TEAM RESCUE 2013
Pastor Terry Inman
At the bottom of a steep rocky cliff near the Point Bonita Lighthouse are the battered remnants of the Golden Gate Life saving station. Large wooden row boats manned by 8 to 10 tough rescuers would launch their crafts into the stormy waters from a downhill ramp made of train tracks.
Once they hit the water they had the momentum needed to get to the sight of a stressed, or shipwrecked vessel at the hazardous entrance to the bay. In the early nineteen hundreds, these disciplined mariners were legendary for their dramatic rescues.
As I mentioned last week our theme for this year is, “Building a Rescue Team”. There are many things we are doing as a Pastoral Team to be more effective at reaching the lost but we cannot do it alone.
I am asking the several members of the team to share briefly today what we have identified as six defining objectives for 2013.
The team reaches out to FCS students and parents. (Pastor Kim)
When we first moved here almost 10 years ago Pastor Terry made a profound statement that I have never forgot. He told Dave and I that when we were moving here that “ Either you have a missions heart or you wont stay here very long.” That was so true. So today I want you to know that the School is our Mission field.
Some of you here today may not know that our Christian school does not require that a student be a Christian to attend. We have so many students who will be hearing Bible stories for the first time in their life. This is our Jerusalem. This is our Mission field.
I have the pleasure of being over Secondary Chapels. This week 3 girls came up for prayer and said, we have become Christians but our families are not helping us pray for them. Two of the girls were from Hindu homes and one was Sikh. There are many stories like this one. There are so many who are taking their first step to becoming a Pre-Christian as some would say. We have these students on this campus for a short amount of time. We want to let them see Jesus in us and through us.
We have families in our church who are hosting I-20 students. I believe we will have more families that want to bring in a student next year. These students are amazing and I love getting to know them. Our own Jimmy Fu was one of my prayer requests as a 16 year old. Some of his friends in our youth group and I would pray for him and invite him to our events and now well he is one of my youth leaders and he is ministering everyday to students.
I see the hard work and dedication of the teacher’s everyday. They are making a difference and it is their ministry. We have students from our youth group reaching out to their friends. God has been stirring the hearts of the young people in this youth group to be hungry to reach out and rescue the lost. A couple of students started a bible study on the soccer field this fall and I am happy to say it is going strong.
We want to be intentional about our mission field “FCS Students and families.” The harvest is ripe but the laborers’ are few. How can we make a difference?
Pray: This is our Mission field pray for the students and their families to know the Lord. Maybe the Lord is laying on your heart to be a host home.
This year we want to intentionally reach out more to the students and families of Fremont Christian School.
The team resources connection groups for rescue. (Pastor Dave)
That means we would like to see all of our small groups talking about rescue and encouraging each other to reach out to the lost people around them. We would like to see Rescue become part of the DNA of every group. So, “how do we accomplish this?”
Last month I had to re-register my van. It required an updated smog test. So I drove my van around the corner to the shop and watched as the technician hooked up a few cables, shoved a censer up the tail pipe and revved up the engine. After a few short minutes he handed me a printed diagnostic chart listing the different levels of toxic fumes my car created.
I’m happy to have passed the test, but I’m also grateful that someone created a diagnostic tool that helps us keep our cars running smoothly. I wonder what mechanics did before all these cool tools.
When you think about it, we have a vast amount of diagnostic tools that help professions of all kinds. Doctors use diagnostic tools and procedures to make sure our bodies are working properly. Computer technicians use diagnostic tools to work out the bugs in the cool games we play on out iPhones. And teachers use diagnostic tests to help improve the education of our children.
I’m sure we would agree that health is important, as well as our children. And as much as we like our video games, our personal relationship with Jesus remains the most valuable asset in our lives. We want it to stay healthy and continue to grow.
If I asked you, “What’s the number one thing as a Christian?” you would probably respond, “love God, and love others”. You would be right.
If I asked you, “What does Jesus ask us to do?” you would probable answer something like, “make disciples.” Again, you would be right.
If I asked you, “How do you make disciples?” or “How do you live as a disciple?” We would be here for the rest of the day discussing that question.
We know that living as a disciple and making disciples of others is the most important things we should do, but that’s easier said than done.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could improve the diagnostic tools we use with one another so we can all be better disciples?
Our desire this year is to introduce some very simple diagnostic tools to our small group leaders that will help them make disciples. And it starts with the triangle.
