Six Prayers To Increase Your Outreach IQ by Steve Sjogren

prayer in outreachNormally it is thought that one’s IQ is a fairly static number, that it can’t be increased, but not in the case of Outreach IQ. When it comes to outreach you can increase your level of intelligence. It’s a matter of doing some practical things—prayerful things. 

Prayer is the lifeblood of all vital outreach. You can pray without doing outreach, but you can’t do outreach without prayer.

You can pray without doing outreach, but you can’t do outreach without prayer.

It is easy to fall into the trap of being busy in outreach activities without walking in a spirit of prayer. Such a routine will only stir up lots of activity but little lasting fruit. Operating in this mode won’t yield the results we seek. 

God communicates with us all the time. The only hold up is on our end—the receiving end of things. As we pray we are able to hear his voice clearly. There are certain prayers that bear more fruit than others. Some prayers are easy to answer. They are the kinds that express his heart without hesitation.

If we hope to be effective in outreach we need to offer up prayers in faith, with no reservation.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting. James 1:5,6 NKJV  

We are wise if we choose our prayers well. If we hope to pray enthusiastically our prayers need to express the heart of God as revealed in his word. Consider the following as part of your prayer arsenal.

Prayer 1. “Bring People To You O Lord”
Pray for the Lost.

God shapes our hearts by the things we pray. 

The beginning point of prayer for outreach is to focus on THE point of it all—the Lost. Pray for the Lost around you. God will sensitize you to their plight, their pain, their struggle as you lift them up to God. Until we pray for the Lost we will likely only be irritated by the them. We are likely to lose patience until we enthusiastically welcome them in—in word and action.

Prayer 2. “Capture My Heart”
Ask God to Move Your Heart.

God will take a risky prayer like that seriously and move in your life. This can be a dangerous prayer to utter—at least dangerous if you don’t wish to participate in the action of the kingdom. Once God has gotten hold of your life he will take you, use you and send you to do his work. 

Prayer 3. “Increase My Anointing
Ask God for more power.

Praying this prayer is Part A. Being available to obey is Part B.
Practice doing the will of God. Practice a LOT. We get better at any skill as we do it frequently. Evangelism works in the same way. Get among others to practice your outreach chops frequently. God will build his momentum in you as you walk out his power. 

Prayer 4. “Stir Up My Gifts
Ask God for greater skill.

The Bible says the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. God has clearly gifted you whether you can see the extent of his gifting in you or not. Life is about seeing more of the gifting he has given us and we explore our way forward. Flow with your gifting. Allow him to explore your gifting. Allow him to pour more gifting into you. Don’t demand perfection. If you do you will miss out on the majority of what he has for you. God will use you in new ways as you pray to that end. 

Prayer 5. “Give Me Favor
Ask God for greater effectiveness.

As God moves in your life, he gives you his favor and you are able to move forward with momentum. One of the first things you will need is a cadre of people to support you in your mission. You will need a team to help carry out the mission God has called you to. His favor needs to rest upon you if you hope to walk out the vision he has given. 

A prayer that goes hand in hand with this one is this:

Prayer 6. “Bring Contagious People To Me”
Jesus prayed this with slightly different wording.
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Luke 10:1-3, NKJV 

The key verse is Luke 10:2, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” A friend of mine encourages people to set their watches and cell phone alarms to sound at 10:02 every day to remind them to pray in agreement that the Lord would send laborers into the harvest. Thus twice a day (AM and PM) people all over the globe are praying in agreement that God will send out workers into the harvest field. A great reminder!

Spend time with those who have the outreach virus. We catch it from others more than we are taught it in a head-to-head fashion. It’s about catching outreach. You don’t so much learn about it in a classroom setting. It’s vital that we walk with those who are already fluent in outreach. Catch on as you catch it from those who have it. Better yet, let’s pray our way forward.

The Ideal-Sized Congregation? Try 500! by Steve Sjogren

congregationGreat churches come in a variety of sizes, very large ones, medium-sized ones and smaller ones.

Some are frustrated with the mega church scene in our day for a variety of reasons. It is a mistake to discount the vital role mega churches play in God’s strategy for reaching the world. God has in mind to use mega churches in great ways in our day. Above all else he wants to redeem these churches to do great works of evangelism across America. Done rightly such churches can serve as catalysts for the greater community they find themselves in so that churches of all sizes can gain confidence for evangelism.

