My brain needs a little boost. Perhaps this is more family therapy....I need a meandering walk down memory lane to help me interpret my blurred and waning recollections of childhood.
I have been asked to share very briefly about any community activities I was involved in as a child and how it impacted me.
I'm having a hard time making a connection here in my head. I don't know if it is because we didn't do community stuff or I'm not thinking of it in that way.
To give you context, our current church "community outreach" includes donating time or money to places like:
- "Inn from the Cold" - an agency that houses homeless families in church basements
- Mustard Street ministry - feeding and giving emergency shelter to homeless
- Teen Challenge - rehab centre for young adult men battling addictions
- The House Coffee Sanctuary - a downtown trendy coffee shop building bridges between Christ and culture.
- International Justice Ministries - a voice for the voiceless, slaves, opressed.
- Immigrant Aid Society - assisting newcomers to Canada find the resources they need
- Women In Need Society or Salvation Army Thrift Stores
Now, I grew up in a singing family. We gave concerts in over 200 churches a year. I went to regular school and we traveled on weekends and all summer long (three months long in the states). That was all somewhat community based, and as a traveling family we didn't have a lot of other opportunities or time to be involved in community events, but as I look now at opportunities in front of me, I see that as a child I participated in or observed:
- singing in nursing homes
- counselling at camp (via family ministry)
- visiting shut ins
- mom in PTA
- backyard bible clubs
- sunday school
- church band
- radio show in jr. high
- play piano for national anthem in assembly
- play guitar for jr. high graduation
So much of this seems to be "performance" based or "ministry" based where I was up front or a participant and not really developing long term relationships.
I'm currently in a discipleship ministry to cultivate group leaders among our women. Leading by example is necessary. My primary community connection right now is making sustainable friendships with neighbors and other hockey team parents. It is miles and years apart from the pseudo-celebrity status of the family singing ministry where we touched people briefly and didn't have much opportunity for relationship building. I don't mean to make that sound like it was wrong, but in retrospect, it was the record albums of our music that remained behind and continued to minister through the power of the Spirit. Our mission was to challenge, convict and encourage the saints. I guess that made us more like seed-planters, drive-by huggers, speck in the eye inspectors, or something of the sort.
My life was so non-ordinary when I was a kid. It is hard to condense it into a "brief statement about community involvement and how it impacted me."
I guess the real question is, in all our efforts, does anything really count for eternity? How can we measure? Do we just obey and trust God for the results?
We have spent all weekend reflecting on Remembrance Day - honoring those who have served (and those that have died serving) in the armed forces to earn and preserve freedom. As the international day of prayer for the persecuted church, we also prayed for the needs of those who are not free to worship in countries where that freedom we enjoy has not yet been won. I was surprised at my own emotion in each of the remembrances and finally realized that it was my own remorse at realizing my life is so comfortable I have sacrificed so little for the sake of bringing others into His kingdom.
Lord, help me to determine what I need to do today to change that.