Many times throughout history The Church has been known strictly by the things it's against. We want to be known by the things we are for. We Are For Our Neighbors. One of the best ways we can show this is by loving our neighbors through acts of service.
It’s day 1 of the 21 days of fasting and prayer and believe us: God is ready to move! He wants to do something in and through you during this collective time of prayer as you seek clarity and grow to know his character more deeply.
So maybe you’ve never been a part of fasting or prayer. If not, the terms “prayer and fasting” can be a little intimidating. Questions like, "Where do I start? What do I read? What should I pray for?” are all common. But don’t let that stop you from jumping in!
In fact, we’ve made it easier to be a part of the 21 days of fasting and prayer. Simply follow the outline below for week #1 as a scripture, reflection, and prayer guide for each day. We are excited and anticipate God to do an incredible work among us as we, as a church, seek Him in a fresh way!
READ: Ephesians 2:14 ”For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”
REFLECT: How is Jesus your peacemaker today?
PRAY: Jesus YOU are the ultimate gift of peace. You came to break down walls and make us whole. Help me to rest in your life-giving peace today. Amen.
TUESDAY: BURDEN BEARER
READ: Psalm 55: 22 "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
REFLECT: What is your burden in life today?
PRAY: God you know every concern and every heavy load. Yet you have pledged to carry it all for me. Thank you for helping me to lay down these burdens so that YOU sustain me.
READ: Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
REFLECT: What does your story look like?
PRAY: Father, it is you who created me and it is you actively writing my story. Every day, every circumstance [good and bad], every part of who I am was formed for you and for your purpose. Thank you for reminding me that my story is linked to your story. Amen.
READ: 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 "So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God."
REFLECT: How is God providing for you today?
PRAY: Everything I am and everything that I have belongs to you, God. Thank you for faithfully providing every need and graciously giving me more than I ever need. Help me to boast only in YOU. Amen.
FRIDAY: MIGHTY ONE
READ: Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
REFLECT: What is God saving you from today?
PRAY: You are the mighty One. No matter how my foot may fail, you save me. Even when I have fallen, you rejoice over me, you quiet my fears and worries, and you sing over me! Mighty Savior, I promise to trust in you! Amen.
READ: John 16:33 "“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
REFLECT: What do these verses say about what our response should be to trials and setbacks?
PRAY: Lord, YOU are the great conqueror who has overcome sin and death! You triumph over all and in you I can have full confidence. Thank you for reminding me of your power and the safety I can only find in you. Amen.
READ: Romans 8:26: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
REFLECT: How is the Holy Spirit helping you in your weakness today?
PRAY: Holy Spirit, thank you for shielding me and for guiding me. No matter what my prayer needs, thank you for knowing what I need even when I don't and interceeding on my behalf. Today, may I rest in knowing that I can always rely on you as the great Helper. Amen.
Growth can be exciting and even sometimes overwhelming. It can bring about great clarity or great confusion; it can engage people or enrage people; it can serve as catalyst for exponential reach or exponential setbacks. To continuing growing as a church, it’s important for us to understand and know how to properly respond to GROWTH.
One of the greatest challenges for any new start up company, organization, or even church, is the ability to grow in a healthy way. The ability to move from simplicity to complexity. In fact, we can see the reality of this challenge in the growth of our personal family dynamics. When a couple unites together in marriage they have the simplicity of the honeymoon phase. This is when a couple begins to work out what it means to enjoy, serve and love each other. “Let the adventure begin!” they’ll say.
Time will pass and growth will be desired. Therein, the joyous announcement of a new addition comes. This next chapter for a growing family brings excitement yet complexity… and it doesn't end there. With it comes the possibility of more kids, pets, school, homework, practice for sports, time with the in-laws, you name it! The simplicity experienced initially in the honeymoon phase is replaced by the complexity of family growth and demands. The responsibilities of a growing family can hit you like a tsunami unless you understand and properly respond to that growth.
The early church experienced the same tension and pull of a growing family. The book of Acts gives us great insight on how the first church grew in a healthy way. It’s a great blueprint for moving from simplicity to complexity and it allows us the ability to keep the mission front and center.
In Acts 5, the numeric growth curve is off the charts. “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women…” (Acts 5:14). Believers were multiplying rapidly and they weren’t exempt from encountering all the natural challenges that come with growth. The ability to move from simplicity to complexity was essential for the mission of reaching every man, woman, and child!
