Two Missional Ideas during Quarantine

‘I don’t know how to reach out and help! Or even if I should?!’

In a season of quarantine and social distancing, how can local churches continue their mission to reach out beyond what are now virtual walls?

16social-distancing-coronavirus1-articleLarge

As a gospel coach to many pastors and church planters in the US and UK, I’ve heard two good ideas worth trying.

1. Neighborliness Note

Andy W. and his wife, who planted in a very secular city, took the initiative to put a note with their names and phone numbers on the door of every house on their short street. The note simply suggested forming a social media group to stay in touch. Here’s what they found helpful.

  • Suggest an app like WhatsApp or GroupMe.
  • At the beginning, act like a host of a virtual party, asking questions of those that join the group.
  • Ask if anyone is sick or needs help with anything.
  • Let members of the group meet the needs that are shared.
  • Pray for the people in the group privately.
  • Ask your church to pray about starting a group on their street.

Interestingly, this idea wasn’t the brainstorm of a cutting edge church planter. Andy brilliantly did his R&D and ripped off and duplicated the idea from his mother who lives in a small town.

mailbox

What are the baby steps of missional living? Loving your actual neighbor, right? This is a great time and season to start with a simple note.

2. Cooperate with Local Food Pantries

Sam K, a planter who meets in a local middle school was burdened for the many students who would go without free or reduced-price lunches. With job losses and children out of school the crisis got real quickly for many near his church. So they mobilized to work with a large community-based non-profit that already had infrastructure in place. The life blood of every non-profit are willing volunteers and donations. Here’s what to do:

  • Search for the nearest food pantry.
  • Contact them and find out what how you can help.
  • Spread the word in your church, neighborhood and social circles.
  • If you are healthy, go and serve, while observing appropriate social distancing.

Be part of the solution for families and children in crisis. Your church can be truly helpful in this time of crisis.

What are the baby steps of missional living? Loving your neighbors, right? It’s a great time and season to start with donating time and food to those in distress.

How is your church being missional? Let me know. I’d love to hear more good news.

Multiplying Gospel-Sharing Disciples

IMG_4387

Picture of one church’s short-term mission trip. But it’s different.

Last night our local church started its annual Short-term Mission Trip to our city. In a park behind the school where we meet. It’s a nightly Fútbol Camp for kids and families. No long trips, no plane rides, no exotic locale. Just right here where we live with our neighbors.

26 kids registered. Their moms, siblings and a few dads came and watched. Relationships started building. I wonder how many will receive Christ?

How will God use this ordinary group of Christians to reach ordinary people in an ordinary city on a very ordinary mission ‘trip’? We’ve been praying and reaching out here for years. I can’t wait to see what God does!

My role in this outreach is prayer. I’m not the leader – Pastor or Coach Héctor leads us now. But as I sat and prayed with Daniel, our Church Planter in Residence who will start another cross-cultural church nearby, holding the registration cards in our hands like I was taught, I had flashbacks to the first person to train me. My youth pastor, Mr. Mike, trained me to share my faith and lead outreaches in my parents’ basement when I was a sophomore at Marshall High School in northern VA. And now others have been or are being trained to multiply. This is where the action is. Multiplication.

Many, including my parents, modeled to me the importance of sharing the gospel as a disciple of Jesus through years of everyday life training. For over 10 years of Jr Hi ministry in the 90’s, our group held ‘Outrages’ where we did outrageous events kids could bring their friends to and present the gospel. And yes, Jr Hi kids shared the gospel, not just the grown ups. Our Sr Hi ministry outreaches, mission trips and training brought many to Christ but more importantly, trained a generation of youth (now in their 30’s) to share the gospel. (Side note: Mr. Mike and I teamed up at the same church for years. What a joy to work with him as a colleague!)

Now what Mike, my parents and others reproduced and multiplied into me is transferring into disciples from many nations in our city through people who were not Christians a few years ago. One mom who attended last year is now helping run the outreach.

The Best News Ever. This short-term mission trip may not go far away or host big, outrageous games. Soccer draws a crowd and the beginner evangelists show up, make friends and the gospel gets shared. Bigger though, is the impact of training others to share the gospel as part of making disciples. It’s God working in His power!

As I pray, I’m grateful. Grateful to God for His salvation offered by faith alone. Grateful for those people who discipled me. Grateful for the chance to disciple others who will disciple others too.

Keep having fun, praying for sinners to repent, sharing the gospel, inviting people to receive Christ and multiplying disciples who will disciple others too.