Form an Unlikely Missions Partnership

The crowded restaurant held tables of church volunteers, local college sorority sisters, high school service club members, and families. This unlikely mishmash of people was there for a fund-raiser for The Hub, a homeless ministry in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Hub’s leadership team has intentionally worked to welcome volunteers and supporters from a variety of groups, along with its primary target of churches, resulting in a sense of community between Christians and non-Christians who serve northwest Louisiana’s homeless.

Missions projects with other organizations are fun but come with challenges. The worldviews and actions are different. The language can get a little salty at times, the politics can get a little heated, but there is a huge advantage in the fact that we can be witnesses to the other volunteers as we serve.

A fund-raiser at a local restaurant is an easy joint project to try; simply meet with the restaurant management to set up the terms and the details such as hours, profits, and how the volunteers can help. Contact local organizations to include in the event. Ask each organization to promote the event. Afterward, be sure to touch base with all involved to share how much money was raised and how it will be spent.

Another great project to bring groups together in service is a community dinner for the homeless. Making it like a banquet makes the meal become a cherished memory.

Hosting a Community Dinner for the Homeless

  • Select a date, time, and place.
  • Gather leaders from churches, service clubs, and para-church organizations. Ask for help with acquiring the food, tables, chairs, tablecloths, centerpieces, dishes, silverware, and other necessary items. Ask for ideas to include in the event; for example, consider including haircuts, gift bags with candy and new socks and T-shirts, or a photo booth. Assign areas of responsibility to each participating organization (promotion, setup, and cleanup).
  • On the day of the event, be early and be cheerful!
  • Expect a little chaos.
  • Thank everyone after the event.

Working with other organizations can become a missions project in itself. Setting an example of loving God and loving others attracts the attention of volunteers with partnering agencies, opening doors to share the gospel that propels us to serve.

Being a Christlike Example to Other Volunteers

  • Be prepared. Train volunteers on the need to be Christlike examples.
  • Be focused. Stay focused on the objective of serving others, not on the behavior of the volunteers.
  • Be kind. Remember that a harsh word can turn people away from Christ. Work to make all volunteers feel welcomed.
  • Be an example. Work hard.
  • Be sensitive. Stay away from the subject of politics when working alongside secular and other groups.
  • Be unique. Wear church T-shirts to help church members stand out from other volunteers.

Deb Douglas volunteers with The Hub and Purchased, a ministry to sex trade workers, as she serves at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana.

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