Today is day 10 of our RAM team’s immersion into Missions & Ministry training. This week they have ministered and been equipped for ministry in Mangum and Cordell, OK. In Cordell, Steven and Ashley who will continue as Summer Interns with the 4th & College church after their RAM mission helped with numerous preparations for Cordell Christian Camp. This is a week-long camp open to the elementary and junior high children of Cordell. Fifty-five children are already signed up with room for only a handful more. (We will have more to report about camp next week.)
In Mangum, Patrick, Ryann, Ben and Stephanie spent part of their week preparing for today’s all day VBS. But they also devoted Tuesday and Wednesday to serving the physical needs of the community by providing free clothing to the less fortunate.
Characteristic of rural America is its poverty. Many live at a sub-standard level, ranging from young families to the elderly. Jesus reminds us that on Judgment Day, those who clothed the naked and needy would be among those welcomed into His Kingdom. But meeting physical needs, as essential as it is to ministry, is only a first step towards the Kingdom. While meeting those physical needs our team in Mangum reached out with a kind word and welcoming smile AND an invitation to step in closer to our Christian community. They did this in two ways.
One, they signed up children for today’s VBS outreach in Mangum. They offered to pick them up if they needed a ride. Six children were signed up Wednesday morning alone. Little children are giants in the Kingdom of God. The humility and trust of a child is a non-negotiable prerequisite for entry into the Kingdom (Matthew 18:3-4). Jesus warned His disciples not to hinder children from coming to Him and don’t dare cause one to sin without an expectation of the very worst of consequences (Matthew 18:6). He revealed that receiving a child was the equivalent of receiving Jesus Himself (Matthew 18:5).
Two, they took prayer requests from those who wanted prayers. They received four or five specific prayer requests. Allowing someone to pray for you is an act of humility and a powerful invitation into the most intimate communion we can share with another being, communion with God.Whether our ministry of service is a week-long list of preparations for children’s camp or setting up and giving away clothes to the needy or praying for others who have asked for our prayers, RAM emphasizes in its ministry training that unique to service as ministry is that it builds a “bridge” of trust between Christians and those they serve. Serving others communicates in very clear and tangible ways genuine concern that notices the needs of others and compassionately tends to those needs.
This bridge of trust that our service lays down between our hearts and those we serve gives us a window of opportunity to share the story of Jesus’ redemption in our own lives. Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” His service culminated in bridging the gap between heaven and earth and God and man so that those who are willing to trust Him completely may receive eternal life through Him.