I'm struggling with this issue. First off, I've been very influenced by Shane Claiborne and I read his book Irresistible Revolution when it first came out and it inspired me to find a church that had a ministry with homeless and the poor in my town. It was a beautiful experience that really taught me about God's grace and even though it was sometimes difficult to serve in that way I've never felt more that I was doing what Jesus said we as followers were supposed to do. And it wasn't that I felt good about myself that I fed a homeless person and then I went back to my nice, comfortable house. I became very close and deeply involved with these people's lives and it was life changing. So fast forward to where we are now I belong to a church that has no outreach ministry at all and I have decided to leave because of it. I'm meeting with my pastor tomorrow to share my reasons why I feel I must leave our church. I truly believe that as a church we should show social compassion, that it is a requirement, not an option, but not out of a sense of guilt but because of the grace God has given us and the call he has commissioned us to take care of the least of these. How big of a role if at all do you all's church's give towards these ministries?
Christian Mamas question about social compassion
I never read Claiborne so I can not speak to that. But the question about how big a role is church giving? Well this is the way I see it...
The Church is the body of the Messiah. The people are to take care of each other. In the beginnigng they gave all that they had to the Gospel. (Act 4:32-37) The church is to give and give some more to people. Giving to people is giving God.
If you feel that the Lord would have you give/work with people(whom ever the "people" are) then you can pray and ask the Lord to lead you to a ministy or start one yourself. The real point is JUST DO.
So much what the Lord says is to give without look at what you wil get. We are to just give. GIVING to someone in need is like giving to the Lord.
ONE more thing in my opion...If a church is not giving it is not doing what it was made for. If it is not looking to Messiah it is not right. Messiah tells us to give up everything and follow HIM. So you follow HIM where ever that may take you.
Thank you. You are totally right. My pastor said that it was something on his heart as well and asked that instead of going to another church I stay and build one. I know it's probably the right thing to do but I know it's going to be an uphill battle. People are so far removed from the poverty in our area that I don't even know where to start. That's what prayer is for I guess.
Happy to hear. I will pray that you will find like minded people to work with. May the Lord bless you in your work.
I know that I told you about Wayne Monbleau in the other thread...but he really good and has a lot of great resources. you may find something to help with working with people. It can be hard at times.
Have some doctrinal disagreements with Shane Claiborn.
However, as far as social compassion (and social justice, charity, service, community work, etc)--I do believe it is mandatory for Christians individually and as church bodies. It may take different forms, depending on location and circumstance.
Our church is a large urban church. We have multiple ministries as a church, and partner with other churches in the area as well on different project. Off the top of my head we, have:
-"backpack ministry" (providing school supplies for disadvantaged kids)
-soup kitchen/free clothing
-help with bill payment
-mentoring for kids whose fathers are absent for whatever reason
-daycare/camps/sports/classes for disadvantaged children
-partnership with other ministries and with government aid offices--our church purchased and renovated a huge former school to provide space for programming and offices (like WIC and public health) in a very poor, very dangerous area of town.
-working with young people in juvenile detention
Apart from that, there is international ministry as well. Most recently raising funds to dig wells in the Sudan. Originally, they were connected with a mostly-Christian village that needed water. But it was realized that digging a well for the Christian village would result in tensions with Muslims nearby. So they decided they'd do a well in the Muslim village first, and then one for the village they were originally going to do.
I would add though, that poverty doesn't always look the same. We see "the 'hood" kind of poverty where we live.
But I am sure that where you are, there are people who are on fixed incomes, or struggling financially, or who need a helping hand. It just might not be as obvious.
Thanks, I don't necessarily agree with everything Shane Claiborne says but he certainly made me question the church I was a part of and seek out one that was more in line with what Jesus actually said. Thank you for listing out specific things your church does. I have to present my pastor with some ideas of where to start. I'm a little nervous though becuase last fall I presented my small group an idea of going to a soup kitchen and feeding people downtown. And that was dissed so that we could make goody bags for homeless people to hand out. To me that just seems like a cop out and a way to make yourself feel like your doing something without having to step out in faith and be uncomfortable. The area I live in has some pretty rough neighborhoods but my church seems very far removed from that. But you are right poverty can me a lot of different things. I'm just hoping people are willing to step up and do it.
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What about starting to help out military familes............or looking to adopt military families for Christmas? A pen pal program for the kids --writing to kids in another country? OR>>.having the church do some sort of 'live without xxxx for a day'.....................start small with the small bible study groups...and then go from there
Thank you Virginia Mom, My church has several military ministries and our kids do write to Russian orphans frequently. There is so much poverty in this area I'm really hoping to get people on board to come out of their comfort zones to help the poor and powerless.