Wednesday, December 05, 2007

100 Things I’m Grateful For

Recently, I found a website that suggested you can solve problems by listing one hundred ways to do it. There were also suggestions to spur on other kinds of thinking. So here are the 100 things I am grateful for:
  1. God loves me no matter what
  2. My wife who stands by my side no matter what
  3. My children
  4. My extended family
  5. My friends
  6. Trinity UMC
  7. Cassville UMC
  8. The Outreach
  9. Supportive Board of Directors
  10. Volunteers
  11. Those supporting us in the outreach
  12. Those praying for us in the outreach
  13. Transportation
  14. Food to eat
  15. A place to live
  16. Clothing
  17. A Job
  18. A paycheck
  19. Health
  20. My neighbors
  21. Churches that I am privileged to work with
  22. Clergy friends
  23. Beauty of the earth
  24. Children we work with
  25. Children in the churches
  26. Youth I know
  27. Community leaders
  28. Bridges Outreach
  29. United Way
  30. Kokomo Rescue Mission
  31. Domestic Violence Shelter
  32. C.A.M.
  33. Open Arms
  34. YMCA
  35. Carver Center
  36. The Huddle
  37. Food Pantries
  38. Web friends
  39. Medicine to keep me healthy
  40. Encouraging words
  41. The Bible
  42. Prayer
  43. Spiritual Disciplines
  44. Worship
  45. People catching on to Missional Living
  46. Sight
  47. Love
  48. Peace that passes all understanding
  49. Second, third and fourth chances
  50. Full stomachs
  51. Sidewalk Sunday School and staff
  52. Casual Clothes
  53. Casual Clothes
  54. Casual Clothes (It is getting harder here)
  55. Lowell UMC
  56. Attica UMC
  57. Faith UMC
  58. Hillsdale UMC
  59. Ingalls Indiana
  60. My education
  61. Having everything I need
  62. Focused Vision
  63. New ideas
  64. Opportunities to meet new people
  65. Opportunities to speak to groups
  66. Community transformation
  67. New Christians
  68. Growing Christians
  69. Churches who move outside the walls
  70. My computer
  71. Daylight savings time
  72. Running water
  73. Hot shower
  74. Clean clothes washer/dryer
  75. Music
  76. Books
  77. Healing
  78. Wholeness
  79. Memories
  80. Making memories
  81. Adventure
  82. Journey
  83. Seashores
  84. Compassion
  85. Forgiveness
  86. New Life
  87. Trust
  88. Hope
  89. Restoration
  90. Salvation
  91. Experience(s)
  92. Quiet Times
  93. Solitude
  94. Fun
  95. Laughter
  96. Joy
  97. Being satisfied with what I have
  98. Giving
  99. Receiving
  100. Smiling faces

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Toooooo looooong

It's been way too long since I have published a post. I am sorry. I think blogging runs in seasons. I can keep up for a long time and then I just don't take the time to write anything. I think it has to do with the sun. The days are shorter. I am used to going to be about an hour after sundown which through the summer was about 11:00 PM. Now I want to go to bed at about 6:30 PM it has been dark for a while. Lets play catch-up:

  • Sunday Nights are still going strong with Meals and Sidewalk Sunday School. We are now in two locations feeding about 225 each week and having nearly 100 kids in Sidewalk Sunday School
  • Sidewalk Sunday School kids from Garden Square sang at a combined worship service with all the UM churches in Kokomo
  • We now have a facebook page you do need to sign up to see it. It is free and no spam.
  • smoking classes went well and we are about to start a second set
  • The Call to Action Conference went well. We are going to start a church/school partnership. Thirteen schools will be served by churches throughout the city.
  • We are preparing for the Thanksgiving dinners which will be the night before Thanksgiving, this year in two locations we expect to serve somewhere between 350-400 people.
  • Dave Mullens and I still are doing weekly podcasts, Two Middle Aged Pastors talking about stuff. The website is
  • A new choir has formed and has sang. It is the first choir in a long long time at Trinity. It consisted of nine middle aged women and an 81 year woman led by a soulful African American man, they did great. We shall soon have a Sister Act situation on our hands.
  • In other news: Fairview Baptist Church has joined us on Sunday Night as well as three men in their mid twenties that are taking on some leadership roles.
  • Things are going well please keep praying.
Thanks Jeff

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Smoking Cessation Classes

Ten people went through the Smoking Cessation Classes. All were successful in cutting back or quitting. Three have quit completely, while the rest are down to less than 10 per day. Cindi Meyers did a great job organizing the classes and Howard Regional administered the classes. Thanks to both. Dr. Nuss from Russiaville, was able to prescribe Clanix a new stop smoking . Ten people sponsored a smoker with $100.00 and prayer. Some of those in class will receive maintenance meds to help them for one more month. Thanks for all who helped this group defeat an addiction that is very hard to stop.

