Category Archives: Service/Volunteerism

Items that deal will service and/or volunteerism.

God’s 10K (Update)

In my earlier post I told you about a local church that had ASKed others to pray and submit ideas about how they might allocate and distribute $10k. Spending the 10k wasn’t the real goal.  The goal of the church was to pray and have unity about what God wants them to do with these funds.  The church leadership will be meeting this weekend to review and discuss each merit of each submission.  

Following the church leadership’s review, a summation letter will be mailed to each church member asking each to SEEK truth/discernment.  Each member will then share their views and in late Sep. the church body will hold a “business meeting” to vote.  KNOCK – persistence in getting ‘er done.  Now its time to join KCC as they enter this new season of prayer.

Jesus declared God’s name to His followers so that the love of the Father that was in the Son (Jesus) might me in us (Jhn 17:26).  Imagine if churches partnered in declaring God’s truth, sharing His love, and caring for His people.  One expression of truth/love might be to take the 10K of one church and make it 20K or even 100K through a partnership with other churches. United in love!  There would be some serious worship, prayer, and fellowship taking place! 

Learning love, sharing love…making disciples!  Wow!

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Capacity Building

Matthew 18: 19-20 tells us “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

People gather for a variety of reasons.  Regardless of the reason, there exists a wonderful possibility/opportunity that capacity will be realized.   Capacity is not ability, capability, or magnitude… these are qualitative.  Capacity is quantitative…it refers to a general ability to comprehend an issue or perform a task.                                             

We love to gather to pray in corporate settings.   I’m puzzled why we fail to actually take the time (either before/after prayer) to dialogue …do we agree?  How might we share our gifts (to lay down our lives for a friend)?      

Because God is in our midst we miss the opportunity/possibility to build capacity.  God is capacity (“I am”).

Just a Bed ?!

Recently I discovered that a friend in DC doesn’t have a bed.  He sleeps in a chair.  This is America, how does this happen in my backyard?  I think what really bothered me was that a fellow follower of Jesus told him that he would have a bed last Nov.  – now it’s April.

I’m constantly praying about this bed, about the guy that needs the bed, and for the guy who promised him a bed.  A day doesn’t go by I don’t ask God to reveal not only where a bed can be found but how to get my hands on it. 

I’ve discovered it’s  like looking for the Holy Grail.  I’ve been to plenty of Goodwill, Salvation Army, and thrift stores.  I’ve passed the word to friends thinking they might know someone who has a spare bed to give away.  I just need a twin bed or a roll away bed.  Yesterday I even visited Mattress Discounters to see what it costs to simply get a new twin bed ($200).  I wake up at night and think about this guy and that bed.  I guess you could say I’m either obsessed or on a mission – not sure which.  I certainly have seen it from the eyes of the guy who promised he’d get a bed – it’s not that easy – did he just give up?

Through it all I’ve wondered what God is up to – that little voice has told me “It’s not about the bed, it’s about letting me be God”.  Because of that I haven’t shelled out the money and just bought one – each time I chat with someone about that bed I realize how God will be glorified when that bed finally arrives.  That bed will appear – I know that without a bit of doubt.  I am concerned about my friend who has no bed – does he think I’m another follower of Jesus who just talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk?  This bed issue is so much more – the visible is the bed – the invisible is what God is doing in the various lives that are praying about this bed.

A friend constantly reminds me that life takes place “at the speed of prayer”.  Would you join me in praying about this issue?

Life Changing Summer

My life was drastically changed this past year when my wife visited Rwanda as part of a missions group.  She worked and played with little children who’s lives were impacted by both poverty and heartache and she visited with many of their parents who are still trying to recover from genocide.  Her heart ached for these kids and she was moved to sponsor two children (one boy/one girl).  Their pictures now hang on our wall right next to the pictures of the other members of our family.  Besides a monthly (very cheap) financial gift, we have purchased mattresses and we have helped one young woman complete her university studies.  So much is happening in Rwanda!  Of course my wife plans to return this summer.  We have begun collecting books which we will ship to Rwanda’s first seminary.  Learn more about Africa New Life Ministries.  If you have books you wish to donate visit this site:  Book Drive – you’ll see MultiChurchDC mentioned.

