Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turkey's giving away turkeys





above video for our thanks to all who served at a pretty good church.

what a buzz...over 300 people showed up for our outreach...mostly newbies...


we divided up into three teams and car pooled to the area housing apartments where we have been serving and caring over the last few years...It was planned chaos...most handled the chaos well...we are hearing story after story how the people we touched were overwhelmed by God's love shown in a piratical way...

some wept.

others hugged.

some thanked.

most received prayer.


one mom on our team stated, 'we went to a single mom's door...all she had in her apartment was a table. it put my life in perspective...i'm not going to complain about my old couch any more.'

...I often say, you can't really care until you've been out there.
...

we left at 10:30am and were finished by 12:00 pm just in time to see the Ohio State and the Michigan game.

a great buzz...in the end we served near 400 thanksgiving dinners to those in need. not a bad day for a pretty good church



here's a great song we sing often to remind us of why we are living on Terra firma.

Let Us Be
Robbie Reider


Verse 1:
Take our hands
Move our feet
Break our hearts
With the things that make Your heart break
With the things that make Your heart break (2nd time)


Chorus 1:

Let us be Your hands Let us be Your feet
Let us be the love that longs for those in need (repeat)


Verse 2:
Spirit move
Across the land
We invite You
To move on earth by Your sovereign hand
Come and move on earth by Your sovereign hand (2nd time)


Chorus 2:
We will be Your hands We will be Your feet
We will be the love that longs for those in need (repeat)

©2002 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kindness to Go Turkey's giving away turkeys...



this year we changed form...we placed boxes in the lobby with an attached shopping list and encouraged our people to grab a box...gather some friends or their small group...and go with others to 3 apartment complexes we have been serving for several years.

to our surprise over 300 people grabbed a box and saying, 'We'll go.'

One guy who had never been on an outreach sparked my interest...I said, 'Hey thanks for choosing to help.' His reply, 'This is what we do isn't it.' I thought, wow. Outward focused thinking is working...

here is the list and instructions attached to box.

Join your friends, small group or as a family
helping others this Thanksgiving.

It’s simple:
Take this list to any store and purchase the items listed. Pack the items in the box provided and place the frozen turkey in the bag provided.

Then come to the Vineyard Saturday, November 17th @ 10am. After some instructions we will head out to an apartment building or two, and surprise the residents with a free turkey dinner.

Tip: this outreach is fun to do with a few friends or family. If you want to participate... or are short of cash, why not grab a few friends or invite your small group to pool resources and then shop together (grab some ice-cream after) and then serve together.

Shopping list:
__ 2 cans of corn
__ 2 cans of green beans
__ 1 large can of yams
__ 1 box of scalloped potatoes
__ 1 can of cranberry sauce
__ 2 boxes of mac and cheese
__ 1 box of brownie mix
__ 1 package of brown and serve rolls
__ 1 medium Frozen Turkey

Option:
Be creative and add your own treats to the list
Throw in a pie or other fun items


funfest 5

for pictures click this link Dayton Daily News

Without His favor, His blessing and His presence upon us...
all is folly.
steve
bowen

Many thanks to the 250+ volunteers, our take a risk staff, Nicole our new (thrown in the deep end) outreach assistant...all went beyond the call of duty to serve our community joyfully...
  • the set up team did a fantastic job the night before,
  • the kids worship team and great parents who came at 5am for Channel 2 news,
  • the grill, snowcone, and popcorn team 3k hotdogs, the patient snowcones and popcorn people,
  • the game people were caring, and creative,
  • the inside pingpong fish bowls were a huge hit and the team had a great ab work out,
  • the face painters painted,
  • mom's muffins (500 caringly made homemade muffins for moms),
  • the medical team and lost parent team thankfully had a slow night,
  • the artist small group carved many a pumpkin,
  • the helium balloon people are now nursing bruised fingers,
  • the candy runners ran often,
  • the volunteer care team cared well,
  • the security guys hospitality people solved problems, like having too many cars, our grass became a car lot, getting people in the parking lot then out safely,
  • the clean up crew cleaned up the mess in one hour...the reserve clean team the next day 2 hours.

Most people commented on the peace people felt on the campus. Our prayer team prayed, literally, walking the property, worshiping, and believing from Oct 1 ...we had several joint times of prayer during he month.

Believe it or not, I believe that prayer is the engine behind whatever we attempt to do in His Kingdom. Without His favor, His blessing and His presence upon us... all is folly. steve bowen

The wind...we didn't count on wind...

all day the our set up was blown all over the place...
...67 degree weather clear sky and wind...all day.

During the day i pondered how Jesus just spoke to the wind and it immediately died down, I asked. 'how did you do that?' you can't see the wind or the source!'

So, I also spoke to the wind all day, noting the wind seemed to increase as yet another safety barrier was knocked down. O me of little faith.


at 7:00pm I was walking to solve another minor problem when i sensed what friend calls 'flutterby' a small slight impression, possibly missed if you are not aware of a still small voice speaking in your heart...

I sensed, heard, had a slight impression...'Steve, what do you notice?' I paused...slowed down on the inside, stood still and listened...I heard a simple statement 'no wind'. In the moment I noticed it was dead calm... an encouragement for my heart, a sense of God's love and favor that is worth more to me than gold... what I call a God moment.

once again i realized ... 'Me Father is in heaven and He is quite fond of me' old irish priest quote....

the wind did pick up to a gentle breeze a short time later but there were no more knock em down gusts.