I would like everyone to hold your fingers in the shape of a triangle. The triangle helps us remember the three dimensional life that Jesus lived. To love the Lord, To embrace the relationships of people close to us, And to reach out to the world around us.
Next month, Pastor Terry will be sharing a 3-part series on this triangle, so stay tuned.
The team provides leadership training for rescue. (Pastor Don)
Let’s get back to the triangle shape in a moment. How many of you know my life verse? The Latin words “Magnum Opus” are very important words to me. What do they mean? Who knows the Vincent Van Gogh story that shaped what we do in the CREO Arts department?
Many of you know these things because I talk about them a lot! Many leaders know what God wants for their church and yet their people don’t know what it is. So we want to make God’s desires clear to you in two reoccurring ways. We pray that these two tools will help change the culture of Harbor Light to become a healthier church.
The first is the use of a Diagnostic Triangle. It’s a simple tool.
- UP Our relationship with God
- OUT Our relationships with those who don’t yet know Christ
- IN Our relationships with those that are the closest to us
We believe that these three relationships are so important to the health of our church and your individual lives that we want ALL of you, including ourselves to live these out more effectively. There’s a tendency to put high importance on tasks rather than these three relationships. For this reason, we as a pastoral staff; will also challenge and keep ourselves accountable in these areas. If we only tell you to this but are not doing it ourselves, we are hypocrites.
Secondly we want to feature your stories. Some of you knew the questions I started out with because I have told those stories over and over. In the same way we are going to help ourselves remember the importance of rescuing those around us by regularly featuring stories of those of you who have been rescued, those of us who are helping rescue others around them and the life changing stories of Christ Himself coming to rescue a lost and dying world.
Hopefully we will all be inspired, encouraged and motivated by simply experiencing the power of these stories everywhere we look. Our desire is for it to change the culture of Harbor Light to be a healthier church.
For those who don’t know the Vincent Van Gogh story let me briefly tell you. Vincent wanted to be a pastor like his father. Though he painted, what he really wanted was to preach. Vincent went to seminary but he was a terrible speaker.
Vincent Van Gogh pleaded and begged and the seminary reluctantly ordained him. After 6 months the seminary dismissed him from his position. Vincent became so bitter that he never stepped foot into a church again.
Notice in his famous oil, “Starry Starry night” the windows and doors are blacked out. This story so impacted me. The fact that this artist who had such a creative, new approach to painting needed a pastor to say to him “Vinnie, you are a terrible preacher, but you are a God-gifted artist. Let’s find a way for you to change your world with that gift”.
The power of this story alone drove me to change what I do in CREO; hopefully your stories of rescue will change the culture of our church and help us to accomplish what God has for us here on earth to do!
The team optimizes all-church events for rescue. (Jonathan)
Well Harbor Light, I have 5 minutes to talk with you about our defining objective #4 However, I would like to divert your attention to a very serious issue that I feel has been overlooked this morning. (music plays as I open a bag that has a 49ers Kaepernick jersey in it”.) – GO NINERS!!
Back to defining objective #4. I love how strategic we are being as a church and that our primary focus this year is to Rescue.
You can see as a staff and leadership team we are committed to intentionally reaching this community with the love of Jesus.
There are several reasons why people come to church and two of the most common are Christmas and Easter. In addition to Christmas and Easter we have identified our Harvest Party as another reason why people come to Harbor Light. We want to capitalize on these opportunities and be strategic.
We defined ACRE as = Events that will attract unchurched people and events that our congregation can easily invite their unchurched friends and family to. The primary purpose of these events will be to rescue those in our local community.
With this in mind we decided that when we plan for Easter, Harvest Party, and Christmas we would consider the following 4 things:
1) How we get people here: Marketing
2) How we keep people here: X-Factor, Service/Program/Activity
3) How we follow up and get people to come back: First Touch team
4) Measurements: How many came, How many new people, How many came back, How many join a small group.
Some of you may be here this morning and wondering why we aren’t preaching another “regular message” and why we are taking time to discuss these 6 things. I am here to tell you that God created his church to be strategic. Church is not a place we come. We are the Church and called to reach the lost and make disciples and this is our intentional efforts to be/do that.
We care about people and growing them in their relationship with Christ. It’s not about big events with big numbers but rather about being intentional with the harvest God brings to us.
