Start Something!

Recently I was with a group of church leaders and the issue of reaching the lost came up. One of the leaders asserted that it seems the churches are all going after the same people, while the truly lost in our communities have little outreach to them. He’s absolutely right. Many of our standard church outreach activities are white noise to the growing number of NEVER churched in our communities. Maybe its time to Start Something new to reach the lost in your city.

  • When was the last time you assessed your community for the real needs of people?
  • When was the last time you thought about the unchurched in your town and how to bring the gospel to them?
  • When was the last time you asked hard questions about the effectiveness of your churches ministry in making contact with the lost?
  • When was the last time you looked at the demographics around your church?

This years Missions and Ministry Summer Luncheon tour will focus on these questions. We want to learn about your community and highlight some needs that may be great avenues for sharing the gospel. We want to talk about starting some new fights with modern day issues affecting people in our state. Join the Missions and Ministry Team at one of our Summer Luncheons across Louisiana in June and July.

Visit LouisianaBaptists.org/Compassion to find and register for a meal and discussion.

Louisiana World Hunger Offering

Food Insecurity.  It is a new term and one that many of us have never personally experienced.  But, 1 in 5 people in Louisiana are food insecure.  Food insecure means lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  That means 20% of all people in Louisiana don’t have enough good food to eat.

That’s how the Louisiana World Hunger Offering  can help.  You can help to provide food for hungry people in Louisiana. When Compas- sion Ministry is established through the local church, churches can meet needs, build trust, share the Gospel and create a connecting point with a local church.

In other words, the box of food becomes a reason to establish a gospel-centered  relationship.  And all over Louisiana people are giving out boxes of food and giving Jesus to hurting people.

When you give to the Louisiana World Hunger Offering  20% of all the funds collected stay right here in Louisiana, and the remaining portion goes to Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief to help feed people around the world.  100% of the funds collected are used to purchase food.

Thank you for reaching out to hungry people in the name of Jesus through your participation in the Louisiana World Hunger Offering.

 


In a land of plenty, it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that 1 in 5 people in Louisiana live in poverty – and many of them are children.

As Louisiana Baptists, we are called to care for the needy. The Louisiana World Hunger Offering enables us to visibly show the love of Jesus by providing resources that are used to feed people across our state.

Our goal this year is $330,000 – 20% of which stays in Louisiana to meet local needs. The remaining 80% goes to Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief to help feed people around the world.

Will you do what you can to help meet this need? Although the offering is scheduled for October, you can collect it any time during the year.

While there are government programs to help feed hungry families, it is simply not enough.

The Louisiana World Hunger Offering will do what the government can’t- share the Bread of Life, Jesus, with all who come.

There are many other ways you can show compassion to the needy in your community. Please contact our office and allow us to work with you in establishing an ongoing effort in your area. Thank you for reaching out to hungry people in the name of Jesus through your participation in the Louisiana World Hunger Offering.

To get involved or learn more about compassion ministries, click here. You can also contact Jeff.Cook@LouisianaBaptists.org or join the Facebook group (Compassion Ministry of Louisiana Baptists).

New Offering Collection Idea!

Simply print the Can Label pdf below in black and white or in color. Cut the paper into two labels and then wrap the label around a clean 16 oz can. Now you can start collecting coins and folding money for the World Hunger Offering.

You could put the cans around the church. Each family could put a can in a prominent place in the home and collect loose change for a period of time. One church even has a city wide project of leaving a can on every door step in the city, and the entire city fills a can and brings the can to the church on a certain day.

This is a fun way to help the hungry. If your church thinks of another creative way to collect funds, share the idea on our Facebook group (search for the Compassion Ministry of Louisiana Baptists group on Facebook.com).

Resources

Ministers, You are Hope on Call

The phone rings, it is 2:19 on a Sunday morning.  “Pastor, can you come?”

There is a problem. 

You can’t say no, but there are a thousand thoughts immediately bouncing around in your head.  Of course, you think the worst as you put on a pair of jeans and grab a jacket.  Heart racing, car revving, you make your way to the scene.  The blue lights are flashing, and people are all milling around.  It is the worst scenario.

Sure enough, he has a gun.  It is up to the edge of his head.  His girlfriend has just departed, for good.  There is no reason to live.  What do you do?

This happened to me on one occasion.  And it was the most terrifying night I had ever spent in my life.  “Put the gun down, Daniel! Put the gun down Daniel!” It seemed so empty.

Thankfully it worked.  The gun was finally put down, and the scene was over.  Daniel is alive today and I am thankful.

Another night, another call.

“Pastor, can you come?” This time, the suicide had already been committed.  The estranged husband had shot himself in front of his wife.  She was left with three small children to manage from that day forward.

“Let me follow you home, Linda. I will make sure you get home safe.”  And then, I left her to tell her small children that their daddy had died.  I just left her there.  All alone, at 4:00 am to share the terrible news.

It is one of the greatest “mistakes” of my ministry life.

Oh, how I wished that I would have been trained.  Oh how I wish I knew what to do.

Out of those situations, I learned four important lessons.

  1.  I learned to expect the unexpected.  We can’t be completely prepared, but we can anticipate that people will find themselves in terrible situations. How are you going to respond to the unthinkable? You’d better think about the unthinkable because life and ministry is rarely without monthly if not weekly crises.
  2. I learned that ‘showing up’ is much better than not showing up.  Even if you don’t know what to do, being there can only be helpful. There is something powerful about presence. Presence is something you can’t delegate. But your presence could have a lasting impact, not only on those who need you there, but also the view of Jesus in the lives of those in crisis.
  3. I learned that you should never leave a grieving person alone.  Call someone, phone a neighbor, stay on site … anything is better than leaving. This is difficult, but after the initial ministry, your organization should have a plan and that plan should include more than you alone. You lost your superman cap back in 3rd grade, stop looking for it.
  4. I learned that TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL to being prepared. This is why we are offering a valuable training experience for chaplains and other ministers.

