General
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Shape your Ministry

Lesson 2

Lesson 2
SHAPE your Ministry

Foreword

PLANS give us Clear Direction, consist of Desires and Destinations and are derived through Prayer and Obedience to God. We talked about this last Chapter. Have you got that first 'Destination' worked out yet?

Last Chapter, I also mentioned Chocolate has at its very heart three basic ingredients. These are Cacao, Butter and Sugar. If Plans are 'Cacao', then Vehicles are 'Butter' and Tools the 'Sugar'.

VEHICLES give our PLANS a Means of Expression, consist of Appropriate Shopfronts and are derived from Outside the Church relevant to our Target Group.

TOOLS give Needed Resources, consist of targeted aids and come both from the Church and those outside.

As I said last Chapter, the mixture is crucial.

Don't worry if you don't quite understand all of these concepts yet. I will be explaining them in much more detail this Chapter and beyond.

For now think of it like this:

“Through my Plan I am aware where I’m going, through my Vehicle I know my expression and through my Tools I will be equipped.”

As I read God’s Word I see the masterful use of Plans, Vehicles and Tools that draw me closer to Jesus. Through God’s Holy Spirit, I want the same with others.

God mixed the perfect blend of Plans, Vehicles and Tools in the form of our Lord Jesus Christ. God wrote His Plan down in John 3: 16 and 17. Yes, don’t forget verse 17. I've already mentioned this above. Acting on this Plan, God came into the world as one of us. What an ultimate Vehicle this is. An old Priest was observed always genuflecting (bowing) as he passed the Holy Table. When questioned by a young alter boy as to why he was doing this, he gave a profound answer. He said “When I think of God becoming man, I can do nothing else”. The early Scrolls and, later on, our Bible are wonderful God-ordained Tools. As we read His Word, God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit.

Of course God has many more Plans for you and me (all the Covenants being a prime example), but this has to be a major one! Likewise, He has many more Vehicles and Tools as well. I only use this example to illustrate some specific differences between these three aspects.

I am so glad God’s only face was not that of Mount Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments. God is still the same, wanting more than we could ever imagine, to be a part of our lives and communicate His great love for us. This all came together in Jesus Christ. All I can say are the same words Thomas said to the risen Lord in John 20: 28 “My Lord and my God”. I now know God’s overall will for me (Jeremiah 29: 11) and rejoice. Now I can see God (John 14: 9) and everyday my knowledge of Him grows, especially as I read Scripture (2 Timothy 3: 16-17) through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now that’s an awesome combination of Plan, Vehicle and Tool. Over the next three Chapters, I'll not only be detailing and explaining these three fundamental ingredients more, but also showing essential ways of enhancing their effectiveness.

Introduction

Hi, my name's Captain Andrew D. CARTER – I’d like to welcome you to the second Lesson of Chocolate Evangelism™.

Please Note: If you are a veteran, having already an established ministry, I would ask that you bear with me while I explain the basics. This will still be of value as you 'sift through' this first part, looking for more 'Gold Nuggets' to enhance or change aspects of your already established outreach.

You’re going to learn how to setup and optimize your own 100% successful Evangelism Ministry. Stay with me on this one, I'll be revealing more on this 100% next Chapter. In fact, by the end of our time together (or much sooner) you should be ready to LAUNCH your 100% successful outreach.

This Chapter we’re going to talk about how to best “SHAPE” your Evangelism.

By the end of this Chapter the “SHAPE” of your ministry will spring to life. Specifically, you’ll have the following things in place…

- A clear understanding of the best Vehicles for your specific Target Group.

- A clear understanding of what Tools you will need for your specific Target Group.


By the end of this second Chapter we’ll have made foundational decisions about putting your Plans into action through the best Tooled up Vehicles possible. In short, more of your ministry is about to birth into existence. Keep praising God for what He is doing (or about to do) through you!

Before we begin, let me start with a quick definition to build upon of a Vehicle…

A medium by which ideas or effects are communicated: language is a vehicle for the conveyance of thought. (The Macquarie Dictionary)

Interesting words here are 'ideas' and 'effects'.

