Posted: 4/3/18 at 8:45am. Post by Tony Brooks.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:20 NIV)
We are given the instructions to be ambassadors for Christ. What are some creative ways you are being an ambassador?
In a day when society has become so mobile, there are many children without parents or grandparents close by. I have shared some ideas in the past, but here are a few creative ways to get in the community and build relationships with children, youth, and college students.
Story Hour Possibilities: Back in my days in Georgia, I often listened to a radio station out of Atlanta. One morning they interviewed a senior adult woman who read to children a couple of times a week at a local grocery store. She had a persona about her with a dress from the fifties, an apron, and a bonnet. She would build relationships with the children when they walked in the door by finding out where their families were originally from. She had a map of the world on the wall and would place a push pin in that part of the world for each child. She was a grandmother figure to children. Parents would shop at that store a couple of days a week at that certain time when she would be there to read to their children! She became a part of their regular schedule.
What if you have a senior adult woman (for instance: Granny Smith) who loves to read to children? She might become that person for a local grocery store. What if that grocery store was willing to advertise and have at the bottom of the advertisement: partnering with the ministry of ______ Baptist Church and listing your church’s web address? After developing a relationship with the grocery store for several months, they would likely be willing to announce that Granny Smith will be at _______ Baptist Church for Vacation Bible School! Do you see the possibilities? You’d be building relationships with the community and making it possible to make a difference in the lives of children, who will likely ask their parents to come and visit your church.
Consider asking senior adults to adopt a child or youth in your church. In my days as Pastor of Bethel Baptist in Scottsburg, we were far away from our children’s grandparents. We had two persons who became adoptive grandparents to our children and still have an impact on our adult children today. Recognize the value senior adults can have for our children and the children of our community, because often more than anything else, young parents want to find family for their children.
Consider adopting a college student if you are near a college. Katrina and I both had this experience with a church in Birmingham, AL, at South Avondale Baptist Church. This was an average-sized church who decided that college students needed family. Each new college student who wanted to be adopted received parents who would take them to lunch on Sunday and provided their home to wash clothes as well! My adoptive parents hosted the rehearsal dinner and helped with decorations for our wedding! The possibilities are endless. The bottom line is: we all need persons to fill in the gaps as family when we are away from home.