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Subject Topic: Kidmin Talk #32 - Into the Margins Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Tannerman
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Posted: 23 May 2012 at 2:10pm | IP Logged Quote Tannerman



This thread is for discussion of Kidmin Talk #032

The month of May continues to showcase guest hosts on Kidmin Talk.  In this episode, we welcome Glen Woods, former ordained children's pastor in Portland, OR (15 yrs) with over 30 years experience working with children and parents in various roles.

Now he is engaging his unglamorous neighborhood as an urban missionary, only without any titles or other unnecessary burdens, except for the burden of God's love for the marginalized in the city.

Listen to this week's inspiring and helpful show and then post your thoughts on the topic.
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Glen Woods
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Posted: 24 May 2012 at 12:21am | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

If going into the margins effectively requires a willingness to do life with people outside the four walls of the church building, what might that look like for you personally? What will it cost you? What are you willing to pay? (Hint: I am not necessarily referring to money or material possessions).



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Glen Woods
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Posted: 28 May 2012 at 1:34pm | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

Pastorskipbarton commented using the disqus client on the show page. Since I do not have access to reply to him directly on that client, I will do it here. He wrote:

"Thanks for the insight and encouraging words concerning reaching out. I have been personally struggling lately about how to reach outside of the four walls of our church. As a children's pastor I wonder why won't the urban kids continue coming to church. We even have a bus ministry. I have been thinking about going out to them which I believe that is our next step. We are a small town with a lot of lower income families. I just want for kids along with their parents how important God is. One concern we have dealt with as I'm sure many churches have, how do you deal with the lower income family's expecting the church to help them (money, paying bill and so on)? Don't get me wrong I know we should and also we try but it's the expecting part that bothers some members. Again, thank you for opening not only my eyes but my heart also. Bless you"

He raises an important question about how to respond to people in the margins who are particularly affected by poverty and who may expect financial assistance. It is one thing to request. It is quite another to expect. It betrays a lack of social etiquette, something we might expect from younger children, but we expect more social grace from adults. Yet, it happens.

During the show I believe I mentioned the messiness of doing life with real people in the margins. I sense you understand this, given the way you set up your question.  My response is two-part.

First, we clearly cannot control the expectations and behaviors of those we do life with in the margins. At times they may suprise us with kindness. At other times some may wound us or tire us with unrealistic expectations. So, what are we to do?

I suggest changing the church's posture from that of rescuer to that of community member. That is, although the church should certainly desire to be a part of the solution for helping those in need, its resources are limited. We cannot solve everyone's financial problems or material needs, nor would it necessarily be beneficial for them in the long-term for us to try (it can produce an enabling culture which robs people of personal responsibility). But we can help to provide leadership in changing the mindset from "we (the church) help, you (the poor) benefit" to "we (everyone in the community, including the church, the wealthy, the poor, believers, non-believers, businesses, individuals, etc) help, you (those in that same community context who have legitimate pressing needs) benefit."

I know. Kind of idealistic on the face of it. What I am speaking of is changing the systemic paradigm for how we minister to the poor among us. Chief among its priorities is consistent relationship-building, clear communication which listens well, and a willingness to become downwardly mobile for the sake of others. Not that we should put our families at risk. But that we should count the cost of what it means to gain a witness not only to the poor, but to the entire community for Christ's sake.

I would start with this: Listen to the church members who have concerns. Assure them that the intent is not to become a social service agency beyond their capacity to support. But, cast vision and give opportunities to explore doing life with real people in the messiness of their situations, learning to love them in the way of Jesus. Such love starts with listening. Hear the community. Listen to their needs, dreams, hopes for transforming the community. Then decide on first steps for how God might make your church a part of the larger community effort to make a difference in your neighborhood.

I am praying for you. I hope you see this response so that we may continue our conversation. Blessings!



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Karl D. Bastian

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Posted: 28 May 2012 at 6:28pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Glen Woods wrote:
Pastorskipbarton commented using the disqus client on the show page. Since I do not have access to reply to him directly on that client, I will do it here.

Thanks for bringing the conversation here, it's the better the platform for long term discussion - but just FYI, you can comment in Discus with your twitter login, no need to open a Discuss account.

Great show! Just back in town, appreciate you hosting the show for me!
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Posted: 31 May 2012 at 4:15pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

I really appreciated this podcast. So often we are so focused on the corporate aspect of evangelism in our church settings that we neglect or even abandon our personal mandate to GO and minister. While you would (hopefully) never say that I don't need to ____________ (fill in the blank with pray, study the Bible, tithe, serve) because my church does those things...many will say that about evangelism, but evangelism is something that we have been called to do personally. You speak of those in the margins...but, guess what? They are not all in Portland! They are in my city and years.

People, the fields are white unto harvest. We need to be about the business of telling people about Jesus.

Thanks, Glen, for this challenge.

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Posted: 03 June 2012 at 8:00pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

Here's an idea. We do a big VBS at our church. (Big for us is about 400 kids in attendance.). We train a great team of volunteers and have a great time in the comfort of our building. A month later much of the same volunteer crew along with a good number of youth take the VBS to the streets. Everyone is trained and they have done the VBS once, so it is just a matter of adapting to the apartment complex or wherever we go. This year we are doing an inner city project with an outreach center. It is almost more fun the second time around,

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Glen Woods
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Posted: 04 June 2012 at 7:39pm | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

Karl, thanks so much for the opportunity to do this! Also, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Having watched you interact with regular people in real world situations, I know that you very much have a missionary mindset with a view toward loving people in the way of Jesus. It was my greatest take away from the few days I spent with you a couple of years ago and it made a lasting impression on me.

