October 1, 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Ministry sometimes feels confined and defined by the meager dollar amounts we are allotted for our program expenditures. There is always something that lies outside of our realistic program plans. Our ministry center is located almost directly across the street from the very large and well funded Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. With ourselves being located in an old YMCA building we have a tiny overlap in Recreational facilities (a gym and rec room, etc). So, when we do a Sports and Recreation program we do it in the shadow of the Boys and Girls Club’s football teams and basketball and cheerleading programs. And when we gather our kids into our beat up ministry vehicles and head off for a field trip, across the street they line a hundred kids and nearly as many staff in matching t-shirts behind several new buses to head out on their day trip. If you compare our money and resources with the Boys and Girls Club we look puny and pathetic in comparison.
Sometimes I am guilty of making this comparison. When looking at our programs I sometimes feel like there is nothing we can do that will be better than the programs they offer. However, this is a grave mistake on my part. Truly, there is no comparison. Albeit sometimes our programs overlap a little in their structure, but our purposes and visions are at their core nothing alike. Someone could argue that there is no point for us to do youth programs since Herbert Hoover can offer bigger and better programs with more staff and more bling. But we are not doing youth programs just to give kids a safe place to hang out after school, or even just to give them new opportunities that they would not otherwise have. Now, do not get me wrong, I have great appreciation for what Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club is doing for families in our neighborhood and what they do needs to be done, but it is not what God has called us to do here. Our facilities and programs are not our primary goal. They are merely tools we use to invest in the lives of families in our neighborhood in the hopes of building up men and women for the Body of Christ.
This reality was reinforced for Andrew and I the other afternoon when some of the neighbor girls stopped by our house just to talk. They were on their way to the Boys and Girls Club, but they came to our house first to tell us about their day and all the things that they were excited about at school. We barely had time to open the door before one of the girls started pouring out the details of her “grown-up” classes (she is in her first year of Jr. High). I have at times, I admit, felt a twinge of jealousy when the kids talk about what they like to do across the street from us, because we could never offer that program to them on that scale. But sitting on our porch that afternoon confirmed that we are not in competition with the Boys and Girls Club, our functions are completely separate in the lives of our neighbors. We get to be Christ in their lives. What can compete with that? We get to be full-time participants in their lives and put our emphasis on relationships instead of programs and on Christ instead of orthodontia care. Maybe someday the scale of our programs will be able to compliment and collaborate with those of the Boys and Girls Club, but for now we are grateful for the work that they do in our neighborhood and would not for one minute give up the work that God has called us to do. Thank you so much for being a part of our ministry team. Andrew and I are continually grateful that because of you we are allowed to witness and experience what embodying Christ to our neighbors can do to change lives.
For His Kingdom, Andrew & Adria Medlen