Learning how to introduce the ministry of Special Gathering has actually been a long process for me.  Sure, within the first month, I learned the two sentence intro that I can give most people which “sort of” explains Special Gathering.  Yet, it took me some years to learn how to explain Special Gathering to people who showed a passing interest. 

Here are some things I’ve learned about introducing a ministry whose mission is evangelism and discipleship within the mentally challenged community.

  1. Most people–even those who are interested–don’t actually listen when you explain what you do.
  2. Many folks have a difficult time getting past their pre-conceived idea of housing and social work when they think of ministry within this field.
  3. Even after I explain the ministry of Special Gathering in specific terms, someone will ask if I also live in the group home or if I just manage it.
  4. Even family members may have a problem with this concept.  One sister from another state held the pre-conceived notion that I ran a group home because I was helping the family get a placement in a home in our city.  Even after great explanation, she said, “I don’t care what you say.  I KNOW that you are running this home.  I work in this field.  I KNOW how these things work.”
  5. Patience is needed in explaining the model of your ministry.  It may take months to get across the concept of community-based ministry that is not involved in any form of social work, but evangelism and discipleship.
  6. Learn the necessity of repeating your mission and your goal.
  7. Keep your presentation to a group as short as possible. 
  8. Look at the faces of the people to whom you are speaking.  Blank stares are not a good sign but they don’t always tell the entire story. 
  9. Tell snippets of stories that will illustrate a point. 
  10. Show/don’t tell about your ministry.

Of course, this isn’t a complete list.  What are some things that you have learned that are important?