an external focus…

So that’s going to be the (attempted) focus. The community (as opposed to the internal being those that are part of the ‘church’. kinda divisive and separating but I’m sure there’s a better way to say it… anyway).

Last post covers a list of organizations relating to homelessness; but as Jesus outright told his disciples, “you will always have the poor among you” (Matthew 26:11). Clearly not meant to just ignore the issue… you know what I mean.

But, go back a chapter to Matthew 25 and read this:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'”

There’s more that we can focus on. Much more!

What about:

  • caring for the elderly (widows)? continue to show love to Mrs. Stout long after we’ve finished working on her house!
  • continue to show love to the homeless (in various ways) and get to know just a few of them and support them long-term?
  • what about developing (assuming there isn’t already) some community farms with the goal of growing food for food pantries?
  • partnering with area organizations that don’t receive a lot of support from other churches (cmon seriously some organizations receive a lot of volunteers! what about those that don’t get the publicity?)
  • if God provides some sort of storage space for NV, what about a clothes closet and/or food pantry? I really thought there are enough in the area, but talking with my wife (who works at a local church’s preschool) – she said their clothes closet has a LOT of people waiting to go when they have it open… so I imagine there still is a need here
  • What about newcomers to the area? the ‘strangers’… it sure seems we’ve met a lot of families new to the area. I know there are mom groups (like Richmond Mommies and Mothers & More); but what about entire family things?

OK don’t want to go overboard, and definitely feel the need to return to the point of the matter illustrated in Matthew 25. Notice the individuality of what Jesus was saying … “and you gave me“, “I needed x and you…”. The relationship is one-on-one; not one-to-many. “You provided for me.” In the name of love.

Seriously – who gives someone hungry something to eat that doesn’t really show love to them? Who invites a stranger in that isn’t showing love? And you certainly don’t visit someone in prison unless you care enough to love them! I’m not speaking in the same way I love my wife or love my children, but love enough to show care and concern and to pray for someone and want to call and check on them.


5 responses to “an external focus…

  1. I love the heart of your summary – one-on-one. That’s it isn’t it? Me loving you … w/ that cup of water … bread … time & attention … care … love. Given, as if to Christ, himself. Would that be “fully-looped-love”? His love stirring in you to give of yourself, as if giving directly to Him? Thus, closing the ends to form a ‘whole’ love … complete love? Nice to see the writing on your wall. – td

  2. Hey – I just noticed I’m on your blog roll. Hurray! It makes me feel like I exist, again. 🙂 W/ your resuming your writings … I shall put you on mine. You’ll be the only one other than John’s 🙂

  3. … & I’m first – this ROCKS! 🙂

  4. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your post on my blog. Have you read “The Externally Focused Church” by Eric Swanson? I read a paper called “The Ten Paradigm Shift toward community transformation” written by Eric before he wrote the book and it totally transformed the way I think of the church. I will try to find it and link it into the resource page of unity-works. I loved your idea about a website linking churches to mission. I responded to your idea on my site and put a link you might enjoy along with my contact info. Please email me your contact info and let’s gets talk.

    PS – I also want to thank you for putting Embrace Richmond on your blog roll. You are the first person I know of who has done that.

    Wendy (

  5. Here is the link to the download that I mentioned above. You may have to go to the main site (www.leadnet), then downloads, then search for the paper and sign in but it is a free download and a great paper.

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