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Introduction to 40 Days of Community

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Introducing 40 Days of Community – Better Together

Thesis: Introduce the 40 Days of Community Experience: what it is, why we’re doing it & motivate people to join in

Text: Topical

Introduction

A. My first summer missions experience

1. Cozumel, Mexico – 1982 – small island off the Yucatan peninsula

2. Half a dozen adult leaders and over thirty teens – Teen Missions International – missions organization that sends thousands of teens around the world on summer missions projects.

3. Changed my life:

a) Lived in community with other Christians

b) Worked for a common purpose – began construction on a CE building for a church – dug the foundation out by hand, poured the footers, laid cinderblock walls, poured headers to tie them together: mixed cement by hand, carried it in buckets, tied the steel

c) Feeling I had on the last night – I left something tangible behind – I made a difference somewhere in the world – while sharing life with people who were like brothers and sisters to me now

d) So impacted that I returned there with my new wife on my honeymoon

B. Survey the Congregation:

1. How many people have been on a short-term missions trip?

2. How many people can say that their lives were significantly impacted on that trip?

a) Experience of God

b) Spiritual growth

c) Vision for the world and our role in it

d) Friends became like family

C. Short Term Missions became a trade mark of my youth ministry days

1. Annual trips: from the coast of Spain to the backwoods of Maine

2. Helping students go on foreign short term trips like I did

D. I always wished I could package up the whole church and take everyone on a missions trip

1. make a difference in the lives of people: like the elderly woman in Hardwicke, VT

2. powerful sense of community we experienced: closing ceremonies

3. common experience of God that we shared: like the worship events in Paterson, NJ

Transition: What does all of this have to do with this Morning?

I. Research from the Visioneers

Through the Visioneers research, we have discovered some areas of the church that are wonderful and others that need some attention.

These aren’t the only areas that need some attention, but here are five that are pertinent to this morning:

A. Local Community Impact Needs to Be Improved

1. Though the number of households that live in Hopkinton and attend our church has increased from 106 to 126 since 1998:

a) roughly 6000 people in the town do not attend any church (almost half)

b) community perception of the church: big white building on the edge of town – good place to hold a meeting

2. Why should we care: 47 other communities represented in our phone directory

Hopkinton is the town where our church is planted – analogy of a tree rooted in one spot, whose branches arch over into other communities so that the fruit is shared – we need to have a primary concern for the community where we are planted.

Jesus’ admonition in Acts 1:8 – Jerusalem to Judea is like Hopkinton to the wider Metrowest.

B. Relational Connection

1. 29% of the Congregation can identify one or two close friends in the church

2. 34% have no close friends in the church

3. out of a congregation of 725 regular attendees

4. If we promote the mission of caring for one another with the love of Jesus Christ – that would include making close friends

C. Corporate Prayer

Far more people pray individually (73%) than in a group with others (48%) – need to improve

D. Ministry Assimilation

1. Our ministries are understaffed

Inadequate number of volunteers was identified as the number one need by our ministry leaders – over funding

2. There is no clear process for getting involved

E. Communication

Our communication process needs to improve – the larger we are, the harder it is to know what is going on

Transition: Kathy B passed a mailer by my desk about a unique ministry event called “40 Days of Community”

II. 40 Days of Community

A. What is it

Ministry event that comes out of Saddleback Church in CA – church that was planted by Rick Warren – may be familiar with him as the author of the book, “The Purpose Driven Life”

The 40 Days of Community is a whole church event seeks to answer the question: “What are we here on earth for?”

I’ll let Rick Warren describe the point of the 40 Days of Community experience

Rick Warren Clip

Increasing the love we experience between each other as we seek to reach our community for Christ together.

