Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
>Kathy, I am hearing wonderful reports... Please give us a headline-update on what is going on with LOVE2020.
KATHY ~ The LOVE2020 Headline would read: An Acceleration in the Activation, Demonstration and Proclamation of the Love and Message of Jesus Christ
>Collaborative initiatives often turn into event-based-programs. Do you see signs that LOVE2020 is becoming more a movement than an activity?
KATHY ~ I am thrilled to see ongoing ministry that includes ongoing collaboration. LOVE2020 partners are making long-term plans to serve together not just for a moment but to keep pace with the movement. Yes, we are great at hosting conferences and events or even promoting one another’s projects; but what I am experiencing more and more often are various ministries coming together to serve a particular community, region, or area of cultural influence with Prayer-Care-Share strategies that could never be accomplished alone. UNITY is actually happening as Christ-followers, churches and ministries are viewing one another as co-laborers – necessary and appreciated to complete the Great Commission.
>LOVE2020 is an invitation for every Jesus-follower to love their neighbors as they express a prayer-care-share lifestyle ... This sounds too simple to be an effective strategy...
KATHY ~ Prayer-Care-Share is simple and it is very effective. As a matter of fact we are just following in the footsteps of Jesus; as you read through the gospels you see Jesus do these three things every day throughout His life on earth. I call this simple strategy, “Every day along the way;” As Jesus was … sitting on the shore, walking through a city, sailing on a boat, eating with friends, etc… He prayed, cared and shared the Kingdom message of His Father and the purpose of His ministry. These are footsteps we can follow as you are… driving, working, learning, eating with friends, playing ball, working out, etc… you can live a prayer-care-share lifestyle that shares the love and message of Jesus.
>To reach every person in every place, everyone reading this must multiply themselves many times over. Tell us how we can mobilize our family, ministry groups, churches, workplaces...
KATHY ~ This all begins with prayer and is saturated in prayer. Prayer prepares your heart and life to live out Prayer-Care-Share, but it also prepares the hearts and paths of the people you will minister and model this strategy to each day. Share this strategy with friends, neighbors and coworkers; make it practical and fun. Bring people together, spread hope, meet needs, better your community, and most importantly share the Good News of Jesus.
>Please write a prayer we can each pray daily that will fuel LOVE2020 as a movement that results in a revival of love that brings the Gospel to the lost and those with less and those we love...
KATHY ~ Jesus, thank You for loving us. Thank You for calling us to love and for modeling that love all the way to the cross. Thank You for showing us how to love those in need, the sinner and the searching. Thank You for showing us how to love our enemies, to get to the heart through prayer, compassionate care and the heart-felt sharing of Your message of love and hope. Continue to move us and to move hearts. Open doors and open minds. Give us courage as we commit to share Your love and message across the street and across America. We love You and thank You for loving us first. Amen
LOVE2020 INTERVIEW WITH CHUCK KLEIN
Every Student. Every School.
· What is an “affinity sphere”?
Our affinity sphere is a coalition of ministries that focus on reaching out to secondary age students in America, middle school and high school.
· What is the impact/potential/significance of this sphere across our culture?
Teenagers represent the near future of our nation. Within 5-10 years they will be the entry workforce, the voters and emerging leaders of our country. Most importantly they will be the next wave of parents. This generation of high school students will be the mom's and dad's of our American homes for the next 40 years. So the ideas that they embrace and the decisions they make now will determine the vitality of the family and the culture of our nation down the road. We, the Church, must invest heavily in the children of America. It is a non-negotiable. The consequences of not doing so are devastating.
· How is the message of God’s love in and through Christ being expressed in this sphere?
The gospel of God's grace, when appropriately and clearly shared by a friendly person, is received openly by many teenagers. That does not mean that most believe, but many will engage in a conversation about God and the possibilities of knowing Him personally. In other words, teens are curious. Hearing their story, telling your story and explaining God's story is a conversation that fascinates secondary students. That is why it is so important for Christians to learn how to engage people, including teens, in meaningful conversations about spiritual things. Relational skills blended with effective communication of the gospel is the key to bringing students to Christ.
Last week I met two teenagers coming out of rest room at a beach here in Southern California. One of them was wearing a unique t-shirt with a brand I had never seen before. I said hi and complimented his shirt, asking him what the brand represented. That led into a conversation and in the process I asked them if they ever get a chance to attend church. They did occasionally, and so I asked more about their story. I then shared a bit of my story and the role God plays in my life. They were fascinated. I asked if I could share with them how they could begin a relationship with God, and they affirmed with a yes. After a 30 minute conversation they both wanted to pray and trust Christ to come into their lives. It was a very meaningful conversation for them, and they thanked me for taking the time. Are they different than other teens? Not at all. If I were to encounter teens in that same way day after day, the majority would want to talk, and a number would want to begin that relationship with God. Others would think about what was discussed, another step in their journey to hopefully trusting Christ with their lives.
This is the harvest field we have with teens, not only in America but around the world. The problem, however, is what Jesus described 2000 years ago... the harvest is ready, but the workers are few. Can you imagine the impact on this generation if at every middle school and high school in our nation there were Christian students who knew how to engage their classmates in meaningful conversations about a relationship with God? If there were churches that invested intentionally and creatively in the youth of their community? And if there were adults who sacrificed liberally in reaching this generation? It would mean that the future adults who lead and shape our nation and world would have a much greater chance of being Biblical thinkers and Godly leaders. And they would more likely raise Godly children.
· How can an individual involved in/identifies with this affinity sphere become involved in LOVE2020?
I recommend to first begin to pray for the children and teens in your community, those in your church and for sure those who are not going to a gospel focused church. If you don't know who the teens are, ask your pastor or youth department at your church. To be real creative, ask one of the students in your church to share with you the names of other students you could pray for.
