Monday, August 18, 2008

Back To School

Hello everyone,

Here's the latest.

Three of the four original churches are still actively engaged in reaching out to their communities using the Connections Ministry.

Lindale Assembly is seeing growth and have scheduled a second round of training, beginning in September.

Alvin First Assembly is still involved in visiting new residents in their community. i haven't heard from them in a couple of weeks, so I'll need to check back with them to get an update.

Imperial Valley assembly has a new Spanish congregation and has just received a new list of new residents to visit in the next week or so.

Emerge church has discontinued it's effort at this time. I saw Pastor Jeff this past week. He wants to get together to discuss some things.

The school year is getting started this week. A great time for Back-To- School Outreach Events.

I have appointments set for this week with a couple of schools to discuss conducting the Great OutDoors Club in their schools, as well as the Community Lighthouse Achievement Club (Our drug and gang awareness program). These have been highly successful outreach methods for us for the past 12 years.

I've also updated the Evangelism Resources page on the website to include some books that I have found extremely helpful over time. Check it out by clicking here.

Rev. Teddy Levron
PS.Things are getting busy, so continue to pray for us.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Results, Results, Results!!

Sorry about being missing in action, but things have been rather busy. I'll be getting back on track with weekly reports, so thanks for your patience.

Exciting testimonies are coming in about the first round of visits and new ministries that have sprung up. God is really moving in the lives of the churches that are actively participating in the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY.

Here's a run down in alphabetical order.

Alvin First Assembly
Training is complete and people have begun visiting the New Movers, people who have recently moved into the community. They have planned a Family Fun Night event for tonight, in order to invite the new families and their friends to the church for some fun and meeting the neighbors. I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out. This is a new idea, so keep them in prayer. I haven't had much communication with them over the past few weeks because of vacations and some of their staff being out of town. I'm just trusting that everything is ready for tonight. I'll update you next week.

Imperial Valley
Just as a reminder, Imperial Valley is a very small church, approx. 20 people, composed of mostly elderly members. God has begun to send help from the outside to help them reach the community around them.
There is quite a bit to report about how God is moving in this community!
On the last week of training, God sent a Spanish speaking family to the church. The man's name is David. He is a minister and has experience in planting churches. He shared his desire for reaching the Spanish speaking portion of the community and helping to establish a Spanish speaking congregation. This was a direct answer to prayer. The community around the church has become predominately Hispanic in culture.
The pastor decided to transform their normal First Saturday Men's breakfast into a community pancake breakfast, with the help of a couple who are in the process of leaving for a missions assignment in Costa Rica. On that Saturday morning, there were approximately 100 people who attended the breakfast!!

On the following Sunday, they were able to conduct a bilingual service with 52 people in attendance!!!

This past Saturday, they conducted an outdoor Baptism service, with another planned in a few weeks. Since then, they have begun visiting the New Movers. The people they are visiting are glad to see them and are appreciative of the fact that people have come to their houses to pray for them.

Last Wednesday, they began a Spanish speaking Wednesday night service as well!!

Even with all of these great things happening, there has been some resistance from some of the old time members. We will continue to pray that God will continue to open the doors of opportunity for them and that they will also become involved in reaching their community.

Lindale Assembly
Lindale Assembly recently conducted a new Membership Sunday service. Approximately 48 new people joined the congregation. Most of them had been called or visited by the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY team. That was very encouraging news for the Pastor, as well as the ministry participants.

One of the great testimonies that has come from the effort so far, is about a woman named Delores. She visited the church in May and was called by one of the church's team members that happens to live across the street. Since then, the "visitor" has begun picking up the team member to go to church!! Delores was in the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY meeting this past Sunday and shared with the group about how much the calls and visits meant to her. She also told us that the reason that she had visited the church in the first place was because her mother and father both died in April, within 30 minutes of each other. It got her to thinking about God. This reinforced to the group, the importance of reaching people while they are in a time of transition.
Some of the people who have gone through the training process are still somewhat timid about going out to visit, but they have set their hearts to follow through, no matter what.

We also heard testimony from another team member about their home visits, one resulting in having the door closed on them. (Not everyone will want the free gift - Salvation or our gift packet.) And also being able to overcome an apartment complex obstacle, no soliciting signs, then being able to turn it into an opportunity to be able to minister to the entire complex!!

Two of the team members have agreed to become the "point persons" to keep the information flowing from the church to me, so that we can keep track of who has been visited and who has not.

This is such an exciting time for Lindale. Results are being seen, people are being saved, lives are being transformed and God is getting the GLORY!!

Emerge Church
I have not talked to Pastor Jeff in the past few weeks. Their Invite a Friend effort several weeks ago generated one visitor. I am not sure what direction they are wanting to take. Please continue to pray for them, that God will give them clear direction.

