This past Sunday I spoke briefly about some of the local organizations that we support. Here is some information on those organizations.
Each campus at NewPointe has a local missions budget that allows us to support and partner with local organizations and help people in our community. Here in Millersburg we have a partner relationship with several organizations. Some we support monthly with a financial contribution and some we work with by providing volunteers, promotion of their services and fundraisers.
We work with organizations that are well run, that help people in need and that are Christ centered.
The three organizations we support financially on a monthly basis are:
We support and promote these organizations as we are able, through one-time donations, volunteers, promotion and participation with events they organize:
I want to encourage you to be generous and give to NewPointe so that we can continue to support these organizations or give directly to them. If you have any questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently I had a conversation with some people that attend and volunteer at the church that I work at. As we talked about some of the conversations they had at work and in the community, I heard several times that many of the people they talk to about church say “Oh you go to That Church”. Now I’m guessing that the comment comes from people that are either already going to a church or grew up in church. The reason I say that is because people that are familiar with church tend to have a picture of what a church should be like. I know that I had those same thoughts when I first heard about NewPointe over 17 years ago. I questioned why they did certain things and why they didn’t do certain things. But then I tried it and was changed forever, my picture of church was wrecked in a good way.
When a church comes along that doesn’t line up with our picture of the church we grew up with or currently attend, we will question the validity of that church. Most people’s natural tendency is to poke fun or shoot holes in something they don’t understand.
I actually love that people would say you go to “That Church”. That means that we are getting noticed and people are actually talking about church, maybe in a way that they have not talked before. It leads to spiritual conversations and gets people thinking. There is no perfect church, because there are no perfect people. As a church leader I don’t claim to know it all or have the best way of doing things. I want to create a place where people can connect with God and other people.
So here are some things I love about That Church, otherwise known as NewPointe Community Church:
Last week I went on a mission trip to Tupelo MS with the organization Eight Days of Hope. This was the second time I’ve gone on one of these trips with 8DOH. Back in late April of 2014 Tupelo was hit with a devastating tornado. The damage was far reaching and the city is still trying to rebuild and regroup.
Basically 8DOH goes into a community and works with local churches, non-profits and the government officials. They only go to communities that want the help and are open to a Christian organization. They focus on homeowners that are uninsured, under insured or that need help beyond what insurance will pay.
3,023 volunteers from 37 states served at Eight Days of Hope XI. There were around 60 people from NewPointe Community Church that went. We worked on 235 homes, multiple churches and multiple parks. We finished 451 jobs with 159 homes being completed. Three homes were built from the ground up. Total amount of work done exceeded $4.4 million dollars. BUT…the most important thing was we had a chance to share the joy, the hope the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Here are some lesson’s from this trip:
I’ve been on many mission trips and every time I have been deeply impacted in a positive way. I have gotten to know other cultures and other people in different parts of the world. I gotten to talk with people I would never have met, if I wouldn’t have taken the risk and decided to go. Maybe God has been nudging you to consider go on a trip like 8DOH or maybe another mission trip. But the cool thing is we don’t need to go on a mission trip to love and serve people. There are many people in our own communities that are in need that we can serve and love and help. All it takes is a willingness to give some time and talent and muscle or to listen and encourage.
If you would like to get involved in changing your local community or want to go on a mission trip, please contact me via email – email@example.com
For the past six years NewPointe Community Church has shut down regular church services on a Sunday morning and went out into the community to be the church by serving others. One of the core values at NewPointe is Serving Others, so it’s important to put into practice what we value.
Once a year all of the campuses of NewPointe find projects in their local communities and people volunteer to give of their time, talent and energy to serve our schools, villages, nursing homes, non-profit organizations and individuals that are in need.
This year we had nearly 1,900 people serving in four different counties in Northeast Ohio. I serve as Campus Pastor at our Millersburg location and we had over 250 people serving on 29 projects throughout Holmes County.