I believe the most efficient church size is…500.
I stated this conclusion several years ago in a book based on the numerous observations made in that book (Making A Good Church Great, Regal, 2010). I am more convinced now than ever that my original hunch was correct.

Ponder this: it would be more productive to produce 10 life-giving churches of 500 in weekend attendance than in building one mega church of 5,000. I believe there is abundant evidence to make the point that the per capita level of spiritual vitality is usually greater at a medium-sized church versus a single mega one. The individual Believer will likely evidence greater fruit of discipleship in medium sized churches than in mega ones.

Mega church pastors are called by God to accomplish great things.
I don’t wish anything ominous upon the shoulders of my mega church brethren, yet it is a fact that to whom much is given much is required. Those who lead very large congregations will stand before God in the not too distant future to give an account of the way they acted as stewards of the provision of God in their time as the leader of an immense congregation with immense resources.

How did I do as a teacher? Did I boldly and lovingly present to my people the uncompromising truth of the Gospel?
How did I do as a model? Did I show my people the life of Jesus through my life?
Did we do the work of evangelism? Did we consistently, profoundly seek to bring our city to Jesus?
Were the poor shown an abundance of the mercy of God?

Such questions put the fear of the Lord in me. With this burden of responsibility in mind I don’t miss a day of my time of leading a mega church. I pray mercy upon you if you are a pastor in a congregation of this sort.

If you are a pastor in another size congregation you have it easier in many ways. Pray for mega church pastors near you. I hope you will mutually stir up the “love and good deeds” Scripture calls us to walk in.


Steve Sjogren is a veteran church planter and pastor of five churches in he US and Europe, several of which have grown to mega church status. He is currently operating in his ideal role by leading an outward-focused congregation of 500 in the Greater Portland area. He is the author of several best-selling books and many free PDF booklets. The Steve Sjogren Blog is published daily as a focus on evangelism, outreach and the power of the Spirit to accomplish this.

Reaching Artists, Actors, and Musicians in Hollywood by Richard Rossi

“You’re missionaries to Hollywood,” the Holy Spirit said to my wife Sherrie and I. We were shocked.

We met and married at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in 1984, a fundamentalist college in which we were forbidden to attend the movie theatre and taught that Hollywood was Sodom and Gomorrah. Deep down, we knew Jesus was a friend of sinners, and He never met a city He couldn’t change.

After Sherrie and I graduated Liberty, we returned to my hometown of Pittsburgh to preach and plant churches. For many years, I suppressed by creative instincts and worked solely as a pastor and healing evangelist.

Our ministry grew to healing services that drew thousands of people, but the flames of our marriage and ministry died when I began suffering from depression that stemmed from childhood abuse. I was trying to heal the world without healing myself, and became powerless and burned out.

I had resentment towards God. When people said, “God really uses you,” I replied, “I’m tired of being used.”

I experienced a rise and fall that landed me into a restoration process which included going to Healing for the Nations, a ministry in Atlanta that restores burned out leaders. I also enrolled in a twelve step program that continues with my participation in several recovery meetings a week.

Believing in God’s redemption for ourselves and others, we packed our belongings in a U-Haul. With our two children in tow, we made the three thousand mile journey west on a wing and a prayer, with no job or ministry position awaiting and $500 to our name. Little did we know, Hollywood would minister to us just as much as we would to Hollywood.

Sherrie and I felt led to read the bible cover to cover praying for insight into how to reach out to a culture of bohemians. From the opening pages of Genesis, God spoke to us as we read.

“I am the Master Artist, and I love to support other artists. As My Spirit hovered over creation in the beginning, I hover over you as you create today. Creativity shows you are made in My image. Your creativity is a part of My creativity.”

We discovered a spiritual hunger in Hollywood. On a prayer walk up Beachwood Drive leading to the famed Hollywood sign, the Spirit said, “I am transforming Hollywood into Holywood. My Son Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star, and His light can reach the stars.”

Soon actors, artist, producers, porn stars and painters began meeting in our small apartment to discuss their spiritual journey. Some were agnostic, some New Age, and some from Christian backgrounds that they felt suppressed their creativity.