In the end...
all the noise of the event, the sense of success, the joy of seeing an autistic kid take 20 minutes to climb a rock wall, then grin from ear to ear on his first ride on a ferris wheel...seeing thousands of people enjoying God's generosity through His people was amazing.

For me personally...Hearing His voice in the midst of all the craziness was the highlight of my long day. That one 'God moment' filled my spiritual, emotional tank.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

FunFest 5 Experience the Light!


It begins! This is the month that we begin to ramp up to FunFest 5. Each year thousands of people come to our campus for a night of safe, upbeat fun. We touched a nerve when we used the words, free, safe place, families, on Halloween.

Many believers do not take advantage of the number 2 secular event in the USA.(almost as much money is made as Christmas) Some are on the defensive dreading the night. Others take a different tack and seek to turn the night into an opportunity. This is what we have done for the last 5 years.

One lady came to the first year with her child. Later she decided to attend church somewhere. She asked her child where would she like to go. The child replied, to the fun church. They attended, began their journey with Jesus, were baptized, served on hospitality for a year now the mom volunteers in childrens.

What is Funfest?

Funfest is a safe, fun, FREE place for families on Halloween. This annual event has taken a life of its own. Every year thousands of people attend, helping to make this event a success.

What's happening?

This year we will have:

• K-12 Children’s Artist Group

• Horse drawn cart from Liberty Stables

• Karaoke from DB&D Entertainment

• A Ferris wheel

• Tons of games

• 3000 plus Hot Dogs and other refreshments

• Crafts

• Face Painting

  • Kidz Zone
  • Vineyard Kidz

And 250 amazing volunteers.







Wednesday, September 26, 2007

visibility evangelism


 con·sist·en·cy 

the steadfast adherence to the same principles, or set course, day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.

It's being determined to out in your community in every season. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Galations 6:9 NIV
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I'm reminded of Galaxy Quest. The Captain always stated, "Never surrender, Never give up."

For many years I had a simple sign on my desk which stated, "Never give up. It's aways too soon to give up."

I've read just about every book concerning effective evangelism. All point to one important aspect... consistency

David Wilkerson in NY was always there...going out into the community, talking with people, encouraging seekers, and taking risks.

Floyd McClung living in Amsterdam was there day by day, having conversations with people on the Hippy Trail, breaking down barriers, building bridges.

Billy Graham really didn't ever change... His messages were simple, direct to the point month by month year by year.

Loren Cunningham mobilized the youth of his generation into their world encouraging young people to pray, believe, to serve, and to care.

Steve Sjogren learned to serve his community by going and serving. He understands and lives the value of being out there with small acts of kindness consistently

Mike Pilivochi and Soul Survivor in the UK serve, worship and share the good news, impacting thousands in Manchester, and London with Soul in the City.


How do you know your serving has impacted a community? People you talk to begin to define your church in a positive manner. Hint: we are all already defined by our community, both positively and negatively. 

The good news, we have a major part to play in creating a positive image.

Here's what your community is saying about your church.
 
Oh, that's the church that(fill in the blank)______________________________________________.

If you want to know how your community defines your church go out into your community and ask.

A sample question: When you hear the name of our church (say name of church) what comes to your mind?

When I was living in a city in FL we were the church that no longer existed. We were the church that had a nasty in-house disagreement and split. They no longer existed. Slowly but surely the tide turned. They are now know as a major caring force to be respected with 6 locations. How did they change? They began to serve others. They were consistent in sowing and the Lord added to their number.

A couple of years ago I lost my phone. I went to my phone provider with an old phone to activate. I was asked, "What business name is your phone under?" I said, "the Dayton Vineyard". The lady standing next to me exclaimed: "Oh you're that pretty good church that serves the community! I've heard about what you guys do." I asked, "What have your heard?' she then gives a list of the positive things she and others have heard and seen us do. Humbly, but joyfully I replied, "Yep that's us, we're just pretty good." I walked away encouraged. I thought, it really does work. What you sow you will reap.

How does this positive feedback happen? It's simple 16 years of hard work, sowing, caring, praying, going, being out there in season and out of season. We are consistent.Our consistency has redefined church to much of our community. People now come to see what a pretty good church looks like. Many become Christ followers as they hear and observe our message and lifestyle.

We also know we need God's favor to be upon our lives and upon what we do. So we consistently have asked Jesus to place His favor upon us as a church.

God's Favor is what empowered Daniel, Esther, Joseph and Jesus impact their community. In fact the early church 'had the favor of all the people' and Jesus 'grew in favor with God and man.'

How do you gain favor?
1. You ask for it? It's a gift that increases with proven character...and sometimes even stays with people who have bad character...
the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

Samson was a bad character, but was a 'having God's favor' kind of guy. In his last season of life He stood up as before, but didn't realize God's grace for battle had vanished. Realizing he was left alone he turned toward God and asked for strength for just ne more exploit.

Favor brought Daniel, Joseph, Esther, Jesus before Kings, shut mouths of lions, delivered a men out of prison, spared a race of people, and crucified a savior...all because of God's favor.

2. You serve where you are, with what you have, while you can. A simple word study on the phrase good deeds is pretty revealing, especially in the pastoral epistles. 

1 Timothy 6:18 NIV 
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
(the epistles were written as instructions for local church leaders Timothy and Titus)

3. You serve with the attitude of Christ. see Philippians Chapter 2 speaks of true humility, embracing genuine love, a having great attitude, and a servant heart.

