The South District Missions Task Force
By: Susan Naslund
“Isn't it instructive that the spiritual formation of the original disciples happens with Jesus on the road? In effect, the disciples learn by doing. They grow into an understanding of this God of love, this God of compassion, this God who loves justice, this God who makes all things new, by participating as active observers and agents of compassion, justice, and newness.” -- Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith
In the past year, a new group has been formed to offer additional opportunities to participate as agents of compassion, justice and newness. The “Missions Task Force,” a committee in the South District (of which Foothills is a part), meets monthly with clergy and lay members with the goal to inform, support, train and educate our local churches in missional activities as far north as Santa Ana and as far south as Nestor.
At a recent meeting, it came to light that many of our local churches have a hard time reaching out to their communities in service because they are troubled “at home” with their own needs such as building repairs and grounds keeping. In response, a new volunteer program is being started, tentatively called “Church to Church Outreach,” matching volunteers with projects in our connectional denomination. When we help paint walls or pull weeds at another UMC in the South District, we enable that church to use its resources to be in mission to its community instead of on the building maintenance costs they may not be able to afford.
Of course, we have our own costly building repairs to be made at Foothills, so we know how it feels to worry about decaying infrastructure. There are sanctuary beams to replace and decks on the preschool to be reconstructed, so it might be hard to look past our own needs to help others. But the tasks at Foothills also require the labor of trained professionals while almost anyone can pitch in to do small projects elsewhere.
For example, a small group recently worked a few Saturdays refurbishing the nursery at Imperial Beach UMC. Their work did more than provide a safe, clean space for children on Sunday mornings. "The improvements to the nursery will change the perspective from living with things the way they are to thinking about the possibilities of what can be," remarked Pastor John Griffin. "It gives us hope."
If you are looking for a way to be with Jesus “on the road,” as Jack Jezreel says, contact Susan Naslund at firstname.lastname@example.org Susan will help match your skills with the needs at our District churches so that you, too, can be part of a team that gives hope while you are growing into a deeper understanding of our God of love and compassion.