This week the entire internet has been inundated with “new year, new you” messaging, social media posts touting ‘words of the year,’ and other similar personal goal setting.
A New Year Shift of Focus
In 2020, loneliness was off the charts. People felt disconnected, so much so that the CDC published resources, warnings and health ramifications associated with isolation. We missed our friends, and churches, and our coffee dates. We longed for unmasked smiles, unreserved hugs and high fives. Personal contact. Togetherness.
As we move in to a new year, consider trading the typical personal resolutions for a commitment to personal involvement in community revitalization. If ever there was a time, this is the year to shift our focus outward toward others. Should you need biblical support for this, you need look no further than this charge from the Apostle Paul:
Selfless and sacrificial service should be the daily norm for every Christian— but we don’t often incorporate it into our New Years goal setting. And it’s too bad, because it has some pretty incredible perks. In addition to the obvious spiritual priority the Bible gives it and the benefits for others, a service oriented lifestyle is proven to decrease depression, add skills to our personal tool belts, reduce stress and help us build new friendships. The ironic truth is we could achieve most of our personal goals more effectively by focusing less on self and more on others. Just food for thought.
A New Year Commitment to Community
So what does resolving to be others-centered in 2021 look like? Glad you asked! First, let’s talk about the need.
We know our communities have healing to do in the wake of 2020. But defining that more specifically helps us to articulate how we can be part of the solution. At Feed the Need Missions, we define the needs based on what we call the Four Levels of Poverty:
- Physical poverty – This is the more obvious understanding of poverty, including a lack of tangible resources impacting food, clothing and shelter. This lack occurs for a myriad of reasons, but many individuals experienced heightened poverty in 2020 in the wake of job losses and furrows.
- Emotional poverty – This type of poverty manifests itself through loneliness, mental challenges, relational issues or difficulty with life or coping skills. As mentioned above, there is a heavy sense of isolation and anxiety related to 2020.
- Social Poverty – Often social deficits go hand in hand with physical poverty. Most often, social poverty is the desire to feel valued, to simply be seen, to be heard, and to have someone speak into their lives.
- Spiritual Poverty – We believe the most dire need of all people, in the era of COVID or otherwise, is for the forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate solution, meeting every need associated with physical, emotional, social and spiritual poverty.
Feed the Need Missions is about meeting people in every one of these types of poverty. Our organizational mission is to feed people physically and spiritually. We do that through weekly pop up style dinner sites, where we distribute hot meals. As we address the physical need, we initiate personal interactions, offer prayers and proclaim the Gospel to anyone who is willing to listen.
A New Volunteer Service Opportunity
We do all this via an ever expanding army of volunteers. People looking for a way to make an impact. People just like you.
We often say, “the burger is just the tool.” We’ve found that, just as we see it play out in the Bible, physical needs being met opens the doors to fulfill every type of hunger. It gives us an opportunity to connect them to a Savior, Provider, Friend and Wonderful Counselor.
If restoring community in 2021 sounds like just the ticket for you, and you’re looking for a way to get started, we want to invite you to get involved in this vital mission as a volunteer, church partner, prayer warrior or donor. All you have to do is show up to one of our sites, and we’ll get you plugged in.
Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Are you ready to level up from Bible reading to Bible living? Are you ready to take Jesus outside the church walls? Then you are exactly who we’re looking to team up with in the new year.
Fellow believers, we’ve had our time to retreat and reflect. Now is a time for heroes to step up, ready to take action and be the healing hands of Jesus.
About the Writer
Amanda joined our staff in September of 2020 as the Marketing Director. She is a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher and public speaker, and former church staffer. In her 10 years of adult ministry experience at one of the largest churches in the U.S., she fostered a passion and proficiency for church program development, discipleship and sharing the love of Christ.