A Conversation on Reaching Out

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.

Jeremy Said:

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?

Keith Said:

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!


About Dan Allen

Just some guy trying to figure stuff out... View all posts by Dan Allen

7 responses to “A Conversation on Reaching Out

  • Alan Knox


    This is one of the most encouraging things that I’ve read in a while. I’m so glad that our conversation is helpful and that we’re not just talking to one another.


  • Jeremy Myers

    Ditto what Alan said.

    Thanks for posting these.

    By the way…based on what both Alan and Keith said, I think I may have already found a place to get involved with. It’s a ministry for the children of migrant workers. We are very excited about it, and hope it works out.

  • Dan Allen

    Alan and Jeremy

    I figure it’s like anything, for every one person who asks a question there are hundreds who have the same question but never ask it so I appreciated the answers and thought they were certainly worth sharing.

    Based on that conversation and some stuff I had been thinking about we are going to get involved by providing people with heating oil. That is a major difficulty for families this far north, especially considering it costs over $3 a gallon right now.

    I figure that is a good way to apply those principles to our situation, living in the woods in Maine.


  • Alan Knox

    Dan and Jeremy,

    This just keeps getting better and better! I’m excited to hear that you are both making plans to serve other with your families. Praise God!

    If you don’t mind, I want to offer one suggestion. (You may already have this in mind, so forgive me if you do.) When you begin serving, don’t think of the thing that you’re doing as the goal. Instead, focus on the people involved, both those you are serving with and those you are serving.


  • Is it all just talk? | The Assembling of the Church

    […] In response to the comments on my article, Dan at “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine” wrote a post called “A Conversation on Reaching Out.” […]

  • Steve Scott

    Then there’s always the long-term serving of the least of these such as adoption. Although our two oldest are adopted, some people with older children adopt, and that can be a “life” ministry for their older children. They learn all the day-to-day aspects of serving and carry the impression on into adulthood.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: