Friday, November 21, 2014

You're not the dispatcher, you're the one receiving the call ...

Four California Highway Patrol officers sat at a round high-top table by a window in the corner of a Starbucks on a sunny afternoon in San Diego. Their conversation was steady and friendly as their break slowly stretched on.

Suddenly each of the officers were speaking into their radios they carried as they made a quick departure out of the coffee shop. As they pulled their vehicles into traffic, they hit their sirens and turned on their flashing lights.

Someone needed help, and they were responding to the call.

I couldn't help but be moved in a few ways by observing that scene.

First, I thought of how swiftly God is to answer when His children are in distress. He actually sees the problem before it happens, and He's already there ahead of our pleas. While He may or may not respond in ways we would like, He's there in the thick of it, He cares, and He's committed to what's best for us. He's ready to engage with us, and walk us through whatever trials and troubles come our way.

I also thought about how those officers scurrying in haste to heed a call for help should reflect the church in this very broken and lost world. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, and we shouldn't be slow to respond in demonstrating the same love, the same care, that God has for others.

That's where the church often comes up short, but digging into that shortcoming isn't my purpose for this blog post. Instead, I want to share with you my own response to this issue.

Nearly three decades into ministry, I have enjoyed every opportunity for serving the Lord, and others in His name, that God has provided me. Yet, as I look around, the needs are massive.

Lost people.

Broken lives, broken relationships, broken marriages, broken families. Broken people.

Numerous pastors who are exhausted, overwhelmed, and quickly burning out.

So many churches that seem to do anything but proclaim the Gospel.

With all of that, we're in a time in the life of the church where there are many who are ashamed to call themselves Christians, and speak of loving Christ but hating the church. They spend a lot of time hurling verbal or written "stones" at the church, but very little time and effort --- if any --- trying to be part of the answer to the problems in this world and in the church.

I didn't want to be just one more person who can quickly identify there's a lot wrong in the church today, and in this world, and not offer any solutions. I really want to be part of the answer. From that attitude, God has given me a new vision of ministry to pour my life into. A way to be better able to respond to the calls for help, and to significantly multiply the number of people, church leaders, and churches that could be helped directly.

That new vision of ministry is taking form in what has become the Scott Free Clinic, which is currently in its developmental stage. You can learn all about the vision and mission of this ministry, along with other pertinent details, at the ministry website here ScottFreeClinic.org.

There is something unique about this ministry that will be at the heart of our ability to help thousands of people, scores of pastors, and many churches. That unique element is that we offer vital services such as Christian clinical counseling, advanced coaching, Pastor Care, and helping churches become disciple-making churches, all without the barrier of cost. We do that because a primary reason why people, pastors, and churches don't get the help they need is because they cannot afford it. By eliminating the barrier of cost, we can focus directly on ministering to those who need help.

With that said, I'm sure a practical question has already popped into your head: "If you provide all of your ministry services for free, how can the ministry afford to function?"

Great question!

We intend to build a new model of ministry in this area of services by developing a foundation of financial sponsors who provide the bulk of funding (some funding will come from clients who are able and willing to donate to this ministry) needed for this ministry to launch and operate at full capacity. These financial sponsors are our "Care Partners" --- men, women, couples, families, churches, and businesses who capture the vision of this ministry and do what they can to support it. They are more than just financial sponsors, they are truly "Care Partners," people who care about others in need and step out to do what they can to support providing the help needed.

Some of our Care Partners will give a single donation to this ministry. Others will support this ministry with monthly donations, and still others will give quarterly, bi-annually, or annually to support the work of this ministry to help change lives, support pastors, and improve churches. Some will give small gifts, perhaps as little as $10 dollars. Others will give a little more, and (we hope) some will give major gifts to this ministry.

Undergirding all this effort is an incredible team of Prayer Partners who pray for this ministry daily.

It's by coming together to offer ministry services vital to bringing change to lives, to leaders, and to churches by serving, praying, and giving, that we can be a more effective part of the answer to what is wrong in this world and in the church. Our teaming together as ministry provider, Prayer Partners, and Care Partners, is like those four different California Highway patrolmen who all responded to the plea for help.

To make all this happen, we really do need your help. If you would like to support this ministry as a Prayer Partner, we would love to have you join that team. Just email me at dr.scott@ScottFreeClinic.org to let me know you're interested, and doing so will provide me with your email address so you can be provided with our prayer need updates that are sent by email each month.

Very important at this stage of our development is the need for Care Partners. We are ready to fully launch this ministry, the only thing we need are the funds to do so. I want to encourage you to pray about and consider becoming a Care Partner with the Scott Free Clinic. Any financial gift would help us, and all donations are tax deductible. This is also a time where many people consider their year-end giving in order to meet their own personal or business tax strategies. We would greatly appreciate it if you would consider including the Scott Free Clinic in your year-end giving with as generous a gift as you would be able to provide. Details on how to make a donation to this ministry can be found on our website by clicking the "Donations" link.

It has been exciting to see how God has already used this ministry locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally just in its developmental stage. Imagine what can be done when we can fully launch this ministry and provide a vital new way of responding to the needs for changing lives, supporting pastors, and improving churches.

A final request. I'm not simply going to ask you to share this blog post with someone, I'm going to ask you to share it as broadly as you can. I'm even going to challenge you to think of at least five to 10 people you know you could share this information with. Sharing about this ministry is so easy to do, yet it has very real benefit. Please consider how you would be willing to let others know about this ministry.

All around you and me are pleas for help. We're not the dispatcher. God is dispatching you and me to be his agents in responding to these cries for help. Let's work together to change lives, through Christ, for the glory of God!

May God bless you richly!

Dr. James Scott, Jr.
Founder & President
Scott Free Clinic

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