B. Guiding Principles

1. UNIFIED PRAYER

“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

(Psalm 127:1 NIV)

a) People who are in my office right now praying for this service

b) Prayer Team is being assembled for daily prayer support

c) Prayer Guides being assembled

d) Special day of prayer and fasting for the 40 Days event

2. CONCENTRATED FOCUS

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 NIV)

a) Every Age Group

(1) Youngest of children (placemats for the toddlers) to the elementary children (daily devotions)

(2) Teens – specially designed devotions written by teens

(3) Adults – DVD curriculum created for adults

b) Every Ministry

(1) We would need to clear the calendar of all our ministry events

(2) We need to find a means to incorporate every ministry of the church into what we are doing

(a) Children’s Ministry

(b) Student ministry: from weekly ministries through retreats

(c) Adult ministry

(d) Every Small Group

(e) Special CCG groups

(3) We are asking everyone to come on board for this

c) Every person – every family focused and moving in the same direction for these 40 Days

Illus: Painting my house in one day

3. MULTIPLE REINFORCEMENTS

a) 7 weekend services

b) Weekly scripture memory verse

c) Devotional book, “What on Earth Are We Here For?” – daily devotional readings and journaling for 40 days

d) Small group Bible study – DVD curriculum for small groups – turn it on, discussion questions are in the devotional book

4. BEHAVIORAL TEACHING

a) Ministry Fair

b) Local Community Outreach

The idea is to look for your greatest need in the community and focus the efforts of your church on meeting it during the 40 days

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

(1) Visible Good Deeds that People Notice

(2) Purpose: drawing attention to God and His church – we want people to thank God that this church is in this town

Illus: Two churches that combined their efforts to care for a school in Cambridge

5. EXPONENTIAL THINKING

Fancy word for “faith”

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:22-24 NIV)

a) Small Groups – 600 people involved

b) Local Community Outreach – 1000 people involved

C. How Did We Decide to Do It? Three Requests

Started Evaluating this last December as a Ministry Council (remind people of the council’s composition)

1. Needed the Agreement & Support of the Church Leadership Team: Ministry Council, Elders, Administrative Council

2. We needed to have a Director of Worship – remind that this was as the Christmas Offering was being collected – had no idea how it would end

3. We would need to have a complete 40 Days Team

a) 40 Days Director – John Corey

b) Prayer – Brenda C

c) Children – Vanessa Barker

d) Teens – Linda Monroe

e) Small Groups – Bob Cloutier

f) Worship – Baird Lashley

g) Kick Off Event/Celebration Sunday – Linda Cloutier

h) Ministry Fair – Kathy Bridge and Rita Knox

i) Local Community Outreach – Karen Cooprider, Rick Mansfield, Marlen Pyne

j) Communications – Debbie Saeger

k) Office Support – Nancy M

D. When Will We Do It?

September 23 to November 5

E. How Do I Know God Is in This?

1. The Answer to the Three Requests

2. Perfect fit to the Visioneer Research

a) Community Impact – Feasible that we could send 1000 people (children-teens-adults) into the community

b) Relational Contact – 600 people in small groups

c) Corporate Prayer – prayer focus

d) Ministry Assimilation – ministry fair

e) Communications: Community Center – FAQ Sheets – Website

3. My Heart

a) Changes over the last four years

(1) Change in long time leadership: Sr Pastor, Youth Pastor, DMA

(2) Building project

(3) Capital Campaign

(4) Church impacting controversy

(5) New Leadership

b) Impact of so much change

(1) People have left (we’ve tried to talk to everyone0

(2) Disconnected

(3) Unsettled

(4) Unsure as to who we are

c) It’s time to be past this – we need a unifying experience that builds relationships, helps us discover our potential, impacts our community

F. What Can I Do?

1. Visit the Communications Center

2. Signup for the Prayer team

3. Help the Youth Ministry

4. Anyway possible

5. Come to the Small Groups Meeting

6. Join in with the Summer Sermon Series – explain why we are studying the book

Conclusion

A. Small Group Prayer

B. End with Song: “Salvation Belongs to Our God” – Explain Why

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