Because of our cushy lifestyle, it is difficult to divide our desires from our needs.  Even in ministry, there are things which we absolutely must have to have a ministry.  Then there are the needs.  The rest are desires.

Cutting to the bare bones, there are only three things that are needed to have a specialized ministry.  They are members, volunteers and monetary support.  At Special Gathering, our organizing and operational board will probably not intervene with a program if there are these three things actively operating.  (SpG organizational note:  We call this organizing and operation board, the INC board because it is the board of directors of our mother organization, The Special Gathering, Inc.  It is made up of area directors, members from each area board and members from each incorporated Special Gathering.  There are currently five Special Gathering area boards that serve under the INC board.  These area boards are defined by geographic locations.)

After the bare bones necessities are met, there are needs.  We need a place to hold meetings and transportation to get people to the meeting spot.  I found early into this ministry that I need some amplifying equipment to project my singing voice.  Because we have never had anyone who can play an instrument, I also need recorded orchestration for praise and worship. 

On the more spiritual end and perhaps on the top of the list, there must be a sense of calling to this ministry for the leader of the program.  Unlike, some other ministries, it has been our experience that you will not have to labor for years to break through the mentally challenged community shell.  The people are eager to hear the gospel.  They enthusiastically respond to the good news of Christ’s redemption.  If the program director has a strong sense of calling, then volunteers will respond in like manner. 

Over the years, I’ve been amazed at the total commitment that SpG volunteers have to our members and their assigned duties.  I am convinced it is a reflection of the strong sense of calling that stems from our executive director and founding pastor, Richard Stimson. 

Physical needs do come next.  Several times over the course of our history, Special Gathering has been offered a building.  We have also turned down the offer.  While others do own buildings, we have opted to borrow the facilities we use from the community and later from local churches.  We plan our meeting times so that we don’t conflict with church services.  We have insurance to cover any liability that our ministry may occur while meeting in their building so that the congregation is not responsible for any accidents.

Transportation is another thorny situation.  It is not easily solved.  We will tackle transporting in a later blog.  Yet, we know that our members do not drive and their parents may need the respite time or they may be too old to provide a ride.  Rides are essential.

Needs or desires?  Of course, I’ve not covered all the needs.  What have you found are your needs?  What can you add to this list?  When do our desires paralyze us while our needs are being met?