Tips on Sharing Faith
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Tips On Sharing Faith
After a sweltering 91 degrees in St. Louis the other day, I'm reminded that summer break provides an excellent opportunity to sow into their lives, teaching them to be Jesus' light as they sow into the lives of others.
One way to sow into your child's life is to simply spend time with them, discovering the Bible together or working together on an activity that he or she may enjoy. On LHM's www.jcplayzone.com, you will find Bible Stories, matched with a corresponding coloring page, to teach them about the Word of God. You will also find daily devotions, each with a Bible verse and prayer. You can spend time in the Bible, learning more about Jesus together and discussing what you've each learned.
Create a craft or recipe with your child, play a fun online game together, or listen to sing-along songs, which can all be found at www.jcplayzone.com. Share your recipes or crafts with a friend, neighbor, or family member who may not know the love of Jesus. As your child grows in God's Word, they will also be positioned to impact others in their sphere. Teach your child what a blessing it can be to give -- that just a small gesture can express the love of Jesus to brighten someone's day.
Not long ago, a group of neighborhood children got together in Arizona and downloaded the Bee Attitudes coloring book offered by JC Play Zone, customizing them with each child's name on the front. On the back, they offered a word of encouragement. They then hung them on each neighbor's door with a small pack of colored pencils. How's that for a mini outreach servant event? Everyone got involved as the kids printed the booklets, moms and dads participated in the delivery process, and the group gathered for cookies and punch to chat and pray together afterwards. Kids serving kids -- that's what it's all about!
To invest in your child's spiritual (and social) growth, remember to include him or her in an interactive activity (or two) with peers -- whether it's an athletic team, a camp or Vacation Bible School -- or assist them in coordinating their own mini outreach event with their friends. Not only will such activities occupy their time and help them expel energy, your child will build confidence by learning to work well with others as part of a team. This may prepare them to serve alongside others as part of a church body in their adulthood.
Significantly, your child may also begin to recognize unique characteristics they've been granted as God's distinctive creation. By providing numerous opportunities to explore, you will help your child identify his or her interests and talents. This will aid their development for future success, both spiritual and professional.
Although it's easier to give in to your child's desire to watch television, play video games or interact with others over the Internet this summer, nothing can replace the spiritual and personal benefits of quality time spent with family and peers. Take advantage of the many opportunities to sow into your child's life. And, when you need some down time, you can safely send them to www.jcplayzone.com on their own, where they can play with a purpose.
Equipping to Share Newsletter, June 3rd, 2009
All of us have wondered at times whether or not we should give money or other assistance to people who request it. The following article shows how its not always a clear cut choice and provides some guidance in discerning when and how we should help.
The lines of outreach are at times unclear as each person and circumstance is unique. For that reason, several loving Christians, with an earnest desire to serve, have sought my opinion on discerning between helping a loved one and hindering them by enabling a root problem. This crucial question encouraged me to seek the advice of my fellow outreach specialists in United States Ministries. Rich Cohrs, Manager of District and Congregational Relations, provided valuable insight.
"Would I help a family member who is facing a money crisis? The answer is 'Yes. I have and will continue to.' On the other hand, the answer is also 'No. I refuse and will continue to.' Let me explain.
"I have had children come to me and ask for money because of circumstances. I freely and gladly helped them with no promise or expectation of payback. I made a judgment call and decided I could afford it, and it would be beneficial to their well being, etc.
"I also have had the same children ask for money and I said no -- usually because I could not afford it or I knew the money would not help them stand on their own feet. In other words, I was allowing them to remain an independent child. Yes, it was a judgment call I made, but I made it.
"Now, as to motive, I try to follow my heavenly Father's lead. He gives me more than I need every day without judging the gift or my use of it. He gives me money if I tithe or not. He gives me daily food if I charge it on Visa or pay cash. He provides all I need and then some -- regardless of how I might squander His gifts. Hence, I will always try to help my children in the same way my Father provides for me -- freely and without judgment. When I do not give, it is not because I know they will squander the money; it is because they need to grow more self-sufficient.
"I hope to always err on the side of generosity -- to my family, my friends, my church, my neighbors -- even toward strangers. If I have it and they need it, chances are they will get it.
"Am I a doormat? On occasion. Is that wrong? I don't always see it as wrong.
"I have been surprised more than once by the generosity of a family member, friend, neighbor, or stranger, who helped me when I needed help. If I was keeping track, I'd venture a guess and say I have received far more than what I've given away.
"So, will I continue to give? Probably, but that is not a bad thing."
Equipping to Share Newsletter, July 1st, 2009
The temperature is rising, which means service opportunities are increasing too.
