Yesterday at the Ministry Center I met a woman who was kind enough to share with me some of her ideas of how to generate more community interest in what we’re doing. She told me that despite all of my efforts to publicize what we’re doing here that word of mouth is still by far the best method, and that the key was to get people in the door with free food/stuff in order to have the opportunity to talk to them for a few moments. I understand that what she’s saying is correct, but at the same time it made me wonder if given the scope of the problem in the community, wouldn’t a certain percentage of them be motivated to seek out any help available to them in ending their addiction?
I thought about my own circumstances for a moment, I am overweight but I don’t feel as though it’s primarily because what I eat is so wrong,instead I chalk it up mostly to my sedentary lifestyle. I believe that what I need is someone who’s passion is health and fitness to assist me in engaging in an effective program to slowly guide me back towards a more healthful body weight, perhaps improve my joint flexibility,and improve my overall physical wellbeing. If someone were to open up a “center” where people made themselves available to others free of charge I would love it! I think that I’d be there at least a couple of times a week and that I’d also have no problem financially supporting such an enterprise by my freely given donations.
The more I thought about it the more similarities I began to see between this scenario and what I’m trying to do. In order to be succesful with physical re-conditioning one of the most important things to be mindful of is that especially at first you’ve got to make it a pleasurable experience for people. If you try to push people or expect to much from them too quickly, or come on too strong you’ll probably end up hurting them, and that’s what makes people want to quit! By enabling them to experience as many of the benifits of working their physique and as little of the pain as possible you stand a lot better chance of being sucessful in the long term with them. Of course there’s going to have to be discomfort involved at some point, but to really be a help to people who are in the process of change we need to do what we can to help manage “the pain” with them. Slow them down when they want to move too fast or when they set their expectations too high, be patient with them during times of slow or no progress,our unconditional support is critical to them when they’re facing obstacles we may not fully understand. And yes, even give them the tough love treatment when it’s called for.
No doubt about it, someday I want to have a ministry like this at the Outreach Center, I’d be the first in line!
Which brings me to my next “revelation”…What is a ministry? I think that “ministry” is a word we use to describe our response to Gods love for us “back to” God and to others. It’s something we do because it brings us a sense of fulfillment which only comes from being a part of that flow that happens when we correctly use the gifts God has given us. It’s something we share with others because it’s our passion, it’s the axis or hub that our spinning world is centered on. It provides us with a perspective or a point of reference by which all other things can be prioritized under or compared to.
It’s our answer!
In the end, it’s really not a matter of “who cares”, everybody cares when it’s their own fat that’s in the fire or their pretty baby that’s in trouble; perhaps instead it’s more a question of “who dares” to have the audacity to believe that love truly is the answer…
I recently discovered this quote which is credited to the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow,
“When all you have is a hammer,everything begins to look like a nail”
Maybe that’s true, after all Jesus fixed everything with three nails, and a whole lotta love!