We are on mission to ensure that every man, woman and child have repeated opportunities to hear and see the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What would it look like to see all of God’s church living on mission?
We strive to live out the command to go and tell the good news of Jesus, but it’s easy to lose focus in our day-to-day lives. Throughout this envelope challenge, we’ll explore some practical ways to steward our lives through our time, talent, treasure, and fervent prayer. The ultimate goal isn’t just to complete a challenge - it’s to train ourselves to think differently about the ways in which we engage in the mission God has us on in our everyday lives!
The envelope challenge is a church-wide initiative we are launching for the purpose of better understanding what it means to live missionally by loving our neighbor. Our goal in this challenge is for us as Christ followers to learn what it means to steward our lives, and in doing so, cultivate relationships with our neighbors. It’s through relationships that we display Christ and continue to reach every man, woman and child with the gospel.
Envelope #1 - The Five Dollar Challenge
REGISTER FOR THE FIVE DOLLAR CHALLENGE
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
This challenge is focused on stewarding our treasure. In Matthew 6:19-21, Christ reminds us that our “things” here on earth are temporary - we should store our treasures in heaven. In this same verse, He lets us know that where our treasure is, our heart will be also. Our hearts should be postured to love God, love the church, and love the world. Begin this challenge by reading Matthew 6:19-24. Then, spend $5 to bless someone. Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit to guide you. Don’t forget to have a conversation with the person you decide to bless and begin to cultivate a relationship!
Here are some examples of ways you can use your five dollars to bless someone:
Does one of your neighbors or friends have kids? Buy an extra candy bar at the store and give it to them!
Buy a neighbor some coffee
If you’re running out for groceries or a meal, ask a neighbor if they need anything - treat them to a snack or some groceries
Provide waters or snacks to a small maintenance or construction crew in your neighborhood
Buy a coffee or snack for a first responder
Buy flowers for someone
Buy a toy for a friend’s child
Buy ingredients to make some baked goods for someone
Invite a coworker to lunch with you and then cover some of their meal.
Buy a sponge and cleaning supplies, go clean someone’s house
Buy a cheap shovel rake or garden tools - then help your neighbor do some yard clean up!
Refill someone’s bird feeder
Buy a snack or drink for a coworker while out on break or lunch
Give an extra 5 dollars on your tip when out to dinner
Spend time browsing the store - buy a small gift for someone who comes to mind and give them the gift with a note of encouragement, making sure they know they were on your mind
Put extra change in a parking meter about to run out and leave a note of encouragement
Sometimes we can be hesitant to bless someone because of their response! “What if they ask why I’m doing this?” “Will they think it’s weird that I’m doing this?”
If someone asks you “why”, consider the following responses:
“You’re a great neighbor, I just wanted to buy you this because I was thinking of you!”
“I’ve been blessed and know that it’s a blessing to give.
“This is just a simple way for me to show I love you and appreciate you.”
“We’ve been learning at church about living with generosity, so I figured I would show you generosity in a small way because I care about you.”
“It’s not a big deal - I should really be doing things like this all the time. I’m connected with a group of people at church who challenge each other to be generous to those around them."
“I’ve been living next to you for 3 years and I’ve never done anything intentionally to make you smile. So I just wanted to make you smile and let you know I care about you.”
Of course, if the opportunity presents itself, point the blessing back to Christ. But for now, focus on blessing them and cultivating a relationship with them!
ENVELOPE #2 - THE TIME CHALLENGE
This challenge is focused on stewarding our time. In Romans 12:13, we are reminded to be ready to help those in need - while some people are in need financially, many need encouragement, prayer, and deeper relationships. For this challenge, we are going to joyfully give someone our time. Consider using this time to cultivate a developing relationship. Be prepared to spend time listening, encouraging, and praying!
It’s time for spring cleaning - help a friend clean out their garage
Have a meal together
Make a free community dinner - open your home for dinner and spend a few hours hosting an “open house”
Invite someone to dinner or game night
Take flowers or a meal to a single parent and/or elderly neighbor and spend time encouraging them
Invite a neighbor out for a walk with you - Spend time listening to them and encouraging them
Again…what if they question why I’m suddenly spending time with them? Consider the following prompts:
“We've lived here for 5 years, and we've never said more than hi to each other! Let's change that! Our house is a bit crazy, but if you don't mind the mess, join us!"
“We don’t know one another very well, would you be willing to share a little about yourself?”
“I would really like to get to know you better, where would be a good place to start?”
Use this opportunity to begin building a relationship with them. The time will come when the Holy Spirit prompts you to share your story, ask them their story, or share of Christ’s love! Just plan on being obedient when this happens!
"But what if I'm scared?"
This may be the question running through your mind at the thought of stepping out of your comfort zone and living missionally. "Randomly start a conversation with a neighbor I've never talked to before?" "Won't they think it's weird that I'm showing up with a gift or serving them in a way I never have before?"
Fear is a very real thing! But, fear builds walls, not bridges. Fear is isolating. Fear causes us to turn around, rather than continue moving forward into the unknown. Fear shuts others out and shuts us in.
C.S. Lewis wrote these words in The Four Loves - "There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable."
Yes, stepping out and loving our neighbors can be vulnerable. Some people may question you or even reject you. But, some will also be thankful and accepting of your love. And if you are rejected, have faith that God is all powerful and all knowing, and He can still work, even in rejection. Your step of faith may go unnoticed now, but can have eternal impact.
If you are afraid, we invite you to:
Pray for God to open your eyes to the needs of your neighbors. Pray for opportunities to arise and for boldness to meet these needs. We invite you to pray along the lines of God’s scriptural commands to not be afraid.
Do not be afraid…
- He goes with you and will never leave you or forsake you - Deut 31:6
- He's a deliverer and fights for us - Psalm 34:4-5/Deut 3:22
- He's a comforter and refuge - Psalm 23:4/ Psalm 46:1-3
- He can be trusted - Psalm 56:3-4
- He is our light and salvation; he is our redeemer - Psalm 27:1/ Isaiah 43:1
- He is our helper - Isaiah 41:13/ Psalm 115:11
- He is a peacegiver - John 14:27
- He is a provider - Genesis 50:21
- He is all-knowing - Matt 10:26
Partner with your family of believers. Partner with family, your friends, or your community group. Pray for each other as you meet the needs of those around you. Encourage each other as you step out in faith. Share your intentions with your community, and ask them to encourage you and partner with you as you live missionally. If it makes sense, partner with a friend to serve and love your neighbors together! Jesus sent his disciples out in twos…it’s ok for us to do the same!
Put your faith into action. Practice what you’re praying. Follow through despite your fear.
We are praying with you and trust that God is going to do powerful things through you as you follow His command to love your neighbor.
As you complete challenges, we want to hear from you! How have you stewarded your time, talent, and treasure? What relationships have you built? What have you learned from God or about God through participation in this challenge? Share your stories!