Shed of Hope – Mississippi Church Request

Available today is a new 8 x 16-foot shed plan.
A church in Louisville, Mississippi requested the longer shed following the tornado that came through the state in early May. Sheds of Hope provides 8 x 8 sheds to people who have been effected by storms.

The unique request came from a church who needed to store pews that are too long for the 8 foot long sheds. A team of volunteers will build the extra long 16-foot shed and set it up at the church in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to help provide teams for Mississippi or Oklahoma, let us know at Sheds of Hope. Groups can also pre-build 8 x 8 sheds that can then be transported to the areas that have been hurt by the recent storms.

After months of planning and thinking about the design, we finally purchased the wood for the new Pulpit, Communion Table, Baptismal Font and Advent Candle Stand for First Church. Shedua wood was chosen for its beautiful natural color and striking designs in the grain.

The joy of coming up with a design that would work for the church and all that was involved in building it was the most demanding and time consuming part. There is no short cut to this step.

The staff at the church knew what they wanted for the overall look. They had selected and purchased a handmade glass bowl for the Baptismal Font. Now, the design and framework had a central focus that flowed into the rest of the design.

Baptismal Font

The  grain of the piece of Shedua wood that was used for the communion table reflects the natural tones and colors that are seen from every angle. A clear natural finish was used to protect the wood, while at the same time allowing one to see its beauty.

Communion Table

All four of the pieces needed to flow as one on the platform and be easy to remove, as the church sanctuary is part of a multi-use building.

The Set

Building and finishing all the pieces of furniture took about 120  hours, not counting the time for the design.

In Remembrance Of Me

We were very excited to be able to deliver the furniture in time for the first Communion Service in 2014.

We are reminded during this season of the church calendar of the visit of the Wise Men. “And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2: 9a-11 May the people who come each week be brought to Jesus, seeing him, and not just the things our hands have made.

God has given gifts to each of us. Will you ask him today how you can  use yours to help bring people to Jesus?

I was reminded this week of the importance of “Retelling” the Christmas Story.  We live in a world consumed by retail. Most in the retail business depend heavily on the Christmas season to provide a large percentage of their yearly revenue. For many, it all comes down to these last few weeks, traditionally starting with Black Friday.

The Retail Business looks to the Advent season to see if they are going to end the year in the “Black.” The Church should be looking to see if we are going to end the year in the “Red”. After all, the Church Calendar actually starts with Advent, the “Retelling of the Christmas Story.”

With all the Red around us at Christmas, let’s use it to remind us that it is a Savior’s Blood we need most, and not a Black Bottom Line. Don’t get me wrong; every Christian and every church should be dedicated to good stewardship, but it is our heart’s focus that is essential. Remember, this Advent Season is about the coming of a Savior to give his life for His people.

As leaders, let us be encouraged to look for the Red in this Advent Season and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the Black.  Here’s a way to make that happen:

Retail stores will give you Red Bows so that you can help them increase their bottom line. How about using those Red Bows with a new purpose this year? With every Red Bow you give or receive this season, look for a way to Retell the Story. Ask God to give you opportunities. By taking the opportunity to Retell the Christmas Story, you may be reminded that no matter how many Red Bows you wrap around presents this Christmas Season, they will never meet the need or fill the void in a life. The only thing amazing and powerful enough to do that is the Blood of The Child that was born to redeem us.

Godly leaders take time to cultivate a willingness to teach people they have never met.

Colossians 1:4b-8 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Godly leaders take time to cultivate a willingness to pray for people they have never met.

Colossians 1:3; 9 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, … For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Servant Leaders

Godly leaders take time to cultivate a willingness to serve people they have never met.

Colossians 1: 1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Building Sheds of Hope

Building Sheds of Hope

This past weekend we saw a powerful phenomenon.  About 100 RUF college students from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas descended on the Sheds of Hope warehouse. This far surpassed our usual 20-or-so volunteers. But we were prepared. In their wake, they left sheds standing where homes had been torn away. They left the hope for a new beginning.

The shed in the photo is a new concept that will enable groups to build sheds outside of Oklahoma  and then transport them flat-packed directly to a home in the Moore area. Volunteers can then assemble them quickly onsite.

RUF students getting instructions before opening the shed packs to start building.

RUF students getting instructions before opening the shed packs to start building.

News 9 came by and did a story on our effort. Here is their report…

“Sheds of Hope Group Offers Helping Hand To Tornado Victims”

By Heather Hope, News 9 – Oklahoma City

Video

Sheds of Hope has built about 85 sheds so far, and they have more than 200 people on their waiting list.

MOORE, Oklahoma – We’re four months out from the Moore tornado, but volunteers are still busy trying to help victims in their path to recovery.

Countless tornado victims lost so much in the May storms, mainly space, and that is why one group is working to give them a place to store things.

The foundation is laid on the new home Joshawa Green is rebuilding in Moore, four months after the May 20 tornado. Green needed a shed too for storage, and the group ‘Sheds for Hope’ answered his call for free.