Make use of this weather change for outreach in outdoor public places, where population has also risen, like the park.
There are numerous opportunities for servant evangelism at the park. Here are some ideas.
Soft Drink Giveaways
Fill coolers with cold drinks. Create invitation cards to your church. (You will likely need water resistant holders.) Put these under the soda tab or on the side of the water bottle. As people pass, ask: "Hi, would you like water or a soda?"
It's difficult to wash hands at the park. A moist towelette is a practical small gift. Package a few with mints and make a "freshen-up" pack. Attach your invitation card to your church.
Hand out flower seeds to celebrate the warm weather. Some companies offer the option of having your church name printed on the outside of the packet.
Outreach ideas provided by www.servantevangelism.com.
Equipping to Share Newsletter, May, 2009
Are You Shy and Wondering How and If You Can Share Your Faith? Read the following article from a recent Equipping to Share Newsletter:
God has given each one of us a unique personality with specific talents, weaknesses and quirks. I am a garrulous person, finding it easy to strike up conversation with strangers or filling lulls in conversation. My husband, on the other hand, is reserved, verging on the edge of shyness when first meeting someone. In fact, it not only takes him awhile to formulate meaningful relationships but to even engage in light conversation. However, once he is your friend, you can expect him to be one of the most genuine and supportive friends, whose loyalty will last a lifetime.
When it comes to witnessing, many suspect that the more garrulous ones are the more effective witnesses -- that witnessing only has a place in the lives of the outgoing. However, God has assigned each one of us to be His ambassador and, in fact, utilizes our gifts and weaknesses for His glory.
Recall 1 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." Although His children are all His ambassadors, God will use each one of us as uniquely as He has created us.
If you are afraid of striking up conversations with strangers, knocking on doors or asking others questions, you can still be an incredibly effective witness. When you reflect your faith through the way you live your life, the bridge to faith-sharing will often come from the unbeliever in the form of asking questions.
St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Although this statement is an exaggeration - we obviously need to share the Gospel in words - it makes the point that our lives can be a witness of Christ to others, causing them to ask about the reason for the hope that we have. As 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, we really just need to be ready to explain our reason for our hope.
If you are a more reserved or even shy person, do not discount yourself as an effective witness. By bearing the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - your life will be an example to others, causing them to ask, "Why are you so different?" Within this relationship, full of gentleness and respect, your friends, family members and co-workers will find a safe place where questions can be asked and answers found.
Provided by Sarah Guldalian
Coordinator, Equipping to Share
"Hi! My Name Is ______!"
How is your greeting ministry? Greeters are the front line for every church and the first contact many of your visitors will make with your church. It becomes very important to put your best foot forward. Why greet? To share the love of Christ with a stranger.
Before addressing tips and tricks for greeting, let's look at who visits our churches. Visitors can often be divided into two categories: those who are invited and those who aren't. If you have been a member for more than three years, chances are you will invite out-of-town friends and family. You seldom invite unchurched friends. If you have been a member under three years, you are probably inviting unchurched friends. This is great for adding to the Body of Christ. Focusing evangelism efforts towards unchurched folks is like sowing in fertile soil.
Now let's look at the uninvited, the ones that just wander in on a Sunday morning: The vast majority of these folks are "church shoppers." That is, they are likely leaving another church for any number of reasons. They have heard something about your church and are coming to check you out! Finally, we have the uninvited unbeliever. These are extremely rare. Should one come through your doors, praise the Lord. Their presence is likely the result of someone's fervent prayer, maybe for years. God has elected to direct this person to your church for good reason.
An important thing we need to understand about first time visitors is that they are assessing your church from the time they park their car and walk in. They will have formed an opinion by the time they sit down. If it is not a positive entrance, it will take much work to undo this perception if you have the opportunity at all. So how do we make positive contact with these folks? There are probably a dozen or more things you can do, but let's just look at three very positive things.
First, you will need members dedicated to this tasks who will get out of their "Holy Huddles" on Sunday morning before church and commit to being a greeter. Most churches are much more informal than they were 30 years ago. However, if you have a very traditional service and folks wear dresses and coat and tie, then a reception line style of greeting is fine. For most churches though, having your greeters "roam" your pre-church gathering area is probably the best. This provides a level of spontaneity that a reception line will not.
In either case, roam or reception style, there are three basics that you want to do:
All of these tips will likely take less than five minutes, but will leave an enormous impression on visitors. Now, when they go to sit down (and, hopefully with a bulletin you have provided), they will have a positive impression, which just happens to be a good position to be in for receiving God's blessings this day!
Provided by Jack Rawlins, EtS Presenter
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