From Webster's Dictionary:
overwhelm verb ˌō-vər-ˈhwelm, -ˈwelm
: to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with
: to defeat (someone or something) completely
Ever felt completely overwhelmed?
Perhaps it was an unexpected pregnancy, debt that seemed to multiply frighteningly fast with the simple swipe of a plastic card, or the sick feeling of watching a foreclosure sign being hung on the front door of your previous home.
Whatever your situation, and wherever you are in life now, its likely that you have experienced an event that seemed much larger than your ability to cope. A situation that, to borrow from Webster’s definition above, caused you to feel defeated, with too much on your plate and no reserves left to fix things for yourself.
Of course we can all wonder about why you experienced it.
Maybe it was the result of a tragedy that you couldn’t control, and ever since that first blow you’ve felt things spiraling out of hand.
Perhaps you were born into a family that has generationally been overwhelmed – stretched thin, perpetually pushed to the breaking point in regards to housing, finances, education.
Or it could be that you had everything going for you, and you blew it all up with a grandiose plan to do whatever you wanted, and now you’re sitting in the pieces, uncertain what happens next.
Less important than the initial “Why?”, is the “What next?” that inevitably follows.
Ideally, this is where we turn to our support network, that group of family or friends that will help to get you back on your feet to figure out your next steps will be. One of the reasons we have family and friends is for the support they can provide, especially when we’ve come to the end of our own resources and abilities.
Sometimes, however, it doesn’t work out like that.
For numerous reasons, there are times in life when there may not be anyone to fall back on, and “What next?” looms like an impossible question that cannot be answered alone.
It is at those precise moments when we desperately need someone to bridge the gap for us the most, and to walk with us back into the realm of hope for our future.
It is at those moments that ministries like Source come into the picture.
Again, from Webster's Dictionary:
source noun ˈsȯrs
: someone or something that provides what is...needed
Jillian Wilzbacher, Communications/Public Relations Coordinator for Source, was kind enough to share with me about what the ministry is, and whom they seek to serve. Quoted information below comes directly from her.
“Since 1987, Source has been serving the urban poor, homeless youth, victims of prostitution and drug abuse – along with anti-mainstream individuals and emerging artists. Many of the people we work with are trying to overcome walls built by victimization and skepticism.”
These are groups of people who know, oftentimes chronically, what it is to be overwhelmed.
These are the groups that we, as a church, have been called to serve, to love, and minister to, yet so often they make up a shockingly small amount of the people in our pews.
“Source has been working with this demographic because they are most likely not going to step into a church building. Our goal is to be a friend who serves people’s needs, along with a voice that communicates God’s love and forgiveness.”
Something that I love about Source’s mission in reaching people is that they aren’t wrapped up in providing only one form of help. They recognize people as complex beings, all of whom desperately need the love of Christ…but whom also need food, shelter, or a place to freely express themselves.
“Source is reaching people with a holistic mindset….to serve people's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I see Source being family to people.
We have art-related events and an art co-op that we use to connect…a weekly food shelf and community meal…[and] community and transitional homes for people to live in in our neighborhood.
Lastly, Source does outreach to homeless youth and women who are being trafficked and are in the sex industry. With each of these areas, I see us empowering the at-risk and unreached."
Just as there are a variety of people and needs, there must be a variety of ways to extend a welcoming hand and an abundance of grace.
“There are many people in our city who need hope and opportunity. These people have either been hurt by the church (or Christians) in the past or have never learned about Jesus. We are giving people opportunities to make a break from the past and build a foundation for the future.”
In the way that Source implements programming, seeks to serve their communities, and integrates Christ’s love into their mission, friendships build, family forms, and the Body of Christ grows to envelope men, women, and children who have received the perhaps the best gift anyone can give – an overflow of Christ’s love for us, straight from the true source of all good and perfect gifts.
If you are and individual living in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and are interesting in taking an active part in serving and loving with Source, here are some options recommended by Jillian:
“Helping at our food shelf, cooking for our community meals or prayer breakfasts, volunteering at an art opening or concert, living in our one of our homes as a residential volunteer, coming to our Saturday service days, or being on an Annex team.
We also need people to pray for us. Whether you do that in your home, at your church, or come to our prayer room. People are welcome to come to our prayer room while we have an event happening to be praying for that specific event.
People can also give financially. The support of individuals and churches allows us to continue our programming, outreach, and homes for the at-risk and unreached. We are currently fundraising to hire an Annex Network case worker by August 31st.”
*Anti-trafficking donations and pledges will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, during August!
If you are an area church interesting in getting involved, here are some options for groups:
- Volunteer at the June Art Fest or on Saturday Service Day
- Take part in an Urban Immersion trip
- Host an anti-trafficking seminar to raise awareness around local trafficking issues
“Lastly, the vision with the Annex Network is to have a network of transitional homes for women coming out of sex trafficking. We are looking for churches to have a home where they provide housing and a ministry team and we provide the life-skills program and case worker. Churches can sponsor a woman in our transitional house for $1050/month.
With our anti-trafficking initiative, the Annex Network, I believe we are one of the nation's leaders in providing a holistic program that combines victimization recovery, practical life skills and Biblical spiritual formation.”
If you've ever needed hope, or love, or just a helping hand, you know how much it means when its given freely, with true compassion and love. I would encourage you, in ways large or small, to personally be the giver of such support to someone you know this week.
Thanks to Source for truly being the "hands and feet" of Christ in a world that desperately needs them, and to Jillian Wilzbacher for taking the time to answer my questions!
For more info, or to donate online, check out Source.
© 2018 El-Inkwell.