AUGUST 9, 1998

Most of the individuals who contact In His Name's office for financial assistance can be engaged in conversations about spiritual issues too. 
As we learn a few details of their lives, we often see an opening to speak about "trusting and obeying God."

Some individuals are well grounded in the faith. However, when the question of church attendance is raised, many people tell us stories about how they have been discouraged or hurt in a church.  The poorest of the poor "know" that they are not worthy.  Everyone reminds them of it. . Sadly, many persons believe God too, counts them as unworthy.  

So for those who will not go to church, we are searching for an interim way for them to learn about God and to understand His love and acceptance.  I understand that from the local church's view, they just need to come to their places.  That makes it simple for the church. 

But there must be a creative means to first show friendship in a 'safe' environment. 

I keep remembering that Jesus says, what we do for them, we do for Him.
So we cannot just brush them off.

Should we offer a home study course?
Take the person to lunch?
Find churches who would develop a plan? Periodically mail out teaching materials?

If you have an idea I would value your input.  Or if I need to further clarify the problem, please ask.

Dee Stribling, October 1, 2006



Terri Niles 

Boynton Beach, FL

You asked how to get some of the "self-deemed" unworthy children of God hooked up to a church.  Here are a couple of ideas for you.  
     In the past we've told you about our church.  It is a seeker sensitive church. It is a non-threatening untraditional type of church setting.  You might look in your area for any Willow Creek model of churches.  You can look them up on the Internet also.  They have listings of  Willow Creek churches all over. 
    That is if you can get the people to go to a church.  Our church is a great setting for those types of non-churchgoing people and they are primarily who we target.  We are also in the gym of a local high school, so we don't LOOK like church.  You could go with them to a few services to help them get a connection.
     Another thing my church does is get people involved in small Care and Share groups.  In these home based groups, 10-12 people meet in a home and do some sort of Bible study depending on the maturity of the group.  That is a wonderful way to meet people's needs right where they are.  Our small groups are not all made up of people who come to our church.  Some will come to a small group, but would never go into a church. 
     Once a person has been helped, often times they want to be able to return the favor.  We try to get the people plugged into a ministry as quickly as possible.  They work along side others who are grounded in the Lord.  That way they can have conversation and be ministered to while helping minister to another.  
     Do you still do the Hope Boxes? [Yes]  Have one of your Hope Box friends take along the food box to one of the 'new' friends.  Not only can they relate with the person who they are going to visit, they can learn that ministering to another might not be that hard. 
     Or find out if they have a talent or skill in a certain area.  Someone who is doing ministry in a church could take this person with them to help for a while.  In the meantime, they can introduce this person to others in the church who have a ministry where this person's talents fit.
     Sometimes all it takes to get a person plugged into a church is a friendly face to be there with them.  It is very scary going into a new place, especially if they already feel they are unworthy.  Once the friendly face helps the new person feel comfortable and helps them find
new friendly faces (ones who are truly sincere),  the person is more likely to stay and become a part of the church.  
    They sometimes come just for the friendly contact.  Hearing about Jesus is just an added benefit until they get to a place where they feel loved.  Then they can hear about God's love and plan for them.  Getting them to stay long enough is the key.  Human contact is vital for that, in addition to feeling wanted and NEEDED.  The longer they are there without getting involved in some way, the more likely they will never get involved, and then leave altogether.   
    I'm sure none of this is really new ideas for you, but I hope it helps to know it IS working all over the country.  Let me know what you think.

Terri Niles in Florida