By Rebecca A. Schriner | Echo
Turn time back to Friday, Feb. 12-Community Outreach Chapel. This once-a-semester chapel session "encourages" students to join community involvement groups, such as Basics, ReaLife and Red Barn.
I did not feel encouraged.
Despite Jeffry Cramer's anti-guilt message, I left that chapel session feeling guilty. Guilty that, as a senior, I haven't been able to participate in these programs-that though these leaders say, "You can make time. No one is that busy," I can't fit their times into my schedule. I felt so guilty that for the days following this chapel I tried to find any holes in my schedule to fit in outreach time. I couldn't, and I felt horrible.
But I shouldn't.
And neither should you.
Outreach programs do incredible things in our community. If you have the time to serve in any of these organizations, I encourage you to join them.
But for those who, like me, can't commit, don't feel bad. There are other ways to serve Grant County.
1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." Each of our gifts (and schedules) is unique. Taylor's student teachers serve the community in local schools; Chorale students sing in local churches.
Maybe none of the community outreach groups fits your gifts. Then create your own way to serve. Tutor at a local elementary school if you're good with kids. Get involved in your church family-there's always someone in need. Perhaps go to Ivanhoes and just talk to people. Create relationships you normally wouldn't.
Excuse my Taylor cliché, but be intentional.
Outreach doesn't have to be evangelism. If you go out to spread God's Word, good for you; but if you want to reach a community, get to know the people. Sometimes we need to listen to people without trying to change them. If the opportunity arises, you can bring up your beliefs, but don't press. No one enjoys feeling attacked by religion.
Personally, I am a server at Cracker Barrel in Gas City. My gift is relating to community members through service. No, it's not a volunteer position, but you don't have to be volunteering to serve. Every time I go into work, I put on a smile. I talk to my coworkers about issues in their home lives and give advice. I build relationships with community members and touch lives that I couldn't any other way. Not everyone is a Christian, and I have had incredible opportunities to share my beliefs with my non-Christian customers and coworkers.
We, as Christian millennials, should take community outreach upon ourselves. Do whatever you can to serve your neighbors. Join one of these groups if you can. But don't feel guilty if you can't.