In other news:

  • Nearly 100 meals were served at Garden Square with about 70 served at Pine Valley
  • Sewing classes continue
  • Crisis Childcare is going
  • Call to Action Conference being planned

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Sunday Back In

Last Night we had our first Sunday back inside. We were not sure how many would show up. There was a youth group from Shiloh UMC (14 people) . We put a couple at each table and prepare ourselves for a group. We had more than a group, or a crowd, we had a huge crowd. More and more people came, until we had to discreetly pull the youth group out of the room so there would be seating for more. We seat about 90 we served 125. We had around fifty or so kids that stayed for Sidewalk Sunday School. Everything went very well. Our unofficial theme is "Better and better, in every way, better and better everyday, better and better the Jesus way". Keep us in prayer. Also pray for the team that will be at Pine Valley. They are going to attempt to do a meal and Sidewalk Sunday School at the same time we are. They are having some issues with the facility. Tables have been taken by the housing authority to be repaired. Hopefully they will be returned soon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Call to Action Conference

A coalition of prominent community organizations, commissioned a 2007 Community Needs Assessment to stimulate conversation and guide planning to create sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all of Howard County. The assessment indicated that the Church in Kokomo is the strongest institution out of 26. I believe that puts the Church in a position of leadership and now is the time for the Church to come together and respond. There are several community concerns the church could and should address. Some of the issues include: food insecurity, family homelessness, services to single fathers, transportation, concerns of children and youth, as well as some of the educational issues. Please Mark your calendars, begin to pray and plan to attend!!

October 14, 2007

2:00 PM

Creative Financial Design

2700 S. Goyer Road

Kokomo, IN

Bulletin Insert link is here

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Smoking Cessation Class

Last night was our first smoking cessation class. There were nine people in the class. It was really cool how God put all of it together. We had a local hospital come and teach the class and we began to recruit sponsors to pay for patches, gum etc. In the midst of the planning, a Dr. how volunteers for us stepped forward and offered to make each person her temporary patient and prescribe a new drug Clantix. The drug has a huge success rate. The cost of the drug is being paid for by sponsors. Sponsors will also receive names of those trying to quit to pray for them. Please pray that all are successful. My only disappointment is that not more people signed up. No One can smoke in their apartment after Jan 1 '08. All residents were offered a once in a lifetime opportunity. They could be free of the smoking addiction with no cost for them. To me that is amazing.

In other updates Andrew is doing well in college so far. He sings in the Glee Club and seems to like it. Jonathan is working in Lafayette for a moving company and is pursing music. He has written a couple of songs and actually sings them, you can hear them here. Patric and Laura lives in Bloomington where she manages a "Things Remembered" store in the mall and Patric works for a church camp near Brown County State Park. Chris is still caring for a 93 year old woman each morning. Chris' sisters and her are preparing for a rummage sale this weekend at their mother's house in Greentown, trying to rid the house of extra stuff so the house can be sold. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crisis Child Care Center

It has been a year in the making. Finally, the Crisis Child Care Center has opened. The idea for the center came from a group of downtown leaders, all of the social service agencies and some churches. I called the group together and asked what is the greatest need downtown. The answer was loud and clear a Crisis Childcare Center. I had no idea how much work would be involved in starting such an endeavor. We started with a Mission Statement:

Our mission is to provide quality, short-term, emergency childcare service to families in need, enabling parents to go to job interviews, healthcare appointments, and other essential appointments.

Then came the policies, procedures, forms, forms, forms that had to be developed. A location was easily secured, Grace United Methodist is where the center is housed. Next came issues of funding as we felt there had to be a paid director. In July funding was finalized and then a job description was generated and distributed throughout the community. Applications were received, applicants interviewed and someone hired. We hired Lisa Sawyer who not only had experience in child care but also has started not for profit organizations. After the director was hired we had to secure volunteers and go to social service agencies and explain the program and the referral policies. We are still doing some of that. The center is open on Mon, Wed, and Thur from 8-12(noon).

The goal is that in the future the center will become its own entity, with its own board of directors etc. For now they are under the umbrella of KUO. Please Pray for this new outreach. Jeff

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back Pack Fever

Thanks to everyone who gave back packs. It was a good first day at school. Don't you think pictures speak louder than words?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


God is Good!!!!!! God is surely at work here. Last week we had VBS with Grace United Methodist Church they brought their kids to our church. We had around 60 kids each night. On Friday we had a picnic/concert in the apartment complex. We served about 340 people and the music was great.

