Serving Your City Starts Before Tragedy Strikes

Serving Your City Starts Before Tragedy Strikes

How to mobilize your small groups to impact your city
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Serving these organizations creates a trusted relationship that can be called upon in the rare event that tragedy or disaster strikes. At one of our Love Tulsa events we served a local gymnasium in an impoverished part of town that caters to underprivileged kids who would otherwise be on the streets after school. Unfortunately, a tornado hit the establishment last year and tore down most of their building. But because we had served them in the past, we were one of the first organizations that they called upon for help. God will show your leaders the right organizations to serve; he knows the relationships that will be needed in the future to help glorify him in the midst of tragedy.

Serving is so important to Jesus, and therefore to us, that we even work it into our small group model intentionally. On top of the twice-yearly Love Tulsa events, all of our groups have a monthly serving focus at an organization of their choice. Building these faithful and dependable relationships of sacrificial servanthood garners us an unusual amount of trust and influence with many organizations throughout our city. When we serve our city with no agenda, God increases our influence, connections, and discipleship.

Groups Serving Individuals

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." —James 1:27

In our formal discipleship models, we often take the second half of James 1:27 to heart. We have accountability groups and times of prayer to keep us motivated to stay pure of heart. But how seriously do we take the first half of the Scripture regarding serving the displaced in our society?

In order to explain how small groups can serve on a micro level, I must take a second to introduce you to a revolutionary idea. Born in a small town in Texas, a software system was born that is transforming communities and the way the church interacts with the hurting in their city. It's called the Care Portal, and it's connecting churches directly to specific needs in their area.

This is how it works: A need is identified by a human welfare worker and, instead of citing the family for wrong doing, putting a child into foster care, or removing the elderly from their homes, they identify what it would take to keep the family intact and enter it into the Care Portal. The Care Portal then notifies the five closest churches to respond to the need. The Care Portal effectively identifies the needs of at-risk children and families and brings them to the church, allowing us to meet the need before intervention is required, often preventing intervention altogether.

Here are a few examples of actual entries in the Care Portal:

Zip Code: 76301
Request Purpose: Needed to reunify a family
Type of Service: TIER 1 - Physical Need
Description: A family is in need of 2 sets of bunk beds to be able to have their 4 children begin to start staying overnight in the home as an effort to reunify the family. The parents have made necessary changes in their lives for the department to consider a monitored return of the children in order to keep them from remaining in foster care. The family only has one bed at this time, 2 sets of bunk beds with mattresses and bedding will be needed in order for the children to return home.

Zip Code: 76301
Request Purpose: Needed to keep a child safe
Type of Service: TIER 1 - Physical Need
Description: This is a family of 5 and one child has special needs. The family is in need of heaters for the house. There is only one working gas heater in the living room where they are all currently sleeping at night.

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