The Well is an outreach to provide fellowship for 19 to 35 year-olds. We meet on the second Friday of each month at 8 PM. There will be free coffee and tea and live music.
Call 941-444-0707 for more information.
The Puppet Ministry at Abounding Grace Fellowship uses puppets to bring the love of Jesus Christ to groups in the community through encouraging songs and skits.
We have had the privilege of ministering multiple times through puppets to people with special needs in both Nokomis and Sarasota. We have also performed at the Farmers Market and Gazebo in Venice.
Would you like to learn how to be a good puppeteer?
Here are some puppet tips: Download Puppet Training Manual
Till the Ground
Operation Till the Ground is an outreach to help prepare people to receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
I grew up on a farm — or at least we called it a farm — well, it used to be a farm.
Specifically, it used to be a dairy farm. By the time I came around, the cows were gone, we rented out the fields, and we just planted a huge garden. Now the great thing about a dairy farm is that wherever you plant seeds or garden plants of any type, they grow. I’d hear about people needing fertilizer and working hard on their gardens and I’d think, “Why are they doing that?”
Later in life, I tried growing my own garden in the city, in a much drier climate, in a yard where they removed most of the topsoil — it was pathetic. Finally, I abandoned the puny plants to the bugs and went back to the grocery store for my veggies. (I can blame the bad city soil, but I probably would have gotten some decent fruit if I would have tended to my garden. I was just used to being a lazy gardener. Bad soil and a drier climate means you have to do things differently — like use fertilizer and water it frequently!)
The really neat thing about a seed is, if you can get it into the ground, and keep it there long enough, it will grow. Even in the worst soil, the seed tried to grow. The Bible tells us that “God gives the increase.” We don’t make the seed grow. We just plant the seed.
Jesus told a story about a farmer planting seed. Some seed fell on hard ground and never got into the soil. That seed was eaten by the birds. It was the only seed that didn’t grow. Seed grew in every other type of ground — of course, only seed that was in the good ground, free from rocks and weeds, produced a good crop. Here’s something to think about… the hard ground Jesus described was still dirt. They didn’t have concrete or asphalt roadways next to their farms back then. The hard ground was simply ground that had been walked on so much that it was packed down. The seed would have even grown in that ground if someone would have softened it up first so the seed could get in.
What does all this have to do with Operation Till The Ground? If we can soften up the ground, the seed we plant will grow. I believe the Lord has shown us a way to reach a group of people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are a number of people in the area who could use some extra money for food or bus tickets to get to work. As a church, we are purchasing gift cards to various places such as sandwich shops and grocery stores, as well as bus tickets, to give out to people we meet. We are not “pushing” the Gospel on them. We are not trying to “buy” them. We are softening up the ground to plant the seed of the Word of God. That gift is an expression of the love of God to them.
I’ve personally started doing this and I find myself saying things like, “God loves you,” as I hand them the gift. There is no rehearsed script. Once, I said, “God loves you and He wants to take care of you.” I had never thought about that in exactly those terms… God’s desire is to “take care” of every person on this planet — all seven billion of them. There is not one single person who is a “waste.” Everyone needs to know that God wants to take care of them. What better way to let a hungry person know that God cares than to give him or her a way to get some food? Or, what is good news to a person trying to make ends meet? … a bus pass so he or she can get to work free for a week.
So, Operation Till The Ground is under way. We have to remember that this is a process. Someone has to till the soil. Someone has to plant the seed. Someone has to water it — but God makes the seed grow. We are doing the first step: preparing the ground to receive the seed of the Word of God by showing people the love of God. After all, that’s what God did for us: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…. A gift given in love can soften the hardest heart.
What Now? Cafe
What Now Cafe is an outreach of Abounding Grace Fellowship to meet and reach the surrounding community.
One of our church members was giving out free coffee at an outreach. She called out to one person passing by and said, “Free Coffee!” He replied, “There’s no such thing.” Immediately, God gave her the words to say. She said, “You’re right. But it’s free to you. It’s already been paid for!”
Glory to God! That set off something inside of me. “Paid for.” Our salvation was not free for Jesus. He paid with His blood. It cost Him everything. But because Jesus paid for it, it’s free to me! Everything I need has been already paid for by Jesus! Glory to God!
Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.