BRIDGEBUILDING CHURCHES CHANGE

13 10 2013

800px-Change1BY STEVE DUNN

Many churches subscribe the concept that they need to be building redemptive relationships with the unchurched in their community.  Whether it is out a church growth motivation – more people to carry out the church’s mission; or evangelistic passion–lost people matter to God, they make commitments and plans to build bridges out into the community to connect with those who are in the area of mission.

But there is a price to building such bridges.  It is a change in the church itself.  Not only will there be new people to deal with and new needs to be met; but churches will find that they must make some significant shifts in their culture and they way they do ministry if they are truly to reach people who up until now have note given them the time of day.

In our work with these churches, especially those who are  successful in truly reaching their unchurched neighbors, here are some of the changes that occur:

 Maintenance to Mission

Inward-focus to outward-focused

Gaining decisions to making disciples

Members of an organization to disciples of the Risen Lord

Attractional to incarnational

Safe to sacrificial servants

Clergy-focused to the Priesthood of All Believers

Tasks and Jobs to Spiritual Gifts

One day a week to 24/7

Going to church to being the church

Human led to Holy Spirit led

Is there anything on that list that troubles you?  Is there anything on that listen that might create conflict in your church?  The answer to the last question is, “EVERYTHING on the list.”

What are your thoughts on these changes?

This list comes from THE BRIDGBUILDERS PRINCIPLE by Stephen L Dunn (C) 2013





A SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE WITNESS

8 03 2013

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BY STEVE DUNN

“Would you be willing to put a cross on your front line as a simple expression of witness?”

This is how an older lady in a Methodist Church in Harrisburg PA began  a quiet announcement in her church.  “People have all kinds  of signs on their front lawns for many purposes.  How about a simple cross that simply says ‘A Christian lives here.”

Ultimately 250 persons from her church living around the Linglestown area of the city had crosses on their front lawns.  Not garish.  No other messages–but the most powerful one.  “A Christian lives here.”

One day a lady knocked at the door of a house with this cross on the lawn.  “My car broke down, my cell phone doesn’t work, and I am lost,” she told the homeowner.  “I really didn’t known what to do, and then I saw your cross and thought, ‘Someone with  cross will surely help.”

What a wonderful serendipity of the Spirit!  What a wonderful witness!  What a wonderful way to say to a community in an inviting and non-threatening way, “A follower of Jesus lives here.”





BRIDGEBUILDING IDEAS

22 02 2013

page25_picture0_1345493656These are some ideas Bridgebuilder churches have used to begin developing a redemptive relationship with their communities.

Volunteering to help the cafeteria workers in the schools

This is a great one for building a rapport with the school and helping your people see that side of life

Taking a Vacation Bible School INTO a neighborhood

This helps people meet you—lets them see their children are safe with you—lets your people meet neighbors who may hide out in their houses otherwise

Offer A GOOD QUESTION Forum in a neighborhood coffee shop

This I can share in detail—but you create a middle space where people are invited to come, enjoy coffee and ask questions about the Bible, God, Christianity etc—where they will not be asked to join anything , agreed or commit to anything.

Throw a Baby Shower for an Unwed Mother

Walk the Neighbor Hood and Ask “How can we make this a better place to live for you?”Great starter for spiritual conversations)

Adopting a Food Bank and Offering Coaching in Food Preparation

Microwavable and easy-to-prepare food is not often present and people have to learn how to use the food they receive

Diaper Changing Stations at Community Festivals

Setting up a Prayer Station at a Community to Pray for Loved Ones in Afghanistan, etc.

Does your church have an idea they would share with us?





CHURCHES BUILDING BRIDGES – NEW CUMBERLAND

7 02 2013

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FROM CHARLIE ZAHORA and the New Cumberland PA Church of God:

We have a small team at our church called the CORE team, Community OutReach Events. We formed last year and have completed several outreach events. We began by adopting a “mission field” outside our church door, which is about 10 square blocks and 350 homes. In this area we hosted three “Meet Your Neighbor Barbeques”, gave every home a potted flower with an invitation to the barbeques, walked around giving away quarts of homemade chicken corn soup, hosted free summer lunches for school kids, done a few home repair projects for disabled folks, elderly & single mothers, picked up litter, done prayer walks, and a few other ministries. We’ve had lots of “touches” and have been content with our impact. Our intent is to GO into the local community and serve as missionaries. Thanks for any ideas.





THE LEADWOOD STORY CONTINUES

7 12 2012

Kristina Wallace shares more of the story from Leadwood and reflects our kingdom focus in Bridgdbuilding churches. -Steve

This story is not ending or should I say mission? Philip felt he needed to go check back on a new family we found on Thanksgiving, by the way others were praying for and we did not know it. The husband has left wife and 4 small kids. 8 yr old boy says there is no Santa or God, if there why did this happen. We did call our group together and as of now they are going to have a Christmas. They are having to relocate so, the kids have been set up with an Awanas Baptist group for church near them since Mom has no car.. Not that we want to encourage Santa or the Baptist, LOL, but we are trying to to get him to believe, God does care. Praises for the Thanksgiving dinner and God mixing our paths and for allowing a special prayer to go on, on her front porch. Just to be able to watch all these things are amazing.

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BRIDGEBUILDING IN LEADWOOD, MISSOURI

6 12 2012

601451_417497298299652_1223959938_nKristina Wallace and her husband Phil were part of the Bridgebuilders Seminar we did for the Western Regional Conference of the Churches of God in October in Branson MO.  She shared this report with Steve.

My husband and brother thought I should send you a message with NUMBERS, since I am a numbers person. As I discussed with you at Branson, we have had a summer feeding outreach and I have been concerned about not seeing the numbers at church attendance. Well, I was totally not prepared for the numbers God sent to me. Leadwood City Hall contacted Kendall because they wanted to make sure people in the community had thanksgiving dinner. So he and I went to talk with them. Their words were,”since you are the only church in town who feed and help people, we wanted to partner with you.” These are not church going people. I met with our group and we contacted the ones we had helped during the summer and got flyers out. Meanwhile City Hall got donations of: 10 turkeys(cooked by the school), 3 hams, 100# potatoes, all the veggies and stuffing. Our Church of God sister churches found out and brought in desserts. Police officers and firefighters came to go out with us and 162 meals were delivered. 42 church and non-church people worked side by side to fill meal boxes. 16 bags groceries were given out. We found new people without food. The meals were truly needed by those who were served. As we prayed at homes our non church workers were right there beside us. Praise God it was ” ONE”, wonderful day! Thought you might be interested in the NUMBERS. FYI-Kristina Wallace