“RUF-5” Storms Oklahoma

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

What Can a Small Church do? Part 2

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

What Can A Small Church Do? Part 1

The Role of Small Churches

The small church has a tremendous role in providing current and future growth for the church, both in this country and around the world.

Trained leaders are key to helping the small church reach its community. Developing future trained leaders will also enable the small church to plant and train churches, as well.

Good Leadership Refreshes Our Communities
Good Leadership Refreshes Our Communities

No matter what the size of the church, every church has a responsibility to develop leaders that care for both the church and the communities where their people live. I have seen numbers that indicate that seventy percent of all churches are under a hundred in attendance. If you are in a small church, don’t be discouraged. You are the majority! Let’s look at some ways that we can grow in our ability to reach the community around us.

Pastors of Small Churches

As a pastor of a small church, you probably inherited your buildings, your property, your leaders, and the people that regularly attend the Sunday morning worship service. Your church may also be debt free. As a small church pastor, you probably have three or maybe four leaders in your church. Most of them may have been the leaders for as many years as you have lived. If this is the case, it will take extra time to develop and train new leaders from within your congregation and the community, for a number of reasons.

Leaders of Small Churches

Family longevity – Leaders have often grown up in this church and may be related to many of the current members and leaders. This is not necessarily bad, especially if there is a heritage of godly leadership that is seen again in the next generation of the family. However, that is not always the case. Another challenge is that this structure can be intimidating for new people who have no family within the church.

Assumptions – Some may have become leaders not so much from the fact that they have leadership gifts, but because they are well like and respected by the people. This is a good start, but continual training is still needed to fully develop leadership gifts.

Density – “We’re a small church, we don’t need to train any more leaders.” If you encounter this opinion, you will need to take time to encourage people toward the vision of training future leaders for the community, the world, and new churches.

Members of Small Churches

In a small church, no one can be left behind; everyone is important. You are noticed and missed when you’re not there. A welcoming, caring, nurturing fellowship like this is best able to impact a community. The best way to accomplish this is by training everyone you can to have the vision of leadership in their sphere of influence.

Communities Around Small Churches

Most communities know your church, if they have the occasion to drive by it. Maybe they have even been to a wedding, a funeral, but they really haven’t had the opportunity to KNOW your church; the care, and love that makes this church a special place. If communities are going to be reached, we have to understand that at the beginning it’s probably not going to be by attending your small church. It may start by developing a relationship with a coworker, a waitress, or a clerk as you check out of a store.

Training Potential Leaders

The small church has its work cut out for it, but nevertheless, work which it is uniquely gifted to meet. Most of the potential leaders are already within its walls and are loved by the church because they have known them for many years. Getting these potential leaders working alongside current leaders for the purpose of encouraging them and developing them is what lies ahead.

What are some of your favorite small church experiences?

Let’s talk! Share the Love…

Trained by Constant Practice

Diligent leaders actively dig into the word.

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” – Hebrews 5:11-14

Quirky Followers

Amarillo
Would YOU hire this guy?

Leaders are funny people today! They want people to follow them who are fully trained and have no flaws; who will answer a seemingly endless list of questions that ask the same things in at least three different ways. Then they will print out pages and pages of reports about these people in a world that is longing for someone to help us become less dependent on paper. After hiring the one who looks best on paper, they discover he has all kinds of quirks. Do they need a better employment questionnaire? Maybe. Or maybe this follower really needs you as his leader!

I was reading John chapter 1, and it got me thinking about this. John the Baptist said…

“I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:33-36

As soon as John said that, two of his disciples walked off and started to follow Jesus. How would you react if your best followers started following someone else?

Then one of them found his brother Simon and told him “We have found the Messiah.” When Jesus saw him, he renamed him and called him Peter. How would react if your two ex-followers then recruited more potential followers?

But it didn’t stop there. The next day Jesus asked another one to follow him, called Philip. He immediately found Nathanael, who at first did not have a very high opinion of people who came from Nazareth, or even that a leader could come from there. He soon changed his tune.

And to top it off, a few days later this same leader was taking them all to a wedding and when the wine ran out, he made more for everyone.

But John’s attitude was, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” He knew that Jesus was the leader they needed.

Were these followers perfect? Would they look good on paper if Jesus was reviewing his questionnaires? Probably not. These men were self-centered, jockeying for first place, liars, wanting the benefits without having to pay the cost, wanting to know the end results. Jesus never for a moment thought they had it all together. For three years he just keep working with them, and having them follow him.

Then one day the words of John came true “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And sure enough, he did baptize them.

Who are you following? Who is following you? Are you about to give up on someone who doesn’t yet have it all together? As we follow Jesus he may very well bring us into places along the way where we would question His leadership; but the follower is not the teacher.

Let’s Talk! Share the Love…