The answers were out there.
Needs were provided.
Free medical care came from compassionate doctors and nurses.
A network existed to find jobs for any applicants.
Childcare was available for the single mother or father who had to work to make ends meet.
A listening ear waited on the other end of the phone, twenty-four hours a day.
Youth had a resource, a refuge, and a place to figure out life.
A warm bed waited on a cold night and no one was homeless.
Every child had breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the year.
What if we are missing the point?
What if the church, your church, could provide all of these things?
After spending time at the outreach ministries I’ve visited, I’ve come to this conclusion. The church can be the front line. Not a news channel. Not a political party. Not an agenda. The church can be a pair of open hands, ready to serve. I’ve seen churches die in less than five years. The Hope Rescue Mission has existed for more than a century. God moves on the front line. When we insulate ourselves behind politics and policies we miss the point. We are content to let the missionaries work the “mission field.” Step outside, look left and right. Congratulations, you are there.
In the last few weeks I’ve heard so many stories about God moving, real and tangible, touching the lives of those going to these outreach programs. We need more front line work and less insulation. We need to get our hands dirty. We need to stop talking and start doing. We need to be, in the terms of Hope Rescue Mission, a hand up and not a hand out. If that happens, service and teaching, meeting needs and presenting the gospel, we will become change agents. Light can overtake the darkness. The world can be different, and better.
I look in the eyes of my boys and know that it is possible and that I will fight make their future a better place, to give them a world better than I inherited.