There are so many needs in my community. Things that spark a passion in my heart – food banks, services to children who have been abused and neglected, services to the homeless, services to single parents and women, services to children aging out of foster care, just to name a few. There are many more programs and agencies that serve meeting direct needs of community members; these are just causes that are near to my heart. For every need there are multiple organizations that solicit funds, work to meet the need, and need volunteers to be the hands and feet; there are just as many grassroots groups attempting to meet the same need.
There is enough need to go around, but resources are limited. Sometimes as Christians we get so focused on the vision God gave us that we are not willing to consider He’s given someone else the same vision. We fail to recognize that we might be called to come alongside them and minister with them instead of starting something new.
When we feel that God is leading us to a specific ministry, we should research what is out there, in our community, in our state, in our nation, and in the world. We can be the hands to a growing body, feet to stalled mission, or a mouthpiece to a silenced group. In service to a group already in the field, we can learn some of what works and what doesn’t. We can learn about the people we are called to serve. We can walk out our passion, while Christ lays out the plans. We can not all play the same part, but we can all be a part. (See I Corinthians 12:12-26)
The truth is we are stronger together. One can be overpowered but a three-fold cord is not quickly broken. I think about the number of programs that start and fade out both in the community and in the church. This often happens because the funding dries up or the laborers are not there. Sometimes it appears the need is not there – because the people in need don’t know. The strongest programs have strong connections.
Coming together is about standing in unity for something God has placed in our heart. Imagine what we could accomplish joining with others growing the vision instead of dividing resources. There doesn’t have to be a united belief on secondary issues to serve someone food or to help provide training to someone in need of a job. It’s okay to be from different denominations and come together to be The Church ministering to widows, orphans, and single parents.
There are nonprofit organizations that have honed the best way to track who is getting helped, and who have learned how to avoid when our methods of hurting help. Yes, some will not allow a Christian message to be shared, but the truth is it is about building relationships while meeting needs. Influence is opened and Christ can be shared, not through delivery of service, but through the human connection.
There still may be a time where we are called to take that vision to the next step, and branch out. God will be able to take that time of service and use it to further the plan He has – the kingdom purpose of the vision. We will have counted the cost before we begin. We will know the needs and be able to use God’s wisdom to truly minister to His people where they are. Lives will be touched as we are growing and needs will be met while we are still learning God’s plan.