Thursday, March 7, 2013

Creativity Makes a Difference!

Some days I ask myself what on earth I got myself into when I answered the call to start a new fellowship in the Middle East with my husband.  In fact, I might have said no if I’d known ahead of time what a long, challenging road it would be. I’m not sure if it was love for God or plain ignorance that made me say yes!

The first year was tough…

We started meeting for worship in our living room two years ago with another couple.  Including our kids, we were nine people. Sunday after Sunday we’d look at each other and wonder if anyone we’d invited would join us.  Just hosting a meeting (cleaning our homes, preparing food, worship and a Bible study) was a tremendous amount of work for nine people and an occasional visitor or two.

That first year God did more in us than He did through us. When tangible fruit was slow in coming, we were forced to walk by faith and not by sight. We learned perseverance. We learned to enjoy the journey and take special delight in our relationship with God.

…But we’ve turned a corner!

The first year was daunting, but God kept us going and brought us to the next level. He added two families to our team, and a national couple came to Christ. We’ve grown a small community of friends who have not yet made decisions for Christ, but who visit our fellowship from time to time.

We broke out of the mold…

It sounds unspiritual, but our weekly meeting had become a burden for our small group, so we tried something new. We now meet every other week for Sunday worship.  This gives us more time to prepare for our meetings and to focus on being with and praying for non-Chrstn friends.  Twice a month, we look forward to and enjoy our worship meetings.

 …And tried a more creative approach

On alternate weekends, we have social events that are more natural to invite non-believing friends to.  We’ve had a picnic, a games night, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, a scrapbooking class, a Turkish bath visit for men and a beauty day for women. Sometimes these events are just for fun; other times we give a brief spiritual talk.
Men's Breakfast
Baby Shower
"Roasting marshmellows" at the baby shower!

Recently we had a great time hosting a Valentine’s dinner for nine couples. Teamwork made it easy. We set up tables and decorated our living room, served a simple spaghetti dinner, and invited an older couple to give a talk about relationships. During dessert each couple spent time talking about what they appreciated in each other.  God gave us a special evening. The two mslm couples present had a unique opportunity to hear the message and to invest in their marriages.

A different approach has added new life to our group. We’re having more fun, and we’re enlarging our circle of seekers at the same time.

What does your ministry look like? Do you enjoy trying new things or do you prefer traditional approaches?


us5 said...

i love the perspective that "God did more in us than through us..." His plans are so much bigger than the ones we could ever dream up! it's encouraging to hear how He's using you in unique ways. may you be strengthened and fitted for every good work as you serve Him with gladness!

Choate Family said...

I echo Barbara! I often think that God took us overseas just to chisel away my rough edges :-)

OliveTree said...

It is so true! He's working in us while he works through us. TThanks for the encouragement, Barbara!