|The Local Church
Building A Reputation Of Love
Recently a staff person at In His Name Ministries, Inc. talked with a client for 20 minutes about her problem, and she offered to pray with her. The person had called about financial aid, but the interviewer was not authorized to promise aid that day.
After the prayer, there was a brief silence. When the client spoke, her voice was brighter than before. She thanked our worker for the helpful suggestions, and especially for the prayer. "I will never forget your prayer," she said. "It really encouraged me to keep going; and you know, of all the churches I called, yours is the only organization who talked with me or prayed with me."
PEOPLE WHO MAY BE UNCOMFORTABLE IN A REGULAR CHURCH SETTING
Every contact should be seen as a ministry opportunity. Even a friendly non-judgmental voice is a form of ministry to someone who is desperately lonely, frustrated and confused.
For churches who have no compassionate outreach effort, a basic program would be easy to initiate, even if no money were allocated at first to actually give aid.
First the pastor could locate two or more members who have a heart for the poor. Then refer requests for aid to one of these volunteers.
It could work like this:
When a needy person comes to the church, or phones asking for financial help, the secretary would take their name, telephone contact number and address. This would require only a few minutes of the secretary's time. She need not have a conversation, but hopefully her tone of voice would be positive. Then she would email the information to a volunteer who would contact the client.
First, the volunteer would ask friendly questions to get the conversation going. The goal is to get to know the person.
Secondly, during the conversation she would prayerful watch for ways to encourage and uplift the client. Maybe a scripture or a biblical truth would come to mind. If the volunteer is committed to serve the other in love, God will use him or her to reach out in an effective manner.
Hopefully the client will be encouraged. But whatever the result, the helping person will likely grow closer to God as a result of this outreaching love. He or she may become a leaven in her church community to draw others into this ministry.
When we know a distressed person,
Compassionate prayer is the beginning and the end. In between is the action I take to relieve the suffering. We are deceived if we feel good just having prayed. The same is true if we read a scripture or mention a bible truth, or invite him to our Church and DO NOTHING.
Jesus has empowered us to be 'doers.'
The St. Vincent de Paul Society