That same week we had three mission teams come to help us. St. Luke's Middle School Youth group helped us set up for VBS and bagged 300 bags of Groceries. On Wednesday, Bridges Outreach and a group from Kolhs came and helped us prepare for the Friday Picnic and then went door to door with groceries. They delivered to families at Garden Square and Pine Valley. On Sunday night a mission team came from Lowell UMC to help us at the cook-out, it was great to see some good friends.

It appears we will be beginning a new Sidewalk Sunday School at Stoney Creek Mobile home Park(across from Sewage Plant on Markland).

The school has been providing lunches in the apartment complex from the time school was out until last Friday(July 20). We picked up where they left off. On Monday when we opened up we had 66 diners, on Tuesday 88 and on Wednesday 99. God is blessing us with food and volunteers. On Saturday we are having a pancake breakfast. Honestly, I have never would have thought so many families would have so little food. In the past three weeks we have given out about 700 rolls of toilet tissue.

A group of girls from KUO went to church camp this week. Please pray for them and their leader. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Monday, July 16, 2007

Food Glorious Food

We have had two awesome weeks in the Outreach. We received hundreds of cans of food on the Fourth of July with the "Give for the Good" food drive. We are beginning to collect backpacks and hygiene supplies for back to school gifts. Yesterday we had parish nurses take blood pressure at cook out. They were busy the entire time. Tonight we begin Vacation Bible School, we had many kids sign up yesterday at the cookout. Next Monday we begin Kid's Cafe, will be serving lunches to anyone who wants to eat, weekdays until school starts. I was unsure how we were going to provide the lunches. We received many large cans of fruit and vegetables from the food drive, but the fresh food was going to be an issue. Friday I received a check from the Bishop of the UMC. At Christmas time most churches collect an offering for children in poverty. I did not apply as I did not know I could. I was surprised to receive a check for $1,400.00. We will be sending food home with the children on Friday to help over the weekend. No one should go to bed hungry and hopefully no one in our neighborhood will in the next few weeks before school starts.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good News Needed (click pictures to enlarge)

It has been a difficult week in the neighborhood! (read story here)
There was a major drug raid with several of our Sidewalk Sunday School Kids parent's arrested. There were dogs, many police cars and a helicopter. All were all arrested for selling cocaine . It has been hard on the children who saw it and even harder on the children whose parent's were arrested. Living missionally can be kind of messy.

In the midst of the difficult time which in my opinion was really a good thing(I just feel bad for the kids, we are picking up the pieces). There have been many good things happening. Leadership Kokomo provided us with a new trailer equipped with new grills, tables, coolers, a shelving unit and even a stereo system.

They also provided us with lots of sidewalk toys---bubbles, chalk, balls, jump ropes etc. Leadership Kokomo Team 3 also volunteered one Sunday Night. That night we served about 230 people.

We know that God is in the business of
restoration and we are seeing,
hope and joy being restored
in the neighborhood.

Tug of War being played by small children.

When I saw them tugging I thought,
"this is their life".

Monday, June 18, 2007


Our neighbors as well as all public housing tenants received word last week that they would not be able to smoke in their apartments or even outside of their apartments. They have to be fifty feet from their front door which is in our yard or the church yard. :) Anger is not a strong enough word to describe the emotion. At a meeting where the new policy was explained, residents asked why a new rule was being added when other rules are being ignored. The next day a flier went out reminding residents of all the rules and the day after the evictions started, mostly for having live- ins(people not on the lease). Let's just say the mood right now is tense. To make a difficult week even worse a ten year old neighbor was hit by a car. He was life-lined to Indy where he was put back together. They did not think he would make it but it appears that while out of the woods he will have a long recovery. The no smoking rule goes into place on new leases. Everyone signing a lease today will agree to the no smoking policy. Present residents sign new lease in January. We are hoping to offer some smoking cessation classes once things calm down. Please pray for our neighborhood.

Last week at the cookout we had a group bring hygiene packs(toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer and band-aids). They had a four question quiz about tooth brushing and hand washing. Kids that got the answer right got a star on their paper and those that missed were given right answers everyone got the hygiene pack. Very cool way to educate.

Last night we had local parish nurses do blood pressure checks. They were busy the whole time only checking adults. It was a great night.

Tonight there is a VBS meeting to make final plans. Grace UMC is bringing their kids to Trinity to join neighborhood kids. This is going to be cool.

Mary and I are meeting with representatives from a church in Logansport next Monday to talk about bringing Sidewalk Sunday School to Logansport. Looking forward to that.

We attending a wedding at Hillsdale in their garden(outside worship area) it was great. The garden area was purchased and planted when we were there back in the early 90's. We also saw some old friends from our first church.

