OPENING ACTIVITY: My Mission Statement
Invite your students to write a mission statement for their lives. For example, they could finish this statement: “My mission for Jesus is to….” They might say, “Share the Gospel with everyone I can” or “Serve others in the name of Jesus.”
The mission statement for the women in this week’s story might be, “Help anyone who needs warmth to find it, in Jesus’ name.”
OPENING STORY: [Make copies for your students or read it aloud to your class]
MAKING QUILTS AND GATHERING SUPPLIES FOR THE HOMELESS
A small group of women at the Buckton Presbyterian Church in Front Royal, Virginia, meet two Wednesdays a month to diligently prepare various items, from quilts and blankets to toiletries, to distribute to the homeless. They are doing what they love to help people with legitimate needs.
One of the citizen volunteers who works with the homeless in Warren County said that the church alerted her to the project.
“I met them, and they have the most joyful spirit that you can imagine,” Linda Allen said. “If you want to feel good, you can come here. It’s just inspiring.”
The project was started by Gayle Eaton Schaeffer and Andra Logan, who have worked with the church on the project for five years. Andra says she loves to be involved with the project because of the fellowship and because she likes to help people. Sometimes the simplest reasons are the best ones.
“We all have different little stories on how things got put together,” Andra said. “Somebody knew this person, who knew that person who did this thing. It’s all kind of linked.”
She continued, “It doesn’t matter where you came from. It’s a common thing of doing something for someone else,” she said.
Andra said that the process of making a quilt or sleeping bag begins with putting a 7-by-7 sheet down and putting whatever material the women are working with on the sheet. The process continues with measuring the material and pinning it together. Next, the women begin a process called tying, which involves bringing multiple layers together and then knotting the material with needle and thread. After stitches are applied, the final task is to firmly secure the materials at the sewing machine. Any kind of work becomes sacred and holy when it’s done in the name of Jesus for the purpose of communicating His love to others.
The group has managed to get 20 quilts, sleeping bags, and other projects done so far. The fruit of the women’s efforts was loaded up in vehicles to be distributed to the homeless in December.
But Andra said that the church takes donations for the project any time throughout the year. She said they accept anything from blankets to materials for the quilts. “If you’re going to get rid of something, we’ll take it,” Andra said. “If you’re going to get new sheets or if you have old blankets, we’ll find a use for them. We can put it all together for somebody to use to get some warmth.”
Of course, the church group is always looking for volunteers. “We can always use more hands,” Andra said.
These women are the hands and feet of Jesus. Whenever they give a quilt to a person who does not or cannot live indoors, they are not only communicating compassion, but showing that their faith is real and ready to serve. They have nothing to do with vetting those who will receive their work; they simply serve and leave the recipients and results with God.
Now have your class form small groups to discuss their answers to these questions.
- What does it mean to be “on mission” for Jesus?
- If someone simply observed your life and never heard you speak, what might they say is your mission for Jesus?
- Why does living out your faith include actions and not just words?
This week’s lesson focus reminds us that our mission is more that words. Let’s take a look at the practical directives Jesus gave to His disciples before sending them out.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
BACK UP WHAT YOU SAY
While not forsaking the power of their words when it comes to speaking with kindness and identifying with Christ, the Presbyterian women back up what they say with their actions.
The importance to our credibility as believers cannot be overstated when we say that our actions must back up what we say we believe; otherwise, we will be dismissed by the very people we’re trying to reach. When we are serving people in ways that are meaningful to them, receptivity to the Gospel increases, and we are able to build bridges by which we can connect these folks with Jesus.
Saving faith will always express itself in actions that meet the legitimate needs of others in such a way that they better understand Christ’s love for them. While verbally identifying with Christ is important, our actions must always reflect the love and compassion of Jesus.
Now have your students return to the groups they had in Step 1 to discuss their answers to these questions.
- How have you been served by other Christians living out their mission for Jesus?
- How are you using your gifts to serve and meet the needs of others? What more could you be doing?
Close in prayer, asking the Lord to give everyone the courage to live out their God-given mission through deeply-felt words and meaningful actions. Be sure to follow up next week and ask everyone how they did living out their mission in their circles of influence.
THE BIBLE IN THE NEWS
The Sea of Galilee is slowly drying up after 5 years of drought and overuse of its water:
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