Love your neighbour as yourself. Do you wonder what it looks like to achieve? When do you know that you’ve been successful? Is this just another ‘to do’ for your already huge list?
Maybe it could be that you do life with a one degree change. It’s what many have attempted. A one degree change. And they’ve found it greatly satisfying.
Neighbours … that is, families with young children, often isolated from their ‘village’ of family, wondering how to get through this season when others on social media make it look like life’s a breeze.
mainly Ministries is an umbrella organisation providing solutions for churches to connect with community families who have young children. Designed for churches to pick up and run with, the solution options don’t just provide churches with a sustainable model, the organisation considers itself a partner in this vital community connection. On-going resources and support are provided to ensure the journey is less strenuous and more achievable. Everything has been carefully thought through and designed to be a platform for connection.
Normally, of course, much of this would happen in person, as it did with Amisha:
Amisha arrived in her new country with her husband, knowing no-one. She had no driver’s license. With a newborn, her husband at work and no family, she felt trapped without friends or support. It wasn’t long before she felt suicidal. Someone who knew of the local group recommended Amisha attend. Transport was organised.
Her life took a 180 degree turn. She felt welcomed, loved and accepted. The team and the session itself became her life line.
Not only was there support with the provision of transport and meals, this team prayed with and for her. They even taught her learn how to drive.
Now Amisha and her husband now believe that Jesus is the one to have given her hope for the future. She continues to journey in her faith, retaining a friendship with the team.
Amisha connected at a church group supported by mainly Ministries with people who cared. But this team didn’t think it was enough to be ‘nice people doing nice things’. Their one degree change was to deliberately go out of their way and provide Amisha with the connection she needed. It took time and effort to teach her to drive, to spend time with her and to offer to pray when life became overwhelming. This team ensured that Amisha had the chance to consider whether Jesus was real or not.
During 2020, the UK team of mainly Ministries dreamed of a way to connect with first-time mums or those finding the isolation difficult. Before COVID, the solutions provided heavily relied on a personal connection. Online versions of our programmes were created to ensure local partner churches were supported with ways to continue ministry. In this way, they were able to stay in contact with families. Online, over eight weeks and through song and interaction, followed by the deliberate presentation of discussion topics of interest to these mums, churches have been able to make and maintain connections. Mothers who have signed up from outside existing networks are introduced to active groups in their area. This way, following lockdown, families will have connections with followers of Jesus and will be able to join a weekly in-person group for families with pre-schoolers.
One volunteer team member recounts an in-depth conversation with a store employee who discussed how grateful her daughter was with the way the local church had connected despite all the difficulties brought about by restrictions.
The role of the church could not be more strategic. Our ability to remain focused on the hope of Jesus is the place for constant and consistent attention. Watching out for where God is working, and joining him, is a worthwhile way to remain in that place of hope, realising that despite the crisis, he is definitely at work.
Email engsolutions@mainlyMinistries.org for more information on how your church might partner so that together, joy-filled opportunities can be created for Jesus to be revealed.
Names and details have been changed to retain anonymity.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by guest contributors are those of the author. Although broadly in keeping with the objectives of Jubilee+, the views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Jubilee+ team and directors and/or other contributors to this site.
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