Tomorrow my friend David will be here. We work together(long distance) doing podcasts each week ( We will be working on updating a new(old) website called at that site mostly Dave but sometimes I chime in as we discuss Missional United Methodist. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's Monday time to blog

I can't believe it is Monday already. It has been a roller coaster week. Last week was our Annual Church Conference at Purdue. Lots of interesting debate there. In the midst of that I received a call that a friend died. The friend's name was Chuck, he was the pastor of the church before me. We met every Tuesday with a some other guys for coffee and conversation. He went into the hospital for routine heart surgery. Due to doctor error he died. When they inserted a drain tube they inserted it directly into his intestine and when it was removed poison spewed throughout his body. He was on life support for about 15 days and died. I will be attending his funeral today, I have the privilege of reading the scripture. We were unable to attend all of the Conference because our youngest son Andrew graduated from high school. The graduation was a joy and a sorrow all at once. It was a week of ups and downs.

However, in the Cassville Church the new Church I pastor along with Trinity, I met a four year old girl for the first time. Her name is Madison. She is very, very bright and as cute as a button. During children's time she was great. The sermon was based on Acts 2 where Peter quotes Joel and the gist of the message was that God is pouring his Spirit on all people young and old, male and female, rich and poor. At the end of the sermon we had communion. For some reason I felt led to invite Madison to help me. I held the cup, she held the bread. I instructed here that as people broke off the bread she should say, "This is the body of Jesus". I had the cup and I was saying "the blood of Jesus given for you". She did a great job, but I think she thought her line was too short, after I said a longer line she changed her line to "the is the blood of Jesus, he loves you". She talked loud and clear and with confidence. There was not a dry eye in the house. Thanks for your prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Week in review

If you like you may listen to this blog post click in blue box on the right below.

  • Two cookouts
  • Serving about 260 people with 55 volunteers
  • Podcast
  • Sewing classes on Tuesday
  • Neighbor in Hospital (Pastor Gloria)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


After a 30 page application that took several weeks to complete, a phone call or two to the IRS, making sure every t was crossed and every i was dotted, we received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that as of January 13, 2006 we are an official not- for- profit 501 (c) 3 organization. I am very excited that is over. Everything is retroactive to the day of incorporation in 2006. YEA!!!!!

In other news:

  • We are having what I am calling extreme cookouts. Large crowds, extremely good volunteers and lots of fun. God is up to something big.
  • Folks are responding to our need for hotdogs etc. God is Good.
  • Two wonderful ladies from Russiaville held their first sewing class, seven neighbors attended and made some beautiful pillows. The sewing ladies consider themselves missionaries. By the end of class they knew each 'student" by name and something about them. Several of the women attending had never used a sewing machine before. Everyone left feeling good about themselves. It was a great day of accomplishment. God is stirring hearts.
  • One neighbor woman called me over and put a handful of money into my hand and asked me to buy a pop up canopy so that we would never have to cook out in the rain again. I took her seventy dollars and purchased a canopy. I know she had been saving up a long time to give that gift. God is generous.
Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks Jeff

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Note from Director of Children's Outreach Mary Ingle

Family and friends,

This is just a write up about our first night at doing the cookouts. Yo should have been there to see, live, and experience it!!!!!!!! What an incredible, amazing, and God-thing it was. And it was ONLY our first Sunday night!!!!! Pastor Jeff and many AWESOME volunteers are handling Garden Square and yours truly and another group of AWESOME volunteers are handling Pine Valley. I was SOOOOOO excited about the turnout. We helped several families with food afterwards. All of our leftovers went home with families. They were so appreciative. We heard many "thank yous", "Can't believe you guys are doing this". You guys are really special." You guys really are doing this EVERY Sunday night." These were only a few comments we heard. I pulled up at Trinity to pack groceries for a family and I met Pastor Jeff and Chris(wife) and I was so full of joy. I said "tonite was SWEET!!!!"
God truly blessed our first cookout. I was praising Him all the way home. During the night, I heard a voice that said, "Hear my voice". Well, I did hear His voice a couple of months ago that said, "Cookouts at Pine Valley." Well, we did and oh my goodness, we were very blessed.

We could use more volunteers at Pine Valley. We need around 6 to serve. An I would love to have another group of 4+ to play games with the kids. I have games planned to play. So, if your family, women's or men's cell (bible ) groups, youth groups, would like to help us, please email me or call me @ 868-3151. Cookouts are EVERY Sunday from 5-6. Dave Kilty is our griller and he starts grilling at 4:15. You would need to be there by 4:15. After we get things set up, we ways have prayer before we start serving. We are usally done by 5:45. People start coming at 4:45 to eat and we begin to serve then. Please pray about being a part of this wonderful journey and being used as Jesus hands and feet. God spoke to me during the cookout and said, these people just not only needs to build a relationship with You and me, but with one another. Pretty cool, hu????