Here’s what we can learn from the early church as they thrived:
The early church grew both large and small (at the same time). See Acts 2:46. While placing an emphasis on both the gathering of believers in the Temple courts, they also encouraged the gathering of believers in homes, around the dinner table, where they knew true community would take place. We celebrate as a church family during our Sunday gatherings but we have to place an emphasis on authentic community that takes place in a home environment to grow on a deeper level. That’s why we will have Missional Community Groups launching in our near future.
The early church equipped and appointed new leadership as needed. See Acts 6:3. The leadership of the early church equipped and empowered people to carry out the vision. They knew it couldn’t be done by a few who did it all. They kept the duplication of leadership in mind as they appointed and invited others to join with them in the task of bringing others to Christ. We know that all believers can help in reaching every person with the message of the Gospel when they own the vision of living on mission. Which is exactly why the church has to be in the business of developing and reproducing leaders.
The early church got it—they needed a simple strategy that allowed the church to grow (increasing complexity) in a healthy, effective way. Through it, they engaged and equipped; they reproduced and served people wholeheartedly; and most importantly, they reached people... by the thousands. This is our hope too—It’s why we do what we do to reach our community for Christ.
Sundays aren’t for church anymore.
Renovation Church is all about celebrating. It would be easy to count who is attending and get excited about how God is bringing new faces every week, but filled seats are not what motivates us — It’s the life-changing power in the name of Jesus. A vision and mission for reaching EVERY man, woman, and child with repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the Gospel.
So what if we stopped counting those who fill our seats, and started counting those in our community who aren’t? If only about 25% are actually going to church, that means about 7 out of 10 people are NOT attending church on Sundays. For our area, that’s about 16,000 people. Let that sink in.
Now think on this: Hampstead is a thriving community FULL of families — some have been here for years, others recently relocated. It’s a community that will rally around building local business while also staying true to their fishing roots. They love their families, and they love a good event FOR the family—It’s no wonder why the Spot Festival draws THOUSANDS of people every year—because it both promotes a family environment AND their local business.
So if Sundays aren’t for church anymore, what can we do about it?
We can forego a Sunday morning gathering so that the 16,000 who wouldn't normally set foot in one of our environments can participate in a community-wide event that they will want to attend.We can work hard to be what we stand for—to create intentional, outside-of-the-box opportunities to engage those who would never step in our doors.We can do as Jesus clearly commanded — abandon the 99 to reach the 1 (see Matthew 18:22).
So come join us this Sunday, October 11th for our first-ever Party In The Park at 12pm out at Kiwanis Park. Food Trucks, FREE inflatables, face painting, crafts, music, and giveaways! Oh, and by the way — We’ll reopen the doors back at Topsail Middle School, 10:30am on Sunday, October 18th. It will be an incredible morning celebrating the wins from Party In The Park — So be sure to join us for that party too!
As a nation, we’ve just come off of celebrating one of the greatest holidays of the year—Independence Day. Our founding fathers fought long and hard for a nation that would be established on a new idea, a new principle of governance: "One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”
But here we are several hundred years later and we’re currently struggling to live indivisible, as one nation. Recently, this struggle was made all to real by the massacre at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. In a place of refuge, hope, deliverance, love and acceptance—9 brothers and sisters in Christ were shot and killed because of the color of their skin.
Evil has a way of finding its place—even in the church. At times, the church has stood in silence, or worse, allowed ignorance to dissolve its value in God’s people. But it doesn’t have to be that way any longer.
As followers of Christ, we carry the Hope of the world within us—therefore, we’ve had the answer to racism all long.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:34-35
This is evident: People Matter to God, therefore people must matter to us. And because people matter, stories matter. On Sunday, we shared Hubert Graham's story: one that would tell the historical and present struggles of racism within the church.
It’s a story that forces us to think outside of our own perspective, so see the church through the lens of someone of a different race. It moves us to ask questions about our personal life and the responsibility of the church when it comes to race.
It’s stories like Hubert’s that show us how theissue of racism has kept our country and our churches divided for too long.
Here at Renovation Church we will do everything we can to do our part at ending racism and hatred of this kind. If we are really going to say that we are about “
Reaching Every man, woman, and child
” then we have to write a new history for our nation. That starts with the Church living out a new level of life that is truly indivisible—
as Jesus loved us.