Jesus said, don't hide your light under a bushel basket but let your light shine in such a way so that when they see your good deeds they will glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Peter said, let your good deeds shine in such away that they will glorify God on the day of His visitation.

So what is visibility evangelism? It's consistently showering your community with good deeds done in the name of Jesus. It's living consistently with the love and grace that God provides. It's being out in the community in which we live, day in day out, moment by moment. It's being wise how you answer every person who talks to you about the hope you have.

No a great secret why our pretty good church and other serving churches are energized, thriving, and growing. It's simple: someone is praying, someone is serving, someone is loving, someone is caring, someone is going out into the community and sharing Gods love to the people in their sphere of influence in a practical way consistently.

Monday, September 17, 2007

a bit of fun from over the pond



Ever thought about a toothpaste Kindness to go?
grab this product at half price.

Hedley & Wyche

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Kindness to Go


This weekend was a Kindness to go weekend...We used the 'give them the bag' outreach. It's always fun to watch people as they realize it's a KTG weekend...Big smiles, some people usually new, pausing to read the instruction sheet then smile and grab a bag. Those in the know usually grab their KTG item on the way in to ensure they are locked and loaded for the outreach.
Behind the scenes:6 to 10 hrs.
Steve: orders the items from Sam's Club online.
Steve: drives to Sam's picks up items

Steve and Caleb: Unload items and prepares for packing
Caleb and Teens: Set up tables, packs bags, staple card on bag and place bags in safe secure room
Steve: Goes through bags, fills any light bags, puts iridescent film into bag and places two connect cards in bag.

Steve: prints out Instruction sheet and has them photo copied enough for every bag

Steve and Nichole: Place bags on Kindness to go cart and in wagon for each of the 3 services


Church: grabs bags and goes out into the community to do outreach on weekend or through the week.

Kindness to Go! Ok, How’s does it work?
It’s simple:

Step one: Grab a bag
Step two: Transport the bag to your favorite restaurant, after or before the meal hand the bag to the person serving. Say, ‘This is a small gift for you and your team.’
key… tip big and smile.
Or
Step one: Grab a bag
Step two: Take it with you the next time you go grocery shopping, put the bag at the end of your shopping for the person checking.
Or
Step one: Grab a couple of bags
Step two: Take the bags to your local police station, fire station, emergency room or post office. Say, ‘Just thinking about you this time of year.’

When asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Reply, ‘Just showing you God’s love in a practical way.
Or
Be creative...choose your place, smile and have some fun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pretty good church Discoveries


2. We learned to begin from where we were with what we had.

My friend Doug met with some church planters recently all stated, 'We don't have the funding to sow seeds.' Doug was stunned, he then asked what business they were in? He clarified, ‘we are spiritual farmers, we sow seeds it is what we are called to do’

...He then told them about what he did during the early days of the Dayton Vineyard, how he began to care for the community with 7 bags of groceries, and cooking hotdogs on street corners, and how his simple beginning grew into a 1.5 million dollar per year enterprise supplying over 50 other ministries with food and reaching over 150,000 people a year.

The principle, begin where you are...with what you have.

If you wait for tomorrow before you begin to reach out to your community, you may have a long wait, for your tomorrow may never come.

He encouraged them to use what they had, to begin now, to invest in the community, to fling seeds, to invite, to encourage, to challenge the people to do the same, and to experiment with what they had.

Last week I talked to a church planter who is beginning where he is. They went out to a local laundry mat to feed some quarters into the machines and to talk to the people...only problemo...no people...many leaders would have become discouraged and quit...He, being a good leader, led the small group to a coin operated car wash and fed quarters to pay for the car wash...after touching several lives with kindness and having some great conversations. They returned from the adventure encouraged.

Later, when I was asked how can he and his church begin to kick up the volume? I answered, ‘by inviting people to become shareholders.’ I gave a tip...Invite the people to bring outreach items to the weekend meetings...
i.e.
This month is granola bar, trail mix and packs of peanuts. When you go shopping pick up a box or two of the above items we will store the items for our monthly outreach.

One month ask the question, “Are we a coke church or a pepsi church or a water church?” (I did this in Cincy and we raised 28,000 drinks for a summer outreach.) Encourage the people to bring cokes, or pepsi, or water to the church each can or bottle is a vote...plan a 4th of July drinks outreach...and use the drinks as your outreach items.

3. We learned we needed to be spiritually smart.
What’s being spiritually smart?
It’s:
Learning that all of life is an adventure.

Learning to take risks and to experiment.

Letting some ideas bubble.


Not chasing fads, or ‘spiritual’ side tracks.


Remaining focused on the main and the plain. (The Great Commission)


Guarding your heart and your talk.


Being who you are… all the time.


Not fixing what’s not broken.


Being humble enough to learn from others…a life long learner.


Not reinventing the wheel.


Understanding your God assigned area /city/regional culture then adjusting your methods to reach out accordingly.


Being consistent in outreach.


Being consistent with the weekend services.
No pastor tricks, bait and switch, or being weird on weekends.

Praying much.

Taking the time and the cash to develop a vibrant children’s area.

When trouble comes your way being honest and explaining/communicating with those who are affected by the issue.

Nurturing a few key worship leaders.

Worshiping the God who is, because He is the God
Who is.

Using humor to make a point of just for the fun of it.


Deciding there will be no more staff mercy hires.


Making strategic staffing hires.


Learning to trust your team, then releasing the team, to do the stuff.


Developing a membership track that works. (Entry Point. Beginnings. Group Link.)


Working what works.


Learning to drop certain areas that are not producing according to your vision / DNA or alignment.