Well, I could go on and on, but I think you all get the overview picture. May God continue to bless all of you as you are blessing Him.

Serving 4-Him,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Round UP

It appears that I haven't posted anything for a while. Let's circle the wagons and catch up.

We are still inside on Sunday Nights with meal and Sidewalk Sunday School. On Easter Sunday we had a smaller crowd than expected. We had hundreds of Easter Eggs to find in an Easter egg hunt after dinner on Easter Sunday. We had eggs in four areas and divided children into age group. Our yard was covered for older elementary. Only three were hunting in that area. After a bit that group got tired and asked if they had to pick them all up. We turned younger kids in behind them to finish cleaning up the yard. Kids went home with completely full bags of plastic eggs with candy inside.

The next week we were back to normal numbers. :)

I spoke at the Marion District's mission rally that was called, "raise the roof with the Bishop" . The district was putting a roof on a school in Africa. I spoke about neighborhood outreach and the bishop spoke about mission trips that had impacted his life.

One day last week I attended a Prevent Child Abuse Conference to do an opening and closing prayer. Little did I know I was receiving an award for the work we do with children. My name was on the plaque but God and the many volunteers did everything, I mostly stand and watch in awe.

I met with a potential new board member. Our board is losing several folk due to moves, we are working at replacing and building the board's capacity. I am stressing the need to be highly committed and the expectations that I desire for a board member. I don't want Kokomo Urban Outreach to be thought of as just a "good" organization but as an organization that strives for excellence.

Leadership Kokomo is working on providing us with a cargo trailer and all the trimmings. We will be able to pull into neighborhoods to do mission work. WOW!!!

Today I met with two very nice women who will be offering sewing classes. They are going to begin with a pillow making project and go from there. They desperately want to be Jesus to someone else.

I am fast learning it is hard for long time church members to be the hands and feet to the unchurched as they spend a great deal of time with Christians in church.

Please pray for D.J. a 3 yr old boy we work with he is having surgery tomorrow. All of his teeth are rotten and they all have to be capped. I will be visiting him to tomorrow in the hospital.

Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Podcast

Dave Mullens and I just finished a new podcast. A podcast is a type of Radio show. We found a new way of producing them using our cell phones and web page called, "Talk Shoe". What is cool about this format is that people can call in and join the conversation. Our podcast will be every Tuesday at 10:15 PM. Just go to talk shoe and you will see all our shows and the schedule. Click us on and listen. If you want to join in you must register on-line. If you want to just listen at your convenience you can click the play button on the right.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

500 Easters Baskets Made

It was like the 12 disciples feeding the 5000. Twelve KUO volunteers helped an endless sea of people put together over 500 Easter baskets. The event began at 11:00 AM, at 9:50 the line began to form, by 10:30 the line was all the way down the sidewalk and had turned down the side-street. Last year we served everyone in about 50 minutes this year it took an hour and a half. By 12:15 everyone was inside the building......finally.

The crowd was orderly, patient and appreciative. The volunteers were awesome. We did run out of actual baskets for about the last 30 or so, but we had enough stuff to fill a basket. Just like the disciples we gathered the left overs at the end and realized that we have enough stuff to fill about 100 more. Thanks for your support and Prayers. God is Good!!!!

Click picture to enlarge to read caption.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kokomo Tribune News Article

Church offers Easter baskets Friday

Tribune community news editor

Hundreds of chocolate rabbits “hopped” into Trinity United Methodist Church this week.

The “bunny brigade” is part of a Kokomo Urban Outreach campaign to connect youngsters with Easter baskets.

Trinity Pastor and Kokomo Urban Outreach Executive Director Jeff Newton said the bunnies will find homes among the 300 Easter baskets currently in his 1701 S. Locke St. church.

Step into a storage room in the church basement and you’ll find a veritable chest of toys, yo-yos, puzzles, pencils, miniature footballs and basketballs, necklaces, bracelets, and sunglasses.

Even the most demanding sweet tooth would find something pleasant in the 1,000 candy bars, 150 pounds of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and scores of suckers and lollypops.

There are also other sundry items, such as hair clips and about 500 stuffed animals. Several local churches, Currens Zapfe Paper & Notion Company Inc., and an anonymous donor — who, among other items, provided 300 bags of Easter grass — donated to the cause.

From 11 a.m. to noon Friday, parents are welcomed to drop by the church, and gather up goodies to make baskets for their children.

Newton estimates the Outreach Project will have enough materials to create 400 baskets at the church, located adjacent to Garden Square. Last year, 110 families — making 300 baskets — were represented at a similar endeavor.

