Archive for the ‘Pentecost’ Category

Fourteenth Sunday of Pentecost-Aug 27

26 Aug

Dealing with issues teens & Adults One of the greatest needs today is the teaching of Biblical values. Our country was founded on the principle that the government should be by the people, of the people, and for the people. That means that it will be run by the people, will consist of everyday citizens, not career politicians, and shall be geared toward benefiting the people. That requires that the people be informed about what is going on and able to decide what is best for them. The result was a push for universal education so everyone would be educated and for affordable newspapers to inform the people so they could vote intelligently. Up until the 1970’s, the churches, the schools and media were active in teaching Christian values so even those who did not attend church generally supported Christian values and open discussion of issues was allowed and even encouraged. Since then, the schools and the media have become increasingly liberal and have increasingly pushed their views openly and actively suppressed any opposing views. In addition, the church has been very lax in teaching Christian values to its members. Eighty percent of active churchgoers say they want their church to teach moral values, especially those regarding the family. Since they don’t understand Biblical values, many who attend church today hold liberal views while continuing to give lip service to the Bible. Young people who once received Christian values in school are increasingly being indoctrinated with liberal values and persecuted when they question them. The church must actively teach members Christian values and to question what they hear from the media. In addition, the church needs to help members understand why those values are important so they can defend them against liberal teaching. As a result, I have created a series of courses on Udemy on Christian values and how they differ from man-centered values to help church leaders understand and teach Biblical values. They are in a series of short videos so they can be shown one at a time and allow a discussion time in between.


Thirteenth Sunday of Pentecost-Aug 20

17 Aug

Assisting Neighbors-Assist with yard work. As people get older, they often cannot do many things they used to do, such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, or mowing the lawn and it is getting very hard to get people to do the work. In addition, we face a growing number of single women and families headed by women who need assistance. Professional people are often way too expensive for those on limited incomes. Teens used to do the work to earn spending money but many parents now give the kids money to buy a lot of things they used to earn money to get for themselves. In addition, many kids are so busy with sports and other school activities that they no longer have time to do such work. A neighbor mowing their own lawn or shoveling their own walk can easily mow an extra lawn or shovel an extra walk and it is a good way to teach teens the value of a dollar or the joy of helping someone in need. In addition, those out of work could use the money. While it doesn’t pay like a full time job, it provides a little money until a job can be found.


Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost-Aug 13

14 Aug

Adult Tutoring- Many students today, especially boys, drop out of school before graduating and many who graduated from high school before the implementation of “No Child Left Behind”, can not read and write because they had trouble in school and were just passed from grade to grade. Many classes today teach by memorizing words rather than learning how to figure out words on their own. As a result, many adults read very little because they have never learned to read adequately. Many such people are unable to get decent paying jobs and often can not get any steady work and can not afford classes to bring them up to an adequate level to get a good job. Often tutors can bring them up to an adequate level in just a couple years of part-time tutoring. Many schools and social agencies provide classes to help adults achieve high school equivalent degrees but adult tutors are needed to teach evening classes in reading and Math, as well as basic computer skills to enable participants to deal with the demands of everyday life since many jobs today require computer experience.


Eleventh Sunday of Pentecost-Aug 6

07 Aug

Curbside attractions-People are attracted by activity. People are attracted by a fight or other disturbance simply because life is dull and it is a diversion. They are also attracted by someone telling a story or painting a picture. The Salvation Army used to wander through the slums playing instruments to attract a crowd. Then they would stop and start preaching to the crowd. A friend of mine in Chicago had an old VW bus with the side door. He fixed a board with a sheet of paper on it just inside the van and would pull up to the curb, put money in the meter, and open the side door. Then he would start drawing a picture. As a crowd gathered on the sidewalk, he began telling a Bible story related to the picture he was drawing. In trailer parks we have lived in, there was very little for the kids to do and they often hung around with nothing to do. I often went out on the corner and began drawing a picture on a board.  When they saw me, they quickly gathered to hear Bible stories. After a couple times, the kids are eager to join a local children’s Bible club.


Tenth Sunday of Pentecost-July 30

31 Jul

Special Events in the park like Church picnics give the church an enjoyable time of fellowship but can also serve as a valuable way to reach those who don’t attend church. Large community events like fireworks displays that draw crowds also provide excellent opportunities. Games and activities for adults and kids can attract those outside the church if the church is open to inviting and including them. A table with snacks or a picnic meal also may attract kids playing nearby and church kids can be encouraged to invite kids playing nearby. Church families can also invite their neighbors to come with them and members of neighborhood Bible Clubs will get a chance to meet the larger church. Pavilions often have electric outlets and the church can set up a screen and show children’s videos. If electric is not available, someone can do a chalk drawing or paint a picture while telling the story that goes with it. Be sure to have literature on hand telling about your church. As the people get to know church members, they may be willing to join in other activities the church has.