Establishing positive consistent energized outward focused traditions. (Kindness to Go. Turkey’s Giving Away Turkeys. Making Christmas Dreams Come True. Halloween FunFest A Safe Place For Families on Halloween. Back To School Backpack Giveaway.)


Encouraging and modeling a lifestyle of serving others.


Inviting and allowing all who want to play in the game, to play in the game at some level.


Taking field trips when life seems stale, or when you want to launch something new.


Encouraging your team to use all of their vacation days.


Understanding your church seasons, energy levels and then plan accordingly.


Not canceling, period.


Learning that God blesses outward focused-ness.


Doing the stuff Jesus did / does.

Not taking yourself tooo seriously.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A pretty good church


So what makes a pretty good church? Discoveries along the way? 1. We began to understand…evangelism is a process?

If you want a harvest, you must sow many seeds.
See Mark 4:15-16
Jesus said, 'Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.' Later He said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' When challenged by His disciples He then added, 'Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?'

He went on to explain the parable. In short, the sowers are men, the seeds are God’s words and the four soils are the hearts of men and women at various degrees of readiness.

Later, He continued to explain the Kingdom of God and described how the seed grew. The seed, when planted, matured and produced grain by the All By Itself Principle.
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain-- first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mk 4:1-29 NIV

The seeds we sow can be defined by what we do: our actions, and by what we say:our words, and how we relate to the people within our sphere of influence: our attitudes.

We sow seeds by actively serving our way into the heart of our community. We find a need and seek to meet it. We see a hurt and seek to bring some relief the pain. It might be a cold drink on a hot day, to quench someone’s thirst or feeding the homeless helping them be filled, or by praying for the emotionally wounded bringing encouragement and hope.

Sowing is hard work...consistency is the key...day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.

...Jesus said, 'I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.' John 4:38 NIV

Most of the time the seeds we sow don't spring up in a day, sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years to see the harvest. It is a spiritual principle foundational to outward focus and outflow.

What we sow into our lives will bear fruit someday...That's why it is important to continually sow positive, good things into our into the core of our lives. Positive inflow=positive outflow.

It is also why it is important to sow seeds into the lives of the people in our communities...the principle: no sowing, no harvest.

A few weeks ago we went out to a low income housing area with mainly a bunch of guys, out of the 25 people who showed up only four were women. We delivered groceries and offered prayer. At one door one a single mom with 4 kids opened the door...she burst into tears...she didn't have any food to last that week...When she was prayed for she sobbed. At 5 pm a van drove up in our parking lot. I noticed a lady looking lost so I went and greeted the lady and the 4 kids in the van. It turns out she was the lady. She had been so moved by her experience she felt she just had to come and see who we were. She also said thanks. She cried again as I prayed for her and her kids.

It is moving when something like this happens...it's not the norm.

Most of the time the seed we sow is hidden in the ground of a persons heart. How it grows? Nobody really knows, it is a mystery.


Watering Planted Seeds

I was washing my car yesterday. A guy pulls up in a truck. He then gets out asks me about the house next door. He mentions his parents are returning from Vietnam that night, they are missionaries. I noticed he was a searching, needy guy. After our lengthy conversation about lawn care I asked if I could pray for him. Startled he agreed. I grabbed his hand and prayed blessing prayers over his life, that God would crown him with favor just as God had given favor to his mom and dad and family, that God would provide for him, that God would open doors for him. At the end of the prayer he said, 'You know, you're not the only person who has prayed for me lately.'

My job, your job, is to fling seeds of kindness, by our actions, through our words and by our attitudes and to water the seeds already sown into the hearts of men. God brings the increase.

A pretty good church is a seed sowing church.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Letters

here are a couple of great emails concerning the backpack giveaway...

Hi Steve,


Brooke Hurt here. We did "Operation Backpack" this past Saturday at a local park. Since this was our first time doing this sorta of thing, we orderd 100 backpacks from a company and had our church members take them and fill with school supplies in which we put a list in the backpack for them. Well it was AWESOME!! I was totally overwhelmed at the response we had. We ending up giving away 85 backpacks that had been returned. We are definetly gonna INCREASE next year! You can go to Pastor's blog and check out pics and such.

So I just wanted you to know that I think people are starting to catch a little bit of fire as to what kindness can do for the Lord!

Our next outreach in September will be underwear and socks!! We cant wait!!

Thanks for all your ideas and blog! They are GREAT!


Blessings,

Brooke:)

Hi Steve,
Just a brief note to thank you so much for the hard work you put into the Back Pack project for the benefit of the children in Trotwood-Madison. As I said Friday, some of these kids come from very poor homes and most of us can only imagine what it must be like to not have basic items to begin school. Your church certainly exemplifies what it means to bring "church to the people" instead of the other way around. Thank you again for your generosity and Christian love.
Rexann

Rexann L. Wagner, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent
Trotwood-Madison City Schools


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Backpacks postscript

Friday we headed out to the Trootwood to film the teachers handing out backpacks to their kids. It was an exciting time. The Deputy Superintendent for Trottwood and Madision Schools thanked the Vineyard on film...It was a one take filming she hit all the marks and ques in less than 90 seconds (film coming soon) We then filmed the teachers gather their backpacks and head out to the housing areas to distribute the backpacks. It was electric...the teachers giving their kids the backpacks. One mom was moved to tears, another group of kids jumped up and down with excitement. Meeting a need...meets more than the physical need, it touches the heart.

