

Bill Hybels is famous for his statement, “You have never locked eyes on someone for whom Christ has not died.”  But what motivation is that if our eyes are constantly averted from our neighbor and their condition.

I am reminded of the great premise of the American judicial system that “ignorance is no excuse.”  But in a higher court, one that we all face one day, the same premise holds true.  We read in Matthew 25:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 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, 36 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.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Isn’t it time we opened our eyes?

help_someone_block





THE BRIDGEBUILDER PRINCIPLE

13 03 2015

IMG_20150105_190159472For those of you who would like to learn more about the biblical foundations, ministry values, strategies and stories behind BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINARS, you will want a copy of Steve’s book (and the first publication of Bridgebuilder Publications, The Bridgebuilder Principle. This 124 page book is available for $12 plus shipping and handling.  You can order via the comment feature of this blog.