Tag Archives: Outreach

The Poor You Will Always Have

    Mark 14:7, Matthew 26:11, and John 12:8 are three gospel accounts of Jesus declaring that the disciples would have the poor among them “always”. And normally this verse has always been a highlighter on my thoughts that the poor will be around until Jesus cones back. On occasion it makes me think about the need for missions in the poverty stricken regions of the world. That always seemed like the crux of the verse.
    My analysis is supported by the old testament verse Deuteronomy 15:11. There we see that the Israelite nation is instructed to be “open handed” toward their neighbors.
    But as I was driving down the road this morning I saw a lady with a cardboard sign asking for money. I was conflicted in that moment about stopping and speaking with her or continuing on my way to church. It was in that moment that I remembered that verse and got a completely different perspective on it.
    Jesus spoke to the eternal while in the moment. And it seems to me that there is a more eternal message wrapped in the words he spoke to his disciples. The woman in this story has come to worship Jesus in the best way she can. And Jesus’ shortsighted disciples were just like me in that moment. “This could have been sold and used in an outreach”, I imagine myself saying to Jesus. But Jesus uses this as a teachable moment.
Worship supercedes missions.
What a thought! The idea that Jesus actually prefers that I stop sometimes and make Him my mission. To gaze at Him in all of His splendor and be awed. To minister to His heart and be ministered to.
So now before I jump the gun about getting out and doing outreach I have a reminder to stop and remember why we do what we do in the first place.

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Agape Cafe Outreach Center

Indianapolis has always had homeless and financially impoverished citizens. The likelihood is that there will always be some number of people below the poverty line in this area. However, there is also a responsibility and need for the remaining population to help them in ways that will empower them and enable them to progress. The question is what is the best way to help?

In the past, money has been thrown at the problems facing our community with the best intentions, and the effort is applauded. However, the growing rate of homeless and needy families Indianapolis is evidence that this tactic is a failing one. The age old saying becomes increasingly true in this present day, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

People of all socio-economic backgrounds suffer from various living conditions like depression, identity crises, lack of job skills, broken homes, estranged families etc. Needless to say, this issue is magnified amongst the low income and underprivileged communities. Add to that already long and growing list of issues the inability to pay for childcare, lack of transportation, and the absence of money management skills. Now you have an already bad situation that just became impossible to overcome. The difference between the middle to upper class and lower class is that the lower class, generally speaking, does not have access to the same resources that people who are in better situations financially may have.

These problems have kept back some of the best and brightest that our communities have to offer the world. Birth into an already poor situation teaches, and therefore, genders generational poverty. That same impoverished situation encourages a defeatist mentality. Poor children become poor parents who develop poor families. Our crime rates and suicide rates are on the rise as people who have no clue how to improve their situation seek an escape from the black hole which has been affectionately termed, “the Hood” or “The Trap”. These effects are seen across the board in all races and creeds.

Outside of these communities we see the influence this has had on the world. While Martin Luther King Jr. fought alongside John F. Kennedy for civil rights decades ago, and the walls of racial segregation came tumbling down, new walls have been erected. Walls of financial division that create subdivisions of social classes where society has digressed into an extreme version of high school cliques rules and reigns over the people. The divorce rates and recidivism rates are rising on either side of the fence and it would seem that we are blind to the correlation. Indianapolis is growing and shrinking simultaneously as buildings are raised only to be left standing with no workers to fill them.

So, what can we do about it? Certainly such a daunting task is outside of our power to effect a change. Nothing could be further from the truth. This giant is only as strong as its roots. Kill the root and the tree will wither and die. That is the ACOC’s task in Indianapolis, to effectively strike the roots of this monster, In the Home.

The ACOC exists to bring back the former glory of the family structure. Our goal and vision is to chip away at the greatest problem facing our city today. The breakdown of the family. When the family prospers so does the community in which it lives. As the community goes, so goes the society.

But how do you restore the family? By taking each piece and developing it to a successful standard.  The ACOC intends to create, build, and promote programs that will take each member of the home and develop them into successful members of the household individually. The Father (Man), Mother (Woman), and Children are all a part of the family, thus they are all a part of the strategy and objectives of the ACOC.

Where ever men are present we will empower them to take their place as leaders in the home and the community. Where women are present we will empower her to be the woman she was born to be, powerful, strong, and able to work side by side with a man to successfully build a home. Where children are present we will educate and develop them to be successful and secure in their identities, thereby empowering them to become successful adults.

The agape Café is present in Indianapolis for Indianapolis.  We don’t serve coffee, we serve people.

 

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