Trust in the Lord above all things

By | Clarify the WHY

Ask yourself, who is it you trust most in this world? Who is the most worthy of your trust? Think of all the wonders that god gives us, and how little he asks in return.

Building your relationship with the lord means building trust with him. It is when uncertainty has fled your heart that God’s love will show itself.

Remember to stand in awe at the narrow range of the lord’s capabilities that you are able to understand. Fear his wrath and what is wrought upon his enemies.

Take a few minutes and think about trust. What does trust mean? What can be gained from it?

We all falter from time to time. When you are down and out, remember this page and re-read some of these passages. Contemplate what trust means to you, and what you can do to place more of it in the lord in your everyday life.

Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.

Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you I entrust my life.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.

James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Hebrews 13:6 So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?”

Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,

and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Psalm 31:19 How abundant are the good things

that you have stored up for those who fear you,

that you bestow in the sight of all,

on those who take refuge in you.

And with these thoughts in mind.

We have some thoughts to pray on. We need to see the light that shines upon us when we trust in a higher power. We need to feel the strength that flows through us, knowing that we are not along. We know that it is our faith that gives us his favor. It is our devotion that will sow the seeds of prosperity.

We need to know what it means to see god in everything. We see the beauty of his love in everything around us. We see the trials that he sets before us for what they are. We are alive in the knowledge that with his love, there is nothing that we cannot overcome.

We could all do with more trust in our lives, and trusting in the lord is our best foundation to do so.

Not Giving: Are Your Church Members NOT Giving? Here Are 10 Reasons Why

By | Clarify the WHY

Before judging why your church members are not giving, stop to find out why. It could be a simple issue, or a far more complex problem.

Here is a list of 10 reasons that could be at the root of that problem, and how to address them:

1.  They aren’t yet believers at heart

Christians who have been brought up in the faith understand many basic concepts, such as tithing, giving, and the importance of donations in the church. If they are new to the church, however, they will need to be taught these concepts. That may also be a slow process. Don’t expect everyone to start giving right away. They also may need time to grasp the concept. Take them where they are and do not judge anyone.

2.  It’s just not the right time

Even the tiniest seeds of faith need time to grow. It may not be the right time for your church member to give. Perhaps they are in transition, have just paid off debts, or are undergoing expensive medical care. Whatever the case, hold their hands—and hearts—gently through this time.

3.  They don’t have an understanding of church budget

In order to encourage giving within your church, you must be transparent with the budget. Your church members need to understand where their donations are going. Sharing testimonies during meetings and services, keeping people updated on projects, or even sending out thank you notes and newsletters are simple ways to do this. Those who want to know where the money is going should be able to access this information, and this will allay any fears they may have.

4.   It’s not practical for them to give financially

Maybe there are those in your church who are more than willing to give. They have the means. So what’s holding them back? It could be something as simple as the practicality of giving. Perhaps they don’t physically attend church, due to a physical ailment or other personal reasons. A Giving App or Giving Kiosk might be just the solution. You can manage all the donations digitally, making it easy for your members to give in a single click.

5.  They are in a crushing financial fix

Debt is a common reason people are not able to give financially. It puts them under tremendous stress and all kinds of problems. How do you address this issue? You could offer financial management courses, showing them how to better their money management, secure good income, and invest in the right places. Creating long-term wealth is a skill that can be taught, and learned.

6.   They don’t trust your church’s leadership

Trust is essential. How can people give to your church unless they trust you, its leaders, and managers? Lack of trust in your church means a lack of financial support. Do your part to inspire trust and generosity by being more open. Like we said in point number 3, stay transparent. Let your flock in on the details, such as your church budget or the total amount raised during a fundraiser.

7.  They don’t know why they should be giving in the first place

Giving may sound like a basic principle, but in fact, it comes a little later in spiritual growth as a Christian. Just as you would not expect a newborn baby to eat solids right away, don’t ask too much of your newest church members. Instead, teach them the foundations of giving. For example, stewardship; how to work with and grow what they already have. Teach them trust and faith in the Lord, and the benefits of their giving will be a natural step in their maturity.

8.   They Think Their Gifts Don’t Count or Are Too Little

Some people feel they have too little to give. They see the large numbers of your church and think, “My gifts don’t really count!” No matter how little or how big their gifts are, however, God sees their motives, and judges only their heart—and so should you. (Mark 12: 41-44)

9.   They are not the one in charge of family finances

We see this scenario time and again: one spouse has control of the family’s finances, yet the other wants to give to the church. What should you do? In no case should the willing spouse be given without the consent or knowledge of his or her partner? The church should always encourage unity and oneness in marriages. It is more important to keep to this standard and spiritual ethics than to achieve your fundraising goals.

