Trinity Church had its first official Young Adults Small Group meeting tonight! It’s exciting to me because I really need community where I’m at and Trinity has great community – we just need something special for our age group. My friend Katy and I are leading the group and we’re both coming out from just graduating Christian colleges where we were surrounded by Christian community – and we both want it to happen here in Connecticut. It’s also exciting for me because last semester I took a counseling class on small groups and leading groups is something that I love and want to learn about and grow in more – so what an opportunity!
For the fall, our whole church and its 12+ small groups come together and study one thing. This fall, we’re doing a study on “Becoming a Good Samaritan: Being Christ in Your Community” and so along this topic comes our small group discussions, daily devotionals, sermons, and Sunday School lessons. It’s a lot but it’s such a great way for the church to come together and study the same thing and talk about the same thing. It’s also great because it’s an emphasis on missions and being JESUS wherever you are. Each small group will do a service project in the local community and we’re all encouraged to step outside of our comfort zone and really be challenged to be more like Christ.
Tonight we talked about what we were passionate about, especially when it comes to helping people, what do we like to do? I like to sit down with people and get to know their heart and encourage them. I have a passion for working with college students figuring out where they want to go and what they want to do (perhaps because in many ways, I’m right there myself) and I also have a passion for Christians who are feel the pressure to have it all together and are drowning on the inside (perhaps because I have been there myself). But never have I ever said to myself, “I really want to feed the hungry today!” I am skeptical of people asking for money on the street and I always walk past the man sleeping in the train station. Jesus says to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), which I get really excited about doing! James says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit widows and orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). And Jesus is always talking about the poor and the needy – He also says that we will always have the poor (Matthew 14:7). So I see that as a follower of Christ, I should also consider helping the poor, the needy, the widows, and the orphans. Not only should I consider it, but I should do it! But it shouldn’t just be another thing to check off of a to-do list either, right? I could easily do that – I can support a Compassion Child or give monthly to a food bank. Is that to “hands off”? So many people live this way – they give something so that they don’t feel bad and so they don’t have to deal with it, “Let someone else do the dirty work.” On the other hand, I can’t do everything and I know I’m only one person. But being one person doesn’t mean that God’s commands don’t apply to me. How do I live in a away that is in obedience to God’s command to take care of the needy – how is this a lifestyle? Is this supposed to be a lifestyle? What does he mean by needy? What does he mean by neighbor? Hey! A lawyer asked Jesus the same question in Luke 10 – and Jesus answers with the story of the Good Samaritan. Could a “neighbor” be someone who is willing? I can be willing. Am I willing? Someone in need doesn’t have to just mean someone who is poor or someone who lives in Africa – it does mean those people – but there are also needy people in my neighborhood or in my church. There are people who are needy for a friend. There are people who are needy for a babysitter. There are people who are needy for a couple of groceries to hold them over until the next paycheck. Are we, am I, even looking out for these needs in my church, let alone in my community? Am I willing to step outside of my comfort zone to meet these needs?
I’m preparing to work with SEND as a mobilizer. My thinking of missions also leds to more questions. SEND is about church planting. Are the churches SEND is planting reaching out to their communities? Are they aware of the needs around them – the poverty, the hungry, the lonely, the sick? And are they doing something about it? Can the commands to look after the poor and to make disciples of all nations go hand in hand? Where do I fit in all of this?
So for the next six weeks, I’ll be thinking more about these questions and learning more about God and His heart and His commands. This probably won’t be the last time I bring up this topic, so stay tuned.