As the Director of Training and Education here at FCS, I wrestle with the tension between God’s ability to use anyone, regardless of credentials, and the helpfulness of applicable skills. When it comes to ministry and working towards holistic community development, the role of expertise can feel sticky and complex.
So perhaps we can start with something true: when it comes to loving our neighbor, we don’t have to take a course on “how to serve.” Our course is God’s Word. We read the Bible and watch Jesus in action. He went everywhere. He taught the Gospel, healed the sick, cast out demons, fed the hungry, and loved people. We are called to do the same, no certificate needed.
But I also know that the Lupton Center emerged, in part, because people like to learn about what matters to them. People like to improve, to grow. Surely this drive applies to us as we seek to be good neighbors! Our founders noticed that many folks who had delved into their neighborhoods knew how to help engage immediate need, but did not know how to leverage efforts and partnerships for long-term impact. These practitioners wanted to know more, to gain more expertise. They asked us to share from our experiences so they could be more effective in caring for their neighbors over time. God was continuing to use them, growing us all along the way!
Luckily, we have much to explore and continue to learn. Our time in South Atlanta has taught us that poverty is complicated - its causes, effects, and solutions. The systems that perpetuate it are also intertwined and complex. This reality means that many of our friends and coworkers find that their passion, sacrifice, and generosity need continued learning and training. Like any work worth our life's passion - whether it is engineering, medicine, education, or the work of charity, justice, or mission - we have to keep honing our perspective, knowledge, and techniques. We do so precisely because we love our neighbors, and we want them to have the best.
Even as we offer training and education, we know the Lupton Center continues to refine its approach. It arose to support those who have found themselves in need of continued development in their lives of service. We are excited to support fellow practitioners and continue growing and developing together. Thank you for your commitment to love and serve others and to call others to that way of life!
If you want a take another step on the path of learning to love your neighbor, be sure to check out The Lupton Center website to find upcoming seminars, resources, and events.
What skills has God been growing in you? What do you feel like you’re learning? Comment below!