Aren't those two key concepts we want to accomplish?

I realize that's a mouthful, so let me just explain things a bit more...

We really want to plant new 'ideas' in people's hearts that will significantly 'effect' them. We also want the best way to accomplish this, NOT just a way. God gives us his best. So we need to give Him our best prayed through, thought out and intentional methodologies as well.

We now have our basic Cacao Bean (hopefully ground into a fine powder). This is a great start, but still really not Chocolate. It needs butter for it to work.

Likewise, we now have our Plan in place and need to do something about it. That something is a 'Buttery' Vehicle. Let's look more closely at the VEHICLE

What is your V. E. H. I. C. L. E.?
V - VERY IMPORTANT: Start with Prayer, then Target Group
Have I mentioned this before? Start with Prayer and Obedience to God. Ask Him to reveal insights about your Target Group and what He is doing here. A crucial point to remember is that the nature of the Vehicle is derived from the people God has called us to engage with, NOT US. If we base our Vehicles on us, usually we will FAIL to achieve our Destinations.

E - Earnestly look for the BEST delivery system with the best outcomes.

Before I was a Chaplain I spent many happy years in the Nursing Profession. From my experience here I wish to snare with you two parallels of a delivery system and an outcome.

Colds and Flu have a good delivery system and, normally, a weak outcome. The HIV virus has a bad delivery system with a devastating outcome. We need to combine these analogies to produce the optimum in our ministry.

Let me expand on this further. I live in quite a large house, along with my extended family. I call my home a 'Derelict Nuclear Missile Silo' because of the 'Failures to Launch' lol. Did you see that movie? My Wife and I have five children, two of which still live with us. My youngest child is 21. We also have one son-in-law and two grandchildren. Ruth calls me a 'grumpy old man' when I complain about the small things like finances, navigating toy covered floors, noise levels, friends visiting (and I'm in my underwear), personal space and even getting a slight time to watch the History Channel which I love. Despite all this blustering and craziness, I wouldn't have it any other way. Don't tell Ruth (my Wife) though!

One of the biggest annoyances (to me anyway) are colds and flu. Every year in the colder months, often more, one of us gets a cold. No matter what precautions we take, no matter how much we try to avoid each other, most of us (and certainly almost always me) get the darn thing.

The same thing happens where I work. In a 500 bed Correctional Centre, where I am Chaplain, colds and flu rip through the place affecting both staff and inmates alike. You're not a popular person turning up to work affected, I can tell you. Colds and flu have a very effective delivery system indeed, but also have a weak outcome.

Let me explain further…

Despite constant yearly illness, neither I nor any of my family has died from a cold or flu bout. Ruth would claim I act like I'm about to at times though and tells me simply to 'get on with it'. How cruel lol. In reality, this illness only greatly impacts a minute percentage of our community, mainly the very young, the very old or those whose immune systems don't function well for some reason. The vast majority of us just feel terrible for a short period and everything gets back to normal. The long term effect (from normal colds and flue) on our lives is negligible. The outcome is normally weak.

Let's now consider the HIV Virus. I have many friends who come to visit me. Sadly one has HIV. There are new drugs available, but I think this person's life will be far shorter because of the illness. He visits me, I visit him. I laugh with this person, cry with this person and hug this person. I have no problems with this or any concerns for my family. By following very simple precautions, the chances of me or any of my family catching HIV is minute to say the least.

The HIV Virus has a lousy, thank God, delivery system.

What about the effect of the HIV Virus on the human body? It certainly limits life and quality of life. Every time I see my friend he seems sicker and sicker. He does seem to perk up for brief periods, but overall just seems to be getting worse. It pains me to see him like this. The doctors seem powerless to do anything about it. I just keep praying. The long term effect on his (remaining) life, and those close to him, is dramatic to say the least. It's devastating. Most HIV sufferers will never be the same. Their family and friends will never be the same. The outcome is profound.

A horrific thought to ponder…

What if we had a disease with the delivery system of colds and flu, that effected lives like HIV does? I believe life could be threatened on this planet if one such as this existed. Thank God it does not. I pray it will never be.

