Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What is MY JUDEA?

Acts 1:8 says, "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  We read that verse.  We memorize it.  We build our church's core values around it, but the truth is, most of us are completely okay with being comfortable in our Jerusalem.  Our tendencies aren't to GO and to TELL.  Our tendencies are to SIT and to SOAK.

"My Judea" began as a concept that would lead our 5-Campus church to collaborate.  We wanted our church to fall in love with the idea of ministering in their Judea.  One day, as I was driving from our Hendersonville Campus to one of our Satellite Campuses, I realized that it was a 19 mile trip.  Earlier that morning, as I was studying in the book of Acts, I realized for the first time that the difference between Jerusalem and Judea (geographically speaking) was also 19 miles.  Then I did a little more research and realized that nearly every one of our campuses was roughly 19 miles away from the main campus.

Our church has had a global focus for a long time.  Missions is a key component and makes up a big chunk of our DNA, but as we started asking questions, we discovered that more of our members had visited Haiti than those who had visited one of our other campuses.  We've flown to the ends of the earth and fallen in love with the people, the ministries, the work and the plans, but we were missing out on an opportunity for ministry just 19 miles from our own front door.

We believed that if we could get our members on these other campuses, that it would allow them to get a glimpse of the 'big picture' as we move forward as a multi-campus church.  We also knew that once they experienced life and ministry on these campuses, that it would allow them to fall in love with the people and buy into what's happening in that location.  Our prayer was that our people would fall in love with their Judea the same way they've fallen in love with those we serve across the globe.

The 4-week sermon series leading up to SERVE DAY was as follows:  MY JUDEA

  • Week 1:  A Call to the Uncomfortable
  • Week 2:  A Call that Begins with My Jerusalem
  • Week 3:  A Call to Serve
  • Week 4:  A Call to Go

Our initial goal was to mobilize 2,000 people from our Hendersonville and Gallatin Campuses to serve the other 3 Campuses and their communities.  Once it was all said and done, there were 2,946 people that registered and served on that day!  As we led up to SERVE DAY, we had Personal Evangelism and Apologetics Training on all 5 Campuses and trained over 500 people!

Serve Day consisted of:

  • Small Construction Projects
  • Painting Projects
  • Canvassing & Evangelism
  • Landscaping
  • Childcare
  • Community Projects

Because we had so many volunteers, there was a definite need for projects off-campus.  This 'problem' led our people into the communities for several weeks leading up to the event.  They met with city officials and evaluated the needs they saw.  Our community project coordinators set up projects in nursing homes, parks, schools, fire stations, etc.  It was a great way to connect with many local organizations and demonstrate the love of Christ through our work.  Overall, we completed 92 Community Projects in the 3 communities we served.

Many people served on our campuses for Serve Day.  We calculated a total of 14,140 man hours as our people worked in the yards, cut trees, painted walls, ripped up old carpet, took out walls, built new rooms and more.  There were 415 separate projects that were completed in the 3 locations during serve day and it was truly remarkable to see everyone working together, on the same team, for the same purpose.

We concluded the evening by having Block Parties at the 3 Satellite Campus locations (Madison, Hillcrest & Springfield).  All afternoon, our people had been knocking on doors, telling people about Jesus and inviting them to these block parties.  In just 4 hours, our people distributed over 30,000 fliers and had countless conversations about Christ.  It was a powerful day!  The block parties were a huge success.  We had live music, food and giveaways.  We served over 5,000 hot dogs and gave away the 100 backpacks stuffed full with school supplies (that our Student Ministry donated).  At the end of the block parties, our Campus Pastors presented the Gospel and many from the local neighborhoods responded.  We believe God was honored by the "My Judea" Initiative.

As we look to the future, our prayer is that "My Judea" was a whole lot more than a one-time event.  We are hoping it'll become more of a-way-of-life for our church.  The website www.MyJudea.com will become a permanent fixture where we'll always have up-to-date project that need to be completed on our campuses.  We'll encourage our people to take their Small Group or their Family and tackle these projects periodically.  We'll also be implementing a quarterly Serve Day on our Church Calendar, where we'll encourage everyone to get involved on one big day again.

If you served as a part of My Judea, we can't thank you enough.  It was incredible to see God work in and through the lives of everyone that participated.

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