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Home » CHFWeb Forum » General Chats » How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you
How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you [message #820952] Mon, 18 December 2017 09:31 Go to next message
Rosemary-MI  is currently offline Rosemary-MI
Messages: 1322
Registered: April 2005
Location: Lower mid Michigan
Senior Member
I have been trying to find my way for the past few years. I went from very busy mom to empty nest, plus I was a caretaker for my sick mom who passed away and then helped elderly aunt's and uncle's in there too. I was looking for something to do this last year and came across a ministry in my area. They do tons of things for the poor. They have several programs; gardening, laundry, business lessons, healthy food, bible studies, prison release program, biblical sex education and a free toy store. The toy store is what I worked on this year. They collect toys, clean them and give them away for Christmas. She has been doing this for 12 years and it gets bigger every year. Served over 4,500 kids this year!

I volunteered for the toy to see what it was all about. I have come away with mixed feelings. I feel that people are expecting the help so they do nothing to better themselves because they don't need to. Almost rewarding them for bad behaviour. The next project is the gardening program. The head of the program really, really wants me to help. They are trying to teach the kids to grow their own food. They tried it with adults but they just will not participate, "too much work" is what they hear. They will not take care of the gardens but just want the food at the end. Makes me sad. So how do you know if what you are doing is working? How do you know if it's where you're suppose to be? I sometimes feel like Jonah and am running away from God or I'm being Paul and going with 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.""

I talked to a guy who runs the biggest charity in town (head of it for several years and he partners with the other group) and he said the poor have no money management skills at all and don't want any. They expect the help and know where to get all the free stuff. When they get money they spend it right away on hair, nails and tatoos and then ask for money for rent. I don't know if this guy is jaded or what. But the lady who runs the toy store said somewhat the same thing...so?

I'm at a loss. I think God is saying-"It's up to you" and I don't know what to do!

~Rosemary


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
Re: How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you [message #820956 is a reply to message #820952 ] Mon, 18 December 2017 15:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy in Peru  is currently offline Tracy in Peru
Messages: 7985
Registered: April 2005
Location: Trujillo, Peru
Senior Member
I once participated in an exercise that really stuck with me. It was an explanation of poverty. It was a "choose your ending" flip book. No matter what you chose, every single path led to accepting welfare or going to jail and your family accepting welfare.

The participants would argue, "but I would do x" in situation Y. Or "I would do abc in situation Y". But the moderator would shut them down because they were bringing outside knowledge or life experience to factor in that someone in poverty wouldn't have access to. It was eye opening.

There are always two or more approaches to a problem or ministry opportunity. Address the results of a problem (giving toys to impoverished kids) or address the issue (money management for the poor). Neither one is wrong, nor are the mutually exclusive. But we can't do everything, so we pick our part of the world to better with our gifts and talents.

Yes, both of the people you spoke of are giving a "jaded" answer. But you notice they both continue to do their work and better their little part of the world. I think that is what we are judged on, not if the person who received our help took advantage of the situation, or if we are enabling. Giving a drunk more booze is enabling. Giving a homeless guy money for food that he "might" buy booze with isn't enabling, but maybe isn't the best use of your money. But in the moment, I would rather give someone money that seems to need it, than leave them hanging because of "my" issues or judgements.

Poverty in particular is a tough one. And I remember an example Sherry gave one year that I always keep in mind. Someone was taking their kids out to dinner at McDonalds, despite having asked the church for help with rent. While I may be quick to judge (and I am very guilty of this), in this scenario someone had gifted the family McDonald's coupon books. You never know what someone's circumstances are; and we shouldn't judge unless we know the full picture.

Use your talents where they are best suited. Even if you do become jaded, it won't diminish your work or the benefits to those who receive help. Happily, God sorts it all out.


In Him--Tracy
Re: How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you [message #820957 is a reply to message #820956 ] Tue, 19 December 2017 10:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Rosemary-MI  is currently offline Rosemary-MI
Messages: 1322
Registered: April 2005
Location: Lower mid Michigan
Senior Member
Thank you Tracy. That really helps a lot.

I have a hard time with some things because I am NOT a compassionate person with adults. I love kids and feel for them but adults drive me crazy for some reason. So compassion is not my gift, fixing things and visualizing how things should work for more efficiency is my thing so I will use that here.

Thanks for the different perspective.

~Rosemary


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
Re: How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you [message #820958 is a reply to message #820957 ] Tue, 19 December 2017 11:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy in Peru  is currently offline Tracy in Peru
Messages: 7985
Registered: April 2005
Location: Trujillo, Peru
Senior Member
I get it. Compassion is not my gift either. But, I balance my husband nicely. Sometimes he gets paralyzed about how to help or making a choice about who to help. I can cut through the emotions and give him logical reasons that he can't see. Lack of compassion has its advantages too.


In Him--Tracy
Re: How can you tell if a ministry is working or is right for you [message #820959 is a reply to message #820952 ] Tue, 19 December 2017 18:40 Go to previous message
Leigh  is currently offline Leigh
Messages: 4582
Registered: April 2005
Location: Tennessee
Senior Member
Rosemary, I want to commend you for finding a way to be productive and have an impact on your community. What I would suggest is that if this ministry is not a good fit for you, look around for another one. Maybe your thing is not a big huge ministry, but a small mentoring kind of thing. It doesn't have to be a full on gigantic official ministry. If you find a woman who wants and needs your wisdom, work with her. It's just as much ministry as if it was a 501c/3 with a name and office.


Leigh
Tennessee

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

~~Benjamin Franklin

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"Experiencing God" ... I never linked "pride" as a descriptive adjective to moi -- oh no, inferiority complex QUEEN that I was -- Well what is an inferiority complex -- but a SUPERIORITY complex inside out?

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