“They had it built right before I even knew they were going to and never got a chance to thank them really,” Green said.

In a warehouse, Sheds of Hope volunteers are making way for a special delivery. They’re preparing to build 15 more sheds for storm victims.

“So they have a place to lock their belongings to prevent looting and give them a place to start rebuilding on their property,” Laura Atherton, coordinator for Sheds of Hope.

Atherton heads the group, which is a part of the Presbyterian Church in America. She’ll be in charge of the 100 college students volunteering to put together the sheds piece by piece on Saturday morning.

“They will assemble the shed, put shingles on it, paint it the color that the homeowner has requested,” Atherton said. “Then later the homeowners will drive by later that evening and have a brand new shed on their property ready to go.”

It’s a tedious project that will take about four hours to complete. So the group is getting all their tools and materials stacked in a row, ready to make some Moore resident’s day. Like Green, who says he’s grateful for the secure storage space.

“It’s a pretty cool gesture you know,” Green said. “You don’t really expect anything like that to just show up in your backyard.”

Sheds of Hope has built about 85 sheds so far, and they have more than 200 people on their waiting list. If you would like a shed built, call (405) 928-8052 or go to www.ShedsofHope.com

 

God Is Not Unjust

Imitate leaders who have served others and harvested the promises.

“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” – Hebrews 6:9-12

Read part 1

Small groups are a powerful training ground for developing future leaders.

Let me make sure you are hearing me right. Through developing leaders, small churches can gain the info-structure needed to reach out from their church into the community.

The pastor of a small church would often love to see everyone be involved in small groups. One goal as a pastor of a small church should be to train leaders that will be caregivers and nurture the people under their care. Small groups can facilitate not just fellowship and growth for the members of the group, but the training and coaching of future leaders. To accomplish this, the pastor must devote time to mentoring those leaders as a group and one-on-one. Would you invest the next two years of your life into training and developing leaders?

Where do I start?

Start by getting a list of your resources. Get yourself some spreadsheets and see what you are doing. Run the numbers and make your plan. Here are some examples of how to start:

List all the names of your adults (college or older) on a spreadsheet.

List the average attendance per month in morning worship.

Example:

  • 1 time a month = 25%
  • 3 times a month =75%
  • 4 or 5 times a month = 100%

List the average attendance if they also attend a small group.

Example:

  • Consider a small group that meets two times a month. If a member attends once, you would put down 50%.

Spreadsheet 1

Names of                    Attendance Monthly                  Average Attendance
Adults Average       at AM Worship                               in a Small Group

Trey Hard                                  75%                                                        50%

Joe Good                                  100%                                                     100%

Mary Tries                                 75%                                                          0%

Will B. Better                           25%                                                          0%

          4                                            68%                                                          37%

It does not help you to have a high percentage. If they don’t attend, don’t count them.

You should end up with a total count of your adults and a total average in attendance for your morning worship. If you have small groups, you should have a total average as well.

Note: If members attend less than once a month on average, put a 0% in the column by their name

From the list above – list the number of current active leaders/elders

List the number of church-related activities they are involved in, no matter where they meet.

Spreadsheet 2

Names of Active Leaders/Elders               Number each Month

1.  Joe Good                                                            3

2.  ____________________                                         ____

3.  ____________________                                         ____

Working from Spreadsheet 1, can you come up with a list of potential leaders that you could pair with an active leader/s in Spreadsheet 2?

Pair these leaders close to each other geographically, if possible.

Spreadsheet 3

Active Leader                         Potential Leader

1a.  ____________________      1b.  ____________________

2a.  ____________________      2b.  ____________________

3a.  ____________________      3b.  ____________________

Over the next 6-9 months, you are going to train these leaders.

Working definition for a small group

  • A small group is led by someone other than the pastor
  • A small group includes at least 1 potential leader (Spreadsheet 3)
  • A small group meets sometime other than a Sunday morning
  • A small group has between 4 and 12 adults including leaders
  • A small group can be made up of mixed gender or be gender specific
  • A small group can meet weekly or bi-weekly

How many small groups are active at least 6 months every year using the working definition above?

Spreadsheet 4

Leader/s              Number of Adults     Meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly

1.  ____________________      ___________       ____________________

2.  ____________________      ___________       ____________________

Active in a Small Group

What was the total number of adults in your church ______? (Spreadsheet 1)

What percentage of adults in your church are involved in small groups? (Spreadsheet 1 – count the number of people that have a percentage in the small group column) See your list of your members and adjust the numbers, if needed, now that you have the working definition.

The percentage in small groups is _______ (Spreadsheet 1)

Now ask yourself, how much can I envision the average percentage in small groups growing in the next twelve months?

What would this be in numbers of people _______?

Let’s talk! Share the love…

Go On To Maturity

Diligent leaders cultivate the fruit of a changed life.

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” – Hebrews 6:1-8