Monday, October 23, 2006

Children of the World - An Awesome Outreach

Sorry I haven't posted for so long. I went on vacation to do a little surf fishing. But I'm back now, and ready to stir up a little dialogue!

I know that church planters and new churches are always looking for effective, affordable, high-impact ministry opportunities to utilize for outreach in their communities. Here is one such ministry that I can recommend to you ... the Children of the World International Children's Choir. This incredible group of kids is a ministry of World Help, a worldwide relief ministry that focuses upon the needs of children.

The Children of the World are actually three separate touring choirs that travel throughout North America in an effort to raise awareness and funds for World Help's ministry to the "Forgotten Children" of Uganda.

From a church's standpoint, the COTW kids deliver an incredible amount of community ministry "bang for the buck." The local church must cover their $600 travel fee for the concert and provide host homes for the children on the evening of the concert. The only other cost is for a group dinner and a motel room for the driving staff. The entire event costs less than $750! The local church pastor facilitates an offering after the concert that goes completely toward the Uganda ministry ... absolutely no funds stay with the local church.

We are hosting the COTW in our community this week. We decided to go ahead and make it a truly community-wide event. Instead of having the concert at our church, we are hosting it at the local community auditorium. We have received some serious radio news coverage, as well as a front-page story in the local paper ... complete with a color photo!!! We are so excited about the potential for community impact through this event.

The COTW choir is an excellent opportunity for a church to give a gift of culture, music, fellowship, and fun to its community. I recommend that you give them a call and invite them to your church. You can find all of the info that you need on their web site. If you need more information, just drop me an e-mail.

What about you? Have you hosted this group in your church? What kind of experience did you have? Can you think of any other ways to maximize the outreach and impact potential for a traveling ministry group such as this one?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Most Unchurched Places

I am finally getting on a writing project I've been meaning to do for some time. My editor at On Mission magazine has agreed to let me do a series called Shadowlands: The Most Unchurched Places in North America. We are doing this by theme - Most Unchurched College Town, Most Unchurched City, Most Unchurched Place You've Never Heard Of, etc.

And the information is hard to get. Our mission board research department has information by county, but not by city or town or village. And much of our information does not include other denominations or non-denominational churches. And of those, we do not know which ones are preaching the gospel or how many people they are reaching. When I was a church planter in Maine, we had to go visit towns to see if there was a need for new churches. We could research from afar, but did not know the true situation till we got on the ground.

So I need your help. We are asking those on the ground all over NA (like church planters) to share with us their knowledge of places without churches. My hope is that these articles would attract faithful and adventurous church planters to some places that really need the gospel.

So jump in! Where are some places (towns, cities, areas, counties) in North America without churches?