For seven years I worked to get as many volunteers as we could get. The needs were great and the workers were few. The more I saw the more my heart yearned to help those that walked in our doors. It was heart wrenching work.

When I wasn’t working to get volunteers and serve clients I was working to raise funds. It was one of my main jobs. We needed money to maintain operations and we needed money to expand services. We didn’t want money just to have it. We wanted it because we saw needs that needed met and we knew we didn’t have the resources to meet them.

Looking back now I often wonder if we had the wrong model. We are a nonprofit and we meet the needs of specific groups of people with a set of resources. It’s a noble pursuit. Because there are so many needs a lot of nonprofits spring up. People have personal stories and they drive them to help others in the same situation. Yet, Jesus gave us a model of ministry that is more effective.

What if nonprofits spent time equipping others to meet needs. Jesus equips His saints to help mankind and His model of ministry doesn’t require a lot of money. Equip yourself with the skills and knowledge of the gospel and then go out and touch the lives of others. A simple model to follow.

When we can’t meet their needs then we can find them resources that do. That’s what nonprofits do. We pride ourselves on referrals and having partnerships with other organizations. When we can’t meet a need we connect people to others who can. A simple model of ministry.

I recently started as a chaplain for a local company. I visit the company for a couple hours a week and make connections. If someone needs to talk or support I can provide it. I am available if they want to pray. I can also do a hospital visit or go to a funeral for them. It hit me when I was on one of my visits that an equipped saint touching the lives of other people is the most effective model for helping those in need.

We sought to help women who were pregnant and in need of support and resources. We helped with parenting programs, material aid, counseling, mentoring and by connecting them to resources to meet their needs. I don’t know why anyone couldn’t do the same thing with people they know.

Only Jesus can be the all that people need. So don’t worry about meeting everyones needs, but see where you can be effective. Look for resources that will help the people you know. Remember that the goal is to get people living and working on their own. Functioning in a healthy way. The goal is not to make them dependent on us, but to help them for a time so that they don’t need us.

Every week we come into contact with people that we can help. Those people need us to be ready to help in the way that we can. They need someone to love them, listen and pray. They need someone to say hard things to them and steer them back into life. Isn’t that the goal? To keep going, persevering through trial when we deal with the disappointment and pain of life.

Sometimes we simply get off the path and we need someone who can help us get back on it. We don’t need a nonprofit to help us do that. We need you. We are all living in the milieu together. Let’s equip ourselves with the knowledge of how to use God’s Word to help others, how to listen and communicate, and how to coach others over obstacles and challenges and back into life.

When you go back to work this week there will be people that you can help. Are you ready? No one organization or even many can meet the needs of the people that we have in our lives, but we can do our part to. Together we can make a difference. It’s our way of giving back what has been given to us.

Marcy Pedersen

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