Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with many of our supporters at our annual partner meeting. We’ve come so far, and by the time you are reading this, we will have had our constitution signing ceremony and moving forward as a constituted congregation of the LCMS. Our days as a mission church of the Michigan District will be over. As we’ve moved through the various steps to full recognition, our Lord has been pointing us towards leaving the defense and heading into offense.
Defense, for us, is being the Good Samaritan of the neighborhood, rescuing the wounded and those in distress. Partnering with the Luke Project to support young mothers is defense. A necessary and vital ministry, but I’d prefer not to watch an 18 year old go in for support as she deals with her fourth pregnancy. The challenge is to see what Family of God can do with 9-13-year-old girls and boys to break this cycle.
Offense, for us, is engaging lives before the damage is done and breaking the cycles of poverty and drugs. At that partners meeting we talked about this transition as something we expect to provoke the Adversary. I believe I said “Satan will be sending in his 450lb linebacker to take us out. (The picture above is not meant to say that ‘Da Bears’ are demonic or that Brian Urlacher is a demon or that the thoughtful coach is Satan. It expresses a concept but you are free to form your own opinions of ‘da Bears’.) Since the partner meeting we have actual experience that opposition is stiffening.
Taking the offense is a new effort to invest in the young people of the neighborhood. It involves tutoring, mentoring and discipleship. These tasks require PRESENCE. Presence if forming relationships with young people and investing time to build trust. Tutoring takes place on Tuesdays at 4:30. We are hoping to expand to Wednesday before the new school year. We have three summer events planned for young people. The Detroit Zoo, a Tiger’s game and a trip to the Henry Ford. Our plan is to ask for volunteers and establish a ratio of one adult to one kid.
Presence is costly. Asking for money to fund these is necessary and organizations like Thrivent make it possible. However, getting Christian men and women to invest an afternoon or evening is much more challenging. That’s the challenge of the Offense, getting folks off the bench and into the game. What would it take to get you off the bench?