10. They have already committed to giving elsewhere

Many folks are willing to give but have already made prior commitments. This is completely natural, and quite common. As they review their next year’s budget, however, they may reconsider giving to your church instead. Let them know that their gifts—and their presence in your fellowship—is welcome anytime, regardless.

One way you can encourage giving in your church is by offering visitors and members 24/7 access to a digital platform. With this, you can setup recurring giving or let them make a single donation, securely online and through mobile. Visit New Fire Giving to find out more about our innovative digital donation management software.

Church Parking lot Party

Church parking lot party – Welcoming Guests Before the Vestibule

By | Alternatives, Clarify the WHY

Danger lurks in parking lots. Fenders beware. But really, there’s a good reason to have a Church Parking Lot Party. There’s safety in having gatekeepers, traffic help, and warm smiles welcoming all the new guests strolling through the door. But there’s a lot more to it than just that. For now, let’s start with the warmth, the first thing those new guests experience from the Body of Christ.

WARMTH AND OUTREACH

Sometimes all it takes is a genuine hello. It chips away at the cold walls isolation builds. When new members come, they want to feel an openness. If they feel that, they’re more likely to really get involved and build trusted friendships. And the church family grows as the congregation connects. For visitors, it’s a whole slew of other opportunities.

I’ve seen the broken be healed. I’ve been the broken who has been healed. It started with a place to call home. With a church warm enough to make me feel wanted. So I stayed. My passion for Christ was cultivated, as well as my compassion. But there are times when it’s the opposite of my story.

Times when a stranger walks in, maybe not even sober. The stranger is obviously hurting. Yeah, ideally, the tone set at the gate would open up the chance to be a part of healing. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, it’s a violent person who walks in. Without people at the gate, it happens. The stranger brings a gun. And then this happens.

While healing is ideal, we should prepare for every case scenario. For that we need a few things.

MUST-HAVES

Let’s start with preparing for the positives. We can talk danger later. To keep the warm atmosphere a church should have, you need volunteers who know what they’re doing. People who are willing to open doors, smile, hand out information, and just have a nice conversation. Those are the people you need. (Check out the link for help there.) Your volunteers deserve to be spoken to beforehand. To know what to expect. Some of them will be on the lookout for newcomers. Some will be there to direct parking. Some will be there to offer refreshments.

We should note that refreshments are bliss. Having some coffee available is a ministry in itself (here’s an article about that). Depending on your church, that coffee might go quickly. It’s nice to have someone who can refill it before it's gone. It keeps the social flow going, which keeps the warmth alive and everyone’s time at church the way it should be; relaxing. I’d recommend having some information displayed on a table nearby for the curious newbies. Probably someone to answer questions too. Questions about doctrine, membership, small groups, you name it.

Now the flow of warmth really begins outside the front doors, with the people helping park cars. Having support outside shows preparedness. Preparedness means safety. Safety means having I can relax vibes. That’s where conversations begin. And conversations are where ministry begins.

But there is one more thing to understand. Something which has saved lives…

SAFETY

Yes the church parking lot party helps keep cars safe. We all want to keep our fender benders to a minimum, especially at church, where nobody wants to be angry at anybody. But there is something else too. That other kind of danger I mentioned.

Violent individuals sometimes interrupt service. How do we handle that? Hill City Community Church in Virginia is a pretty solid example. Each year they have a retreat for the leadership team. Part of that retreat is bonding and unifying in vision. The other part is a seminar with an ex police officer. She teaches the team how to be alert for danger. How to handle dangerous situations. How to keep the congregation safe.

One way they do it is locking the doors a bit after service starts. It may sound odd to lock a church. But it’s kept them safe, being in a downtown area where gang violence has been reported. New people still come, they just come before the doors close or when they open again.

Alongside that, the gatekeepers are always on the lookout for unsafe situations. Keeping someone out who isn’t sober, even if it means two of the gatekeepers miss service to spend time getting help for the person is worth it. It is safer. And it is an outreach opportunity done right.

OVERALL

Not everything always runs smoothly. Ideally, people could park themselves and safely slip inside. But sometimes it's just dangerous. We should offer help and protection. Plus, walking into a strange building alone can be isolating. There shouldn’t be too much isolation in a church (meaning any at all really). Having a warm church parking lot party flow from outside (where you park) to the inside (where there’s delicious coffee) ensures safety, human connection right away, clear direction, and unity. There’s just too much outreach potential to pass up. And really, it does make a difference.

Now if those warmly greeted people want to give, it might be a good call to check out NewFire Giving as a tool to make it easy for them.

References

https://www.ajc.com/news/national/texas-church-shooting-sutherland-springs-sanctuary-reopens-solemn-memorial/Of16awWkGXGcwc0LX5dKaM/

https://www.newfiregiving.com/

https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/how-to-recruit-church-volunteers-create-a-culture-of-service

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/september-web-only/coffee-beverage-that-fuels-church.html

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