Mission Projects

Prayerwalking: Uncover Clues to Needs in Your Church Neighborhood

Week after week, I wheel into our church parking lot, pull in my favorite space, and hustle inside through the usual entrance. Seldom do I notice the neighboring landscape in the shadow of our steeple, much less the latest changes to the half-mile block surrounding our campus.

Call it routine, but perhaps I’m not alone in my traditional way of “doing church.” Have I become too comfortable within the walls of our sacred abode? Suddenly that powerful mandate known as the Great Commission saturates my heart like an unexpected summer rain. Jesus is calling us to go, to take His case well beyond the walls of His church into a lost and dying world.

Prayerwalking is a key step in answering His call.

Neighborhood Barbecue: Open Doors to the Gospel

Community is not static. Busy lives, fences, and transient neighbors often hinder our ability to build close relationships with neighbors next door and down the street. Whether we live in an urban community or a rural setting, we can always benefit from learning about our neighbors. Growing neighbor relationships can aid in times of crisis, help celebrate successes, and encourage efforts to look out for each other’s homes and families. Good neighbor relationships can lead to close friendships as well as lives changed with the gospel.

In a day when a wave is the most contact we may have with neighbors, a neighborhood barbecue is one way to begin. Neighborhood get-togethers also provide opportunities to share the gospel and discover ministry needs.

Community Garden Ministry: Any Fruit in the Garden?

Do you have a green thumb? Not everyone does. I actually killed an aloe plant once. (Yes, really.) I placed it on a windowsill behind a set of blinds facing a dark garage. Then, I forgot it existed. It was beyond hope when I found it again. I realized then that avoiding maintenance for a month only to douse it superfluously in a day wasn’t going to resurrect anything.

Time Worth the Effort

The fact is growing a garden, a friendship, a prayer life, or even a Christlike mind-set takes daily tending. It is a purposeful activity to grow. When seeking to reach others for Christ, we need to make a few plans ahead of time. If we are willing to be creative for the sake of the gospel, God will supply the resources.

Green thumb or not, anyone can find ways to minister through community gardens. Do you have such places where you live? It’s easy to find out. A quick search on the Internet may surprise you. Often, you will find information about renting plots as well as whom to contact as the site coordinator. If there are waiting lists in your area to lease a plot, consider starting a community garden by yourself or with a group.

Storytime: Tell Your Story

Almost everyone loves to eavesdrop on the characters of Lady Mary in Downton Abbey and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. The drama, the characters, the intrigue, the costumes . . . the story! So what’s your story?

Everyone has one. You may think your story is boring or embarrassing but definitely not epic. However, your life’s journey may be the catalyst to encourage someone to find God’s purpose and plan for his or her life.

As a theatre major in college, I had to play many characters on stage. More than memorizing lines, I used a character analysis sheet with questions like the ones below to delve into the character to find out what made her who she was. Not every question could be answered, but with close study of the script, I could find many inferences and facts that would help me understand what made this character “tick.”

Be On Mission during Summer Vacation

Summer Missions

Summertime is often a time when things slow down. The kids are out of school, the days are longer, and there is often a feeling in the air of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Do you notice this in your church, as well? Attendance is usually lower during the summer months because families take vacations at various times. Church activities might be canceled in favor of other events. Organizations within your church might take the summer months off so nobody misses anything important. Or your church might adjust programming to a summer schedule.

No matter where your church falls in the variety of summer schedules, it makes sense to use this time to take a break, step back, and prepare for a fresh, clean slate in the fall. That might mean meeting in a different location or trying something different from time to time.

Regardless, we need to remember that we never really get to take a break from growing in our relationships with Christ. If you are a youth leader and want to help your students continue to grow in their faith, even during the summer, why not try a few of these ideas?

Law Enforcement Ministry: Offer “Peace”

Reading the headlines of the newspaper or a news website can fill your mind with fear instead of peace. Over the past week, I’ve seen articles about a mentally challenged man beaten and abused by teenagers, a shooting at an airport, and drug busts. Crimes are being committed every day. How does a society deal with those who go against the laws of the land? It begins with the men and women who take an oath to protect and serve the citizens of this country.

There is a huge need to minister to these dedicated individuals who are on call 24/7 and put their lives in harm’s way. Here are some ways you can show your support:

Pray specifically for law enforcement officers and their need to know Christ. Pray for opportunities to share the good news and build relationships. Obtain a roster and pray specifically for protection, health, officers’ families, wisdom, discernment, and the ability to make quick and rational decisions.

Habitat for Humanity: Every House Is Built by Someone

“This isn’t a story about doing good,” Joyce Daugherty said of volunteering, along with husband Bob, with Habitat for Humanity (HFH). “This is really an account of our willingness to be available. It is about living by faith.”

It all started while visiting their daughter at Baylor University in Texas, where they saw a house being built on a flatbed truck. Their daughter said the students were building it in their spare time for HFH.

HFH was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller after visiting Clarence Jordan at Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia. During their stay, the Fullers and Jordan developed the concept of “partnership housing,” where those needing housing would work alongside volunteers to build simple but decent housing, and in 1976, HFH was born. Since then, 6.8 million people have found stability with “safe, decent and affordable shelter.”

Community Missions: Shock the Community for Christ!

How would you like to shock your community for Christ? Take your missions group outside the church walls to impact your area with God’s love.

Here’s how your group can do community missions:

Crafts and Skills Fair: Use the “Indoor Months” for Ministry

Every winter comes the challenge to not just hibernate but continue seeking to engage in missions and ministry. Colder weather seems to limit outreach ideas to our lost and unchurched neighbors. But what if the temperatures that drive people to stay indoors could work with us, not against us?

Many people who are unfamiliar with a church environment need to see the church as a friendly place, a place where they already know someone before they attend services. So invite them and their families to a crafts and skills fair.

For a couple of hours, open your church and teach basic life skills and crafting classes in different parts of the building. Ask church members with various gifts and talents to teach and pull in others from outside the church. Encourage adults and students to rotate in and out of the classes they desire to take.

Consider offering these classes:

Cultural Exchange: Invite an International College Student Home for Christmas

Imagine being a college student from India, China, or Uganda studying in America. Everything is strange and new. Then, the second week in December, there is a mass exodus from the campus. Your roommate, everyone in the dorm, and the professors are going home for a holiday called “Christmas.” At the mall, there are festive decorations, people scurrying to buy gifts, and children in line to see a fat man in a red suit, while chipmunks sing about hula hoops.

For the more than 723,000 international college students, the typical Christmas hype in America may be confusing and weird. Unfortunately they may never experience the true meaning of the season.

“Many international students never visit in an American home,” said Phyllis Hoover, coordinator for international student services at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. “For those who do so, they feel especially fortunate.”

This Christmas, make an international student’s season merry and bright. Invite him or her to come “home for the holidays.” Plan an afternoon or evening get-together:

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