Eating ice-cream is a non-threatening way to build friendship with un-churched people. Through social interaction we create opportunities to share faith. Social activities are vital assimilation steps for newcomers.
Homes of Hope Strategy began in Commitment by hosts to connect with an un- churched person weekly. After twelve months 34 hosts reported 108 newcomers in church.
How long was it from your initial contact that they made a commitment? Months
I was hungry and you feed me... Do not neglect to welcome strangers...social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. Practice hospitality....when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind... Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling …the ministry of reconciliation.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers… Hebrews 13:2 8
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with Gods people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
10 When you give a luncheon, or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed… Luke 14:12,13
11 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling
I was hungry and you feed me. I was thirst and you gave me something to drink. Matthew 25:35,36 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself who gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)
Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me. Ellen White Ministry of Healing, p. 143.
Your success will not depend so much upon your knowledge and accomplishment, as upon your ability to find your way to the heart. By being social and coming close to the people, you may turn the current of their thoughts more readily than by the most able discourse. Ellen White Gospel Workers 193
It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Ellen White
17 …the remarkable explosion of Christianity in the first century was due not only to proclamation of the gospel, but to the extraordinary quality of Christian hospitality. Mortimer Arias (Soul Feast Marjorie J Thompson)
As I have said you have undertaken two saintly roles, by refusing to own the land you have retained, and by achieving perfection through that which you have sold. So in your apparent role of owner you are perfect, because your mind is free from the ties of possessions; mindful of how short the time is, you fulfill Pauls injunction by possessing without possessing, for your keep possessions not for yourself but for those with nothing.
You play host in your house so that your house may be a hospice. You are a traveler from your native land and an exile in this world that you may dwell in Paradise and be a citizen of your former country. You do not crowd your houses with dining tables, or cram them with masses of furniture or wealth. You measure off a corner for yourself and fill the house with travelers and beggars.
You live as a fellow servant with your own slaves. The temporary lodging which is your dwelling you do not possess like the father of a household, but you lodge there like a mercenary or a lodger, paying the Lord a regular rent for the favor of the lodging by serving your neighbour with body and mind. And You Welcomed Me Amy G Ogden p44
Better Health DNA Immune System Emotional Support Loneliness and depression
A recent study found that 10 per cent of elderly Australians see another person on average less than twice a week. Lindsay Tanner, Federal Labor Member for Melbourne 22
Lonely people's immune systems go haywire, so no wonder they are more likely to get sick and die young, researchers say. "What this study shows is that the biological impact of social isolation reaches down into some of our most basic internal processes: the activity of our genes," Cole says. "We have known for years that there is this epidemiological relationship between social support - how many friends and family members you have around you - and a whole bunch of physical outcomes. "The other is that there is something about being isolated and lonely that changes your body." Lonely? Your immune system's in overdrive Maggie Fox Reuters 2007
Experience comes first Are more long term Cost effective Natural life style Very creative in approaches Seeker or harvest focussed Intentional and systematic
Evangelism is godliness fleshed out." We fit into Gods purpose by loving him, obeying him, and loving others until they ask why."...we are commissioned to prepare webs of relationships so that Jesus may come to them." Evangelism is a process through which people flow toward the foot of the Cross. Joseph Aldrich
In 2001 North New South Wales baptized 283 people of which 71 were from the community. The Conference provided from their Evangelism Budget to Church projects $292,800. The following is the cost per new member: Seventy 292,800 (Evangelism Funds) + $73,200 (Local Church Contribution*) = $366,000 This equates to $5,154 per each new addition.
34 Homes of Hope Host lead 108 new people into the church within twelve months. This equals around $315 per person. H of H $315 versus Traditional $5,154?
