Everyone talks about serving and giving and praying, but have you ever felt like you aren’t sure where to begin? With so much need and so many organizations addressing those needs, it can seem daunting. Below I am sharing about five different Christian organizations that I believe are well worth your investment. And by “investment”, I do not necessarily mean money, though that is one way to support them. You can invest your time volunteering, your time praying, or your time inviting others to be part of something important. As a former ministry spouse and current Young Life employee, I can promise you that all of these things are needed and all are very much appreciated.
I hope this list is helpful to you, but please know that it is by no means exhaustive. These are organizations with which I have personal experience. I did not feel right sharing about those I have not personally been impacted by or invested in, but I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments if you have others to add to this list!
Your Local Church
The local church, when healthy, will have not only programs in place to serve its congregation, but also relationships with local ministry organizations. These local organizations often serve the community in practical and spiritual ways and are crucial to playing a role in the redemption of this broken world. I have been part of churches that support pregnancy resource centers, programs for at-risk kids, a school for at-risk kids, organizations that help refugee families, and orphanages halfway across the world. Without involvement in the local church, I may not have even known about some of these wonderful programs.
It is vitally important that we do not neglect the local church. She reflects Jesus on a local and often international level. If you aren’t sure what organizations your church supports, just ask! You may be happily surprised!
Young life is an international organization whose mission statement is to “introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith”. I am a tad biased toward this organization because it was through it that I really came to grasp what a relationship with Jesus looks like. It’s through Young Life that I met my husband, first learned what it meant to volunteer, to pray for impossible things, and to love even difficult people.
The thing that I love about Young Life is that they reach kids who may never set foot in church; those who may not otherwise have a chance to hear the Gospel. Their camps are world-class and their methods are time-tested. The organization truly has a heart for all kids as is evidenced in their many different types of ministries. They have ministries to teen moms (YoungLives), middle-schoolers (WyldLife), high schoolers (Young Life), students with disabilities (Capernaum), college students (Young Life College), and urban and multi-cultural students, to name just a few. They want everyone to know Jesus. And, in my humble opinion, they have some of the absolute best people working and volunteering with them. 😉
I first learned about Love 146 at the church I attended while living in Connecticut. Their vision is “the abolition of child trafficking and exploitation. Nothing Less.” In an age where the disgusting reality is that organizations like this are beyond needed, Love 146 is rescuing and giving hope to victims of child trafficking. They also have an enormous education initiative that serves as a resource to communities on how to recognize and prevent trafficking. Please take a moment to check out their initiatives and the heart of their organization. It is well worth your time.
The International Justice Mission (IJM for short) exists with the goal of ending modern slavery. According to their website, there are over 40 million slaves worldwide today, more than at any other time in human history. IJM works with local authorities to rescue those in slavery and to prosecute slave owners and criminals. They advocate on behalf of widows, children, and any who are marginalized and without a voice in their society. You can read about some incredible rescue stories here.
Formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, Cru’s purpose is “helping to fulfill the Great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit by winning people to faith in Jesus Christ, building them in their faith and sending them to win and build others and helping the body of Christ to do evangelism and discipleship through a variety of creative ways.” (Cru website)
I was not heavily involved in Cru while in college, but I vividly remember people from Cru welcoming me with cookies and a smile the first week of my freshman year, and always being a safe place to go for worship, fellowship, and connection. Admittedly, I primarily think of Cru as a campus ministry, but they have many other facets and outreaches as well, including ministry in cities, marriage and family ministry, and ministry to military kids and families. Cru is an organization that is worth checking out!