…also

What if we had evangelism 'Vehicles' that had a similar delivery system (the most effective) with similar devastating (positively) life changing outcomes?

That's what I want!

H - Hop over Pitfalls

This is where you think of potential problems. Sure, some will creep up on you and you have to deal with them. However, isn't it easier for them not to happen in the first place? Lot's of heartache can be avoided with just a little thought on what could go wrong and change things so it can't. Thought also needs to be given to possible problems and their solutions before hand. Even if it never eventuates, having contingency plans never hurt.

We certainly don't need to get paranoid on this. I remember Winston Churchill's quote:

"When I look back on all the worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened."

We mustn't let our fear of potential problems cripple us so the ministry never happens. God is with us. He is perfect; our ministry never will be, except through Him. Don't get caught in 'analysis paralysis' as some have named it. This is a 'Pitfall' in itself.

However, the opposite is true. If no thought is given to potential problems, ministry can be a disaster. The Nike approach (Just do it!) can lead to ineffectiveness or even disaster that God may or may not rescue us from.

Think of your ministry in terms of an ocean liner. Modern passenger ships are safe. Most have well trained crews with lots of technology to aid the voyage. They are soundly constructed. However, they still carry lifeboats and train crews accordingly. They are safe. Don't get so caught up your 'Ocean Liner' never launches. Equally, don't launch a 'Titanic', a disaster waiting to happen or God may indeed sink your ministry Himself!

I - Integrity is a Must
What I’m talking about is credibility here. Our actions must match what we say. If not, we’re frauds in the eyes of those we seek to bring to Christ. We must be ‘Holy’. I don’t mean ‘Holy’ in some trite way (‘Holier than Thou’ or even condescending), I mean ‘True to Character’. One aspect of ‘Holiness’ is exactly that: ‘True to Character’. Even Satan is ‘Holy’. He will act against God’s purposes, which is exactly true to his character. If we claim Jesus as our Saviour, then we must act in accordance with God’s purposes, both in words and actions.

The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11: 1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”

John Maxwell also gives a good quote. “Integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives.”

I think one of the best Vehicles we could use to preach the Gospel to men would be to start a Christian brothel. It would be well run, both healthy and a fun place for the customers to be at. Well advertised, I know many men would frequent this place.

…err, maybe not. Why? There is an INTEGRITY issue here. I know this is an extreme, silly example. Some may not be so clear cut.

I have several colleagues who DO visit the above on a regular basis. However, they do it in the context of biblical ministry. They have a legitimate God given task among sex workers. They behave as God, through His word, instructs us to do. They support what is good in God's eyes and reject what He rejects. It is amazing how many respond to this.

Remember, we won’t always be perfect. Don't forget to 'Hop over the Pitfalls' that I mentioned earlier. We can even be honest about that with those around us. They will in all likelihood respect us for it. In short…you and I must keep our Integrity before God. That means reading the Bible and behaving how God says!

C - Convenient

How convenient is your Vehicle to your Target Audience? Do they have to jump through many hoops to be engaged by it? If so, I doubt it is the best, certainly not where you start. I believe many of the meetings we run in our Church buildings fall into this category. I have seen many consist of a speaker (probably a good one), a meal and coffee afterwards.

This type of ministry is great ONLY IF well thought through because it is probably very inconvenient to our Target Group. Firstly they need to factor time that would be otherwise spent elsewhere. Then they probably have to get out of the house between certain times. Factor in all the logistics of maybe having to organize a family, maybe obtain transport etc and you have a Vehicle that your Target Group must really want to go to in order to be engaged. The ones who have a slight to medium interest will not be engaged to move closer. Simply put, it's an effort to turn up and numbers reflect this.

That's a shame, considering the often substantial work that goes into making these (I would call 'attractional' ministries) happen.

A better way is for people to encounter and connect with a Vehicle that engages them as they go about their 'Ways of Living'. Remember this from Culture?

