In recent conversations among church members many celebrated the strong involvement of our youth in community ministry. Often that note of gratitude was followed by a sigh: the adult church members don't do nearly as much.
Allow me to raise my hand and ask, "How would we know that?"
Do we know how many of our adult members volunteer in schools or local non-profit organizations?
Do we know how many of them give time, expertise, and money serving on the board of various agencies?
And most importantly, do we know how many of them have a deep commitment to their daily work as ministry?
I can't think of a single work environment where the presence of a Christian couldn't make a world of difference. The other day I read this statement:
"It is a powerful way to be a witness for Christ by demonstrating your capacity not to judge the way everybody else is judging and to serve unconditionally.”
-- Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, a Navy lawyer who is representing a detainee of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was quoted by The New York Times (June 19).
I want to caution against the notion that our community ministry is limited to group work projects etc. organized by the church. We gather to worship and study, and then we go to serve. Perhaps we need to be more intentional about sharing how our faith shapes our daily ministry at school, in the workplace, and wherever we are called upon to give witness to the love and grace of God. At least some of those sighs may turn into cheers!