Part of my job as a Chaplain for Marysville Fire and Police is to drop-in to the patrol room and the fire stations occasionally and just check-in on the cops, fire fighters and paramedics. This involves a lot of “how’s the family doin’?” kind of conversation. I like it, and these men and women really appreciate someone who’s there to care for them without and agenda. But this inevitably leads to the question being asked of me at least 3 or 4 times during a visit, “What’s new with you?”
Well, in this season of pandemic, social-upheaval, global turmoil and organizational chaos, the answer is: EVERYTHING! So it seems like every day there are new developments, new regulations and new media blasts that re-define our world.
But the church exists at a unique intersection of all those changes and things that never change.
For example: Poverty. That never goes away. Jesus himself said it: “The poor you will always have with you.” (Matthew 26:11) This has sometimes been interpreted to mean, “You can’t overcome poverty. It’s hopeless, so don’t waste your time.”
Odds are, Jesus was quoting the first half of Deuteronomy 15:11 and didn’t need to say the second half. Like we only say “sticks and stones may break my bones…” understanding that the listener already knows the second half. Likewise, Jesus knew his listeners understood the second half of Deuteronomy 15:11 which reads: “Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”
The fact that neighbors will need help never changes. But how we meet their needs does. It’s always changing! AC3’s C.O.A.T. initiatives, and the Covid-19 crisis have caused us to change our aim. Compassion at AC3 currently operates under three different headings:
Care Team: helps AC3 attendees and members who are in need.
Seeds of Grace: meets the needs of people in our local communities.
Living Waters: meets the needs of our international ministry partners.
Concentric Circles of Compassion
You can think about it like 3 concentric circles, beginning right here at AC3 and growing outward to touch people all over Marysville, then Snohomish County and outward to places like Malawi, Pakistan and Brazil.
2 big changes are ahead for compassion ministry at AC3:
- We’re planning to pull the leadership and administration of all three ministries under one leadership body. So, if you have a heart for compassion and spiritual gifts like administration, mercy, leadership or pastoring, read-on, perhaps you can be a part!
- As E-Groups begin to grow and gain traction, we will be offering each group the opportunity to take on their own compassion projects. Instead of only two or three ministries meeting needs, we’ll be releasing a BUNCH of groups to meet needs they choose, supported by the central ministries of Seeds of Grace, Care Team and Living Waters.
The only constant is change, right? How can you be a part; how can you influence change and be a part of it? Begin by getting personally engaged. Join an E-Group (there are open groups RIGHT NOW and more to come!) then work with the others in your group to seek God’s guidance on how your group can make a difference. In addition, if you feel lead to be part of an overall AC3 Compassion Leadership body, consider dropping and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and set up a meeting to discuss your thoughts.
See you out there…meeting the need!
Find out more about E-groups here: https://ac3.org/2020/06/e-groups-have-launched
Learn about our Living Waters International partners here: https://ac3.org/2019/09/living-waters