L - Lower Resistance
You could list them in the Work Sheet at Item 2.4

One of my great loves is History, especially World War II. When the Germans first attacked Russia in the summer of 1941, something happened that terrified Russian troops. Often, direct hits from Russian tanks on German tanks simply bounced off with no damage. Most German tanks were better armoured and had bigger guns. You could imagine what happened next. Usually goodbye Russian tank. The German tank was unaffected (i.e. their resistance was good), even after a direct hit.

Let me give other examples…

It is sad to see second rate, unhelpful sales of diet products to overweight people.

It is sad to see second rate, unhelpful sales of make money products to financially desperate people.

It is sad to see second rate, unhelpful sales of motor vehicles to poor people just trying to get around.

Do you see my point? A lot of these sales are made because the people concerned have their 'resistances' lowered.

Please, please don't hear me say all of the above sales are bad. I have bought diet products. I have bought quite a few internet marketing products. I even went so far as to buy a car AND a Harley Davidson. The large majorities I have no regret over obtaining AND have benefited me much.

What I am saying is sometimes unscrupulous people, as I mentioned before, sell products or services that are second rate and unhelpful to the vulnerable, or in other words, people who have their resistances lowered.

Let me now look at some positives.

About three years ago I was diagnosed with a heat complaint called AF. We have a history of heart disease in our family. I hate doctors and have always been quite well and hardly ever get sick (apart from my normal dose of yearly (sometimes more) common cold bouts). My resistance was lower because my GP (on one of my visits to him for a totally unrelated reason) took my pulse and said "That is not at all good, would you like to live a little longer?". I immediately thought of that line by Arnie in Terminator 2 "Come with me if you want to live". My GP wasn't joking, so he booked me in to see a Cardiologist straight away. I actually went very quickly.

Was I vulnerable? Of course, I was very sick and didn't know it! Did I go? Yep, and thankfully due to God's grace I am well and truly on the mend. Was I exploited in any way? No, both my GP and Cardiologist did a great job of which I am eternally thankful for. My resistance was lowered in a positive way. I now have six monthly checkups and know what signs and symptoms to look for!

My Cardiologist asked why after turning 50 I didn't have an annual health checkup, knowing I have a heart disease history. My answer was I felt alright and was just busy. He shook his head (probably along with God). My resistance was high then, it's not now. I go for checkups.

How can we positively lower resistance to the Gospel? Pray firstly and 'speak into' people's lives not at them. Love them unconditionally, even with tough love at times. Add value to their lives. Be their true friend or acquaintance (you can't be friends with everybody).

E - Encompassing Steps

Now, have you got the easiest and most direct steps to achieve your Destinations through this Vehicle?

No needless detours. The quickest way between two points is still the straight line. Do you really need that number of meetings or could time be better spent elsewhere? Do you really need all that data or could researching something more focused be better? …and so on. With that in mind you can now 'Backward Step'. Remember Larry Norman's 1969 song 'Walking backwards down the stairs'? Do the same here to arrive at your all important first step and strategic plan.

This 'Backward Stepping' is a very powerful method. Let me explain what this is.

Start off with a Destination. You would have identified what you want develop from your Planning process earlier. Now, very importantly, write down the very LAST STEP to achieving your Destination. After you have done this write the step IMMEDIATELY previous to this one. Try to be as specific as you can. Keep going until you end up at you FIRST STEP. This is a much better way to arrive at a strategy than starting at the first step.

Remember Matthew 20:16, but I've probably got the wrong context here lol 🙂

Let me give a very simple example: Attend three Golf days this year

- Last Step: Attend Golf Day on the Day

- Second Last Step: Final check to see who else from the team is still coming and confirm pick up times etc. (How often is this step missed out on with the resultant delays on the day)

- Third Last Step: Check to see who can commit and who can't to the different days.

- Fourth Last Step: Have a planning meeting to decide which days to take up that best suite what we want to achieve.

- Fifth Last Step: With this added insight, confirm this is best one.

- Sixth Last Step: Visit the chosen Golf Club getting as much information as possible. Things like major dates, major events, niche activities (Charity, Beginners etc. Days), demographic activities (Family, Ladies days etc) and anything else that is relevant.

- Seventh Last Step: Decide (maybe as a team) which Golf Club would be best.

