Adventists and Social Action- Part 2

imprrh@gmail.com —  March 4, 2015

How’s it going with your two questions?

What breaks my heart?

What am I going to do about it?

If you are a local pastor or leader here are 10 things you can do to specifically start to address all 3 levels of social action. You can share this with your board and leadership team.

  1. Purpose

Start by checking you purpose. Is it clearly spelled out? Do you have an ‘elevator speech’ where you can articulate your community service vision in less than 2 minutes? At the end of the day, we serve because we love, not so we can be on the local news or go give seminars to gloat about how much we serve.

 

  1. Providers

There are already organizations that provide many services in your community. Instead of re-inventing the wheel as we often do, why not join worthwhile organizations in what they are doing? Here is a good starting point: http://www.voa.org/ Invite organizations that have purposes akin to yours.  We need to be cautious about who we bring in, and what their agenda is, but we have to realize that we did not invent the wheel.  There are community and religious organizations that have been doing at least some of what you are doing, usually for a longer period of time.  In an event at the Hillsboro church, we invited several organizations to participate, including a local Christian college counseling department as well as representatives from the local hospital and police department.  Just their exposure to our church ministries, opened many doors.  We got five hundred teddy bears, a grant for food, free cholesterol screening, more than forty computers for a lab, all free of charge.

 

  1. People

There are people in the community that do not belong to any organization but have foundations, personal initiatives that you can benefit from and help out in.

 

  1. Partnerships

In every community there are usually industries that work for community enhancement. Making a visit and introducing your vision can foster good will and give you access to funds. *Visit the local business association.

*Join the local ministerial alliance.

*Visit organizations like the Boys and Girls clubs of America.

*Visit your local food bank.

 

  1. Politicians.

Many times we have been reluctant to engage politicians, sometimes with good reason. One of the first things I do when new in a district is finding out and meeting with the mayor, council members, and representative. It’s also not difficult to contact the governor and senator. Why should we connect with the powerful in our community?

*They can point you to need areas.

*They can point you to other organizations.

*They can provide resources, volunteers and funds. This can get tricky, so tread softly.

I usually introduce myself and tell them that we have an interest in improving our community through a holistic approach that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I ask them 3 questions:

*What are the greatest needs of this city/town?

*What organizations or people would you suggest I talk to?

*Are there any initiatives you are implementing that we should take a look at?

I have always found them ready to talk and willing to help. Even secular mayors like the one in Portland was touched by the actions of Christians in the community.

 

  1. Survey

The best people to tell you what the community needs are…the community! Use a very simple survey (at the appendix) or email me for an electronic copy. Talk to the people around your church. Let their needs drive your action plan.

 

  1. Sermons

Preach on service, study it in small groups, and speak about it in the board meetings. What gets highlighted gets done and funded. Use your influence and your example to show the benefits of service, that it not only benefits the people we serve but also the people we serve with.

 

  1. Subsidy

Actions validate vision. You can’t really say community service is a high value when it has no budget and is relegated to a musty room with 3 senior citizens and a once a month feeding. It’s interesting how funding follows vision, so see #1.

 

  1. Sustained

One of the complains of people in developing countries and here in the states as well are Christians that show up, do some work, take a picture and leave. Any type of significant involvement in the community must be a sustained involvement. That is why it’s better to start small and steady than it is to try and join every organization and do every service project.

 

  1. Serve

Don’t plan anymore. Don’t try to get it perfect. Don’t wait till you have all the people, the funds or the plans. Just serve. Make it a way of life.

 

In the last part of this blog series, we want to share with you a 40 Day Campaign called SOS (Season of Service). We encourage you to look at it as a good starting point or activating activity for your community involvement.

 

What breaks my heart?

What am I going to do about it?

Coming up:

Next week, some balance on the intersection of politics and religion.

imprrh@gmail.com

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