Monday is For Missions : What Are You Doing For Others This Year?

mmThe Christmas season is upon us. Our city has begun putting up lights and decorations on the light poles that line the streets. Families have begun putting up their trees and are well into their Christmas shopping. Our church calendar is filling up quickly. Between class and ministry parties, choir celebrations, and Christmas-themed sermons, we are reminded at every turn that we have entered into a very special time in the life of the church; the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It would be very easy for us to get lost in all of the fun and fellowship side of the holiday. There is certainly a place for all of these. I often tell our people that the priority in all that we do is life-changing ministry that leads others to worship the One True God and His Son Jesus. Don’t get me wrong here, I enjoy Christmas parties. I enjoy spending time with our various ministries/classes in times of fellowship. I enjoy the fun of the Christmas season. I am thankful that in the midst of all this, we prioritize ministry opportunities that intentionally introduce people to the love of the Savior. What does this look like for us?

1. Angel Tree Christmas Party

Angel Tree is a ministry program of Prison Fellowship which reaches out to the children of inmates who are incarcerated in our state prisons and their families with the love of Christ. Angel Tree gives us the opportunity to share the Savior’s love by helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the prisoner’s family. Angel Tree works to connect the gift requests/desires of the inmate for his/her family and the need for the children to remain connected to their parent during an especially emotional time of year. All of this happens while maintaining the dignity of both the inmate and the family. We help to provide toy and clothing gifts to the children as well as hand-written letters and family pictures to the inmates.

2. Christmas Party at Local Multi-Housing Complex

Across the street from our church is a multi-housing complex that have been volunteering and ministering in for many years. We take time on a Saturday and provide a simple party for the residents and children. There is food, games, a small gift, and a gospel presentation through the telling of the Christmas story. The greatest present we give here is our presence. This party is a simple way for us to communicate that each one is important and that we care about them. We have found that this event, along with other seasonal events (Easter, back-to-school, etc.), are critical to building lasting and meaningful relationships.

3. Operation Christmas Child – Charlotte Distribution Center

We have some of our people heading to Charlotte to work at the Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center this year. Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse which delivers shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, candy, etc. to children around the world who may not have any gifts this Christmas season. Once the shoeboxes leave local collection centers, they make their way to Charlotte to be prepared for their final trip to over one hundred countries around the world.

Allow me to leave you with a question today. What are you doing this Christmas season for someone who will in no way be able to return the favor?

Relief Offering for Haiti

Most everyone knows of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated the tiny island nation of Haiti last Tuesday. It is difficult  and saddening to watch countries like Haiti and others who have been stricken with similar disasters struggle through the aftermath. Weak governments, lack of national wealth, poor military, and inadequate infrastructure make the recovery from the these disasters all the more difficult. It is encouraging to me to see the outpouring of support  that is pouring into Haiti. This help has come form such agencies as the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Doctors Without Borders, SBC Disaster Relief, and World Vision.

Sad but true, nothing brings the human spirit and heart together like tragedy. The world has seen this time and time again. From Hurricane Katrina to the Southeast Asia Tsunami of 2005, tragedy stirs the hearts of people. As we watch the recovery efforts unfold in Haiti, our hearts are burdened and hurting. We want to do something tangible.

At Port Royal Baptist Church, we will be doing our part. This coming Sunday we will take a Relief Offering for Haiti, giving our people an opportunity to help those who are hurting and displaced. Along with our monetary gifts, the people of Haiti need our prayers, both now and in the future. Haiti is a dark place spiritually. I truly believe the hands-on work of clean-up and rebuilding will serve as the hands and feet of Jesus before the people of Haiti. Perhaps through the simple acts of love more avenues for the gospel will open up.