Now you have your first step: Make a list of potential Golf Clubs (maybe as a team). More than that, you have a strategic plan and a start for some good Vehicles. Of course you'll be doing this again very soon as you have more and more insights and opportunities as you engage and immerse yourself in this culture.

OK, let's put all this together in some examples through a comparison of two real life 'Vehicles' I observed.

Our Church ran a ‘State of Origin’ evangelism evening. ‘State of Origin’ is a major televised community football event on the East Coast of Australia. Several people spent quite a bit of time making sure the activity happened. Food had to be prepared; the projector paid for, picked up and returned, advertisement had to go out and the church building set up. Lots of little things had to be done. Our most well intentioned congregation were told to bring their (I feel, mostly non-existent) non-Christian friends. After all this passion and energy was expended, few (if any) non-Christians came.

The Vehicle in this case was the evening at Church. Sad, because quite a few passionate, talented people put lots of work into what I feel, was a very ineffective, resource sapping Vehicle.

What was happening here? Let's take a closer look using the above V.E.H.I.C.L.E.

V- Very important start with Prayer, then your Target Group.

Ok tick Prayer because a lot went into it. It had the essential and best start. Now came the problems. Basically, people go to three places who watch this. They stay at home, they go to friends places or they go to a larger gathering such as a Hotel, Club etc. that they are connected with in some way. With no connections to the church, none came. A letter box drop was done beforehand, but while a valid connection activity, businesses will say this is often the least effective and most labour intensive of all methods.

E - Earnestly look for the BEST delivery system with the best outcomes.

I don't think this aspect was even considered. I would call it a 'Nike' decision, 'Just do it!' Even if it was a success, how could things be even MORE successful?

H - Hop over Pitfalls

I think things such as having a contingency plan if the projector failed, the food didn't turn up etc were considered. This was good and essential, but ultimately was of no use when numbers failed to avail themselves of it.

I - Integrity is a Must

Absolutely! However, as I said above: This was good and essential, but ultimately was of no use when numbers failed to avail themselves of it.

C – Convenient

Not at all! Anybody who wanted to come had to change plans, physically get there to be with people they only had tenuous connections with.

L - Lower Resistance

Yea, right. A leaflet or a vague relationship will not make people come. Do they need it? No, there are plenty of other alternatives. Friends bring friends because friendship is the focus. The event is often IRRELEVANT. How many times have you been to some stupid movie because your family or friends drag you along?

E - Encompassing Steps

This event was not the easiest way and certainly not the most direct of obtaining new connections.

Sadly, this Vehicle was doomed from the start.

On that same evening, a few of us did something different. I have many non-Christian biker friends, some of whom invited me to their football evening at their Clubhouse. I took up the invite and went with some other Christian brothers who shared my friendship with this particular group. Our preparation time was NIL. Our non-Christian friends organised the whole thing. This freed us up to interact, by helping with tasks or simply sitting back enjoying each other’s company and the game on a big screen. This led to heaps of quality interactions, setting the stage for much more ministry in the future. An example of this was we were asked to baptize one of the biker’s babies, as the family had no contact with any church, but believed in God.

The Vehicle in this case was the evening at our friend’s motorcycle Clubhouse.

What was happening here? Again, let's take a closer look using the above V.E.H.I.C.L.E.

V- Very important start with Prayer, then your Target Group.

Ok tick Prayer because a lot went into it. It had the essential and best start. Next we capitalized on established friendships. In fact, we received this invite from our Target Group (a Motorcycle Club). It was a closed, invite only event.

E - Earnestly look for the BEST delivery system with the best outcomes.

This invite actually came unexpected, so we had to give it some quick thought. We had already brainstormed and had put into place other strategic Plans. We actually had to cancel something to go, but in our opinion it was worth it. The important thing here is the fact we were constantly trying to find better or improve our current Vehicles. We don't simply 'Just do it' because it sounds like a good idea. Tick again.

H - Hop over Pitfalls

As we weren’t organising a thing, there was little in this area. However, we did make sure we knew the location, what time to meet (Franz will tell me I was a half hour late) and things such as this. Tick again.

