The Following blog is reposted from Pastor Mark Shaw’s blog on BCC’s website “Grace and Truth.” You can find the original article, as well as additional resources on Gospel living at thebiblicalcounselingcoalition.org. This particular post highlight what Vision of Hope is doing to serve the community during this epic snowpocalypse.
Vision of Hope: Kingdom Fruit
From my perspective as the “new guy” on staff, I stand in awe at the Kingdom fruit that Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana, is currently reaping. When a body of believers is faithful to teach the truth in love, make disciples while serving the community, and rely on the strength of the Holy Spirit while humbling acknowledging that God gets all the glory, then they are in a position to reap a bountiful harvest.
Vision of Hope is a ministry to young women ages 14-28. It is evident that God was doing something unique and new to glorify Himself. The start-up funds for this women’s residential treatment program were miraculous in that a private foundation offered to build the ministry and pay half of the operating costs for 10 years. The private foundation saw a need in the community for a young women’s facility and offered to partner with Faith Church to serve the community. God continues to be so gracious to such undeserving servants. Vision of Hope is most assuredly the work of God and not of any man.
Addressing Real Needs
What I love about biblical counseling is that we offer real hope and practical help for all of the relational problems of life. Few residential women’s programs are designed to address addictions, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, and self-harm habits all at the same time. Even fewer programs have ultimate oversight by a team of pastors serving in one local church. Fewer still desire to make disciples with a focus upon training leaders and cultivating disciple-makers. For the glory of Christ, these are Vision of Hope’s objectives with the vision of reaching the community and the world with the gospel.
By God’s grace, I have just finished my first 6 months as the executive director of VOH. My desire to reach the world with the gospel message of Christ and His sufficiency fuels my personal strategy. I strategically go about reaching the world by proclaiming that Christ alone is truly the answer for addictions and all life-dominating sins.
The VOH curriculum focuses upon change at the heart level. It is not enough to want a better life; residents, interns, and staff must want Jesus. Our goal is for the residents to know God intimately and to become like Jesus. We are following the commands God gave His children in Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Therefore, our teachings do not teach what I call a “victim mentality,” but a victorious mentality—that through Christ we can be overcomers and soldiers in His army. God never wastes the pain of these young ladies and they are learning new, Christ-like ways to see the pain of their past. Many of them turn their past into a shining testimony of the faithfulness of God—how He called them to Himself through difficult circumstances and is now using it redemptively for His own glory. The goal is for the residents to become givers rather than takers in order that they bless their families, church families, and community.
The leadership team of Vision of Hope has designed the program to teach residents, interns, and staff the importance of community involvement in light of reaching a lost and dying world with the hope of the gospel. Almost every day of the week, year round, Vision of Hope is involved in the community in some form or fashion. Our residents, interns, and staff serve the church first by assisting in the worship auditorium, community center, ministry resource center, women’s ministry, Safe Haven, and Faith West. Annual events such as the Living Nativity at Christmas and the Biblical Counseling Training Conference in February, afford our residents and interns multiple avenues of service.
Helping the American Red Cross and a local pregnancy center with fundraising events is also a tangible way our interns, residents, and staff model service to our local community. Vision of Hope cannot function apart from community; we love our community, and we demonstrate it as best we can with thankful works of our hands. We are honored to be a part of what God is doing to transform lives and recognize that only the generosity of those in the community has enabled Vision of Hope to exist.
Reaching the World
This year, Vision of Hope has shared in the privilege of serving churches in the Dominican Republic and Romania. We want to equip others to serve their communities so anything we can do to serve is paramount to our ministry.
One tangible way we equip others is through the internship program which is designed to give young women an opportunity to serve Christ in a unique residential setting. Committing to serve for one full year while room and board is provided, the interns work with the residents daily in a variety of ways.
In addition, they are allowed to shadow the full time staff in order to learn certain job functions and observe biblical counseling sessions. Many of these young ladies desire to return home to their respective churches around the country and launch a ministry like Vision of Hope. We encourage this very idea since we believe the local church has the answers to all of life’s relational problems and we witness God’s amazing provision to such a fallible group of people as those of us at Faith Church. God has entrusted us with the gospel; therefore, our ministry begins by serving our community well with an eye on advancing the kingdom worldwide to accomplish our global goals.
God has provided our Vision of Hope residents with their time in the program to become good stewards of what He has given them by impacting the kingdom around them. When a young lady is truly transformed, she will have a kingdom focus.
We want our residents to view themselves as victors called to serve the King of kings in a higher battle using their testimony, the tools they have learned in the program, and the message of the Gospel to reach a hurting world searching for answers as they once did. Because of the deplorable and growing problem of human trafficking, several of our Vision of Hope graduates have stated that they would be interested in serving overseas. In this also we rejoice as we watch God beginning to transform counselees into counselors!
For His glory, God has called each of us to reach our respective families, churches, communities, countries, and then to reach the ends of the earth! Only God can accomplish such a lofty goal; it is His delight to use His frail but redeemed people, His Church, to do so. Reflecting upon the amazing grace of God, the leaders at Faith Church look in awe at what God has done to create, sustain, and grow the unique ministry of Vision of Hope. We take great joy in stewarding this ministry that is having a global impact one transformed life at a time.
Join the Conversation
Not all churches have the resources to build a ministry like Vision of Hope, but how can your church reach its community by addressing the real needs of hurting souls?
What are a few organizations in your community that your church could serve? Could you assist them with a fundraising event or in a joint outreach project?