He also said enough “goodies” were gathered and given to Coordinated Assistance Ministries Executive Director the Rev. Ruth Lawson to distribute to her clients. CAM, an ecumenical ministry to the homeless, operates a drop-in shelter at 210 N. Market St.

Newton said the project was simply part of Kokomo Urban Outreach’s goal to spread the word of God and “to help people have a normal life.”

“It may seem like a very small thing, but it’s a very important ministry,” Lawson said.

Faced with rent, and utility and food costs, she said there is often little left over for luxuries, such as Easter baskets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Boy who didn't know Jesus

Sunday Night we had an 11 yr old boy in Sidewalk Sunday School who, as I was talking about Jesus, blurted out....."who is Jesus?" He didn't understand or had heard about Jesus. I briefly filled him in. His response was, " it is scientifically impossible to come back to life". My response was, "your right, but for God all things are possible". As always we broke into small groups for prayer, the boy was happy to pray but asked, "which goddess will be praying to". I explained we would be praying to the one true God. He joined a group with a local pastor and they prayed together. Afterwards the boy asked the music leader if what we said about Jesus was true....she respond with a great big "yes". I did check with the adult that brought him and was assured that the boy really did not know anything about Christianity. Please pray for this boy.

In other news..... the seven project came to Kokomo last week. The group spoke about choices at all the middle and high schools in Howard County(about 6000 students). On Saturday there was a big rally at the gym where the Gospel was presented to 3000 students with about 2000 encountering God for the first time. It was incredible to be there and see hundreds of kids on their knees covering the gym floor. There were so many, that the gym floor was filled as well as all the ramps leading to it. Every student making a commitment filled out a card and most were connect to a youth group that very night. We had one girl in our neighborhood show up at our church on Sunday night for the first time because of what happened to her the previous night. This event was planned by youth pastors and leaders from all over Kokomo. For the first time in memory, churches from all persuasions worked together to accomplish something for the Kingdom.

God is up to something in Kokomo and it appears to be big!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Today was an interesting day. He is homeless and moves from apartment to apartment living with this friend and then that one. He has shared with me many times. In his younger years he felt called to preach. He knows the scriptures backwards and forwards. He is an awesome guy. The problem is he drinks all the time. He is a drunk that loves everyone. He hangs on me etc. he is not an angry drunk. He would not hurt anyone. He has told me over and over that he is Jonah running and living in the belly of a big fish. He says he can't get out. I have been building a relationship with him for almost a year. Today he came to church. I was talking about the "sign of Jonah" found in Luke 11. As I was retelling the story of Jonah, when he walked in. He sat through the service and wept. At the end he came forward and we prayed for him. I will continue to work with him. Please pray that he can say no to alcohol. He is going to AA.

Just before dinner tonight the police were called to the neighborhood. There was a yelling fight going on. It was ugly. The group I knew the best said they would not come to church to eat because of the tension. I thought we may not have very many people there. We served about 100. Sidewalk Sunday School went very well too. Every missed Jim(read previous post).
We only had 11 volunteers all regular, we are just to have 30-40. We did it without problems but everyone had to do double/triple duty, no one complained. I really appreciate our volunteers.

Please continue to pray for us as we take back territory from the enemy. Jeff

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sad Day

Today has been a day filled with a great deal of bad news:

  • A pastor that I was ordained with(Brian Ton) passed away after a fight with cancer.
  • One of our every Sunday Night volunteers emailed telling me his health has caused him to have to slow down and he won't be able to be here on Sunday Nights. Jim ran our dinning room and really supports the outreach in countless ways.
  • Another friend Ben had a massive stroke and the medicine that they gave him to thin his blood did the opposite. He is in bad shape. Ben and his wife Olivia were early financial supporters of the Outreach and have been faithful every month. Ben was recently here after a big snow storm and he and a friend built a backdrop for the Sidewalk Sunday School Room.
Yet I know that God is alive and well and working in every situation. Please pray for my friends and thank you for your prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Can't wait

Everyday is an adventure. I never know what is going to happen next. Each night when I go to sleep I can hardly wait for the next day. When I get up I am ready to go. Of course, there are times when I am ready for the day to end. It is a privilege to what I get to do. The past couple of weeks I have been doing a great deal of speaking. I enjoy that. I have had more interaction with the neighbors since the weather is allowing them to move out onto their porches. Two families across the street borrowed my rake and hose to clean up their yard and scrub their porches. They also came over and raked half of our yard. That was a blessing. Easter basket items are pouring in as we prepare for the workshop. We are gearing up to do the "Let's Do Lunch Club" during spring break. Tomorrow I am meeting with the downtown group to put the finishing touches on the Crisis Child Care Center that should open in the next couple of weeks.

