I have been asked by Phil & Heather to oversee the Outreach and Mission of the Lighthouse church for this season. I have been asking God to show me strategies and I shared them in the meeting on July 1st.I thought it might be good to write a blog based on what I shared then. I have felt challenged myself as I have gone through the=is process, and hope that you are challenged positively by the Holy Spirit too. The triple A battery provides power and I believe their is a triple A focus that makes powerful encounters possible for us right now!
Triple A focus :
Acknowledge the great things that are happening among us in terms of outreach and mission at the Lighthhouse,
Ask the Holy Spirit to direct us, as He did in the New Testament church in Acts
Activate ourselves individually and collectively by giving everything to His call to build His church. His promise to us is that by so doing we will prosper in amazing ways.
Acknowledge outreach as it is happening now
Outreach : Homeless-led by Mark & Paula,fortnightly on a Monday the team go out faithfully. Pray for them, join the team, offer to cook a meal. What about a prayer group, praying while the team are out on the streets?
Wareham Foodbank led by Jule Hawkins, Julie has contact with needy families and is helping by taking food to them. We need to be consistent in bringing in food to share and in praying for her as it is difficult to do this in the middle of a busy life
KLS, in this last year, the first of Kingdom life we are seeing amazing encounters with people. Most weeks people are receiving prophetic words that are bringing encouragement and hope, people are being saved and some have experienced healing on the streets of Poole. We worship, give free hugs and prophetic words, work closely with cafe owners like NO 34, (where we have a prophetic ‘station’ weekly with some regulars coming in,) we treasure-hunt on the streets of Poole, we change atmospheres on the street by our presence, we receive favour from the local council in doing all of these activities.
LHOPs : local houses of prayer, praying for neighbours has been laying a great groundwork in some areas of The Lighthouse Church. Creating opportunities for great conversations and prayer.
Mission : how are we doing in building relationship and supporting our 3 missionaries? Bex & Moses (Uganda), Andy Game(Japan) and Sam & Shiela(Philippines)
Adopt one. Find out their needs, challenges and dreams and sow into them
Three guiding principles in Outreach and Mission for me :
Relational- cluster of grapes. John 15 Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. Without Him we can do nothing. By abiding in Him we will produce much fruit.
We must stay connected to Jesus and to each other. Do life together and great grace will flow among us. Spend time really getting to know each others heart and challenges and dreams and sow into them in creative ways.
Led by the Holy Spirit. Acts 13 : out of worship and prayer Paul & Barnabas were sent out on mission. ‘It seemed good to us nd to the Holy Spirit” This is real confirmation. We will not burn out of we are continually directed by Holy Spirit. There will be challenges and pressures, but what He calls forth, He will accomplish with great grace on us.
Acts 16 ( 3x Holy Spirit intervention- two impressions of don’t go and one vision direction into Macedonia and Europe). How I want to know Holy Spirit’s direction so clear on my life. I am grateful for the way He has directed us so far, but in this season as Bryony was saying last week, I want to have Holy Spirit adventures taking me to places He has in mind for me and The lighthouse church.
Activation : see Acts and Paul’s letters : ‘sent out by the Holy Spirit’ Acts 13 the apostles were ‘sent out’. Holy Spirit directed them and they responded by doing as He directed. Throughout His letters, Paul keeps talking about Holy Spirit’s direction. He says how the gospel constrains him to go and preach. So my response is right now. Holy Spirit what are you directing? where should I be taking the gospel today?
Outreach under the radar : We acknowledge that Lighthouse church is up the 7 mountains influencing and changing cultures by being there. There are so many stories to tell, we want to be telling these stories in various ways through the year. I want us to support and encourage each other by highlighting the wonderful ways people within the church are showing compassion in the community.
Take for example Laura Wood, working with children who are terminally ill, or have life-limiting illnesses. She works with them and their families providing comfort, relief, dignity and compassionate support at Julia’s House.
Or Mike and Jo who have been foster parents for 10 years. Sharing their home and family with complex, emotionally disturbed, love-deprived children and teenagers. Through their love and commitment, through challenging circumstances, some of the most deeply hurting young people in our county have found respite and love. Bringing them to church where they have received love and encouragement from others, has often been a major positive ‘love bomb’ moment in some of their lives.
Or what about Chrissie who works with children who aren’t attending school. She works with hurting children and families bringing hope and relief, solutions and steps forward in often complex family issues. She, like the others expresses the same sentiment. The day I don’t feel compassion for the children is the day I would stop my job’ They are loving in a wonderfully powerful way, reaching out with God’s love within the context of their role and profession.
