For the past four years I have traveled to Haiti on mission. Each year that trip has looked differently. Since I am an ELA teacher at Hebron Middle School in Shepherdsville, I have the time, and God has always provided the resources needed. He is very clear about if I should go and how He will provide for me to go.
God also makes another point clear to all of us: We should be living “missionally” every day. Our community is our mission field. We need to look at it like we do when we land in that foreign country ready to do work. Here are some things that our church, Little Flock Baptist Church, and I are trying to do to make Jesus known where I work, in my neighborhood and in our city.
- Provide lunch for teachers and the school children. This can be done many ways. My husband, who is the missions’ pastor and some wonderful men from my church, have constructed a trailer equipped with grills and everything necessary for a cookout. Robert literally drives the trailer onto the school property, sets up and serves.
At a recent Back to School Bash, we served around 200 hot dogs, giving them away free. We also had a Get Acquainted party this summer with incoming 6th graders, and he did the same. Soon he will randomly provide a lunch or breakfast. Being a teacher, nothing makes you more popular than serving free food.
This may not seem like much, but think for a second like a lost person—possibly someone who has decided that all church people are hypocrites. We must break down walls and build bridges. Doing these things has opened lots of conversations, with many amazed at our generosity. They should not be amazed; we should be giving and giving.
- Ask a principal if your church can partner with them. Provide materials for kids or help them by having volunteers go and read to kids. We teachers have little resources and lots to accomplish. I have had church friends just come run copies for hours. Our pastor and my husband have gone into classrooms and read to children. Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., has an excellent program called Arise2Read that could be an excellent resource.
Since fathers are a rare commodity, the children’s responses are incredible and sometimes heartbreaking. Recently, when a man helped one of our students, the boy said, “This must be what it feels like to have a father.” Church, we need to fill in some gaps.
- Help with an FCA or other Christian club. Our church is providing small water bottles for weekly FCA meetings. Besides being a resource as potential speakers, ask sponsors about other ways that you can support them. Snacks are always welcome, and food certainly attracts students.
- Consider watching for people who attend church alone. My father passed away about a year ago, so one difficult hurdle for my mom has been to attend church and sit in the service alone. I cannot be with her each week, but I now pay attention to other ladies who might be in her situation at my church. Since my husband is on staff and our daughters are grown, I have sat alone in services for years. God has laid on my heart a couple of ladies who seem to be newly sitting alone.
- Consider having a neighborhood cookout. Could this turn into a Bible study at your house? Are there other believers in your neighborhood who could partner with you?
There are so many more ways to build a connection between the church and your community. Since our churches seem to be declining in attendance, we must work to make this better. We must be willing to ask God to give us new ways to reach out to those who live all around us.
When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the lostness all around me, God reminds me that He wants me to not try to save the world. I am to be obedient and start with one person at a time is my mission field. Look for your one and ask God to show you what to do. He faithfully will.