Ninth Sunday of Pentecost-July 23

19 Jul

Movie Night-Few small towns these days have anything to draw them together. Some churches have started having movie night in the church parking lot during the summer. People may be drawn to visit the church by showing family friendly films and films demonstrating the faith, and allowing visitors to blend with members and get to know them,  It isn’t as threatening as going inside and those passing who see the movie may stop to watch. Adding popcorn and drinks will increase the draw and provide a time of friendly socializing.  The old movies used to show a newsreel or short film before the main film so those coming late wouldn’t miss the start of the film. By showing a short light Gospel film before the main film, such as a Vege-tale film, it provides a draw for families to bring kids and introduces unbelievers to the faith.


Eighth Sunday of Pentecost-July 16

13 Jul

Summer kid’s lunches-Kids from poor families can get free lunches at school and some schools even offer breakfast, however, there is no school in summer. Some parents don’t have sufficient funds for meals, though food stamps are usually readily available. Some parents might not want to apply or are not eligible for some reason. More often the reason is do to the parent not being able to plan good meals or is just lazy. The parent may work and children are left alone to fend for themselves and do not know how to prepare adequate meals, or do not want to bother. As a result, the children suffer.  School meals provide their only truly nutritious meals. When school is out, they do not get adequate nutrition. The government has money for meal programs in the summer but needs someone to handle the program since the schools are closed. Community organizations can contract for the funds and provide the meals. Church can and often do contract to provide the meals but cannot include religious training during the meal because it uses government funds. However, there is nothing to stop the church from having the meal at noon and having a Children’s Bible Club at 1 PM and inviting the kids to stay, though they cannot be required to stay. Some churches have Children’s Bible Clubs on Wednesday evenings and provide a meal so parents aren’t rushed getting home and preparing a meal for the kids before the Bible Club.


Seventh Sunday of Pentecost-June 9

06 Jul

Rural Churches Can-A small town United Methodist Church I once served was complaining they could not compete with churches in nearby cities and felt they had no future. It was started in 1816 but its first history wasn’t written until 1911 so much of its early history was lost. I began contacting churches around the church to get their histories because many of the churches shared a circuit at one time. I counted about 16 churches started by that church back when northern Ohio was a virtual wilderness. It wasn’t the pastor, because they shared their pastor with up to twenty other churches. Once they built a building to worship in, there was no record they established any new churches. Somewhere along the way they lost the vision. I surveyed some of the local people and found that one out of ten people in that town were of Methodist background but did not attend any church.  Since I was in seminary full-time nine months of the year, I had little time to do more than preach, however I spent my summers visiting members of the church and community. Both churches experienced noticeable growth for the first time in years from my work alone. Pastors need to train their members to become fishers of men. Though many rural churches are failing, some are still succeeding. A couple local churches have proved there is still a future for rural churches. One church recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It started from a couple families meeting in a house basement because they did not like the way the theology of their church was going. It has grown to over 250 members in only 25 yrs. by reaching out and ministering to those around them. Another local church started as a house church 20 years ago, now averages 200 in its main church and has a satellite church. While some mega-churches today are growing by watering down the Gospel to draw anyone they can, such churches are growing by ministering to those around them like the New Testament church did. I discuss it further in my book “Rebuilding the Kingdom”.      


Sixth Sunday of Pentecost-July 2

29 Jun

Neighborhood Center Ministry-Poor areas have many problems caused by poverty. Lack of transportation makes it difficult to get assistance from agencies and there are many needs that agencies can’t help. The Salvation Army has developed the greatest network of neighborhood centers of any church. Each church is usually in a poverty area and provides not only a religious center but social services and community programs. People coming to get social services become aware of religious services and other services. Formerly, churches were centers for community activities since they had the only facilities for community gatherings other than schools. Many churches today close their facilities to non-members. Any church today, especially those in poverty areas and rural areas, should be a community center ministering to social needs around them, as well as their spiritual needs. Ministering to the community often leads non-church people to ask why they do it opening the doors to tell them about the Love of God.


Fifth Sunday of Pentecost-June 25

22 Jun

Visiting homebound-As the government has developed home care services for those elderly who can no longer take care of themselves, more of those who need a little help each morning getting bathed and dressed, but can take care of themselves after that, have been able to stay in their own homes instead of going into a nursing home. The result has saved the government a great deal as home care usually costs only 1/2 to 1/3 of nursing home care and has enabled many to stay in their homes, however it also tends to isolate them. Workers come in daily but must complete their work and move on to the next client so they can not stay and visit. In addition, there are many who can take care of themselves and don’t need help, but they can no longer drive and get out. The grocery may deliver their groceries and the laundry picks up, cleans, and returns their laundry but they don’t have time to stop and visit. Many elderly confined to their own homes do not see anyone besides any care givers and medical personnel they have, and could use someone who is willing to come and spend time talking to them. The elderly often appreciate visits by children who are well behaved and teens because they may have grandchildren but have never seen them because they live at a great distance and the children and teens often enjoy visiting the elderly who have the time to sit and talk with them or play games with them, because their parents often work and don’t have the time.