Inclusiveness Involves new members in evangelism Assimilation of newcomers Moves church from being friendly to a friendship making community Improves relationships of members
People are drawn to friendly places. Twenty-nine percent of American church members say they joined a church for friendship. … higher among younger adults and those who've attended their churches for less than five years D. Michael Lindsay
1.Forget the Silver Service. Get to a point of normality as soon as you can in your relationship. 2.Keep your entertainment simple so they can easily return your hospitality. 3.Do lots of fun activities. Fun activities quickly build relationships. 4.Find excuses to love their kids. 5.Take an interest in their interests. 6.Do the little things 7.Anticipate problems in their life. 8.Ask for their help. Make your relationship two-way by asking their assistance when needed.
Require a level of intentionality and systematic action if you are going to lead people to Christ. It is about making friends, not just being friendly.
Hosting and the Team Small Group
The Host when appropriate extends the seekers friendship with other group members. This is an intentional strategy that happens naturally.
36 Home S.S. Class Home Group Church
37 Home S.S. Class Home Group Church Newcomers
38 Home S.S. Class Home Group Church Newcomers
39 Home S.S. Class Home Group Church 1 night a week Once a Month Social Visitor Events Newcomers
What group supports you in your ministry? What one thing could your support group do that would increase your effectiveness?
Karen Karen has no church affiliation or background. Is brought to small group youth social by her boyfriend. She turns up once in a while to church and group social activities. She begins attending small group Bible study. Her attendance at church becomes more regular. She marries her boyfriend. She recently accepts an invitation to do Bible studies.
Each class-group should have one if not two homes of hope hosts. Their role is to take a lead in connecting with seekers. Other members support the hosts in extending the seekers network. Seekers are assigned a mentor when they make a commitment to the group.
1.Group Leader 2.Pastoral Care team 3.Social team 4.Mentor
The social life of a group is an essential medium through which a group demonstrates its Christian values and teachings.
Oxytocin is known as the social attachment hormone. Its the same hormone that is secreted by mothers who are breast feeding their newborn babies … it makes us feel good. Oxytocin promotes feelings of nurturing, caring and just feeling overall warm inside. While this powerful hormone can be found in both men and women, but it plays a more essential role in a womans life.
Mix up your activities from every body comes to 2 & 3s. Plan for a group activity once a month, even though some months it may not happen e.g. sickness. Plan three special, major, dont want to miss, activities each year. Give group members and contact plenty of notice.
Identify the interests of those you are working for and plan appropriate activities. Invite newcomers to assist in planning activities. Go for activities that will work with any number
Keep your program varied. No matter what your program is – worship, small groups, pathfinders etc. - programming special events for participants to look forward to will maintain interest. Dont just do the same thing every time. Major Events: Having major events to promote has a positive psychological effective on group members. Humans being like to have things to look forward too, to plan for.
From time to time your small group might like to run a social activity to help new members get to know each other and to build friendship. 1. Quiet games - Pictionary, Scrabble or other board games. 2. Active games - volleyball, basketball, scavenger hunts. 3. Group outings- picnics, BBQ's bowling, pizza, movies, concerts, cultural experiences, progressive dinners.
4. Meals together- pot luck, international food, dessert & coffee night. 5. Parties and celebrations - Christmas parties, group anniversaries, special birthdays, "green" night (everyone wears something green) hat night etc...
6. Service/ outreach/ mission projects. Volunteer gardening, painting, house moving Group discussions- choose a topic and some questions that allows the group to get to know each other member in a deeper way. 8. Group camp, Group retreat ( sometimes combine with another group). A day camp.
1.Share your history and invite them to share theirs. 2.Organise friendship building activities with group members. E.g. shopping 3.Have a group meeting in their home. 4.If they have children invite them over to meet your children. 5.Involve them in a special experience with group members e.g. Camping 6.Get them involved in ministry tasks.
Most people experience the faith through relationships, that they encounter the gospel through a community of faith. For most people, belonging comes before believing. John Finney
1.Find one other person to mentor as a Homes of Hope host. 2.Help them apply for a budget. 3.Meet on a weekly basis or by phone.
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