Next time, make sure you’re prepared.

Attend Hope on Call: Training for Pastors and Chaplains

Details

April 5th
Louisiana Baptist Building, Alexandria, La.
Conference Speaker: Greg Giltner – He retired from the Oklahoma City Police Department after over 26 years of service. He was a patrolman for 23 years and over 3 years as full-time department chaplain, holding the distinction of being the first commissioned officer to be named as Department Chaplain. Greg currently serves as the Chief of Police for Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City. He is married to Vonne, a second grade school teacher, and they have 5 children and 3 grandsons.

 

4 Steps to Making Your Generosity Stick

If you are like me, I find that days are hectic. But they can also be filled with unexpected encounters when my heart is fine-tuned to the needs around me.

On one typical day, I picked up eight sausage poboys for a fundraiser. Then I was scurrying home from the sale when I noticed a young man at the red light with a card board sign that read, “God Bless.”

I knew he needed a handout for something, so I waived him over.

He said he had gotten in trouble in Lafayette, and he just got out of prison. He was headed home to Alabama where he belonged (insert LSU-Alabama joke here). Anyway, I said to him in a flash of biblical brilliance, “Silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus Christ … I give you a poboy.”

I didn’t really say that, but I did give him the poboy. He thanked me and then continued on his mission to get to Alabama.

I meet a lot of people in Louisiana who know that if a brother is hungry, the least we can do is give a brother a sandwich. But many people will also say, with paralyzing hesitation, I don’t know how to do compassion ministry.

I don’t know what to do.

Here are four guidelines to use when developing a good compassion ministry through your church. Remember, the goal is to accomplish all four guidelines over time.

Step 1: Find Out the Need

We all understand that people are in need. But the question is, how do we discover what the needs are and how do we begin to meet the needs.

To do this we need to:

  • Get past the ‘us versus them’ mentality.
  • Get past the objection to the cost of doing a new ministry. We are planted in our churches to meet the needs of people around us. If we take care of God’s people (all people), then God will see that there are resources available to meet basic human needs.
  • Ask questions of leaders. “Who are the needy people around here?” Ask the police, principal, or civic leaders about unmet needs in your community.
  • Focus on a group. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. It is not our place to help able-bodied people who could be helping themselves.

Step 2: Build Trust

Needy people are usually survivors. These people are focused on meeting the needs of today. Make sure we don’t rush relationships with people we are trying to help.

Trust takes time.

This man showed up at my church one time and he said he wanted to get involved in the ministry. I told Joe (who attended infrequently, by the way), that until you master the ministry of ‘Show Up’, God can’t use you in a mighty way.

The same can be true for ministering to those who are in need. Practice “showing up” and prove that you mean what you preach. Trust will grow over time.

Step 3: Give Them Eternal Assistance – FULLY Share the Gospel

Make it personal and relational.

It is a good thing to drop a tract in a bag of groceries. But it is a much better thing, to put a loving arm around a shoulder, pour a cup of coffee and share what Jesus has done for you and what Jesus can do in the life of your new friend.

Share Jesus, start a Bible study, invite your new friend to your Sunday School class, start a church.

The gospel has not made its complete impact, until it is blended into the life of the new believer.

Step 4: Connect People to the Local Church

We ARE the church. Any group of people can collect canned goods and feed someone who is hungry. But Louisiana Baptists ARE the church.

We ARE the church.

The best thing we have going is not a box of food or a tutoring class. The best thing we have going is the local church.

We are not finished until we seek to gather people into HIS church.

If you are interested in starting a compassion ministry, click here.

A Compassionate Heart

When many people see a homeless person on the street, there is a tendency to move to the other side of the street, not knowing what to do. Then, there is a tendency to feel guilty for not doing anything to help. The question is, how do we have a compassionate heart. How do we look back past people’s circumstances and see the real needs of people.

H-healthy. We need to be healthy people. We need to be focused on positive self- worth as people who are charged with serving others as a way of life. We need to find our purpose and utilize our purpose in every situation. We need to be spiritually clean so that we will feel confident in helping others.

E-enthusiastic. Where does enthusiasm come from? Enthusiasm comes from the Holy Spirit. When we are living a healthy life, the power of the Holy Spirit can fill up our life, and give us the enthusiasm it takes to interact with needy people and show the compassion of Jesus to people around us.

A-attentive. We need to be attentive to PEOPLE. Behind every needy circumstance is a person, who has gotten to the place of need by a series of twists and turns. Some are self-inflicted, but others are truly the events that happen in people’s lives. I met a man on the street in Nashville and he began to give me the “two dollar” hustle. I listened to him and he kept saying, “My dad died in 2005”…and everything changed from that moment. I told him, “until you go back to that moment and resolve your dad’s death, you will never be able to move forward.” I told him that God could be his replacement father if allowed. He didn’t get his two dollars, but hopefully he was impacted by the message.

R-respectful-We need to be careful to erase the language of alienation that borders on racism. Words like “those people” or “the people from that side of town”, or “those children” should be lost from our vocabulary. People are people and we need to treat people well, especially at the point of physical/spiritual need.

T-truthful. We need to tell people the truth. If you can help someone today, help them today. But don’t give the impression that you can help tomorrow if you can’t. Needy people are naturally not trusting. One of the greatest ways to minister to people past the immediate need, is to be truthful, and show up when you are supposed to. Be a person who can be counted on, and truly needy people will respond to your message.