What if every impoverished child living in Richmond experienced true, authentic, unconditional love?
What if every Christ Follower actually loved like Christ and was willing to follow Christ into the margins of society in order to see Christ in the faces of the least, the lost and the forgotten?
What if the Body of Christ stopped casting stones at one another but instead united to break the bonds of generational poverty by truly becoming the hands and feet of Christ in the world?
These are the questions that came to my mind when one of the speakers from the Exponential Conference challenged us with this question “What if God really could do what God did in the New Testament?” He then asked us to formulate “What if Questions” that reflected the heart of our ministry call.
At the heart of Embrace is a desire to help individuals escape from poverty. As I have had the opportunity to hear the stories of dozens of homeless men and women over the years, I have found an alarming pattern. Many of those who are trapped in homelessness are there due to wounds suffered as children. While this is not always the case, I have seen this pattern more times than I care to count. Those who suffer from these scars are among the hardest individuals to work with because many have never experienced unconditional love and often do not believe they are even worthy of this kind of love. So the question I most want an answer to is “What if every child in Richmond experienced true, authentic, unconditional love?” Would it make a difference? Would it break the cycle of poverty?
You may be thinking to yourself, “How could this ever happen?” That leads to my second question “What if every Christ Follower actually loved like Christ and was willing to follow Christ into the margins of society?” If those of us who profess to be Christians actually did what Christ did and spent time with those impacted by poverty; we would come to know the children and the Christ spirit that dwells in us would empower us to develop real, authentic relationship with these children which over time; would allow every child to know they are loved.
I know that these children are still going to be wounded but my belief is that once they know they are lovable; they will be able to heal without the magnitude of long term damage I currently see. I do not want to give up on the adults, we need to continue to work toward healing but I think the church can have the greatest impact in the area of prevention.
So what does this look like? I honestly do not know. I am just starting to ask the question. What I do know is that it must be relational, not program or event driven. I do know that there are others like the Micah Initiative and Youth Life Foundation who have come to the same conclusion; if we want to break the cycle of poverty we much invest in the children.
In a recent Unity Works session one of the participants said “I really want to minister with my family. Are there any opportunities for families to do ongoing relational ministry with families in transition?” Sadly my answer was “not right now”. However, as with all things Embrace, all it takes is one dreamer. Please join us in asking some new questions and in dreaming some new dreams. If you are aware of ministry opportunities that engage families in ministering together in relational ways, please let me know.
So what would the world look like if God really could do all the things God did in the New Testament?
Jesus said “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12