Here are the answers as I understand them at this time:
We serve those without a church.
Irregardless of where someone is on their spiritual journey, if they’re without a church home, we’re here to serve them.
This gets tricky. It’s easy to find people with a church home…at least on Sundays. But the group we serve is quite decentralized.
So we do lots of things: servant evangelism, random acts of kindness, pool parties, supporting a local worship station (people without a church home still need feeding, radio is often all they get), partnering with Chamber events.
We keep score by number of people served.
There are lots of ways to keep score. We could count kinship numbers or Sunday morning attendance. We could judge success on how many first-time, second-time, and third-time visitors we have. We could keep score based on Sunday offerings and average amount given per person.
All good stats. And stats we track. Here are our weekly averages for our Sunday worship services in 2008:
2008 Weekly Averages
Total attendance: 21.1
first-time visitors: 3.6
average offering: $340.39
total first time visitors in 2008: 25
average offering/person: $16.13
If we kept track on these numbers, we’d have reason to beat ourselves up. Giving should be around $25/person, not $16. And we’d have reason to feel good: 3.6 first time visitors each week. That’s 17% of a Sunday attendance. (Sure, the “.6” person is hard to accomodate.) 🙂
But we keep score by numbers served. Check out our 2008 score card:
Mar: 100 Total 539 served
539 people served! That’s more than 25 people for each person that shows up on Sunday. Including the kids under 10!! 25 people served for each of them too!
Some of these have been through formal VCW events and projects, some have been done individually and reported back to me. All are done because we believe our community has heard that God loves them but few have seen Christians actually be loving. And we’re out to change that.
Our goal? 3000 touched in 2008. We’re right on track, especially with the 406 boxes of Peeps we’re passing out this week. (Check out our Easter invitation at our website.)
Our next specific action is the Peeps Outreach this Saturday at 10:45 at the VCW building.
We are constantly instigating ways to get us out of our comfort zones. The goal is that we’ll get so used to serving the people around us, that we’ll do it even when it’s not a “official” VCW event. The point is about Jesus, not VCW.
Buckingham points out that it’s not if the answers are “right” or “wrong.” The point is are the answers clear?
I think ours are.
If VCW is your home, do you agree? From your experience of us, do we serve those without a church home? Do we keep score with numbers served? Do we keep having a specific action?
We’re always looking for new (and even quirky) ways to show our community God’s love in practical ways.
Sam’s Club sells a box of 28 packets of this microwave popcorn for about $6.40. So a couple weeks ago I bought 10 boxes! And this week, I got my outreach card order from OvernightPrints.com. So last night, I attached the cards to 140 packets (5 boxes).
Now a local party store has a box to give away, the library has a box to give away, and the local homeless shelter has a couple boxes.
At the shelter, I asked if the popcorn would be a blessing. They immediately said “Yes!” As I passed it to them, I explained that we believe lots of people have heard of God’s love but very few have actually seen it in practical ways.
Before I could even finish that brief explanation, a woman I’d never seen before blurted out, “You must be the Vineyard!”
Wow. I was about 6 inches off the ground when I walked out.
Everybody’s going to have a rep. I’m glad serving people in practical ways is ours!!
I just got some cool $5 Starbucks cards. For an extra .25, they imprinted the card carriers with:
This is a practical way to show God’s love.
We think most people have heard that God loves them but very few have seen that love in practical ways.
We’re out to change that.
The Vineyard Church of Waterville | www.watervillevineyard.org
Let us know if we can be of any assistance.
And enjoy the coffee!
Today in the parking lot outside our local movie rental place, I saw a young couple with a very tiny baby. Inspired by something my wife had done in a similar situation, I went up to the dad with two cards in my hand. I said, “I noticed you have a young child and I bet it’s hard to get out on dates.”
Young Dad: “Uh-huh.”
Me: “Do you guys like Starbucks?”
Me: “Here are two cards, each worth $5.”
He was incredibly thankful.
And I got to leave with an incredible sense of being filled with God’s love.