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Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
Faith IMPACTS Billings – a newly-forming, interfaith group of faith leaders, community members, and service providers – works to “empower people of faith to create positive, systemic change in our community.”
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in August. The stage was set in the center of downtown Billings, Montana. Our lineup included a Native American Drum Circle and talented artists from various faith communities around town. We had food, drink, and a few activities...
Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
As the holidays approach and the “season of giving” descends, many of us will spend time ruminating on what it means to give. Is it better to give time or money? How do we give responsibly? What does our giving say about us, and who we are?
As Director of Lutheran Settlement House’s Adult Literacy & Lifelong Learning program, I am fortunate to be surrounded by volunteers who give of themselves on a daily basis to support the adult learners we serve. With the support of funders...
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
“Jason, please don’t come anymore.” It hurt but it was something I needed to hear for the growth of our program and the overall benefit to the community. Alisad Banda is the program manager of the Lutheran Health & Development program in Zambia and is a dear friend as well as a mentor. When I think of Christian Servant Leadership, Alisad comes to my mind as someone who has taught me a great deal about serving God and serving others no matter where I am in life.
Over the past 13...
Thursday, November 17th, 2016
At ACTS of Love, we are committed to serving our community’s youngest families. We offer free childcare and parenting-related services to teen moms and dads, allowing them to return to high school and continue their education.
We firmly believe all people are wired to serve, whether through volunteering, financial giving, their professional career, parenthood, etc. We all have an innate desire to care for those around us and we know this is also true for the individuals we serve. At our...
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
I write this as the Chicago Cubs, my life-long favorite professional baseball team, are in the midst of a tough struggle to win their first World Series in over 100 years. I am joined in my enthusiasm for this team by both my predecessor at Wheat Ridge Ministries, Rich Bimler, and my successor, Paul Miles. Signs of my allegiance to the Cubbies in my office at Wheat Ridge included my framed, “Die Hard Cubs Fan Club” card and a large framed print photo of Wrigley Field taken on the night of...
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
There are few places that feel like home for me outside of those places where I’ve actually lived. The guest house at Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem is one of those places – a destination offering respite to pilgrims, missionaries, and young adults like myself seeking peace.
A historic stone structure, the building that is now Augusta Victoria Hospital, served many purposes before...
Thursday, October 6th, 2016
“We are going to do this as a family?”
After two years of bitter words, sarcastic laughter, pushing and shoving, one of our young artists referred to our group as “family” and the project for the day as something they could do together.
MyCanvas began after years of seeing adults and children struggle with the challenges of living in poverty here in Nashville, Tennessee. The mobile youth arts program hosts workshops during school breaks to introduce art as a means to increase...
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
When I felt called to ministry as a 20-year-old, what I was signing up for was following Jesus, loving people, and leading others to follow Jesus and love people. Over the past couple of decades, it seems my major role as a pastor has been program management. I haven’t been a minister; I’ve been an administrator. I know that’s one of the equipping gifts, but the way we do it in 21st century America is not what I signed up for. I have no passion for it, and I’m not good at it....
Thursday, September 8th, 2016
The number of people in the Seattle area who are surviving in their cars has increased in recent years. Hilary Carr and the team at Compass Housing Alliance recognized this opportunity to serve and created the Road to Housing Program. The program not only helps individuals secure permanent housing, but also is developing assessment tools and strategies for identifying the most effective ways to help the population as a whole, those who are marginalized and living in their...
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
It is not a pleasant sensation to be backed into a corner when having a discussion with someone, but Fred was not in the mood to be concerned with feelings. We were in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio, for their twice weekly meal called Morning Blessings. Fred was confused why my comrade and I (both middle class, college-aged folks) were present at a meal meant for those facing food scarcity. When Trevor and I explained we were volunteering as part of the young adult...
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
For me, something wasn’t adding up.
I was a preacher’s kid, had gone to church and Sunday school all my life, had completed my confirmation instruction and been certified as a communicant member of the church, continued in the faith, raised my family in the faith. There was a word… I had heard it often; I had had it in plain sight since grade school when I saw it in print and used my phonics to sound out its pronunciation: “diskipple.”
But not long ago, I came...
Thursday, July 28th, 2016
“Build it and they will come” is a familiar phrase, but for some ministries, they prefer to focus on the “Go” of Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Instead of investing in brick-and-mortar to love their neighbors, they opt for a pedal-to-the-metal approach.
A number of mobile ministries have hit the road, serving communities across the country and meeting a variety of needs, from showers to fresh fruit. Retro-fitted and custom-built buses give organizations...
Thursday, July 14th, 2016
The back to school season is drawing near! Towards the end of my college experience, I became more aware of the questions older adults asked me, “Where do you go to school,” “What do you do,” “What are you going to do after college?” Deep down, I hated these questions. I longed for someone to ask me about who I was, what I cared about, and how God was at work in my life. I wanted to be freed from the culturally-reinforced understanding that I was to be defined by where I went to school...
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
One of the great privileges of working at Wheat Ridge Ministries is encountering phenomenal leaders on a regular basis. Wheat Ridge funds a variety of programs and projects that serve a diverse group of people and communities. Some leaders are working in after-school programs, some serve seniors, some work in free clinics and the list goes on. However different they are, each of them are united by the fact that they are starting something NEW. All of the programs funded by Wheat Ridge are three...
Thursday, June 16th, 2016
One of my favorite Bible stories is Jesus’ call of the first disciples (Matt. 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20). In it, Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee and sees two brothers fishing. He says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And then, without a word or hesitation, Andrew and Simon left their nets and followed.
I’ve always wondered why both Matthew and Mark make it clear that the brothers left their fishing nets. In a way, those nets become a character in the story. The...
Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
“Are you ready?”
I’m sitting in the passenger seat of a Glade Run vehicle watching Tara Harvan, the Glade Run Transitions Program Coordinator, help our students get settled in the car. The students are dressed for success: official work shirts, ID badges and mud boots. We are on our way to Adventures Farm, a small local farm on Glade Run’s main campus.
“Are you ready??” she asks the students again. With smiles and laughter from the back seat, we set off.
Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Christ calls us to serve others, and He has called me to serve the elderly. I have been serving senior communities for over four years and have the joy of doing whatever I can to give our residents a meaningful day each and every day.
Let’s be honest, working with some seniors can require plenty of patience as speech, memory, personalities and physical abilities change or falter. The work can be demanding and stressful, but, bottom line, it is extremely rewarding.
For many, serving...
Thursday, May 5th, 2016O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have sh0wed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come. Psalms 71:17-18
I recently sat down over coffee with four residents at Concordia Life Care Community in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. May is Older Americans Month, so I recruited their assistance for this blog post, inviting them to discuss things that...