This post is part of a 10 part series called, “The 10 Tent Stakes of Our Worldview | Lessons from the Wilderness“…
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Eph.2:10
Social work aims to come along-side people who for whatever reason are having a hard time thriving or functioning well in our society. This could be for economic reasons, broken families, lack of life skills, genuine oppression, etc. And sociology |sōsēˈäləjē| is the study of the development, structure, and functioning and problems of human society. Many people who love outdoor ministry also have a heart to serve those people in our society who may need a boost.
Outdoor ministry can help people who may need to come to a place where they can live life with dignity again, have the life skills to find a well-paying job, or get the healing and biblical counseling they need to forgive and move on from the wounds of broken relationships and families.
WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO LEAD REAL & GOOD SOCIAL CHANGE
One of my favorite leaders of social change to consider is Harriet Tubman. She master-minded the Underground Railroad to free slaves from the South and then worked for the Union Army, becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition into war because she was so committed to the freedom of mistreated slaves. Without fear of death, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
There are a lot of things that people want to “change” about our society, but in my humble opinion, many of those things are secondary to the central problems that plague our societies and must be addressed. Harriett Tubman gave her life to a mission that got Glory for God by keeping her eye on the goal to permanently remove one of the most cancerous problems of her society, i.e. slavery. This blog series will address from a biblical perspective, the building blocks of society, and how all of our most complicated problems can be overcome by having a proper view of the four primary God-ordained institutions of society: family, labor, church, and state. This series will look at how social workers can use outdoor ministry as a tool to transform people effected by the problems related to brokenness in these institutions.
SOCIAL WORK-ORIENTED OUTDOOR MINISTRY
The origin of sociology comes from the Latin word, socius, which means, “companion.” There are several great biblical texts to help us get our head around the idea of “social” work of any kind. This is why I’m writing a series on “Practical Ways Outdoor Ministry Enhances the Field of Sociology & Social Work.”
The Bible teaches that society is built upon four God-ordained institutions (family, labor, church, and state). How one views and respects God’s design for these institutions will greatly shape the way the live and behave in society. If you are a Christian who works in the social fields, then I believe your work will become more meaningful and effective the more you understand the God’s design for these institutions of the family, work, the church, and one’s relationship to their city, state, and neighborhoods.
Outdoor ministry, which connects adventure to lessons we can learn from God’s Creation, is an effective tool to help people who are struggling in their role in society to learn about God’s design for family, labor, church, and state.
ALPINIS & DEBORAH HOUSE IN ROMANIA
Alpins is One outdoor ministry that is specifically engaged in this type of ministry. Their organization partners with a ministry called the Deborah House. The Deborah House is a home for abused girls in Timisoara, Romania. The stories these girls have are heartbreaking but the transformation and the way that they have met Christ in the wilderness is truly amazing. Feel free to click these links if you would like to learn more about Alpinis and the Deborah House.
Stay tuned for this 6 part series on “Practical Ways that Outdoor Ministry Enhances the Field of Sociology & Social Work.”
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Are you involved in social work or do you have a heart for how outdoor ministry is designed and used to build up broken people in Christ? If so you may enjoy my Adventure & Therapy related blog posts.
- Make a list of ways that your church is intentionally shepherding people who may need guidance or help in these four main God-ordained institutions of Family, Work, Church, and State.
- For example, how are you ministering to people in your midst who come from broken marriages or families?
- How about those who struggle with life skills or the ability to sustain meaningful work?
- Or what about people who aren’t really connected yet to your church but need the church?
- Or what kinds of ministries do you have to come along-side people who because of their lack of trust or submission to authority are causing them to unravel or miss out on the abundant life?
- After you’ve made the above list, now think about what steps you might be able to make in your church or organization to rally some people who love Jesus, the outdoors, and adventure, to begin using outdoor ministry to minister to people who are especially broken in your community.
- Let me know what you decide to do!