We are asking that you join us. As the project manager for Easter, Harvest Festival, and Christmas I will need assistance to execute the proposed considerations and closer to these All-Church Rescue Events I will invite you to join me. Let’s be intentional together about our mission to make disciples. Thank you.
The team deploys people in external service for rescue. (Kristin)
We will be giving you more opportunities to serve through Compassion Network. Focusing on long term, relationships that we can make with local families. For example tutoring a child on a weekly basis, taking an elderly person to monthly dr. appointments.
We will increase our support our current outreaches such as Celebrate Recovery & Divorce Care for Kids by making their services more visible on Sundays. For example, we are looking into having permanent tables in the lobby where people can go to get information on their ministries.
We will increase our support to Cabrillo Elementary and its surrounding neighborhood. We will continue to have a weekly kids club at the school, and we are praying that this next school year we will be able to have more grades included in the program.
We will have a minimum of two dinners a year that we eat with the families. These dinners give us opportunity for conversation with the families. We will help Cabrillo by doing a minimum of one “service project” where we meet a tangible need of the school.
We will adopt an apartment complex close to the school and begin distributing groceries & offering prayer on a monthly basis starting in September. This is a great opportunity to get to know local families, invite them to church (including our all church events) & we will be ministering to many of the same families who we are serving at Kids Club.
We are researching the possibility of doing a “Care Faire” event for the community. At this event we would provide all different kinds of free services for our community such as hair cuts, groceries, oil changes etc.
Overall this year for our external services we want to focus on going deeper with people. This does involve more commitment. It means instead of just making a onetime donation or a one-day sacrifice we are challenging you to consider committing to one person or one family on a consistent basis.
So out of this long list, what stood out to you? I know we are all busy, BUT at our staff retreat Pastor reminded us that His burden is easy and His yoke is light! Let’s not burden ourselves with more to do. Because if we are serving out of obligation we are not going to be effective and we are going to be stressed out!
We need to find out ways we can serve with hearts filled with compassion, but still carry a burden that feels light! This is no easy balance to find, but as a staff we are excited to help you get there! As pastor said last week, lets get out there and each rescue one!
The team develops a relational process for follow-up (Mary)
Everyone welcome and welcomed! (say it) We want people to say that about us. What does that look like? It looks like this:
Number 1—the whole congregation welcomes guests
- Every attender initiate friendliness
- You “pastor” your section
- You invite the newcomer to lunch
Number 2—a special forces group called First Touch welcomes our guests and helps them get integrated.
“It takes people to reach people”
Let’s hear from some of our congregation, the reasons they stayed at Harbor Light, after visiting:
Larry Heard…I stayed at Harbor Light because of the, Welcoming, warm and family feeling. I loved it that everyone talked with each other after service. Here is where I belong!
Tammy Heard…God told me to get involved in a small group and the women became as close as family to me.
Valerie Keith…I stayed because friends and I really enjoyed Robert Thompson’s class Feast of Tabernacles, and worship in the Spirit touched me.
Tim McCormick…I stayed because many people welcomed me “home!”
George and Amala Susairathnam…We stayed at Harbor Light because we were ministered to and felt at home and comforted.
Leigh Daley…I stayed because one of the pastors, who I didn't know, came to my house with his sons to help me move.
Aaron Odell…I sensed God's presence, and was invited to be a part of a small group, by a friend.
Caroline and Christopher David…The entire service was Holy Spirit led, and as an Indian, I felt welcomes with my culture.
Nanette Mickelsen…I stayed because I felt the presence of the Lord and it felt like "home to me".
Gemini Skariah…I stayed because the church was friendly and there were many activities for leaders to grow spiritually.
Michael Skariah…I stayed because of Pastor Don’s compassionate heart to help us out during our move to Fremont.
Dean Guerrero…We were invited to a small cell group Bible study, which led to developing relationships, which led to a family camp, which led us to join this body and stay!
Valarie Banks…I came to Harbor Light at a low point in my life. I went forward to the Prayer Team and two women prayed powerfully with me.
Vanitha Henry…The pastoral staff connected with us. They were approachable.
Solomon Henry…The pastoral staff showed great interest in getting to know me and my family. I found great family at Harbor Light.
Marissa Hughes… I felt welcomed and I feel I belong
If you would like to inquire about serving on a First Touch welcoming team, please meet Carenda and myself in the old bookstore in the lobby for some snacks and a 5 minute meeting.
Everyone welcome and welcomed!