Has your church or organization ever gone down one path of ministry, only to find that the Lord’s plan might look a bit different? That has most certainly been the case with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Arnold, MO. Their ministry, Care Connections, has been in full swing for a year now, and God has taught them much about the needs of their community in Jefferson County, but also about their capacity and role in loving their neighbors.
Care Connections, from the beginning, has been a ministry that offers counseling, support groups, and crisis intervention services. With financial support from the Jefferson Memorial Community Foundation, therapists have been provided through a partnership with Lutheran Family and Children’s Services. Care Connections has been able to step into the much needed mental health healing space. In hopes of creating real impact in the lives of those with whom they work, they’ve made it their mission to be even more intentional about building relationships with those they serve. This is, of course, one of the more challenging, messy parts of ministry.
What they’ve learned in the last year, through walking closely with a number of individuals, is that homelessness and drug/alcohol addiction are not only large issues plaguing the Jeffco area, but that they are also very complex in nature with no simple or adequately resourced solutions. Director Daniel Burroughs, along with the support of St. John’s, spent countless hours of support and financial resources in a faithful attempt to help some individuals move from crisis mode to rehabilitation, and what was discovered is that Care Connections cannot tackle such complex issues alone. They are simply not equipped with the knowledge, skills, time, and resources needed to facilitate full restoration of those they engage. However, they believe the Holy Spirit has been guiding them along this journey, and that God has made it clear how they are to play their part.
Going forward, Care Connections plans to grow their counseling services and expand their support group and empowerment class programs. They also hope to partner with other community organizations to holistically address the underlying challenges held by the community. At end of the day, the prayer is that God would be glorified in their work and that lives would be changed for the better, both here on earth and for eternity.