As we continue our way through the vowels we have reached “O.” As I looked back over my previous articles on the letter O and on the topic of outreach, I am glad to say that much of what I had to say about the topic six years ago does not apply now. We are growing in our outreach into the community and, I believe, God is encouraging us to grow even more.
First, here’s what we’ve accomplished recently. Since we partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest in October of last year we have provided 1,216 boxes of food to families in our community. Just this past month we served just under 200 families and took in 39 new applications. Your willingness to pray, to financially support and to physically serve has touched the lives of 879 people in our community.
Think about that for a moment. 879 lives touched. That is amazing to me.
For me, outreach is like planting a garden. For the first time in many years we have planted a small garden this year. We built the raised beds, prepared the soil, and planted the seeds. And then it was time to wait. We did all that we could to prepare the ground so those seeds would survive, thrive and someday produce food for our family.
Outreach is much the same. We prepare the soil and plant the seeds of faith by building a relationship (however small) with those around us. Then we wait and water (and by water I mean, pray). And wait and water. And wait and water. Eventually new sprouts spring up, grow, and someday will provide food for the family of God. Maybe not at Marshfield Christian Church, but I have faith that seeds that others plant will find their way to our field and grow here…
Thanks be to God for the good work that has begun here at MCC. I pray that we will continue to plant, wait, and water through the Bread of Life. It is a vital ministry in our community. However, I believe it would be a sin to simply say “We are working hard at this important ministry. We can’t take on anything else.” I say that because I am convinced that God is calling us to yet another ministry. A ministry of openness to those with special needs in our community.
More specifically those with autism. I have been blessed to know several young people with autism and their families. For these friends, church can be a scary place. And because of their different way of relating to the world some of my autistic friends have been invited to NOT attend churches. Can you imagine churches encouraging families to go elsewhere because of the behavior of a child? Unfortunately I don’t have to imagine. I know it has happened.
I am on a personal crusade to ensure that MCC is a place of welcome and invitation to ALL people. I would ask for your help in this endeavor. I need a group of 3 to 5 people who are willing to work with me to make this dream a reality. Please prayerfully consider if God is calling you to be a part of this ministry, then call, text, or e-mail me so we can take the next steps together.
I believe this is our next step in becoming a community where all are welcome to the table, where all can be fed by the Holy Spirit, where all can develop a deeper relationship with God, and where all can be a valued part of the family of Christ.