Our church turned 4 years old this month...we launched our South Bend Campus from our church in Goshen that has been there "forever!" For much of the first 3 years we had a split direction...and a lot of that happened because of our locations...we had our services in Movies 14 in Mishawaka and then our office in Downtown S. Bend...about 10 minutes away. Now 10 minutes doesn't seem to be much if your from a town like I grew up in in Ohio...we had a McDonalds...and an AMAZING pizza place and we drove for everything else! But here, those 10 minutes are a change in culture!
The deal is...we really tried to impact both areas and did to some level...but the truth is...we were making a random and not overly focused impact...if you have a split direction...you aren't going to maximize your influence...So...we have mapped out a 1 mile radius around our building...there are 14,975 people in that 1 mile...and 3,598 households...our target is to focus our energy and resources into this area...THEN we can have a maximum influence.
NO...we aren't going door to door and "attacking" people...but we will be OUT in our community and finding ways to love people and do things for them. We have had a HUGE opportunity open for us with a school that we partner with...the principal is VERY open to community partners and we are blessed to have someone working at the school! This summer we will be doing a Field Days camp at the school...For the 3 weeks after the camp we are having Community Family nights (OK...we will be coming up with a better name than that, but it works for today!!)...including a WATER FIGHT...possible an outdoor movie night...and we talked about creating portable walls and providing paint for kids to come and create "stuff" on the walls...constructive graffiti! We ended our Community Hope food vouchers and are transitioning it to help families right here within a mile of our building...We are also dreaming of doing an after school program that engages kids in fun...learning about practical life skills...AND about Jesus! We have some AMAZING curriculum for this! Can't wait to see who God raises up to lead it!!
Oh...and we will be going Egging too! Passing out 1 dozen eggs to 500 homes in our target area...giving people something practical that they can use and letting them know that Grace Community is around! At Easter we will have our 5th Easter Egg Dash...with 5,000 eggs! We call it a dash because there just aren't any eggs hidden!! We are giving away a prizes, including a family of 4 trip to a water park!! Hope we win!
Our church MUST focus in on a target...Jaden played a Wii archery game during the service...in the first round he shot all over the place...up in the mountains...at a waterfall...random shots...I bet he hit SOMETHING! BUT...in round 2 he took aim at a target...he NAILED all three of his arrows on the target...Bottom line...we will have MAXIMUM influence when we focus our energy, gifts/abilities, $ and resources on a focused target...