Sunday, July 22, 2012

Best Short-Term Mission Trip EVER: Stay Home and Do Mission Locally

I've gone on more than a dozen short-term mission trips and supported dozens of others. Thanks to Corbett and Fikkerts book and seminar, When Helping Hurts, now I'm not as naive about the benefits of short-term trips unless one takes into consideration the spiritual, relational AND economic impact of such trips.

So what to do? As a church planting pastor who wants to train up the church to make disciples who make disciples, we NEED to equip our people for the work of ministry! (Ephesians 4: 11-12) 

Do a local, stay-at-home mission trip with the help of an agency like Celebrate Jesus Inc. (Yes I know most of their participants are UMC, but this group is Kingdom-minded! They provided easy to follow instructions for key leaders, asked for very low consulting fees, sent six experienced local church missionaries and cheered us on.)

Here's the short report to Crosspoint Encuenro one week after mission:

Our church mobilized to prayer walk past 4000 homes in March-June then did a local mission trip where we went back, knocked on those doors, invited them to a block party and asked if there was anything we can pray for. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page.
  • We went out 10 times last week Sunday-Friday in groups of 25-55
  • The total number of hours prayed for our city is hard to calculate. But it’s a lot!
      • Intercessors – 3-4 people x 2 hours x 9 missions = 60-70 hours
      • Before/After door knocking – 25-55 people x 1 hour x 10 missions = 300-400 hours
      • Estimated total hours prayer during Mission – 360-470 hours
  • We hand-delivered information about Crosspoint Encuentro to over 4000 homes.
  • Almost 1000 people opened their doors - I was shocked. Maybe a result of intercession? Duh, yep.
  • Over 450 gave us prayer requests
  • We prayed right there at the door with the ones who let us, prayed back at the church for all of them again, then intercessors prayed again. (Notice a pattern?)
  • Postcards written and sent to 450+ telling them we'd keep on praying.
  • One young single mother prayed to receive Christ at her door!
  • Wednesday we started sending teams back to do follow up as the Spirit led us.
  • 75-100 came to the party (a rainy night) but it was amazingly fun connecting.
  • 7 new people came to worship on Sunday
After the Mission Week is Over
  • Several of us are continuing following up with practical help, building relationships, hospital visits, meals, phone calls, etc.
  • A group of 35 of us meet on Wednesdays to pray over the requests and go out for follow-up visits. First week - encouraging results!
  • Praying during worship service for these prayer requests.

Results so far…
Surprisingly, we have heard of sudden healings, restored relationships, interest in Christ from many Hispanics and some Muslims. 

And remember how some of us were afraid to even go on their first prayer walk in March?
Remember how most of us were afraid to knock on a door?

·     Now more are leading the way, doing follow up, supporting CEC's mission, discovering they have the gift of intercession, mercy, hospitality. More of us view our city the way the Lord sees the people in these households! Our youth and children are soaking it up! They are learning that this is the normal stuff you do when you are a Christian. Whole families are ministering together at the same time.

AND, this was better than any short-term trip I have ever done.

Higher percentage of our folks participated. Cost less TOTAL than flying 2-3 people overseas for a week for a short-tern trip. We can cultivate relationships, CARE TOGETHER, love each other as Christ loves us, plant seeds of the gospel and reap the harvest of God’s work!

Be Sober and Aware of the enemy’s schemes
The enemy is kicking and fighting back! But many more of us are learning to fight back against his schemes. So, be encouraged. You are making an eternal difference in your church, in your family, in this city and ultimately this region!

Pray for Celebrate Jesus Mission as they kick-off another week of mission with churches on the Space Coast of Florida.

To God be the GLORY – He’s AWESOME!

P.S. I am absolutely positive the LORD arranged the timing of this partnership with Celebrate Jesus and this Mission to Smyrna. Can't wait to see what He has planned for us next!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Crimes this week in our Smyrna Community - Reason for Us to Pray and Act

Usually, when I/we hear bad news, I tend to think, “These are not ‘our problems’” and “They need to get their acts together.” I’m having a harder time thinking stuff like than this week.

Direct Connection to Students in our Church 
But in a week where our youth group, led by one of our students, Leo Rodriguez, a junior at Campbell HS, organized our CEC youth group to go out and prayer walk our city 10 times in the next 13 weeks and part of our discussion involved telling the Smyrna Police about it so there is no misunderstanding (Trayvon Martin case came up in discussion), I am more aware that this is OUR COMMUNITY.

The 3 problems I’ve copied out of news articles are our problems. Why?
·        Our covenant children go to school at Campbell HS. Even if you don’t live in Smyrna, these are OUR children. We make vows to help raise them.
·        We seek to reach people who are affected by and perpetrate violence on one another.
·        Only God can save souls. And those whose souls are saved are communally responsible and individually responsible to ask HIM to save, reconcile, bring justice, punish evil doers and have mercy.

Who, outside of us who have experienced God’s radical transformation, can offer true hope, powerful change?
The government? Cults? False religions up and down King Spring Road? Neighborhood Associations?