I - Integrity is a Must

Absolutely! Our actions matched our words and belief. We did drink, but none of us got drunk. When the strippers turned up, we simply went outside, focused on our friends and enjoyed the evening.

C – Convenient

Absolutely! Remember, we didn't organise a thing. My personal preparation time was about 15 seconds (always have to ask your Wife if something else is organised) and the trip there. As to out Target Group, they were already there. They encountered us as they went about their 'Ways of Living'. Two ticks here.

L - Lower Resistance

They are our friends. We had built many, many relationships with these guys over a period of time with good previous Vehicles. We showed we truly did care for them (we visited many who were in prison as just one example). They responded to us (and some to the Gospel) through this invite.

E - Encompassing Steps

After Careful thought, this event was the easiest way and certainly a most direct way we could think of at the time. It was easy to 'Backward Step'.

Which Vehicle do you think impacted the most on others outside the church? Which event channelled the most time and effort into achieving connection Destinations?

I’m not suggesting everything has to be done outside the church building or members houses. I’m also not suggesting everything done in a church building or members houses is necessarily bad. In this instance, I’m contrasting what I felt were two similar Vehicles with two vastly different outcomes.

What is your T. O. O. L.?
Sugar just makes things go down all the easier, and Chocolate is no exception. Oh yea…taste that sweetness!

Tools sweeten everything by simply making things easier, providing it is the correct Tool. I remember the old saying my Dad always said “Right tool for the right job” (usually just before adjusting the float in the carburettor with a ballpein hammer!).

Tools are not Vehicles. However, Tools are an often necessary element to ensure the success of a Vehicle. They are not Vehicles in and of themselves. They are there to aid in bringing about a specific outcome. Therefore, they must be fundamentally linked in with our Vehicle's purposes.

Here's an example. My Harley Davidson is a 'Tool'. The main 'Vehicle' we use is our Motorcycle Chaplaincy. It's a rather indispensable Tool as our Vehicles are set up around the riding and ownership of Motorcycles.

Here's another one. Remember Paul's example I mentioned in Acts 17: 22-34 last time? His Vehicle in that case was his words while the tools were the statues, especially the one to the 'unknown God'.

Another one. God can reveal Himself to us in many ways, but often He does (in our age) through printed words on paper. The Bible is a great Tool for us to understand and come closer to God.

I know the difference between 'Vehicles' and 'Tools' can be blurry at times, but I still think there is a significant subtle difference. Vehicles are the way we connect, Tools enhance it.

The same thing can be either in different circumstances. Our Motorcycle Chaplaincy is our main Vehicle and how we connect. My Youth Pastor asked us to speak at our Church's Youth Group one evening. For him, we were a Tool to enhance his Vehicle (the Youth Club's meeting night).

As I said, the difference can be subtle, but I believe well worth taking into account.

Tools are born out of a process. This process very much takes into account the Target Group to whom God has called us to minister to and what exactly we want to achieve (our 'Destination'). I have seen great Tools yield no results. In these cases, the Vehicles were wrong. The Tools were not tailored right or a combination of the both. One common pitfall I see is a Tool being run for a Tools own sake.

Remember the previous example of a football event? The Tool (State of Origin Rugby League) was a great one ultimately let down or a success by the specific Vehicle and tailoring involved.

T - Tailored to Outcome

Have I mentioned this before? Start with Prayer and Obedience to God. Ask Him to reveal insights about your Target Group. You need this to Tailor your tools. Giving a blind person a normal Bible is useless, unless he has someone to read it to him. On the other hand, a brail Bible or an audio Bible is probably very useful. The not so useful Tool now becomes a very useful Tool.

This is a pretty simple and obvious example. However, others may not be so clear cut.

Let me give some more examples.

