Many churches this Sunday will talk about what happened in OK.
And some will be looking to partner with organizations that are helping the people on the ground. That’s a great thing.
Here are some of my favorite ways that your church body can help the victims of the tornados, either corporately or individually:
Life Church.tv, which describes itself as “Oklahoma’s largest evangelical church,” says its Oklahoma City metro locations will accept donations of items over the next week, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and distribute them to tornado victims. Among the items needed: Toiletries, diapers, wipes, formula, baby bottles, new clothing, new shoes, and bags, backpacks or plastic tubs for carrying items.
You can also donate money online by visiting LifeChurch.tv, or by texting the word RELIEF to 86613, and selecting an amount you would like to donate.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross has set up shelters in various communities. You can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund here, and the organization also suggests giving blood at your local hospital or blood bank. Fundraising efforts were buoyed Tuesday by a $1 million pledge from Kevin Durant, of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, via his family foundation.
If you’re searching for a missing relative, check Red Cross Safe & Well’s site. And please register if you’re within the disaster region. The site is designed to make communication easier after a tragedy like this.
If you want to send a $10 donation to the Disaster Relief fund via text message, you can do so by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999. As in the case with other donations via mobile, the donation will show up on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your balance if you have a prepaid phone. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)
The Red Cross also accepts frequent flier miles as donations. Delta, United Airlines and US Airways partner with the Red Cross throughout the year, which uses miles to help get volunteers and staff to key locations during disasters. (Note: The donation is not tax-deductible as the IRS considers it a gift.) For Delta, email: email@example.com with your SkyMiles number, the number of miles you want to donate, and specify the Red Cross as the charity. You can donate miles online at United Airlines Donate Your Miles and US Airways Dividend Miles.
Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095.
Convoy of Hope
The Missouri-based nonprofit organization has done work in other disasters, including the Haiti earthquake, with a mission of getting food and water to those after disaster strikes. Now it’s doing the same for Moore, Okla. You can donate online here. Convoy of Hope is also going the crowd-sourced route, using HopeMob, a site similar to Kickstarter but for raising money to help disaster victims and others in need, which charges no fees to the organizations that use it. Convoy of Hope’s goal on the site is to raise $15,000 in seven days to help Moore.
“Why 7 days? In these first 7 days the town of Moore, OK will be consumed with clearing out destruction and accessing their needs,” HopeMob says on its site. “Once those needs are known we want to be able to give them the funds to help them rebuild in the long term.”
The international Christian relief organization focuses on cleaning and repairing damaged homes and sent two disaster relief units from North Wilkesboro, N.C. to Oklahoma Tuesday. “The tractor-trailers are stocked with heavy-duty plastic, chainsaws, generators, and other tools and equipment. The units also will serve as command centers for the response,” Samaritan’s Purse says on its website.
You can donate online here. You can also give a $10 donation by texting the word SP to 80888.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
This organization says donations will “go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters.”
It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.
You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.
I found this over at Stuff Fundies Like.
Check out this job description. It HAS to be worse than your situation:
The church needs a man to come and back up the pastor in both the activities of the church as well as the keeping of the grounds. This is a nonpaying position but housing is available. This assistant should be a King James only, independent Baptist who is the husband of one wife with some Bible college education. A degree in Christian Ministries or Theology is preferred. If you feel that God would have you be the #2 man for our church, please send your resume to…
What do you think?
Would you apply?
Maybe you could hire a second-hand man for free… give him a room in your house, and have him do your yard work too. Just be careful to vet what Bible version he uses.
See… I told you it could be worse!
Whether you’re designing a website, brochure, or writing a sermon… people love images.
