I don’t know about you all, but I get tired of being a hypocrite. In fact, every year it’s my goal to be less of a hypocrite than I was the year before. And I have to tell you, I also get tired of reading (or hearing) the exposes of people who have so much to say about mission, yet aren’t actually involved in any themselves. It seems that, every time I turn around, somebody has posted the lyrics to some song about social action on their site, or a Bible verse, or are talking about the last book on mission that they read. In fact, many of them are just outright quoting the book that they read, but pawning the thoughts off as their own. I, for one, would really like to be able say that the stuff I write about, I’m also doing, or at the very least, trying to figure out how to get involved in. Which brings me to my point.
In the past few months, I’ve begun to realize that “getting involved” is a lot easier to say than it is to do. And it’s not just about carving out the time to do it. It’s also about knowing how to actually get involved. I’m totally taking a stab here, but I have this suspicion that, back in the 70’s and 80’s, when western generations were only about making a buck, charities changed from places where you volunteered your time, to places that you donated your money to. I believe, however, that back in the 90’s, things began to change among young people. They began to want something more. They wanted to contribute. They wanted to make a difference. They wanted their lives to matter. And I think that that’s still true today. The problem is, I don’t think most people know where or how to get involved. And thus the dilemma. Fact is, I work for The Salvation Army, head up youth ministry for a division, and even have a youth project of my own here in Tottenham, but I could only give you a handful of places to get involved, and all but one of them is youth ministry related. I was even interviewed last week by an agency doing work for the government, who’s job it is to find out what opportunities there are for young people to volunteer. I hated having to admit that, here in London, we don’t offer many. So what to do about it?
Well, for one thing, as a DYO, I would like to begin to change that here in London. I would like to find specific opportunities for people to get involved, and then to do a good job at making those opportunities known to the public. I’ve always believed that The Salvation Army was a good church to reach people through, simply because, though people are less and less willing to attend your worship service, people are more and more inclined to come along beside you for purposes of social action. They see authenticity in it. They see faith in action. And it’s something that they can believe in.
The other thing I’d like to do is to be able to make people aware of mission and social action opportunities through this blog. Specific and practical ways that you can get involved, and that you can help. Sure kids are being hunted and trafficked from Africa, but what in the world can we do about it? Glad you asked!
In my last post, I posted the link to a horrific story
. A story of children in Northern Uganda who, every night, walk to a shelter called Noah’s Ark
where they’ll be safe from people who are kidnapping children and selling them into slavery. I actually saw this story on CNN and it ripped my heart out. But it also peaked my interest and gave me some hope because, rather than a story about an entire nation full of children in need, this was also a story about a very specific placed called Noah’s Ark
. I thought to myself that, if I could just track down Noah’s Ark
, maybe there would be a way to give to them specifically, or even to plan some sort of a mission trip where we could raise money to help build more facilities.
What I ended up finding out, however, is that they are funded through a Christian ministry here in the UK called Tearfund
. And that, among the many ways you can give to Tearfund, is a credit card
that donates to Tearfund every time you spend £100. Awesome! My wife and I purchase our groceries online every month! And we usually purchase about £200 worth! So I applied for the card, was approved, and will now be cancelling the card we used to use for grocery purchases.
While I wouldn’t want to encourage anybody to get a credit card, I would like to encourage any of you who know how to use them responsibly, and who already have one anyways, to consider replacing it with this one. It’s through a bank called Cooperative which also happens to be a bank that only invests in ethical organizations. So it’s a win win situation. UNLESS, of course, you don’t know how to handle a credit card. I feel that that disclaimer is important because debt is one of the biggest ball and chains on our society. Christians in particular.
So there you go. My first in, hopefully, a long line of practical ways to get involved. It’s not much, but it is a start. I would be really happy if, from time to time;, when you stumble onto other practical ways to get involved, if you would post them on this site or even shoot me an email.
Btw, unfortunately, the above credit card is for UK residents only.
Finally, I’d like to dedicate the song on the right to my good friend Larry
who is a constant reminder to me that you’re never too old to be involved in youth ministry. In fact, anytime I start to wonder, I just think of Larry and say, “Heck! If he can still do it, I’ve got another twenty years or so before I need to think about getting out!” Thanks for that Larry! : )