We returned...very energized...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Church Health



how do you know when a church is healthy? are there indicators? are there signs that show health and growth?


Jesus often talked about faith and action. The book of James also talks about faith and action. It seems that those who sought to know God...this is the work...to believe in the Father and whom He sent...and to seek to make God known to others through caring service seems to point to personal growth and health.

Those who are in the process of becoming gracious givers instead of grasping receivers seem to point to personal growth and health. Freely you have received freely give...Jesus. The giving Jesus was talking about was to give forgiveness, love, genuine care, time, and material goods. When a large percentage of a church continues to reach out beyond themselves it is a sure sign of health.

During the last two months over 400 Vineyard people decided to put faith into action through participating in our City Care initiatives. They are learning that as they are giving to others, somehow they are refreshed in return. They are learning the principle of sowing and reaping... actions combined with an active faith= personal growth.

Back Packs an indication of health...

This year our backpack mound was off the chart...more people participated than expected and more people were generous beyond the norm. As the packs came in I noticed healthy attitudes, smiles, and a willingness to invest in the education of kids they knew not. Most included their families in the project as they packed and brought the backpacks to the Vineyard. It was exciting to see kids wearing the backpacks and then being challenged to throw the backpack on the pile.

Health can be measured by how many people are actively turning outward by practically serving others. Othercenteredness is a key to personal growth. Giving, caring, loving are active words that should move us beyond ourselves toward faith in action. Want to have a healthy life, or a healthy church? Then seek to motivate people toward a great Cause. A Commitment to a worthy Cause Creates a healthy Community...Cause Creates Community.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Back to school Bash!


kindness to go backpacks
Usually we begin to ramp up for school in July. I know that sounds early however, parents begin to shop for supplies early August. Our special Back to School Bash needs to begin by the second weekend in July in order to ensure their return to the Vineyard in good time to deliver to the schools.
Here’s how it works.

We purchase back packs from www.sctb.org/(Somebody Cares Tampa Bay) They have been doing this for years and have networked literally hundreds of churches in the Tampa Bay area for this important project. I think last year over 150 churches of the Bay area gave 36,000 backpacks to the underprivileged kids.

I purchase them for $6 each... then sell them to the Vineyard people for $5.* ($5 is just enough to help the person remember they have a pack to fill up) I usually purchase 450 backpacks. That’s about our limit.
Interestingly the packs usually sell out in just two weekends.



People then return the backpacks to the Vineyard we place them in a visible area in the building which generates buzz and a sense of accomplishment. Stacking up 450 backpacks makes a huge stack.

Here is the information flyer I use to help connect the dots.

Back to school backpacks ...
Why?
Under privileged children of Trottwood are not able to purchase their school supplies. Therefore, each year we partner with the Trottwood teachers to make a small, yet significant investment to help further a child’s education.

Why$5? Five dollars is really your commitment that says, ‘Yes I want to help.’

How? It’s simple.
Take the list on the back of this instruction sheet to any store that sells school supplies like Wall Mart, Target. Purchase the items then fill the back pack and bring it back to the Vineyard.


Tip: if you have children let them shop with you. As you are shopping talk about the project, why you are shopping for someone else and where the packs are going.

Tip: people often place some other exciting items in the backpack, key chains, to teddy bears. Be creative, be generous and put some fun in the project.

Supplies list:
3 3”X 3” postits
1 inch 3 ring binder
2 packs of wide ruled lined paper
2 Elmers glue stick
1 box of No.2 pencils
1 box of 2 erasers
1 box of colored pencils 12
1 box of Crayola Markers
1 Fiskar’s scissors
1 plastic folder 2 pockets blue
1 8 by 10 composition book
1 box of Crayola crayons 24 count
1 5 section divider
5 pronged 2 pockets folders
1 4oz school glue
1 dry erase markers low odor
2 pencil holders, zippers with grommets


Thanks for making a difference!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

post script reverse kindness to go

July 1 well over 100 people gathered to help us reach out to the people of Dayton...many had experienced reverse outreach the previous weekend...several commented, 'this was great!' 'we had fun.' 'we'll do this again.' the experience was experienced.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kindness Report

Hi, Steve!


I’m from Christian Family Chapel in Jacksonville, FL and we just finished doing another Kindness to Go – it was one part of our Jr. High service retreat called Out2B (Out2B Outside of Me). It went great and the kids loved it…again! We took the gift bags to more stores, and we also went to swimming pools with sunscreen and water. (We need to tweak the labels on the sunscreen as some of them did not stick well.)

I heard that a lady at Krispy Kreme donuts called the church office….she has been having a hard time and the bag was really an encouragement to her. She called the church office to say thank you…and she said she might come and visit us sometime.

My niece works at Little Caesars Pizza and they received a bag. She told my sister that the employees were saying how nice our church was to do that and how they really appreciated that it didn’t include something that said “YOU NEED JESUS!” They seemed to have a favorable and friendly impression of CFC because of this.

Someone giving out sunscreen/water offered it to some boys. When asked about it, they said that they were showing the love of Jesus in a practical way. The boys said that they were Muslim. Our kids said, that is OK, we still want you to have it. The boys looked shocked, and took the water.

Bill Winton had a great idea….we stuffed the bags so quickly that we had a lot of time to deliver the bags. He was driving one of the vans so he decided to drive to one store, let two kids out to deliver the bag. When they returned, he had them debrief….what was said, what they could have done differently…and so the whole van was able to participate in each store experience – and they were also were able to improve their gift-giving through this practical training!