Here’s what Justin Dean, the Communications Manager for Mars Hill in Seattle says they have learned about images in their social media and web outreach:
Last year I attended a talk at the Seattle Interactive Conference by Ben Huh, the Cheezburger guy. He was explaining why sharing photos and images do so well. His theory was that if you post a link, your followers have to make a decision before clicking it. Even if its just a split second decision, they still have to decide: is this going to take me to something I actually want to see? Will I get a virus if I click on this? Will the image I see be safe for work? Will I be embarrassed that this shows up in my Internet history? It creates enough doubt that most of the time people just pass it by, especially when scrolling briskly through a news feed.
But by posting an image you are breaking down that barrier to entry. As they scroll through their feed, there’s the image. They didn’t have to click anything. They see it, and if they like it they can share it. This is why Twitter previews most links, especially photos in the stream. This is why Instagram does so well. When we realized this we took a look at the types of things we were posting and asked ourselves what could be turned into an image and what had to be text?
We decided to perform a test and converted the following types of posts into images:
When we posted a sermon quote as just text in a status update on Facebook, we got very little engagement. Sometimes 20 or so shares and 100 or so likes per post. At the time we thought that was actually pretty good.
When we created an image of the quote, just words on a colorful background or overlayed on a photo, the likes and shares skyrocketed. About 700 shares on average per photo. People love them and because they’re being shared with more people, our followers started going up as well. It was the same content, just delivered in a different way.
Once we knew it was a better way to share this kind of content we then streamlined the way we produced it. For example, each sermon series gets a unique template to the design of the images. So each week our designer can just easily paste in the quote to create a new image and he doesn’t have to come up with some new design every post. It also helps create a fluid brand identity with each sermon series.
James MacDonald writes:
Each next risk is the biggest one. I think it was a big risk to go to Bible college when I didn’t even know that God could use my life. I think it was a risk to move two hours away from my family and become a youth pastor while we were still finishing our education. It was a risk to buy a house and stay there for a couple of years. It was a massive risk to put the house up for sale, when my dad probably thought we’d never even own a house in ministry. But we did, and we left Canada and moved to Chicago to go to seminary—another risk. While we were packing the van, someone called and asked if we could interview at a church there. But we didn’t even have a work visa in the States, and we only had enough money for one semester. When we were done with seminary, we’d been praying, “God, we’ll go anywhere you want us to go,” never dreaming that we’d stay in Chicago.
“God has honored every single step of faith beyond our expectations.”
But we launched out and planted a church with 18 people, wondering if we would be meeting around a card table in 15 years. We didn’t even have any idea what the Lord would have in store for us. Every single step of faith has seemed massive at the time, and as we’ve prayed, God has really honored that beyond our expectations.
What awaits you on the other side if you take the risk and step out on faith?
What awaits you if you don’t?
QUESTION: If your church could reach more people for Christ by focusing on one “people group” in your community, would you do so?
Charles Arn writes: Certain people around your church are more receptive to the Gospel than others. I suggest that good stewardship of your church’s human and fiscal resources calls you to find and focus on these receptive people. They are the “fertile soil” (see Mt. 13:1-23) who are “ripe unto harvest” (Jn. 4:35). And your successful evangelistic results will be praised by the Master with the same words heard by those who returned more talents than they had been given: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (see Mt. 25:14-30).
The “Receptivity-Resistance Axis” below illustrates a person’s openness to becoming a new creation in Christ. Every non-Christian is somewhere on this Axis.
Some people are open and responsive to the Good News—the “good soil,” as Christ described them in the Parable of the Sower. Others are resistant to the Gospel—the rocky soil. When Jesus concluded this parable with, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” I believe he was suggesting that the Good News we proclaim will not be received with equal receptivity. And we are called to identify those who will hear, listen, and respond.
It is also important to note that people are always moving on this Receptivity-Resistance Axis; some are moving toward greater receptivity, others toward greater resistance.
A key question I hope you’re asking is: “How do we identify the receptive people in our community?”
So… how are YOU identifying people in your community?
From the AP: Is Pope Francis an exorcist?
The question has been swirling ever since Francis laid his hands Sunday on the head of a young man after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, and he then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him.
The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed there was “no doubt” that Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.
