Opportunities to Shine

on May 27, 2009; last featured January 15, 2012
Featured in Answers Magazine

Because of the Curse, we have a ready-made platform to shine as lights in a dark world.

The Curse has real-life implications that go much deeper than academic questions about science and theology. God expects us to put feet to our biblical worldview. Knowing that we live in a fallen and cursed world, we need to go out and serve hurting individuals.

Jesus Christ set the example, and He expects us to follow. “I was hungry and you gave Me food . . . I was sick and you visited Me” (Matthew 25:35–36). These aren’t just idle words but Christ’s commission to every disciple.

Because of the Curse, we have a ready-made platform to shine as lights in a dark world. So why don’t we follow Christ in this area, and serve? For most of us, the problem is not heartlessness or lack of opportunity. We simply need good ideas and guidance—and perhaps a little push.

How Do You Get Started?

  • Ask your pastor. It may sound obvious, but the best place to start is your pastor. If your church does not offer a particular ministry, your pastor (or other church leader) probably knows an organization to consider. Just ask!
  • Check the Internet. If you live in the USA, start by visiting the web sites of Ministry Watch (www.ministrywatch.com) or the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (www.ecfa.org) to find a reputable ministry that matches your personal interests.
  • Sign up at volunteer networks. Still having difficulty finding volunteer opportunities? At www.christianvolunteering.org you can share your personal interests and abilities, and in strict privacy they will connect you to participating organizations.

Assistance for the Elderly

Help the Elderly

With the retirement population growing, various programs are becoming popular.

  • Organize a shut-in ministry. Create a list of volunteers, including their skills and free days. Then ask elderly members to list their needs.
  • Contact a nearby nursing home or retirement center. In many cases, church groups can host regular meetings, often with few restrictions.
  • Adopt a grandparent. Adopt-A-Grandparent of Atlanta (www.adoptagrandparent.org) matches volunteers with elderly people who need friends, and volunteers are free to share their faith. They offer free materials and advice for anyone willing to start a program in their area.

Hospital Volunteer

Hospitals are eager for volunteers, who do everything from running errands in the emergency room to delivering newspapers to patients. While only qualified professionals can counsel, your faithful service will open opportunities to talk with staff and other volunteers.

  • Call your local hospital and ask for the “volunteer coordinator.”

Homes for Children

In God’s eyes, “pure religion” means compassion on widows and the fatherless (James 1:27). In today’s world, that includes helping single mothers with “crisis pregnancies” and foster care.

  • Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Focus on the Family (www.heartlink.org) keeps a list of pregnancy resource centers that they recommend. Also, they now provide centers with up to $1,050 worth of materials for distribution each year.
  • Open your home to foster care. It’s not as hard as you might think, at least in the USA. Most areas have more children than families to take care of them. The government provides money and expertise to help. Contact your local foster care office, where you will get several hours of training and then certification.

Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief

Don’t wait until the next catastrophe. Make contacts now and get the training you need so you’ll be ready when the need arises.

  • Sign up with the Red Cross. Although secular, the Red Cross is on the front lines of volunteer response. Let them know about your willingness to help and begin their training programs now.
  • Contact Christian relief ministries. Operation Renewed Hope (www.operationrenewedhope.org) is a ministry devoted specifically to disaster relief. Let them know about your skills and availability so they can plug you in the next time disaster strikes.

Food & Clothes For The Needy

Christ said, “You have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good” (Mark 14:7). You can serve whenever you wish!

  • Contribute time or money to a food pantry. Most cities have several church-based or volunteer food pantries, and they’re always looking for help. If you want to start a pantry, supplies are available through government-assisted “food banks” (see www.feedingamerica.org to find advice and the nearest food bank in the USA).
  • Contribute time or money to a local rescue mission or soup kitchen. Most major cities have a local rescue mission or at least a soup kitchen. Check the phone book or ask your church staff about contacts.

Service at Church

As Christians, we must never lose focus on our number one goal—glorifying the Creator and Savior. Serving others is just a means to that end. Often the best place to begin looking for ways to serve is your church. God has raised up the church both to preach God’s Word and to “serve tables,” as Peter described the need to help widows (Acts 6:1–4).

Helping others is not limited to Christian ministries. Any community service allows you to meet others and to share the love of Christ with fellow workers, as you serve together.

Answers Magazine

July – September 2009

How do I deal with cancer? Why did God allow evil in the world? Why do snakes appear designed to kill? God’s curse is a historical reality, and we can see its results in everyday life. Don’t miss this special issue, which will give you the tools to tackle questions about evil and its true origin.

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