For 100 days, members of the Temple, Texas, First Church of the Nazarene set out to be the hands and feet of Jesus under an initiative called 100 Days of Inspiring Hope.
“Inspiring Hope began as a theme and has become a vision for the lost and hurting in our community,” said Darin Pound, senior pastor. “We have challenged our people for 100 days to find ways in which they can inspire the hope of Jesus Christ in the lives of people that they come in contact with.”
The initiative began with a list of 100 suggested items church members could do for family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers they meet in their everyday lives. Suggestions included taking a care package to an Intensive Care Unit waiting room, volunteering to do yard work for a neighbor, or leaving an extra “blessing tip” for a restaurant server.
After completing an Inspiring Hope act, church members were encouraged to give the person an Inspiring Hope card with the logo and a simple note that says "P.S. — There's always hope.”
“There is no information about our specific church or some type of hook to gain their information,” Pound said. “It is just a simple way to offer hope to someone. Our people are instructed to only share about our local church if the individual asks, and many times they do.”
The church received 671 reports of personal contacts church members made in the community.
“The reports from some of the members have been exciting to hear,” Pound said. “There have been many reports of people responding ‘That is just what I needed today.’”
One woman shared that when she gave an extra “blessing tip” and an Inspiring Hope card to her waitress, the waitress sat down at her booth and cried while giving her a hug. Other church members reported a change in their estranged family members or neighbors with whom they didn't get along. A shy church member said she had the courage to approach someone in the card aisle at Walmart “who was hurting” and pray for them.
“Already four other churches have heard about what we describe as a Kingdom Concept and have asked for copies of the documents we have used to carry out this initiative,” Pound said. “We are very excited to share this with anyone who would be interested. The reports are numerous, and we give God praise for allowing us to be a part of His mission to inspire hope.”