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Outreach … Bah Humbug

 —  November 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

gift

It’s that “outreach” time of year again.  Perhaps it’s because many really believe “Santa is Watching.”  We just finished up some form of Harvest Party or Trunk or Treat for Halloween. Now we will turn to food baskets and Christmas gifts for the “less fortunate.”

Now before you accuse me of being a “Scrooge,” I am not against helping the Body of Christ reach the least, the lost and the lonely, especially during the “holidays.”  I certainly am not against those in need receiving a special touch this time of year.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I feel like we all need to feel a little “spoiled” every once in awhile.  In other words, let’s give extravagantly.  Where I get hung up is on the approach.

I hate “Outreach,” because that is how we see it- as an event.  We mark it on our calendar and a couple of times of year we tell the world what we accomplished.  We gave out X number of  plates of food or reached X number of shut ins or saw X number of shining happy faces get gifts.

We love to quote Matthew 25:35 & 36 when the Lord says this,  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”   He is talking about a lifestyle, not an occasion.

As we enter this season I wonder if we can see it as an extension of who we are anyway.  This is a great opportunity to meet a hurting and aching world that would love a little “Holiday Cheer.”

As we look forward to the “Season of Giving,” I just wonder if we can approach it differently by asking ourself these questions?

If I Get NOTHING Out of This Would I Do It Anyway?

There is a way of serving that is really more for us.  We say that it is about “the Lord.”   However, take a look at your heart. If you don’t get even a “Thank You,” “no satisfaction,” nothing at all,” would you still serve?  We want the answer to be “YES,” but is it really?

Do I Give or Remove Dignity From Those I Serve?

There can be an attitude of “you need this,” sometimes when we give.  In what you are doing, does it allow the person to feel empowered?  If you give something are you looking down on the person as “lesser, even if not intentionally?

Is This An Extension Of Who I Am?

It can be easy to point to those “events” as the time to get out and “Do Something.” As long as we have the attitude that we can “show up” and then “go home,” our selfishness stays intact.  We can’t MAKE anyone be selfless, but we can show service is often about seeing the hungry, thirsty & lonely DAILY.

So go for it!  Serve meals on Thanksgiving and wrap an extra present for a child whose parent is in prison this Christmas.  Show a little extra love and then on January 2nd keep it up!

Thanks for loving students,

Leneita

@leneitafix

Leneita Fix

Leneita Fix

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Leneita Fix is the Director of Ministry Development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years. In addition she has launched the coaching and resource organization, Front Line Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace serving those who work with families living in survival mode. The early years were spent in camp ministry, suburban and rural youth groups. With the Lord’s moving the last 17 of those years have been spent ministering in three different urban areas to primarily unchurched families (New Jersey, Virginia, Florida back to New Jersey). Her responsibilities have included Bible based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is to raise up workers in practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families she loves. Her goal is to help others understand every student living in a survival mindset can and will be transformed in Christ. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband three wonderful children, and her niece. Simply she resides among her friends in the city just living life as a family that loves being there. You can contact her at leneitafix@aslanyouth.org.

One response to Outreach … Bah Humbug

  1. Leneita – Thank you for this thought-provoking, challenging, and encouraging article. We are using this post as we prepare for an international mission trip as a church. We hope that folks begin to see this experience as more than something to “be done” on an annual basis. We also hope that we see ourselves in mission “with” and not “to” the people we will serve alongside. With God’s guidance and words like yours, I pray that our hearts and minds might be transformed! Thank you.

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