Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.
I’ve been reading a lot about community development lately, specifically interested in how congregations might discover new ways to get outside our worship boxes and be more missional. My initiation into this topic was through my participation on the Together For Hope leadership team. This has let me to several books (specifically Practicing Community Development by Donald and Dorris Littrell; The Power of Asset Mapping by Luther Snow; Memories, Hopes and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change by Mark Lau Branson). I also was privileged to attend the University of Missouri Community Development Academy a couple of weeks ago.
In the course of my research and reading, two very practical questions arose (specifically from reading through Mike Green’s material):
1. What are the gifts of “hands, heads, and heart” in [your congregation]?
2. What are you willing to get off the couch and do?
Great questions for all of us as individuals and for our organizations, churches, and businesses.
Today is World AIDS Day… take a little time and surf around. Get aware, get involved, find out where you might volunteer in your community, Comment below on what you find out.
If not today, when are you going to do this?
Here are a couple of sites that I know about to get you started. Post some that you know (or discover) in the comments…
I left my house on Thursday to give someone a ride. I hung out at a coffee shop killing some time while my passenger (we’ll call him John) visited a friend, Charlie. After an hour or so, I went to pick John up again and take him to his new temporary apartment (arrangements that were necessary until his permanent housing becomes available). I know that’s a quirky way to begin a post but I thought I would share the mundane way my day started.
Except that it wasn’t really that mundane. A few more details…John’s friend is a poodle. A poodle named Charlie. The poodle is staying with a sitter while John waits for his new apartment to become available. The sitter had called and said that it was time for Charlie to be groomed. John called me this morning just before left the house to ask if we might add a trip to Charlie’s sitter’s house to our route. He spoke about his poodle as if it were his child. He talked about how it understood why he had to have it stay with a sitter and he knew the poodle would still love him. This all seemed a little humorous to me.
Except that it wasn’t really that humorous. John has HIV/AIDS. An HIV/AIDS ministry in our area called and asked if I could give John a ride because he was being “evicted” from the apartment he had been living in.
Except it wasn’t an apartment. It was a hotel. I was taking him to another hotel (one in which most folk reading this would never stay). He’s resigned to living in hotels until he is able to move into some new government housing that will be coming available in the next few weeks. This ministry helps John pay for the hotel rooms which keeps him from basically being homeless. Which makes you wonder where John’s family lives…one would think they could help John out through this tough time.
Except that his family has disowned John. They live 15 miles from the hotel where he was staying. His parents have “failed to live up to the title ‘parent’ for quite some time” according to John. Which leaves John and Charlie the poodle and the good folk at the HIV/AIDS ministry, and someone else that might be willing to keep his dog, or give him a ride, or just be a friend, to be…what? family? What I did doesn’t come close to qualifying as such.