We read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, learning that God gave each of us talents and we must take the risk to follow where those talents lead. After praying for each other and our creative callings, we shared a potluck dinner.

A woman with prophetic gifting prayed and spoke. “The movies that will come out of this gathering will be a movement of My Spirit,” she said with fire in her eyes. “A city on a hill cannot be hid.”

We returned to God together. As part of my amends, I determined what God was doing would be built on Christ, and not my personality.

When God directed us to make movies, I played catch up and educated myself on film history by borrowing films from the local library and taking film classes at the community college. The European masterpieces of Bergman and Fellini gave me an idea: I could make a film as an allegory for my experience to share the gospel with others.

I began writing and directing a movie entitled “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story” about the 1920’s famed female evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. The film came out of my brokenness, and the brokenness of others who were drawn to help.

We made the film on a shoestring budget of five thousand dollars, but it was honored at the Screen Actor’s Guild with a special screening that sold out within twenty four hours. When I stood before the 500 members of the guild who came, I spoke about God’s ability to work through broken, wounded people. I was speaking as much about myself as I was Sister Aimee.

I identified with Sister Aimee, because she was a conduit for healing for others, but struggled to get healing in her own life and relationships. When I was in the healing ministry, the higher I was up on the pedestal, the more isolated and depressed I became.

Sister Aimee was nominated for Best Film in Milan, set an attendance record at Quentin Tarentino’s New Beverly Cinema, and was the first of a half dozen films to come out of the Hollywood house church network Sherrie and I started to reach artists. Made by our members, these movies are now distributed worldwide in Blockbuster, Netflix, and Amazon.

Art is an eternal seed, reaching not only multiple countries but multiple generations. Those who work together artistically form a natural bond built around the three C’s: Christ, Creativity, and Community.

A high percentage of our participants are unbelievers drawn to the love of God that treats all people equally. A celebrity sits on the couch at a house church gathering beside the homeless person. The only difference is we let the homeless person use the shower and take the food in the refrigerator, and we protect celebrities by keeping who attends confidential.

Our gatherings of artists meet house to house, confessing our sins to each other and praying for healing, but we break from this sometimes to create new work. The film set then becomes the church.

We serve artists by allowing them time to process the injuries afflicted on them by religion and guiding them to relationship with the Great Artist. We use our collective creativity to share the gospel.

We call our Hollywood ministry Eternal Grace, because the theme of our outreach is grace. Grace saves us and gives us hope.

Some Christians wanted me to edit out of my film and my new novel the struggles characters go through, like Aimee’s divorce, breakdown, and morals trial. Because we chose to show God’s grace working in her weakness, the film reached many outside the church who are tired of preachers presenting a facade that Christians are perfect.

My new novel “Stick Man” tells the story of a young artist’s journey from legalism to love. I wrote it for my own catharsis and healing after my Dad died.

I prayed that Stick Man would bring healing to others who have experienced loss in life or in love. God has answered prayer, as I am receiving letters and e-mails from fans of the novel who have been touched by it.

Like my characters in Stick Man and Sister Aimee, I’ve discovered through my participation in recovery and therapy an eternal grace that is perfected in our weakness.

We are recovering from religion, reclaiming our creativity, and creating new work to share our faith and experience with others. Production is now under way on our latest film “Baseball’s Last Hero: The Roberto Clemente Story.”

Open your heart to the Great Creator and His creativity. A ministry adventure awaits you that will make a difference in the world, and is beyond your wildest dreams.

Richard Rossi Richard Rossi is a multi-medium artist. He works as a writer, an Academy Award considered filmmaker, an actor, a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist. Richard lives with his wife of twnety-seven years Sherrie in North Hollywood, with their two children, Karis and Joshua. His novel “Stick Man” and his film “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story” are available at Amazon.com You can connect with Richard at http://www.facebook.com/richardrossiactor

 

 

Maverick Minister Richard Rossi Goes Hollywood by Dan Wooding

After working for sixteen years as a church planter, Richard Rossi says that he has heard a “high calling to Hollywood” to use his creativity to share the gospel, and journeyed three thousand miles from Pennsylvania to Hollywood, California.