Christmas Mail

This year Rev. Rick Warren (Saddleback Church) saved every Christmas catalog that hit his mailbox.  He reported that he had received 116 catalogs and the entire pile of catalogs weighed over 40 lbs.   His single “tweet” on the subject was “What a waste”.  Around Dec. 3rd I began saving every email and snail mail that requested funds.  As the pile quickly grew, the subtle thoughts I had as I opened each letter and email formed the basis for my irritation with Christmas mail.   

I know that fund-raising is an art and there are professionals who give expert advice about the best approach (language, tone) and the best marketing tools (letter, email, brochure, etc.) to use.  Fundraising has become very competitive because available financial resources are dwindling.  Every request for support that I received appealed to my sense of “Christmas Spirit”.  Most suggested that it was critical for me to give an “end of year” gift so I would receive a tax benefit.  Both  reasons seemed trite and neither motivated me to give.  I felt a small sense of manipulation and that became an irritant. 

The biggest irritant was reading mail from organizations that only contact me at Christmas.  I know it’s not cost efficient to send out multiple mass mailings except during special holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I also know that fundraising via email, though inexpensive, doesn’t really produce huge results.  I had to show a little grace on this point but it still irritated me.

What caught my eye in a positive way were the organizations that published catalogs that provided listings of specific items I might wish to give.  (Examples:  Central Union Mission, World Vision, aone:eight)   These catalogs reminded me that there is always need and I should give throughout the year.  These catalogs made it easier to give out of love and obedience to Jesus (the reason for the season) because they seemed to promote relationship over cause.

Taking the time to develop an intimate relationship with an agency or organization is critical and it is key to responsible giving of time, experience/skill, and money.  Such intimacy provides a better understanding of what is already available and what is truly needed (2 Corin. 8: 11-14).  Such intimacy results in giving cheerfully from the heart and not out of a sense of guilt or compulsion (2 Corin. 9:7).   

I’m not wealthy so I can only imagine what a wealthy philanthropist must think when Christmas mail arrives.  I think I would be troubled just by the deluge of requests.  I’d wonder why there is so little collaboration among the various individuals, agencies, and organizations who nobly claim to care and own the solutions that will fix the many issues, problems, and needs that face our community.  I’d wonder how they can afford to continue working independently without sharing “best practices”, knowledge bases, and resources.  I couldn’t help but wonder how many sources request funds for the same cause? (Example: How many agencies and organizations make the same claim that the funds you provide care for the “at risk children” in South East DC?)  I’d want to give each a small financial gift of encouragement but because no one solution stood out I’d probably end up not giving anything to anyone.   While I’m thankful that I’m not a wealthy philanthropist faced with such dire decisions; the mere fact that I’m not able to help so many deserving causes became one of my irritants.    

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington annually publishes a free, on-line, Emergency Directory  that lists clinical social workers, counselors, psychologists, shelter workers, clergy and all those whose job it is to help people find emergency food, health care, and temporary shelter for their families.  It lists hotline and social services phone numbers and sometimes e-mail addresses.  A super example of collaboration without competition. 

How does one collect the proper information needed to publish an on-line catalog that continuously captures  input from those who’s significant ongoing efforts are trying to meet the needs of our community?  Would such an initiative form an initial basis for unselfish collaboration and facilitate the sharing of best practices, knowledge, and resources?  Would such an initiative provide a free, one stop online source that would empower those who wish to give financially as well as those who wish to volunteer their time and expertise?  

The DC metro area already has the beginnings of such an effort; the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy.  There are also many free, on-line sites that help promote volunteerism. 

 How do we merge stated needs with available gifts and passion to create possibility that would sustain real change?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?