If your church vanished, would your community care?
Would your city leaders notice that you’re gone?
Would your local schools be surprised by your absence?
Would the underprivileged and those living in poverty note a difference?
The Externally Focused Network is a ministry that trains churches to impact their communities with good news and good deeds. There’s an excellent, although lengthy, article on their website called How Externally Focused Churches Minister to Children. In the following excerpt, Omar Reyes, Community Development Director for NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, shares some thoughts on outreach to children:
Working with children, especially those in the community who may come and go out of a program, can be frustrating work. “People don’t always get involved because they do not see immediate results. You have to pour your life into kids and realize that you may never see the results,” encourages Omar. He makes this statement not simply from observation, but from his own childhood experiences. Born and raised in Belize, Omar says Canadian missionaries had a huge influence on his life. “They came in 50 years ago and won my parents to Christ. All the way from elementary to college, the missionaries taught me. I was the kid that they reached out to. I was on the other side. I didn’t know how much it formed in me until much later in life.”
After he left Belize, the missionaries never saw him again and may never know what an impact they had on his life. “I would go in Monday and stay all week, like a boarding school. Those missionaries had me cutting wood and baking bread and they poured their life into me. And yet, I grew up rebellious, and most of them don’t know what’s going on with me now.” Omar’s own life is testimony that to work and change a generation means pouring out and leaving the results up to God.
“Abraham should be our example of what it means to pour your life out and change a nation,” he says. The Bible says that Abraham gave his life to something that he could only see from a far off and Hebrews 11: 1, 2 says: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
Omar says, “You cannot care for glory if you are going to work with kids. It is not the work that pleases God. It’s because of their faith that God commended Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel and others. Even if we don’t see immediate results in serving children, we have faith that God will bring the results and change a nation and a generation.”