For about 10 years now, I have been have been having a difficult time when it comes to local missions and outreach. I live in a town that has so many outreach opportunities that I can’t even wrap my head around it. My friend Lisa and I have been having some discussions on how to reach out to those in our area that needs to know about Christ.
I use to be the team leader for the Missions and Outreach board at my church. I am still on the board, but there has been very little going on with it. I stepped down as team leader because I was really bothered that most of the ones on the board has this thought that signing a check and giving people money is all that is involved with Missions and Outreach.
I asked my previous pastors about going into the community and talking to those around us. God put it on my heart that something else needs to happen.We need to be reaching the unsaved, lost and broken people and families in the area. Over time, I became frustrated and pretty much threw in the towel. I wasn’t seeing anything done that I would consider reaching out to those in our area.
Even though I remained on the board, I was no longer active when it came to reaching out to those who have been beaten down physically, emotionally and financially. I was at a point where I couldn’t see some of those at church wanting to really do anything. They were in their comfort zone and they were happy with check writing.
I totally get that there are people who can’t physically go out into our community. But, there are other opportunities to serve. I sincerely believe that God has given each and every one of His children unique gifts. We should be finding ways to share the Gospel by serving others in the name of Jesus Christ, and by making a difference to those who are homeless, hungry, depression and have lives that are broken and shattered.
When I first moved to St. George, it was like a foreign country. My daughters were upset that we moved to a state that was for the most part “Mormon.” It was a hard transition for all of us. My husband was on the road most of the time and would be gone for weeks and sometimes months. We didn’t know anyone when we came here. Thankfully when we were getting my husband ready to start his job we found a church.
Since I already met the pastor while we were here, it was a plus. The only negative about the church was that there were no kids or young adults. For the most part, there was only seniors there. My daughters couldn’t make friends since we weren’t “Mormon”. I knew I needed to get something going at church. They needed friends and so did I. I talked to Pastor Keck about getting something started. I didn’t know what, but something had to be done. My daughters were treated as outsiders and many of the parents that had children that were “Mormon” wouldn’t let the girls associate with their kids.
Eventually we were able to get a youth group going. The youth and young adults consisted for the most part of those who were shunned by the community. They didn’t feel like they fit in anywhere because they weren’t the normal for around here. It took probably about a year to get something going, but it did happen. The reason it happened is because we kept on keeping on.
After about 6 months, we had 4 kids, mine included to be part of the youth group. Within a year I would say there was about 10 kids. After a year or so, I finally met someone my age that was also Christian. She would help me with lessons and the kids. Little by little the group grew to around 3o children and some families with children. I didn’t feel that outreach was a gift that God gave me.
We have been going to my church for over 21 years now. When we first came here, there wasn’t much diversity. When we started the youth and young adults, we had many at church that would go out of their way to reach those who many gave up on. Most churches didn’t want the kids and the young families that came to the weekly meetings and to church. The reason why some churches didn’t want them there was because they couldn’t really pay tithes because they had nothing. Many of the kids were abused and for the most part the streets where raising them. Some of the kids came from alcoholic families and some were involved in drugs themselves.
One young man was into music that was very dark. He would challenge me and would try to shock me by coming to church wearing gothic clothing, piercings and so on. I would never comment about what he wore. I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in his soul and sharing the Gospel with him and the other children. After a few months he stopped wearing gothic cloths and was more respectful of those around him. He had a smile on his face. He even got to the point where he was the first one to church for our evening Bible Studies and times or worship.
None of the other churches wanted them. But, I welcomed him with open arms. What was awesome also was that the people at church would do whatever it took to help. We had some who would frown when the families that lived on the street came to church, but for the most part the people at church welcomed them with open arms.
Barbara Antrim mom Ann would be there each week to help serve snacks and would give the children rides to and from church. Each month we would have a simple dinner for the children and the family. It wasn’t the church that paid for it, it was the people who volunteered. If people couldn’t cook, they would provide pizza or whatever it was that they needed. There was probably 5 or 6 people who would show up to help. Some of the members who donate privately or pay for the kids to do something special.
These children and young adults lives were changed because of people answering God’s call. Some of these children that attended our youth and young adults meetings are now living their lives for Christ. One young man is a pastor. Another child who wanted to commit suicide because he was told that he was worthless and would amount to nothings since he was going to our church is working with children that have special needs. Another young lady that never felt loved unless she was with a man, is now happily married and a mom. Lives are changed when we answer the call and we love those who may not feel love from anyone else.
The reason I bring this up is that there is a need that has to be filled. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do it. I’m going to talk to Pastor Ray about some things that God has put on my heart.
In a world that is filled with pain and darkness it is our responsibility to share our experiences of God and to reach out to those who are in pain. We aren’t doing anyone any good if we just sit in a pew each week and let live pass us by. I feel very stong about answering the call. Even if a person will pray for others, that is awesome.
We don’t need to go to another country in order to be involved in “Missions and Outreach”. We all can make a difference by meeting the needs of our community and world by sharing God’s love in a variety of ways that build relationship and provide opportunities to share God’s plan of salvation.
- Isaiah 6:8“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”
- Matthew 25:37-40, Jesus said, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’”
- Luke 18:16-17, Jesus taught, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Some of the areas that I would like to talk to Pastor Ray about and I am hoping that others will join in. I know physically it will be difficult for me to do everything. My prayer is that others will jump on board and answer the call. God puts all of these things on my heart and I know that He will provide those who have a desire to make a difference.
I know that life is busy, but there is comes a time where we need to walk alongside those in our community and help them discover God’s awesome and amazing love for them. When we reach out to those that are strangers right now. It’s time to get off our hinny’s and share the good news of what Jesus hs done. Jesus Christ died for sinners, He rose again and He is alive today. Now is the time to shout from all the mountains about how He changed our lives and how awesome and exciting it is to love and serve others. God has a purpose for each and every one of us.
There are many forms of outreach, but what is important is that we live in the midst of a mission field. It doesn’t matter where you live, each and every one of us has an opportunity and a responsibility to verbally share the gospel and to reach out to those beyond the walls of our church and to serve those who are in need.
There is a perfect song that I listen to on Klove that God spoke to me through. The song is called, “Do Something” and here are a couple of verses. Once there was a person who prayed, “God, there is so much suffering around me… why don’t You do something?”
She heard nothing. All day, the frustration and indignation continued to grow inside her. Then suddenly, that evening, God spoke to her: “I did do something; I made you.”
I’m going to be praying that God sends the right people to help with reaching out to those in our community.