On two summer Sundays in 2008, July 27 and August 10, during the Adult Education hour, Rev. Naji Umran and Rev. Brian Patterson, Executive Director of Compassion This Way, spoke on how Church of the Servant might move forward in continuing to develop our Outreach Ministries.

July 27, 2008 Adult Ed – “Partnering With Our Neighborhood” Part 1 of 2

The focus of the first in the two part series was to describe the neighborhood that Church of the Servant finds itself in, and the rich potential that continuing and increased contact with our neighbors could mean for our congregation. Points touched on include understanding our neighbors, contact with them, and an orientation toward partnerships and respectful relationships. Throughout the presentation, Brian Patterson provided his own testimony on how such a reorientation has transformed his own life, along with many insights and shared stories from his experiences in community-based ministry over the last ten years.

One concept that was alluded to briefly toward the end of Part 1, is the cultural contrast which may exist between us and our neighbors–a fact that could prove a barrier or provide an opportunity for rich two-way blessings. This contrast has to do with which culture we stand in: the culture of poverty (similar in many ways to many warm-climate-cultures around the world), the middle-class culture, or the culture of wealth. If you have time, you’re encouraged to follow the links below, both to see where you stand, and what ways you might be stretched or grow were you in a long-term relationship with a person of another culture.

Questionare: Test your knowledge of the hidden rules of poverty, middle-class, and wealth.

Article: Hidden Rules Of Class At Work by Ruby K. Payne and Don L. Krabill

August 10, 2008 Adult Ed – “Partnering With Our Neighborhood” Part 2 of 2

The focus of the second in the two part series was to try to imagine, practically, what it would look like for us to move from a serving-them mentality to a partnership/relationship-based-service mentality in all of our outreach and enfolding ministries. Principles revealed by the stories and experiences that Brian Patterson shared with us included: Compassion, Intentionality, Commitment, Consistency, and Authenticity/Integrity. Toward the end of the conversation, we began to look at how these principles could be applied to the various ministries that COS is already engaged in.

One conclusion we came to was that there are already signs in many of our ministries that we are attempting to become more relational in our outreach, but that much more could be done to take it to the next level. Another comment was that perhaps it will continue to take further conversation and education (maybe even with the assistance of Brian and others), in order for our ministries to grow comfortable and be able to overcome some of the anxieties, fears, and other barriers preventing us from taking the plunge.

If you would like to make comments, or help us brainstorm further on how to apply the principles listed above to our outreach ministries (like the Mobile Food Pantry and In-House Food and Clothing Pantry, the Benevolence and ESL ministries, Kids Hope USA and others), we encourage you to take the time to make a blog entry in the form provided below.