MEETING GOD AT THE MARGINS

The current adult class in the auditorium extends through September. It is led by Rick Guyer-"Meeting God at the Margins.” 
This class examines Jesus’ habit of going to people at the margins of society, and ways that we can join him in that mission today. The class includes personal stories from people who have experience in ministering to people at the margins. Class meets Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in worship center. Please join us!

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THE MISSION OF JESUS

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:18-21 NIV)

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:9,10)

"Jesus spent his whole life engaging the people most of us have spent our whole lives trying to avoid." -Bob Goff

ADULT CLASS, SEPT 26

  • REVIEW

  • WHAT NOT TO DO:

    • Make assumptions – stereotypes and biases arise from assumptions. Things are not always as they seem. Examples: “People are homeless because…..” “All gay people are flamboyant/promiscuous.” “All immigrants are terrorists/criminals…”

    • Not building relationships – putting the task first - being too goal oriented.

    • Making people a “project”.

    • Air of superiority – you are “bringing the Kingdom” to them (God’s already there!).

    • Taking rejection personally.

    • Being too invested in what you think the outcome should be, instead of just being led.

    • Assuming that people on the margins do not have community. They may be ostracized from OUR community, but may have a strong community and deeply connected relationships within themselves.

    • Failure to establish credibility – “What gives you the right to talk to me about….?”

    • Failure to show that you care before you start trying to help or give advice – It’s all about RELATIONSHIPS. 

  • BEST PRACTICES:

    • Be present…GO! Leave your stereotypes, prejudices, and politics behind. GO and BE vs. Come and See. We don’t hold the agenda or control the parameters – we’re just present.

    • Acknowledge their humanity: He/she is a person created in the image of God. Look people in the eye, smile, introduce yourself, shake hands, learn their name, ask how their day is going. However, be aware of different cultural norms for greetings, etc. 

    • LISTEN: if you ask questions, make them open-ended (as opposed to closed, yes/no – one answer responses), then listen. “Discover” the person through open-ended questions. Ask permission to give advice. Stay in the “adult” voice. (see Rita Pierson, “Child Voice? Parent Voice? Encourage Planning with the Adult Voice”)

    • Grace-giving: thicken-up your skin and learn how to be shock free. (language, hygiene, values in conflict with yours). “‘Whimsical holiness’ is the ability to hold to personal values of Christ-likeness while being deeply integrated into a relationship with people who do not hold your same convictions.” (Hugh Halter) LEAD WITH GRACE

    • Being a Guest: remember that when you meet people on the margins, you are on their turf, and you are their guest. This helps to subvert the power dynamic - our impulses to manage and control the situation. Rather than 1 st being a host, we must 1 st be a guest, and be in the position to receive, just as Jesus did. [Woman at the well, Levi, Woman anointing his feet with perfume, sending the 70 in Luke 10 – he sends them to receive hospitality]

    • Hospitality: as relationships develop, welcome people into your home.

    • Community: do this with other people, not solo. Often less scary when done with someone else. “We can at least be scared together!” (C Kiser) Opportunity to de-brief with a colleague. Jesus did not send people on mission solo – he sent them at least in pairs. People see the gospel embodied in our relationships with each other.

    • Expectant Prayer: “God, help us to see that you’re up to. Help us to see you in every person we meet.” “We pray expecting God to connect the dots”…take us out of our tendency to want to manage and control and predict. Instead of focusing on the outcomes, we focus on being led. Offer to pray for people at the margins. Ditch the religious jargon – prayers should be plain-spoken and specific.

    • Authenticity: be yourself.

    • Be resilient: You will make mistakes and experience failure. Bounce back – hang in there. “The only way to learn the codes and messages of a culture is to violate them.” (C Kiser) People at the margins will extend grace if they feel you are trying and are sincere.

    • Celebrate what God is doing!

  • OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE:

  • CONCLUSION