It's been two weeks since the last update. All of the churches involved in the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY have hit the transition period, learning to doing. All of them are now involved in assembling gift packets, making calls, sending letters and are ready to actually go out to visit the neighbors.
I've covered all of the lessons in the Evangelism training series, which means we are ready to actually go out and begin the Bible distribution portion of the project.
We have received all of the supplies to reach approximately 560 households in the first round.
Bibles, 3 Essentials for Christian Living books, gift bags and Prayer cards -totaling approximately $2800 or $5 per family.
Here is a brief description of where each church is in the process:
Alvin First Assembly conducted an outreach event last weekend, a children's day camp. I will find out the results this Sunday evening and we will begin making calls and visits to the families that attended.
This congregation's challenge, at this point, is a lack of follow up and discipleship opportunities for those who will respond to the outreach effort. They are in need of Bible study teachers, in order to begin a systematic approach to discipleship.
The passion for lost souls is a direct reflection of personal passion for relationship with the Lord. We are addressing this issue as well. Motivation to win souls and make disciples cannot be taught. It must come from a genuine desire to please God and serve others with the truth. There are a handful of people in this congregation that have that passion, but in order for their congregation to grow,
their leaders must all become passionate for the things of God.
We will begin visiting the New Moves in their zip code this month. These are the people who have just moved into the area over the past 30 days.
This Sunday evening, we will be assembling the gift bags, distributing the lists and assigning visits.
Imperial Valley Assembly is also in the transition process to making calls, mailing letters and making visits. This past Wednesday evening, we decided on a monthly effort to invite friends, family and those who have just moved into the neighborhood, to a special Sunday service which will include a prepared lunch afterward. This church already does after church meals and socials, so this is simply an extension of their current church life or culture. The Pastor is sending out letters this week to introduce himself and invite the New Moves to the service.
Lindale Assembly is the farthest along in the process. They have already been making calls to visitors, which has already resulted in new members and attenders. This Sunday, they will be conducting a New Membership Service, welcoming several new families into the congregation. I'll let you know next week how many were added.
Tuesday evening, we were able to assemble gift bags and begin the New Moves visitation phase of the ministry. Ten new families in the community will receive visits from our trained volunteers.
Lindale has also decided that they will conduct a monthly "Bring a Friend To Church Sunday". Pastor Meeks decided that instead of simply inviting the New Moves on that Sunday, he would rather that the entire church be encouraged to invite friends and family to an after church meal that will include introductions of the church staff, Sunday school teachers, ongoing ministries, etc. We've done this sort of thing in the past, on a limited basis, with success.
Emerge Church is beginning to gain some "traction" in their effort to plant a new church. Pastor Jeff has planned a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" service for this Sunday. He has invited the people on the New Moves list for his area and extended the invitation to the residents of the apartment complex next door to his meeting location. They are all excited and I am looking forward to seeing what will happen on Sunday. Please pray for their effort. There have been many obstacles and discouragements on the way, but they are determined to follow through on what God has called them to do. In addition to the letters and visits that have already been made, they will be conducting a door to door visiting effort in the apartment complex this Saturday.
I am very excited about all of the reports that I am hearing from those who are actively involved in this ministry. I am busy, to say the least, in trying to keep track of where everyone is in the process and not getting ahead of our actual capabilities. We were able to apply for a grant that may help in covering some of the costs for Bibles and supplies, but their committee does not meet until August. Please pray for the finances to carry out this effort and also for wisdom in dealing with the attitudes and discouragements that seem to crop up when we actually get to the "going out" part of this ministry.
It seems that I am dealing with this in every location, so far. During the teaching phase, everyone is on board for the concept. As soon as we begin implementing the actual doing, people start getting agitated and reluctant.
All of the churches need to address the issue of improving their "New Believers" track of discipleship. Some are in place, but we can always improve what we are doing.
Between now and the end of June is a critical time for all of these churches and the individuals who are involved. They need to see success in what they are doing, and I believe that they will. I am praying for each one of them and asking God to move on their behalf. It is His desire that "all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth," so I am confident that we will see miraculous results.
Until next week, blessings,
Rev. Teddy Levron