Richard Rossi

He’s currently shooting his second feature film as a writer-director about Christian baseball player Roberto Clemente, and recently released his controversial coming-of-age novel “Stick Man” onwww.Amazon.com

“I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘You’re a missionary to Hollywood,’” Rossi said.

His first feature film “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story” was nominated for best film in Milan, Italy, and a prior short film he made on McPherson, a female evangelist, was Academy Award-considered in the short film category.

Rossi’s creative work emerges out of Eternal Grace, the Hollywood house church network that he and his wife of twenty-seven years, Sherrie, founded to “reach artists and actors with the gospel and also heal the wounds artists often experience from the church.”

He explained, “The theme of our work and lives is grace. It’s grace that saves us and gives us hope.”

Book cover

Rossi’s new novel “Stick Man” tells the story of a young man’s journey from legalism to love. Though Rossi won’t say what percentage of the novel is semi-autobiographical, he admits his own odyssey from his alma mater (Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University) to his current grace-orientation was a basis of the character’s journey.

“I had to recover from aspects of rigid religion that were abusive,” Rossi said. “I think my novel ‘Stick Man’ is embraced by believers and unbelievers alike because of the honesty about the toxic teachings sometimes found in fundamentalist churches that supplant the saving gospel of grace.”

Like “Stick Man”, the audience for his films have transcended Christian categorization. “Sister Aimee” set attendance records at New Beverly Cinema, a Los Angeles theater owned by Hollywood heavyweight director Quentin Tarentino, and screenings at the prestigious Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in Hollywood sold out within twenty-four hours.

“There were some in the church who wanted me to edit out of ‘Sister Aimee’ some of the trials Aimee McPherson went through, like her divorce, breakdown, and overdose,” Rossi said. “Again, because the film showed that God’s grace worked in her life despite her weaknesses, it reached many outside the church who are tired of preachers presenting a facade that Christians are perfect.

Newcomer Mimi Michaels (pictured above in a hands-on healing prayer scene that moves theatre audiences) is Oscar-worthy in her portrayal of “Sister Aimee” from her teenage years through her controversial death at age fifty-four. Mimi went to LaGuardia High school, the “FAME” high school for the top young actors in the country, where she excelled as Best Actress

“Like my characters in ‘Stick Man’ and ‘Sister Aimee’, I’ve found through my personal participation in twelve step programs and therapy, that God’s grace is perfected in our weakness,” Rossi added.

“If we’re going to reach the world for Christ in the twenty-first century, we must embrace the arts and our own humanity and share the gospel because we need grace as much as the person we’re preaching to.”

Paul Levy, an advisor to Rossi, said, “Based on Blockbuster and Netflix rentals, Amazon sales, theatrical screenings, and those who contacted us through the film’s website (www.aimeesemplemcphersonmovie.com), which has a visible counter, ‘Sister Aimee’ reached over seventy-five thousand people who opened their hearts to the gospel the first year.

“The film is a work of genius shot on a shoe-string for less than five thousand dollars, the lowest budgeted film to be bought and stocked in all the Blockbuster stores; so in essence, Richard has shared the gospel worldwide on Blockbuster’s nickel.”

Production is now under way on Rossi’s new baseball film, “Baseball’s Last Hero: The Roberto Clemente Story.”

Eternal Grace church has raised half of the budget and they are believing the resources will continue to come.

“The Spirit has been speaking to people I don’t even know from different parts of the world to send gifts to help us share the gospel,” Rossi said.

Media Note and Links:

To donate to the work of Eternal Grace online, visit www.paypal.com and send contributions to the e-mail eternalgracechurch@yahoo.com or mail to: Eternal Grace, 5030 Whitsett Avenue, Suite One, North Hollywood, CA 91607, USA.

To read Richard Rossi’s new novel ‘Stick Man’, visit this page on Amazon:www.amazon.com/Stick-Man-long-awaited-coming—age/dp/1456368680/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1296939460&sr=8-2

Sister Aimee film: http://www.aimeesemplemcphersonmovie.com

Roberto Clemente film: http://www.facebook.com/clementemovie

Eternal Grace Church: http://www.eternalgracechurch.com

Interview Requests: To interview Richard Rossi, e-mail richardrossiactor@yahoo.com


Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 47 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried on the Calvary Radio Network throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries. You can follow Dan on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link.Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available here

 

Original article from: http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2011/s11020037.htm