So Alan Knox also linked to Keith Giles posts on ministering to the needy. In the comments on that post there was a good discussion on a question I had been thinking about. Basically, we don’t all live in Orange County. Jeremy explains that he lives in a somewhat remote area (as do I) and has kids (as do I) and asks for suggestions on ministering to “the least of these” in his area. Keith and Alan offer some good insight that I thought I would highlight here for some others who may be asking some of the same questions.
I really enjoyed these posts as well.
You know what I’m finding though? It is hard to be led to the least when you have some of the least living in your home…and by that I mean little children. We live in a somewhat remote area, and over the past several days, I have called every homeless shelter, food panty, ministry outreach center, warming center, etc., etc. within 30 miles and so far, every single one says that while they have volunteer opportunities for adults, they do not allow anyone under 16 years old.
I have even contacted a few churches, and unless my family wants to serve pancakes at the annual men’s pancake breakfast (attended primarily by men from the church), they don’t have any opportunities for families either.
Any suggestions or ideas?
Alan – not sure whose sister is linking to my articles but I’m glad that you did.
Yes, my approach is probably not the same as others, but whether or not you serve my way or your way, let’s please just follow Jesus to where the hurting, the least and the lost are desperate for real, tangible expressions of the love we have so richly received.
Jeremy – I got your email and I’ll respond soon, but one quick idea is to just take your kids with you to a local senior home and start visiting people there. You don’t need a release form and there are no age restrictions to do this.
We’ve always taken our kids with us whenever we serve and maybe that’s because we almost never go through a non-profit but we create our own opportunties.
I understand that if you’re starting out you probably don’t want to create your own ministry overnight just to bring your kids along but visiting senior homes is an easy option for families w/ younger kids.
I’ll be praying that the Lord leads you and your family as you follow Him in this path. He will direct your steps if you continue to seek His heart in this.
And Alan Reiterated:
I’ll echo what Keith has already said. We’ve spent time serving people in nursing homes, and we’ve taking our children along. Also, we’ve spent time with people who live in a government assisted housing development (where another friend lived). Our children went with us there as well. Finally, the food pantry that we work with allows children with their parents. So, look for opportunities; they’re there.
You said, “[L]et’s please just follow Jesus to where the hurting, the least and the lost are desperate for real, tangible expressions of the love we have so richly received.” Yes, that’s the exhortation that I continue to read in Scripture: This is what God has done for you in and through Jesus Christ; so, live in a manner worthy of that!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys!