Years ago I read about an urban ministry to poor, at-risk kids that was having a deep impact on their lives and showing remarkable long-term results.
The ministry consisted of after-school tutoring, athletics, Bible studies, a fantastic summer camp, and training for the parents of the kids.
An unprecedented number of kids who would likely drop out of school were not only graduating, they were going to college.
Kids who would likely have joined gangs were becoming disciples of Jesus and growing as disciples.
Single parents were receiving tangible help and coaching. Their kids had a place to go after school, got their homework done and had fun instead of roaming the streets after school.
At any given time, there were about 50 kids involved in the program.
Hundreds more in that neighborhood could have used the same help and were free to join in, but only if they abided by the standards of the program. The standards included parental volunteer hours, behavior standards, regular attendance…things like that.
The bar for participation was set high.
So people who cared about that community and saw this organization’s success would often say to them,
“Look, you guys are so successful. You could be helping lots more kids and families. But you make it difficult to get in and stay in. All you need to do is lower the standards so more kids can get in.”
They didn’t lower the standards, and you already know why.
The standards were the not-so-secret sauce of their success.
And they got the recipe to the not-so-secret sauce from Jesus.
So this weekend we’re looking at the recipe for that no-so-secret sauce as illustrated by the story of the feeding of the 5000.
As we set out to make an impact by helping people who need encouragement, mentoring, a hand up, or even basic necessities of life, Jesus shows us some of the necessary ingredients for maximum impact.
So, if you’re tired of helping, mentoring, serving others, and seeing little to zero results, this weekend is all about changing that.