Additional Note:
I am in the process of putting all of the Evangelism Training materials into video format, to be loaded onto the website and packaged for churches to use. I am also working on putting together the training manuals and videos for the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY.
I am getting more requests to come to churches for training and implementing this ministry. Please pray with us that God will give us clear direction on how to carry this out and to provide the financial resources that we need for equipment and resources.

God bless you. I'll see you next week with more news.
Rev. Teddy Levron

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gathering Momentum

Hello again,
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

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bibles Have Arrived!

Hello everyone,
Great progress and testimonies this week on the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY.

I have received the first shipment of Bibles. I am still waiting for the 3 Essentials for Christian Living Books, the prayer cards and bags. I should have all of the supplies in by the end of this coming week. Then, we are ready to take to the streets and neighborhoods to begin the Bible Distribution effort!!

I am still receiving great testimonies from the phone calling effort that was made at Lindale Assembly. Several people are now attending on Wednesday nights and Sundays, as well as asking about how to join the church. I can't wait to put the next phase of ministry in action with them.

We are 2 weeks away from being able to start making visits with Imperial Valley and Alvin First Assembly. Everyone seems to be excited and ready to go out to tell people about Jesus.

Still trying to get some "traction' and organization in regard to Emerge Church. Please pray for this part of the effort.

Also, please pray for the people at Imperial Valley. One of the biggest challenges that we are facing, is the fact that there are no children or teenagers in their church. When we begin going out into the neighborhood, families will come, but we need to be ready with ministry opportunities for their children. Please pray that God will send more workers, specifically for what they need. They are also in need of help with renovating a portion of their building that has gone unused for several years. (Mold, mildew, etc.) I know that God has the provision for all of this, we just need to ask and listen.

We are also putting the finishing touches on a grant application that will help us to purchase more Bibles and supplies for the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY effort. Please pray for a favorable response.

Looking forward to next week's report.

Rev. Teddy Levron

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Already Seeing Results!!

Hello again,
Time for another update. This is very exciting! We are already seeing results as we begin to make phone calls.

Lindale Assembly held a special Compassion Outreach event on Sunday, May 18. Flyers were distributed through the local elementary schools and with the help of a community health services organization. Approximately 145 families attended the event. Each family filled out a visitor card and some of them responded during the altar service for prayer. On Monday, I was able to enter all of the data from the visitor and prayer cards. Tuesday evening, we held a training meeting for the purpose of teaching the volunteers to make phone calls for follow up and with the goal of being able to pray with each family again and invite them back for Bible Study.

The result - 17 volunteers made approximately 66 phone calls, resulting in several families and individuals returning for the Wednesday night Bible study and for this past Sunday's services! People are excited and ready to continue learning and, more importantly, applying what they are learning.

Imperial Valley Assembly - I was able to conduct the second in the training series last night. They are also getting excited about going out into the community. Some of their members are already thinking about how they might add some things to the ministries of their church, in order to be ready for the growth that will happen. Currently, there are no children or teenagers in their congregation. This is going to present some interesting challenges for us, because of the drastic ministry changes that are going to take place over the course of the summer. Please continue to pray for them.

Emerge Church - Pastor Jeff and I met yesterday to discuss how to proceed over the course of the summer. He is planning a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" type of service for some time in June. We will be inviting the residents of the surrounding apartment complexes, as well as the people who have recently moved into the neighborhood. (I get this list through the software company that provides our tracking software.) The idea is to invite them to a service where they are able to meet their neighbors, eat some Bar-B-Que, experience some worship and hear about the vision of the church. Remember, this is a new church planting project, so they are still trying to establish a presence in the community.

Alvin First Assembly - I will be returning to Alvin this weekend for the third in the evangelism training series. Getting closer to the visitation launch date during the second week in June. They are also planning a children's Day Camp program on June 14, which will help in "kick starting" our visitation effort.

I ordered the Bibles, books and supplies for the visitation effort this week. we should be receiving the materials during the first two weeks in June. The churches have provided the finances to be able to order enough supplies for approximately 560 packets.
If you would like to help with this project, please visit our designated donations page on our web site by clicking here.
Donations are tax deductible, through our 501(c)3 ministry, Inner Cities for Jesus, Inc.

Looking forward to what God will do this week. Check back next Thursday for more Good News!!

Rev. Teddy Levron

Thursday, May 22, 2008

3-2-1 LIFTOFF!!

Hello everyone,
Great week of ministry!!

People are starting to make CONNECTIONS!!

Lindale Assembly held a special Compassion Outreach Event this past Sunday. There were about 145 new families in attendance. This past Tuesday, I was able to distribute 66 visitor information cards and prayer request cards to those who have been trained for the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY. They will be making calls this week to follow up on the visitors and prospects from this event.

For clarification purposes, Visitors are identified as those who simply filled out a visitor form during the service. Some of them have requested specific information about the ministries of the church. Prospects are identified as those who responded to the altar call for salvation and rededication and also filled out a prayer card with specific needs. The indicators, visitor or prospect, are simply the options available in the software that we are using.