Thank you, again, for taking the time to come to Florida to train our kids and our church on this fun outreach!!!

Kristin Friend

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer of Love ....Are You Experienced?





This is the 40th anniversary of the summer of love in San Francisco... We weren't aware of this. Yet we seemed to click into the feeling with the design of new Vineyard water label...

This weekend I will be doing a reverse outreach for kindness to go.

What's a reverse kindness to go?

Sometimes veteran outreach guys and gals have "the curse of knowledge"(see the book made to stick). In other words, we, who have the knowledge and the experience of positive outreach, know what an outreach feels like, looks like. We are the ones who know and understand: outreach for us who are experienced is easy, not scary. Our experience for the most part is positive. We know servant evangelism builds bridges, opens the heart and mind for great conversations, and encourages the heart of both the giver and the receiver.

We have the knowledge and the experience.

Pause: Reality, not so for others they have not the experience. Until someone participates in a positive experiential outreach they don't have the knowledge, the understanding, the feel: the positive emotions, the sense of wow and seeing the life changing effect.

The people we are attempting to encourage toward outreach may also have the 'curse of knowledge.' They may have had a 'bad trip'. Their experience or perception of outreach may not have been positive. This 'bad trip' forms a negative experience, which can create a 'no way hosea' mind set.

What to do? What to do?

Education (positive communication) + doing = understanding = lifestyle change

In Scotland. My mission for a summer was to led a team of 50 college aged students to reach out to the thousands of people Edinburgh...I spent several sessions teaching the principles of sowing and reaping, methods of reaching the current culture vs reaching past culture etc. I opened up the sessions for questions. 'How's does this work?' 'Duh?' 'What about?'


It was clear they just didn't understand... I believe outflow / kindness outreach or servant evangelism is much like a modern parable...It takes an experience to bring a paradigm shift to bring understanding.

How do people learn? They learn by doing. Having an experience.


The Experience
So out we went...the first people we met were from a radio station...we handed them a small coke...they asked what we were doing...the students replied...the radio station people were stunned... after a lengthy dialogue, answering why? what? how? who are you? they were then recorded for a show on BBC1.


The second person was contacted by the disbelieving (this stuff can't work, or relate) student leader. He handed out a coke to the interested person...the guy read the connect card attached to the can and asked, 'I've always wondered...How can I become a Christian? Can you tell me?'

Hear...Do...Understand.
Needless to say the team were now experienced. They had a positive outreach experience that was a shift that moved them from hearing, to doing, to understanding. The experience changed their perceptions and actions.


'Are you experienced?' jimi hendrix

The question how can we begin to give the people of our churches a positive outflow experience? What can you do? Communication is part of the process but a positive experience is needed.

Answer: plan a reverse outreach.

How? It's simple.
1. purchase some bottled water ( we have our own label)
2. put water in coolers
3. Have teams in the parking lot after
the services hand out bottles of cold water with a smile

Tip: Our kindness to go geared to reach the people of the vineyard is the weekend before our Dayton Fourth of July BBQ and Water Everywhere Outreach.

During the plugs for the coming outreach we will hold up a bottle of water and announce the date and the time.

As people leave they will receive a bottle of water. Hopefully, they will become experienced, and will begin to realize that the coming outreach is easy, fun, and meets a need... thirst...

that's kindness to go in reverse

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sun Screen...a kindness to go



great fathers day at the vineyard...a solid day...positive vibe...encouraging message... and 2500 packs of SunBuddy Sunscreen with attached connect cards away out into the community...

We set the full wagons up by the exits...

During the plugs we encouraged people to take the sunscreen out to fairs, events, car races, picnics, swimming pools etc. You could see the ideas pop into people heads...

as they left they picked up the sunscreen on the way out...big buzz...kindness to go...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Helping to connect the dots


Here is a flyer we produced to inform the people of the vineyard how they can participate. On the back are the summer outreach opportunities.


Outward focused communication, combined with practical application, helps nurture the heart of the Vineyard people empowering them to reach outward to their family, friends and daily connections.
Steve Bowen

the dayton vineyard is an outward focused church...we embrace go.

We seek to promote our outwardfocused value toward the people of the Vineyard and beyond by creating fun outreach events that are experiential, participatory, image-based and connective.


Outreach is in our DNA.
Years ago Doug Roe and Scott Sliver came to Dayton to plant The Dayton Vineyard. As they started the church they decided to pool their money and began to reach out to the people of Dayton. The projects ranged from passing out cokes, cooking hot dogs on street corners, visiting the sick in hospitals, to taking bags of groceries to the poor of the city.

Each week we actively reach out to the people of Dayton. As we go, serve and reach we also intentionally seek to foster a warm, inviting atmosphere in the celebrations and on the campus.

We serve our way into the heart of our community. Our serving breaks down barriers, builds bridges and redefines Christ followers to our community.

How can you become involved?
catch our vision…actively go, serve, and reach

participate in our planned monthly outreaches

sign up in the program when events are advertised

prepare
behind the scenes, your help is appreciated

submit
your fresh outreach ideas by email to
sbowen@daytonvineyard.com

grab a few friends
, or your small group and plan your own
outreach…we’ll help...just call the office 427.1912.

seek
to become a kindhearted outward focused person

Monday, May 28, 2007

Externally Church Conference



here is a review with insights from Alan Nelson. He is the executive editor of Rev! Magazine, the author of a dozen books, and has been a pastor for 20 years.

I just attended the Externally Focused Church (EFC) Conference in Longmont, Colorado, and have one more take on authenticity and its rising stock in terms of attracting people to your church, as well as to yourself as a leader.

