This week I spoke at a church conference in Portland, Oregon. I was asked to share my story and the things I have learned during this past year. Here are the five principles I shared with these church leaders about effective ministry to the marginalized:
Partner with People who already doing the work… it ensures we are helping rather than enabling.
Think Relational rather than Cause-based Charity work… because life transformation comes through love.
Listen before you speak… because wisdom comes through understanding
When you speak, speak Life… the marginalized need hope not judgment
Measure Success based on Change rather than Maturity… with this much dis-function and pain in their backgrounds… it’s less about how far they have to go and more about how far they have come
As I reflect on the past year I also thought it would be healthy to share some of my emotions with you. Here is how I’ve been feeling…
Security: Praise God I really haven’t ever been fearful for my health or safety.
Freedom: There are so many avenues to use the gifting that God has provided me. This has been generating energy and enthusiasm to be creative and start many new ministries.
Confirmation: Seeing what God is doing and receiving support from those on our team has confirmed our decision to transition into this ministry.
Conflicted: The extensive suffering all around me, the great opportunity for ministry, and the extreme communities I live in have all had a conflicting emotional affect upon me. At times I sense overwhelmed but that turns into adjustment. I have dealt with it in simple practical things like sleeping on a sofa hide-a-bed in my office during the week adjusting to the constant noise on the street… doing ministry without a support staff or budget… to more emotional things like gearing up to drive into Skid Row to being away from Betty for days at a time and missing our daily talks and time together.
Gratitude: To God for the faith to step into something he has prepared specifically for me… To PCC, our home church, who loving sent us and supported us… To friends who have been faithful to remember us with their words of encouragement, prayers of support, and financial gifts to Deed & Truth… To the URM for acceptance with open arms and Deed & Truth for a vehicle to fill the gaps God shows me to make a greater impact… And for so many new friends I’m in community with at the mission who are also in transition to new lives in Christ.
It’s been very busy, even chaotic at times, but all the while invigorating. If you’d like to pray for me here’s one final list I’ll share with you:
Emotional Stability: The good news is I’m feeling things all the time… I feel alive.
Balance: Ministry and Family life; Public life and Private Life
Joy: To remember to enjoy the journey while pressing on to advance ministry.
Favor: With churches and church leaders to join the effort to provide relational partnerships.
Depth: To protect time with God that I might continue to be a learner, growing in faith, so that I can be a culture changer at deeper levels.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!