Here’s the video:
The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday. In a statement, it said Francis “didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering who was presented to him.”
Fueling the speculation is Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood.
What do YOU think?
That’s the advice that Pat Robertson recently gave a women who asked his advice on how to move on after her husband had cheated on her.
“Here’s the secret,” he said. “Stop talking about the cheating. He cheated on you, well, he’s a man.”
Again, Pat’s co-host should have her salary doubled. Or tripled.
CBN’s official response:
The “intent was not to condone infidelity or to cast blame. We regret any misunderstanding.”
Over my years in ministry, I’ve often said that the more I try not to offend people, the more people get offended.
I don’t know if you find that true in your life, but for some reason it is in mine.
I really don’t ever set out to offend anyone… but sometimes it happens.
Ron Edmonson gives five practical steps to take when you’ve offended someone:
1. Recognize it. Some people are easily offended. And some people can offend others easily. Know where you are on that continuum.
2. Pursue peace. Try NOT to be offensive in the first place. Try to pursue peace. That means that you should think before you speak. Use your filter.
3. When you do offend, ask forgiveness and seek to rebuild trust. Say you’re sorry. As Ron puts it, ‘put your big boy pants on’ and apologize. Take the blame if it will bring peace (see #2).
4. Examine your life. If you consistently and continually find that you are offending people, then the problem may very well be… YOU. It may be you with the log in your eye.
5. Stay true. Don’t worry about offending people at the sacrifice of God’s plan for your life. Jesus’ work was offensive to many. Just be sure you are being completely obedient to God.
There you have it. Five pretty simple rules.
The hardest part? for me?
#3. Always is.
I think it probably is for all or most of us.
Admitting we were wrong (to ourselves) is hard enough.
Admitting it to the person we offended is much harder.
And it takes a big boy to do that.
Have you offended someone that you need to apologize to? What’s holding you back?
I’m not happy to say that this happened in my home state… According to WBNS-TV
Two church leaders, a father and son, face criminal charges after police say a parking lot dispute turned violent.
Pastor Bennett Smith leads The Church at Polaris. His son Paul Smith is an associate pastor there.
The Church at Polaris sits on Gemini Place, right across the street from Polaris Fashion Place.
Church staffers say the heavy traffic that plagues the area has led nearby residents to use the church parking lot as a cut-through — a conflict that police say caused the pastor and his son to forget their teachings and turn to violence.
Online videos of Pastor Bennett Smith show him making light of the ongoing traffic troubles in his church parking lot.
“We put all those curbs in, right? We paid a lot of money,” said Pastor Bennett Smith. “And I’ve been waiting for someone to just run over that at full speed, but it hasn’t happened yet, so I was a little disappointed.”
Have you ever come close to punching someone in the throat or other violence as a church leader?
Leave a comment…
Phil Cooke lists six situations and cultures of churches that can hide bad leadership, at least for a season:
1. Money… mistakes can be fixed and bad leadership and decisions can usually be rectified if you have deep enough pockets.
2. Resources… like multiple assistants, a talented staff, a beautiful facility, etc. A great staff can really mask bad leadership at the top, at least for a while.
3. Bubble Cultures… where the church has limited interaction with the outside world, and therefore no comparisons for performance. Cooke says this is why some external consultants can be useful for churches… so they don’t get stuck in their bubble thinking everything is hunky dory.
4. Hyper-Loyalty… where loyalty is so highly prized that it covers a multitude of leadership sins. In these situations, leaders are sometimes able to play the loyalty card on those around them even in the midst of extreme incompetence. If someone is teaching loyalty over competence, watch out.
5. Nepotism… If there is a culture of nepotism, it can create safety nets for the leader.
6. The Political Animal… this is where the leader is the master politician and knows how to create alliances and support. And they’re not afraid to use the political prowess to protect their turf and their position.
Have you encountered a really bad leader being protected by one or more of these situations or cultures? I have.
Tell your experience in the comments section…
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