For more on Sunday's message, listen to the podcast
If you didn't already know, we’re making a pretty big deal about Father’s Day. Why? Because making a big deal about Father’s Day means making a big deal about fatherhood. God has given the gift of fatherhood—a unique and pivotal role for men as they lead their households. There is no doubt about it, fathers have and will always play a significant part in leading our families, community, and nation. Fatherhood is important to God, and what is important to God must be important to us. As the Church, we have the privilege of supporting, encouraging, and investing in this leadership role.
Fathers are difference makers. For better or worse. In fact, the bible mentions several times the effect fathers can have on their children’s future:
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
"We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:4
We not only love dads but we value their effectiveness as leaders in the home. This Sunday (Father's Day), we’ve designed Dad Fest to be a great opportunity for inviting dads, the difference makers, to join us as we make a big deal about celebrating fatherhood. Our prayer is that every dad that attends finds a sense of belonging, hope, and genuine community. All over a piping-hot plate of MISSION BBQ.
Father’s day has a history of being the lowest attended Sunday of the year for churches nationwide. But it doesn’t have to be, and we believe, shouldn't be.
Join us this Sunday at #RenoDadFest because #YouBelongHere.
"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”—Luke 15:7
The misconception is that the Church shouldn’t party. There's a stigma that it's boring and lifeless.
However, Jesus made a big deal out of partying—celebrating abundant life given through the forgiveness of sins. Speaking directly to religious leaders, followers, and sinners alike He shared a few pivotal illustrations on celebrating what is lost, being found:
The Lost Sheep— “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’' Luke 15:4-6
The Lost Coin— “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10
The Prodigal Son— "But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate." Luke 15:22-24
Then He said to the Church, “‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15: 31-32
To Jesus, new life was worth taking a time out to party. As God's people, we have abundant life given through Jesus. This means we should be the greatest expression of love, joy, excitement, and celebration that the world could ever know.
Renovation is all about lives being renovated by the love of Jesus. And we’ll celebrate often through recognition of God at work—celebrating every life that begins that renovation process, no matter where they are in the journey from being lost to being found. A heart of surrender is ultimately what we’re after. When that collides with the gift of love, fueled by compassion, it will always bring about a heavenly celebration.
So, in the same vein as Wayne and Garth from Wanye’s World, “Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!” So party on, Church! Turn the music up—Every new life is worth it.
I hadn’t even scratched the surface on what God meant by serving the least of these. After God’s conviction that I didn’t even know anyone He considered the least, I began searching for local organizations that were truly serving those in need. I happened upon a little blip of a website with the word refugee emblazoned on it. Sure, I watched the news from time to time, but that word didn’t mean much to me until I was sitting on the floor of a dingy, low-income apartment. I exchanged awkward smiles and attempted to ask my new friend questions about her life. As a volunteer with Interfaith Refugee Ministry, I was going to be the mentor to a newly arrived refugee family and welcome them as they started over in our community. This sounded so exciting and out of my comfort zone that I completely missed the fact that I would actually have to interact with a refugee. I didn’t consider the reality that I’d be entering a world completely different from my own:
Uncomfortable. Unpredictable. Messy.
I spent the next year stumbling through building a relationship with a woman my age, whose story was nothing like mine. Escaping intense persecution from Southeast Asia, she and her family were relocated to America through refugee resettlement. She had nothing but a few personal items, I had everything I could ever ask for. Every week I showed up to take her to places that I felt represented “America.” Her English improved and we were able to really share and understand each other’s life. I learned about the horrors she endured and we built a friendship despite all our differences.
As much as I was pouring in to her life, I was receiving back threefold. My heart was changing and I couldn’t go back to where I had been. God kept propelling me forward, finding more ways to get involved, more refugees I could befriend. Eventually, I just couldn’t contain this passion He had inserted into my heart. Only our God can take a white, middle class, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and turn her world upside down. All I could think about is how to get everyone I knew involved in helping persecuted people rebuild their lives. It started with my own family, watching them fully put their energy in to serving refugees. Then, I started to bring my friends in to this passion by organizing events where they could come serve. God wasn’t only changing my life, but He was working in the lives of those around me.