One of the projects this year was with the Humane Society in the Glenmont area. Their property was run down and in need of repair and over 20 volunteers spent 4-5 hours working on cleaning, painting, weeding and fixing things. There is still some work to do, but that team made a huge dent in what needed to be done.
Another project was for a lady that had a kidney transplant that rejected, so she is back to doing dialysis. She has not been able to take care of her property, so a team of volunteers stained her deck, landscaped her property and did multiple other projects to improve her home. It was a total transformation of her property.
We also had three team go to local nursing homes to visit with residents and to provide two church services to residents. I was able to visit with two elderly gentlemen and the one man talked with me for several minutes and then I asked him if I could pray for him. He said yes and I prayed for him and his health and his family. When I finished I noticed he had tears in his eyes. He said that he doesn’t normally cry but that had been happening more lately. I asked him if he and his wife have a church home. He said they do not go to church. I told him he is welcome anytime when he is feeling better. I left information about the church and my name so he could talk to his wife. Who knows what God is going to do with that.
There are so many more stories that happened on Sunday. We don’t want this to be just a onetime event, so we are planning to have local serving opportunities throughout the year. As we find people and organizations that we can help, we will spread the word and organize work days to help out our community. We are calling it the Helping Hands Team. If you want to be on the email list to be notified of projects, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no better feeling than when you serve someone else. Let’s be known as the church that serves.
Most people have had a negative experience at a church at some point in their lives. Maybe it was frustration, confusion, rejection, boredom or just irrelevant. The word church can bring up some bad memories for many people. For others the church is a mystery because they did not grow up going to church. It can actually be intimidating and confusing. Yet the church exists and has for thousands of years.
The purpose of the church is an extension of the purpose of Jesus Christ. So what is the church? In order to accurately look at the church, we need to discover what it is not.
In the New Testament the word church refers to the universal church, which is all believers on earth. It also refers to a particular location and the actual gathering of believers in any place for worship. The word church also refers to the body of Christ, which is an analogy for how the church should function. So why does the church exist?
The church is made up of people that all are working together to do those 5 things. When a church creates environments where people can experience those things it allows them to mature as a Christian. These environments should be designed to help people connect with God and give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to transform the person. Environments are worship services, youth events, children’s classrooms, adult classrooms and training, mission trips locally and internationally, small group or home group, accountability groups, one-on-one mentoring, and many more.
The local church is the hope of the world.
Recently NewPointe Community Church started a campaign called 2 coats. This idea came from one of our creative staff members in our children’s department. We partnered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters on the goal of coming up with 300 coats. That was the beginning of some amazing stories. Let me share two stories that have challenged me and encouraged me. I want to introduce you to two young boys; Alex who is 7 years old and Dominick who is 6 years old.
Alex made the decision to start saving money earlier this year to donate to the church to help buy a playland at the Canton Campus. He diligently saved all the money that came his way and had built up a nice stash of $101.01. While talking with his parents about the money, he thought that maybe instead of saving for the playland, he could use the money to buy coats for the 2 coats campaign His parents thought that was a great idea, so they went to Old Navy to buy some coats. After he purchased the coats someone else from the church found out what he did and called Old Navy to let them know about Alex and NewPointe Community Churches 2 coats campaign. Old Navy loved the story and agreed to give a 30% discount on other coats our church would purchase the following week. They called the discount the Alex Discount. They also talked about making a donation to 2 Coats as well. The same person that called Old Navy also called Fox 8 in Cleveland and they loved the story as well and are coming down this week to interview Alex and Old Navy. Amazing how one child can make such a big difference.
Dominick also has a great story. He is turning 7 on November 27th. While his parents were planning his birthday party, he told them that instead of presents from his friends he wanted to make a donation to a local good cause. They started looking for some place to make a donation and they had several options, but then the church announced the 2 coats campaign. Dominick immediately thought it would be great if his friends would bring coats instead of presents and he would donate them all to the program at church. They mailed out invitations announcing the coats donations and had a chance to share with several parents that Dominick had thought of this himself and about NewPointe and the vision to help people in need.
