Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) is engaged with tragic stories of families or children from hard places. There are children impacted by abuse or neglect, adults dealing with substance abuse issues or domestic abuse situations, struggling marriages and families on the verge of collapse. Often these children and families are found right in your community.
Have you ever wondered what you can do to make a difference? Sometimes you see the people in your church who are hurting but helping them can seem overwhelming and complicated. We know that when Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, His initial response was probably what the disciples expected. Jesus instructed us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, but then He added something. Jesus then shared that we are to love our neighbor as our self and that this commandment is like the first.
Learning how to effectively love and minister to our neighbor is a key to effective discipleship, but the issues we see in our world can be complex. We have people in our churches and in our communities, neighbors, who have suffered the trauma of various kinds of abuse, failures in work and relationships, families facing financial failures, marriages about to dissolve, and so many other hurtful and discouraging life situations. It is easy to begin to think that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to know how to help. How did loving our neighbor become so challenging?
Somehow we need a way to equip people to have the confidence needed to love their neighbors well, and to develop relationships with hurting people in our churches and communities. We know that relationships can be transformational, but where do we start?
MBCH is seeking churches to engage with us in our “Open Table” project where we equip lay people who are willing to learn to love their neighbor well. We are excited about this ministry opportunity to provide training and equipping for lay people and would love to engage with your church. With this ministry, MBCH staff will partner with your church to assist in recruiting and training lay people to form “tables” to minister directly to those in need right in your community.
Some examples of who your church could serve might include:
• A youth aging out of foster care
• A human trafficking survivor
• A family engaged with child welfare and trying to reunite with their child
• A young lady experiencing a crisis pregnancy
• Someone within your church who is facing some big life challenges such as a single mom, a widow, or a spouse of a deployed soldier.
The opportunities are really limitless. As tables form, they will be equipped to form relationships and effectively serve those in need.
Are you willing to pull up a chair and help change a life? You could bring your life skills, education, experience and networked connections to the table and partner with a team to make a difference. The idea is not complex. Each table is composed of a group of 6-to-12 volunteers who make a year-long commitment to act as a networked team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates for the friends being helped. As a table serves a friend, they establish goals, and accountability and develop an overall life plan. Table members then use their connections, skills and life experience to support the plan.
The relationships formed allow church members to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, loving the most vulnerable in their community. The relationships that form around the table will not only transform the life of the friend being served, but they will have a forever impact on all those who serve as well.
So, are you ready to pull up a chair and help change a life? If your church is interested in engaging with MBCH in this ministry, please contact David Burch, Church Engagement Strategist, at email@example.com or 417-380-1082.