There is a good summary of the Gospel in a tract called "Two Ways to Live". This can be an excellent Tool, but needs to be Tailored. I personally don't like the title, thinking it should have been 'One Way to Live'. However, that is personal and has little to do with its effectiveness. 'Two Ways to Live' gives a good starting summary and I had this in mind in this next example. It starts like this:

God is the loving ruler of the world

He made the world

He made us rulers of the world under him

Remember the example I used last Chapter in C - Commence with your Culture? Please read it again now. This secular motorcycle show (Orange County Choppers) had this very summary in it, just in a different way! Harley Davidson (as far as this group and I feel) rules the motorcycle world. Some of my misguided brothers (lol) would dispute this, but they'll soon learn even God rides a Harley. Harley Davidson actively influences this world through a product they love and are passionate about. More than that, they actively support radical customization within the branding and concepts of their company.

Here are some parallels I drew after we watched the show and the interactions which happened.

God is the loving ruler of the world

Discussion on freedom within limits (the manufacture says don't put water in the petrol tank for a good reason) led to discussion on why the Bible limits some behaviours.

He made the world

Discussion on the complicated and exact nature of custom motorcycle building led to a discussion on the complicated and exact nature of a world which points to its Creator.

He made us rulers of the world under him

Discussion on 'who rules' the motorcycle world (and Harley Davidson's support of personal customization) led to discussion on 'who rules' this earth and the one true source we should look to for life and inspiration.

This was only our first meeting. We had many more exploring more of God's wonder and grace through this 'Tailored' experience. I took them from something they DO understand (motorcycles) to something they COULD NOW understand through their life experience.

I used part of a tract, which I felt was good, that my group never actually saw…or did they? I 'Tailored' 'Two Ways To Live', starting with my Target Group, and they responded big time! Please read again the results of this initial meeting and beyond. Of course, this was only done through the power of God's Spirit.

The example here was with a group as part of my employment as a Prison Chaplain. However, the same could be done with any group of friends or even one on one. It can be a scheduled event (as in this example) or even just happen spontaneously. I've used this basic premise in all of these situations with good success. You can have good results too, if you 'Tailor' an excellent Tool such as this.

O - Only used to enhance, not Vehicles themselves
This is the major difference between a Vehicle and a Tool. Never run a Tool for its own sake. Remember I mentioned a great tool for us was our Motorcycles? What if we thought "Wow, we have new bikes, let's ring up random people and tell them to come over and look at them"? You can guess how far we'd get. I know this is a silly example, but I have seen non-targeted similar for real.

In my previous example of 'Tailoring', what do you think would have happened if I had simply taught the tract from the front as is? Most of this group was nominally religious at best. I doubt the result would have been the same. What if I had said "Wow, this is a great start to summarise the Gospel (which this tract is), all I need to do now is find a group and teach it to them". The tract now becomes the 'Vehicle'. All I need to do is schedule a time and advertise it.

…maybe not, at least to a nominally religious audience.

However I have seen this exact thing done with great Tools ('Two Ways to Live', 'Introducing God' to name a couple). Great 'Tools' let down by being used as 'Vehicles'. When these are used in an evangelistic context like this, from my experience, the results were mixed at best.

O - Only use right Tool

Give thought as to the BEST Tool. Don't always take the 'flavour of the month'. Don't always take the most convenient. By all means, look at and evaluate everything you can. Just don't get bogged down so you never start! An excellent way is to look at similar situations and see what has worked there for others. Keep a library, file, rough notes or whatever format for future use. If these are accessible, lots of time can be saved. I'll talk more on this in Evaluation at the last Chapter.

L - Linked with Desired Outcome

Make sure you and your team knows you're Destinations! This is crucial. It's hard to link to something you don't know. Your Tools must fundamentally make your Vehicle more effective in moving people on to the desired Destination. Make sure they don't hinder this process. It's a good thing if everybody's Destinations match up. I say that tongue in cheek, because it's essential. If you're not all on the same page then problems WILL occur.

OK, let's put all this together in another example.

Last Chapter, I gave the example of a pre-school in "U - Understand your Culture". Let me expand on this highlighting some, what I would feel, are potentially good Tools.

My Minister asked for an effective way of connecting our pre-school to the church congregation and our ministries over all. My snapshot of the Culture was:

What things are valued the most?

Family, Family Time, Relaxation, Provision of Physical and Psychological Needs

What are the characteristics of the culture?

Busyness (run in / run out), Young Children, Young Parents, Some Grandparents, Single Parents, Middle-class income.

In my report to the Minister I gave the following as one idea to trial:

A regular (monthly) Newsletter by email (VEHICLE)

Why? Remember the first question? Things about Family are valued the most. I can load the newsletter with good family targeted articles, (TOOLS) that I download for free from the various article directories on the web. These free articles can be carefully chosen with the specific target group in mind, maybe local store family discounts as well (Tailoring).

Dispersed throughout the newsletter are relevant, carefully chosen links along with short messages and info back to our Church’s Web Site (More TOOLS). These links could be an introduction by our Rector (Senior Minister) to the church in general (including current sermon downloads), links to a personal message by the relevant age group Sunday school leader (More Tailoring) and links to specific Mother’s / Father’s Day, Ladies Craft Night? etc.) church activities (thereby setting up more targeted VEHICLES for the future).

Resistance to other ministries may well be lowered as Mums and Dads see (and look forward to) the value added to their lives just through the quality targeted content of the Newsletter and its TOOLS.

All in all, this is a convenient way (for our target group) to connect with the various people in our church on a regular basis. They can access the Newsletter with all these TOOLS at any time. A hard copy would be available for those without computer or internet access (rare in this socio-economic group).

Will this Vehicle work? This idea is certainly based on sound culture and belief principals, but will it actually work? I don’t know, but I definitely will know after I do my Evaluation (more on that later).

I really want to stress the starting point for our evangelism. Many times I have heard “We have this great evangelism activity, now how can we get people along”. I believe this is WRONG THINKING in the extreme. We should say “What evangelism practices (VEHICLES) and what enhancers (TOOLS) do we need to create for this specific people group or groups, based on their existing culture and beliefs”. Remember, I use stories here as examples. It's something I did. It's probably something you would not do. I use them to illustrate principals which I DO want you to use.

So Veterans, how is what I've said so far stacking up? Are your current Vehicles and Tools appropriate? Are they REALLY the best ones or could others be better? If not, maybe it's time to change. Maybe this confirms you're correct - praise God. Either way, strategic ministry (using our BEST Vehicles and Tools) is something worth thinking about seriously.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I believe in giving God OUR BEST strategic ministry. Of course, He may change our Plans through our 'Prayer and Obedience', and we must keep praying and obey. On the flip side: 'Can God still work when our Vehicles and Tools are less than effective'? Of course He can. God will always complete His work. My question is this: 'What if He doesn't have to?' Bottom line: I will give God, through Prayer and Obedience, my best, well thought through, strategic ministry, NOTHING LESS.

Your next step is to take action!

Chapter 2 Assignment.
Now, let’s take what you’ve learned so far and begin to actually put it to use. It’s homework time again, back to high school. More steps to complete so that you have the foundation in place for the next Chapter. Next time you’ll discover how to effectively grow and be heard. Jesus stands above the crowd and calls us to do likewise. Stand by for the SURGE.

Here are the things you need to have accomplished to complete the second Chapter’s action steps for setting up your own God given Evangelism Ministry.

- Identify one 'Vehicle' in another Ministry. This helps in understanding and provides a great basis for developing new ones (Proverbs 27:17).

- Write down three simple 'Vehicles' of your own.

- Choose one Vehicle from above and prepare to act on it (This may simply mean marking a date on a calendar and making it a priority).

- Do the above in respect of 'Tools'.

- Advanced Users: Develop at least one brand new 'Vehicle' and 'Tool' for your Ministry. Compare this with what you are doing now and see if something better emerges (then, if possible, send it to me so we can learn more together and help others).

Here I go again!

Don’t forget prayer and obedience to God as you complete these tasks. Pray, Pray and Pray again, especially about what God has in store for you as you read and apply this book. Now (don't skip this step!) be still and actively look for answers from God. Get ready for the next Lesson as you "SURGE" your Ministry!

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Is there something you need more explanation or information on? Please contact me through the Quiz below. I really do want to help in your 100% successful ministry God has called you to do.

God bless, Andrew.

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