I am taking classes on Thursday afternoon that deals with issues for non-profits and am learning a great deal. When I finish the classes I will qualify for 50 hours of a personal professional non-profit coach. I hope to build a strong board of directors as there will soon be a turn over due to transfers.

Church is going well. We are averaging over 40 each week and we finished 2006 with $1000.00 left in the General Fund. Sunday nights and Saturday Afternoon Sidewalk Sunday School continue to thrive.

Andrew is Horton in the school musical "Suessical" . Horton is the main character. Andrew came out of nowhere when he auditioned as he has never been in play in Kokomo. He is at practice every night. Jonathan is gravitating now toward West Lafayette and hopes to go to Purdue in the fall. He and Andrew will be there together. Jonathan has been attending the Orthodox Church he enjoys the rituals, incense etc. Patric is still plugging away at school and working.

Chris continues to care for a 92 yr old woman and spends a great bit of time with her mother and sisters. Almost every Sunday we all gather at the church after church for a big family lunch. Like I said, "life is good and God is good". Please continue to pray for us.


Monday, February 26, 2007

The weather about the weather

When bad weather comes I am never sure what to do. I don't know weather or not to cancel events or to move forward. Last weekend the snow forced a group that was coming on a mission trip to Kokomo to cancel. However, we did not cancel the large event we had planned. We invited all the neighbors to a winter dinner and carnival. At the dinner we had barbecued pork, mac and cheese, greens, corn bread and banana pudding with vanilla wafers. We served 141 meals and had about 70 kids come to the carnival. The problem we faced before the event was that we needed about 25 volunteers to make it happen and there was only about 5 parking spaces as most of the street etc had huge snow drifts along them. I put out an email to some key people and we had 45 volunteers come to our aide. It was a great night.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had to cancel church due to ice. However, by midday the ice had all melted. Last night we had a large group of first time volunteers. We had a confirmation class from a local church(about 12) and we had a small group (Bible Study) of about 15 plus our regular awesome volunteers. Again we had a great night.

On Saturday I was blessed to share at an Evangelism Conference. Chris and I led a workshop, called, "Becoming the church next door" . We did it twice and was able to talk about what it means for a church to have a missional attitude.

I was to go to Anderson after church yesterday to share with a church there, however, the weather forced us to cancel.

Next week I am speaking at all three services at the Episcopalian Church in town. Please pray for that. Also, pray for the Crisis Child Care Center that will be opening soon. Thanks Jeff

PS: I want to thank my friends Ben and John for traveling a great distance through the snow to build a back drop for our Sidewalk Sunday School Stage :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Outreach to the Under-resourced

Kokomo Urban Outreach is a network of churches, organizations and individuals that have a heart for hometown missions. Our goal is to help churches think and act "Missionally". The church that I led is moving in that direction. The church building is located in the midst of a large number of "under-resourced" families. Under-resourced families not only lack finances but also systems of support (family, church, community). Over the past couple of years I have learned a great deal about reaching out to the under-resourced and have seen a great transformation-----in me.

Outreach to the under-resourced is not simply doing my good deed for the day, nor does it exist to give me something to pat myself on the back about. It is not the impersonal distribution of my leftovers. It is about sharing Christ… His provisions…, compassion, kindness and warmth with the hurting, the broken, the hard living and rough edged. It is about being light and salt in places of darkness and hopelessness.

Outreach to the under-resourced is not reaching from our high position down to their low position. It is rather our reaching out as peers. It is about my coming to terms with my brokenness—reaching out to other broken individuals. It is about… dignity and respect… looking into the eyes of another human being… being real and building relationships… sharing my meals, my home and my life. It is about reconnecting the disconnected, as well as connecting with the disconnected.

Outreach to the under-resourced is about seeing people and the neighborhood through the eyes of Jesus. It is seeing more similarities than differences, yet dealing with the differences appropriately.

Outreach to the under-resourced is less about ethnicity or race, and more about geography, population density, and culture. It is about a culture of poverty. Not simply economic poverty, but a poverty of spirit and attitude.

Outreach to the under-resourced is not just teaching, but being taught. It is listening and learning—discovering some of the flaws in my culture as well as the honorable things in theirs.