These two boys are great examples to us all about being generous and showing compassion to other people in need. I am sure there will be more to each of these stories and there are many others brewing as a result of one idea that inspired many others to be generous. We collected money to buy more coats at Old Navy over the weekend, and will be announcing that total this coming weekend along with the update on how many coats we have been able to give to Big Brothers & Big Sisters. The campaign runs until November 27th, so their is still time to join in. To contact NewPointe click Here
One of the phrases that I often pray is this “God pour into me, so that I can pour into others.” I believe one of the things God calls us to do is to take what He has given us and give it to others. Many times this comes through the experiences of life, the good ones and the bad ones. God also gives gifts to His children that we can use to pour into others. Finally he gives us skills and abilities that are unique to us, again in order to pour into others and make a difference for God in this world. If we are open to God using us as His instruments, our influence will grow and our tribe will increase. If we remain humble and meek, we will accelerate how God uses us to pour into others.
In 2 Corinthians 1:2-4 the Message Bible says this “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
God promises to comfort us in our troubles, then asks us to share that comfort with others. Remember, we can’t give away what we don’t possess. We are to pass on what God gives to us. We don’t receive only for our benefit, but for the benefit of others. God calls us to empower others with the power that He gave us. Here are some practical ways that we can pour into others:
God always gives us what we need to lead. Our own baggage and insecurities often keep us from taking the step to pour into others. It is easy to make excuses about not being ready or being too busy. These excuses most often stem from our core fears. Fear of failure, fear of not knowing the right answers and looking dumb, fear of rejection, fear of being misunderstood. In 2 Timothy 1:7-8 it says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” These three tools help us pour into others:
God gave us everything we need to accomplish the job. He empowers us before He ever expects from us. He gives before He demands. We receive His competence before we receive His commands. So start asking God to pour into you, so that you can pour into others.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
My takeaway from that verse is that Christians need to be doing more not less to help those in need. There are two kinds of responses people can make to this verse.
I guess there could be a third response of I have thought about helping the poor, but just don’t know how.
A word of caution to the people with response number two. There can be mixed emotions and motives behind wanting to help the poor. Here are some possible motives:
The danger is to unintentionally reduce poor people to objects that we use to fulfill our own need to accomplish something good. Really the answer for all three responses is that we need to be reminded of the Gospel every day. We are all broken and poor in some way. It may not be financially, but it might be relationally, emotionally, spiritually or physically. We need to be reminded that Jesus paid it all and covers all our sins and short comings. So we are not on this earth to fix ourselves or other people, we are here to love God and love other people.
Our approach to helping poor people should be to love them. Taking the time to build relationships, to listen to their story and really care about them. It means taking a longer term approach with people instead of a quick fix like paying a bill for them, or buying them groceries once. Often times we like to swoop in and help someone out and then never interact with them again. That usually confirms to that person that they are poor and feeds the shame they feel. It does not help that person heal emotionally or to mend broken relationships or build new healthy relationships.
Here are five principles we can use in our approach to giving:
In order to really help someone we need to understand if they need relief, rehabilitation or development. In many situations, relief is not needed, but rehabilitation or development is needed. Relief should go to the severely disabled, some elderly that cannot care for themselves, the very young, orphaned children, mentally ill homeless and victims of natural disaster. Most others may want relief, but need rehabilitation and development.
Most people are poor because of broken relationships. Development looks to help restore and to build healthy relationships. This takes time, patience and work. We should not do things for people that they can do for themselves. When we step in and do things for people they can do for themselves we send a message to them that they are incompetent, hopeless and helpless. Instead we should work with them to help them improve their lives. This is the helping in truth part from the opening Scripture.