When we determine what matters to God must matter to us, something happens. Slowly, we begin to open clinched fists holding on to what we believe to be ours and God reveals the cost to truly obey Him and answer His call in serving the least:
1. It costs TIME. When we start doing the things God says, we quickly learn that step one is showing up. There is no way to “virtually” serve people. FaceTime can’t serve a meal to someone who is hungry. We can’t Facebook our way in to a prison to love on people. We have to actually, physically be there. This means, schedules get rearranged. A lot of “no’s” must be said so that I can say “yes” to what matters to God.
2. It costs RELATIONSHIP. God is a relational God and while there are times it’s great to swoop in and do a project for someone in need, He is really calling us to something bigger in terms of our investment. Paul said it best when ministering to the Thessalonians,
“because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
God wants us to put in the relational deposits that will really give us the leverage to ensure that every man, woman and child have repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. It costs COMFORT. It is awkward to try to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language. It can make us feel weird to sit in a home that looks nothing like our own and strike up a conversation with someone, whom on paper, we have very little in common. People’s lives are messy and it can be unnerving to enter in their messes. BUT, the more we are willing to give up our own personal comfort, the more opportunities God presents us with opportunities to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. When we give up our own comfort, we get to be a part of HIS story unfolding before our very eyes in our local and global community.
It is hard to let go of our time, relationship, and comfort. We can all convince ourselves that staying within our church walls is enough. However, there is an entire world around us aching from genuine hunger, thirst, loneliness, nakedness, sickness, and imprisonment—Physical needs that need to be met in order to even have the opportunity to address spiritual ones. The question remains for each of us: are YOU willing to pay the cost to hear Jesus Christ himself say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”?
This week’s blog is a continued story from guest writer, Catherine Fitzgerald. Read the beginning of her story here. For more information on getting involved in any of our React Mission Opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reaching the least of these shouldn’t have been easy—and that’s how I liked my world. I had convinced myself that was what God wanted for my world too. I was doing lots of things, really good things for Him. I was busy, serving within the four walls of my church. It was easy for the most part. It felt good. But in the summer of 2012 God wanted to grow me up spiritually, taking me on a journey unlike anything I’d ever been on.
He wrecked me, bringing up the least over and over again in everything I was reading, hearing, and seeing. I would read Matthew 25:34-36 where Jesus is telling the people about what it is going to be like when He returns. Here he mentions two groups of people: those who obey him and those who don’t. To those who follow Him, He says:
"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. 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.’ But the people get confused and ask, 'When did we ever do those things for you, Jesus?' To which He replies, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
For me, that was a difficult passage to digest, seemingly too hard to actually do and uncomfortable to really live out. And so I began to have a dialogue with God about what I thought He really meant to say. It went something like this:
Me: God, I think when you say hungry, thirsty and such, you really mean those who are spiritually or emotionally in that state. So, technically, I’m serving people who are spiritually “hungry” and “thirsty” so we are good then! (Lift hand for celebratory high five) God: (shakes his head) No, I’m being literal here. Me: Like literal literal or like figurative? God: Like literal literal. Me: Ok, but I don’t think you understand. I’m pretty busy doing stuff. Good stuff. Stuff for you stuff. I don’t really have the time, and besides, look around me. I don’t exactly know a lot of hungry, thirsty, strangers in need. God: Exactly.
God had my attention and now the ball was in my court. Could I find the least in my insulated, secure, Christian world and would I even have the time and ability to serve them wholeheartedly? Or would I just fall back to my old ways of just blessing the blessed? That’s when His perfect plan in my life really started to get interesting…
To read more on Catherine’s journey, join us back here next week for, When serving becomes uncomfortable, unpredictable, messy.
As you can probably tell, our hope is to spend as much time possible unpacking the why behind what we do so that the vision of Renovation Church can be made clear. Last week we talked about the reason for holding services in a middle school. This week we’re highlighting the why behind going portable.
So what does it mean to be a portable church?
A portable church means that we are literally a church without walls. We have designated a space (Topsail Middle School) that we’ve leased for Sunday gatherings. Every week we'll unpack and repack our ministry tools to be used again the next weekend. Going portable was a strategic decision we made. We weighed all the possibilities and the decision was clear for us and our mission.
Being a portable church helps us remain connected to our community because...
It creates portable offices. This allows our lead team the flexibility to work anywhere within the community, opening the door to cultivate relationships at any local establishment. Whether over a cup of coffee or in the midst of kids playing, a portable office space allows for continuous opportunities to do life together and keep up with those we’ve connected with. We’ve already discovered how beneficial it is to work in neutral settings while seeing people from our community on a daily basis.