Another suggestion is to go to the website everyschool.com and adopt the school(s) in your community. To adopt means to pray, care and share the good news with students from those schools. You may or may not be able to do all three of those, but start where you can. The website has all kinds of ideas and resources on how to do that.
Third, ask if you can volunteer with a local youth ministry in your community or the youth dept of your church. And you can inquire at the local school, do they need volunteer help? Engage. Don't hold back because you lack experience, engage and learn what you can do.
· What is the path a congregation or ministry organization?
As I said earlier, we, the Church, must invest heavily in the children of America. It is a non-negotiable. The consequences of not doing so are devastating.
We must make youth ministry a priority. We must make campus ministry and priority, because campus is were 95% of the teens in our communities are hanging out, 5 days a week, 9+ months a year.
As a church, adopt the schools in your community. Start there. Go to everyschool.com to adopt a school.
As a church ask your youth staff to spend time investing not only in the students who attend your church, but through those students engage the larger community of teens. To do this, emphasize campus focused ministry. If youth leaders are allowed to visit the local campus for lunch, write that into the job description of the youth pastor. When you hire a youth pastor, look for someone who has a heart to be engaged with the great community and the campus, and has a vision to equip the kids in your church to advance the gospel with him.
By developing a ministry to every school in your community, you can literally give every student the opportunity to choose to hear the gospel and follow Christ, before they launch into the rest of their life.
And remember that school life is community life. When Christians and the church serve the school, they impact the broader community by connecting with multiple families, many of which are not attending a church.
LOVE2020 Interview with Timothy Eldred
LOVE 2020 INTERVIEW WITH FORREST TURPIN
EVERY STUDENT. EVERY SCHOOL.
1. What is an Affinity Sphere?
Let me give you several ideas of what we call an affinity sphere.
Many of us have heard of the cultural mountains that explain the various influences that impact our lives. Several samples are government, art and entertainment, business, family, media, and religion.
Education is our focus which is one of those spheres, that in our culture, has a major influence. We have identified for LOVE2020 PreK-12 Education Sphere as our target area. Our intent is mobilize individuals, organizations and community groups to bring God’s love and truth to impact education’s influence on our culture.
2. What is the impact potential/significance of this sphere across our culture?
From my point of view, along with past experience in education, Love 2020 PreK-12 has a power potential to influence our culture if and when local communities work together to bring God’s love and truth into their local schools. This is especially true for K-6 elementary buildings. Assuming Barna Research is correct that students in K-6 are the most likely individuals to be moved by receiving God’s love and truth. Students will carry these concepts with them as they transition to middle and high school.
3. How is the message of God’s Love and Truth in and through Christ being expanded in this sphere?
Let me begin with the most fundamental actions we must do intently and regularly. They are PRAYER, CARE, and SHARE. All community groups must earn their right to be heard in our public schools. Prayer is what helps to break down the “law of fear” and caring with acts of love allows the ability to share. Examples of this taking place:
a.) A sample where local churches, Christian university, local businessmen , and a superintendent gather to agree how to move forward so that H.S. students, elementary students are in their school with strong academics along with very positive environments assist students in constructive attitudes and a desire to excel to their best. Teachers demonstrate caring attitudes and a willingness to go the extra mile.
This model from Phoenix, AZ is called School Connect and reaches and develops the best practices to build supportive, collaborative community around schools. We utilize the principles of “Asset Based Community Development” to focus on what various partners have to offer and how to use the best assets of the community to build sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships.
HOW WE DO IT! We accomplish all of this the same way we help schools; we build relationships. School Connect meets with superintendents and principals about the benefits of collaborative partnerships. We talk with leaders of the faith community and help them connect to a local school. We connect the schools to business partners, universities, nonprofits and other community leaders.
We host serving events such as Love Our School Day, with thousands of participants from dozens of churches and community partners serving at hundreds of Arizona schools. We help school districts host a CAFÉ Community and family engagement meeting where the school principals and staff meet with their community partners to strategize a collaborative plan for their school’s success. Once a year we host the School Connect Summit, an event where community partners can learn best practices or building collaborative partnerships around local schools.
b.) Another example can be found at Grace Church in Eden Prairie outside Minneapolis. Significant educators and school connection has and is taking place bringing God’s love and truth to local schools. (Norene Shephard and their pastor are a good contact). The conference formed a “Compass Group”.
Contact this group by email: email@example.com
c.) Reaching the school campus in most communities with the love of Christ it is important to remember the following:
1) Identifying a person in each district or building who could be a consistent point of contact. This person is one who would grasp and even help form the vision for their district and assist in implanting the plans/procedures.
2.) Important to identify the needs of each school and each district by survey and listening. We must ask! Always wise to connect with each school board member to get their ideas. Take them out separately for breakfast or lunch.
3.) Identify what is already happening on each campus, i.e.: ministries already established, clubs, etc.…
4.) Work in unity with community and churches when available an open to collaboration.
5.) Encourage local churches to partner (adopt) a school with prayer, care, share model.
6.) Collaborate with ethnic, cultural, socio-economic groups knowing all have something to offer.
7.) Establish a “directory of servants” which entails local menu of ideas and services.
4. What is the path, a congregation or ministry organization?
You may contact Love 2020 PreK-12 Education Sphere at (626) 318-6835 or (714)761-1476 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Please write a prayer that we can pray together for expanding and extending the gospel of Jesus Christ to this affinity sphere.
Pray for reaching our schools across America with the love of God the Father, His Son Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray as Jesus stated in Matthew 18:14, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” So, assist all of us to expand our efforts in bringing God’s love and truth to all schools in America.