A group of 75 adults and students at Village Bible Church in Sugar Grove, Illinois spent a recent evening putting together 5,000 Share the Good News of Christmas gift bags. The bags included an ESV New Testament Christmas Edition, a Christmas tract by Max Lucado, and an invitation to celebrate Christ’s birth with the family at Village Bible Church throughout the month of December. Church members then met at the church and were given a map and a box of gift bags to deliver to the homes on their maps.

1 But my dear friend Tim Badal (at left in the photo), Teaching Pastor at Village Bible Church, got an early start. Tim spent a recent morning delivering Share the Good News of Christmas gift bags to 100 of his own neighbors. Tim said, “My wife and son came with me and we prayed for our neighbors as we walked through the neighborhood. Our church has always been known for our missions emphasis, which is usually focused on the ‘uttermost part of the earth.’ But the last couple of years we’ve been looking for more ways to become witnesses to the gospel in our own community. We believe this effort is going to get our church members thinking about their neighbors in a whole new way, as they prayerfully deliver the Share the Good News of Christmas gift bags."

What a great outreach to the community. Tim leads the way in this because he cares so deeply about people and because he has surrounded himself with fellow leaders and people who love and trust one another. This is not your ordinary Bible Church. These folks are growing in their grasp of missional Christianity and long to incarnate the message of Christ's love to their neighbors in simple and humble ways. I have witnessed their labors personally for about four years now and I am pleased to say that Village Bible Church is a faithful congregation with a real heart for the kingdom of God.

My friend Keith Duff, Shepherding Pastor at Village Bible Church, adds: "We hope that even if those who receive these Bibles don’t read them immediately, that the Bibles will sit around on an end-table where someone will pick them up and begin reading at some point—perhaps for the first time. What if only 1% of these Bibles are actually read by someone who hasn’t read God’s Word before? That would be 50 new people reading God’s Word! 5% would be 250 people!”

Good work Tim and Keith and all of you who share in the mission of Village Bible Church. You give me great hope for the future of churches like your flock in the Chicago area and far beyond. Conservative churches do not have to follow a certain human script that is predictable and uncreative. You are impacting scores of leaders and churches far beyond Sugar Grove, Illinois. And your love for me and ACT 3 is also deeply appreciated. With the support of churches like Village Bible I am enabled to do the work I do with ACT 3. If you want to see more of Tim Badal take a look at "The ACT 3 Story" video on our homepage at ACT 3. Tim appears in the video twice.

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  1. Keith Duff December 7, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Wow – little VBC makes it to the top of the ACT 3 blog. That’s pretty cool! Thanks for the encouraging words and for your friendship.
    Last night I was exhausted, more than in a long time. We’ve been running hard in our effort to carry out the overall work the Lord seems to have placed before us. Then we added this to the top of the plate. It was only two weeks ago that we talked about this outreach and really did all of the planning, prep and carrying between last Sunday and Saturday. We were worn out – I wondered if we were really doing what God was calling us to do or if we were just doing something good but in our own strength and mind. God knew that and encouraged us. You know how? It wasn’t a bunch of new people at church on Sunday saying they read the Bible we gave them and came to know Christ. Although I have to believe that some will learn about Christ for the first time because of this, that wasn’t the encouragement. What He encouraged me with were the comments from our own people Saturday and Sunday who left with a sense of skepticism or duty and returned fired up about how much they enjoyed doing it. Two 20 something adult brothers went out together and came back saying how much they enjoyed handing out God’s Word. A mother and daughter (10 years old) came back Sunday and asked if they could have another 150 to pass out because as they walked and prayed for their community where they had delivered the Bibles, they decided they would like to reach more of the homes. A husband and wife who showed up on Saturday to drop their son off for a different Jr. High outreach that was taking place found out what was going on and took two cases of Bible outreach bags – and as they passed them out talked with several people – one time meeting a person who ended up being the father of their 12 year old son’s classmate. Many connections were made. Many hearts (of our own people) were opened wider to those who live around them without the hope of Jesus Christ. Without the hope that this season is ultimatley all about.
    Mid-afternoon I received a call at the church. I thought – “It’s probably someone who is upset that we left a Bible at their home for one reason or another…” but I answered and was also encouraged by the lady on the other end of the phone – and older lady from northern Yorkville (in Bristol Bay) who called to say, “Thank you”. She and her husband had moved her from Arkansas 6 months ago. Her husband is very sick and they can’t leave the house. She said she needs a church family and was thankful for our making the extra effort to reach out to her and her husband.
    I’m encouraged with the work the Lord has already done – and with the work He has planned to yet take place.
    Thanks brother,

  2. Ed Holm December 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    What I really like this is the fact that this ministry very closely emulates how God seems to work many times in history himself:The gifts are free and given to all; The Word also is given freely with no expectation that it be immediately received but that it may be like a seed planted; the activity is relational and not just programmatic; the workers work until they are weary and are rewarded by evidence of God’s presence in their efforts. Sounds like a model to me!

  3. Ed Holm December 8, 2009 at 9:00 am

    addendum to my note above:
    I went to the soup kitchen ministry where I volunteer on Monday nights (5 Loaves Ministry in Beaufort, NC) and heard of their plan to do a very similar thing for the people who come and use our services. Wonderful. The true blessing of such things is far greater than just the food and gifts- it is in the relationships that are forged and the relationship with God through his church which feed the soul far beyond the bread that is distributed.

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