EFC leaders were anticipating 250 to 300 people but were pleasantly surprised by an attendance of more than 600, which reflects an increasing movement across the nation of churches thinking outside the box in order to develop their congregants inside the box. As post-modern skepticism increases, people are more and more interested in who we are rather than what we know. Apologetics are going the way of the 8-track and cassette players because people have little time to invest in Christian marketing ploys. They want the real deal.

Churches that are getting people into the community, whether through fixing up widows’ homes, building Habitat houses, painting a neighborhood school, or providing water to homeless people, are doing what Jesus did. What is interesting is that many “mainline” churches have been doing social service for decades, but for some reason, there wasn’t always the connection between the good deed and a more personalized relationship with Jesus.

Now “evangelicals” feel as though they’re discovering this concept of social outreach, but they’re retaining the good news that this is what Jesus did and what those who follow him do, and you can know him, too. Far too many churches have not earned the right to speak into the lives of those around them, and then we wonder why modern marketing and slick attraction programs aren’t cutting it like they did in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s a new day.

Look at your budget and program calendar and assess how much you do for your immediate community. The osmosis approach of hoping that your church leaks into the community isn’t working. These days, you need a focused impetus on getting talent, time, and treasure into people and projects around you.

Authentic leading, the real deal, is needed for people to follow you, now more than ever. Authentic service—altruistic acts of kindness outside the church, not just to bring people inside your church—is needed for us to share our faith. This new network of churches catching the spirit of beyond-the-church-walls is an exciting piece of what God is doing all over the nation. I’d encourage you to get involved and see what you can do to lead authentically internally, as well as to lead authentically externally.

Go to www.rev.org and click on the “Links to other great pastor sites” (and then on Externally Focused Church Network).

Alan Nelson is the executive editor of Rev! Magazine, the author of a dozen books, and has been a pastor for 20 years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Flowers everywhere!


good day sunday...flowers everywhere...went well...it was good to hear: hey it's kindness to go weekend, flowers how cool
guest to attendee...what are the flowers for?...it's kindness to go weekend, it's one way we reach out to our community... really!??

hey, let's take some flowers home and plant them...nope the flowers are not for us but for our friends, and neighbors.


a lady loaded up a bag of potted plants
, we are going to plant them in our neighborhood today.

mom's, kids, grandmas, dads, uncles, aunts, and friends will be planting flowers everywhere this week. touching one life at a time. that's kindess to go! big time

Friday, May 11, 2007

SunBuddy Sunscreen


Summer is nearly here...Sun beaming, families out enjoying the sun at the beach, parks, soccer games, baseball games, air shows, 4th of July celebrations etc. Many people forget to bring the sunscreen.

Solution take some SunBuddy sunscreen with you as you attend the events with your family and friends.


SunScreen Kindness to Go:

How it works: Purchase some small packets of SunBuddy Sunscreen (I buy the family packs in bulk and get great deals call SunBuddy for details)

Attach a
connect card (you can get your cards form Market Place Printing) with some hot glue or tape

Hold up a packet during the plugs, or during the message Say, 'Today is a kindness to go weekend. As you leave pickup some sunscreen to give to the people you meet this summer. It's our way of showing God's love in a practical way.'

Have the prepared sunscreen available at the exits so people can grab a few on their way out.

Kindness to go a simple way of helping people begin to look outward.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Flowers Everywhere


This month we will be serving our friends, neighbors by planting flowers. How it works...

I've ordered hundreds of small plants like, Petunias, Pansies, Calibrachoas, etc.

I pop up a shade tent, and have the plants on racks, when people leave the services they go to the racks and pick up some plants...

They then take the plant home to give to their neighbours, or friends...

We have a card that goes with the plants...

you can order the cards from Marketplace Printing

Here is a story from last year.

A lady attended the Vineyard for the first time during our May, ‘Flowers Everywhere’ outreach weekend. As people left the services they would pick up flats of four flowers from our main entrance and take to their neighbors, friends and family just to show God’s love in a personal way.

As I was cleaning up I noticed a lady fidgeting in her car, looking my way, a bit shy and sheepish. I continued to clean up. When she walked over she held out the cash she had removed from her car and asked, ‘How much are the flowers?’ I said, ‘They are free!’ She asked, ‘Can I have two flats?’ I exclaimed, ‘Wow that’s a lot of flowers! Who are they for?’ She replied, ‘I heard the message today, and as I watched people taking flowers, I thought, ‘Who can I show God’s love to?… My dad. I can plant flowers for him, and bring some light into his day.’ I replied, ‘That’s a nice thought.’ She replied, ‘By the way, my dad lost both of his legs and can’t plant flowers anymore.’ I replied, ‘Here’s eight flats, have a great time loving on your dad.’

Then I thought, ‘now that’s what kindness to go is all about.’ Outward focused communication combined with practical application, helps nurture the heart of the Vineyard people empowering them to reach outward to their family, friends and daily connections.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thank you



Sowing seed is hard work...Jesus said, 'I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.' John 4:38 NIV

Most of the time the seeds we sow don't spring up in a day, sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years to see the harvest. It is a spiritual principle foundational to outward focus and outflow.

What we sow into our lives will bear fruit someday...That's why it is important to continually sow positive, good things into our lives. It is also why it is important to sow seeds into the lives of the people in our communities...the principle no sowing, no harvest.