It puts our people on mission everyday. Church can easily become something we do versus a role that we play. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” As believers, our body becomes a temple—a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are by God’s design, already portable. We know that church isn’t what we do on Sunday but instead a daily role we play in sharing the love of Jesus. Being portable makes our objective simple: point people to Jesus by the way we serve the community. We’re establishing a mindset that the church isn’t based on a building but the people who carry the message of Jesus Christ.
It activates creativity. An amazing team of volunteers will be setting up each and every Sunday morning. Rooms used weekly for school will be repurposed into incredible environments so that kids and adults alike can see, hear, and respond to the love of Jesus. Transforming these spaces requires great creativity and innovation on our part. We’ll extend an open invitation to everyone in our community to come and gather as we learn, sing, and celebrate Jesus. Just as if we had never even been there, we’ll pack it all back up, positioning every table, chair, and pencil sharpener back in its rightful place.
Being portable isn’t easy, but the benefits far outweigh any difficulties we may have. Our prayer is that each person who joins the movement walks with us as we discover, together, the work that God has in store for Renovation Church.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10.
Let’s take a walk together!
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We frequently get asked the question, “where does Renovation Church meet?” Followed by, “Aren’t you looking for a church building?"
Renovation Church is purposefully not looking for a church building. We’ve strategically chosen to have Sunday gatherings in a middle school. By doing so, we’ve created great conversation in the community and initiated opportunities to highlight our vision. So here’s how utilizing a middle school enhances our efforts as a church:
The Great Commission | Jesus’ last message was, “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28). With 22,000 locals and a population steadily on the rise, we intentionally chose a location that was in the epicenter of our community. We firmly believe that there is no better way to reach a community than by utilizing a familiar, common space to make Jesus known. By partnering with Topsail Middle School, we’ve been given access to loving and serving some of the greatest heroes in our community: teachers and administrators.
The Great Commandment | In Matthew 22, Jesus says the greatest commandments are to love God and love others. He says, “All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” People matter to God therefore God's people must matter to us. No matter what their past or current struggles, divorced or married, young or old, searching or found; we desire that every person who lives in our community knows that we love and care for them, no matter what their need.
The Great Compassion | God’s greatest expression of compassion was through his son Jesus. Brought to break stereotypical norms and save humanity, Jesus said, “Whatever you’ve done for the least of these, you’ve done for me” (Matthew 25:40). Topsail Middle School houses nearly 1,000 middle school students—all connected to families within our community. It’s a direct lifeline for investing in school programs that benefit impoverished, broken families. Doing so multiplies our impact. The strength of our community will be empowered by the health of our families.
Great Creativity | Our God is innovative and boundless in creativity. Consider the creative environments and methods He chose to make himself known: a burning bush (Exodus 3), talking through a donkey (Numbers 22), birth by a virgin (Luke 2), a wedding feast (John 2), feeding 5,000 (Mark 6) and there’s so much more (just read the Gospels). Our location and approach will be unique. Our radically transformed spaces will insight wonder, discovery, and passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, when people ask us, “why meet in a middle school?” Our response is, “why not?” Topsail Middle School is our dream facility.
Renovating a community takes time, ingenuity, and heart for the people. Our prayer is that we ensure every person in our community has repeated opportunities to engage in a growing relationship with their loving savior.
Join us for our 3rd Sunday Gathering at Topsail Middle School on Sunday, March 8th at 10am. We’d like to say, no matter what your circumstances, you belong here.
Are you new to Renovation Church or looking for more info? Sign up for our weekly newsletter by clicking here. The newsletter drops each Tuesday evening.
As a kid, living in a small community had its perks. Everyone knew everyone (and everyone’s business).
Cookouts were, relatively, non-exclusive (as long as you brought a dish).
And if we ran out of eggs or milk, mom would just send us over to the neighbors to borrow some.
We knew our neighbors and they knew us.
That was over 20 years ago.
Times have changed. Our culture is different. We aren’t as mindful to know our neighbors.
But why? Are we too busy? Not interested? Has a neighbor hurt us? Do we not see the personal benefits in it? Are we afraid to invite them in? Too fearful to open up our lives to complete strangers? Or just plain lazy?
