Thursday, April 12, 2007

How Does God Say Do It?

Apparently efficiency has no relevance anymore. Effectiveness as well, has left the building.The concept that the Lord has methods rather than just loosely defined principles is no longer accepted, either. From all appearances they have gone to the far country, never to return. They have been replaced by a new creature called simply, "ministry".

Let's think this through a bit with a few real life examples that I have experienced.

A single Mom I knew needed clothes for her children, a saving relationship with Jesus, and similarly, a friend and mentor. Four women discussed her situation gossiped, decided to clean out their attics, sell their kids clothes at a yard sale, donate the proceeds to their church, then have the church cut the woman a check so that she could "buy her kids clothes". In this process, four separate women spent four days each cleaning out kids clothes, pricing items, making signs, and having a yard sale. By the end, they were exhausted, their families missed them, and they had pizza delivered because they were too busy "doing ministry" to make dinner. Since the church mailed the check, there was no interaction, no gospel, no encouragement for a weary Mom, no friend, no mentor. The surprise about why the Mom didn't come visit the church "after all they'd done for her" was shocking.

May I submit that if the Lord's methods were employed, efficiency and effectiveness would have gone hand in hand? Might I suggest that we just pack up the clothes, take some cookies and coffee over to the Mom, and share with her not only the clothes we have, but our relationship with our Lord? Perhaps I am being too simplistic?

How about this one? (Please forgive me if I rant.) Say the Lord gives you a heart to help young women with eating disorders. And say you have a friend that, after adopting a child from an unwed mother, desires to help unwed mothers. Following the world's plan for "ministry", the next logical step would be to enlist a board of directors, start a non-profit corporation, buy a 1.3 million dollar 49 acre, 9500 square foot property, and begin to drum up funds to "start a ministry". Buying high-dollar designer clothing and jewelery at wholesale to resell would be a great way to make money for your ministry. Encourage donors that their names would be printed in "all appropriate literature", and engraved on the obligatory brick to line the front Gratitude Walkway. When the funds are ready, acquire a full-time staff to include round-the-clock doctors and counselors, and the necessary food service, cleaning , grounds maintenance and administrative staff. With the whole 9500 square feet, you would be able to maintain a 12 bed facility. Think of it: twelve young women at one time would be "ministered to". All this for only 50 billion man-hours and a multi-million dollar budget each year. Incredible. This must be God.

While I remove my tongue from my cheek, please consider whether there might be a better way. Has anyone ever heard of, "He setteth the solitary in families"? Someone dear to me recently shared about this new ministry started by some mutual acquaintances and was perplexed over my quizzical stare. I was dumbfounded, and still am.

Is it just the uneducated side of me that thinks that these situations could be more lovingly and effectively handled within the context of a family taking in an unwed mother, allowing her to share in family life, learning about how healthy families relate, learning child care...being loved? I understand that the average family may not know how to handle eating disorders and counseling ~ but they could drive her somewhere, and they could listen. Simpler is better. God is not the author of bureaucracy. When the Lord gives us a burden for something, perhaps He wants us to personally do something about it.

That is, if we aren't too busy doing ministry.

[End of rant. We will now return to the regularly scheduled (but not regularly updated) blog.]

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