This Sunday, we are going to take a pause in our series on the parables to discuss something on my heart. The complexities of urban living have made it quite challenging to have deep meaningful relationships. I want to share some insight on how we can overcome this.
Right after service again this Sunday, we will have another community meal. It'll be simple with just pizza and salad. The purpose of doing these is primarily to extend our time together and give us a chance to get to know one another better. The meal is a suggested donation of $5-7. We are trying to keep it affordable. You can use debit card by the way. And you can certainly give more.
All of the money generated through the meal will go directly to a local organization doing good work in the city. Last month, we were able to give $715 to the Southside Community Land Trust. This month, we will be blessing Providence Rescue Mission. I recently had the privilege of
spending some time over lunch with Sean Carew and his son Tony. Sean started the mission almost 20 years ago and it has grown into an amazing outreach. They are a shelter for men and women that runs 365 days a year, where they serve daily dinners to well over 100 people. They also have a daily service where the Gospel is shared, as well as a discipleship program for men and women. These are the big things, but they also have free dental and medical services and counseling. They host large outreaches for the wider community. They give away hundreds of turkeys to families in need at Thanksgiving. They have a clothing pantry. They do catering. I could keep going. I'm excited that we can give to this important work in the city.
One of the challenges at Ren during this season is that there are probably 300 adults and 100 children. While it is exciting to see growth and so many people making Ren part of their lives, it also makes it a challenge to know each of these people in a meaningful way. One of the best ways to go deeper is to find one or more smaller circles to be part of. This includes small discussion groups, Sunday ministries, or outreach teams.
There are several teams that serve together on Sundays:
There are also all kinds of small groups that meet at various times to study the Word and share life together:
Women (Tues evening)
Women (Wed morning)
Refresh (Wed evening)
Young adults (Sun evenings)
Young couples (2nd Tues evening)
Anvil men (2nd and 4th Thursdays)
Then there are some wonderful outreach opportunities:
Women (Tues morning)
Question Everything (Wed evening)
Southside grill (Saturdays)
For more information on any of these, go to our website or visit the welcome table on Sunday mornings. Or, feel free to respond back to this email. It might take a little work to figure out what the best opportunity is for you, but it'll be worth it. It's my sincere prayer that each person at Ren would have a rich experience of both giving and receiving within the community.
This has been an excellent year financially as we've brought in a little more than we've spent each month. Last month particularly was really good. I'm so grateful for the many at Ren who give.
A while back I called the community to secret, sacrificial, cheerful and faithful giving. I said that no one knows what you give but God and the bookkeeper (who doesn't even attend Ren). In other words, there's no incentive to give to impress anyone. Your giving is out of love for God. And for those that give 10% or more we are talking about a significant amount of money each month. I know that some of you would say it's not even a sacrifice. You do it joyfully and willingly out of pure love and gratitude for God. This is a tremendous sign of spiritual maturity that I'm grateful to see blooming at Ren Church. May this continue more and more in the days to come.
For those that don't give or give minimally or sporadically I don't say these things to make you feel bad. I realize even talking about money can be touchy. It certainly takes money to run the church and we need finances to increase so we can increase staff and grow the church. But our giving is not merely something necessary to pay the bills. Our giving is one of the most tangible ways we worship. Our giving reveals that we really do believe in God and we are willing to pour out generously for nothing but the pure joy of knowing our gift brings pleasure to God. If you don't practice regular, secret, cheerful giving please consider stepping into it.
Some of you receiving this newsletter attend other churches so please understand I mean that you should give to the local church you are committed to. Others are trying to figure out what church to attend and if that's you then make it a point to give to a different church each month until you figure out where the Lord wants you. But don't let anything keep you from this spiritual practice. Be the kind of giver that moves the heart of God! What better way to spend our money?
This Sunday is the last week to give toward our missionary of the month Marshal Morse who is a campus missionary at Washburn University in Topeka Kansas. Marshal was the associate pastor at Ren for the first 3-4 years and is an amazing theologian and compassionate man of God. Whatever you give in the colored envelopes at Ren will go directly toward Marshal and the good work he is doing in Topeka. Our collective generosity can make a huge impact!
Remember too that you can give through our website for convenience.
Below are the details for the opportunity to serve our neighborhood this Saturday. The weather looks beautiful. If you already signed up, then I'll see you there.
City Farm is located on the corner of Dudley and West Clifford and is about a ten minute walk from Ren.
If you have not signed up yet, let me know as soon as possible what block works for you. Also, spread the word about this special event!
We raised a little over $700 at the community meal last week and this will go directly to the Southside Community Land Trust. They are a wonderful organization practically in the backyard of the church. Some of the staff met with their staff recently to discuss ways we can help. The biggest and most immediate need is for volunteers for their once a year plant sale this weekend Sat-Sun that draws about 2,000 people. They need 160 volunteers for the 2 day event. Here are the volunteer blocks for Saturday.
Philippians: To live is Christ, to die is gain
In this 12 week study, we will walk through the most intimate of all Paul's letters and examine what it is to be a mature Christian. The study will run from May 24th to August 9th, and will take place on Wednesdays at REN at 9:30am. Childcare will be provided.
Contact Lora Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on the study or if you would like to help with childcare.
We raised a little over $700 at the community meal last week and this will go directly to the Southside Community Land Trust. They are a wonderful organization practically in the backyard of the church. Some of the staff met with their staff recently to discuss ways we can help. The biggest and most immediate need is for volunteers for their once a year plant sale that draws about 2,000 people. They need 160 volunteers for the 2 day event. I'll share more about this on Sunday but take a look at your calendar and see if you can give some time on Saturday, May 20 in one of the following blocks.
We will have volunteer signup sheets at Ren this Sunday. If you aren't able to come this Sunday but want to volunteer at the plant sale, just let me know by responding back to this email which block on May 20th is best for you.
On Saturdays, we are doing an open grill at the Davey Lopes Community Center in the neighborhood of the church. The community center is a central gathering place for neighbors and especially young people. The idea of the open grill is just a simple effort of Ren Church to show love and get to know people. Anyone can help out with this; just show up at Ren at 12:30pm or at Davey Lopes about 1:30pm. We aren't looking for people to cook on the grill necessarily, but just to be around and connect with people. Some might play basketball, and others might do chalk art with the little ones. This is something, too, that Ren families can be part of and bring kids to. Feel free just to swing by for a short time. This will happen weekly throughout the summer.