Asking key questions : making key decisions. Can we decide to be a beautiful cluster of grapes not a bag of marbles. Being connected means that we are relational with each other, praying for Laura, Mike&Jo and Chrissie for example, finding out how they are doing, how we can support them through the challenges of their work.
Where is my Jerusalem? Samaria and ‘ends of the earth’?
World mission : start by adopting a missionary, Bex& Moses, Andy or Sam and Shiela and sow into their lives great support.
My Samaria : steeping intentionally into another culture. Eg. Avril and Clare, Avril says ‘ I don’t know what I am doing’ but she is loving, being a mum, discipling in a wonderful way.
By reaching out to the homeless community we are seeing them become believers and be discipled, be restored back into local community again. This is costly, but so rewarding to see a precious life, like Claire, take steps towards being restored back into life again.
My Jerusalem : my local community not just church at D22, the people I mix with through the week. Neighbours, friends, an interest group.
The Lighthouse will grow and the prophetic vision will be realised as we fall passionately in love with Jesus and empowered by Holy Spirit we be intentional in what we initiate in our locality.
‘ there will be church in Lytchett’ this is still God’s heart, equally in each of our local clusters
How are people going to be added to the church? Through meetings at D22 only? Or how about intentional gatherings and activities in our neighbour?
What could happen if we are intentionally creating opportunities for people in our Jerusalems to respond to Jesus and the Gospel? By creating opportunities in our local communities we could provide a first base, a first point of contact, a first step for people coming to know Jesus.
This could be a coffee discipleship group in Poole high street, an Alpha in a coffee shop in Wimborne? a pop-up prophetic cafe in Blandford, or a worship and prayer event in a local venue.
These could provide first steps for people to know the Lord and to be added to The Lighthouse. it is a big step for someone to come to D22 from not being connected with us at all. Providing opportunities locally creates steps into community, into a local cluster, into a home group, and then into the church at large in D22. This creates belonging.
Using the analogy of a bag of marbles or a cluster of grapes, we must choose to be the latter. A bag of marbles is kept together by the bag and when opened each marble will just roll off in every which way direction, not staying connected. Whereas a bunch of grapes is connected by the stem, each grape in relationship to some others, and all grapes connected to the main vine. So let’s not be a bag of marbles where we are held together by the structure of the church’s programme, say for Sundays. We come and are held together for a time, then scatter through the week. Instead we are a wonderful bunch of grapes, clustered and held together; doing life together in our Jerusalems, in our local communities.
The Holy Spirit is fanning ways of doing this into flame, like setting off fireworks for a heaven party whereby people are going to be saved. Declaring the wonder of Jesus in our Jerusalems will result in wonderful creative ways to provide opportunities for people to encounter God’s love. As B Johnson says ‘We owe it to the world to give them an encounter with Jesus’ incredible power and love.
What might Holy Spirit be calling forth now as creative ways to reach out in our communities :
develop prophetic cafes
treasure-hunting for healings, salvations in our local communities
pop-up music cafes
random God encounters with people
start-up businesses to fund outreach and mission
Pop-up worship events in villages
These are just some of the possibilities God is calling forth right now. So are we committed to building His church? Is this our first priority?
Haggai is a great lesson for us. Over 3 months from the 6th to the 9th month the Jewish community was transformed by reposting positively and wholeheartedly to God’s invitation.
He told them that they were having issues of not prospering because they were not giving His house first priority. They were looking after their own assets and affairs instead of rebuilding His house.
God said if you start to rebuild my House, I will be with you and I covenant to pour out such favour on you, that prosperity will just pour in from the nations. He encourages their positive response with encouraging prophetic words of hope, covenant and identity. He ends by saying I will wear you like a signet ring ! What a wonderful picture. y signet ring stays on my finger and reminds me of my marriage covenant relationship. It says what is yours is mine and vice versa, it speaks of love, intimacy, walking closely, protection and purpose. ‘With my body I honour you, all I have I give to you’ So it is with our covenant relationship.
The key of coming into this is that the whole of the Jewish community responded positively to the word of the Lord, they obeyed and were activated into doing what they could to rectify their priorities, they came together as one to build God’s house.
So what about us? Are we ready as one to give ourselves as first priority to strengthening and building the Lighthouse church through our local communities, through our clusters wherever we live? Are we well-connected as the grapes are to the vine, or are we living like a bag of marbles?
By activating the Word of the Lord, by listening to Holy Spirit, by being whole-heartedly committed to His vision to prosper us as we seek to build His church locally, we will start to see such an outpouring of His Spirit amongst us that will have an incredible impact bringing about the prophetic words spoken over our lighthouse church.