Nancy, I appreciate your heart and attitude. It inspires me and I learn from you each time you contribute to this and other conversations. I think it is great what you and your church are doing to reach out to apartment complexes. Keep it up! I look forward to hearing more.

Everyone, yesterday I spent time with a group of about 10 kids in the empty church parking lot. They were playing a game of touch football. They ranged in age from 4 to 16. One 13 yr old girl and the rest were boys. We each have our stories. I mainly listen to theirs. Yet, they sometimes ask me about mine. You know, doing life without an agenda other than to love in the way of Jesus.

Events are helpful and can be instrumental in introducing people to Jesus. The long-term follow-up, however, occurs best in situations where relationships are established.  That is my biggest goal right now. It takes a lot of time. It is worth it.



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Karl D. Bastian

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Posted: 04 June 2012 at 10:38pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Glen Woods wrote:
Events are helpful and can be instrumental in introducing people to Jesus. The long-term follow-up, however, occurs best in situations where relationships are established.  That is my biggest goal right now. It takes a lot of time. It is worth it.

Thank you Glen, for your kind words. The guest shed is still available!

I love your final statement here. I find it fascinating that Jesus established no programs and didn't start by creating a cool logo. (I'm guilty of that!) LOL He just experienced life with people. Saying it was a "different era" is perhaps a cop-out. While events/programs ARE effective, the best and most real ministry is the stuff that is just life impact when we are "out and about" simply because it IS "real."
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Posted: 04 June 2012 at 11:15pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

Don't get me started! We get so wrapped up in having the latest greatest ministries that sometimes we neglect the model Jesus gave for reaching people.

Think about fishing. You need to start by going to a spot where you know there are fish. Fishing is something that requires time. You can't just fish for five minutes...you would more than likely accomplish nothing. You have to plan to be at your location for some time. You need patience and perseverance. You need the right equipment and good bait. You need to cast out again and again. Sometimes you come home with fish. Sometimes you don't...but you keep going back.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 at 3:47pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

MissNancy wrote:
Think about fishing. You need to start by going to a spot where you know there are fish. Fishing is something that requires time. You can't just fish for five minutes...you would more than likely accomplish nothing. You have to plan to be at your location for some time. You need patience and perseverance. You need the right equipment and good bait. You need to cast out again and again. Sometimes you come home with fish. Sometimes you don't...but you keep going back.

That is a great analogy! It's no mistake Jesus called us to be "fishers of men" (or kids!)
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Posted: 08 June 2012 at 12:36pm | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

Kidologist wrote:
MissNancy wrote:
Think about fishing. You need to start by going to a spot where you know there are fish. Fishing is something that requires time. You can't just fish for five minutes...you would more than likely accomplish nothing. You have to plan to be at your location for some time. You need patience and perseverance. You need the right equipment and good bait. You need to cast out again and again. Sometimes you come home with fish. Sometimes you don't...but you keep going back.

That is a great analogy! It's no mistake Jesus called us to be "fishers of men" (or kids!)
I appreciate this point, keeping in mind that the enemy is seeking to destroy the harvest of people whom God is drawing to himself, and us as well. Savvy fishers of people use discernment, relational skills, and love for God and people. Most importantly they are yielded to God, allowing him to work in and through them. These are points I am working on in my own life, messed up as I tend to be. Please pray for me in this regard and I will pray for you, too!

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Posted: 09 June 2012 at 5:58am | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

Glen, my brother, we are all messed up.  It never ceases to amaze me how I have the same power that outflowed from the resurrection moving in me, yet I ...well, complete the sentence.  I take great comfort in these verses.  Evidentially I am not the only one.
Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 HCSB)
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 HCSB)
I'm praying!

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Posted: 09 June 2012 at 7:57am | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

MissNancy wrote:
Glen, my brother, we are all messed up... Evidentially I am not the only one.

Welcome to the club of the Ragamuffin Gospel! Every time I minister with a group and we pray before hand I always mention in prayer that the Greatest Miracle God does is to use broken people to communicate His Perfect Love - that is truly amazing to me! If He needed perfect people to share His perfect love, there would be no hope for the world!

Remember, Jesus said He came for those who knew they needed a doctor - bot those who thought they were well.

Walking with a limp,
Karl


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Posted: 09 June 2012 at 7:35pm | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

Kidologist wrote:
MissNancy wrote:
Glen, my brother, we are all messed up... Evidentially I am not the only one.

Welcome to the club of the Ragamuffin Gospel! Every time I minister with a group and we pray before hand I always mention in prayer that the Greatest Miracle God does is to use broken people to communicate His Perfect Love - that is truly amazing to me! If He needed perfect people to share His perfect love, there would be no hope for the world!

Remember, Jesus said He came for those who knew they needed a doctor - bot those who thought they were well.

Walking with a limp,
Karl
Nancy and Karl, amen. The alert I become to my own brokenness and need, the more liberated I am to rely on God's grace and mercy, and to love others in the way of Jesus. It's painful but necessary.

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