Lend a Hand

If you’re anything like many life-long Adventists, ever since you were small – through Sabbath school, Adventure Club, Pathfinders, and beyond – you have been taught the importance of helping those in need.  As Christians, we know that we are supposed to help bear each other’s load.  The Bible is explicitly clear on the topic.  Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (ESV) 

The Contemporary English Version translates this verse a different way.  It says, “You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.”

Our culture is incredibly “me-centric.”  As long as I am happy, as long as I am comfortable, as long as MY needs are met, then all is well with the world.  It is rare that true altruism is perpetuated or encouraged. 

However, as Christians, shouldn’t looking out for our brothers and sisters rank above taking care of ourselves?

In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked about their feelings towards volunteering.  Seventy-five percent of respondents indicated that they “always” or “often” loved to be involved in volunteer activities.  Only 3% indicated that they “rarely” or “never” enjoyed this type of outreach.

The same study also asked young people about their involvement in witnessing activities.  Sixty-two percent of young people said that they “always” or “often” participated in such activities. However, 13% said that they “rarely” or “never” participated.

What about the young people in your congregation?  If you surveyed them, asking the same questions, what would their responses be? 

It may be time to revamp the outreach program for your youth! If you are looking for some new ideas, check out the website Christian Outreach Ministry: Tools, Programs, and Ideas for inspiration.  Here are a few of the creative outreach experiences that they suggest:

  • Provide meals, cookies, gift baskets, or other treats in the teacher's lounge at an area school.
  • Clean up yards of widows or widowers in your neighborhood.
  • Plan a “Back to School Party” for foster care children. Free food, games, and a backpack/school supply giveaway for all who come.
  • Provide fresh flowers and a "listening ear" to the residents at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
  • Give some of your time to tutor children at an elementary or primary school in your area.
  • Serve healthy snacks to patients of chemotherapy at your local hospital.

(For the complete list of ideas, check out: http://www.christianoutreachtools.com/outreach-ideas.html.)

If we are fulfilling and obeying the law of Christ through serving others, it is time that we take these actions seriously and do our part to lend a helping hand!