Sharing Christ’s love outside church walls
Her son, an eighth-grader at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga., was assigned to find and participate in a community ministry.
The Bakers decided to make it a family project and began working with homeless families living in budget motels paid for by county welfare agencies.
It hadn’t dawned on her before then that summer break wasn’t the blessed reprieve for other children that it was for her teenager. Without school, she realized, there were no free breakfasts or lunches.
Baker was confronted with hunger for the first time when a mother of three sat before her and cried silently because she didn’t have the money to feed her children those meals the school system wasn’t.
There was no formal ministry then, no Project Kids Eat in conjunction with her congregation, the Campus church in Norcross. It was just Baker and her minivan, assembling meals and delivering them to children whose stomachs were mostly empty, taking them donated word search puzzles and books when she could to fill their minds, too.
The best, most meaningful ministries begin with individuals just like Baker realizing a need and embracing the opportunity to fill it. Call it self-organization, ownership or any number of terms, but in its purest form, it is a follower of Christ seeing exactly what our savior saw in people during his earthly ministry. And it is choosing not to look away, but rather to help.
“You will not see it if you don’t allow yourself to look,” Baker said,“but there are hurting people and you can do something for them if youjust will. Once you realize you don’t have to try to save the world itisn’t quite so overwhelming. Do what you are able.”
Every day, God puts people with needs just like our own — onlymagnified — in our line of vision. These everyday encounters offercountless opportunities to assist people and share our faith outsidethe walls of our church buildings.
Living spiritually isn’t just attending Bible class or worship when thedoors are open. It is discovering how to transform our surroundingsevery other hour of the day and week and to draw others closer toChrist in the process.
Personal ministry opportunities can be as unique as the individual. Some examples:
• Have a talent for fixing cars? Be on the lookout for a single mom or elderly neighbor with squeaky breaks. Then find another.
• Enjoy coaching children’s sports? Be intentional about including notjust the most talented athletes, but more importantly, those who mostneed strong, godly role models in their lives.
• Love hunting for bargains? Buy seasonal items like winter coats,school supplies, Easter baskets or Halloween costumes on clearanceafterward, store them and share them later with those in shelters orgroup homes.
If others share a passion and it evolves into a group effort, great. Ifit belongs to an individual or family, it is no less worthwhile. AsBaker put it: “You don’t need permission or committees to improvesomeone’s quality of life and show them Christ’s love.”
FeedbackWhen we all learn that ministry is not just to be in church three times a week. When we really seek to help all people we may see some church growth.Mary ErskineCrestview Church of ChristWoodway, Texas
McLennanAugust, 25 2009