Can you imagine going to God and asking for a job so you could feed your family and in turn, God directs you to His Employment, Career and Guidance Program. Another take would be if you were hungry and God enrolled you in His World Food Bank entitlement program.
In human terms, paperwork is involved, success/failure rated by numbers enrolled and then there is the pitch for people to contribute.
In general terms, most direct, street ministers utilize the people approach. A people approach is not based on a program, yet involves personal, one-on-one contact.
It could be said that a people approach is a more caring avenue to address those in need and that a people approach involves personal risk for those reaching out to people who are at times, in desperate perils.
Our government is laced with many, many over-lapping programs that are designed to assist people. This is also true with the churches and other nonprofit entities. With so many (thousands) of programs, why then are people falling through the cracks?
In approaching God, we as humans desire the warmth and comfort of a personal God. Programs are NOT personal. They are various cogs that remove people from the equation and concern themselves with numbers.
I know that when I approach God, I’m glad he doesn’t steer me to a program. Too, I desire the same from my brothers in Christ. I would hope that God’s children would fulfill the commandments of our Lord with the People, personal approach and not rely on the inadequacies of an inhuman program.
2 thoughts on “People Approach vs Program Approach”
Great POST! Well, at least I think so, for what it’s worth.
You put into words here some thoughts I have not been able to express in any meaningful way. Back when I was in school (and shortly after for a few years) I began to see church not as a Body of Christ but as a conglomerate of programs. And quite proud of itself over all the programs. They have programs to “meet the needs of…” the elderly, the young, the hungry, the stupid, the lonely, the drunk, the men, the women, the foreigners, the neighbors, the sick, the adventurous, the divorced, the newly married, and on and on and on…
I found myself newly married (sorta) and involved in the divorce group at this huge church because I actually knew a couple of the people in that group. So I joined them! It was a strange fit… In fact not really a fit, but a square peg in a round hole. But we made it work, I guess. We managed to worship with people who were different from us … that seems biblical.
But the real iron came when I got divorced. My ex and I did not have children in that marriage. But when I returned to that church years later thinking they had a good program for divorced Christians (an oxymoron in its own rite) I found the group had dwindled greatly. But the leaders of it were following a PROGRAM… a video lesson series put together by professions at the university of where ever and they gave me a book that went with the series that I could keep and study on between meetings. BUT… sadly, the week I showed up, I was one of ONLY TWO divorced people to come to the meeting! One of ONLY TWO! And the topic for discussion that night??? How to help your kids cope with divorce!
NOW, you would think… YOU WOULD THINK… that with ONLY TWO people in attendance and one of them HALF THE CLASS does NOT have kids… you would think they could have either gone back and covered a different lesson from before or jumped ahead to one that was hopefully RELEVANT, but they couldn’t imagine not sticking with the PROGRAM.
I kept the book they gave me (was probably a $15 value) and never returned. PROGRAMS sound sooooo good, somehow. Get the backing of big money and leadership and all that. But there is no flexibility. The developers at the university of where ever robbed these nice people of their ability to think for themselves to adapt and improvise to be PERSONAL with me in my hour of need.
Yeah… GREAT POST!
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You see if elements of the program don’t work, they blame the program, not people. To them, if you are not being reached, the answer is: of course, another program. This impersonal approach is simply a mechanism for church people to say they are doing their part. Indeed, many church members contribute many dollars to this effect. Nothing will replace, however, the direct approach which is the prime direction we received from Jesus. Thank you for your comments. It would be funny, your experiences, if people were not involved.
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