We’ve been talking about servant leadership and pride this week. In my life, the only way I’ve found to combat my pride is to seek out opportunities to be humbled. Serving others with our time, talents, and resources is the way to do just that. Most importantly, it’s simply the right thing to do.
Not only is service what God has called us to do with our lives, but it is the most enriching experience that we will ever take part in. Let’s look at a few ways to give back to our communities and fellow man today. You’ll be surprised at what you learn about yourself along the way. I always am.
Some of these opportunities are specific to Nashville, but there are very similar alternatives in other cities around the country.
1. Angel Tree – http://angeltree.org/deliverlove
This Christmas, 1.7 million children will wake up to only one parent’s presence on Christmas morning. The other parent will be in prison. Angel Tree is a program run by Prison Fellowship. Their aim is to reconcile families and prisoners to God through delivery of gifts and the Gospel.
Here’s how it works:
1. Prisoners Sign Up – Inmates sign up with the program and requests Angel Tree’s help in getting a gift to their children.
2. Churches Register – Angel Tree recruits churches to raise volunteers who will participate in the program.
3. Children are Assigned – Volunteers are assigned children to purchase gifts for.
4. Gifts and the Gospel are Delivered – Volunteers deliver gifts to these children and share the message of the Gospel; the true meaning of Christmas.
Please read some of Angel Tree’s stories of hope and blessing here.
2. Nashville Rescue Mission – http://nashvillerescuemission.org/
I love what the NRM stands for:
“Following God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves, the Nashville Rescue Mission seeks to help the hurting of Middle Tennessee by offering food, clothing and shelter to the homeless and recovery programs to those enslaved in life degrading problems. Our goal is to help people know the saving grace of Jesus, and through Him, gain wisdom for living, find fulfillment in life and become a positive part of their community.”
3. Hands On Nashville – http://hon.org/
Hands On Nashville is the leader in Nashville as far as community service projects go. HON acts as a hub for a wide variety of services in Nashville.
“Each year, Hands On Nashville refers or places 38,000 volunteers to projects in more than 400 service agencies and schools, impacting more than 25 issue areas from hunger and homelessness to literacy and the environment.” – Hands On Nashville
Hands On Nashville is coordinating Holiday Help for Flood Victims across Nashville. They need folks to volunteer at flood recovery centers fulfilling tasks such as registering attendees, placing follow-up phone calls, staffing a refreshment table and assisting with children’s activities.
This short list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty of projects out there that may never make it onto a website. I want to challenge you all to go out and find them. Sometimes the family who needs our help the most lives right next door.
“Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” – Isaiah 1:17
For more opportunities to serve in Nashville this month, check out:
Hands On Nashville’s 2010 Holiday Volunteer Guide. (PDF download)