Outreach to the under-resource is not about the rich folks coming down to help the poor folks because they feel sorry for them. It is about building partnerships and cooperation. It is about working together for renewal—spiritual renewal, community renewal, family renewal, and personal renewal----not just for them but for us.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Last night was great. We had a big crowd about 65 were served a meal. We had the youth group from St. Andrews Episcopal Church with us. They are great. We had about 40 kids in Sidewalk Sunday school and the girls youth group had a wonderful time making valentines. There were many new families and kids. It is like starting over but it is good. We did have a group of kids come who moved to the other side of town. It was all good. This weekend we have a mission team coming from northern Indiana. We have a lot planned and are looking forward to being with them. Keep up the prayers. God is at work. Thanks Jeff

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


The neighborhood is changing everyday. Families are moving into houses which is good. When moms and/or dads get a job and keeps it for a certain period of time are eligible to move into a house with continued rent assistance. Others are being evicted, lots of them. So far not a lot of families moving in, it takes awhile to get an apartment ready for a new family. We in turn must be ready for new families. Many volunteers are sadden when a family moves. It is difficult to keep up with families that move away. However there is a new excitement of reaching new groups of people. It almost feels like we are starting over. New kids, new families, new stories and new opportunities. please keep us in prayer as new people are being reached. Please keep praying for us. Jeff

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Check it out

In 1993,my friend David put up one of the first United Methodist websites. It was called the "Unofficial United Methodist Church Website". Once the official website came on-line a few years later(he also put the official site up)he changed the name to He recently invited me to be a contributor to the site. Today I put my first post up. It can be found here.

In other news, Andrew (who I wrote about in "Life on The Porch" you may read about him here) allowed me to pray with him tonight for the first time, it was actually the first time I asked. He is way open to God and is searching. He has been attending church, which is a good thing. By the way I am taking Andrew to take a test and enroll in GED Classes.

Please pray for Scott,(he too was in the devotional here) he is the "bling, bling" single father. He and his 2 1/2 year old were evicted yesterday. He could not pay his rent. I was worried that he would be on the street with his son, as there is no place in town that will help a father and child. When I saw him two days ago I asked him how he was. His response, "I am blessed." How can you lose your home and be blessed? He is moving in with a friend in Greentown, he feels it would be a better place to raise his son. Yesterday the housing authority pulled up to his apartment in a dump truck and carried all the stuff left in his apartment and piled it in the truck. On the very top was his son's red wagon. All last summer he pulled his son around in it. Scott literally lost it all. It makes me realize how blessed I am. Thanks for all the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New for 2007

For me, 2007 has started off with a bang. On New Years Eve and woman who I had never met came to the church to ask me what we needed for the Outreach. I told her diapers, toilet tissue etc. She then asked if we could go to my office to talk. She then told me that what I needed was a copy machine. Suddenly, my mind raced back to the previous Wednesday as I was yet again sitting in another church waiting for Sidewalk Sunday School fliers to be copied (the church's copy machine died just a couple weeks after I arrived, with no money to fix it let alone replace it). I told her we did need a copier she wrote a check for it and I purchased it. Her gift was generous enough that we also will be able to maintain and be able to purchase the toner etc for the next five years. Praise God!!!!

I have had the opportunity to lead a round table conversation with a group of Episcopalian pastors and their bishop about church re-starts, thinking Missionally and community outreach. It was a great morning to share.

At our first KUO board meeting of the year, the board of directors approved a $50,000
budget for 2007 and voted to pay me full time. No more teaching at the Academy. Praise God!!!!!

I was presented a check for $3,250 from a young leaders club for the Outreach and had a chance to share with them what we have been doing.

We are going deeper with the children, instead of just singing to be singing they are learning that singing is praising God. They are learning about prayer as they form small prayer groups to pray for each other. They are learning to read scripture and are memorizing short verses. The next step probably in the fall is to help them to think Missionally.

Our Sidewalk Sunday School room is being covered with murals, carpet has been installed and a just the right size sound system has been donated.

Last week there was a Ladies Only clothing giveaway organized by the neighbors themselves. Hundreds of items were given away. The coolest thing was someone brought in about 100 lotion, shower gel etc packs and each women received a treat bag.

New volunteers are appearing on a regular basis. When the evening is over most volunteers have an ephinany they have just been helping Jesus in the Kingdom. Most leave with a new sense of mission.

We are collecting soup for February since it is the month of Super (Souper) Bowl. Feb is also black history month and we hope to have a "Soul Food" dinner soon. We are also collecting valentine packs so children can fully participate in valentine's parties at school. There is no doubt that God's people will come through.

Mary Ingle spoke to a Lutheran church last Sunday and hundreds of personal hygiene items, food, new clothing and a lot of other items came pouring in later in the afternoon.

I am leading a workshop in Feb. at an Evangelism Conference in Lafayette called, "Becoming the Church Next Door" and will be sharing at a Mission Banquet in Anderson in April.

Please keep praying that churches all over will open themselves up to the idea that they are to be a mission base in their neighborhood and that every person in their church will live Missionally. Thanks Jeff