Get Help; Give Help

The idea is a natural outgrowth of my life.

During the hardest times of my life, the Church was there. A church–the one I attended–but also THE Church–a small piece of it–represented largely in a denomination not my own. The help from those within my worship community and part of other such communities kept my family from being stuck in the poverty trap.

We knew deep need, and the Church stepped up. But we didn’t just get a hand out–or a number of them. We got a hand up.

Christians provided gifts of food, clothing, and money to us. But they also provided childcare so I could go back to school–and advice on how to succeed there and in the workplace. They encouraged. They walked with us.

We did not stay in poverty. And we have those Christians to thank today.

And so is born the idea of the Central Pennsylvania Service Fair–an event to let people in need know where they can get help–or how they can offer help to others.

The idea involves inviting Christian non-profits to participate in the fair. Pregnancy Resources organizations as well as feeding ministries. Children’s, youth, men’s, and women’s ministries. Ministries that provide material needs; ministries for spiritual needs. That’s who we’ve invited to begin.

And then inviting the community–offering fun activities for the family–and a meal. Food is a universal language of fellowship. And we want the day–for a few hours one day next month–to be a day of friendship and fellowship.

–To gather in worship before the event and lift up our community in prayer.

–To let this church over here realize that the church over there is filling a need no one else in the community fills.

–To let people know that someone is there to fill the need that makes them feel all alone in the world.

One church alone cannot lift a community of those in need. It takes individuals and congregations.

Every person who steps up places a brick of support into the wall those in need climb to get out of the hole they inhabit. They have to climb out themselves–but they need the wall of support in order to scale the heights.

A service fair can be a layer of bricks in somebody’s wall to climb out of their hole. The person we help today is valuable to God. And that person receiving help today may be the one giving help tomorrow.

You don’t know the difference your help can make. And you don’t really know the depth of the person you help. What you can know is that no one is beneath the love of Christ. No human being is ordinary.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”[i] C. S. Lewis

Find a need. Fill it. Lay a brick in someone’s wall. What we do can change eternity.


[i] C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1949), 15. Qtd. in Restoring the Shattered

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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22 Replies to “Get Help; Give Help”

  1. Nancy, I love the idea of laying a brick in someone’s wall. When we partner with someone and held them build a solid foundation there is the power to change not only their narrative, but the eternal narrative. So glad your church was there to help you in a time of need and that you are turning around and doing that for others. This is the church that Jesus calls us too.

  2. Service fairs are wonderful. I love stories about how the church is stepping up and trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world.

  3. C.S.Lewis is one of my favorites. I also loved the thought,”Find a need. Fill it. Lay a brick in someone’s wall. What we do can change eternity.” Yes. That is exactly what it is about. If we would look around us, see a need, and set about meeting that need in a healthy way —what miracles we would see in our midst. Thank you for sharing, Nancy!

  4. This sounds like an amazing way to do ministry and help others! There’s a couple at our church who uses the same phrase for their ministry: They don’t want to give hand outs, but rather a hand up to help others climb out of poverty.

    1. That’s right, Emily. Many Christians seem to think that, because tax dollars support people in need, that there is no reason to give. But government can only give the handout. They can’t mentor and walk with someone to a new place. Thanks for commenting and God bless!

  5. What a great concept for ministry. I would love to see more churches hold these type of service fairs so we have the information to help others.

  6. A service fair is a wonderful and “hands-on” idea. Meeting needs is right in line with what Jesus taught in the parable in Matthew 25. When we do if for the least of these, we do it for Him.

  7. Thank you Nancy for this. I love your point that “What you can know is that no one is beneath the love of Christ. No human being is ordinary.” We help and extend love to others in need not because they ‘deserve or earn it’, but because they are God’s beloved and made in His image. Each person is loved by God and their life was worth the life of His Son.

    1. That’s right, Elaine. We don’t have a crystal ball to see how someone else will turn out. We are to plant seeds as we can, not just where we’re certain the ground is good. Thanks and God bless!

  8. What a beautiful and useful work you are doing, returning the love that was given to you during a hard time. This is what faith should look like. This is the true working out of Christian community. So essential to always keep this in mind – “One church alone cannot lift a community of those in need. It takes individuals and congregations.” Yes, it does! Well done to you and yours!

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