Ministering to the Marginalized

For well over 40, reaching out to marginalized people has been an important part of my Christian life. Luke 4:16 & 17 says,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
From the very beginning the Gospel message was to the marginalized. People that lived at the edge of society. As a new Christian, in the early 1970s, I ministered with a small charity in South East London working with homeless, disaffected young people, drug addicts and, in another area, with children who had suffered abuse, as I had as an adolescent from a sports teacher. Later in the 1970s I worked with young people in the Wembley area, some of whom has suffered spiritual abuse. Later yet in Brighton, I worked on one of the most impoverished Estates. Working with young people suffering from eating disorders and other young people with dysfunctional families. In the early ‘80s working on an impoverished estate in South East London, we again worked with the poor, and couples with fertility problems. In the late 1980s we found ourselves once more on the south coast of England where I was asked to start a counselling Centre on an estate where many victims of child sexual abuse had been moved from London. Once again in a very poor area this counselling Centre became the heart of the community and the “front door” of a new church, where hundreds of people found faith. 1n December 1992, we moved to Spain, where we had been working on short-term missions for some years, whilst there I found myself ministering to alcoholics, women caught up in sex trafficking and prostitution, child and spousal abuse, as well as those caught up in terrorism. Definitely the marginalized. Later in the USA, I worked in helping young people, who lived on the edge, people who had suffered spiritual abuse, prisoners and others, such that organized criminals put out a contract on our lives For the past 9 years, within our ministry here in Germany, we have once again found ourselves ministering to child and spousal abuse, and much more recently, to refugees, who have inundated local social services. All of this while dealing with our own health issues. I am more convinced than ever that we are living in the last days, 18 months ago I felt that the Lord was clearly speaking about the “wise Virgins”, who would light the way for the Bridegrooms coming. 44 years ago at the beginning of my life in Christ, an early mentor told me to look for what God is doing, and join in. Then five or six years ago, a house Church leader here in Germany said, that where God was working here was among Immigrants, Muslims and New Agers. Truth is, that is where things are happening. Many in America and Canada fear the consequences of mass immigration, and especially mass Muslim immigration, as is happening here in Europe. What we must do worldwide is to clearly say, welcome, but don’t bring with you the lies that you have been told, by criminal people traffickers, about what you will receive, don’t bring with you your ideas about Sharia Law, that seek to go beyond the democratic laws of the countries in which you are either guests, or have chosen to live, and most definitely don’t bring terrorism. If you come, we will welcome you. We recognise that many are running not just from war, but also from a repressive social and political system. We will happily share with you what it is to live in a democracy, with social and religious freedom, based firmly on Christian Values and world view. Recognising that some will see the freedom of life in Christ, as part of that, and rejoicing that they are now free to become disciples of the Living God. On the plinth of the Statue of Liberty, on Ellis Island, in New York Harbour, there is a poem which ends with these words.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the tempest-tossed to me.”
So to my American and Canadian Brothers and Sisters, I would say this is the message that most of your forefathers heard that took them to a place of freedom, now is the time to extend that same welcome to others. But at the same time remember, …. “there's another country, I've heard of long ago, Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know; We may not count her armies; we may not see her King; Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering; And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase, And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.” As citizens of that “other” country, we need to be ready to help others find their citizenship there. I am convinced that we need to be extending the Gospel to the poor and marginalized, so over the next weeks and months I will be examining extending the kingdom to:-
  • Refugees and Immigrants,
  • Poor and Homeless,
  • Victims of Child, Spousal and Spiritual abuse,
  • Prisoners,
  • Unemployed,
  • Widows,
  • LGBT sexually confused,
  • Marginalized Youth,
  • And many others.
    Keith Smith
©Copyright 2015 Keith W. Smith and Jesus Gathering™.  All rights reserved Internationally.

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