The problems in our land reflect the fact that the Church has bought into the ‘Hired Gun’ model of ministry. We tend to enjoy the fact that we have hired someone to do the work of God. The Government is our biggest hired gun. We would not say that they are doing God’s work, but we often assume that if there is a need, ‘The government should do something.’  But he has no arms that can hug, nor eyes that can see the hurt or the unnecessary dependence. Governments have no voice that can encourage, challenge, or point out gifts, or tell of the love of God. What can the Government do? A social worker in one of the group foster homes that we work in, summed up the answer to that question. ‘We can provide food, clothing, shelter, and education but there is something missing.’

Jesus is that Powerful something! The Church is the divine delivery system.

Does God really need our help? Are His arms too short and power too limited to accomplish His will on His own?  No; however, He has chosen us to participate in His work. Some of us are intimidated by the thought that God could or would use us to further His Kingdom. Others of us are just too busy building our kingdom. However, we want and expect the pastor to do it. That’s it! It is the pastor’s job.

Unfortunately, pastors sometimes read their own press clippings and take on the task that wears them out and makes them miss their true calling. The scripture makes it clear that it is the pastor’s and elder’s job to ‘prepare God’s people for works of service.’ (Eph 4:12) So it is back to us, no matter how incompetent we feel or how many plans we have to plow our field instead of His, the one we call Lord, has a plan to use us. Let’s not be missing in action. Here is the struggle that motivated this rant: There are almost 200 children symbolized on the enclosed map. Each blue symbol is a boy and each pink symbol is a girl. Each little house is a government licensed group home that stores needy children who will soon be released into the world ill-equipped to go alone. If past statistics remain true, 60% of them who leave at age 18 will end up homeless. The symbols that are plastered in color are not statistics but each represents a blue-blooded, God created, dearly loved child. We have placed them on the Long Island map using a mapping program so that the symbols sit right on that child’s home whether it be his/her family home or the group home. I included actual first names to exaggerate the fact that these are not symbols but real children.  I ask you to mark the approximate spot of your home on the map. Also, mark your Church on the map. Put this map up on your refrigerator or on your church’s bulletin board. Each child that is placed around your marks on the map are children who not only need to know the love, hope, and freedom in Jesus, they have asked for a Christian mentor to meet with them every week. No, they cannot visualize the purpose of a Christian mentor. But can you? It is you and me who are called to live out that vision before them.  They just know they need a friend who is theirs. We can be that friend who introduces them to THE friend who will never leave them. He truly is the Way, The Truth, The Life. Is something keeping you from a life of missions?  Too often we think that if we are in missionaries we need to park our minds, put on a dashiki, sell all our possessions, and jump on the first cross we see. But God gave us minds to be used to further His Kingdom. We may need to put on a dashiki if it is the local wear of the mission field we are called to. But we may need to go to Victor Talbot’s and buy a new suit if that suits our mission field. We may need to sell our possessions if they are getting in the way of being obedient. Or we will find that God will use our possessions in blessing us and others as we further His Kingdom. The question is this; what is our focus, His Kingdom, or ours? Jesus said; ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ Our Jerusalem is our family and our church family. Our Judea is our neighborhood and work environment. Our Samaria is the people in need who are often only thought of when we see the name of a town we avoid on a green sign on the parkway. Today, you have a winnable battle mapped out for you within this newsletter. Your Samaria is asking for help.  If you feel like I do, it is not a call from me but one from God. My question is this…Will you move your feet or settle for an emotion that soon leaks away through the seams of the day. I am 57 years old. I figure I have between 30 and 35 years of useful service before I go home. What do you have? Last year we had a similar number of children on our map. We were able to match a little over 100 of these new children. We need two things to minister to the 200 who remain on this list. 1. A Christian who will meet with one child every week. If you say yes, one child will be taken off that map of waiting and put into the arms of God. 2. We also need $40/month for each new child we mentor. After I paid the ministries bills, we had a total of two weeks of expenses in the bank.  This ministry has been and continues to be a walk of faith where God provides for every step as we walk. Please call the office if you want to respond to either or both of these needs. If you are going into what our culture calls retirement and want to invest your time in this mission field, I want to talk to you. Call me. I will sit down with you one-on-one and we will prayerfully figure out where your God-given gifts fit the need of this Kingdom-building enterprise. Whether it is 5 or 30 hours/week, we will make it fit. But best of all, you will impact eternity.  Sometimes, I do wish God would have chosen to do this on His own; but He hasn’t, so let’s go.

John Cragg
Executive Director
Long Island Youth Mentoring