At Friendship Fellowship the three year anniversary of ministry; leadership and communications is coming up and the third season of reaching people with intellectual disabilities is coming to a close. This is the time when the leaders look back and get feedback and reassess strategies and objectives. The main thing is to look at what we studied; what relationships were built and what was the outreach index for 2012-2013. The second thing that is determined is next steps and strategy for September 2013 thru April 2014.
In Denver forty of our special needs friends returned and studied the gospels and the life and mission of Jesus. The meeting place was at Washington Park Chapel in Denver and the involvement of the house church network from Ancient Paths and Pilgrim Church increased. The leaders and counselors from Roundup Fellowship increased the number of people involved at Friendship Fellowship-Denver to 50 strong. In Colorado Springs, along with The Word and Spirit Network began a new Fellowship reaching 20 new friends at Mosaic Day Program. In March, the Mosaic “program” decided that they wanted to be a church plant. With 20 friends and counselor involvement Friendship Fellowship- Springs reaches about 30 people at their Tuesday service. During this season at Friendship Fellowship-Springs the study integrated Psalms; Proverbs; God’s Story and the Trinity as well as the Gospels. Pastor Rich is writing a study of the Parables and the Sermon on the Mount which will begin in September.
Strategy and MAPS
The idea of Friendship Fellowship is to follow the lead of Jesus, who reached out to the least of these, trained and equipped people to be leaders; who reach out to the least of these. It is this cycle of multiplication that should be the mission of Friendship Fellowship. While the strategy has worked in planting Friendship Fellowship, the movement and leadership training has been slow. When one of the four leaders is traveling or sick there has been no one to fill in. “We have people on waiting lists who need a church in both the Springs (there is a youth group that we had to stop doing for lack of resources.) There is also a group in Aurora of 30-40 individuals that needs a church home. All total the need to reach about 60 more friends, has the opportunity to reach 40 more group and host homes and possibly 25 to thirty families is something that Friends and Fellowship have been putting off on the Front Range.
A Coffee House Movement
In New York City there are five churches interested in starting Friendship Fellowship. Friendship Fellowship is hoping to conduct workshops and begin research and development and equipping New York ministries starting this summer. At Ancient Paths in Denver, the house church movement is getting ready for inner-city missions that may include outreach to organizations that minister to people with special needs. The strategy is to begin to train teams of people this summer by leading studies; by team building and building relationships in the community and to train guides and mentors, leaders, and even special needs pastors to be able to reach out to people with intellectual disabilities; the agencies and counselors and also to help family members in the community. Professional and family caregivers are a top priority in the mix and so we are helping by starting coffee house ministries that offer respite so the church can meet the spiritual and lifestyle needs of home providers and families. These would begin in Colorado Springs at Mission Coffee Roasters and help to bring people into the leadership of Friendship Fellowship and plan; pray and prepare people to be part of this life giving ministry.
Ministry of Leadership and Communications-Orchards
The orchard method is to take the words of Jesus and to see, “By their fruits you shall know them,” is the management style of the Ministry of Leadership and Communications. Jesus concludes the sermon on the Mount with that statement. Eugene Peterson in The Message states it this way:
5-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”
Performance and produce
The management team at the Ministry of Leadership and Communications exists to plan where and when and then drop seeds; prepare the ground and the soil and pray that the orchard planted will produce fruit. “We have five types of trees that we are nurturing,” says one of the leaders. “Evangelism that produces life; The Least of these that produces love; Media that feeds a hungry culture; Prayer that produces answers; and Community that builds kinship.” At a management training course in Colorado Springs this morning there was a discussion on performance management. “How do we measure results?” “By the fruit that each of the team members produces.” Along the way there is painful pruning. Along the way their is much preparation and equipping, and treatments so that the ground where people are planted get the best results.
Ordination and preparing the ground
The Word and Spirit church network is an international church planting organization that prepares pastors with Biblical and Systematic Theology with Evangelical and Spirit filled and spilled ministry that reaches out to communities throughout the world. One of the areas that Word and Spirit is called to reach is the special needs community; their caregivers and family members. That is where Friendship Fellowship is working towards in partnership with existing churches and community centers as well as agencies that manage and regulate both host homes and group homes. The pastor of Friendship Fellowship will be going through the ordination process with other Word and Spirit Pastors for the next two years.
Friends and Fellowship: Study-Relationships-Outreach
At the same time the leaders at Friendship Fellowship are involved in their communities and neighborhoods by leading studies; fostering and bolstering relationships and training people to participate and be part of the Friendship Fellowship church. “This summer we will begin a Wednesday night home group for couples and families who want to participate in study and worship; build strong relationships and teams and participate in weekly outreach,” explains Pastor Rich. “We will be meeting at Mission Coffee Roasters at Voyager just North of Explorer Drive.” This will be the group that will plan and open the two other Friendship Fellowship outreaches in Aurora and the Youth Group at Roundup School in Colorado Springs. In September the Friends and Fellowship Church is in the plans to begin a Sunday Church service at Mission Coffee. This would double the outreach to people with special needs; families and caregivers, and begin fostering community involvement in the movement. If you are interested in becoming part of this church planting opportunity please e-mail email@example.com.