I’m not saying we are the solution alone. We are part of the solution though. We must pray. We must be willing to get involved so lives, families and our community are transformed.

That is what Mission Smyrna is ultimately about – transformed people, families and communities
Did you know what happened in 6 days in our community?
1. Tuesday March 27 – multiple sources
Tendai Nhakairo, shot and killed late Tuesday night by Cobb County police was a wide receiver forCampbell High School and was set to graduate with Fabian Rodriguez in May. Shot at the Riverside House Apartment complex on Shadowood Road.

We prayed about this in our youth group on Wednesday night in our basement. Though he was apparently on something. Came at police naked and carrying knives, he was part of our community. Fabian is one of OURS.

His mother Blessing, goes to sister church Church of The Redeemer PCA in Dunwoody.

2. Last Sunday night March 25, AJC and Online Athens
Zach Gamble, age 34, was severely beaten on Sunday, March 25, 2012. He was found lying in a parking lot at Concord Crossings off Old Concord near where we sent a team to pray just hours before.

"His parents, Tina and Leon Robbins are hoping someone can help Cobb County Police find out who did it and why they did it. "We know that someone came up behind him and he took a terrific blow to the back of his neck," said Tina Robbins, his mother.

"She and her husband have been keeping vigil over their son's hospital bed at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital for five days. Gamble served two tours in Iraq. Now he is fighting for his life. "Being a mom, and this is my only son, and I'm just hoping that someone knows something," Robbins said.

"Gamble has a 7-year old son who has recorded messages that the Robbins play to their comatose in the hopes that it will awaken him. Cobb County Police say that Gamble was at a party at the Concord Crossing apartments. A taxi driver who thought she ran over Gamble called police. But police said the injuries Gamble suffered weren't from being run over, they were from a blow to his head."

3. Saturday March 31 The Associated Press and AJC

"Cobb County police say a high school teacher had sex with a 17-year-old student, who then threatened to tell if he didn’t pay her and give her a good grade.

"Both the teacher, 55-year-old Jonas Magdangal, and the student face charges. The tryst was reported to police by adult who found out from one of the student’s friends. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( police say the Campbell High School teacher and his student had sex at a Smyrna hotel Dec. 31. Police say the girl then demanded money and an “A’’ grade to keep quiet.

"The teacher was charged Friday with sexual assault. Smith said the girl is being charged with extortion." 

This happened in OUR SCHOOL.

4. Friday March 30, I got this email from Pastor Lionel Gantt, who is a pastor in a pastor of a historically black church in Cobb County. We met at the forum on immigration we hosted last year.

"To Pastor Moon and the Crosspoint Encuentro Church, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ the head of my life and ask His grace and blessing upon you and the family of God with you. May God's hand forever be upon you, I greet you in brotherly love.

"My Brother what affect one affects us all and the affects of poverty shows in the record numbers of incarceration due to violent crimes and crimes for money. It is here my Brother, in the fight against poverty, we proactively fight crime.
Through education and economic empowerment we counter act the criminal behaviors of those who would use crime as a means of creating income. We change the hearts and minds of men. No other subject in the Bible was talked about more than money.

"It is here that we must reach back and educate our people to live economically spiritual lives as men and women of God walking in the full power of God.

"We must come outside our church walls to reach out to God’s hurting people of all races, colors, creeds, nationalities and yes, denominations.

"What will Heaven be like? A paradise of all races, all people from every nation in one Kingdom a Kingdom whose House is God’s. When we come together as one on Earth we are looking more like Heaven, the Kingdom of God a House not made with hands, we are the Church of a Living God.

"So I ask you to please come out and join us in this stop the violence crusade and join in with us in prayer for Cobb County. We the SCLC is the Southern Christian Leadership Conference so we believe in the power of prayer and in the unity of the Church. I ask you to please contact those Churches

"Come out and join in the fight. On 21st Apr at 6pm, at 1588 Willie Dr. Marietta, GA Cobb County SCLC/ Stop the Violence and Incarceration Campaign is asking all churches of Cobb Co. to all come together for Prayer and stop the violence crusade.

"Our children are dying in the streets and our sons are being buried alive in the GA Prison system, while GA is ranked 5th in the nation for poverty among children. Poverty is the leading cause for incarceration in America. We take a stand to say “No to Violence, No to Racial Profiling and we say "No to a government who cut unemployment, welfare and housing benefits/service to the poor, while giving tax credits to the rich. Taxation without due representation was the reason for the American Revolution. We are in the fight of our life, as our freedoms as a nation of people are under attack. This is your platform to take a stand and speak out, the violence must stop. We ask you to come and take part in this event."

So I disagree with some of Pastor Gantts solutions. So this problem will not be solved in one easy step. So should we all sell our houses and move to the suburbs? Wait, this is the suburbs y’all. Crime is everywhere.

Evil is pervasive. Sin runs and ruins. Our theology tells us so!!

We need to pray. We should consider praying with (more) other churches!
Pastor Jim Moon, Jr.

PS – I am so proud to be part of Crosspoint Encuentro because I KNOW you all will take this seriously!

PPS – This was a long rambling vent. I hope you will take it in the spirit I intended.