The volunteers are excited about making the calls. I will get their reports back this coming Sunday, and hopefully there will be many in attendance as a result of this follow up. They are planning a very special Memorial Day Tribute service for this Sunday.

I met with Alvin First Assembly for the second in the training series. They are beginning to really see the potential for winning souls in their community. Many of them had specific questions about how to share the Gospel and expressed a real eagerness to "do it right."
They are planning a special Children's Day Camp in June that will help us in meeting people in the community, and gathering information that we can follow up on. Memorial day is this weekend, so we will not be doing training this Sunday. I'll be back to continue the training on June 1.

I was able to conduct the morning service at Imperial Valley Assembly this past Sunday. The congregation's response was very encouraging to the pastor of the church. There were 17 in attendance Wednesday night for the first in the training series. "Very encouraging" is an understatement, since their Sunday morning attendance is approximately 25 - 30 at this time! They have committed to the next 4 weeks for training. By the middle of June, we will begin doing the actual home visits. God is really blessing the beginning of this effort. He has already sent several individuals and couples, who do not regularly attend this church, that have committed to helping them get starting in reaching out to the community. This is going to be interesting to watch.

Emerge Church has experienced a few setbacks in the past week, but they are determined to carry out what God has called them to do, in relation to planting a church in the south central part of Houston. We have not been able to have our first training session yet, but are hoping that things will come in line soon. It is all in God's timing. Not worried, but please pray that God will open clear doors and opportunities for them.

I will be ordering the supplies, Bibles, 3 Essentials Books, prayer cards and bags this week. We should receive the first order in a couple of weeks.

I am also working on getting all of the training materials together in a workbook format and audio CD's, so churches can have it for training in the future.

I've been able to add a link on our webpage for those who wish to donate toward the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY as well. You can check it out by clicking here.
Contributions are tax-deductible through our 501(c)3 ministry, Inner Cities for Jesus, Inc.

Looking forward to sharing more Good News next week.

Rev. Teddy Levron

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Visitor Cards Being Processed and Contacted!!

Hello everyone,
Things are still going along in the right direction. Not that I ever doubted it would, since God is the author of this effort.

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day this past Sunday. Time with the family was a great treat for me.

I'm starting to figure out some of the software glitches, with the help of the support team. I've begun entering members from the churches that are involved in the CONNECTIONS MINISTRY. I have also received the first list of "New Moves" for the zip codes that I have selected. These are families that have moved into the zip code within the past 30 days. We will be contacting them by letter at first, inviting them to special "Welcome to the Neighborhood" events.

Tuesday night's training meeting at Lindale went well. The number of attendees was down, but that can be attributed to other commitments, family events, end of school, etc. They are also involved in the final planning stages for their upcoming event this Sunday, so many were in attendance to help prepare for that event.

I was able to start the phone visit process with 4 visitor cards that they had received on Sunday. I will be looking forward to hearing the results from those phone calls. Some of those who received cards to call are first timers. Pray for them as they begin to reach out to the community around them.

I also gave Pastor Meeks the list of New Moves in his zip code, 13 new families in all! They will be sending letters to invite them to upcoming events. The list of New Moves does not have phone numbers, so we will pursue them by mail at first. After the event this Sunday, we will also be following up on their visitor cards by phone, because of the numbers that are expected for the event.

Once we are past the event, then we will settle into our ongoing pattern of visitation to the visitors and the systematic distribution of Bibles.

I will be at Imperial Vally Assembly this coming Sunday morning. They have already begun a prayer focus for reaching the community and are seeing God move in some interesting ways. Since the beginning of the prayer effort, which is only about 2 weeks old, several families have come by to visit on Sunday morning, and they have received an offer of help for door to door Bible Distribution from several members of one of the local missions. God is on the move! Pray for them.

I will also be at Alvin First Assembly on Sunday evening for the second in the series of training meetings. They have also begun to see visitors, even before we have gone into the community. I believe this is an indication that once a church has made a focused commitment to reaching the lost, God will begin to open those opportunities. The "New Moves" list for the Alvin area has approx. 26 new families that we can begin contacting this week.

Pastor Jeff at Emerge Church has also had some success in finding an open door in his community. One of the apartment managers has given us permission to post information about the church in their lobby and also provide "Welcome to the Neighborhood" packets for their new residents! She has also given permission to begin some after school Bible Clubs and the Great Outdoors Club during the summer for the children. We will also begin to hold special "Welcome to the Neighborhood" events in his part of town with the 23 families on our list.

All of this is very exciting. I hope that you are excited about this as well. Please continue to pray for us and the finances to carry this out. Also, please tell all of your friends about this blog and our website

Looking forward to next week's update.
Rev. Teddy Levron