This holiday season, I want to encourage you to think long-term if you want to help someone in need. If you are not willing to do that, then it would be better to not get involved. You can still help by giving to organizations that have this approach. Here are some organizations that my church supports. NewPointe Community Church also has this approach of mentoring and working long-term with people to help make big changes in their lives. We might help them financially along the way, but it is part of a plan for helping them grow and change.
Proverbs 22:9 says “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”
Serving & helping others helps us to grow spiritually, improves our relationships and blesses us. If that is true, why don’t we serve others more often? Why aren’t we more generous with our time & resources?
Several years ago I went on a mission trip to Biloxi MS shortly after hurricane Katrina hit. I was with a team of 40 people that worked together for a week to help everyone we could. My main job was to find work for our volunteers to do. I would walk from home to home asking how we could help. I got leads from the local church we were staying at as well. We worked hard everyday until it was too dark to work. Some groups worked into the night. WE got up early ready to make a difference; we cleaned up yards, cut up trees, built fences, repaired walls, floors, roofs, doors and even put up a mailbox. We touched many lives that week, we grew in our faith, developed new relationships and strengthened existing ones. We were exhausted, but we all felt blessed more than we could express. Since then I have gone back several times and even gone to the Middle East on mission trips.
On my way back home from that trip I kept thinking; why do we need to go on a mission trip to help and serve people. What would happen if we took that mentality of helping and serving people in need home with us? Could we take the same attitude of serving we had on that trip and apply it in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities we live in?
Most of us don’t serve others as often as we would like to because we are too busy. We miss opportunities because we are so caught up in our daily schedules and habits. When we stop long enough to go on a mission trip our focus changes. We take our eyes of ourselves and our comfort and put it on other people that are hurting and in need of help. We feel amazing, useful, we feel like our life has meaning & purpose.
What if every day could be like that? What if we all would approach this next week like we were on a mission trip? A trip that would take you to your workplace, your family and friends, your neighborhood, your grocery store, your bank, your church, your small group.
How could you serve the people you come into contact with this week? Maybe it’s just a smile and taking the time to listen to someone. It could be doing a random act of kindness like paying for someone’s meal. Maybe it’s playing longer with your kids or doing the dishes every night. Maybe it’s volunteering at your church. Get creative, look for opportunities to serve people and watch your attitude change. I promise you that the more you serve and volunteer the more you will grow spiritually, the better your relationships will get and the more you will feel blessed.
Compassion has a way of turning peoples heads. The level of compassion to help the people of Haiti has been amazing. In times of crisis most people are willing to step up and try to help make a difference. The efforts in Haiti have been amazing as we continue to hear stories of people giving their time, talents and treasure to help. I am sure we will hear some truly amazing stories in the months ahead.
Jesus said this about the church, “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Jesus was saying that there is one force in this world that can shed life giving light on a dark and hurting world. Who was in Haiti before this tragedy? Many churches and Christian organizations were there trying to make a difference in peoples lives. The church is made up of people that are called by Jesus to love other people. That love for people is the motivator for churches to reach out and help people. That is why there were people on the ground with the people of Haiti trying to encourage and equip them.
So here is the question, how bright is your light shining. Is your bulb wattage at 25? 40? 60? or 150?
Showing compassion to the world is what we were called to do. We are not called to judge this world, but to love those in this world just like Jesus did. When we show unconditional love to a broken world it gets people’s attention. True compassion is unusual. Acts of compassion are not just giving money, although money is often needed. Compassion is helping people in need through relief, rehabilitation and development. If we never get to developing people, we are not showing true compassion. Relief is often the first step, but the real compassion comes in rehabilitation and development. That takes time and energy to help people become what God intended them to be.
Here are three reasons we should get involved personally in acts of compassion.
Being compassionate requires action. If you just think about helping, cry about a tragedy or talk about how awful something is, you are not compassionate. Compassion happens when something is done to help another person in need. When you do that little extra to show love and respect for a less fortunate person. I hope that everyone that reads this Blog post will pray for God to give them an opportunity to show compassion in a real way this week.