We could use every excuse in the book as to why we haven’t tried to know our neighbors. By His design, God gave your NEIGHBOR to you (baggage and all) -- and God gave YOU to your neighbor. If we’re called to be difference-makers in our communities what are we doing to be different from our culture? How are we getting to know our neighbors? It’ll never be easy or uncomplicated and will require a balance of healthy fear and trust. Fear, not of what could happen if we DO reach out, but instead, fear of what could happen if we don’t. Trust, not in the individual (because we, as people, are not 100% trustworthy), but instead, trust in the One who has called us to the community in which we live.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Renovation Church is going to be all about reaching our neighbors. So what are some simple things that you can do to help renovate a community, one person at a time?
Listen Carefully. When you listen and remember your neighbor you are showing that you value them. Engage them in an ongoing conversation (ask them about how their thanksgiving went, or what their plans are for Christmas). Remember their names and things that you might bring up for the next conversation. Your second impression will be just as valuable as the first.
Take your time. Relationships take time and meaningful relationships take a lot more time. So start small. Invest a little over a long period of time. This speaks greater volumes than a friend who was only a friend for a short season.
Invite them in. Invite them over for coffee. Organize a play date at your house so they can see into your world. Or, take the big plunge and invite them over for dinner (even Jesus, son of God, used mealtime to his advantage).
Love well (beyond your capacity). Seeing and meeting the needs of your neighbor can get messy, uncomfortable, and even a little awkward. But loving well means making room for the messy, uncomfortable, awkwardness. Know that you can’t love them on your own. Jesus loves them far beyond your capacity. So, love the Lord (first) and then love them as yourself.
Question: How would reaching your neighbors renovate your community?
Leave a comment below.
- Emily Ondish
Last week we rescheduled our long anticipated Community Interest Meeting due to inclement weather. While it wasn’t an expected change, we're confident that it was the right choice. We learned some things in this process that may help you next time you have to make the decision to reschedule. First, we had to examine the original purpose.
Reaching families is at the heart of everything we do. When we began designing our Community Interest Meeting we wanted the location and activities to be neutral while still allowing a family-friendly and engaging atmosphere.
Prior to the weather going south (the forecast showed mid 60's, torrential downpours, and a light breeze of 20MPH—What?!) we knew we'd be limited in space and parking—so we planned to leverage being outside on a nice fall night with the family, to our advantage by calling on Poor Piggy’s food truck for dinner, Deb’s Funnel Cakes for dessert. Not only that, but we planned for a fire station packed with activities for kids like face painting, fire truck tours, and inflatables. Details matter. Especially when you’re working to get entire families plugged in and leaving them with a positive experience.
When we realized those objectives would be compromised with the shaky weather ahead, we had to be vision-minded enough to reschedule the event.
Secondly, we asked for feedback.
Last Thursday, we knew that if the cold, wet, and uncomfortable weather conditions would make it difficult for core team members to attend—the general public would have a hard time making it a part of their Sunday afternoon activities as well. So we asked a few of you what you thought and your response allowed us to evaluate the affect weather would play on attendance. If we wanted to maximize our resources and achieve the best turnout, we had to change the date.
Perspective brings clarity when making big decisions. When you seek feedback you gain an angle that you wouldn’t have seen before.
If you’re in any type of leadership position, valuing team member opinions builds team dynamics and brings about an additional level of participation—And what leaders wouldn’t want that?
Build the team today for the challenges of tomorrow.—John Maxwell
Finally, we had to trust that God would work it out.
God is faithful. We serve a God who knows all things and determines all things. God knew the weather wouldn’t match up, therefore we trust that the risk was worth it; both for those who worked diligently in inviting others, and those who were invited.
Bottom line: We can’t predict weather, but we can trust God’s sovereignty.
No big decision is easy to make but we can rest in God's perfect timing and His will. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21 Turns out, deciding to reschedule has actually increased our attendance, proving that God’s plan is way greater than we can ever imagine.
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Due to the inclement weather forecast, we have rescheduled our Community Interest Meeting to Saturday, December 6th from 4-6pm at Sloop Point Fire Department. We'll still have Poor Piggy's, funnel cakes, face painting and bounce houses. All for FREE! Let's use this minor shift to our advantage by inviting even more guests to join us! Register or add a new guest by clicking the here. If you have guests that cannot make it on this rescheduled date that you have already RSVP'd, simply email email@example.com.
Let’s fill every seat—We can’t wait to see how God uses this to His glory.
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