Many people I grew up with and now go to school with participate in ministry, but they go home to a different location after they are finished.
I was that way, as well. This was fueled by growing up in the suburbs.
The church I went to up in Milford, Ohio would organize service projects every now and then, but there was nothing offered consistently.
Also, there was nothing that people could invest their lives in.
There is one family I know whose lives were changed after doing a week-long service project. They ended up (and still do) getting involved in Whiz Kids consistently.
The mom even became one of the site leaders. But they still had to drive all the way back to the suburbs at the end of their time with the kids.
At Cincinnati Christian University (the school I graduated from), students are required to participate with an organization for 12 weeks out of the semester. Not 12 whole weeks, but just one day of the week for one hour.
After they do their time, they go back to campus. And after the semester is over, they go home for the summer.
The consistency they built up is lost over the summer months.
Why It is Best to Live Where You Serve
I was one of those people who did their service time and then left the site. I would even get excited when the organization cancelled activities for the day.
This is ironic because I have always wanted to be a missionary (since the age of ten), but I did not yet know what it was like to have a missionary heart.
I did notice, however, that all the missionaries I heard of LIVED where they did their service.
I got involved with BLOC Ministries over a year ago when I started dating my husband.
He was (and still is) the leader of one of BLOC’s After School Programs, so he asked me if I wanted to come one day.
I did, and it was so overwhelming. I was not ready for the culture shock.
By the third week of volunteering, I began to get the hang of things. Soon after that, I couldn’t get enough of it!
When Jesse (my husband) and I got engaged, I grew excited about moving to Price Hill (in Cincinnati) on the very street we do our service!
Now, Jesse and I have been married for almost five months, which means I have been living in the community for five months.
I believe my relationship with the kids from the After School Program has been strengthened as a result of living in the community.
We have had several kids over to our house for dinner and a movie. We have run into kids going for walks in the neighborhood. We have had kids enthusiastically come up to us in Kroger. We have kids who tell us they love us.
And every now and then, a kid will tell us they saw one of our cats sitting in the front window of our house!
Those things are all victories in the kingdom of God.
If You Can’t Live Where You Serve, Be Consistent with Where You Serve
I was fortunate to fall into this ministry and live in this community, but I understand that it is difficult for people to pick up everything and move to a new location.
This reminds me of a passage of Scripture where Jesus speaks with a rich young man. The rich young man wants eternal life and asks what he can do. Jesus tells him he has to sell all of his belongings, give them to the poor, and follow him. But the rich young man was troubled by this and walked away (Mark 10:17-31).
It saddened the man that he would need to give up all of his belongings to follow Jesus.
Jesus was probably sad for him, too. The hopeful thing is that we don’t know what actually happened with the rich young man.
He could have later chosen to do what Jesus said.
This guy also didn’t have a car or cell phone. We do.
Modern day technology has made it completely possible for people to answer Jesus call, and then drive back home after.
In your Christian service, be consistent with the time you spend. It’s beneficial to show up at the same time and on the same days of the week.
The people you serve truly count on you to be there. When you don’t show up, they wonder why.
For example, one of my friends from college graduated with me.
She began telling the kids three weeks before her final week that she was graduating and would not be coming to BLOC anymore.
Those kids did not smile for the rest of the night.
This is Not a Guilt Trip
I am very passionate about this topic, so it may have seemed like I was hounding you.
I wasn’t! I just wanted to let you know how living in the community you serve in and being consistent makes a difference.
Do what you’re going to do, but do it for the kingdom of God.
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