My friend Doug met with some church planters recently all stated, 'We don't have the funding to sow seeds.' Doug was stunned, he then asked what business they were in? He clarified we are spiritual farmers, we sow seeds it is what we are called to do...the principle, begin where you are...with what you have. If you wait for tomorrow, you may have a long wait...He encourage them to begin now, invest in the community, fling seeds, invite, encourage, challenge the people to do the same, and experiment with what you have.

Last week I talked to a church planter who is beginning where he is. They went out to a local laundry mat to feed some quarters into the machines...only problemo...no people...many leaders would have become discouraged and quit...He being a good leader led the small group to a coin operated car wash and fed quarters to pay for the car wash...They returned encouraged.

Later, when asked how can he and his church begin to kick up the volume, by inviting people to become shareholders? I gave a tip...Invite the people to bring outreach items to the meetings...

i.e.
This month is granola bar, trail mix and packs of peanuts. When you go shopping pick up a box or two of the above items we will store the items for our monthly outreach.

Are we a coke church or a pepsi church or a water church...I did this in Cincy and we raised 28,000 drinks for a summer outreach. Encourage the people to bring cokes, or pepsi, or water to the church each can or bottle is a vote...plan a 4th of July drinks outreach...and use the drinks as your outreach items.

etc. etc. be creative...


Yesterday at 11am we went out to a low income housing area with mainly a bunch of guys out of the 25 people who showed up only four were women. We delivered groceries and offered prayer. At one door one a single mom with 4 kids opened the door...she burst into tears...she didn't have any food to last that week...When prayed for she sobbed.

At 5 pm a van drove up in our parking lot. I noticed a lady looking lost so I went and greeted the lady and the 4 kids in the van...She was the lady. ... She had been so moved by her experience she felt she just had to come and see who we were...She also said thanks...

It is moving when something like this happens...it's not the norm. Most of the time seed sown is hidden in the ground of a persons heart. How it grows? Nobody knows it is a mystery.

Watering Planted Seeds
I was washing my car yesterday...a guy pulls up in a truck...gets out asks about the house next door...mentions his parents are returning from Vietnam that night, they are missionaries...I noticed he was a searching, needy guy...After our conversation, I ask if I could pray for him...Startled he agreed...I grabbed his hand and prayed blessing prayers over his life...that God would crown him with favor just as God had given favor to his mom and dad and family, that God would provide for him, that God would open doors for him. At the end of the prayer he said, 'You know, you're not the only person who has prayed for me lately.'

My job, your job, to water the seeds already sown in the hearts of men. God brings the increase.

I'm hoping my boys Mattie, Andrew, and Nathan will be prayed for by the believing people they meet...If you have a minute why not pray for them now. ... ask that God's favor would be on them and that they'd meet believing believers I'd appreciate it very much.

Monday, April 16, 2007

2nd Saturday Kindness to go...


Kindness to go...a variant... every 2nd Saturday we gather a group of people and head out into the community.

This past Saturday, our mission to Honduras team and several others gathered to learn, go, and serve.


Here's what it looks like...
Caleb my friend and Jedi knight arrived early, we made a couple pots of coffee, set up tables to place the items for our Kindness bags, prepared the computer with graphics, prepared maps, readied the name tags, turned up the volume music, and prayed together.

People arrived, we welcomed the troops, offered the coffee and waited for most people to show up.

Once everyone arrived...we went into our Outreach / Teen space.


Every 2nd Saturday we usually have a short training element. This past weekend I spoke to the Mission team.

Having lived in Scotland for 18 years and having hosted 1 to 2 teams per year I shared some of the things we learned.


1. Learning to serve at home is important for serving in other countries.

2. Most teams don't realize that they are part of the process...they will add to what is already on the ground. Good teams seek to build upon what has already been accomplished by the local church / missionary group and seek to be a positive influence while serving and seek to leave a positive vibe when they leave.

3. Expectations are important...both for the team and the church / missionary group being served by the team.

Most frustrations happen when clear expectations are not spelled out.
Good team leaders ask great questions. What are you expecting us to accomplish while we are with you? Do you expect us to be 'on' all the time or will be have some down time? What will we be doing? Who will be seeking to reach? Do you want us to train / teach / equip? What's our schedule look like? Do we need to help cover your costs? If so how much?

When I hosted teams I always gave the group serving a few evenings off and made sure they had at least one day off per week. I also, sent a schedule and an overview of the outreach and spoke often on the phone to the team leaders.

One team sent a couple of people over to Scotland to spy out the land. As a result they came back for 7 years.


4. Sowing and reaping on purpose.

I then spoke about 1 Cor 3 and Paul's attitude as a servant and the Jesus method of evangelism in John 4.

We broke up into groups to pray asking God to send people who would be workers in the harvest.

Caleb then told the people how to pack the bags. I described the outreach, where we were going, and handed out the maps.


We now have a mini green bus so the Honduras team went in the van and the rest of us car pooled to our area.


We arrived and prayed again.

Headed out in pairs of 2 for the outreach.
We agreed to meet back in an hour. When we met back we shared stories, prayed again and headed home.

Some things that happened...


When prayer was mentioned at H&R Block a lady jumped up an said yes please pray for a boy in Atlanta that has Bacterial Meningitis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever!


A young worker said 'Hey, I live just across the street from your church.' He had a positive conversation and an personal invite.


One bank teller said, 'You are the Vineyard that pretty good church.' continued 'Aren't you guys going to plant a church in our area in 2008?'

Kindness to go on 2nd Saturday is a great way we've discovered to continue the outflow value at the Vineyard.